The 10 Best Fireplace Inserts

Updated December 28, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Fireplace Inserts
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
Nothing beats the cozy ambiance of a warm fire on a cold night, except for the fact that you have to deal with all that smoke and ash. But if you and your loved one snuggle up to one of these electric or gel-fueled fireplace inserts this winter instead, you can add a low maintenance, warm feel to any room without the hassle and mess of traditional options. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best fireplace insert on Amazon.

10. Jensen Metal Real Flame

If you don't want to go through the hassle of installing a large, bulky insert, then the Jensen Metal Real Flame is a good alternative. It is a log stack that sits inside your current fireplace, uses gel canisters for fuel, and doesn't require venting.
  • available in birch and oak models
  • hand-painted cast concrete and steel
  • fuel cans burn out quickly
Brand Jensen Metal Products
Model 2609-O
Weight 48.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Dimplex DFI2309

The charming Dimplex DFI2309 is constructed of premium, durable steel, and has an adjustable self-leveling base that can transform any space into a cozy retreat. It's a good low cost option but, unfortunately, it doesn't produce a strong amount of heat.
  • backed by 1-year warranty
  • silent fan-forced operation
  • doesn't have a glass front
Brand Dimplex
Model DFI2309
Weight 33.4 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. AKDY Freestanding Electric

The AKDY Freestanding Electric can be plugged into any standard household outlet. It includes a handy remote that lets you turn it on without having to get up, making it ideal for those really cold nights or for heating the room before getting out of bed in the morning.
  • doesn't get hot on the sides
  • puts out a lot of warmth quickly
  • only sends heat upwards
Brand AKDY
Model Azfl-EF-05-28r
Weight 41.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

7. Golden Vantage 23"

Take just one look at the brightly glowing ember bed of the Golden Vantage 23", and you'll immediately feel warmer. In case that wasn't enough, though, it also has a powerful 5,200 BTU heater and a fan that blows hot air out into the room.
  • scratch-resistant glass front
  • very lifelike flame display
  • no timer function
Brand Golden Vantage
Model GV-FP0028
Weight 29.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Gibson GL3126CRV

The Gibson GL3126CRV is an attractive replacement for your messy old fireplace. It features a simple smokeless and ventless design that offers full customization with two heat settings, and it includes a convenient remote control to make adjustments from the couch.
  • very easy to turn on and operate
  • three brightness settings
  • flame pattern is not very realistic
Brand Gibson Living
Model GL3023FLT
Weight 37.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. AKDY Black Electric Firebox

The economical AKDY Black Electric Firebox is engineered with patented electric flame technology, and can be placed anywhere within an existing fireplace. It is simple to operate at the push of a button, and the fire display features five different brightness settings.
  • relocates easily from room to room
  • includes all installation parts
  • fan can be noisy
Brand AKDY
Model Azfl-EF-06-28r
Weight 45.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. ClassicFlame Infared Quartz 28II300GRA

Enjoy the warmth of the ClassicFlame Infared Quartz 28II300GRA, which features realistic resin logs with a cool flame pattern that can be easily viewed through a large, crystal-clear 23-inch panel. It has 125 optional effects and it can be operated with or without heat.
  • convenient digital thermostat
  • infared heat helps maintain humidity
  • timer and auto shut-off
Brand ClassicFlame
Model 28II300GRA
Weight 39.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Puraflame Western

With a classic three-side brick wall design and electronic temperature control for added precision, the 33-inch Puraflame Western creates a nice, homey environment. It uses 100 percent energy-saving LED technology to display a lifelike, glowing ember bed.
  • carefully welded trims
  • heats up to 400 square feet
  • realistic resin logs
Brand PuraFlame
Model pending
Weight 51 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Best Choice Products SKY1826

Create the fireplace of your dreams at a price you can afford with the Best Choice Products SKY1826. It features a rich matte black finish and can generate a warm glow that isn't too bright and won't distract you while watching TV or cuddling with your loved one.
  • almost no maintenance required
  • doesn't produce any smoke or soot
  • safety cut-off prevents overheating
Brand Best Choice Products
Model SKY1826
Weight 34.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. ClassicFlame 36EB111-GRC

The contemporary ClassicFlame 36EB111-GRC offers the perfect ambiance anytime. It incorporates gas-burning effect LED flames that can project an amber or blue color or can be set to cycle between the two, plus nine additional up and downlight options.
  • can be hardwired with junction box
  • includes an attachable 3-prong plug
  • comes with wall-mounted thermostat
Brand ClassicFlame
Model 36EB111-GRC
Weight 77.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Cleaner, Safer Fire

Tending a real fire is a messy, dangerous business. There's almost no end to the things that can go wrong, and any attempt at fixing a problem is almost guaranteed to get you covered in soot. You have to keep the space clean, maintain the flue, sweep the chimney, and guard against an attack from stray sparks or embers.

Fireplace inserts take just about all the hassle out of the experience with little to no sacrifice in the soothing experience of having a fire in your space. You almost have no choice but to make a little hot chocolate and grab a fluffy pair of slippers in their presence.

Interestingly, very few of the inserts on our list actually deal in real fire. The vast majority of them operates electronically, producing the illusion of a real flame through a variety of clever tricks. Any of the actual fire-bearing inserts on our list utilize small gas burners that are easily replaceable and that burn in and around flame-retardant logs made of resin.

The electric fireplace inserts on our list create the appearance of flames most often by utilizing refracted light. LED, halogen, or incandescent bulbs, usually orange or red in color, sit beneath an artificial log structure. The light they produce has its waves bent and slowed through three-dimensional panes of glass designed to creates the appearance of flames.

Some fireplace inserts will utilize additional variables like water vapor to further distort the light, or even to create the appearance of smoke, though no smoke is present. That's probably the most alluring thing about these fireplace inserts: there is no smoke, there are no fumes.

But what's a fire without the heat, right? Well, these fireplace inserts, in addition to creating the appearance of a fire, also contain metal coils that heat electrically. Behind those coils is a quiet fan that distributes the heat throughout a room, allowing your fireplace insert to double as a space heater. If you want the look of a fire on a hot summer night without the heat, you can simply disable the heat function, and enjoy the show.

Can The Fire Fit?

I recently moved into an apartment that has a lovely faux fireplace, and the first thing my girlfriend and I talked about when we saw it was setting up a fake fire there. The thing about that spot, however, is that it's mostly meant to be a decorative space so it's decidedly shallow.

As you look at all of the fireplace inserts on our list, you'll probably notice that they vary significantly in their depth, as well as their other dimensions. In a space like ours, the deeper fireplace inserts designed to fit into an otherwise fully functional fireplace would stick out and look incredibly strange to any guests.

The brick around our decorative mantle is all white, as well, so there's something just a little off about having an overtly traditional insert on display. In the end, we decided to go with one of the more modern designs, and we were delighted to find out that they worked as space heaters, as well, since there's not any heating infrastructure in the building.

So, as much as you will make your decision from a fundamentally aesthetic perspective, that perspective will inevitably be constrained by the practicality of your space. Take stringent measurements of the fireplace you intend to fill to begin your process of elimination.

Once you've whittled the list down that far, you can ask yourself the easiest question, which is whether you want an electric or a gas insert. Some gas inserts operate by connecting to existing gas lines, but the odds of one such line running to your fireplace are slim. Others utilize canisters, which you need to replace far more often than the bulbs in an electric fireplace.

If you do choose electric, the big balancing act exists between the look of the flames and the amount of heat produced. As you spend more money, you'll get a little more heat and a little more realism. In the mid-range, however, you'll likely have to prioritize one over the other.

Fire For Aeons

If you look around at anything in your house, you can thank fire for it. Without fire, or, more specifically, our burning of fossil fuels for energy, none of the electricity we've enjoyed all our lives would be present. Sure we have some infrastructure for wind, solar, and hydrodynamic power, but these industries still only account for a fraction of our energy consumption.

Fire's an old friend of ours, as well. According to archeological finds in Israel, as well as evidence of contact on flint tools before and after certain points in the carbon dating, most scientists believe early man–specifically hominins, a predecessor to mankind–used flint tools to create and control fire as many as 350,000 years ago.

The technology behind artificial, electric fire is much more recent. From about the late 1960s onward, the inherent dangers in live pyrotechnics led some concert organizers and stage designers to seek alternative methods of delivering the thrill of the flame to the audience without all the risk. Refracted light did the trick, and it looked alright from a distance, but rather cheap up close.

Advances in the physics of refraction, as well as an integration of multiple colors of LEDs, has given the market an artificial fire so convincing that it can live and work beautifully in the home.

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Last updated on December 28, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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