The 8 Best Tabletop Fireplaces

Updated February 06, 2018 by Quincy Miller

8 Best Tabletop Fireplaces
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Best Inexpensive
We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. If you want to enjoy the warmth and ambiance of real flames without any of the hassle and mess of traditional fire pits, then these clean-burning, compact tabletop fireplaces can instantly add a touch of elegance to any room or outdoor patio. They come in a wide selection of attractive designs to suit any taste, and all are sold at very reasonable prices to accommodate any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best tabletop fireplace on Amazon.

8. UniFlame Endless Summer

If you want something as functional as it is beautiful, the UniFlame Endless Summer houses an entire propane tank, enabling it to give off plenty of heat on cold evenings. It's small enough to fit on a table, but don't expect to use that surface for anything else.
  • excellent for decks and patios
  • can even be used to make s'mores
  • hard to replace fuel tanks
Brand Uniflame
Model GLT1343SP
Weight 23.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Sunnydaze Cubic

Nothing will add romance to your night quite like the Sunnydaze Cubic. It has four glass panels that draw the fire up into a tower of flame, giving you plenty of light to enjoy with your partner over wine ... or setting the mood to bring them in closer.
  • ceramic wool wick for a longer burn
  • enclosure protects kids and pets
  • hard to see how full canister is
Brand Sunnydaze Decor
Model pending
Weight 8.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Ignis Mika

At first glance, the Ignis Mika looks like an attractive bit of Art Deco decor, and is impressive enough on its own. Once lit, it becomes a stunning tabletop centerpiece that is sure to draw the eye and be a conversation starter at your next dinner party.
  • black ceramic reflects flame
  • has a 1 hour burn time
  • refilling it is laborious
Brand Ignis Products
Model CTF-003B
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Moda Flame Vigo

Weighing in at 7 pounds, the Moda Flame Vigo is hefty enough to stay put without you worrying about knocking it off with the slightest touch yet easy to take along when the party moves to another room. It has a small footprint as well, ensuring it won't dominate the table.
  • available in 3 different colors
  • adds ambiance to a relaxing bath
  • flame dissipates in wind
Brand Moda Flame
Model GF301801
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. Elite Flame Avon

The Elite Flame Avon looks like a subtle, demure piece of ornamentation when unlit, and dances with captivating foot-tall flames once in use. It burns ethanol that you won't need to vent, and can be used indoors or outdoors on nights that require a little extra warmth.
  • comes with snuffer
  • dual-layer stainless steel burner
  • produces room-filling light
Brand Elite Flame
Model EF301801BK
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Nu-Flame Irradia

The Nu-Flame Irradia creates the appearance of "floating fire,' giving it a modern look that will fit in well with contemporary interior design. It also allows the flame to be seen from all angles, so there's never a bad seat in the house.
  • incredibly simple to use
  • doesn't produce any fumes
  • easily moved from table to table
Brand Nu-Flame
Model NF-T2IRA
Weight 10.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Ignis Tab

Regardless of whether you're entertaining all of your friends or romancing a significant other, the dazzling Ignis Tab can make for an evening that no one will forget. Cleaning it is a breeze as well, so you can use it every night with minimal fuss.
  • can be used with or without wick
  • won't heat up a tabletop
  • easy to light and extinguish
Brand Ignis Products
Model TTF-021
Weight 9.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Sunnydaze Zen

The design of the Sunnydaze Zen has a timeless elegance, with its gently sloping frame and glass panels. It features protective feet that prevent any damage to your tabletop or counter space, and the steel base keeps it from tipping over easily.
  • gives impression of floating fire
  • doesn't leave soot on the panes
  • assembly is a breeze
Brand Elite Flame
Model EF301900BK
Weight 12.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Tabletop Fireplace

The history of tabletop fireplaces starts with the prehistoric fire pit, which our human ancestors built in their huts and caves. These fire pits were built across all of the inhabited continents for thousands of years, despite the risks their toxic smoke posed in closed spaces.

In medieval times, homes and the great halls of large structures featured centrally placed hearths. These hearths vented their smoke through an opening in the roof. It was not until the Middle Ages that louvers were created to allow roof vents to open and close. Later in the Middle Ages, smoke canopies — a precursor to modern chimneys — were built to direct smoke outside.

By the 12th century, the first chimneys were erected in northern Europe, essentially eliminating the smoke hazards associated with indoor fires. Initially, chimneys were prohibitively priced and costly to maintain, but as word spread of their effectiveness, demand increased, and builders developed construction standards.

One important development in the history of fireplaces came in 1678, thanks to England's Prince Rupert. After surmising that it would improve airflow, Rupert invented a grate that would keep firewood off the fireplace floor. Not only did this allow fires to burn hotter and faster, but it also made venting easier.

Benjamin Franklin also contributed several fireplace improvements of his own in the 18th century. The so-called Franklin stove featured an empty space at the rear of its metal frame that allowed it to radiate more heat than an ordinary fireplace. Thanks to improved airflow, this design also produced less smoke. Franklin's innovations were incorporated into the fireplaces and stoves of his time, and can still be found in modern models.

While Franklin's stove was a great improvement over its predecessors, the fireplace developed later in the 18th century by Sir Benjamin Thompson was revolutionary. Thompson's shallow design, upon which today's fireplaces are based, drastically improved the amount of heat exuded by the fireplace.

While today's tabletop fireplaces take some design cues from standard fireplaces, almost none of them require venting. Also known as bio fireplaces, these tabletop models typically burn ethanol or another denatured alcohol. Because they don't produce hazardous black smoke, bio fireplaces can be placed anywhere they will fit, and do not require extensive construction to install. These fireplaces grew in popularity in the late 20th century, and today are more popular than ever. Because they burn a clean, self-contained fuel, bio fireplaces don't require the accessories of standard fireplaces, either.

The tabletop fireplace is the smallest variation of the bio model, and is often used as decoration, rather than as a heat source.

How Tabletop Fireplaces Work

With tabletop fireplaces consumers need not worry about the toxic fumes and particulates generated by wood-burning fires.

Tabletop fireplaces are typically fueled by ethanol, a byproduct of fermented organic matter like corn and potatoes. Some fireplaces use this fuel in a liquid form, while others call for an ethanol gel. Both forms are easy to find at hardware stores. This fuel is placed in a burner, which when lit allows the ethanol to combust in a controlled setting.

While they don't offer the same sense pleasure as wood-burning fireplaces, tabletop fireplaces are highly customizable. On many models, the height, warmth, and shape of the flame can be customized. Some even offer scented fuel cartridges which attempt to recreate the smell of burning wood, or produce other scents like vanilla and cinnamon.

The most advanced tabletop fireplaces can be controlled by a smartphone application and attached to a smart home system.

Many tabletop fireplaces sport decorative facades. Because bio fireplace burners are small, tabletop fireplaces can assume many shapes, making them ideal for interior decoration.

Tabletop Fireplace Safety

Smoke from traditional wood-burning fires is dangerous, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Concerned about the hazards they pose, New York City banned new wood-burning chimneys in 2014.

For this reason and numerous others, many are turning to ventless ethanol-fueled fireplaces instead.

Tabletop fireplaces emit negligible fumes and very little organic material. Unlike traditional fireplaces, they do not require frequent cleaning to remain safe. The most advanced tabletop fireplaces even feature sensors that can extinguish the flame if the area gets too hot, or if there is low oxygen in the room.

While the U.S. Fire Administration considers them safe for use inside the home, ethanol-fueled tabletop fireplaces must still be handled and positioned carefully. It is still unwise to place these fireplaces in a confined space with little ventilation, according to some research. Ethanol burns slowly, but it is still highly flammable. Owners should be careful to follow all manufacturer instructions. For instance, most tabletop fireplaces specify that only a candle lighter or extended match should be used for ignition.

As with any flame source, tabletop fireplaces should be positioned as far as possible from combustible materials like curtains. They should also be kept away from children.

Before adding fuel to the burner, it is critical that you make certain the flame has been extinguished. Because ethanol burns clean, it can be difficult to tell whether the fireplace is still burning. To be safe, it is advised that you never attempt to light a fireplace that is still warm from a previous ignition.

It is also important that you never use fuel cartridges that were not designed for your fireplace.

Liquid fuel easily spills, and it is advisable to use a funnel during fueling. If you do spill ethanol, clean the area and your hands thoroughly before lighting.

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Last updated on February 06, 2018 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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