Best Electric Fireplaces (Consumer Reports, 2022)

An electric fireplace serves as a heat source and enhances your home aesthetically. Aside from being cheaper than a traditional fireplace, an electric fireplace is easier to install and doesn’t require manually kindling a fire or cleaning up soot and ashes from time to time, making it a simpler and low-maintenance alternative. Yet, it can perfectly mimic the aesthetics of a real fire — thanks to its LED lights, flickering flames, and cracking sounds.

best electric fireplace consumer reports

Choosing the Right Electric Fireplace for Your Home

Electric fireplaces come in different styles, which mainly are portable, freestanding, or wall-mounted. To choose the appropriate style for your home, you’d need to consider the amount of space available and other important factors.

When it comes to heat output, electric fireplaces can be heating or non-heating. The non-heating ones would be perfect for warm climates where they are needed only for decorative purposes. The heating types can serve as supplemental heat sources in cold climates.

The features of each option are also worth considering before making a choice.

Best Electric Fireplace — Consumer Reports

Our team of experts has researched the best electric fireplaces (based on consumer reports and feedback) and reviewed them in detail. Our aim is to help you make a well-informed buying decision when shopping for an electric fireplace. Detailed below are the reviews of the top contenders on the market.

1. Duraflame DFI-5010

 

The Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove DFI-5010 is one of the most popular electric fireplaces on the market, embodying style and functionality at an affordable price. It comes with infrared settings to warm your home and an array of convenient and safety features.

Starting with its design, the DFI-5010 has the appearance of a traditional wood-burning fireplace with a rustic finish and realistic logs and flame effects on the inside. It stands on plastic feet, indicating that it is safe for a variety of flooring types. It is available in six different color variants, which will match almost any decor.

This electric fireplace uses quartz infrared technology as its heating system. When turned on, the DFI-5010 can easily warm an area of 1000 square feet within a few minutes. Compared to the 400 square ft. heating capability of non-infrared electric fireplaces, this 5,200 BTU heater is a top performer. The heating system also comes with thermostat control, which means you can adjust the settings to either high or low heat.

Going further, the DFI-5010 has a zone heating feature that enables it to blow heated air only in the directions you choose. You can shut off zones or sections that are unoccupied and enjoy significant savings due to the controlled heating function. This may also help extend the furnace life of the fireplace as well as your AC life.

It’s important to note that this model basically uses a fan-forced infrared, meaning it’s not a true infrared. Nonetheless, the fan works quite efficiently and makes almost no noise. Additionally, the DFI-5010 is able to operate as an electric fireplace with flame effects but without any heating function. This can help improve your home’s aesthetics.

Speaking of controls, the DFI-5010 comes with remote control. Key functions include power on/off, temperature, flame setting, and timer. The flame height can be adjusted up to 5 different levels while the temperature can be set from 6-degrees Fahrenheit. You can also adjust the flame, color, and brightness settings to suit your room, whether or even your mood.

Additionally, there are a couple of controls on the main unit, specifically on the glass door that swings open in the lower right corner. There’s a good reason to question the manufacturer’s logic for situating the controls on the fireplace where it is hard to reach. Legibility is also an issue as the buttons are not backlit, so you might have to strain to read them.

Coming to its safety features, the DFI-5010 has a timer function that allows you to set the time for the fireplace to turn on and off. It can shut off after 30 minutes, an hour, and all the way to nine hours in hourly increments. What’s more, there’s the overheat protection technology that automatically shuts off the fireplace even before it overheats.

Its overall dimensions are 23.4 x 24.0 x 13.1 inches and weight of 28.6 lbs. Overall, the DFI-5010 is a good electric fireplace that’s perfect for supplemental heat in medium-sized and smaller rooms. Plus, it’s really easy to assemble and comes at a reasonable price.

Pros

  • Charming stove-like design
  • Realistic flames and logs
  • Infrared heater warms a large space
  • Multiple color options

Cons

  • Has limited functionality remote control

2. Dimplex SMP-904ST

 

If you’re looking for an excellent electric fireplace that can double as the centerpiece of your living room, den, or bedroom, the Dimplex SMP-904ST Fieldstone Pine and Stone-look Fireplace is a great option to consider. It’s a plug-and-play unit that can add the ambiance and warmth of a traditional stone fireplace to your home.

Arguably, the appearance of the SMP-904ST is its biggest attraction. It really is a beautiful, classic, decorative fireplace that captures the feel of a private retreat with the rustic look of natural stone and hand-hewn pine mantel. And yes, the stones look very realistic.

Away from its looks, the SMP-904ST has the patented 3D flame effect system that features glow logs and pulsating ember technology, creating a fireplace experience that’s almost like the real thing. According to the manufacturer, the fireplace logs are handcrafted from real wood logs to also add to its realistic style.

Furthermore, the fireplace features three bulbs that provide illumination for the log exterior while also adding to the effects. At 60 watt rating, they consume minimal energy. Since the flame effects do not generate any heat, it is safe to touch the front glass as they are always cool.

As for its heating function, the SMP-904ST sports a fan-forced heater with 1440W, which is thermostatically controlled. It is capable of heating a 400 square feet room comfortably. The thermostat can be turned clockwise to increase heat and counterclockwise to reduce it. Also, the flames can operate with or without heat.

As for the controls, the SMP-904ST can be controlled via the remote control and set of buttons located beneath the firebox behind the access flap. Disappointingly, the remote only features the on/off function, which means every other thing must be done at the fireplace. This can cause some level of inconvenience.

Still on the controls, you will find buttons for flame action (adjusting speed), light dimmer (adjusting interior brightness), heater switch (turning on/off), and thermostat on the fireplace.

The SMP-904ST measures 55-5/8 inches wide, 42-11/16 inches tall, and 14.0 inches deep with a weight of 191 lbs. It is easy to install, thanks to the user manual which contains clear directions. Overall, this is a well-built electronic fireplace with excellent craftsmanship and performance that justifies the price tag.

Pros

  • Gorgeous and well-built
  • Easy to assemble
  • Operates silently
  • Mantel has a real country look

Cons

  • Remote control of little use

3. Xbeauty Electric Fireplace Stove

 

When you want to enjoy the comfort and warmth of a fireplace in your spare time that doesn’t cost the earth, look no further. The Xbeauty Electric Fireplace Stove is an impressive, portable unit that you can put in your study, hall or wherever you prefer it.

At first glance, it is easy to see that this model boasts an elegant and unique design with a retro style that complements virtually any home decor. It is made of high-quality materials that are not only sturdy but also lightweight. It measures 22.5 x 12.6 x 23.6 inches with a weight of 17.6 lbs., which means it doesn’t require too much effort to move around.

The electric fireplace has an Enlarged window to provide a maximum view of the fireplace. The beauty created by the logs and flame effects gives your room an atmosphere of real coziness that’s unparalleled. With the heating coming out from the bottom, you can put items on top of the unit if you like.

Regarding its heating performance, this unit adopts the latest infrared heating technology to comfortably heat a 400 square feet living space with the average heating time being 5-7 minutes, thanks to its heat output of 5100BTU and 12.5 Am power. It has two heat settings (low at 500-watt and high at 1500-watt). The vents at the bottom of the furnace effectively reduce the noise generated by the heater when it’s working.

For its controls, the Xbeauty Electric Fireplace has knobs for adjusting the thermostat and brightness of the flame in the lower right corner of the fireplace. Other settings include the timer function with an automatic shutoff feature at selected time settings of 15 minutes increments up to five hours. The overheating protection shuts down the unit when it reaches a critical heating level.

Overall, the Xbeauty Electric Fireplace is a fantastic addition to any home or office as it provides heat while saving money on energy bills.  Plus you can use it for heat or no heat, and it’s easy to assemble.

Pros

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Fast heating time
  • Dual heating modes
  • Overheat protection
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • No remote control

4. PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace

 

If you have an existing fireplace and still want the benefits of an electric fireplace, the PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace allows you to do just that, delivering a real-life firewood feel. It’s a high-quality unit that allows you to create the perfect fireplace that accentuates your design aesthetics.

Its dimensions measure 25 inches wide, nearly 9 inches long, and 22 inches high. A close look at its construction indicates that this is a product of high precision workmanship, which can be seen in the welding and polishing of the box. The downlight design increases the brightness of the hearth.

This PuraFlame fireplace has a three-sided wall design, which looks like brick, and comes complete with a glass front, interior brick wall, and life-like ember and logs. The protected grate gives it extra points, making it a suitable option for homes with kids or pets since it safely separates the heat source.

According to PuraFlame, this unit sports flame effects known as ’emulation flame’, which is just a fancy way of saying artificial lights. The flame effects are from the long-lasting LED bulbs, which are 100% energy efficient. There are 4 different levels of flame with varying brightness and intensity.

Coming to its heater functions, the PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace is able to comfortably heat up rooms no larger than 400 square feet. The heat is distributed through the vent, which is located in the front and near the top of the black glass enclosure. While its maximum heat output is 1500W, this unit has two levels of heat: low (750 watts) and high (1500 watts.)

The electric fireplace can be controlled using a remote control and the buttons on the upper right of the main unit. Unlike most electric fireplaces, you can conveniently control the unit using the remote. On the main unit, you get the on/off switch, flame settings (3 levels), heater high/low, and the electronic thermostat. On the remote, controls include heater high and low, flame level, and power buttons.

Overall, this is one really good electric fireplace that does well at warming up a space. Even if the room gets stuffy, you can still turn off the heat and enjoy the mood. In addition, this may be one of the quietest fireplace inserts on the market you’ve ever purchased.

Pros

  • Easy to install and operate
  • Very quiet operation
  • Six crackling sounds
  • Useful remote control

Cons

  • Remote control may be unresponsive

5. Touchstone 80004 Sideline Fireplace Insert

 

The Touchstone 80004 Sideline Fireplace Insert is targeted at people with a small space but that still want to keep it warm and toasty. It is designed for recessed mounting in walls and gives the benefit of fire and heat but without smoke.

When it comes to aesthetics, this fireplace is quite impressive. It is super slim, which means you get the pleasure of of looking at its realistic LED flame and soft ember glow through a huge viewing panel. The unit comes as a contemporary black frame with glass crystals and a faux log set.

Although it is relatively small-sized, the Touchstone 80004 can heat up to 400 square feet but may struggle to reach the edges of bigger rooms. With its dual heat mode, you can choose the low heat setting to provide ample warmth on warmer days and high setting when the weather is freezing.

Plus, the heater can be turned off so you can enjoy the flame effects to create the desired ambiance but without any heat generation. Unlike most electric fireplaces, the heat radiates from the front rather than from the top, allowing even heat distribution across the room.

Also in the package is a multifunction remote control with buttons for flames, heater and on/off timer. The flame brightness setting range from a deep glow to a full burning effect. You are spoilt for options as the heater has 5 flame intensity settings and three flame color options. As for the timer, this electric fireplace can be pre-set to shut down in 30 minutes up to 7 hours.

Overall, the Touchstone 80004 Sideline Fireplace Insert gives the total package in both looks and performance. What’s more, installing the unit is hassles-free.

Pros

  • Very stylish
  • Adjustable colors
  • Easy to put together
  • Perfect for smaller homes

Cons

  • In-wall mounting only

6. PuraFlame Klaus Electric Fireplace

 

The beauty of a freestanding electric fireplace is that you can place it anywhere you want in your home and that’s what the PuraFlame Klaus Electric Fireplace offers. It also provides fast access to heat, flame, and other elements of a conventional fireplace.

This unit has a conventional antique design that adds a classic look to any home. It comes with three brick walls on the interior, a mesh screen, and a glass door, simulating a wood-burning but without the hassles of cleaning ashes and dust. The resin logs sit high on the grate just above the ember bed.

A closer look shows a grille style in areas of the fireplace, hiding the manual controlling panel and heat outlet. The front glass is safe to touch at any time. The flame effects can be used with or without heat. Due to its flat surface platform, you can easily place the Klaus directly on the floor of an existing fireplace, make sure it fits, plug, and switch on.

Measuring 34.80 x 21. 46 x 8.78 inches, this unit is capable of delivering supplemental heat to fill 400 square feet of rooms. The heater has 1500 watts of electricity and comes with an adjustable thermostat, allowing you to change the temperature to a level that’s comfortable for you.

As part of its attempt to be realistic, the Klaus makes use of a fire-cackling sound to provide a campfire experience. The flame boasts three settings levels with controllable intensity and brightness for that low burning ember ambiance or the appearance of a roaring fire. You can adjust the settings using the accompanying remote control.

Overall, this is a very straightforward electric fireplace. It does just what it is expected with its major shortcoming being a dearth of features. It also heats very well and is easy to install.

Pros

  • Remote control for easy operations
  • Fits in the existing fireplace
  • Makes fire crackling sound
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Sparse features

Author

  • Keith Rowland is a seasoned electrician who enjoys fixing faults in home appliances and electronics. Being someone who loves writing, he shares on this blog, DIY tips on how to fix various devices within a few minutes. When he's not fixing stuff or writing a new blog post, he's playing with his two cute girls and their mom.