The 7 Best Electric Fireplace Heaters of 2021

Contemporary alternatives to a wood-burning fireplace

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The Rundown
A traditional design with powerful quartz heating technology that’s reasonably priced.
Loaded with features, this log set is an easy way to reignite an old fireplace hearth.
A lightweight, bite-sized electric fireplace to warm up those small spaces.
With a wealth off added features, this versatile add-on is perfect for an existing media center or hearth.
A charming and functional way to liven up lesser-used portions of a living area.
Provides plenty of heat but saves on space and cost.
A sleek, modern fireplace that adds both ambiance and heat to a home or office.

An electric fireplace heater can be a lower-emissions alternative to both wood-burning or methane fireplaces, particularly for homes that are powered by renewable electricity. If you're concerned about continuing to burn wood and clean up ash, or are looking to get a gas fireplace off of fossil fuels, a fireplace heater might be right for you. Not only are these smokeless electric heaters low-maintenance, they can heat a room more effectively than a traditional wood-burning fireplace. According to Treehugger’s resident architect Lloyd Alter, fireplace heaters can be good for houses that need spot heating. 

Electric fireplace heaters can also enhance a room's décor, or be a stylish upgrade from a portable space heater by adding the comforting glow of a faux fireplace. There are wide variety options available, ranging from log fireboxes and self-standing units, to wall mounts or inserts that fit snuggly into existing hearths or media centers. We looked for the most energy-efficient models on the market.

Here are the best electric fireplace heaters:

Best Overall: Duraflame 24-In. Electric Stove

Duraflame

The Duraflame Electric 3D Flame Effect Infrared Quartz Heater is an excellent choice for a freestanding fireplace, with a traditional-yet-elegant stove design, powerful heating capability (up to 1,000 square feet), and moderate price. The 1500-watt, mid-sized heater measures 25 x 13 x 24 inches and weighs 28 pounds, making it a centerpiece to any living area, while still being small enough to easily relocate if needed.

The quartz heating capability maintains the humidity in the room, so it doesn't worsen dryness in the winter. For convenience, it has an adjustable remote-controlled thermostat and five brightness settings. The heater is available in grey, cinnamon, navy, cream, or black.

Duraflame Electric Heat, manufactured by Twin Star Home, is a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, a coalition dedicated to raising awareness of environmentally sustainable practices. 

Best Log Set: Turbro Eternal Flame EF23-LG Electric Log Set

Electric fireplace

One cost-effective way to breathe new life into an underutilized hearth is by installing an electric log set such as the Turbro Eternal Flame, a firebox unit that features faux lemonwood embers. The 23-inch fireplace insert can also be used elsewhere in the home and has three flame settings ranging from soft glow to bright, burning flames that can be used for ambiance or for convection heat.

The 1400-watt heater uses 4,777 BTUs (British Thermal Units), has a digital thermostat with a remote control, and can heat a space up to 400 square feet. The Turbro log set is CSA-certified for safety, with an automatic shut-off to protect against overheating.

Good to Know

Before considering an electric fireplace heater, be sure to weatherize your home to maximize heat. Seal up windows and doors, wrap heating ducts, and use draft stoppers around the base of doors and windows.

Best Portable: Crane Electric Mini Fireplace Ceramic Space Heater

 Crane 1500-Watt Electric Mini Fireplace

For a heater that offers the ambiance of a fireplace but can be easily transported to any room, the Crane Personal Electric space heater is both lightweight and effective. Measuring 7.5 x 12.5 x 15 inches and weighing just 15 pounds, this quiet heater has a convenient carry handle and is perfect for a dorm, office, or bedroom.

This heater has three settings that can warm up to 250 square feet of space: 1500-watt, 750-watt, or glow, or a heatless setting that has realistic embers and imitation flames to create a soothing atmosphere. An overheat protection mechanism will shut off the device if it overheats. However, this heater does not come with an adjustable digital thermostat, which is a common feature found in larger fireplace heaters.

Best Insert: Classic Flame Ventless Infrared Electric Fireplace Insert with Safer Plug

Electric Fireplace

If you’re looking to add a fireplace insert to an existing hearth or media center, Classic Flame has innovative options that set it apart. The 23-inch, Ventless Infrared Electric Fireplace Insert can provide supplemental heating up to 1,000 square feet (using 5200 BTUs) and can be adjusted with a remote-controlled thermostat.

Realistic logs and embers glow behind the heater's tempered-glass doors, and 3D flame effects are available in a whopping 125 options–including speed, color, and brightness. The fireplace has infrared quartz heat, plus safety features to monitor temperature and shut off power in the event of an obstruction. The heater requires assembly and installation.

Best Corner: Real Flame 41" Chateau Corner Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplace

The Real Flame Chateau Corner Electric Fireplace is perfect for cold corners of the living room or dining room. The 1500-watt firebox uses infrared technology to produce enough heat to warm up to 1,000 square feet at six different temperatures.

The fireplace can also be set to flame-only in orange, red-orange, white, blue, blue-white, or multicolor lights. The heater has various timer intervals that can be set by remote control. The solid wood mantel comes in espresso, dark walnut, or white, and measures 41 x 25 x 37 inches. Most people find that assembly is easy and can be done with tools that are included.

Best Budget: e-Flame Aspen Electric Stove

Electric fireplace

For a functional and affordable electric fireplace, the 1500-watt Aspen Electric Stove by e-Flame USA is a compact, free-standing heater with a classic, cozy charm. Available in three exterior colors: matte black, rustic red, or winter white, the Aspen is a lightweight (14 pounds), space-saving alternative that enhances room décor.

Measuring 22 x 15 x 10 inches, it can heat a room up to 400 square feet (with a maximum BTU output of 5115), and can be used with or without heat. The Aspen is a great value if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, but it’s worth noting that its thermostat is not digital (it only has a low or high setting), and there’s no remote.

Best Wall Mounted: Ebern Designs Bartlow Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

Bartlow fireplace

Wall-mounted, faux fireplaces can add a sleek, modern look to a home or office–not to mention supplemental heat. Accented with a black metal frame, the Bartlow Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace by Ebern Designs measures 20 x 26 x 4 inches and features a basin of smooth stone (in lieu of logs and embers).

Capable of heating a 400-square-foot room (using 5110 BTUs), the fireplace is remote controlled with two heat settings: 750 or 1500 watts. There’s also an ambient option to allow the flames to flicker without heat. For safety, the fireplace has a thermal cut-off device. This wall-mounted heater does require some assembly.

Final Verdict

If you already have a fireplace or media center in place, opt for an insert such as the Ventless Infrared Electric Fireplace Insert by Classic Flame (view on Home Depot). Need something affordable that gets the job done? Go with the Aspen Electric Stove by e-Flame (view on Wayfair).

FAQs

How energy efficient are electric fireplace heaters?

Although they still require electric energy to run, which comes from a power source (and thus still contribute to carbon emissions), electric fireplaces boast nearly 100 percent energy efficiency because all of the electricity is converted to heat. In comparison, wood burning fireplaces loose between 70 and 80 percent of the heat due to ventilation. 

According to the EPA, most traditional open fireplaces lose over 90 percent of the fire's heat out the chimney, and much of the heated air in the room goes with it. Electric fireplaces, in contrast, don’t require a chimney, so all the heat created remains in the room. Plus, they don’t create the particle pollution and dangerous products of incomplete combustion that’s common with some wood-burning fireplaces. 

How safe are electric fireplace heaters?

Most fireplace heaters now come with automatic shut off timers, and do not get hot enough to ignite nearby materials. There are no sparks flying or smoke to inhale, so they are a much safer option than wood fireplaces. They are also cool to touch, making them safe if you have little ones at home.

Are electric fireplace heaters expensive to run? 

Overall, electric fireplace heaters are one of the more affordable ways to heat your home. The cost to run an electric fireplace heater varies, depending on how much electricity costs in your area, the energy consumption of the individual unit, and how much time you’ll be running it. Factoring in average electricity costs, the average person can expect to pay around $50 to $80 per year to run one. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger is dedicated to helping our readers transition their homes off of fossil fuels. Originally from Western New York’s snow belt, Amber Nolan spent many winters huddled near a fireplace.