The best electric fireplaces for 2023
Jan 07, 2024
Imagine yourself plopped in front of an electric fireplace, watching TikToks in the most luxurious, least messy way possible.
This is the best mixture of features and cost for most people.
Built-in storage and ample surface space make this ideal for supporting a TV.
Get all the warmth and flickering flame without lighting cash on fire.
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Electric fireplaces save you the trouble of bringing logs (and potentially bugs) into your home. These simple setups provide the heat and glow of a real fire with only a small fraction of the effort. There’s simply something romantic about being curled up with a person, pet, book, or smartphone in front of a warm, flickering fireplace without being covered in sweat and sap. So, curl up, save yourself from “woodchopper’s back,” and grab one of the best electric fireplaces to warm your home in both temperature and vibe.
Traditional fireplaces create smoke, even when using the best fire logs (the Duraflame Gold Firelog burns an incredible 80 percent cleaner than wood). As a result, they typically have to reside in very specific locations around the home. However, we’ve found that people like the freedom and flexibility that come with electric fireplaces. It’s a huge upgrade in terms of design and usability. At the same time, aesthetics still matter and they need to fit in your space. While some truly wild designs exist, we populated this list with models that will fit most spaces. Some also come in different colors so that you can customize. As with all heat sources, both impressive heat output and quality safety features are paramount. Any time a gadget intentionally creates heat, you want to opt for a brand with a solid reputation for build quality.
With electric fireplaces, you don’t have to know how to build a fire. Plus, you’ll save a tree and avoid the smoke, which could possibly be worse than wood stove air pollution. The best electric fireplaces are versatile machines with robust safety features, fine looks, and great heating capabilities. If you’re shivering in anticipation of there being a chill in the air, here are our top picks:
Why it made the cut: Transform any wall into a rock fireplace; no chimney or cutting required.
Some electric fireplaces don’t blend seamlessly with the space around them. The Dimplex Featherston, however, deftly integrates itself into a room.
How does it fare? The Dimplex Featherston has an impressive stone mantel with wood offsets. Far from being a cheap, plastic imitation, this electric fireplace is heavy and solid, weighing over 300 pounds. It mounts firmly to the wall, so you don’t have to worry about kids or pets knocking it loose. Despite its size and weight, the assembly is rather quick and easy, taking about an hour or less for most people.
Inside the Dimplex Featherston’s rocky exterior is a firebox that puts out 5,118 BTUs of heat, providing supplemental heat for rooms up to 1,000 square feet in size. Visually, the firebox imitates natural wood burning with a patented technique to give the logs an apparent glow.
Overall, the Dimplex Featherston is a transformative experience for your wall. Placed and anchored, it will appear like a traditional fireplace. As a result, it is quite expensive, rather heavy (again, over 300 pounds), and might not be for everyone. But if you want a sturdy, attractive model that will last, this is the pick.
Why it made the cut: This perfectly fills the spot where a “real” fireplace would go.
What happens when a house already has a fireplace that barely gets used? They can be dangerous, require a constant supply of (potentially insect-housing) logs, have no temperature adjustment, etc. They’re unsightly when not in use and throw soot in the house when not. But this space begs to be filled, and the PuraFlame Klaus does a great job.
Praised for its realistic appearance, the PuraFlame Klaus will give your dead, unused fireplace recess a usable, safe alternative. Lively, flickering logs that look as if they are filled with the spirit and energy of flame fill its interior, with their intensity and brightness changeable over three settings. Its built-in speaker provides your choice of six crackling sounds. And you can safely keep the logs there during the summer months without inviting beetles. It looks good year-round.
During usage, you’ll also find the PuraFlame Klaus a worthy alternative to a real fireplace. Unlike a real blaze, you can adjust its temperature via remote control and a thermostat option. It gives up to 400 square feet of supplemental heat. It has exceptionally positive customer ratings for its performance and ease of installation.
Why it made the cut: This freestanding model supports a large TV with style.
This TV stand electric fireplace combines the best features of a TV stand and infrared heating to make a powerful, effective combo. The stand’s design (and size) varies a bit by “color” selection, with wooden designs appearing rustic and invoking feelings of country living. White “ivory” color designs will blend in more with modern homes.
Those that recall our examination of the best infrared heaters will know why we like this one so much. For one, the Ameriwood electric fireplace, by using infrared, will provide radiant heat that feels almost “sunlike” in nature. This gives a toasty fireplace feeling. One downside of infrared heating is that it travels like light, in a line, instead of heating the air. By placing an infrared heater in an electric fireplace TV stand, Ameriwood effectively solves this issue since most users will be facing the TV anyhow.
The gorgeous look of the replicated fire combined with its radiant feel are big selling points for the Ameriwood. However, it should be noted that with these good looks comes some delicateness. Be careful when assembling the product and moving the (heavy) box into your home, or you might scratch its exterior.
Why it made the cut: With dazzling colors and recessed optionality, the R.W.FLAME is a clear winner.
For a beautiful wall-mounted or recessed look, try the R.W.FLAME, which can make any wall of your home look like a fireplace. It looks terrific as a wall mount, where it hangs on the wall via a bracket, but once you like it, you can also recess it into the wall, where its (depending on the version you get) 3.85-inch or 6-inch depth can be partially or fully hidden. Take the chance to assess how you like the heating style and location before cutting into your wall, as this electric fireplace (like most others) is meant to heat the space immediately surrounding it, not every inch of the room.
Visually, the R.W.FLAME is renowned for the controllable light show it creates. A bright line of flaming crystal crosses the bottom of the visual pane, from which flames rise. You can set both the crystal and flame colors from 12 choices, with five levels of brightness. The timer also allows it to automatically turn off after one to eight hours, so it won’t waste fuel after you’ve fallen asleep.
Why it made the cut: This inexpensive portable electric fireplace is a certified “keeper.”
The FDW looks like a formidable iron box of fire. In reality, it is a safe, portable electric fireplace that has significantly fewer returns than the competition.
Part of this is inevitably due to its affordable pricing, which satisfies in and of itself. However, the FDW’s ability to work well in 500 square-foot rooms and to be moved easily accounts for a lot as well. The 13-pound weight of the heater means that you can move it without hurting yourself while, in combination with its wide base, also staying rather sturdy once placed. We do wish it had tip-over protection, but it is not fully necessary with responsible usage.
The rest of the FDW’s customer satisfaction comes down to its beautiful appearance, practical application as a personal heating unit, and great nighttime usage. It stays quiet, never going over 37dB, and has an overheating shut-off feature. So, as long as you keep the electric fireplace a safe distance from your bed, it will faithfully accentuate your sleeping environment.
There is a lot to consider when getting an electric fireplace. The styles vary so much in application that it can be difficult to find a one-size-fits-all approach to assessing them. Still, the installation style, safety features that some display, and heat-controlling mechanisms are relatively universal.
Right off the bat, you’ll have to decide what style you want. Some mount to the wall, while others stand freely. You’ll also find others that offer an insert-style design, which fill in the places where traditional fireplaces might go.
If you’re looking to fill a hole left by a more conventional fireplace that you’re no longer using, electric fireplaces are a no-brainer. In this case, check out the PuraFlame Klaus, which also happens to be among the highest-rated electric fireplaces on the market.
Certain electric fireplaces are affixed to the wall in a way not so dissimilar to that of a flatscreen television. For larger models meant to be flush with the surface, you may see them described as “wall-mounted.” It just means that, while the bottom of the fireplace might touch the floor, the back must mount to the wall for security and to become flush. Wall-mount-style electric fireplaces often create an illusory sense of depth.
Freestanding electric fireplaces will stand on four legs, like a cabinet or other piece of furniture. You’re most likely to see the safety features seen below on freestanding electric fireplaces.
As with all heating units, you will likely wish to have some safety features as part of your electric fireplace experience. Here are some terms to look out for:
Automatic shut-off feature: Overheating or “auto-heat kill safety” feature designs work by turning off the unit when it gets too hot. This is good for keeping your room from getting too hot and saving yourself from a fire.
Freestanding units may also have a “tip-over protection” feature that shuts off the device if it is knocked over. This prevents heating elements and fans from pushing hot air directly into carpets or floors for too long. Note that this feature is somewhat more rare on even the best electric fireplaces.
CSA-certified unit: This indicates that the product has a CSA-certified design, which indicates these electric heater safety standards are upheld.
ETL-certified unit: Another common safety standard. It shows that a product meets safety and production standards in the US and Canada.
Heat control is one of the most easily overlooked aspects of getting an electric fireplace. You may have a powerful fireplace, but it may have limited utility if you can’t control the temperature. Look for a 3-heat setting dial at minimum, with things like low, medium, and high power. A dial or thermostat with more fine-tuned control is even better. Some models allow for temperature adjustments via app or remote. The point is, don’t overlook having good control over your machine in the pursuit of intense heat output. As the end of fall or the beginning of spring approaches, the best electric fireplaces will serve your needs just as well as they do in the nights of deepest winter.
An electric fireplace will cost anywhere from just under $100 for a budget model to over $1,000 for a realistic replacement of a real fireplace. If you don’t care about lifelike design but still want quality, you should expect to pay from $150 to $350 for an electric fireplace.
The two main disadvantages of electric fireplaces are that they tend to have a lower maximum heat than other indoor heaters and they don’t work as well outdoors. However, the best electric fireplaces will heat quickly and provide suitable heat for their recommended heating area. As electric fireplaces are meant to replace an indoor thing, they are often not rated for water resistance. Consider using suitable outdoor heating or portable fire pits for outdoor heating.
Electric fireplaces warm a room but are typically made more for supplemental heat rather than as a main source of heat for the home. In this way, they simulate the need to gather around the fire to get toasty and warm. If concerned, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommended room size and heat style before making a purchase.
Electric fireplaces come in so many designs and configurations that almost any living space can benefit from one. They provide an extra heat source in the cold months, as well as a soothing light show. It’s a great way to improve the interior of your home without worrying about a supply of wood or regular chimney cleanings. Plus, the best electric fireplaces give you a simple way to control heat and light to your exact taste.
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.Best overall:Best for existing fireplaces: Best TV stand: Best wall mounted: Best budget: How we selected the best electric fireplacesThe best electric fireplaces: Reviews & RecommendationsBest overall:Why it made the cut: SpecsSize: Installation: Heat control: Heats rooms up to: ProsConsBest for existing fireplaces: Why it made the cut: SpecsSize: Installation: Heat control: Heats rooms up to: ProsConsBest TV stand: Why it made the cut: SpecsSize: Installation: Heat control: Heats rooms up to: ProsConsBest wall mounted: Why it made the cut: SpecsSize: Installation: Heat control: Heats rooms up to: ProsConsBest budget: Why it made the cut: SpecsSize: Installation: Heat control: Heats rooms up to: ProsConsWhat to consider before buying electric fireplacesAutomatic shut-off feature: CSA-certified unit: ETL-certified unit: FAQsQ: How much does an electric fireplace cost?Q: What are the disadvantages of an electric fireplace?Q: Do electric fireplaces really warm a room?Final thoughts on the best electric fireplacesBest overall:Best for existing fireplaces: Best TV stand: Best wall mounted: Best budget: Why trust us