Do Any Electric Fireplaces Look Real?

If you are reading this article then chances are you’re wondering if an electric fireplace can produce realistic flame effects. After all, what’s the point of owning an electric fireplace if it doesn’t look authentic, and create the ambiance of a burning fire. Only flames that appear to be real fire have the capability to relieve stress, and put the mind at ease with hypnotic, life-like visuals. A great electric fireplace should closely resemble a wood-burning fire, and fool the mind into believing that it’s real. Some pull it off with spectacular fashion, but the vast majority fall flat. This guide will help you avoid the latter…


Can
electric fireplaces look real?

A few faux electric fireplaces are capable of achieving photo realistic flames, but most are not. It comes down to the technology used to make the flame effect. In this guide we’ll show you how to quickly identify the fireplaces with the most realistic flames, and how to avoid the ones that don’t make the cut. This comprehensive article has been written by an electric fireplace manufacturer’s chief engineer, and we’re about to blow the doors wide open, and bring to light the dirty secrets of the fireplace industry, that other brands don’t want you to know! 


Do
electric fireplaces look fake?

To be blunt most of them do look fake, and are completely unrealistic. However there are some that look incredibly close to the real thing, and are a major game changer for fireplace enthusiasts, who care about the realism of the fire effects. Let’s cut to the chase and discuss the outdated technology used up until recently to make fake looking fires, and how you can avoid those at all costs, while focusing on the fireboxes that look real. 


The hidden truth of the
electric fireplace industry.

Unfortunately most fireplaces manufacturers don’t concentrate on creating realistic flames for their products, as they are concentrating more on building a heater with some sort of glowing fire effect as a secondary consideration. This is mainly due to the low cost technology that many fireplaces manufacturers use to make their fake looking fire effects, which covers just about everything out there, except for a single diamond in the rough. We’ll point you in the right direction so you can spot the key differences for yourself. 


There are 3
types of electric fireplaces and 2 of those look very fake!

It’s expensive to innovate, and most electric fireplace manufacturers don’t do it. There is a lot to be made by selling the same technology year after year, as research and development is extremely costly, and takes years to see the light of day. That is if the engineers can get it right at all, and that takes a lot of time and money. Most companies fail to bring new products to life because of these complications, and that’s why there are so few fireplace companies out there that make fireplace inserts that look real. For an electric fireplace manufacturer to gamble on the future by placing a bet on realism is rare, there are a few brave enough to take the risk, and try a different approach to making an electric firebox look real.


40 year old fireplace technology doesn’t cut it in 2020.

Most fireplaces use technology for making their flames that has been developed nearly 40 years ago, and is long outdated by now. These mechanical fireplaces work by using an inexpensive electric motor to rotate a spindle that reflects led lighting through a flame silhouette, and onto a panel behind the log set, making for an artificial fire effect, that would never be mistaken for a real flame. The reality is that moving orange lights shining through a fire shaped stencil does not replicate the subtle details of fire, like true to life colors, the organic and natural movement of the flames, and subtle but necessary details like rolling wispy smoke, and rising burning embers. Old school fireplaces also use outdated IR remote control technology when we’re living in the world of Bluetooth and smart-phones. Is there anything better?


What about water vapor technology. Does that look any better?

Several years ago a new technology for fireplaces was developed by Glen Dimplex and labeled the Opti-myst. This type of wall mounted electric fireplace replaces the mechanical motor with an ultrasonic fogger, and is able to use vaporized water as the basis for it’s flame effect. That gray mist is tinted orange with halogen lights instead of led lights to look somewhat like real fire, but not really…

Because this system works with a physical effect, the flames on the Dimplex Opti Myst do look a lot better than the mechanical effects, but they still leave a lot to be desired, when it comes to photo realism, of an actual fireplace experience. While the Opti-Myst does look much better, it still lacks the details of real fire, like smoke and burning embers — not to mention the realistic coloring of the flames themselves, over the burning logs. Water vapor technology is a step in the right direction, but it still doesn’t cut it when looking for an ultra realistic electric fireplace experience, that’s indistinguishable from the real thing.


Do any
electric fireplaces look real?

There are electric fireplaces out there that use a completely different technology developed just a few years ago, that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. It’s amazing how far electric fireplaces have come in the last half decade, and the groundbreaking advances in this industry are truly awe inspiring, compared to the half baked efforts that have been the normal up until now. There have been a lot of poor quality electric fireplaces sold by the big box retailers, that have made it into too many homes, but boutique manufacturers have stepped up their game to create a new breed of electric fireplace, that look nearly indistinguishable from the real thing, and create the ambiance of a real fire. 


How do
electric fireplaces look real?

The key to generating realistic flames in an electric fireplace is to move away from the fake mechanical fire effects, and transcend into the realm of holographically driven electric fireplaces, that are capable of producing 3d flames, that are so vivid and so lifelike, they can almost be mistaken for an actual wood burning or gas fireplace. It’s an experience that has to be seen first hand, to understand just how good a freestanding modern electric fireplace mantel can look, in a living room. For a true to life experience, a realistic modern electric fireplace will transform any space instantly, and become the focal point of conversation, and a mecca for relaxation. 


The secret to making an
electric fireplace look real.

The secret to producing such a life-like, and authentic flame effect is starting with a real video of actual fire, from a real fireplace, and holographically projecting that real fire onto an actual log set that sits inside of a firebox, that makes it look like that log is actually burning. Because these types of holographic fireplaces use actual video of real fire, the flames’ effects look very realistic, because they are in fact real, to a large degree. It’s time to sideline outdated mechanical technology, including water vapor mist systems, and embrace the future of electric fireplaces that use holograms instead of motors and mayhem to create a realistic flame, that deserves to be the focal point of your home and worth the price of admission. 


Holographic fireplace technology is the game changer for realism!

With holographic fireplaces you get all of those subtle details of real, fire like wispy smoke and burning embers, that fool the mind into believing that you are looking at a real fire. Holographic electric fireplaces sample actual fireplace sounds, in addition to flames, and play back the log crackling sounds, along with an authentic fire appearance, for a true to life fire experience, that’s almost indistinguishable from a propane gas or wood burning fireplace. 


MagikFlame has developed an
electric fireplace that looks photo realistic.

Technology has come a long way when building electric fireplaces, and the new generation with holographic technology, like those by MagikFlame, fill the void for enthusiasts, looking for a realistic electric fireplace, that mimics the look of a wood-burning fireplace, but without the hassle, and drawbacks, of that traditional fireplace. The MagikFlame HoloFlame truly has to be seen to be believed. You can view videos of the fireplace running on their web site, and YouTube. It’s a sight to behold. But be the judge for yourself and let us know your thoughts.


Does an
electric fireplace have real flames?

No, electric fireplaces do not have real flames. The best of the bunch using holographic technology however, look almost as realistic as actual flames, without actually setting something on fire. By utilizing a safe and efficient holographic technology, modern electric fireplaces do look just like the real thing, without an actual ember bed of wood, and coals burning. 


Can an
electric fireplace produce heat?

Most electric fireplaces do contain a heater, but some do not. You will have to check the specific model you are considering. If the unit does have a heater it will be either fan forced technology, using a heating element in the form of a coil, with a blower, or a newer infrared quartz based technology, similar to how the sun heats, using UV light, which is more capable of warming a large living space. Electric fireplaces do not require venting like wood-burning fireboxes. The heat output capacity is measured in a unit called BTU, and the higher the number, the more square feet it can warm. Almost all units with a heater also have a thermostat for control of the heat settings, so you can really dial in your ideal temperature on chilly nights. 


Are there
buying guides for choosing the best electric fireplace?

There are a lot of electric firebox choices out there, and they come in many forms. Electric fireplaces can take the shape of a TV stand, wall mount electric fireplace, linear electric fireplaces and free standing stoves to name a few. Some of the big names in electric fireplaces are Dimplex, Classicflame, Duraflame, Touchstone, Amantii and MagikFlame. Most of these can be purchased from a retailer, or Amazon, as well as big box stores, but some like MagikFlame sell direct only. But which is the best electric, and why? We’ve answered that question in detail with our comprehensive buying guide, but you can cut right to the chase and find out our pick for the best electric fireplace below.  


What are the
most realistic electric fireplaces?

In today’s day and age there is no reason to settle for anything less than photo realistic flames, and the HoloFlame by MagikFlame is a glimpse into the future of what an electric fireplace insert should look like in 2020. It’s the only game in town if realistic flames are what you desire. The flames may not be real in the classical sense, but they are so close, the mind is fooled into believing that the fire is real, and therefore the zen like experience of relaxing by the fire comes to life in your living room, without the hassle of a traditional wood-burning fireplace with this innovative flame technology. Yes! An electric fireplace can look real.

Browse Electric Fireplaces That Look Real

MagikFlame is NOT affiliated with Dimplex, ClassicFlame, Amantii, or Touchstone