One of the most important parts about having fireplaces in the home isn’t just the ability to warm, but also the ambiance. The relaxing feeling of sitting in a darkened room with only the dim glow of a welcoming fire present is hard to beat.
Of course, this means that normal fireplaces you use to burn wood will almost always be the best choice, right? Not exactly, and here is why. Electric fireplace technology has come such a long way over the last couple of decades. No longer are you limited to cheap, tacky boxes with spinning mechanical lights in a disappointing attempt to look like real fire. Now, electrical fireplace designs from top companies are on the cutting edge of technology. Using futuristic things like holograms and other simulation methods, today’s electrical fireplaces are not only competing with the real thing, but some would argue, surpassing it.
If you remain skeptical that electric fireplaces can compete with a wood or gas fireplace, then this post is exactly what you need to read. Below you will find out what the different types of fireplaces are, the drawbacks of ones that use wood and gas as a fuel source, and why choosing an electric one might be the best possible decision you will ever make for your home.
How Many Types of Traditional Fireplaces Are There?
There are many different styles of traditional fireplaces that can be found in a home. They are:
- Open hearth – Open hearth means the standard type of fireplace with an open firebox to build a fire in. These fireplaces will connect to a flue with a damper, all usually inside a chimney.
- Enclosed – Enclosed fireplaces are similar to open hearths but the entire front is enclosed. There are usually some glass doors that you can see the fire through and open to build your fire inside.
- Insert – These inserts are placed into the firebox of open hearth fireplaces in order to turn it into an enclosed system.
- Wood Stoves – Wood stoves aren’t your typical fireplace. Wood burns inside to keep the room warm when the entire stove radiates heat. The top is used for basic cooking. These stoves are similar to a pellet stove, which uses a slightly more environmentally friendly recycled fuel source.
- Fire Pits – For people that need an outdoor patio fireplace, fire pits are usually simple, circular areas that can sometimes be raised off of the ground. Wood is then burned inside. These pits can sometimes be set up as a gas system instead.
What Are All The Downsides That Come With Owning A Traditional Wood Burning Fireplace?
- House fires can become a serious risk because of two major things. First, the soot builds up inside the chimney. The soot is flammable and a large amount can easily catch on fire, burning your chimney from the inside and then spreading to more of your house. Also, the floating embers or loose fiery logs can also be a risk if any make their way out of fireplaces and into homes.
- A lot of work goes into simply having traditional fireplaces. Anytime you want your home warm you have to go get wood from your wood pile, split it, build your fire, and wait for it to burn for a while before it even begins to warm the house. Additionally, you have to clean the ash out of the bottom of the fireplace, move logs around from time to time, and add more wood when it is needed. On top of all this, you have to almost constantly watch the fire just to make sure everything is still safe.
- Both carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation can be a very serious risk when you use traditional fireplaces. Even if you manage not to breathe these harmful emissions in regularly, the smoke can still stain your walls and furniture, as well as leave your home with a smoky smell.
- Wood fireplaces actually aren’t that efficient at all. You need to have a lot of wood that it will go through quickly during cold winters.
How Many Types of Gas Fireplaces Are There?
Gas fireplaces aren’t as varied as wood ones, but there are still a few options people can choose from. Keep in mind that some use propane, while others need gas lines to run to it. Some might have a gas log for added immersion, but these often look fake in gas fireplaces. Here are the different types:
- Direct Vent – Direct vent fireplaces are ones where the gas that is used requires venting. This kind of gas fireplace usually has a somewhat normal color to the flame.
- Ventless – These are gas fireplaces that burn a gas that is a bit cleaner, therefore you don’t need ventilation. Usually, these types burn blue.
- Gas Fireplace Insert
Are There Downsides To Using Gas Fireplaces As Well? What Are They?
Sure, gas fireplaces are going to be a lot better for your home than wood fireplaces, but they still have their faults that are worth noting:
- The flames of gas fireplaces almost always look incredibly weak, like they are simply a row of Bunsen burners.
- The color of the flames, even when they are supposed to be normal wood fire colors, looks too vibrant and artificial. The ones with blue flames completely ruin the more traditional atmosphere.
- You still need to be aware of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning, even if the chances are lower with gas fireplaces.
How Many Separate Types of Electric Fireplaces Are There?
Because of the many situations and needs of homeowners, there are a wide variety of electric fireplaces to choose from. Here are the main types:
- Fireplace With Mantels – Many companies that make electric fireplaces, sell these units as the actual fireplaces themselves that produce heat and have visual effects, but ship the mantels disconnected. They are really easy to put together. The reason they do this is so you have the freedom to choose any kind of mantel that you prefer. Because these fireplaces are the most traditional looking, they make an excellent focal point in the main room of your house, and the mantels can be decorated in any number of ways. These can also come as corner units for people that might prefer that kind of layout in their homes.
- Wall Inserted Fireplaces – These units are exactly what they seem. They are fireplaces that you can mount onto your wall a foot or two off of the ground using sturdy mounting brackets that attach to wooden studs. You can also install these so that the fireplaces are recessed into the wall. They can be completely flush or only partially recessed. This depends on your preferences, the clearance of your wall, and the depth of the unit that you choose to go with.
- Insert Electrical Fireplace – These inserts get installed into the firebox opening on your existing fireplace to convert it from one that runs on wood, or sometimes even gas, to one that runs completely on electricity. These are the most ideal choices for people that want to make sure the fireplaces they already have in their homes aren’t going to waste. You can have the best of both worlds: a much more efficient electric fireplace, but with the beautiful chimney housing, mantle, and other architectural features your home already has.
- Fireplace TV Stand – For some people that don’t have a lot of space and want to combine two items into one, they can get one of these useful TV stands that double as fireplaces. There are many different kinds of these fireplaces, with lots of sizes and additional features to choose from. You can get some that have cabinets, some that have open shelves, some that have cubbies for your cable box and other electronic devices, and much more. While these are a decent choice if you are trying to save space, many people would probably benefit from simply installing one of the standard electric fireplaces listed above, like a mantle unit, wall mount unit, or insert, and then just mount your TV set on the wall above the electric fireplaces that they’ve installed.
- Freestanding Electric Fireplace – These units are almost identical to your standard portable space heaters that you can buy. The key difference: they are made to look like fireplaces and have some visual flame elements of some kind. These allow you to quickly move these to a room, plug the device in, and start warming the room. The really big problem is that these freestanding fireplaces, while they are great for portability and accessibility, suffer due to trying to do two things, but doing them badly. You need to keep these a certain size for them to be portable enough. This means you have limited space within the unit. Because the space is limited, you can only put so powerful of a heater and so advanced flame simulation technology. Trying to fit all of this into a small package actually makes them bad at both jobs. You would spend your money wiser getting one of the regular electric fireplaces for your home, and if needed, just get a standard space heater to store until it is needed.
Are There A Lot of Benefits To Using Electric Fireplaces?
- No flame means no house fire
- No smoke or carbon monoxide emissions
- No extra work to maintain, clean, or simply operate
- Warms the air very fast
- Easy installation
- Cheapest heating costs compared to other fireplaces
- Can hang a TV above it
- Operate with a remote or smartphone app
- Many styles and types to choose from
- Realistic 3D fire effects in top tier models
Should I Get One Of The Traditional Fireplaces?
Because of all of the downsides to wood fireplaces and gas fireplaces, and all of the upsides to electric fireplaces, it is clear that an electric one is the right way to go. Even if you already have one of the existing wood fireplaces, you can easily fix that problem by using an electric insert like we mentioned in one of the sections above.
If you know you want one of the electric fireplaces that are on the market, but you aren’t sure what kind, there are plenty of ways to look. You can simply google about different brands of fireplaces and see what other sides have to say. When searching for electric fireplaces you can add the term “brandfilter” that might give you better results. You can also try “viewedcoupon” to find results that are possibly on sale, or “postalcode” if you want to find something that delivers quicker to your area. For instance, if you lived in Houston or one of the outlying Houston areas, you can have electric fireplaces delivered more quickly from locations within Texas than if it was from a small town on the other side of the country.
A word of warning: even if pricing is important to you, don’t whip out your credit card and rush to buy one of the first electric fireplaces you see on sale. There is a good chance it will be a cheaper, generic brand and you will very much regret your purchase once it is in your home and you are using it. Rushing to get cheap electric fireplaces almost always ends in customer disappointment.
That all being said, the truth is most people just want to get one of the best electric fireplaces they possibly can for their living room. If that sounds like you, the next section is absolutely vital for you to read.
If I Get An Electric Fireplace, Which One Should I Get?
The leader in electric fireplaces is by far MagikFlame. These units have so much to offer that many customers can’t even imagine using anything else. Some of the features that come with these fantastic fireplaces are:
- Immersive 3D Fireplace Simulation – To simulate the look of a real flame, MagikFlame has wonderful holographic technology. A selection of 30 holographic 3D fire projections dance beautifully across a real log set at the push of a button, making MagikFlame easily one of the most realistic of modern fireplaces on the market. It is so convincing, it will be hard to realize you aren’t sitting in front of one of the traditional wood fireplaces with a real burning fire.
- Accompanying Audio Enhancement – The holographic magic of MagikFlame is further enhanced by the sounds of real crackling logs that come with it.
- Best Possible Electric Heater – It’s not enough that these fireplaces are great to look at, they need to be able to easily keep a warm room as well. With the 5,200 BTU heater inside of MagikFlame fireplaces, keeping your home warm isn’t an issue. The 5,200 BTU heater easily warms an area of 1,000 square feet.
- Smartphone App Control – A remote control is good, but even better is an intuitive and easy-to-use application to control your MagikFlame from your smartphone or a tablet. With it, you can change the thermostat temperature settings, turn your MagikFlame on or off from anywhere in your home, cycle through the different flame effects and sound effects, and more.
MagikFlame has plenty of other wonderful resources for you to explore if you are considering one as your new fireplace:
- The official MagikFlame best realistic fireplace 2023 buying guide answers many other questions that this post may not have covered. The buying guide will also help you pick the MagikFlame that is best for you.
- Finding out how MagikFlame is Built will help you understand just how great these fireplaces really are.
- Learning the exciting MagikFlame story gives you the full picture of how the flame technology came from a Hollywood background.
- Customers are happy to share their MagikFlame reviews so you can see what their experience is like.
- When you are ready, payment plans and financing information is also available.