Dimplex Revillusion vs. MagikFlame HoloFlame:
Which fireplace has the most realistic flames?
Dimplex vs MagikFlame Fireplaces. Which has the more realistic flame? When it comes to owning an electric fireplace many look for an experience that feels like sitting in front of a traditional wood-burning fireplace. After all, it’s the beauty of the flames, the crackling log sounds, and maybe a little bit of warmth from the heater, that makes the fire feel real. If the flame doesn’t appear to be realistic, perhaps like a light show it doesn’t hit the right notes to sooth. With a fake-looking fireplace the therapeutic benefits disappear. It’s only the most realistic electric fireplaces that elevate the mood. Let’s take a look at the two best out there, how they produce their flames, and which ones look the most realistic. Flame technology will be under the microscope in this discussion.
FACT: Most electric fireplace manufacturers do not innovate. This means many of them build their fireplaces using close to the exact same technology, year after year. Many don’t raise the bar on engineering for better flames, and still, many fail to differentiate their fireplaces from one another. Unfortunately, this is too common in the electric fireplace industry in the name of mass production and profit. However, there are two companies that do pave the way for innovation when it comes to electric fireplaces, and we are thankful for that.
Two companies that innovate are Dimplex, based out of Dublin, Ireland, which manufactures in China, and MagikFlame, an American company based in Nashville, Tennessee, manufacturing an American made product. For realistic flames there are two fireplaces to take a look at. That’s the Dimplex Revillusion versus the MagikFlame HoloFlame electric fireplace . Both make realistic flames, with one of them being the clear winner for realism and ambiance. We will not discuss the Opti-Myst as that has been discussed in our most electric buying guide article. Let’s dive right in, compare the two, and decide which one is right for you.
As far as electric fireplaces go, the Dimplex Revillusion is no doubt one of the most popular and one of the best mid-range electric fireplaces. This fireplace has more realistic flames than many electric fireplaces on the market, which makes this one, in particular, a good example to look at and compare to. This electric fireplace has a few things that set it apart from other electric fireplaces you can buy here. We’ll discuss these innovations and how it compares to the MagikFlame HoloFlame fireplace, which uses a completely different technology. Both faux fireplaces can convert an existing fireplace to a safe and efficient electric and do not require venting.
Somewhat realistic flames (flames appear within logs) (4 sec. loop/no variation)
This electric fireplace has considerably more realistic flames than many on the market. This is a mechanical-based fireplace with LED flame technology. It uses a motor and a series of lights that reflect to produce decent-looking simulated flames, which appear to come from the middle of the logs. Imagine a set of light bulbs that are housed within an enclosure that reflect off of a mirror-like tab and through a flame silhouette to create a flame-like pattern. This is an overly broad description of how this type of fireplace works, but it draws a picture. How a fireplace creates its flame effects are very important when it comes to realism. This mechanical technology is inexpensive to manufacture, which is great for production and profitability, but it lacks significantly in the realism of the fire. However, Dimplex does something really clever here, and it adds to the realism of the flame.
What makes this fireplace different from others is a feature that makes the flickering flames appear to come from the middle of the logs and not simply behind it, like so many others. This fireplace works by using a semi-clear, mirror-like surface that reflects the front set of logs onto a panel that reflects the rear set of logs. The flame then appears to burn between the logs thanks to the clever position of a screen/mirror that receives the flames and adds 3D depth to the log set.
The flames appear to burn between the logs and not simply behind them. This is pretty cool, and we like where Dimplex was going with this. They were thinking outside of the box, and we love that. But it’s pretty clear that the second set of logs is a reflection of the first, which deters from the overall flame aesthetic. It looks less realistic. The reflected logs don’t look like they are really there, and the fire effect looks decent, but lacks the appearance of a real fire. And there is also no sound.
Relatively low flame height (not as bright as videos/no smoke or embers)
The flames on the Dimplex Revillusion electric fireplace do not appear very high off the back of the logs. This is because of how the lighting mechanism works on this fireplace. A small sheet metal enclosure surrounds the lights with a spindle and some reflectors that reflect the light and project it through a flame silhouette and onto the back surface of the fireplace. However, because of the angle of the lights to the mechanism, the flames only appear to rise so much over the back of the log set, leaving quite a bit of empty space. Since the flames do not burn much above the tops of the logs, the flames appear relatively low and do not fill the viewing area as much as we would like.
Mirage flame panel (frosted acrylic panel; no reflections) (complaint/ugly)
All mechanical fireplaces need a plane to project their flame effects onto, and Dimplex does this with a frosted acrylic panel, which they call “better than a mirror” because it shows only the flames and no reflections. The surface and the coating are referred to as their Mirage Flame Panel. It’s a good idea, but it has a significant drawback. The panel itself is highly visible. Although Dimplex makes an effort to make this panel not apparent to the viewer, the problem is that it really is, and that detracts from the flame effect. Imagine a large piece of plastic rising up from behind the ember bed with a reflection on it in the standalone log version. It just doesn’t look real and natural because a real fireplace would not have anything like this. It’s just not invisible, and in our opinion, it hurts the experience.
Secondary set of logs (flames between logs) (mirror)
The intent of this electric fireplace is for the flame effects to look like they’re coming from in the middle of the log set. With the insert version of this electric fireplace Dimplex puts a mirror-like surface behind the log set, which then reflects the back of the logs, and therefore looks like there are more logs in the firebox than there actually are. The Mirage panel is between the reflection and the actual log set so that the fire effect appears to come from between the logs. Of course the secondary log set being the reflected one doesn’t look quite right. Sort of like a ghost of the image. It’s not fully there…
On the standalone log set, the Mirage panel extends up behind the log set in the shape of an oval or egg shape. This is the surface that the flames are projected onto. There actually is a physical set of front and rear logs in the standalone log version with a panel in between them. With this design, it makes it look like the flames are rising from between the logs and not simply behind them. This does look a lot better than the reflected version, but the Mirage panel is extremely visible and significantly takes away from the realism of the Revillusion.
Can swap out logs
A nice feature about this version of the electric fireplace insert, is that the ember bed logs can be swapped out from one type to another. This way, the viewer has the ability to customize the look of the burning fuel ember bed. Swapping out the logs for the fuel bed is a nice feature that we like about this fireplace. More electric fireplaces should have the ability to customize the fuel source for individual tastes, and we give it up to Dimplex for this great versatility feature.
Mechanical control panel
The Dimplex Revillusion uses a mechanical control panel located in the front of the fireplace for its control center. These controls serve the basic functions like powering on and powering off, heat temperature adjustment, flame intensity settings, and a night light function. It’s a decent system, but it does not illuminate at night, which might make it hard to see in dim rooms. Nevertheless, we have found the control panel to be otherwise intuitive and easy to use for manual operation when standing within arms reach of the fireplace. This is a standard type of control interface for electric fireplaces common amongst almost all brands. It’s simple, efficient and works, but there’s nothing innovative about it. It gets the job done reliably, but it feels more like operating an appliance.
Remote control (not illuminated)
In addition to the built-in mechanical control panel, the Dimplex Revillusion electric fireplace does include a standard infrared remote control. A remote control is ideally suited for operating the fireplace when directly in front of it, but it is somewhat finicky, as it relies on line of sight to operate. Infrared technology has been around for 50 years, and it’s commonly found commonly in low-to-mid end appliances. Modern fireplaces, however, use Bluetooth instead. This technology has a much larger range, operates through walls and over distances, and even allows control over the fireplace from another room. With infrared technology, the user needs to be directly in front of the fireplace in order for it to work. This is perfectly acceptable, just not high-tech and a little old school. That may be ok for some. But keep in mind that the remote control is not backlit, so it may make it more difficult to use in dimly lit rooms. It’s certainly a viable choice for remote control fireplace, but it is not the best in 2020 and is perhaps very outdated.
Herringbone brick complaints
The standalone insert version of the Revillusion features a herringbone brick pattern located behind the log set. Like the logs, the brick pattern is reflected, making it appear as if the insert is deeper than it really is. However, many customers have reported that they do not like the look of the herringbone brick pattern. Dimplex has responded by making an update to their fireplace that replaces the bricks with a concrete industrial background. It does appear to look better than the herringbone brick pattern, and we like it better. However, if you are a traditionalist, you may enjoy the classic herringbone brick pattern typically found in real fireplaces.
New concrete background (more industrial)
Being as the brick pattern was distracting from the look of the fireplace, a new concrete background has been offered as an alternative. We have to say that this one looks a lot better, and it would be our choice between the two options. We like that Dimplex keeps its pulse on public opinion and makes changes, like updating the material behind the logs to look more like a real fireplace. Great job here!
Anti-glare front glass
Dimplex has integrated an anti-glare piece of glass into this fireplace to minimize room reflections. Due to this optical coating, objects in the room, such as furniture and lights, are not obviously reflected as they would be without a non-reflective coating. Bright sheens from light are not reflected in the glass either, which helps to hide the panel. This is pretty common amongst electric fireplaces, and is a nice feature for this fireplace. It’s a worthy addition as reflections can deter from the effect.
Mood lighting (best Of – 3 Colors)
The Dimplex Revillusion has mood lighting built-in. This means that lights that illuminate the logs and your room can be turned on, off, or cycled between three different colors. It’s a nice feature to have your fireplace act as a night light to illuminate a dim room. It can also be used as mood lighting to set a glow to your surroundings. It can also be turned off if you prefer just the glow of the logs with the fire effect. It’s a nice feature, also common, but well-appreciated nonetheless.
Log ember bed lights (red/blue)
Another nice feature with the Revillusion is the ability to change the log ember bed lighting color between red and blue. Red might simulate a wood burning fire, while blue may simulate a gas burning fire. Being able to change the ember bed color from red to blue increases the variations to produce a couple of different looks. However, the primary flame effect stays the same color and pattern regardless of the color of the ember bed color selected. The primary flames are monochromatic in color tone and do look nice when paired with red or blue fuel bed lights. However, an actual gas fireplace would have a blue base at the bottom of the flames, or perhaps a red base on a hotter burning flame, but the Revillusion is always the same flame color, with no variation at the base of the flames. The flames on this fireplace are the same color regardless of what type of flames are being simulated.
Heater 1,000 sq./ft. (high/medium/low settings)
The Dimplex Revillusion electric fireplace has a perfectly suitable heater, capable of warming 1,000 square feet when used in combination with the home’s central heating system. The heat settings can be adjusted with high, medium, and low settings. It lacks the precise control of a radial dial but is adequate for getting the heat zone close to where you want it. It’s a less accurate control system than other electric fireplaces, but it’s perfectly adequate for most. This unit makes for a great space heater with a sufficient flame for room ambiance.
Low carbon footprint (no emissions and 100% efficient)
Like any electric fireplace, the Dimplex Revillusion insert and standalone log set does have a very small carbon footprint when compared to gas and wood burning fireplaces. Because no actual smoke is generated, or fuel consumed, there are no pollutants in the air. This is an advantage of electric fireplaces vs. combustion fireplaces and is a huge benefit to owning one.
Pricier than most other fireplace inserts (approx. $1650)
One drawback of the Dimplex Revillusion electric fireplace insert is that it does cost considerably more than other electric fireplace inserts on the market. This is due to the technology used that simulates a second set of logs, and it looks like the flame is coming from in between the logs rather than just behind them. We’re not sure that the price increase is justified for a mirror, but we believe that this fireplace’s flame effect looks better than most. However, the next one on the list, by MagikFlame, uses a entirely different technology for the flames and does look a lot better. Though it does come at a higher price point and is geared more toward enthusiasts, who are serious about the realism of their fireplace, and willing to pay for the best.
MagikFlame HoloFlame Electric Fireplace Insert
Lifelike photo-realistic flames (with burning smoke + embers simulation)
If the realism of the fire effect is a consideration, then the hands-down winner in this comparison is the MagikFlame HoloFlame. This is the most realistic electric fireplace we’ve seen by a considerable margin. Because this fireplace uses actual flame footage sampled from real fireplaces, it looks very realistic. The MagikFlame holographically projects that video onto a physical log set for a very convincing fire effect that looks just like a real flame. The logs appear to burn with authentic-looking flames, and this illusion is very effective and brilliant to look at.
The flames look real because, essentially they are real. With this insert, one can view the subtle details of the way the flames move in real life, which you won’t see in a mechanical version of a fireplace like the Dimplex Revillusion, which uses LED lights internally. With the MagikFlame, the flame colors are multicolored, lifelike, and not a monochromatic color common in other electric fireplaces. Because the MagikFlame is using video of fire and does not rely on a mechanical motor and lights, the flames appear to move much more randomly and organically, making for a much more realistic fireplace experience.
The MagikFlame white electric fireplace can further simulate details in the burning fire, like smoke rolling up off of the logs — this is huge! Also present in the MagikFlame is burning embers that are rising and cooling as they waft up past the logs. Subtle details like this are abundant in the MagikFlame HoloFlame electric fireplace. The fire effect is truly mesmerizing and stress-relieving, just like a good electric fireplace should be. We’re very impressed with the look of the flames in this fireplace as it’s darn close to the real thing. It’s the best we’ve seen by a considerable margin.
Flames fill the viewing window (large, unrestricted flames)
The MagikFlame does a fantastic job of filling its viewable area with flames that appear to use a good amount of the vertical space available. With other mechanical type fireplaces, lights are reflected onto a screen from behind the log set, and due to the angle and position of the lights, the projection can only go so far. Generally, that means the flames stay pretty low to the log set, and therefore quite a bit of the viewing window is clear of flames. The viewer is looking at a lot of background in the Revillusion and much less so in the MagikFlame HoloFlame due to technology differences.
Because the MagikFlame is using a holographic projection technology, the flames are able to fill the entire viewable area. The really cool thing about this unit is that the flames appear to come from in front of the logs, as well as in the middle, and even on top of the logs, making them appear to be fully engulfed. The 3D flames with the holographic projection technology not only provides a large and more clear viewable area for the fire, but the detail is fantastic. It has to be seen to be believed. You can watch some videos of the fireplace with a mantel in action here.
Holographic glass used is much less visible than mirage glass
The technology on the MagikFlame fireplace is again completely different and a big factor here. The MagikFlame removed the need for the Mirage plastic that is found on the Revillusion, and replaced it with high quality holographic glass. This glass is hardly visible and cannot easily be seen from most viewing angles. The flames appear to be very sharp and very clear, with a tremendous amount of fire detail. There is not much about this fireplace that would give it away from the real thing, other than some very subtle reflections in the glass, when viewing it from extreme angles like standing above of it looking down. We believe the holographic glass disappears more than the Mirage plastic and therefore does not take away from the realism of the fireplace in the same way. There is no obvious projecting plane to get in the way of a good-looking fire.
Flames appear to come from under, in front of, and on top of the logs
Something stunning about the holographic technology in the MagikFlame is the ability to create a flame effect that appears actually to engulf the surrounding log set fuel bed. The flames are not just coming from the middle of the logs or behind the logs like in other fireplaces, but actually fully engulfing the logs with real-looking flames all the way around. The logs are wrapped in fire. Some flames appear to be coming from under the logs, or in front of the logs, or on top of the logs, and not just behind the logs. This type of 3D depth effect is very unique with this type of technology and does look absolutely fantastic. MagikFlame nails it.
Log crackling sounds for an audible experience
Beautiful flames are nothing without sound. A real fireplace experience is just not complete without hearing the logs crackling and popping as they burn. The MagikFlame features audio sampled from real burning fires to accurately reproduce crackling sounds which adds a lot to the effect.
Back-lit digital control panel (great for dimly lit rooms – Modern Technology)
Rather than using a mechanical panel like the Dimplex Revolution, the HoloFlame by MagikFlame uses a built-in, backlit touchscreen. This is a touchscreen similar to what you might find in a high-end smartphone, like your iPhone. Because it’s self-illuminated, you can easily see it in a dimly lit room. Operating the fireplace with just the touch of your fingertip is an intuitive experience. Using detailed icons in full color with sound is so much nicer than pressing mechanical buttons with no tactile feedback. Using a touchscreen just seems like the modern way to make a premium fireplace, and MagikFlame has nailed the built-in controls. The touchscreen goes dark after you’re done using it and then it can barely be seen as it blends it with the black metal firebox surround.
Remote control is replaced with iPhone app with Bluetooth tech (long range)
A remote control might have been cool in the 1960s or the 1970s, but it’s the 2020s. That archaic technology is just not great anymore. Relying on an infrared line of sight with a traditional remote control means a very finicky control zone and limited range. Instead, the MagikFlame operates using a smartphone app installed on your iPhone and works with a much more powerful and reliable Bluetooth transmission. This means you can be in any room of your home to control your fireplace. This is a lot better than being required to stand directly in front of the fireplace.
Not to mention it’s much nicer to have your trusted iPhone in your hand than an archaic fireplace remote control. Have you noticed they are always just out of arm’s reach? A smartphone is illuminated, which makes it very easy to use in dimly-lit rooms, and an app is nice to have. You already have the iPhone in your hand most of the time anyway, so you might as well use it to control the fireplace in an intuitive way. Again, the volume, flame selection, heater, sleep timers, and the whole nine yards can be controlled right from the built-in app on your favorite mobile device. We love this control mechanism. More fireplaces should be Bluetooth compatible with an app in this day and age. The MagikFlame is a premium fireplace and delivers premium features and performance.
Black finish to make background disappear + holographic simulated bricks
There’s a key difference here between the surround of the Dimplex Revillusion and the MagikFlame HoloFlame fireplace. The Revillusion uses a simulated herringbone brick pattern on their insert to make it look like a traditional fireplace. However, the MagikFlame is built from a sheet metal enclosure and powder coated black. This makes a durable unit but also makes the fireplace surround completely disappear, which is great. It is nicer to just focus on the beautiful burning logs and the gorgeous fire without the background causing too much of a distraction. The MagikFlame does something really cool here. It projects holographic bricks onto the back panel, behind the logs. Because the bricks are holographically generated, it means that the light illuminating from the fire interacts with the bricks. This technology makes them appear to flicker alongside the flames. This is a nice little effect; it’s subtle but cool nonetheless.
Log ember bed simulated actual smoldering logs (orange/red/yellow illumination)
The fuel bed in the MagikFlame is a static color. It glows primarily orange, with some red tints. In some spots, you can see yellow. However, the fire effect will change at the base of the flame, to simulate gas-burning fires. These have a blue base, and propane-based fires have a purple or orange base, but the logs themselves remain consistent. A smoldering red color. It’s debatable which system looks better, but we prefer the detail of the color variance in the actual fire rather than just on the logs as with the Dimplex.
Built-in 5,200 BTU infrared quartz heater (heats up to 1,000 sq. ft.)
The MagikFlame has a built-in capable heater. The 2020 model ships with a 5,200 BTU fireplace infrared heater, which is capable of warming a room up to 1,000 square feet. The heat output of this unit is quite sufficient to take the chill out of a room. The MagikFlame uses a dial so that you can precisely control the room’s temperature. The Dimplex Revillusion is simply a high, medium, and low system. With the MagikFlame you can be a bit more precise about your temperature control with a built-in thermostat. The infrared quartz heater is a great technology for heating large rooms. To calculate the exact cost to run your electric fireplace, check out our utility bill calculator. You’ll find it’s very cost-effective to operate a MagikFlame. It costs practically nothing with the ambient flame effect without the heater and you can now see for yourself.
Green product AND Eco friendly (low power draw) & zone heating
Like other electric fireplaces, the MagikFlame is a green product and planet-friendly. It does not create any gas emissions, and therefore it is safe to use in your home. It’s much better for the environment. This fireplace costs little to operate, which makes it a fantastic choice for those concerned with using an eco-friendly device.
The MagikFlame is a premium electric fireplace with a price tag to prove it
Conclusion: Which is the best electric fireplace? The MagikFlame is clearly a much better fireplace than Dimplex Revillusion when it comes to realistic flames. However, it’s twice the price. So, you need to take into consideration what’s important for you. Do you want an extremely realistic flame complete with sound like in the MagikFlame? Or would you prefer a somewhat okay-looking flame with some drawbacks, like a reflected log set or a plastic reflecting panel?
If control is important, MagikFlame nails it with smartphone control on the iPhone. This is a lot better than the remote control on the Revillusion. The built-in touchscreen on the MagikFlame is a really nice touch for ease of use.
Both units have sufficient heaters and will warm a living room. The MagikFlame looks better at a higher price point, but the Revillusion does a pretty decent job at about half the price. However, the Dimplex electric fireplace has fewer flame variations and detail. Both fireplaces are green and good for the environment. The MagikFlame is the clear winner in terms of realism but the loser when it comes to the out-of-pocket expense. Have a look at the top-rated MagikFlame insert on their website or on Amazon. For other fireplace reviews, have a look at the MagikFlame “Learning Center” for fantastic free articles on electric fireplaces.
Some images were sourced from Dimplex.
MagikFlame is NOT affiliated with Dimplex.