Electric fireplace with a stone mantel and cabin log shelf.

Electric Fireplaces vs. Wood Fireplaces and Gas Fireplaces

6 min read
With so many fireplace options, it can be intimidating. When it comes down to making a final decision, which do you choose?

There are a lot of fireplace options to choose from and it can be intimidating when you are trying to make a decision. From solid-fuel burning fireplaces, such as wood and pellet fireplaces, to modern electric fireplaces or gas alternatives, such as propane or natural gas, there are a lot of different types. The problem is, when it comes down to making a final decision, which do you choose?

We are here to help!

Wood Burning Fireplaces

There are few things more welcoming then the sound and smell of a real wood fireplace. We don’t deny that. The drawback is that they produce many harmful emissions and require a lot of care and maintenance to ensure you, and your home, are safe.

Benefits:
  • The ambiance of a warm crackling fire on a cold night
  • Great source of light and heat during a power outage
  • You can cook on the open flame
Things to Consider:
  • Emissions - They are out of use for a substantial amount of the year (who wants to sit n front of a warm fire in the summer)
  • You need to have access to wood, which means storing a lot of extra bulk
  • They require a lot of maintenance – cleaning the hearth, carrying wood, stoking the fire, cleaning the chimney
  • You have to always make sure it is out when you are done
  • It can be inefficient with a substantial amount of heat going out of the chimney with the smoke, and even some of your indoor air
  • Time consuming and costly to install into an existing home
  • Home insurance premiums are generally higher

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are an alternative to wood burning fireplaces and they are easier to install, whether it is your first fireplace or you are repurposing your old fireplace with an insert. Benefits:
  • Easy to use – just flick a switch
  • Great source of instant heat
  • Beautiful flame effects
  • Natural gas is available in most areas of the country and is fairly reasonable in terms of price
Things to Consider:
  • Lack ambiance – there is no wood burning smell
  • Can get costly, quickly, if you need to install a gas line and run venting
  • Installation requirements can limit where you install it – they need a ventilation system
  • They produce carbon monoxide
  • Glass is very hot to the touch
  • They can’t be used during the summer, unless you like it very very warm

Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces don’t actually create fire, just the illusion of it but, with so many advancements it can be difficult to tell the difference nowadays. For example, the Opti-myst uses water vapor and light to simulate smoke and flames.

Well they don’t create actual fire it is important to note that they do create heat. Using a fan forced heater, an electric fireplace can provide you with warmth.

Wood mantel fireplace in a cozy, warm-toned living room

Benefits:

  • Energy efficient and environmentally friendly – you are not losing any heat up a chimney, flue or vent
  • Installation is very easy, especially with plug in units, and they can be placed virtually anywhere
  • There are multiple models to suit any space
  • They emit zero toxins or fine particulates, which are dangerous to your loved ones
  • They are safe to the touch – you don’t have to worry about children and pets burning themselves
  • You can get electric fireplaces that crackle just like the real thing
  • The heat and flame work separately from one another, on many models. That means you can enjoy the ambiance of the flame year round or operate the heat without producing flames
  • They can be portable, which means you don’t have to commit to a location and can move it around from wall to wall, room to room, or home to home

Things to consider:

  • It doesn’t produce a real fire
  • They won’t work during a power outage, unless you have a back-up power source

As you can see, it is clear to see that each type of fireplace has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, the type of fireplace you choose is up to you and depends entirely on your needs and preferences.

The important thing to remember is that you should always do your research before making your final decision.