Home Heating Heroes
Your Guide to Home Heating and Cooling Systems
Home Heating Heroes
Your Guide to Home Heating and Cooling Systems
A fireplace is warm and reassuring. It’s an excellent place for the family to gather at night and reminds you of a simpler time. Nothing beats a real wood-fire when it comes to ambiance. Until, of course, you’re looking lovingly into your partner’s eyes and someone has to get up and stoke the fire.
Electric fireplaces are a little like cheating, but does that matter? You get to snuggle, enjoy a more reliable heating effect, and don’t have a messy clean-up afterward. What’s more, if you’re living in a city, there’s no smoke to get you into trouble or to damage your health.
It’s no wonder that these fireplaces have become so popular. Naturally, different models have flooded the market. It can be a little overwhelming to choose from all those models, so I’ll give you a cheat sheet.
In this post, I’ll lay out my choice for the best electric fireplace overall. Then I’ll review nine other options for you to compare.
To compare and contrast the performance capabilities of different furnace filters, we’ve included all five MERV classes in our review. Their corresponding MRP values for different MERV ratings are provided below.
With this fireplace, people will have to look twice to see it’s not real. You get all the ambiance of a real fire, with none of the messy clean-up. All you have to do to add “logs” to this fire is to press the right button on the remote.
I like the sleek look and easy installation. The lightweight nature of this fireplace makes it easy to carry and hang.
Now you probably want to know:
Why is this model the top option?
I chose this as the best option because of the realistic effect. It’s not a traditional fireplace with a mantle – it looks cleaner and more polished. It’s also reasonably priced.
I like the fact that you can simply plug this fireplace into a regular outlet. Use it in the living room or put in the bedroom for date night. I also appreciate that this fireplace can replace your standard heating.
It has something of a rustic traditional look to it. It’s ideal for that vacation cabin on the lake but will fit in with most décor.
I like the design of this model. The glass embers add an extra touch of pizazz. I’d recommend recessing this fireplace to create the most realistic effect.
Performance-wise, it’s more of a showpiece than anything else. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re in a small room, this should give you plenty of warmth.
This design, however, calls for an expansive space. It’ll look outstanding fitted into a central pillar in a large living room.
My one complaint is that it’s priced a fair bit higher than the ones that I’ve reviewed above. For the price, I’d expect better heating power. Still, if you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing piece, this one might fit the bill.
It’s a pity about the pricing. If the pricing were lower, I would have given the Dimple BLF50 top honors.
This model is all about nostalgia for me. I remember seeing this kind of no-frills fireplace growing up. Back then, they were wood-fired and primarily used to heat rooms. So, when I saw this model, I immediately thought back to when I was a child.
It fits neatly into an existing fireplace hole. This model’s design is for recess installation rather than wall-mounting. The Best Choice Products VD-51075WH is a smaller model. Despite this, it puts out a fair amount of heat.
You might be wondering:
What does CSA-certified mean?
This certification means that this model complies with the standards set out by the Canadian Standards Association.
Overall, the only real problem that I have with this unit is that you have to set it into the wall. That’s fine if you have the space open already. It would be nice to have the option to wall-mount it as well.
This model is the closest to a traditional wooden fireplace. The wood finish is well done. Unless you scrutinize the fireplace closely, you’ll think that the frame is real wood. Choose the color that matches your décor best. All the color options, except the white, are rich and warm.
The flame display also looks reasonably realistic. This system uses infrared technology to heat the room. This technology doesn’t dry out the air as much.
The coup-de-gras, for me, though, is that the Pleasant Hearth Fireplace has wheels. That makes it easy to roll to wherever you like. Move it from the den to the bedroom quickly. Or easily move it into storage when it’s not in use.
Turn the lights off and switch on this fireplace. It’s easy to imagine you’ve been transported back at least 100 years. This model looks like a cast-iron stove from way back when. Duraflame has gone out of their way to ensure that. They’ve even hidden the controls from sight when the door is closed.
Now, I’m not one to nit-pick, but I like to give a balanced view of the product I’m reviewing. At this point, though, I’m a little stumped. I don’t see anything that I don’t like. It’s priced right, looks great, and works well.
I’m not overly keen on the other colors in the range. Who knows, though, maybe you’ll love them.
I don’t know who first thought of creating this type of console, but they’re a genius. This entertainment unit works exceptionally well in smaller living spaces. You get extra storage and more surface space. I can’t say that anyone will mistake this for a real fire, but who cares?
Be warned; it’s quite heavy. You’ll need someone to help you move it into place. Assembling it is simple enough if you’re handy with a screwdriver. Set aside an afternoon for this.
The flame effect is nice, but this unit is more about convenience.
I do wish that there were more settings and a remote. You can’t switch on the flames and heat, just the heat, or only the “fire.” That’s about it.
If you love an elegant, traditional finish, you’ll enjoy the Real Flame. The mantel has plenty of space for you to hang up the family’s Christmas stockings.
What I like about the Real Flame is that’s it’s been well-designed and made. Sometimes a faux white wood veneer looks cheap. That’s not the case here – they’ve used solid wood. It’s a simple design and will fit in with most décor.
The frame and mantel are not as broad as they would traditionally be. The more streamlined effect of this model means that it’ll do nicely in a smaller space too.
It provides a nice amount of heat for its size. I do like the range of settings and the effect of the flame.
Assembly is relatively simple, even if you’re not a DIY fan. Just be aware that it’ll come in two boxes.
The E-Flame has a little too much detailing for my liking. That said, it’s undeniably attractive. It looks far more expensive than it is. It’s been well-designed and finished – if it didn’t have the electrical unit at the bottom, you’d think it was antique.
It does have excellent safety features, and it is easy to move around your home. The top stays cool, so this model can double as a surface to keep things on.
Sounds great, right. So, you probably want to know:
Why did it score so low on the list?
I’ve got to admit, the gadget-freak in me was salivating when I saw these features. The more practical side of me balked at the price tag. It’s not an impulse purchase.
That said, none of the other models I reviewed had the sound of fire crackling in the background. The build quality of the mantel and frame was also streets ahead of anything else on this list.
They’ve based the holographic images on real fires. They look hyper-realistic when viewed from the right distance. The company suggests viewing the fireplace from at least four feet away.
It’s not ideal for small spaces, as a result. If you’re standing beside the fire, you can see it’s an illusion.
There’s no question that the company has done its homework. The average electric fireplace gives you a choice of five flame settings. With this model, you have 26.
This decision was a close call. There are some great products on this list. In the end, I chose the Touchstone 80001 as the winner. It’s reliable, well-designed, and has all the features that you need. It could be better at heating a room, but this is more about the fireplace effect.
You certainly can’t beat it for the price that you’re paying. It outperforms far more expensive models. The Touchstone gets my vote for the best overall product and best value for money.
What should you look for when buying an electric fireplace? Let’s go over the primary considerations.
Heating Capacity and Size
Start by considering the size of the room you’ll be using the fireplace in most. The bigger the room, the larger the fireplace. Also, think about how much heat you want the “fire” to give off.
It’s lovely sitting in the glow of a warm fire. In reality, though, if you have central heating, the heat from a fireplace may be excessive. Decide upfront – is this to replace my regular heating, or as a supplement to it?
Style and Portability
As with any item you’re bringing into your home, you’ll want to consider how it fits with your décor. Do you want something more traditional and ornate, or something modern and sleek? Do you want a model that is easy to move or something that’s fixed in place?
I’m a big fan of useful features. With an electric fireplace, you don’t need that many. Look for models that have:
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