It’s a question we hear every day in our Toronto-area showroom: ‘Which electric fireplace has the most realistic flames?’ Or, ‘How do I make an electric fireplace look real?’ Realism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. The Dimplex Ignite series (shown above) is our best-selling group, because many customers believe that it has the most realistic flames. Other clients prefer the Napoleon Alluravision series or the Amantii Symmetry series for most realistic flames. While we each have our own opinions on which flames look more realistic, we know from experience that we can set up two version of the same model so differently that customers think they are actually different models. There are several things you can do to get the most realistic flames in any electric fireplace.

How to get the most realistic flames in any electric fireplace by adjusting flame colours

Many manufacturers allow us to change the colour of the flames from yellow and orange to blue or violet. While the coloured flames are a novelty, they do not enhance the realism. Real fire ranges from yellow to orange, depending on the source of the flames. For the most realistic flames in any electric fireplace, be sure to use the ‘yellow’ setting, with a bit of ‘orange’ added in. Too much red in the flames will make them look fake, as will blue or violet flames.

Electric Fireplace Design Idea Pictures
CUSTOM FIREPLACE WALL with Amantii Symmetry 60-inch fireplace. Flames set to orange with no ambient lighting. (Designed and built by Stylish Fireplaces)

How to get the most realistic flames in any electric fireplace by adjusting ember bed lighting

While red and blue in the flames do not enhance realism, both are good colours for the ember bed, below the flames. Adding blue light to the ember bed mimics gas flames, where the hottest part of the flame is blue. Adding red light to the ember bed mimics glowing coals, as in a wood or coal fire.

How to get the most realistic flames in any electric fireplace by adjusting the ember bed materials

The choice of ember bed materials can combine with the flames to add or detract from the realism of the effect. Electric fireplaces generally come with either clear crystals or traditional logs. Traditional logs that glow from within will add to the realism of a more traditional fireplace. Clear crystals are ideal if you want the ability to clearly see the ember bed colours. Replacing crystals with stones and/or driftwood will add a natural element, but these items will block some of the ember bed lighting. However, red ember bed lighting will give these elements the appearance of glowing as if they are hot. This effect is even more dramatic if the stones are black, like coals.

Napoleon NEFL100CHD Alluravision 100-inch
Napoleon Alluravision NEFL100CHD with flames set to orange & yellow, with driftwood package, and no canopy or ember lighting

How to get the most realistic flames in any electric fireplace by adjusting overhead accent lights

Some electric fireplaces come with canopy, or overhead, accent lighting. These LED lights can be very bright, and may wash out the flames below. Turning the overhead lighting off, or choosing a warmer colour, will help the flame to be more visible and vibrant.

Amantii Sym-88-B Symmetry 88-inch fireplace
Amantii Sym-88-B with flames set to violet & blue, with crystal ember bed and ambient lights turned on.

How to get the most realistic flames in any electric fireplace by adjusting room lighting

Just as the canopy accent lights can wash out the flames, bright room lighting can also overpower electric fireplace flames. Bright light from windows or from room lighting can cause reflections and glare on the fireplace glass, obscuring the flames. For the most realistic flames, use window shades to cut the glare from windows, and put overhead lights on dimmers. You can also keep lighting lower around the fireplace itself.

How to get the most realistic flames in any electric fireplace by adjusting flame speed

Some electric fireplaces have a speed adjustment on the flames. Whether the flames should be fast or slow is a matter of opinion, but keep in mind that this may be something that can be adjusted on your electric fireplace.

For more tips, see our post on How make an Electric Fireplace look Real and our video, below.

Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors specializes in electric fireplaces & custom designs. Their Toronto-area showroom features over 50 electric units, with unique wall-coverings and fireplace accessories. Their expert staff includes NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, so they can advise you on any fireplace project. They carry all major brands of electric fireplaces: Amantii, Dimplex, Dynasty, Modern Flames, Napoleon, Remii, and Sierra Flame

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