When clients get in front of one of our fireplace experts, they often want to know ‘What are the best electric fireplace inserts?’ First, we need to clarify what we mean by ‘fireplace inserts’, then we need to understand what is important to each person. For some of our clients, a fireplace insert is any fireplace that fits into a wall. Technically, most electric fireplaces ‘insert’ into a wall or cabinet. However, for us, a fireplace insert is almost square in shape, and mimics a traditional fireplace. On that basis, here is our rundown on the best electric fireplace inserts.
The best electric fireplace inserts for retrofitting an old wood-burning fireplace
When converting a wood-burning fireplace to electric, the challenge is to find an insert that fits inside the opening, without being too large, or without leaving big gaps around the insert. If you are refacing your fireplace with new wallcovering materials, then you can resize the opening to fit your favourite insert. If you prefer to keep the old brick or stone, then you must work with the existing opening as-is. Because there is no such thing as a ‘standard’ wood-burning opening, it’s a challenge to find a perfect fit. For that reason, manufacturers make some electric fireplace inserts available with trim kits, to cover any gaps around the unit. These are the best of the inserts that offer trim kits:
Napoleon Cineview – NEFB26H, NEFB30H. Cineview offers a single trim kit for each size, which can be installed as either a 3-sided or 4-sided trim, depending on your installation. If the insert is sitting at floor level, use the 3-sided trim; if the insert is raised above floor level, use the 4-sided trim. The trim kits add 5-inches all the way around the insert.
Dimplex Revillusion — RBF24, RBF30. Dimplex offers 2 different trim kits for each of their smaller Revillusion inserts. For the RBF24, you can add a trim that covers 36 inches of width by 30 inches of height, or one that covers 40 inches of width by 30 inches of height. For the RBF30, you can add a trim that covers 38 inches of width by 29.625 inches of height, or one that covers 44 inches of width by 32.625 inches of height. For all trims, there is an optional 2-inch bottom piece that may be added if extra height is required.
Amantii Traditional — TRD-26, TRD-33. Amantii offers 3- or 4-piece trim kits for their smaller Traditional inserts. These trims add about 5 inches all the way around the insert. For the TRD-26, the 3-piece trim covers a space of 36 inches by 22.125 inches, and the 4-piece trim covers a space of 36 inches by 27.125 inches. For the TRD-33, the 3-piece trim covers 42 inches by 29 inches, and the 4-piece trim covers 42 inches by 35.375 inches.
The best electric fireplace inserts for new construction
If you are starting from scratch, the sky’s the limit as far as a fireplace insert. You will not be limited by the size of an existing opening and can just focus on getting the best-looking fireplace. Generally, we would go larger in this situation, to more closely mimic the size and scale of a real fireplace. Because you can build the surround to perfectly fit the insert, there is no need for trim. It’s also nice to have a choice of interior panels, glass face plates, and even logs. In this situation, these are the best electric fireplace inserts:
Dimplex BF series – BF33DXP, BF39DXP, BF45DXP. This is one of our oldest models, and still a favourite with clients who want a traditional insert that looks as good as gas. It comes in 3 sizes, and the curtain mesh is included with the insert. Glass is optional, although must customers choose to add it. Glass options included a fixed tamper-proof glass (good for commercial installations), a removable glass that’s etched to look like bifold doors, and swinging double doors for smaller units.
Dimplex Revillusion – RBF30, RBF36, RBF36P, RBF42. Revillusion comes in 4 full-size units, and the small 24-inch unit mentioned previously. When starting from scratch, we suggest that you start with 30 inches as a bare minimum. There are 2 glass options on the Revillusion series: a fixed glass or a set of double doors. The double doors add more detail and a bit of authenticity. You can also choose your interior panels on the Revillusion series, with authentic herringbone brick, or the more modern gray weathered concrete.
Amantii Traditional – TRD-38, TRD-44, TRD-48. Amantii is known for more contemporary styling in their fireplaces, including their traditional inserts. There are no fixed grates with logs here; they offer loose log kits and crushed fireglass ‘embers’ with their inserts. There are also lots of alternate media packages available for an upcharge. The TRD-48 is noteworthy for its impressive size and almost square shape. Amantii has also ensured that the flames cover the height properly.
The best electric fireplace inserts for heat output
All electric fireplace inserts connect to 120 volts and can produce 5000 BTUs of heat, enough to take the chill off an area up to 400 square feet. However, some inserts may also connect to 240 volts, and these units can produce more heat. These are called dual-voltage fireplaces, and are available as follows:
Dimplex Revillusion – RBF30, RBF36, RBF36P, RBF42
Dimplex Builder series – BF33DXP, BF39DXP, BF45DXP
Napoleon Ascent — NEFB33H, NEFB40H
Napoleon Element – NEFB36H-BS
Note: All electric fireplace inserts have heaters, and should be connected to a dedicated electrical line, with their own circuit breaker.
The best electric fireplace inserts for realistic flames
When it comes to flame quality, bigger is better, generally speaking. The more space there is inside the fireplace insert, the more room the manufacturer has to make a realistic grate and logs, and to add the bells and whistles required to make a great flame. This means that deeper inserts tend to have better flames than shallower ones. We get the best feedback on these electric fireplace inserts:
Dimplex Revillusion features a patented ThruView design and Mirage flame panel, so the flames appear to be in the middle of the logs, where they belong. There are actually logs on either side of the panel. The standard logs glow from within, as if they are hot. Note that alternate log kits, like the birch and fresh-cut, do not light up. Flames are always natural yellow-orange; they do not change colour.
Dimplex Builder series has a mirrored back panel that reflects the single set of logs, and also makes the flames appear to be in the center of the grate and logs. Logs pulse and light up from within. Tinted front glass also enhances the warmth of the flames, and the mesh curtain adds a nice authentic detail. Flames are a natural yellow, and do not change colour.
Napoleon Ascent features pulsing logs and embers, with nice bold orange flames playing off the back panel.
The best electric fireplace inserts for flexible media options
In the past, traditional electric fireplaces came with a grate and logs and couldn’t be changed. Then along came traditional inserts with clear crystals or driftwood, for a more transitional look. Now, some manufacturers are offering alternate log sets, like birch, or making inserts with media kits that can be changed on a whim. These are our favourite flexible electric fireplace inserts:
Napoleon Cineview comes with both a grate & logs, as well as large tinted crystals. This gives customers the option to have a traditional interior with logs and embers, or a more contemporary one without the grate and logs. There is also space here to change the media to something else completely, like stones or driftwood, although there are none specifically made for Cineview.
Dimplex Revillusion comes standard with inner-glow logs and a grate. You can choose to swap out these logs with Fresh-Cut or Birch kits, but these will not light up from within. You can’t use other media in this fireplace.
Amantii Traditional comes standard with a birch log package, but there are lots of other media kits available from Amantii including other log styles, and ice crystal packages. Amantii flames change colour, so crystal packages are popular to play up the lighting effects.
Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after.