Electric fireplace inserts are designed to be installed inside an existing fireplace opening, or as part of a new fireplace wall. If you have a wood-burning fireplace that you no longer use, either because you don’t like the mess, or because it is no longer safe, you can remodel it with an electric fireplace insert. Likewise, if you have a gas fireplace that you want to replace, you can convert it to electric with a fireplace insert.
When converting from an existing fireplace to an electric insert, you will need to measure the existing opening, so you can find an electric insert that fits. In the case of a masonry wood-burning fireplace, the opening very likely tapers in and gets smaller toward the back. For this reason, you will need to check the width of the masonry opening 8 to 12 inches from the front of the opening. This measurement is the maximum width that you can choose for the new electric insert. Because there is no such thing as a ‘standard’ fireplace measurement that everyone has, many of the electric fireplace inserts have optional trim kits to cover gaps between the insert and your opening. If you are building the fireplace from scratch, the only limitation is your imagination and the space you have.
You will need to plan for a dedicated electrical line for the electric fireplace insert, to support the heater functions. Most inserts operate on 120 volts, and require a 15-amp breaker. There are some fireplace inserts that may also be connected to 240 volts, if you want more power for the heater. If your old gas fireplace has an electrical connection, it will most likely be for the starter or fan, neither of which draws as much power as the heater on an electric fireplace insert. If you were to connect your electric insert to the old power line, you would have to sacrifice some of the heat functions on the fireplace. Of course, you don’t have to use the heater at all; you can operate the flames without the heat. However, you should always wire your electric fireplace insert as if you are going to use the heater.
Ready to get started? Below, you can find our favourite electric fireplace inserts for every situation.
Most Realistic LCD Electric Fireplace Insert – Modern Flames Orion
Orion features Heliovision flame technology, which features video projections of real fire, in three different styles. Arguably, this is the most realistic flame, since it originates with a real fire. The sound effects are far superior to the sounds from other electric fires that ‘crackle’, because the soundtrack comes from the real fire recording. All that’s missing is that wood-burning smell. Orion Traditional comes in sizes from 26 to 54 inches wide. Trim kits are available on sizes up to 36-inches. Orion is a dual-voltage unit, which may be connected to either 120 or 240 volts, which means that its heating capacity ranges from 400 to 800 square feet. All of these features are packed into a depth of under 10-inches. Models: OR26-TRAD, OR30-TRAD, OR36-TRAD, OR42-TRAD, OR54-TRAD
Most Realistic LED Electric Fireplace Insert – Dimplex Revillusion
If you aren’t ready for video technology, Dimplex Revillusion is the next-best thing. This is one of the deeper electric inserts, at 12-inches. That depth is necessary to accommodate the industry-leading technology. A view-through center panel puts the life-like LED flames right in the middle of the logs, where they belong. For more traditional installations, you can select the herringbone brick interior. If you prefer a simpler backdrop, you can select weathered concrete, which is gray. You can even change out the standard inner-glow logs for birch or fresh-cut. Sizes range from 24 to 42 inches, and trim kits are available on sizes up to 30 inches. This is also a dual-voltage unit that may be connected to 120 or 240 volts, with the corresponding heat output as noted above. Models: RBF24DLX, RBF24DLXWC, RBF30-FG, RBF30WC-FG, RBF36-FG, RBF36WC-FG, RBF36P-FG, RBF36PWC-FG, RBF42-FG, RBF42WC-FG
Most Cost-Effective Electric Fireplace Insert – Napoleon Element
The Napoleon Element insert offers a lot of ‘bang for the buck’. It’s a great-looking insert that comes in two popular sizes – 36 and 42 inches – and both sizes have optional trim kits. It was designed for the builder market, with minimal options. Logs don’t glow from within like some pricier inserts. However, there is an overhead light that can shine on the logs from above, to give them more life. Flames are big and bold, and may be adjusted for intensity. These are also dual-voltage inserts, which may be connected to either 120 or 240 volts, with enough heat for 400 to 800 square feet. Models: NEFB36H-BS, NEFB42H-BS
Most Contemporary Electric Fireplace Insert – Amantii Traditional
If your taste leans a little less traditional and a little more contemporary, the Amantii TRD series may be the best electric insert for you. Amantii traditional fireplace inserts come in sizes from 26 to 48 inches. The included birch log kit doesn’t sit in a grate; you arrange the loose logs how you wish. The logs don’t glow, but there is an overhead light with many colours to highlight the logs. In fact, you can leave the flames off and just have the coloured lights shining down on the logs, for a sculptural effect. The Amantii TRD inserts come standard with a broad picture-frame surround, and there are optional trim kits for sizes up to 38-inches. These inserts connect to 120 volts only, and will warm up an area of 400 square feet. These are the deepest of all the electric inserts, and depth varies by size. Models: TRD-26, TRD-30, TRD-33, TRD-38, TRD-44, TRD-48
Most Transitional Electric Fireplace Insert – Modern Flames Redstone
Redstone fireplace inserts, from Modern Flames, fall somewhere between traditional inserts with a grate and the more contemporary inserts with loose logs. Redstone inserts feature logs that rest on a bed of gray glass ‘embers’, without a grate. These logs do light up from within, and they are enhanced with 10 different flame colours – the most of any of our fireplace inserts. Redstone comes in sizes from 26 to 54 inches, with optional trim kits available on sizes up to 36-inches. Redstone inserts also come standard with two small trims, a 0.625-inch and a 1.625-inch trim, for more flexibility without buying an additional trim kit. Redstone fireplace inserts connect to 120 volts and will warm up about 400 square feet of space. Redstone is also one of the shallowest fireplace inserts, when space is tight. Models: RS-2621, RS-3021, RS-3626, RS-4229, RS-5435
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.