The Different Types of Electric Fireplace

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The electric fireplace and heater have seen the increase in popularity over the past decade. Nowadays, they come in a vast variety of types, designs, and sizes. They also come with varying functionalities and heating capabilities.As a result, choosing the right one for your household that might fit your exact needs can be a daunting task. Yet, we often fail to appreciate something simply because we don’t understand them. Thus, let us first discuss the different variety of electric fireplace types. We will also discuss the principle and basic features behind it, and how it may suit your needs.

The Main Types of Electric Fireplaces

In reality, the electric fireplace will boil down just to three different types, based on its placement and installation:

1. Free-Standing Electric Fireplace

Image credit: Houzz.com

Also often categorized as mantel fireplaces, in reality, electric fireplaces with mantel is just one part of this category. As the basic principle, the electric fireplaces in this category should be able to freely stand in any room of your house, hence the name. Electric fireplaces combined with TV stands, entertainment centers, and portable fireplaces belong to this category.The benefit of this type is its flexibility and ease of installation. You can freely install the fireplace in any room of your choosing without much trouble.The downside is that they will need a dedicated amount of space. Free-standing electric fireplaces could be a solution if you don’t have an existing fireplace.

2.Wall-Mount Electric Fireplace

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As the name suggest, this type of electric fireplace is hung to the wall. You may have guessed then, that the main advantage of this type is to save space.This type comes in a wide variety of design, including traditional, realistic-looking wooden logs.The benefit of this type is obvious in saving space. Yet, the main disadvantage is that you will need to be very careful with the installation, as it may obstruct your area’s building code. You might want the help of a professional in this case.

3.Insert-Type Electric Fireplace

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In this category, you can insert the electric fireplace to an existing space, hence the name.There are generally two subtypes of this category. The first is the electric log insert, which is an ideal replacement for your traditional gas or wood-burning fireplace.The other subtype is the electric firebox, which can be used to replace a built-in or plug-in fireplace. The major advantage of this category is that it very easy to install and use. The disadvantage? Also obvious, you wouldn’t be able to use it without a traditional fireplace.

Subtypes of Electric Fireplaces

After we have learned about the three main categories of electric fireplaces, let’s delve deeper into the subtypes commonly available in the market.

Subtypes for The Free-Standing Electric Fireplace

1. Electric Fireplace With Mantel

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Back in the medieval era, traditional fireplaces are the prominent centerpiece of any household. Thus, the mantelpiece, or often called chimneypiece is an important part of a household decoration.

In the modern era with more variety of heating methods, the mantel has lost its functional significance. Yet, many of us still appreciate the aesthetic aspect of a mantel.

The installation of a standard fireplace with a mantel can be very expensive. But here, you can get the authentic, realistic look of the mantelpiece with a more affordable price.

Another advantage is that you can operate this electric fireplace without the heater functionality, so you can enjoy the realistic flame during all seasons.

Here are the key benefits of this subtype:

  • Aesthetics

The main reason of getting an electric fireplace with a mantelpiece is for decoration purpose, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that.

  • Cost Efficient

Both in initial investment and long-term cost. It is significantly cheaper than building a traditional fireplace. In long-term cost, as you would save costs for burning logs and gas associated with a traditional fireplace.

  • Flexibility

You can use the fireplace with or without the heater functionality. If you only want to enjoy the realistic flame for aesthetic purpose, you can do that during all seasons.

  • Quality and Durability

Made with furniture-grade construction with authentic-looking woodwork.  For the disadvantages, here are a few:

  • Spacious

Will require a relatively large amount of space, and most likely will not cater to smaller households.

  • Power-Consuming

Most of the mantel and electric fireplace packages will require a relatively high electricity.

2. Electric Fireplace and Entertainment Center Package

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The combination of electric fireplace with a TV stand is popular today for good reasons. It will save a lot of space in your living room by combining two or more essential furniture in one. It is also a beautiful head-turner and can act as a centerpiece for your entertainment room.

The more expensive models also often came with integrated control systems and wire management channels, so they can also be handy in functionality.

Here are the key benefits of this type:

  • Saving Space

By combining two types of furniture in one, it will save a substantial amount of space in your living or entertainment room.

  • Cost Efficient

It retains most of the major benefits of mantelpiece-type, including the cost efficiency. In addition, you can also save cost you would need to spend on a dedicated TV stand.

  • Wire Management

Most of the electric fireplaces of this type come with an integrated wire management channel so you can manage the wiring of different appliances easily without them being a mess.

  • Flexibility

As with electric fireplace with mantel, you can opt not to use the heater, so the realistic flame will only be used for the aesthetic purpose.

  • Quality and Durability

Most come with furniture-grade construction, and can hold up to 100 lbs of weight for TV and other appliances.  As for the cons, here are a few:

  • Aesthetic

Some would prefer the authentic and traditional look of a regular mantel, and it is understandable.

  • Relatively more complicated installation

Depending on models, some of them come with DIY, build it yourself approach, and can include too many pieces which might be a hassle for some.

3.Free-Standing Electric Stove

Image credit: Amazon

You can think of the free-standing electric stove as a more compact alternative to the mantle-electric fireplace combo. It retains almost all the key qualities of the mantle-electric fireplace but will tackle the issue of space.

The disadvantage? Although it will be dependent on personal preference, but without the mantlepiece design, it is often regarded as a lesser alternative, aesthetic-wise.

4.Free-Standing Infrared Fireplace

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Not technically a subtype, but rather an upgrade in technology. While a common electric fireplace can only heat a room of roughly 400 square meters, infrared fireplaces or heaters can cover more than double that size at approximately 1,000 square meters.

It can belong to any subtype, an electric stove can use an infrared heater, and so does mantel-type electric fireplace. As a result of the added range, infrared fireplaces are commonly more expensive.

Subtypes for Wall-Mount Electric Fireplaces

For the wall-mount type, the variation is relatively subtle, and thus there aren’t any distinct classification for its subtype. Wall-mount electric fireplaces can come in both infrared or non-infrared, refer to our discussion above regarding the free-standing infrared fireplace for the difference.

Subtypes for Insert Electric Fireplaces

As we have mentioned above, insert-type electric fireplaces can generally be divided into two:

1.Electric Log Insert

Image credit: Amazon

As the name suggests, the electric fireplace belonging to this subtype is shaped like a realistic log. Once you plug in the electric log into the electric outlet, it will produce a realistic lifelike flame effect.

Thus, generally for this type, the more realistic the flame appearance is, the more expensive it will be. You can use the electric log insert to rejuvenate your traditional or gas fireplace to life.

2.Electric Firebox

Image credit: topratedfireplaceinserts.com

Can be plug-in or built-in, the firebox is the TV-like fireplace simulation you can find in other electric fireplaces. Here, the standalone unit can be inserted either to your old fireplace, to refurbish an unused furniture, or even to a dedicated space on your wall.

It is very flexible, and for DIY enthusiasts, you can customize the electric firebox with any design of your liking.

Product Recommendations

1.Mantel Electric Fireplace

Calvert Espresso, Carved Electric Fireplace

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Dimplex Fieldstone Pine, Stone-Look Electric Fireplace

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  • 26-inch self-trimming electric firebox
  • Patented, life-like flame effect with inner glow logs molded from wood logs for a realistic look
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14 ” (D) x 55.5″ (H) x 42.5″ (W)

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2.Media Center Electric Fireplace & TV Stand

Altra Furniture Manchester

Ameriwood Home Manchester Electric Fireplace TV Stand for TVs up to...
  • Add a touch of modern design to your living room or sitting area with the Ameriwood Home Manchester Electric Fireplace...
  • TV Stand combines sturdy black laminated MDF and particleboard with a 23” metal electric fireplace insert
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Pleasant Hearth Elliot Media Fireplace

Pleasant Hearth 248-44-34M Elliot Media Electric Fireplace
  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • 24" curved firebox with realistic flame and randomly glowing ember bed
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15.5″ (D)  x 47.76″ (H)  x 35″ (W)

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3. Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace

Warm House Valencia Wall-Mount Fireplace

Warm House VWWF-10306 Valencia Widescreen Wall-Mounted Electric...
  • Flames with adjustable brightness operate with and without heat
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4. Insert Electric Fireplace

XtremepowerUS 28.5″ Insert Electric Fireplace

XtremepowerUS 28.5" Embedded Fireplace Electric Insert Heater Glass...
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