6 Safe & Sustainable Electric Fireplace Heaters You'll Want To Cozy Up To
As we enter the coldest months of the winter season, curling up next to a fireplace with crackling flames sounds mighty appealing. Even if you don't have a built-in fireplace at home, you can still make this dream a reality with an electric fireplace heater.
We asked home health and efficiency experts all about how to find a safe, eco-friendly electric fireplace that will warm you up—without warming up the planet. Here are their criteria and six top picks to cozy up to.
The benefits of an electric fireplace.
According to Amanda Klecker, a certified building biologist who assesses the overall health of homes, electric fireplaces tend to heat homes more safely and sustainably than wood-burning ones.
"In general, electric fireplaces are a clean heating alternative," she explains. "Typically, they produce almost no pollutants. In comparison, gas and wood-burning fireplaces produce combustion and gases and fumes, which are pollutants to indoor and outdoor air1. While electricity does contribute to carbon emissions, most of the electricity used is converted to usable heat in your room or home, making it an energy-efficient option."
If you don't have a fireplace at home, buying an electric model is also far easier and more affordable than installing a traditional one. Electric fireplaces also tend to be lower-maintenance since you don't need to do any cleanup after using them.
Additionally, these appliances offer an assortment of design and function possibilities. You can also find portable ones that are suitable for homeowners and renters looking for a temporary heating solution.
What to look for in a fireplace.
"The first thing you want to look at is the safety ratings when you're shopping for an electric fireplace," says Heather White, a conservation and sustainability expert. A safe model will have a cord that's long enough so you won't need an extension cord or power strip, which can present fire hazards. Its plug prongs should be sturdy and easily fit into the socket you plan to use. "I would also evaluate how the fireplace is made and if it's easy to unplug at night," adds White.
The most energy-efficient fireplaces will have low wattages but a high BTU rating, which reflects how much heat they can emit. Internal fans can help keep wattage down but output up. "The goal is to lose the least amount of heat possible," explains Klecker. "So a fireplace with a fan to assist in distributing heat can be more effective."
These safe, high-performance fireplaces can all heat homes quickly and stylishly. To find them, we scoured the web for models that are well-rated by users and fit the aforementioned qualifications for safety and energy efficiency. From an affordable, portable machine to a regal built-in, there's something on this list for every budget and preference. (Note that prices may have changed since the publication of this article.)
- Best Overall: Canyon Heights Faux Stacked Stone
- Best Wall-Mounted: Modern Blaze Touchstone Onyx-50-Inch Wall-Mounted
- Best Budget: Selectric Electric Portable Mini Fireplace Heater
- Best Smart Model: Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart 60" Electric Fireplace
- Most Sustainable: R.W. Flame 36" Electric Fireplace
- Best High-End Model: Modern Flames Landscape Pro Slim
Best Overall: Cannon Heights Faux Stacked Stone
This electric fireplace gives all the appeal and coziness of a traditional fireplace with none of the environmental concerns. The woodwork and faux stones provide the ambience of a hearth, while LED bulbs light flames and logs supply energy efficiency. The remote control allows for four different customizations, and the automatic shutdown makes this the best overall for aesthetic appeal, safety, and sustainability.
The burning logs with embers and the extra-wide dimensions of this electric fireplace also make it one of the most realistic options on the list.
Furniture Hotspot Canyon Heights Faux Stacked Stone Electric Fireplace ($819.99)
Best Wall-Mounted: Modern Blaze Touchstone Onyx 50-Inch Wall-Mounted
Affordability and easy installation make this one of the top picks for an elegant, realistic electric fireplace with a contemporary wall-mounted design. The built-in timer allows for automatic shut-off and two different heat settings (high and low). It runs on energy-efficient LED technology.
Customers rave about the realistic flames and strong heating capacity. This model also includes a remote control for easy adjustments and logs and crystals to change the visuals of the flames.
Modern Blaze Touchstone Onyx 5-inch Wall Mounted ($329)
Best Budget: Selectric Electric Portable Mini Fireplace Heater
This retro portable option supplies heat and realistic flames at the lowest price available. Even though it's compact, its flickering flames are just as dramatic as larger models. Customers rated its quick-heating power and stylish look as great benefits. It's also very easy to adjust the heat of this model and turn it off when you're done.
Selectric Electric Portable Mini Fireplace Heater($69.99)
Best Smart Model: Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart 60" Electric Fireplace
The efficiency of electric fireplaces is driven up a few notches with smart technology, and this Touchstone model features a sleek design and Wi-Fi-enabled tech that pairs with Alexa or Google Home voice-enabled commands. It includes a thermostat and large-format display with multiple flame color options that provide an extremely realistic fire.
The fireplace can also stay roaring without the heating option, making it a sustainable as well as a technically advanced option. Customers love the quality and the beauty of its flames.
Touchstone Sideline Elite Smart 60" Electric Fireplace ($1,299)
Most Sustainable: R.W. Flame 36" Electric Fireplace
With a certificate-approved power cord and an auto-heat safety feature, this electric fireplace offers some of the most energy-efficient elements on the market. The free-standing design makes it easy to install in all sorts of spaces, and the two-heat and energy-saving settings make it easy to customize.
This fireplace can also be operated with or without heat, and customers love the five-color flame modes and automatic shut-off safety feature.
R.W. Flame 36" Electric Fireplace ($419.99)
Best High-End Model: Modern Flames Landscape Pro Slim
This built-in fireplace is the ultimate in innovative design, with a long screen and adjustable accent lighting.
Though it's pricey, customers rave about the height and realism of its flames and its easy-to-use controls.
Modern Flames Landscape Pro Slim ($2,445.98)
The bottom line.
Electric fireplaces offer an easy, eco-friendly way to warm yourself up on a chilly day. Pour yourself a hot drink, grab a book, and cozy up next to one of these sleek designs this winter.
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a writer specializing in travel and lifestyle topics. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Illinois State University and Roosevelt University as well as certification as a Reiki II practitioner. Her credits include USA Today, Yoga Journal, London Telegraph, AAA Traveler, Brides, Miami Herald, Midwest Living, Modern Woman, Thrillist, The Takeout, Orbitz and The Rough Guide to Women Travel. She lives in Chicago.