best fireplace insert

Best Fireplace Insert On The Market (Reviews & Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide) 2021

When was the last time you used your fireplace? And how much did it cost you?

Fireplaces complete most homes, but they are not always efficient. That’s why people prefer making use of fireplace inserts because they offer the best of both worlds. You’ll get the warmth and ambiance that masonry or traditional fireplaces provide but at half the maintenance cost and with tons of convenient modern features.

We went through several fireplace insert reviews to come up with a list of the best fireplace inserts on the market. Our review consists of different types of fireplace inserts, so you can rest assured that you’ll find the perfect fit for your home.

Fireplace Insert Reviews

Electric Fireplace Insert

Electric fireplace inserts are an excellent fit for people who value aesthetics and hassle-free maintenance. The inserts often come in stunning designs and add a modern elegant touch to rooms and spaces. If you’re interested in checking out more units, you can have a look at the best electric fireplace insert reviews.

1. PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert

Features Overview

  • Removable handle
  • Clean glass front trim design
  • Three-sided interior brick wall

PuraFlame offers units with sleek designs and classic realistic looks. Their fireplace inserts have faux bricks, crackling sounds, and lively flames that will certainly capture your guests’ attention. They also come with life-like resin logs that make them look like real wood burning fireplaces.

You can expect nothing short of excellence from a brand that has been in the industry for more than 15 years. Puraflame’s commitment to quality and reliability makes the brand appealing to trend-conscious people, builders, and designers.

Product Highlights

The fireplace insert is available in 23, 26, 30, and 33-inch sizes. It features a flat bottom so you can directly place it on the floor if you want. And you’ll also have an easy time sliding it into your wood fireplace opening. PuraFlame also used a specially designed grill that subtly hides the manual control panel and heat outlet for an elegant look.

You can use it to heat rooms of up to 400 square feet. However, you can still operate it with or without the supplemental heat feature. It comes with two heat settings of 1500W and 750W. You can adjust the heat based on the weather, size of the room, or your personal preferences. And it won’t even cost as much since it uses energy-saving LED technology.

The electric insert also has an adjustable thermostat and a remote control for easy operation. Its flame settings are adjustable as well. You’ll get to set its brightness and intensity as needed. This unit also has a variety of crackling sounds to choose from, so you’ll be able to customize your experience in several ways.

The Good/ What I like

The purchase comes with a one-year warranty.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Not a great option for people who need a primary source of heat.

Pros

Cons

2. R.W.FLAME 36” Electric Fireplace Insert

Features Overview

  • LED fire and ice flame
  • 70-inch power cable
  • Touch screen on front panel

If you’re looking for a highly customizable fireplace, then R.W.Flame might have what you need. This unit comes with multiple operating modes for added convenience and personalized experiences. It will come in handy for different occasions, and you can install it anywhere you want from your home to the office.

Product Highlights

The electric fireplace insert is available in two sizes and can be recessed or used as a freestanding fireplace. It comes in an eye-catching design featuring a two-sided brick wall interior and a black finish. The unit also has a 7mm thick tempered glass that can easily withstand high temperatures. You’ll also be captivated by the dancing flames and realistic burning log effect.

As mentioned earlier, the unit has multiple operational modes. You’ll get five flame and burning log color modes, five flame brightness levels, and five speed modes. The colors range from red, orange, blue, and yellow. As if that wasn’t enough, it also has a special automatic color.

Users also get a timer that can be set for one to eight hours. One of the unit’s major selling points is that it has a sleep mode function. The unique feature keeps the heat function on while the lights are down. You’ll also get a remote control that you can operate from a distance of 8 meters.

The unit’s safety features are part of the reason why it comes highly recommended in some of the best electric fireplace insert reviews. It is ETL certified, meaning it adheres to the highest safety standards. The fireplace insert also has an auto-heat kill safety feature that keeps it from overheating. Its design also ensures it produces heat while maintaining the natural humidity in the air.

The Good/ What I like

The brand’s customer service does a great job.

The Bad/What I don’t like

It might not be safe for homes with kids and pets if it’s not mounted on the wall.

Pros

Cons

3. Homedex 36” Recessed Mounted Electric Fireplace Insert

Features Overview

  • Front vents
  • 5.1 inch depth
  • All assembly parts included

This Homedex unit is one of the best looking electric fireplace inserts on this list. You can install it in your office, living room, and even your bedroom, thanks to its versatility. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s going to complement your modern home décor.

It’s a worthwhile investment that will come in handy throughout the year. You can use it to heat your home during winter and turn off the heat when it’s hot. The fireplace insert’s decorative appeal makes it useful even when the heating function is off.

Product Highlights

You’ll have the option of recessing or wall mounting the fireplace insert. The only catch is that you should keep it away from high traffic areas, drapes, furniture, and locations that are susceptible to moisture. You should also avoid mounting it under a TV to make the most out of its heaters. The brand recommends positioning this insert at least 12 inches below the ceiling.

Like most high-end fireplace inserts, this unit has two heat settings. The highest being 1500W and the lowest at 750W. It has a thermostat with a temperature range of 62 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, you won’t have to switch it off entirely when it’s not too cold. You can just turn down the heat and adjust the settings as needed.

Other customizable features include its five flame intensities and nine flame colors. You can make it as dim or as bright as you want. The high intensity LED lights are cost-effective and offer a realistic effect. To top it off, you’ll also get two options for the ember bed. You can switch things up whenever you want by alternating between the crystal stones and the log set.

Another added benefit to this purchase is that you’ll get free replacements for installation-related problems. The brand also offers free replacements for missing parts and damages within one year. Additionally, Homedex accepts returns and offers refunds within one month of the purchase.

The Good/ What I like

The fireplace insert offers year-round ambiance thanks to its dual-mode function flame effects.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Some users claim that they had trouble fitting it into their existing fireplaces.

Pros

Cons

4. Dimplex DFI2309 Electric Fireplace Insert

Feature Overview

  • 1375-watt heater
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • User manual

We had to include this unit since it comes highly recommended in Dimplex electric fireplace insert reviews. One of the reasons why it’s a customer favorite is because it has a powerful fan-forced heater. The heater is responsible for the fireplace insert’s uniform heat distribution. It also operates quietly so you can look forward to some peace and quiet as you cozy up at home.

Product Highlights

The fireplace insert is designed for easy installation and operation. It also conveniently plugs into standard household outlets. Dimplex boasts that it offers four-season enjoyment, thanks to its flame only, half heat, and full heat functions.

It features gentle glowing embers and handcrafted logs that imitate a wood burning fireplace. The fireplace is an excellent fit for homes with children and pets since it has no open fires or harmful emissions.

The Good/ What I like

The brand incorporated patented flame technology into the unit.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Users reported a few quality control issues.

Pros

Cons

Gas Fireplace Insert

Gas fireplace inserts are great alternatives to traditional or masonry fireplaces. Modern designs don’t just look good; they also come with tons of convenient features. We have listed three of our top recommendations in this guide. However, you can also check out our review of the best gas fireplace inserts if you’re interested in learning more about these units.

1. Majestic Quartz Series Direct Vent Gas Fireplace

Features Overview

  • Pre-wired for wall switches
  • Electronic ignition
  • Designed for easy installation

Majestic offers a direct vent gas fireplace insert that can accommodate a traditional or contemporary interior. The insert can heat rooms of up to 1,300 Square feet since it has a heat output of 20,000 to 28,500 BTUs. It’s an excellent fit for entry-level homes because it can operate as a primary fireplace.

Product Highlights

You should consider purchasing it if you’re looking for the best natural gas fireplace insert. It’s a low-cost unit with an efficiency rating of 60.5 to 61.3%. Part of what makes it stand out is its shallow depth design, which keeps it from taking up too much space. It’s a great option for homes with limited space.

This unit also has a battery backup system. The system comes in handy during power outages since it ensures continuous operation of the fireplace.

The Good/ What I like

Users can customize it to suit their lifestyles.

The Bad/What I don’t like

The purchase doesn’t include a venting pipe.

Pros

Cons

2. Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Ventless Insert

Features Overview

  • Six realistic hand-painted Ceramic Fiber Logs
  • Battery assisted piezo ignition
  • Patented dual fuel technology

Duluth offers dependable fireplace inserts that consist of high-quality materials and parts. Assembled in the USA, this unit was put together using state of the art manufacturing equipment. The brand’s skilled American workers also test the products thoroughly before they are available for sale.

You’re going to like this unit if you prioritize efficiency. It’s the most efficient gas fireplace insert on this list with an efficiency rating of 99.9%.

Product Highlights

The unit has stylish screen doors and a realistic sprayed brick liner. It also produces generous flames with a maximum output of 32,000BTUs. And can heat rooms and spaces of up to 1,500 square feet.

The fireplace insert uses both propane and natural gas thanks to its patented dual-fuel technology. It also features a dual precision-ported vent free gas burner that contributes to its impressive performance. Users can adjust the heat settings thanks to its thermostat. What’s more, the thermostat maintains the desired settings by cycling on and off automatically.

You should consider this unit if you don’t want to use up much space. It can fit in tight places thanks to its zero-clearance design. Additionally, it has reliable safety features like the Oxygen Depletion Sensor. The fireplace will shut down immediately when the oxygen level in the room becomes dangerously low.

The Good/ What I like

The insert doesn’t require a duct or chimney.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Some users reported a few quality control issues.

Pros

Cons

3. Napoleon Grandville Vent Free Natural Gas Fireplace

Features Overview

  • 20-foot wire
  • Millivolt remote control valve
  • Dual receptacle junction box

You might want to check out this Napoleon unit if you are looking for a gas log fireplace insert. Its dancing flames and phazer logs look natural such that you’d assume the burning wood was real. The vent-free insert doesn’t require a chimney, so you won’t have any restrictions since you can install it wherever you want. It doesn’t require any clearance as well, thus simplifying its installation process even further.

Product Highlights

Its design allows users to adjust the heat and flame settings by 50%. Users have complete control making it easy to customize their experiences. To top it off, you won’t have to deal with inflated energy costs. This model is 99.9% efficient and has a heat output of 30,000BTUs.

It is easy to operate and safe for all kinds of homes. The insert comes with a safety screen for protection against open flames. It also has an oxygen depletion sensor for safety assurance.

The Good/ What I like

The unit’s yellow dancing flame burner system makes the fireplace look authentic.

The Bad/What I don’t like

The trim kit and louver kit are sold separately.

Pros

Cons

Wood Burning Fireplace Insert

There’s just something nostalgic about wood fireplaces. If you’re after that homely feeling, you should check out our review of the best wood burning fireplace inserts. Modern wood burning inserts are designed for efficiency and are easier to maintain compared to traditional fireplaces.

1. Drolet Escape 1800i Fireplace Wood Insert

Features Overview

  • Heavy-duty door latch
  • Variable heat settings
  • 77.2% efficient

Drolet products come highly recommended since the brand produces some of the most efficient gas fireplace inserts. This unit is an excellent fit for people who want supplementary heating for rooms of up to 1,900 square feet. It has an output of 75,000 BTUs and can run for about seven to nine hours. The fireplace insert is EPA certified, so you can trust that it’s a safe alternative for your home.

Product Highlights

One of the reasons why this unit is popular is because users qualify for government incentives. You would be eligible for a $300 biomass stove tax credit if you purchased it. It also has a 1.54 g/h average particulate emissions rate since it meets the new United States Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Drolet boasts that the 1800i wood fireplace insert is 30% more efficient than its counterparts. The unit also features a high-quality 130 CFM variable-speed blower. Its premium blower has a sensor that allows it to turn on and off automatically. Users can also adjust the airflow using a rheostat button.

The unit even has heat activation Firebrick lining for uniform heat radiation. This lining protects the steel part of the insert as well.

The Good/ What I like

The insert was tested to ensure that it’s less pollutant than traditional models.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Still new to some markets.

Pros

Cons

2. Drolet Escape 1500-I Wood Insert with faceplate

Features Overview

  • Premium blower
  • 1.26 g/h emission rate
  • EPA certified

The 1500-I is slightly smaller than the 1800i unit we’ve reviewed. Its heat output is somewhat lower as well at 65,000BTUs, and it comes with a 29 by 44-inch black faceplate. This wood burning fireplace can also heat rooms that are 1,800 square feet large.

Product Highlights

The unit has several features that are similar to the first Drolet fireplace insert we came across. It was manufactured according to the new EPA standards, has a reasonable emission rate, and is eligible for government incentives. You’ll find it impressive if you liked the 1800i since they are both high-performance inserts with low carbon footprints. 

The Good/ What I like

Its secondary combustion system is responsible for its exceptional performance.

The Bad/What I don’t like

You need an existing fireplace to install the unit

Pros

Cons

Buyer’s Guide

This guide covers some of the things you need to consider to ensure that you get the best fireplace insert. Going through fireplace insert reviews is great, but having the knowledge you need to make your selection is equally important.

1. Fuel Preference

As you’ve seen, there are different types of fireplace inserts. The major difference between them is the fuel source they use.

You should consider getting an electric fireplace if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly solution. These fireplaces are also decorative, making them an excellent option for people who value aesthetics. You won’t have to worry about emissions or open flames as well.

Gas fireplace inserts are a great choice for people who are after affordability but prefer real flames. You’ll have an easy time setting them up if you already use gas at your home. They are convenient since they light up at the push of a button, and you won’t have to deal with ashes or strenuous processes to refill them.

Wood burning fireplace inserts make excellent replacements for traditional wood fireplaces. They have fewer emissions, burn cleaner, run longer, and use less firewood. You should consider getting one if you want to retain the same fuel source you were using for your masonry fireplace but want to upgrade to something more eco-friendly and efficient.

2. Heating Capacity

Before making your selection, you should check out the fireplace insert’s heat output to see if it can handle the size of your room. That way, you’ll be able to tell whether it’s going to meet your heating needs. For instance, if your room is 1800 square feet, you should get an insert with the capacity to heat the room sufficiently.

Going for a fireplace insert with a higher output might work against you since the room might get too hot and uncomfortable. A fireplace insert with a lower heat output might not meet your needs at all. Remember to get the dimensions of your room before you start shopping to get the right fireplace insert.

3. Efficiency

As we mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of using fireplace inserts is that they are more efficient. However, you should keep in mind that some units are more efficient than others. You want to go for models with high efficiency ratings so that you keep your energy costs as low as possible.

4. Features

If possible, purchase a fireplace insert that’s customizable or has adjustable settings. That way, you’ll be able to personalize and enhance your experience. You should also do your due diligence and ensure that the unit you want has some safety features.

FAQs

1. Are fireplace inserts safe?

Yes, they are. Manufacturers ensure that they have several in-built safety features. For example, some electric fireplace inserts switch themselves off in case they overheat.

Modern gas and wood-burning fireplace inserts also produce the least amount of harmful byproducts compared to their predecessors. As you can see, you won’t have much to worry about as long as you use the fireplace inserts appropriately.

2. What type of fireplace insert should I get?

Electric fireplace inserts are the most affordable in all aspects. Reason being, they don’t require gas or wood refills. They also don’t need thorough cleaning routines or regular maintenance checks. Since there’s no real fire, you won’t worry about fire hazards or the glass becoming dangerously hot.

Gas fireplace inserts are second when it comes to efficiency and safety. They cost a bit more than electric fireplaces since you must cover the cost of propane or natural gas. Regular checkups are also mandatory to help avoid gas leaks and other safety hazards. However, you will get to enjoy the ambiance of a real flame.

Lastly, we have wood-burning fireplace inserts. They have the lowest efficiency when compared to the other two, but they are significantly better than masonry fireplaces. In addition to high running and maintenance costs, they may also emit harmful byproducts into the air.

Consider your needs, budget, and preferences before you settle for a fireplace insert.

3. Do all inserts require a vent?

Some do while some don’t. Electric units don’t require one, while wood-burning fireplace inserts require a vent or an existing chimney. Gas fireplace inserts can be either ventless or vented.

Vented gas fireplace inserts take the byproducts outside through the vent, while vent-free units ensure that most of the byproducts burn – resulting in increased heat output. The downside to using ventless gas fireplace inserts is that the remaining byproducts might still find their way into the room.

Make sure you confirm whether the fireplace insert you choose requires a vent before you buy it.

4. How should I clean my fireplace insert?

To clean an electric fireplace insert:

  • Simply unplug
  • Dust it off
  • Then wipe with a damp piece of cloth

Gas and wood-burning fireplace inserts require a more detailed approach. Since the flames are real, there’s the possibility of soot formation. You should, therefore:

  • Disassemble the parts carefully
  • Clean each part using a damp cloth dipped into some warm soapy water
  • For tough stains, continuously dip the cloth in the water and wipe it again as needed
  • Once you’re satisfied, rinse the cloth with clean water
  • Rinse each part with the cloth
  • Leave them to dry and re-assemble

Most fireplace inserts come with manuals that have specific instructions on how to clean and maintain them. All you’ll need to do is follow the instructions, and you’ll be good to go.

5. Can I switch the location of my fireplace insert?

Yes, you can. If you’re moving to a different house or you’ve got another location for the insert, all you’ll have to do is disassemble it. However, we advise gas and wood burning fireplace owners to contact a professional for re-installation – for safety purposes.

6. How do I pick the right fireplace insert size?

The first thing you’ll need to do is to measure the dimensions of your existing fireplace.

Once you have the measurements, go for a fireplace insert with smaller dimensions. It should be smaller by an inch or two. That allowance simplifies the installation process and leaves room for hosting a fan.

7. Can I burn wood and other materials in my fireplace insert?

If you’re using a wood fireplace insert, you can opt for eco-friendlier alternatives. Some of them include; recycled coffee grounds, wood pellets, and wood bricks. Other than the recommended options, you should never burn any other material in your wood-burning fireplace insert.

Never attempt to burn any other material apart from natural gas or propane in gas fireplace inserts. It’s impossible to burn anything in electric fireplaces due to the absence of real flames.

However, you should still avoid inserting or lighting anything. The electric insert will get destroyed if you do since it can’t withstand real flames.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve come to the end of this review, we trust that you’re fully equipped with the knowledge you need to purchase the right fireplace for your home. We made our selection based on quality, aesthetics, and efficiency to ensure that everyone gets the right fit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top