gas fireplace

Top 10 Best Gas Fireplace Insert (Reviews & Buying Guide) 2021

Wood fireplaces are great… If you don’t mind putting up with cutting, hauling, splitting, and stacking firewood. You also won’t find wood fireplaces troublesome if you have the time and energy to clean up ashes.

But if you’re looking for something more efficient and easy to maintain, we urge you to check out our recommendations for the best gas fireplace inserts.

Modern gas fireplaces are designed for easy operation, and they have different ignition options for added convenience. Depending on the type of model you choose, you’ll also get one that’s aesthetically pleasing or a unit that you can install wherever you want.

Our review consists of some of the best gas fireplaces on the market. We also included a buying guide to ensure that you make informed buying decisions.

Gas Fireplace Insert Reviews

1. Majestic Quartz Series Direct Vent Gas Fireplace

Features Overview

  • Slim depth
  • 39 1/16″ W by 23 9/16″ H viewing area
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Do you like switching things up? You should check out this fireplace insert if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to settle for one style. Built for versatility, this fireplace has an interior that you can change from traditional to contemporary – whenever you want. It’s a worthwhile purchase since you’ll get two style options for the price of one fireplace. You can customize it to fit your lifestyle as well.

Product Highlights

This majestic unit is also an excellent fit for people who want a low-cost gas fireplace. You’ll get the ambiance you need without worrying too much about your energy costs. It also takes up less space because of its shallow depth design.

If you have an entry-level home, you can use it as a primary fireplace. It has an output of 20,000 to 28,500 BTU and can heat spaces of up to 1300 square feet. One of the things that make it stand out is its efficiency. According to EnerGuide, it has a 60.5 to 61.3% efficiency rating.

Another great thing about it is that it will still warm up your house even when there’s a power outage. The fireplace has a battery backup system that ensures its continuous operation. For rear venting, you will need a 5″ and 8″ DVP vent pipe. People who plan to vent it from the top will require an SLP-Flex series pipe or an HHT 4″ and 6-5/8″ SLP ridge.

The Good/What I like

You can ignite the fireplace electronically.

The Bad/What I don’t like

You have to order the rear or top venting separately.

Pros

Cons

2. Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Ventless Insert

Features Overview

  • Dual precision ported vent free gas burner
  • Battery assisted Piezo ignition

Duluth has some of the most efficient gas fireplace inserts. This specific model has a 99.9% efficiency rating. And the best thing about it is that its very pocket-friendly.

You’ll get an energy-friendly heating solution within your budget if you’re working with limited finances. Price aside, this unit has tons of other convenient features that you can look forward to as well.

Product Highlights

Elegant and functional, the fireplace insert comes with six ceramic fiber logs that are hand-painted for a realistic feel. Its dual burner, stylish screen doors, realistic sprayed brick liner, and generous flames, are part of what makes it appeal to most trend-conscious homeowners.

You can count on it to serve you for a while since it’s made from quality parts using state of the art equipment. This fireplace insert was also assembled in the USA and tested extensively.

Its heat settings are customizable thanks to its variable control thermostat. You can adjust it according to your preferences or the current weather conditions. The thermostat even goes on and off automatically to maintain the desired temperature settings.

The gas fireplace insert is an excellent fit for apartments or sitting areas of up 1500 square feet. It uses the brand’s patented dual-fuel technology and has an output of 32,000 BTU. This model doesn’t even require a chimney or outside duct. You won’t need to add spacing on the sides or add air gaps since it is zero clearance approved.

For safety assurance, it also has a built-in oxygen depletion sensor. As a result, the unit shuts down immediately if it detects any lack of oxygen or if it detects carbon monoxide. Overall, its design is optimized for energy conservation and environmental protection.

The Good/What I like

The insert uses liquid propane or natural gas.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Some users complained of poor quality control.

Pros

Cons

3. Napoleon Grandville VF Series GVF36-2N 37″ Vent Free Natural Gas Fireplace

Features Overview

  • 20 ft. wire
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Piezo ignitor

If you’re looking for the most realistic gas fireplace insert, this Napoleon unit might be precisely what you need. The insert comes with Phazer logs and a yellow dancing flame burner system, which gives it a beautiful natural look. These logs resemble burning wood when the flames are dancing. The brand often boasts of how the unit’s roaring flames add to a home’s comfort and ambiance.

Product Highlights

Like the previous model we came across, this unit doesn’t require a chimney or ventilation system. It is a vent-free fireplace insert that gives you the freedom you need to place it wherever you want. You won’t even need any clearance to combustibles. All you’ll have to do is just connect it, select the heat settings you desire, and enjoy the warmth.

For simple operation, you can turn the fireplace on and off using a switch. You’ll have complete control over the heat and flames since they can be adjusted by 50%. Customizing the fireplace settings will add to your comfort since you can turn up or turn down the heat as per your needs. As for heat output, it can go up to 30,000BTUs, and its design is 99.9% efficient.

The ventless gas fireplace insert has several safety features. It comes with a safety screen, making it ideal for families with kids and pets. The screen protects users from the open flames. This unit also has an oxygen depletion sensor that shuts it off before oxygen drops to a dangerous level.

The Good/What I like

It comes with a millivolt control valve for adjusting the heat and flame.

The Bad/What I don’t like

The louvers in the product image are not included with the purchase.

Pros

Cons

4. Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Ventless Insert

Features Overview

  • Assembled in the USA
  • High-quality components
  • One year limited warranty
  • Patented Dual Fuel Technology

You’re going to like this unit if you found the first Duluth insert impressive. This model is also affordable, but it has a lower output of 26,000 BTUs for spaces of up to 1350 square feet. Like its counterpart, it comes highly recommended in most high efficiency gas fireplace insert reviews. Its 99.9% efficiency rating makes it quite economical.

Product Highlights

The natural gas fireplace insert is an excellent fit for people who prioritize energy conservation and environmental protection. It’s a great supplemental heat source, which doesn’t require electricity to operate. The unit is easy to install since it requires zero clearance. You should consider purchasing it if you’re thinking of building a custom fireplace for your home.

This fireplace insert comes with five realistic hand-painted ceramic fiber logs. It also features a dual-precision ported vent free gas burner and thermostat control with automatic cycles.

The Good/What I like

No chimney or outside duct will be necessary thanks to its vent free design.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Several users complained about the brand’s customer service.

Pros

Cons

5. Empire Comfort Systems Fireplace

Features Overview

  • Tempered glass
  • 39″ by 37.62″ Frame
  • 37.62″ (H) by 39″ (W) by 19.87″ full dimensions

Featuring a matte black style and a Herringbone ceramic fiber brick, this Empire Comfort unit stands out from the rest in terms of its design. The smoked accents and Herringbone pattern with light mortar are some of the features that make it a customer favorite. You might want to consider this gas fireplace insert if you’re looking for something different.

Product Highlights

The unit has an efficiency rating of 83%, making it quite reliable. It uses natural gas, so it will still keep your house warm even during power outages. The insert has an output of about 26000 BTU and an easy to use on/off switch. The only thing you’ll need to do to complete the unit is to choose whether you want a door set and a frame with a barrier screen or a fireplace barrier screen.

The Good/What I like

The gas insert has a high efficiency rating.

The Bad/What I don’t like

The screen and door sets are sold separately.

Pros

Cons

6. Sure Heat SH18DBNG Gas Fireplace Insert

Features Overview

  • 18″ Seasoned Hickory log set
  • Tiered grate
  • 50,000 BTUs

Sure heat produces appealing, high-performance fireplace inserts. The brand has built its reputation over the years by adhering to high manufacturing standards. So you can trust that this realistic, hassle-free fireplace is going to serve you well.

Product Highlights

This gas fireplace insert is beautifully designed and comes with six refractory cement logs. The logs have highly detailed features for a realistic feel. Its log set can also fit other fireplaces with a 28-inch front width, 15-inch depth, and 21-inch back width.

Sure Heat also incorporated an innovative U-shaped dual burner for superior dancing flame patterns. The insert works in a vented environment and uses a manually controlled valve system. Overall, your purchase will include connection hardware, glowing embers, a shale, grate, and the dual burner.

The Good/What I like

The log set is simple and easy to maintain.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Its efficiency rating is not as high as that of the other units.

Pros

Cons

7. Peterson Real Fyre Live Oak Log Set

Features Overview

  • Flex line
  • Custom grate
  • 24-inch log set

If you’re looking for a log set with a high heat output, this Peterson Real Fyre model might be an excellent fit for you. It has a burner output of 75,000 BTUs and can heat large rooms or spaces. Its design aims to capture tradition and bring out some natural appeal.

Product Highlights

The gas unit features logs that are hand-painted and have high definition bark. These two features make the wood look more natural, especially since the logs are modeled from real samples. They even produce radiant heat when the burner is off since they consist of superior refractory ceramics.

Aside from their outstanding craftsmanship, the logs reduce pollution. Reason being, they have a vented design that allows them to burn efficiently. The gas insert also comes with a one-year warranty on the valves, controls, and pilots. Its logs have a five-year warranty, while the burner assembly has a two-year warranty.

The Good/What I like

The logs have steel rod inserts for maximum reinforcement.

The Bad/What I don’t like

This purchase does not include a control valve.

Pros

Cons

8. Sure Heat BRO24NG Gas Log Set

Features Overview

  • Eight hand-painted logs
  • Golden flames
  • Match-light style vented unit

If you’ve done your research, you’ve probably noticed that Sure Heat products come highly recommended in most gas fireplace insert reviews. The brand found a way to produce quality feature-packed inserts at affordable prices. There’s a high chance that you’re going to take a liking to this model if you liked the first Sure Heat unit that we came across.

Product Highlights

With its 60,000 BTU output and superior flame patterns, your fireplace will undoubtedly capture your guest’s attention. Compared to standard embers, its high-performance embers are twice as bright. That’s part of the reason why it looks so realistic. Its highly detailed log set also looks real when stacked on the tiered grate.

The insert works with a standard natural gas fuel supply. It features a manually controlled valve system and works in a vented environment. This unit can fit most fireplaces provided they have a minimum front width of 32 inches, depth of 15 inches, and a 24-inch back width.

Remember to use a 7-inch water column, if you’re planning to use natural gas. It has the nominal inlet gas pressure that the gas fireplace insert requires to operate. The brand advises users who plan to use liquid propane to purchase the recommended safety pilot kit and vermiculite.

The Good/What I like

The gas insert features the brand’s innovative U-shaped dual burner.

The Bad/What I don’t like

It doesn’t have a remote since it’s controlled manually.

Pros

Cons

9. Emberside by SureHeat Mountain Vernon Fireplace Insert

Features Overview

  • Vent-free design
  • Innovative u-shaped dual burner
  • Six highly detailed ceramic logs

Available in 18-inch and 24-inch log set variations, this Emberside model is yet another dependable Sure Heat product. Compared to the other units from the same brand, this fireplace insert has the highest efficiency rating.

It is 99.9% efficient, making it an excellent fit for Sure Heat fans who prioritize efficiency. The unit’s design is responsible for its economical operation since it pushes heat to the room or living space. Gas fireplace inserts that push the heat up the chimney tend to be less efficient.

Product Highlights

This model will be a great fit for your home if your fireplace has the following minimum dimensions; a 28-inch front width, a depth of 15 inches, and 21-inch back width. The fireplace insert can heat 1200 to 1500 square feet spaces. It has a log set with a push-button ignition and has a few safety features.

The gas unit has an oxygen depletion sensor. Sure Heat designed it to be 100% carbon monoxide and oxygen-depletion safe. It comes with a safety pilot light valve system as well. 

The Good/What I like

The unit is CSA approved.

The Bad/What I don’t like

Users reported several quality control issues.

Pros

Cons

10. ProCom Vent-Free Universal Ventless Firebox Insert

Features Overview

  • One year limited warranty
  • Assembled in the USA
  • High-quality parts

Procom offers a gas fireplace insert that you can recess or install against wall accessible gas lines. Its zero-clearance firebox makes it highly convenient. The insert also features an extra-large viewing area and a decorative sprayed brick line.

Product Highlights

You can get this model in 32-inch and 36-inch sizes. It also works with 24-inch and 18-inch ventless gas log sets. Its slim profile makes it easy to install, even in tight areas. The unit also has a vent-free firebox, so you can customize your fireplace as you please.

One of the reasons for its high performance is its Unique Airflow Technology System. The system is responsible for its outstanding heat flow. This fireplace insert also comes with a convenient hood and draw screen for added safety.

The Good/What I like

Users can pair it with a cabinet mantel or recess it into the wall.

The Bad/What I don’t like

One user mentioned that the insert set off their CO2 monitor.

Pros

Cons

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve gone through the gas fireplace insert reviews, you probably have a few options that have caught your attention. The purpose of this buying guide to narrow down your selection even further by helping you identify exactly what you need. We are going to break down some of the things that you should look at to get a gas fireplace insert that meets your needs.

1. Type

There are three different types of gas fireplaces. Some use log sets, others are built-in, and there are inserts as well. Even though people sometimes refer to them using a common name, you might have noticed that their designs vary.

i) Built-in fireplaces have a box-like construction and look like inserts. They don’t require chimneys or existing fireplaces to operate. These units are available in both vented and vent-free variations.

The vent-free models have a glass panel or fixed metal screen. Their downside is that they also emit exhaust into the room. On the other hand, the vented versions cycle air and exhaust through an exterior opening on the wall. These vented fireplaces also have fixed glass panels.

ii) Log sets are the most affordable alternatives. They consist of a gas burner and ceramic logs designed for use in existing fireplaces. You will need to drill access holes for the electric and gas lines if you want to install one of them.

Log sets can also be vented and vent-free. To prevent CO2 poisoning, the vented models need to have their damper open. A lot of their heat goes up the flue.

iii) Inserts consist of logs and burner sets inside two metal boxes – one box is larger than the other. You can only use them if you have an existing fireplace. Inserts heat rooms and spaces through radiation from their fireboxes. Like log sets, you’ll also need to drill a hole for the gas and electric lines.

Ventless inserts have glass panels or fixed metal screens, while vented units have fixed glass panels in front of the flames.

2. Vented, B Vent, or Ventless fireplaces

i) Ventless or vent-free fireplaces don’t require any venting. You can install them anywhere you want since they have no flue. These fireplaces have a high-efficiency rating of about 99%. One of the reasons why they are so efficient is because all their heat stays in the room.

Most of them have oxygen depletion sensors that shut them off once the oxygen level gets dangerously low. Reason being, their design also leaves pollutants in the room, hence raising concerns about air quality. Their heat output is often limited to 40,000 BTUs, and they’re also designed to burn extra clean.

ii) B Vent or Natural Vent fireplaces have B vent chimney pipes. To install a B vent fireplace, the chimney pipe needs to pass through the house to the roof. These types of units are usually about 50% efficient.

The fireplace emits exhaust fumes outside the house while it uses the air inside the room for combustion. They don’t generate much heat, but they make for great decorative units since they’re available in different styles. The fireplace flames also have a realistic look.

iii) Direct Vent or Vented fireplaces do a great job of maintaining the quality of the air in the room. These units are sealed, so they don’t use the air in the house for combustion. Their glass face also keeps pollutants from leaking into the house. Thanks to their design, drafts can’t enter the room, and warm air can’t escape as well.

Their venting system consists of two pipes. One pipe delivers outside air to the firebox for combustion, while the other safely takes out the exhaust fumes. They often have an efficiency rating of about 70 to 85%.

3. Fuel Type

There are gas fireplaces that use natural gas, some use liquid propane, and others use both fuel sources. Natural gas is a popular fuel source since it’s affordable and commonly used in the urban and suburban areas. If you already have an existing natural gas line, purchasing a gas fireplace that uses natural gas will work in your favor.

Natural gas also burns cleaner compared to propane. Its flames also look more natural compared to other non-wood fuel sources.

Liquid propane is an excellent fit for people who don’t have access to natural gas. It’s a common fuel source in rural areas and burns with the same efficiency as natural gas. You should also consider using it if you want a fuel source that burns hot. Liquid propane can even be run independently of other appliances and natural gas.

FAQs

1. Are gas fireplace inserts expensive?

Gas fireplace inserts are also more affordable when compared to wood-burning fireplace inserts.

The cost of a gas fireplace insert depends on the model you choose and where you purchase it. Compare appropriate catalogs or even contact qualified dealers to know the right one for you. This way, you can make an informed choice based on your budget.

Other than regular maintenance check-ups, operation costs depend on the type of gas you will use for your insert. Natural gas is often more affordable than propane. However, you should first compare the prices in your region before you settle for either fuel source.

2. What type of gas should I use?

Gas fireplaces generally use propane or natural gas. Although most models can use both at different times, some designs allow for only one source of fuel.

Therefore, before you buy a gas insert, confirm which type of gas is readily available in your region. Afterward, ensure the gas fireplace insert you pick is compatible with that gas/fuel source.

Alternatively, you could make use of the gas that already exists in your home, if any. It’s more convenient when you connect your fireplace insert to the main gas line rather than having to deal with constant refills.

3. Do I need to have a chimney to get a gas fireplace insert?

These fireplace inserts can use chimneys, but it’s not necessarily a requirement.

Vented gas fireplace inserts, as the name suggests, have their own ventilation system. If you already have a chimney, you can alter it for the vented insert. In case you don’t have one, you can simply construct the vent to run outside the house.

There’s also the option of ventless gas fireplace inserts. Their design allows for complete burning of the gas, so they don’t require any outlet. They’re also designed with glass doors to ensure no byproduct escapes.

4. Can I install it on my own?

Even though you can install a gas fireplace insert on your own, it’s not advisable.

The slightest mistake can cause some serious damages, especially because you are dealing with gas. Therefore, have it done by a qualified professional to ensure proper installation. Professionals also have a better grasp of the safety rules and regulations associated with gas fireplaces.

5. Do gas fireplace inserts need a connection to any power outlet?

Not necessarily. Most modern gas fireplace inserts can generate their own electricity using a thermopile.

In any case, only the fan or blower may be unable to function without electricity. But this shouldn’t worry you. You would still enjoy heating through radiation; you will only lose convectional heating.

6. Are these fireplace inserts safe for households with children or pets?

Yes, they should be. As long as you ensure the installation is done professionally and you observe proper regular maintenance.

Gas fireplace inserts have a bunch of inbuilt safety features. As an extra precaution, some models even come with an additional shield because the glass door can become quite hot. The shield prevents any direct contact, thus preventing burns.

7. I smell a strong odor of gas in my home; what should I do?

If you do smell gas at home, try not to panic. Panicking will only confuse you and cloud your judgment. You should take the following steps:

  • Immediately extinguish all live flames and switch off the main gas supply.
  • Open all windows, then exit the house; don’t try to take anything with you.
  • Once you’re at a safe distance, call your local gas authority or the fire department and let them know. In case you left your phone inside, you can ask for help from a neighbor or passerby.
  • Don’t re-enter the home until investigations are complete, and you’re given the go-ahead.

Conclusion

We recommend the Majestic Quartz Series Direct Vent Gas Fireplace as the best gas fireplace insert. The fireplace stands out because of its versatility. It’s highly customizable, so you can change it from a traditional to a contemporary unit. The design doesn’t take up much space, and it also features a battery backup system.

Our most affordable pick is the Peterson Real Fyre Live Oak Log Set. The realistic log set features wood with high definition bark. Its overall design is appealing, and it also offers a high heat output.

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