Seven Critical Qualities of an Electric Fireplace

The interest in electric fireplaces is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, there is a lot of inaccurate information out there, confusing the process of selecting the right fireplace. Fortunately, the process isn’t all that difficult, once you know the right questions to ask. With that introduction, here are

The Seven Critical Qualities of an Electric Fireplace

  1. Construction. What is the mantle made of? Is it solid wood or pressboard? How about the firebox? You must look at a fireplace as you would any other piece of furniture, since has both form and function. Ever notice how the screws pull out of pressboard, or seen a pressboard entertainment center just collapse? Solid wood means quality, pressboard-well, not so much.
  2. Detail. Look at the corners, bottom and sides for detail. Did the manufacturer take the time to make the whole mantel look nice, or or is the nice moldings and detail just on the main, front part? The more detail, the more likely you’re looking a quality piece of furniture.
  3. Realistic Flame. Nothing is more critical to the ambience of your fireplace than the realism of the flame. There is great variation in this area, so make sure you do your homework. Brands like Dimplex, Classic Flame on the high end, and Real Flame on the lower end of the spectrum, have the best flames. Beware of others and check out my reviews at the links below.
  4. Realistic Logs and Embers. It’s easy to forget the logs, but they are very important to the overall ambiance. Look for logs that look charred and glow when on, and that look real when off. There’s nothing worse than a log that looks like a broken piece of concrete!
  5. Finish. If it looks cheap, it IS cheap! Remember that Oak has a lot of grain; if that’s what you want, fine, but if it’s not, be careful. Look for a deep, lustrous finish, as opposed to something that looks painted on or chintzy.
  6. Heating Ability. While an electric fireplace should never be a home’s sole source of heat, you do want something that can keep a moderately sized room cozy. A good fireplace has 4500 BTUs, which can heat up a room sized at 20×20.
  7. Remote Control & Plug and Play. Yes, I know this is two! Plug and play means you simply plug your fireplace into an outlet-and you don’t need an electrician. This greatly simplifies installing your electric fireplace. And don’t forget the remote. A good fireplace always comes with a remote control to operate it.

There you have it: the Seven Critical Qualities to Look at when Buying an Electric Fireplace. Please feel free to check out my reviews of the various fireplace models to see which ones stack up. Good luck!