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Read before you buy: Everything you need to know about electric fireplaces

Published 4th November 2022
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Everyone loves a crackling fire, but if you don’t want to deal with the hassle, mess and smell of burning logs or coal in your home, we’ve got the perfect solution: electric fireplaces!

Stylish and cosy, they’re the perfect addition to your home - and sure to be the envy of all your guests! But with so many different types, designs and features to choose from, how do you pick the right one for you?

Check out this guide to discover everything you need to know before you buy, then head to our full range to find great deals on all the best makes and models!

black inset fireplace

Different types of electric fireplaces

There are four main types of electric fireplaces: wall-mounted, freestanding, inset and portable.


Want the five-star feel in your home? Get it in an instant with a wall-mounted electric fireplace! Choose from sleek, thin models that sit flush against the wall, contemporary curved designs, or suites with a mantelpiece to customise however you’d like. Made to free up floor space, they’re perfect for homes of any shape or size.

Why you’ll love them:

  • Realistic flames for an authentic feel
  • Remote-controlled - turn on or off from the sofa!
  • Maximises space, leaving more room for furniture


From traditional designs that look just like the real thing to modern styles that are a real talking point, freestanding electric fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes to suit your home and personality. When it comes to installation, just plug it in and place it wherever you want - it’s that easy!

Why you’ll love them:

  • Can be placed against any wall
  • Huge range of designs to suit your taste
  • No need for DIY!


Got an old fireplace that’s not in use? Give it a new lease of life with an inset electric model! Designed to use up the space you already have, they enhance the look and feel of your existing fireplace, without taking up any extra room. Often cheaper than other models of the same size, they’re ideal for an instant upgrade on a budget.

Why you’ll love them:

  • Will fit into your old fireplace hearth, maximising space
  • Easy to install
  • Affordable


Similar to freestanding (but lightweight!), portable electric fireplaces have the same, easy plug-in-and-place design, but can be taken with you wherever you go! Available in a range of styles and sizes, from compact tabletop models to retro stoves and even plug-ins, there’s something for everyone.

Why you’ll love them:

  • Lightweight and easy to plug in anywhere
  • Perfect for rented properties
  • Loads of styles to suit you

How do I install an electric fireplace?

Installing an electric fireplace is easier than you’d think, and we’ve got all the help you need to do it yourself. Discover our top tips and instructions for installing your electric fireplace in our guide now!

Close up of imitation logs

Fuel bed

For a more realistic look, most electric fireplaces come with a fuel bed for the ‘flames’ to come out of. There are a few to choose from, but here are our top three:

  • Logs: Great for that ‘hygge’ cosiness, log fuel beds look straight out of a cabin on the slopes! Perfect for both modern and traditional homes, they add an authentic feel to your fireplace. Choose between ‘fresh’ logs or ones that look like they’ve been smouldering for hours.

  • Coals: Coal fuel beds add dimension and realism to your fireplace. Some have near-perfect chunks in front of the screen, while others sit behind the glass panel itself. Just like log models, you can find fresh coals or ones with bright, ‘burning’ embers.

  • Pebbles: Not technically a fuel source, but pebbles offer the same chunky appearance as coal, just in a different colour! Great for brightening up darker spaces, they look especially good with a black fireplace.

Shot of imitation fire

Types of flame

Part of the appeal of an electric fire is recreating the beautiful atmosphere of flickering flames. This is done in many different ways, but here are some of the most common ones you’ll find:

LED electric fireplaces

An LED screen sits behind the fuel bed and projects a looped video of flames from a traditional fireplace. You can find hyper realistic LED flames or ones that act more as a ‘glow’, and you can even find models with colour-changing flames for a more contemporary feel!

Flame effect fireplaces

These pair the video loops of an LED fireplace with other features for extra authenticity, like speakers to play the pops and crackles of burning firewood, or special tilted glass panels to add depth to the flames. Some models even ditch the LED display entirely for more creative replicas, like flicking water mist that glows orange via powerful lights.


Optiflame fireplaces are made exclusively by Dimplex, one of the biggest electric fireplace brands out there. Their backs are covered with a reflective material that bounces the LED flames back towards you, making their flickers random and way more lifelike. They often come at a more premium price tag, but they more than make up for it with their mesmerising flames!

Dark grey fireplace in a white room


Don’t worry about colour clashes - electric fireplaces come in different styles to match your décor! To help you find your perfect match, here are some of the most popular finishes:


Chrome fireplaces

Metal electric fireplaces are perfect if you’re looking for an eye-catching, luxurious feature in your room. Shiny and light-reflecting, they can even help to make the space feel a little bigger and brighter, too! For maximum shine factor, choose the mirror-like sheen of a chrome electric fireplace. Tough and easy to clean, they’re great as a low-maintenance choice.

Best for: Neutral rooms (beige, taupe, grey, cream, brown, black, or white)

A Brass Fireplace.

If you want your home to feel grand and traditional, go bold with a brass electric fireplace! Loads of Victorian fireplaces were made with brass, so it'll give a contemporary room a grand, stately look. That golden colour only adds to the luxury!

Best for: Jewel-toned rooms, like jade, sapphire, ruby, or emerald

Wood surround fireplace

Wood is the arguably the most complementary finish out there - no matter your décor, it will slot in beautifully! There are lots of different wooden finishes to choose from, but our favourite is oak. With a light, soft hue, it can help to brighten up the room and adds a sense of calm and serenity - the perfect combination with a soft, flickering flame.

Best for: Any interior style

Black fireplace

Black is another super flexible option, and you have the choice of either glossy or matte to suit your style. Glossy finishes are chic and contemporary, often found on wall-mounted fireplaces, while matte is usually paired with retro designs, giving a cast iron look. For the most dramatic effect, we recommend contrasting against bright whites or vibrant colours.

Best for: Light or colourful rooms

White fireplace

Light and bright, white electric fireplaces are another great choice if you’re looking for something to pair with practically anything! Great for darker rooms in need of a little softening, all-white interiors, or bold, eclectic styles, they’re a bit of a chameleon - which is what makes them so popular!

Best for: Any interior style

Remote controlling a fireplace


All electric fireplaces heat up a room, but some can do a whole lot more! Here are some extra features to look out for:

  • Remote controls
  • Built-in thermostat
  • Sleep timers
  • Smart home connectivity
Woman sitting in front of fireplace

Pros & cons


  • Easy to install - even inset electric fires are easier to place than the real thing!
  • Can fit in any room (or more than one if you buy a portable electric fire!)
  • Additional safety - no risk of open flames or smoke inhalation
  • Low maintenance - easy to clean, no chimney to worry about
  • Precise temperature control - particularly with a remote control


  • Not as powerful as the real thing - they're better used alongside central heating
  • Needs electricity - either via a spare outlet or hardwired into your home's grid
Man sitting in front of a n electric fireplace


Do electric fireplaces give off heat?

Yes! Most electric fireplaces give off heat via a fan that pushes warm air into the room. You can find many with a remote control that allows you to turn the heat up or down, whenever you like!

How does an electric fireplace work?

Different models use slightly different heating methods, but they all use the same technology as electric space heaters. A filament inside the electric fire heats up as electricity flows into it, and the warm air is passed through a fan.

Can an electric fireplace be placed anywhere?

It's quite easy to install an electric fire, but they won't go just anywhere! For help in finding the best spot for yours, read our electric fireplace installation guide.

Do electric fireplaces use a lot of electricity?

Electric fireplaces don't use a huge amount of electricity in comparison to other heating methods. This is because their heating elements are super-efficient and they're only heating one room at a time, rather than your whole home.

Electric or gas heaters, which is more efficient?

Electric fireplaces are more efficient than gas heaters. Electric heaters convert 100% of the energy that flows into them into heat, compared to 90% for gas.

Now you know how to find the perfect one for your home, explore our full range of electric fireplaces to discover the make and model for you!

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