When it comes to purchasing a fireplace, you usually have two choices: an electric or a gas-powered one. Each offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so choose wisely if you're looking to buy a new fireplace or replace one that's already in place.
To help you decide which option is best for you, let's compare electric and gas fireplaces.
Difference Between Electric and Gas Fireplaces
For the cost difference between gas and electric fireplaces, prices for gas units start at $400+, while electric ones range from $400 to $8,000 or more. The process to install a gas fireplace and the need to vent gas fireplaces can be expensive, plus maintenance which can cost more than electric fireplaces
Gas Fireplaces will cost you an average of 17 cents per hour on your utility bill. It is recommended to consider yearly service checks, which should not cost more than $100 for each examination. Electric units only require minimal maintenance and their expenses are comparable to those of a standard refrigerator or any other higher-voltage appliance in your home.
An electric unit is a more cost-effective choice if you don't have access to an existing gas line. Electric Fireplaces are less expensive to purchase and install than their gas-burning counterparts. Overall, a gas-burning fireplace costs more to operate than an electric fireplace.
Installation and Maintenance
Gas fireplaces require less maintenance compared to wood-burning fireplaces. They just need to be inspected and maintained at least once a year. The vent should be examined for leaks and cleaned as needed. They are an excellent option for those who desire the warmth of a traditional open-hearth fireplace or wood stove without the hassle of maintaining one.
Electric fireplaces do not burn gas or require vents so they only need little to no upkeep. This makes it a practical choice for those who want to own a fireplace but don't want to deal with regular maintenance. An electric fireplace is much easier to install and can be put anywhere in your home, be it your living room, bedroom, kitchen, and so on.
A gas unit uses between 7,000 and 16,000 BTUs, which are 70% to 90% effective in converting energy to heat. Electric heaters and fireplaces, especially the cheaper ones, will have a smaller BTU. They have an electric current-based output, so an average 120V outlet generates over 5000 BTU, just enough to heat a room of about 500 square feet.
In terms of efficiency, a gas-burning fireplace is the best solution for this. However, keep in mind that most expensive electric models offer a strong return on investment too.
For additional information on BTU, check this article: What is BTU? Heater and Fireplace BTU Rating
Since it only takes a push of a button to operate and produce realistic-looking flames, an electric fireplace takes the lead in terms of convenience. Gas units are similar, although they ignite flame a bit slower since they use natural gas or propane tank. Depending on the model, both units can be equipped with remote controls for controlling the heat settings.
The fact that electric fireplaces require electricity to operate is a disadvantage in the event of a power outage. Unlike a gas fireplace, which does not require electricity to light.
Most of the electric ones are easy to install such as fireplace inserts and wall mount electricity fireplaces since they don't require venting. However, there are also gas units that are easy to install such as ventless gas fireplaces. Either way, both types of fireplaces are much more convenient than a traditional fireplace.
How to know if a gas fireplace is vented or vent free? To discover more about the differences between the two, see this article. It also discusses the pros and cons of each type: Vented vs Ventless Gas Logs
Design and Safety
The electric fireplace design simply displays an image or animation of a flickering flame or burning wood, while a gas fireplace creates real and visible flames. Gas fireplace inserts and gas log sets win in terms of a realistic flame effect. However, you'll be dealing with real flames so you need to be more cautious about what you put near your fireplace. And like other gas appliances, they are prone to gas leaks.
The electric one is much safer and less prone to fire hazards since there are no real flames. They still generate adequate heat even if they don't have real flames and work just like a space heater. Certain models incorporate LED lighting, images or videos of a burning flame, and sound effects that simulate a crackling fire, as well as installation options like wall mounting, which may help the fireplace appear more lifelike.
Using an energy-efficient home heating element is one effective approach to decreasing your carbon footprint. One that is not overly reliant on natural resources and does not emit greenhouse gases.
Gas is a fossil fuel, which is not as detrimental to the environment but it somehow emits greenhouse gases. They are proven to be a suitable eco-friendly alternative since they produce fewer emissions than an open fire.
Electric fireplaces are a more environmentally friendly option. They heat your home with energy-efficient lights rather than burning wood or fossil fuels. Even though electric units are safe, the process to produce heat releases dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide into the environment, which is a non-renewable resource.
Which type of fireplace is better: Gas or Electric?
We found gas units to be more energy-efficient, however, you must ensure proper fireplace installations, and maintenance can be expensive. However, there are many brands and sizes of gas fireplaces out there, each with its own unique features and benefits. And they all share one thing in common - they produce a flame that will turn your fireplace into the focal point of your entire home.
Here are some of the best brands that are known to be producing quality gas fireplaces in the market.
Best Gas Fireplace Brands
Electric units are cost-effective and have a greater impact on most people. They are a source of heat that helps you warm up quickly and create a wonderful atmosphere in your home. The electric fireplace can be used day and night because it doesn’t produce smoke as a real fireplace would.
They come in all shapes and sizes, so it might be challenging to select the right one for you. To help you with that, we've compiled a list of our best electric fireplace brands.
Best Electric Fireplace Brands
In the end, choosing a fireplace comes down to one thing: YOU.
It is a matter of personal choice. The goal here is to understand what you really need to ensure that you achieve the outcomes you want from your desired fireplace. Choose the type of fireplace that fits your needs and preferences.
Look through our most popular and best-selling gas and electric fireplaces:
Since the colder months are fast approaching and you're looking for ways to warm up and improve your home, here are some fireplace ideas to help you plan your next design. Check out this article: Fireplace Trends: Best Fireplace Ideas For Your Home