Wood Burning Fireplaces: A Complete Guide and Expert Buying Advice

Picture this: it's a chilly winter evening, and you want nothing more than to cozy up by a warm fire. Look no further than the wood burning fireplace. This classic heating option not only provides efficient warmth but also creates an inviting ambiance in any home.

So buckle up as we embark on a journey through the world of wood burning fireplaces - where warmth meets nostalgia and comfort meets style.

Different Types of Wood Burning Fireplaces

Wood burning fireplaces come in various types, each offering its own unique features and benefits. Let's explore the different options available to help you choose the perfect wood burning fireplace for your needs.

Open Hearth Fireplaces with Traditional Charm

Open hearth fireplaces are the classic choice that instantly brings a cozy and traditional ambiance to any home. These fireplaces feature an open design with a wide firebox, allowing you to enjoy the crackling sounds and mesmerizing flames. They are typically built into masonry structures using bricks or stones.


  • Provides a traditional and rustic look to your living space.

  • Offers a wide view of the flames.

  • Creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.


  • Less efficient compared to other types of wood burning fireplaces.

  • May require regular maintenance due to soot buildup.

  • Can lose heat through the chimney when not in use.

Fireplace Inserts for Improved Efficiency and Heat Output

If you're looking for enhanced efficiency and heat output, consider installing a wood burning fireplace insert. These inserts are designed to fit inside an existing masonry fireplace or prefabricated firebox. They improve energy efficiency by preventing heat loss through their insulated design.


  • Increases heating efficiency by directing more heat into your living space.

  • Reduces air pollution as combustion is more controlled.

  • Allows you to convert your old inefficient fireplace into an efficient heating source.


  • Requires professional installation for proper fit and safety.

  • Limited variety of designs compared to open hearth fireplaces.

  • May need occasional maintenance such as cleaning the chimney or replacing gaskets.

Masonry Fireplaces Built with Bricks or Stones

Masonry fireplaces are built using bricks or stones, providing durability and aesthetic appeal. These custom-built fireplaces offer endless design possibilities, allowing you to create a unique focal point in your home. They can be tailored according to your preferences and can incorporate various architectural styles.


  • Offers a high level of customization to match your home's interior design.

  • Provides excellent heat retention due to the dense construction materials.

  • Adds value to your property as a permanent fixture.


  • Requires professional installation due to the complexity of construction.

  • Can be expensive compared to prefabricated fireplaces.

  • Construction time may be longer, depending on the size and design requirements.

Prefabricated Fireplaces for Easy Installation

Prefabricated fireplaces, also known as zero-clearance fireplaces, are factory-built units that can be easily installed in homes without existing masonry structures. These fireplaces are made from metal or other non-combustible materials and offer a more affordable and convenient option compared to traditional masonry fireplaces.


  • Quick and easy installation process compared to masonry fireplaces.

  • Cost-effective option for homeowners on a budget.

  • Available in various designs and sizes to suit different spaces.


  • May have limitations in terms of customization options.

  • Not as durable as masonry fireplaces.

  • Requires regular maintenance such as cleaning the chimney and inspecting the components.

Outdoor Wood Burning Fireplaces for Patio or Backyard Use

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, an outdoor wood burning fireplace can be a fantastic addition to your patio or backyard. These fireplaces are specifically designed for outdoor use, allowing you to create a cozy gathering spot while enjoying the beauty of nature. They come in various styles, including freestanding models or built-in options.


  • Creates an inviting ambiance for outdoor entertaining and relaxation.

  • Provides warmth during chilly evenings, extending the usability of your outdoor space.

  • Enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of your patio or backyard area.


  • Requires proper ventilation and adherence to local regulations regarding outdoor fires.

  • Maintenance is necessary to ensure safe operation and prevent damage from weather elements.

  • May have limited heat output compared to indoor wood burning fireplaces.

Installation Options: Built-in, Freestanding, Recessed, Wall Mounted

There are various installation options available to suit different preferences and space constraints. Let's take a closer look at the different types of installations: built-in, freestanding, recessed, and wall mounted.

Built-in Wood Burning Fireplaces

Featured: Superior High-Efficiency Wood Burning Fireplace WCT4920WS

Built-in fireplaces are designed to seamlessly blend into the wall structure. These fireplaces are installed directly into the wall cavity or framed with non-combustible materials. They create a sleek and cohesive look that complements the overall aesthetics of the room. Built-in fireplaces offer a permanent and integrated heating solution for your home.

Pros Cons
Provides a seamless and integrated look in your living space. Requires professional installation due to its complexity.
Can be customized with various finishes and materials to match your interior design. Limited flexibility in terms of placement as it needs to be fixed in one location.
Offers a permanent heating solution that adds value to your home. May involve more extensive construction work depending on the existing wall structure.


Elevate Your Home with Built-in Wood Burning Fireplaces: Click here for The Collection!

Freestanding Wood Burning Fireplaces

Freestanding Wood Burning Fireplaces

Featured: Nectre Curved Freestanding Wood-Burning Fireplace N65

Freestanding wood burning fireplaces offer flexibility in terms of placement. These standalone units can be positioned anywhere in the room as long as there is proper ventilation and clearance from combustible materials. They come in various sizes and styles, allowing you to choose an option that suits your space requirements and personal taste.

Pros Cons
Easy installation without the need for major construction Takes up floor space which may not be suitable for smaller rooms
Can be moved around if needed or relocated when moving Requires additional measures for proper ventilation and safety clearance
Provides heat from all sides, making it ideal for larger May not provide the same integrated look as built-in fireplaces


Enhance Your Home Ambiance with Classic Freestanding Wood Burning Fireplaces: Click here to browse The Collection!

Recessed Wood Burning Fireplaces

Featured: Napoleon High Country™ 6000 Wood Burning Fireplace NZ6000

Recessed installations create a sleek and modern look by embedding the fireplace into the wall. These fireplaces are set into a recessed cavity, giving them a flush appearance with the surrounding wall surface. Recessed fireplaces are popular for their contemporary aesthetic and ability to save space.

Pros Cons
Creates a seamless and minimalist look Requires careful planning to ensure proper ventilation
Saves floor space May involve additional construction work to create the cavity
Can be installed at different heights Limited options available compared to freestanding fireplaces

Experience Cozy Warmth and Contemporary Design: Shop Recessed Fireplaces Now!

It ultimately depends on your personal preference and available space. Whether you opt for a built-in fireplace that seamlessly blends into your wall, a freestanding model that offers flexibility in placement, a recessed option that creates a sleek and modern look, or a wall-mounted unit that saves space - each option has its own advantages and considerations. Consider factors such as aesthetics, functionality, ease of installation, maintenance requirements, and safety precautions before making your decision.

Venting Options: Vent-Free vs Vented Fireplaces

One of the crucial decisions you need to make is choosing between vent-free and vented options. Both have their advantages and considerations, so let's delve into the details to help you make an informed choice.

Vent-Free Fireplaces: No Chimney Required

Featured: Superior 36" Traditional Vent-Free Outdoor Fireplace VRE4336ZE

Vent-free fireplaces are a popular option for those who want the warmth and ambiance of a wood burning fireplace without the need for a chimney or venting system. These fireplaces are designed to burn efficiently, with no smoke or combustion byproducts escaping into your home. Instead, they utilize a specially engineered burner system that ensures complete combustion.

Here are some key points about vent-free fireplaces:

  • Energy Efficiency: Vent-free models are highly energy-efficient because they do not lose heat through a chimney or flue. All the heat generated by the fireplace stays in your home, providing maximum warmth and comfort.

  • No Chimney Needed: Since vent-free fireplaces don't require a chimney or flue, they can be installed virtually anywhere in your home. This makes them an excellent option for apartments, condos, or homes without existing chimneys.

  • Easy Installation: The absence of a chimney makes installation easier and more cost-effective. You won't have to worry about building or maintaining a chimney structure.

  • Regulations: It's important to note that vent-free fireplaces may have stricter regulations in some areas due to concerns about indoor air quality. Local building codes should be consulted before installing a vent-free fireplace.

Vented Fireplaces: Utilizing Chimneys for Smoke Expulsion

Featured: Napoleon High Country™ 8000 Wood Burning Fireplace NZ8000

Vented fireplaces, as the name suggests, utilize a chimney or flue system to expel smoke and combustion byproducts from your home. These traditional wood burning fireplaces offer certain advantages over their vent-free counterparts.

Here's what you need to know about vented fireplaces:

  • Better Air Quality: Vented fireplaces provide better indoor air quality since all the smoke and combustion byproducts are safely expelled through the chimney. This can be particularly important for individuals with respiratory issues or allergies.

  • Proper Ventilation Required: To ensure proper ventilation, it's essential to have a well-maintained chimney or flue system in place. Regular inspections and cleanings are necessary to prevent blockages and maintain optimal airflow.

  • Compliance with Building Codes: The choice between vent-free and vented fireplaces often depends on local building codes. Some areas may require vented fireplaces as a safety measure to ensure proper ventilation.

It's important to research and understand your local building codes before making a final decision. Consulting with professionals such as contractors or fireplace experts can also provide valuable insights tailored to your specific situation.

Exploring Wood Burning Fireplace Styles: From See-Through to Single-Sided and Traditional Designs

Wood burning fireplaces come in various styles to suit different preferences and home decor.

See Through Fireplaces: Provide Views from Two Sides

Featured: Majestic Designer See-Through 42" Wood-Burning Fireplace DSR42

See-through fireplaces are a fantastic option for those who want to enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a wood burning fireplace from multiple rooms. These fireplaces feature glass on two sides, allowing you to see the flickering flames from both sides. They create a stunning focal point that adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any space.

Pros Cons
Provides an unobstructed view of the fire from multiple angles. Requires more careful installation due to the need for proper venting on both sides.
Enhances the visual appeal of both rooms it connects. May be more expensive compared to single-sided models.
Offers flexibility in terms of placement within open-concept living spaces. The additional glass may require more maintenance and cleaning.


Discover Dual-Sided Ambiance with See-Through Wood Burning Fireplaces: Click here to explore now!

Single-Sided Models: The Most Common Type

Single-Sided Models: The Most Common Type

Featured: Osburn Horizon Wood Fireplace w/4 lengths of 8"x36" Chimney OB04010K

Single-sided wood burning fireplaces are the classic choice that most people envision when they think of a fireplace. These models have one opening where you can enjoy the warmth and beauty of a crackling fire. They are versatile and can be installed in various locations within your home, such as living rooms, bedrooms, or even outdoor spaces like patios or decks.

Pros Cons
Widely available and easy to find at different price points. Limited viewing angle compared to see-through fireplaces.
Simple installation process compared to see-through or multi-sided options. Heat distribution may not be as efficient throughout larger spaces.
Can be customized with different mantel designs for added personalization. Requires regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure optimal performance.


Discover Classic Ambiance with Single-Sided Wood Burning Fireplaces

Traditional Designs with Ornate Details and Classic Aesthetics

Traditional Designs with Ornate Details and Classic Aesthetics

Featured: Heatilator Birmingham 36" Radiant Heat Wood Burning Fireplace BIR36-B

For those who appreciate a more nostalgic and timeless look, traditional wood burning fireplaces are an excellent choice. These designs often feature ornate details, intricate carvings, and mantels that exude elegance and grandeur. They create a cozy and inviting atmosphere reminiscent of old-world charm.

Pros Cons
Adds a touch of sophistication to any room. May require more space due to their larger size and elaborate features.
Can serve as a focal point for traditional or vintage-themed decor. The intricate detailing may be more challenging to clean and maintain.
Provides an opportunity to showcase personal style through unique mantel designs. Traditional designs may not align with modern or contemporary home aesthetics.


Elevate Your Home with Traditional Wood Burning Fireplaces

When choosing the style of your wood burning fireplace, it's essential to consider how it will complement your overall home decor. Whether you opt for the stunning views of see-through fireplaces, the classic charm of traditional designs, or the sleek appeal of modern styles - each option has its own unique advantages. Take into account your personal preferences, available space, budget considerations, and maintenance requirements before making your final decision.

Buying Guide for Wood Burning Fireplaces

There are several factors to consider.

When buying a wood burning fireplace, there are several factors that you should take into consideration to ensure you make the right choice.

Size and Design:

Consider the size of the fireplace and how it will fit into your space. Measure the dimensions of the area where you plan to install the fireplace to ensure it will fit properly. Additionally, think about the design and style of the fireplace to ensure it complements your existing decor.

Heating Capacity:

Determine the heating capacity of the fireplace to ensure it will effectively heat your space. Consider the square footage of the room and choose a fireplace with a heating capacity that matches your needs.

Fuel Efficiency:

Look for a wood burning fireplace that is fuel efficient to minimize waste and maximize heat output. Look for features such as air controls and secondary burn chambers that help to increase efficiency.

Safety Features:

It is important to prioritize safety when choosing a wood burning fireplace. Look for features such as heat-resistant glass doors, spark screens, and automatic shut-off systems to ensure safe operation.

Installation Requirements:

Consider the installation requirements of the fireplace before making a purchase. Some wood burning fireplaces may require professional installation, while others can be installed by the homeowner. Be sure to factor in any additional costs or considerations for installation.

Maintenance and Cleaning:

Wood burning fireplaces require regular maintenance and cleaning. Consider the ease of maintenance and cleaning when choosing a fireplace. Look for features such as ash pans and removable grates that make cleaning easier.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when buying a wood burning fireplace that will meet your heating needs and enhance the ambiance of your space.

Benefits and Features of Wood Burning Fireplaces

Wood burning fireplaces offer a range of benefits and features that make them a popular choice for homeowners. Let's explore some of the reasons why wood burning fireplaces are so appealing.

Provides a Natural Heat Source During Power Outages

One of the significant advantages of a wood burning fireplace is its ability to provide heat even during power outages. When the electricity goes out, you can rely on your wood burning fireplace to keep you warm and cozy. Unlike electric or gas-powered heating systems, which require electricity to operate, a wood burning fireplace can function independently, ensuring that you stay comfortable during those unexpected blackouts.

Creates a Cozy Atmosphere for Relaxation and Gatherings

There's something undeniably inviting about sitting by a crackling fire in a wood burning fireplace. The warm glow and flickering flames create a cozy ambiance that is perfect for relaxation and gatherings with family and friends. Whether you're curling up with a good book on a chilly evening or hosting an intimate get-together, the atmosphere created by a wood burning fireplace enhances the overall experience.

Offers the Crackling Sound and Aroma of Burning Wood

The crackling sound and distinct aroma of burning wood add to the charm of owning a wood burning fireplace. The gentle pops and cracks create an acoustic backdrop that further contributes to the cozy ambiance. The smell of burning wood evokes feelings of nostalgia and comfort, making your time spent by the fireplace even more enjoyable.

Can Reduce Heating Costs in Colder Climates

In colder climates, heating costs can quickly add up during winter months. However, with a wood burning fireplace as an additional heat source, you have the potential to reduce your reliance on other forms of heating such as electric or gas systems. By using firewood as fuel instead, you can save money on energy bills while still keeping your home warm and comfortable.

Adds Value to Your Home as an Attractive Feature

A wood burning fireplace is not only a practical addition to your home but also an attractive one. It adds charm and character to any living space, becoming a focal point that draws attention and admiration. When it comes time to sell your home, having a wood burning fireplace can be a significant selling point, increasing the overall value and appeal of your property.

Making the Right Choice for Your Home

Now that you have a better understanding of wood burning fireplaces, it's time to make the right choice for your home. Consider your space, style preferences, and installation options when selecting the perfect fireplace. Whether you opt for a built-in, freestanding, recessed, or wall-mounted fireplace, each option adds warmth and ambiance to your living space.

Decide between vent-free and vented fireplaces based on your needs. Vent-free fireplaces offer convenience and flexibility with no need for a chimney or flue system. On the other hand, vented fireplaces provide more efficient heat output and ensure proper ventilation.

Remember that wood burning fireplaces come in various styles such as see-through, single-sided, and traditional designs. Choose a style that complements your home decor while creating a cozy atmosphere.

In conclusion, investing in a wood burning fireplace brings numerous benefits and features to enhance your home. From the crackling sound of burning logs to the mesmerizing dancing flames, these fireplaces create an inviting focal point in any room. So why wait? Explore our buying guide now and find the perfect wood burning fireplace for your home!


Is a wood-burning fireplace worth it?

Opting for wood as your choice of fuel in a fireplace offers several benefits compared to alternatives like gas or waste wood logs. Burning natural wood logs in a wood-burning fireplace can lead to a nearly 30% reduction in your annual greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, these wood fires have no adverse effects on the indoor air quality, ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment.

Do wood fireplaces save on heating bills?

Wood-burning fireplaces provide the most traditional source of heat, but they also are the least cost-effective when it comes to your electric bill.

How often do I need to clean my wood burning fireplace?

Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the efficiency and safety of your wood burning fireplace. It is recommended to have a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean your fireplace at least once a year. You should regularly remove ashes and debris from the firebox after each use.

Is it safe to sleep with wood fireplace on?

You should never leave your fireplace burning and unattended overnight while you sleep.

How long does a wood-burning fireplace last?

The average life expectancy of a wood-burning fireplace or stove is approximately 10 to 20 years.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.