The 8 Best Fireplace Inserts
Our Picks in Detail
If you have any questions regarding an item, please refer to our comments section for this article.
* Last update of prices was on 2019-01-18 09:07:55 via PA API. Prices or conditions may have changed in the meantime.
8 Best Fireplace Insert Alternatives
Fireplace Insert Buying Guide
Installing a fireplace insert also gives you the choice to use wood, natural gas or electricity as the source of heat. So if you like your wood-burning fireplace but not the cold drafts, you can install a wood-burning fireplace insert. Or you can change to clean-burning natural gas, regular electric-powered heat, or infrared quartz heat, also powered by electricity.
Natural gas fireplace inserts can be installed in a brick and mortar fireplace with traditional venting or in a zero-clearance-type opening with much less venting needed. Electric-powered fireplace inserts (including electric-powered infrared quartz) need no venting at all. In fact, some electric or infrared fireplace inserts can be installed in a firebox opening or be freestanding.
Before you run out and buy a fireplace insert, decide what your first choice is for a heat source as well as the design, look or décor style you are after. Next, measure the opening to the firebox (usually square or rectangle) and also determine if you need to install new electrical wiring.
If you plan on installing the fireplace insert, be honest with yourself about your carpentry and electrical skills. Then remember that fireplace inserts can weigh upwards of 200 lbs, although the electric-powered models tend to be much lighter.
Below you'll find two examples of each type of fireplace insert, one at a low or budget price point and the other a higher end or luxury price point, as well as the features of each one.
Wood-Burning Fireplace InsertsComfort Flame B36L-M Builder Wood Burning Fireplace, 36-Inch, about $450. Perhaps the most difficult type of fireplace insert to install, a wood burner requires special vent piping and a complicated assembly of fire stops, a chimney collar and outside combustion kit, among others. This insert will fit a firebox with dimensions of 36" for the front width by 21 3/8" high by 22 5/8" rear width of the firebox. Comes with a log grate and mesh screens to keep sparks in the firebox. Also available: optional glass doors, sold separately.
US Stove, 26 in. 1,800 sq. ft. Wood-Burning Fireplace Insert with EPA Certified, slightly more than $1400. Model # 86030-BB. Some installation materials are not included with this model but the door, filling panel, and flue collar are included with the fireplace insert. Expect to spend up to $500 for additional installation materials. This stove fits fireplace openings 21.5" high by 26.5" wide by 20.18" deep and will heat an area of about 1800 square feet.
Natural Gas-Powered Fireplace Inserts
Sure Heat VFBC42B Surefire Vent-Free Firebox with Screen, 42", Black, $550. Gas-powered fireplace inserts are not inexpensive, but this model is kind of budget-friendly. Included are the mantel guard and protective screen, but it does not include the grates or gas-powered logs. It comes without decoration, so you can leave it as it is or install brick, stone or other non-combustable materials around the opening. A blower is available as a separate purchase.
Empire Comfort Systems Deluxe 36" Direct-Vent NG Millivolt Fireplace, about $1400. A higher end fireplace insert that will fit openings 35 3/4" high by 37 3/8" wide by 16 3/8" deep. Its shallow depth allows it to fit comfortably into most firebox openings. Even at its high price it does not include chimney and other installation items, so expect to spend up to another $500 or so to complete the installation. Included are an on/off switch, an aged brick liner and matte black louvers. This model requires a specific model barrier screen, part no. DVFB36SBL or a glass door set.
Electric-Powered Fireplace InsertsDella 1500w Embedded Fireplace Electric Insert Heater Glass View Adjustable Log Flame w/ Remote Control, a little over $100. The most inexpensive option for replacing a traditional fireplace. Its dimensions are 32" wide by 24" high by 12" deep, but it does have a curved back. Weighing in at just 24 lbs., this fireplace insert can be installed in an existing fireplace opening or it can sit anywhere, just like a piece of furniture. It has a 12 hour timer, operates at 1000 or 1500 watts and has a realistic flame with a glowing log. The flames also work without the heat on. Features a large LED display and a remote control.
PuraFlame Western 33 inch Embedded Electric Firebox Heater With Remote Control, Black, $335-ish. 26.99" high by 35.04" wide by 8.78" deep. Three different flames with an ember bed and life-like resin logs. The flames can be used with or without accompanying heat. Keeps 400 square feet at temperatures between 60 degrees F. and 84 degrees F. Also includes a remote control.
Infrared Quartz Fireplace Inserts (Powered by Electricity)Classic Flame 33II310GRA 33" Infrared Quartz Fireplace Insert with Safer Plug, $415. Measures 34.1" high by 26.1" wide by 10.4" deep. This fireplace insert will heat up to 1,000 square feet. Infrared heat does not dry out indoor air and provides moist, comfortable heat. The false flames are full of options. First are five flame speeds, ranging from a roaring fire to a low, flickering flame. The second layer of flame magic is five brightness settings to create the perfect ambiance. Finally, five different flame colors fine-tune the flames, including: Spectrafire, Sapphire, Amethyst, Campfire, Midnight Fire and auto cycle. All flame settings can be used with or without heat for year-round enjoyment of these effects. A flush-mount trim kit is available to install in a firebox opening.
SpectraFire Plus 33 in. Infrared Quartz Fireplace Insert with Flush-Mount Trim Kit, about $600, Model # 86030-BB. Sized at 26.1" high by 34.1" wide by 10.4" deep, this 5200 BTU fireplace insert will provide effective zone heating in an area of approximately 1000 square feet. The interior features faux brick, an ash/coal bed and realistic glowing logs. But the Spectrafire Plus flame effect technology is the real star of this infrared quartz fireplace insert. With five flame speed settings adjustable from a small, banked fire to a roaring bonfire, five brightness settings to create ambience for a party or an intimate encounter and five flame effect colors—Spectrafire, Sapphire, Amethyst, Campfire, Midnight Fire and auto cycle.
These features create 125 customizable flame options. Because the flames and effects can be used with or without heat, you can enjoy the ambiance of a fire year-round.
Reign in the largest energy-sucker in your home by installing a fireplace insert in your traditional wood-burning, brick and mortar fireplace. If you do not have a traditional fireplace, you can always install a gas- or electric-powered firebox insert in a non-fireplace opening because they don't require the same type of venting that traditional fireplaces do.
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