A fire can bring not only warmth to your home, it can help to create an inviting and cosy ambience. However, many modern homes don’t have a fireplace, or an original fireplace in an older home may have been blocked up during earlier renovations.
Installing a new fireplace can be a costly and disruptive project, so this is where an electric fireplace can be a great solution.
An electric fire is simple to install and creates no smoke, meaning no chimney is required. Unlike central heating, it doesn’t require any plumbing.
A real flame electric fire can give you the visual appeal, and the warmth, of a real fire. However, you don’t need to ensure you have fuel to burn, you can control the heat output more effectively than a real fire and you simply switch it off when you’ve finished using it, without any worry about leaving smouldering embers unattended or having any mess to clean up.
Aside from the few elements which are heated, most of an electric fire is also cool to the touch, meaning that they can be a safer option if you have small children or pets to consider.
We’ve done the research to look at the contenders for best electric fireplace, and rounded up some of our top choices.
Best Electric Fires
Best For Higher Budgets1Dimplex GOSFORD Electric Fire
Best For Higher BudgetsDimplex GOSFORD Electric Fire
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|2||Dimplex Cheriton Electric Fire||Buy On Amazon|
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|3||Dimplex Yeominster Electric Fire||Buy On Amazon|
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Best Overall4TruFlame Wall Mounted Electric Fire
Best OverallTruFlame Wall Mounted Electric Fire
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Best For Low Budgets5Endeavour Fires Egton Electric Fire
Best For Low BudgetsEndeavour Fires Egton Electric Fire
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1. Dimplex GOSFORD Electric Fire
- Replicates the style of a traditional woodburner
- Realistic three dimensional flame and smoke effect
- Flame effect can be used independently of the heater
- Comes with remote control
If you’re looking for an electric fire to replicate the style of a traditional woodburner in a cottage or rustic interior, this Dimplex stove could be an ideal choice. The design convincingly mimics a cast iron woodburning stove, with an opening door and realistic log bed.
This fire is from Dimplex’s Opti-myst range, which uses ultrasonic technology to create an ultra-fine water mist that rises up and is lit by the under fuel bed lighting. This produces a three dimensional effect that looks like genuine flames and smoke.
To create an even more authentic look, you can install a fake flue pipe. Heat is supplied by the fan heater, and the fire has thermostatic control so it will automatically turn on if the room drops below a certain temperature.
- Fan heater with thermostatic control and two heat settings
- Door opens for an authentic look
- Realistic log bed
- Adding filtered watered creates a convincing 3D effect
- Some users report that the operating noise of the fan heater is off-putting
- The build quality could be more robust
2. Dimplex Cheriton Electric Fire
- Freestanding fire
- Fits flush to the wall to minimise floor space
- Realistic flame effect
- Real coal fuel bed for authenticity
This is a freestanding fire that sits flush to the wall, making it easy to add a realistic-looking fireplace is any room. The open hearth is even filled with real coal to make it look more authentic.
The flame effect can be used without any heat output if you want to create a cosy feel and attractive feature. The thermostatic controls mean you can set the fan heater to come on automatically if the temperature in the room drops below a certain level, or you can use the remote control to turn it on.
There are two heat settings, 1kW or 2kW. This fire is best for occasional use rather than as a main heat source.
- Thermostatic controls
- Fan heater with a choice of two heat settings
- Flame effect can be used without the heat source
- Brass effect fret and trim
- Several users report that the fan heater is noisy
- The use of real coal in the fuel bed can be a little messy
3. Dimplex Yeominster Electric Fire
- Traditional style
- Produces a good amount of heat even at the lower setting
- Flickering log effect
- Radiant bar electric fire
When you think of an electric fire, your first thought may be of a traditional radiant bar model such as the Dimplex Yeominster. It’s a compact, freestanding fire that produces a good amount of heat even at the lower 600W setting.
Because there’s no fan, this fire is also quiet. Above the heating bars is a log effect hearth which is lit from beneath to give the glow of a real fire.
This effect comes on when the fire is switched on at the mains, so you can enjoy this effect independently of the heat source. The simple switch controls are easy to find, on the top surface of the fire.
- Glow effect can be used independently of the heat source
- Two heat settings, 600W or 1.2kW
- Quieter than a fan heater
- Compact and freestanding
- To turn the flicker effect off you’ll need to switch the fire off at the mains
- Some users didn’t rate the build quality
4. TruFlame Wall Mounted Electric Fire
- Can be wall mounted or flush mounted
- Touch panel controls
- Choice of fuel effect types
- 36 inch black glass screen
This is a modern electric fire that’s ideal for contemporary interiors. It’s wall mounted which minimises the space it takes up in a room and it can even be recessed.
The appearance is very similar to a flatscreen TV, with a 36 inch tempered black glass screen. There are a number of great features, such as touch panel control, adjustable LED flame brightness and a timer which can be set in 30 minute increments from 30 minutes through to 7.5 hours.
If you want to enjoy the look of a fire without the heat, the visual effects can be used independently of the heat output.
- Timer for settings between 30 minutes and 7.5 hours
- Sleek and modern alternative to traditional styles
- Four levels of LED flame brightness
- Two heat settings or flame only mode
- Not suitable if you prefer a traditional look
- Flush mounting gives a sleek look but is more complex
5. Endeavour Fires Egton Electric Fire
- Wall mounted curved glass panel
- Programmable remote control
- Flame effect with adjustable intensity and brightness
- 13 colour dimmable mood lighting
For a contemporary electric fire at a great price point, this Egton model from Endeavour is a solid choice. It mounts to the wall keeping the floor area clear, and the heat output is helpfully at the bottom which means a TV can be mounted on the wall above.
The simple design has a curved black tempered glass panel which conceals the workings of the fire behind. A cosy ambience can be created with the 13 colour mood lighting, which can be used even when the fire is not on, and you can adjust the flame intensity and brightness, and the lighting colours.
The remote control has a thermostatic sensor and a 7 day programmer.
- Heat output is at the bottom of the panel so a TV can be mounted above
- Mood lighting and flame effect can be used independently
- Thermostatic remote control
- Great value for money
- Installation instructions could be clearer
- 2kW heat output may not be enough for a large room
Electric Fire Buying Guide
When choosing an electric fire you have a number of choices to make, ranging from the style to the heat output. One of the first choices to narrow down your selection is whether you’d prefer a fire which is wall mounted or free standing.
This choice can be influenced by the amount of room you have available for the installation, and the style of fire you prefer. If you don’t have much space in your home, then halogen heaters are a right choice for you!
Wall Mounted Electric Fires
A wall mounted electric fire is a great option for smaller rooms, as it won’t take up your limited floor space. Wall mounted fires are generally low profile, modern designs, so they’re well suited to sleek and minimal decor where a traditional style would seem out of place.
As the fire is raised above the ground level, heat may also be able to circulate more easily as furniture won’t block the distribution.
Free Standing Electric Fires
A freestanding electric fire sits on the floor, backed up against a wall. The style can range from a traditional, rustic wood burner to a more compact electric bar fire.
If you’re looking for the most convincing replica of a real fire, a free standing option is your better choice. If your property already has a fireplace but the chimney has been blocked up, you could even stand an electric fire into the alcove space.
The heat from an electric fire is usually produced either from a fan heater, which blows air over heated coils, or by delivering heat through invisible infrared light, which is the quietest electric fire option.
Fan heater options may be noisy, with the noise coming from the fan mechanism which pushes the warm air out into the room to be circulated. The amount of noise varies by model, so it’s worth checking whether reviews mention the volume.
The sound of the heater may not be audible over a television or other background noise but it could be a distraction in an otherwise quiet room. We have electric heaters too if you are looking for something quieter.
The size of the electric fire you opt for will be partially determined by the amount of space you have. Some styles are designed to look like a full fireplace with surround and hearth, whereas others are short and compact.
Wall mounted options will take up less floor space in a small room, and freestanding models that sit flush against the wall will require less room than a wood burner style. Even small electric fires can provide an attractive feature.
The other factor to consider when deciding on the size is the output of the fire. If you have a large space to heat, you’ll need a more powerful fire if you want it to be able to heat the space effectively.
A rough approach is to assume that each 10W of the fire’s output will heat roughly one square foot. However, there are other factors to consider such as ceiling height and the quality of insulation in the room.
For many purchasers, the style of an electric fire may be the main factor in their choice. Although an electric fire can certainly be a very useful source of heating, they are generally recommended to provide additional heat rather than as an alternative to central heating, for example.
Fireplaces traditionally gave a point of focus in a room. As the fire was the only source of warmth it determined the layout of the room and placement of furniture. In a modern home without a fireplace, an electric fire can act as this focal point and provide decorative interest.
Most electric fires attempt to mimic or replicate the relaxing and cosy effect of flickering flames, and many models allow this feature to be used independently of the heat source. There are also wood burning stoves if you like to gaze at the dancing fire.
There are a wide range of styles of electric fire available to suit your decor and preference. If you have a rustic country cottage, a traditional wood burner style may be the best suited, whereas an open hearth style fireplace with a brass surround may complement the interior of a Victorian townhouse.
Modern Electric Fires
In a contemporary home, a traditional open hearth can look out of place against sleek and minimal decor and architecture. Modern electric fires offer an updated approach, often looking very similar to a flatscreen TV. They tend to be wall mounted and low profile, and can sometimes be recessed into the wall.
Modern fires generally don’t attempt to replicate the design of a regular fireplace, but still offer flame effects to reproduce the visual appeal of a real fire. They can also offer a range of other benefits, such as touch screen operation or a number of different flame styles and colours.
Coal Effect Electric Fires
If you are opting for a traditional style electric fire, choosing a model which looks as realistic as possible may be important to you. To achieve this, many electric fires are designed to look as though there’s a fuel source included in the hearth.
This may be logs or, often, coals. Some coal effect electric fires are even supplied with real coal to give an authentic appearance.
LED Electric Fires
A LED electric fire uses LED technology to produce an extremely realistic and three dimensional fire effect. These models often offer a choice of flame effects and colours to enhance the visual appeal and have a tempered glass screen which gives a clean and modern look in a contemporary interior.
Electric Fires Without Fans
Many electric fires have a fan which pushes warm air into the room. One downside of this is the noise which is produced by the fan operation.
An alternative if you prefer a quieter operation is to opt for an infrared quartz electric fire. These use invisible infrared light which warms the things it touches, rather than the air. Because this option leaves humidity in the air, it can also produce a more comfortable type of heat and be more efficient in distributing heat around a larger space.
There are a range of factors which determine the pricing of an electric fire, including the manufacturer, style, build quality and heat output.
Models which pay careful attention to the design details to produce an authentic look, and use quality materials, will be priced at the higher end of the range, which can be over £1,000.
Modern flatscreen style electric fires using LED technology and offering a wide range of features are also in the mid- to high-end of the price range. If you’re looking for a basic model with fewer features or detailing, cheap electric fires can be priced from around £150.
An electric fire allows you to bring the warmth and appeal of a natural fire to your home in a convenient, fuss-free and stylish way.
There’s a vast array of options to choose from depending on your decor and preference, so whether you have a contemporary loft apartment or a traditional townhouse, there will be an electric fire to suit your needs and your budget.
If you’re looking for a realistic and homely statement piece, we think the Dimplex Gosford model does a great job of replicating the look and feel of an authentic wood burner. For a modern home, the TruFrame wall mounted electric fire packs in the features in a low-profile and sleek design.