House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
It seems like everything is going into the newest trends and the future is moving quickly into modern technology—even with fireplaces. Fireplaces and pellet stoves have often been installed into a home to create a creature’s comfort—specifically in the winter. Although you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken, to make the traditional fireplace better you can add the best fireplace insert to increase the efficiency of a fireplace. This fireproof box is then bordered with steel or cast iron, which is then encased in insulated gas to keep the heat and warm the house much more efficiently than a traditional fireplace.
In this review, we’re going to highlight all the various features you need to know before purchasing a fireplace insert for you and your home. When choosing the right fireplace insert for you, you’ll need to consider the different fuel type, the size, heating power, heating area, and the warranty guaranteed by the company for the product.
Through hours of research scouring the web and comparing various products, we’ve dished out the top products and brought a list of the best fireplace inserts right here on this guide. Not only will you have access to the top products for your picking, but you’ll also be able to read our in-detail reviews of each product and our complete buying guide, along with scanning across our product comparison table. We hope that this guide can help
More features: multi-function remote included, thermostat controlled fan-forced heater, LED inner glow logs and pulsating ember technology
The Dimplex DF3033ST is an electric fireplace that can not only give you that realistic look in your home but can also heat up a room up to 400 square feet with its powerful fan-forced heater.
With its patented flame technology, the LED inner glow logs and pulsating ember technology can crease a realistic experience that it will keep not only your body warm but also your soul.
If you’re looking for a hearty, warm fireplace in the midst of winter without all the extra work, the Dimplex DF3033ST is the perfect choice for supplemental heat and all year round comfort—even if you don’t need heat to warm you up.
If you’re looking just for the ambiance of a cozy room, you can control the thermostat with the fan-forced heater for that perfect temperature.
Not only do the logs and ember dance and glow as if real, there is also multi-flame technology that can create the perfect atmosphere.
Finally, it is beneficial for the environment. The Dimplex DF3033ST is green and has no harmful particulates or emissions. It is 100% efficient and safe for homes with children and pets since there is no flame heat or emission, with a glass that remains cool to the touch.
What we liked:
Thermostat control to have complete say on the temperature
More features: 2-stage heater, fan with silent force technology, LED flame, remote control included
The GreatCo Gallery Series Electric Fireplace is one of the best electric fireplaces that poses as a great alternative to having a gas or a wood-burning fireplace in your home.
One great thing about this fireplace is the fact that you don’t necessarily need a professional installment—making the entire task much easier than the traditional fireplace.
You can slide the GreatCo Gallery Series Electric Fireplace easily into an existing space—you don’t even need to measure it beforehand! With its black, glass, and steel finish, it also fits with any interior decor.
This fireplace measures out to be 36 inches, which is the perfect size for a commanding room. It’s also a great solution if you need to renovate an old gas or wood fireplace or upgrade a room in the house where traditional gas and wood fireplaces are simply not possible.
It has a heating element, flame, ember bed, and backlighting, all operable with a remote control that can choose which feature to independently turn off and on from one another. The GreatCo Gallery Series Electric Fireplace is emblazoned with an insert LED display and backed with a 2-Stage 750/1500 Watt heater with fan to heat up the whole room. You also don’t have to worry about the sound, since it uses ultra-quiet fan Silent Force Technology.
More features: 50% flame and heat adjustment, oxygen depletion sensor, safety screen included, back-up control system
The Napoleon Grandville VF Series is so good that it is backed with a lifetime limited guarantee.
Running on gas, this type of fireplace insert really blends traditional functionality with a modern look. You can choose from a multiple number of designer options to light up your room and even match your interior decor.
The Napoleon Grandville VF Series really warms up a room, with 30,000 BTU’s. This fireplace also is a vent-free gas fireplace, which means you can really benefit from the mobility of the piece. It runs with Napoleon’s PHAZER® logs and advanced burner technology and you and your whole family and guests can enjoy the calming, realistic yellow dancing flames.
If you’re looking for practicality, the Napoleon Grandville VF Series runs with a simple on/off switch that flicks easily with the flip of your finger. It also has a 50 percent flame/heat adjustment so you can actually control the amount of heat and the temperature being emitted from the fireplace.
You also don‘t have to worry about children or pets running around, either, with a safety screen included, you can rest assured that your family is safe even though the fireplace is warming up the whole room.
The Napoleon Grandville VF Series meets the ODS standard, has an optional blower and is backed also by a back-up control system that will keep it running even when your home has a power failure.
What we liked:
Lifetime limited warranty and back-up control system
More features: EPA’s new standards, premium blower included, air-washed ceramic glass, heavy-duty door latch
Next, we have the Drolet Escape 1800i DB03125 wood-burning fireplace insert with a lifetime warranty. Of course, the warranty serves to assure users that the product is high quality, and in case of anything, the manufacturer has you covered.
The fact that it is both UL and EPA certified should also assure you of the safety of installing and using the device.
You should note that it is the only wood-burning option listed in this review. This means that it has to have a slot to hold and burn the firewood. As such, you can fit up to 20-inch logs into the device.
Additionally, this option leaves the other inserts in the dust when it comes to heat output. This is partly because of the high-temperature secondary combustion that allows for greater efficiency when burning fuel. As a side benefit the secondary combustion also means cleaner emissions.
Also, you can set the heat according to your needs, so the insert doesn’t always have to be full blast. This also applies to the heating area. You can adjust between 500 and 2100 sqft depending on your needs at that time. Of course, these changes will be effected by the premium blower included. Another positive is the heavy-duty door latch that keeps the flames well contained within the insert.
If you choose this insert, you are required to install it in a masonry fireplace, so the emissions have an outlet. Also, since some assembly is required, you might have to call in a professional for installation. Lastly, there are optional faceplates that are necessary to make the installation look neater.
More features: vent free, 14’’ hookup gas hose included, log set included
The Ashley AGVF340LP Fireplace Insert is listed as one of our best propane inserts. If you’re looking for a safe, vent-free alternative with everything included that you may need—like a 14” hookup gas hose and a log set, this fireplace has it all.
Functioning to be able to heat up an entire space of 12,000 sq. ft. with 34,000 BTUS, you can definitely rest assured that you will have a warm, cozy home with the Ashley AGVF340LP Fireplace Insert.
You can also expect inconspicuous ingenuity from this design. With its hidden controls that are simply “hook-up” ready right from the get-go, this easy installation can fit right into an existing fireplace or any area since it comes with the firebox and its own hookup gas hose.
You can also connect this fireplace to any standard millivolt thermostat, which makes it extremely viable and ready-to-use in a convenience state-of-mind.
To upgrade your buy, you can get the Ashley AGVF340LP Fireplace Insert with an optional leg kit, a mantle kit or an insert kit. With its vent-free functionality, it is 99 percent efficient and can offer the warmth of a real-wood fire without all the extra costs and maintenance.
What we liked:
Can function as a free-standing classic stove
Can heat up a 12,000 square foot area
Comes with its own hookup gas hose
What could be better:
Might be too complex for someone to install on their own
More features: 9-hour auto shut-off timer, 125 selectable flame effect options, adjustable thermostat, remote control included, LED technology and infrared quartz elements
The ClassicFlame 26II310GRA Fireplace Insert is one of the most featured electric fireplaces on the market today. Although it is only guaranteed with a 1-year limited warranty, you can definitely make that one year worthwhile. Heating up to 1,000 sq. feet with 5200 BTUs, you can have warmth and visual effects all in one package.
The ClassicFlame 26II310GRA Fireplace Insert comes featured with a few add-ons that not many other fireplace inserts have. For example, you can sleep easy with its 9-hour auto shut off feature timer, so if you’re leaving it on for a cozy, romantic evening, you don‘t have to remember to shut it off in the middle of the night.
You can also choose the ambiance that best suits the atmosphere, from up to 125 selectable flame effect options. It also really matches the ambiance perfectly, with an adjustable thermostat, remote control, and LED technology to make for a realistic flame.
You also don’t have to worry about the place getting to dry while this fireplace is running. That’s because the ClassicFlame 26II310GRA Fireplace Insert is basically an infrared heater which maintains all that natural humidity in the air.
What we liked:
Virtually easy to install since it has no assembly required, just plug in and go
Comes with 125 different flame effect options
Creates a natural humidity and doesn‘t dry up the room
What could be better:
It needs to be on a circuit on its own, but can be solved with a 12-2 wire and a 20 amp breaker to a new plug
More features: in-wall installation, two heating settings, 3 color flame changing options, multiple flame modes, fire logs and crystals included, built-in timer
Have a small space but still want to keep it warm and toasty? The Touchstone 80004 Sideline Fireplace Insert can be the perfect investment for you and your home.
This electric fireplace insert can fit fleshly and perfectly into the wall after a simple, in-wall installation. If you’re looking for that contemporary look without the mess, the Touchstone 80004 Sideline Fireplace Insert has five realistic flame settings to fit in with any ambiance of any room—no matter how small.
Why do label it as a great choice for small rooms? Well, the Touchstone 80004 Sideline Fireplace Insert reaches easily up to 400 sq. ft., which can keep a smaller room or area nice and toasty but won’t reach the edges of a bigger household.
However, even though it’s small, it is still is a great investment. Backed with a 1-year warranty, this fireplace insert comes with two heating settings to simply choose and enjoy—no more fiddling with a complicated remote control!
You can also enjoy its semi-realistic look, with multiple flame modes, fire logs and crystals included. Sleeping with this Sideline fireplace is also a no-brainer with its built-in timer from 30 minutes up to 7.5 hours.
More features: multifunctional remote and wall mounted thermostat, 5 brightness settings, built-in timer, multifunctional remote included
You want a traditional fireplace complete with wooden log visuals to cozy up your home? The ClassicFlame 36EB110-GRT Electric Fireplace Insert is the perfect choice.
How about if you want a contemporary look to fit into your modern home but still able to provide heating? The ClassicFlame 36EB110-GRT Electric Fireplace Insert has your back again.
With the possibility of running a traditional flame effect with up to five brightness settings and choosing a contemporary flame effect with four different adjustable colors to pick from, this fireplace insert is a really great option for any occasion.
However, it can only heat up to 400 sq. ft., so if you live in a bigger home, just know that it can only keep those in one of your rooms rather warm.
If that doesn’t bother you or if you’re looking to save money—you can easily benefit from its multifunctional remote that gives you complete control and its wall-mounted thermostat can help you have control of the temperature—from 60°F – 90°F.
You can also enjoy the multiple flame effects even when it’s hot outside, since it operates with or without the heat. If you’re worried about falling asleep in front of the cozy fire, don’t worry about it! The ClassicFlame 36EB110-GRT Electric Fireplace Insert comes with an electronic timer function that can be set to shut off 30 minutes up to 9 hours from when you set it.
What we liked:
Comes with so many different options from traditional to contemporary to various colors and lights
More features: realistic sound, 3 night light color options, two heat setting options, auto over-heat kill switch, built-in timer, remote control included
The Valuxhome Houselux Fireplace Insert can be the stop to your search if you’ve been looking for a realistic fireplace insert that looks like the real deal. With its realistic brick panels and fire, not only does it visually look like a real fire—it sounds like one, too!
The Valuxhome Houselux operates with actual realistic sound so you can enjoy the crackle of a warm, night-time fire that also keeps you cozy with its two heat setting options.
Even though it doesn’t do much for a space over 400 sq. ft., you can definitely enjoy the visuals and experience. You can turn it up and have full control of the full heat, half heat, or flame options.
What makes this fireplace insert extremely appealing is the fact that it is extremely environmentally-friendly, using absolutely no gas, ethanol, propane, or gel cans required. You also don‘t have to worry about using special vents or chimneys. The Valuxhome Houselux functions with 100% energy saving LED technology, to top it all off.
If you ever fall asleep with the fire on, this fireplace insert kicks its auto over-heat kill switch on, to keep you and your home safe. You can also enjoy complete control with its remote control for simple on/off settings and being able to set and adjust the timer from 1 hour up to 9 hours.
More features: safety cut-off device, remote control included, 5 levels adjustable flame brightness, CSA certified
The Best Choice Products SKY1826 Fireplace Insert is a great fireplace option if you find yourself on a budget.
With its CSA-certification, you can rest assured that even though you’re paying less than you would be for other fireplace inserts on the market, you will still get quality in your purchase.
The Best Choice Products SKY1826 Fireplace Insert is one of the best choices if you’re looking for variety and setting the ambiance and tone in your home. With five different levels of adjustable flame brightness, you can choose what mood you want to set with its remote control.
This modern looking, budget fireplace insert is a great choice as a vent-free electric fireplace, meaning you don’t have to worry about installing it in and figuring out the details.
You can also use the Best Choice Products SKY1826 Fireplace Insert all year-round, since you can enjoy the visuals with or without the heat. However, when you are using one of the two heat settings, you don’t have to worry about leaving it on too long or with your children or pets getting burned from the heat. This fireplace has a safety cut-off device for overheat protection, and a protected glass view window.
What we liked:
No assembly required, only initial installation
Safety cut-off feature for heat
Five different levels of brightness
Perfect for the budget
What could be better:
Complaints of the remote not working properly
Only comes with 60-day warranty
Things to Consider
In this buying guide, we’re going to help you—step by step—in choosing the best fireplace insert for your home. Whether you have to pick one based on your budget or the different material that would match the interior decor of your home, every detail in the product and the process is just as important as the fireplace insert is itself.
What are fireplace inserts?
As we already mentioned at the beginning of this article, a fireplace insert is a device that, unlike a freestanding electric fireplace or an electric fireplace TV stand, is plugged into an already existing masonry or wood fireplace.
To be the most functional, you should pick out a fireplace insert that’s going to have an extremely durable material foundation. That way, it will be able to withstand the heat inside the firebox. It is also extremely important that the fireplace insert can weld easily, expanding and contracting because you need it to keep the structure of your original fireplace sound.
If you already have a chimney, you can get a fireplace insert that has space that the smoke can get out of your original chimney.
While you’re picking a fireplace insert, make sure that you also have one with a quality hearth, so that the heat is secured and can warm up the room. Another great feature you should consider is a fireplace insert with adjustable, controllable air flow. This will help you distribute the heat being put out into your home.
Types of fireplace inserts
Picking the right fireplace insert for your home and for your situation is extremely important and can be decided based on the type of insert it is. You can choose a unique type of fireplace depending on your budget, the maintenance your time allows, and the way your home is setup. One thing’s for sure—even though there are a ton of choices out there—there will definitely be a perfect fireplace insert for you and your home!
The types of fireplace inserts we’ll be taking a deeper look at are gas, wood-burning, and electric.
Gas fireplace inserts
If you’re looking for a gas-alternative to your traditional fireplace, the gas fireplace inserts use natural gas to fuel up and keep your room warm. Even though you can even purchase a propane model, like the Ashley AGVF340LP, the natural gas options are the most common.
What sets the gas fireplace insert apart from the others out there on the market is the fact that there are various models available to fit any home—whether you need different sizes or heat outputs based on the size of your home.
Another great benefit of the gas fireplace insert is that you can even get a model, like the Napoleon Grandville VF Series, which has a push-button or remote start so you’re just a finger push away from a warming flame. This makes it extremely easy to control the flame and heat output.
You can also benefit from direct-vent models, so you don’t have to have a traditional chimney already built in your home. You also can get unvented models, which don’t require any venting, whatsoever.
Wood burning fireplace inserts
These fireplace inserts are a great source if you’re looking for the closest insert that seems to appear like a traditional fireplace. Since the inserts can be measured into different sizes according to the type, before you order a wood-burning fireplace insert, you’ll need to be certain that the existing fireplace is measured as accurately as possible.
This type of fireplace insert will have a fan and a blower so that the heat can then be blown and distributed throughout the room. You can also expect that these fireplaces will burn a longer-lasting fire and can distribute the heater for a wider space—throughout an entire house, for example.
With this wood-burning fireplace, however, you’ll have to be prepared to invest in an annual flue cleaning, as well as a rather expensive installation process fee.
Electric fireplace inserts
The last type of fireplace is the electric one. These fireplaces can operate on electricity (hence the name) and can produce and present simulated flames. Out of all the types of fireplace inserts, these are the most affordable and easiest to install.
Another benefit of these fireplace inserts is that they don’t need venting! This means that they can be installed just about anywhere in the house. You’ll also be able to fit it into any decor, since they are available in a large selection of sizes and shapes. You can also get a model like ClassicFlame 36EB110-GRT, which has a variety of different types of flame colors and configurations.
Normally, these types of fireplaces are used for more of an ambiance rather than heat because they have generally a lower heat output.
Why would you need a fireplace insert?
We wouldn’t necessarily say you need a fireplace insert. However, if you’re looking for a heating solution for your home that will help save you money when it comes to heating your home. Especially if your fireplace insert has dual blowers, you’ll be able to really save big.
If you already have an existing structure, you also won’t even have to make that big of a transition. You can use that structure and won’t have to install anything new.
How to install a fireplace insert
Of course, the first piece of advice that we could give you would be to have a professional installing team come in and perform the job. However, if you are planning to complete a do-it-yourself project, measuring is key. All types of measurement: depth, width, and height are all important.
While installing, you’ll want to be sure that the chimney is connected to a stainless steel chimney liner so that you have a place that the smoke will be chained to.
However, even before you begin installation, you first need to have your chimney cleaned. If you’ve hired a professional cleaner, they will most likely do this for you. There is also no perfect cost for the installation process. If you are doing it professionally, you can expect to spend anywhere between $1,000 and $2,500.
Safety tips on using fireplace inserts
Before you use your fireplace insert or use anything related to fire, it’s important to first know a few things. First and foremost, you should always:
Be wary of smoke—if you’re smelling it, then your insert is malfunctioning
Have it all inspected and cleaned annually
Take out the ashes from the area on a regular basis
Use only dry wood to burn
Make sure your smoke alarm is working properly.
Don’t leave locks or control in reach of children
Features to consider while buying the perfect fireplace insert
When you’re choosing the perfect fireplace insert for your home, you’ll definitely have a few features to consider before you choose which one is right for you. You’ll have to choose between the size, the type, the material, the heating power, and multiple other features. Here we have a few features listed below that explain how important each one is.
You have to be very precise with the measurement of your fireplace insert to see if it will fit exactly as it should in an existing space or existing traditional fireplace.
Type of fuel
The type of fuel of the fireplace insert is important to know because you’ll need to understand what you’re working with from the get-go. For example, if it’s an electric place like the GreatCo Gallery Series or a wood one like the Drolet Escape or a gas fireplace, like the Ashley AGVF340LP.
When you are choosing the right fireplace for you, you should aim to go for a cast iron fireplace because it will be able to resist the heat much more effectively. Normally, you’ll find that most of these inserts are made of steel and at least have a cast iron door.
The system you have will have a direct effect on your venting. You can have direct venting, where the smoke and exhaust leaves the unit directly, or you can choose a ventless or vent-free system where you don’t have to necessarily have that open channel.
Screen and doors
The screen and doors of the fireplace insert are also important to know. First and foremost, you should find out if it’s electric and you need to see the visuals if the heat from the fireplace will have an effect on the visual impairment of the fireplace.
You’re making an investment—even though it is purely for visual and creature comfort purposes. However, since you’re already making an investment, you’ll want a product that will last.
Whether you are choosing a visual representation of the fire or the actual flames itself, you should know what you’re getting when you choose.
That initial investment should last a long time—so you can enjoy it in the comforts of your home for as long as possible.
First and foremost, pay attention to your “firestarter”. You should try and use seasoned wood, newspaper or kindling to avoid the bad smell. Certain products will leave a waxy residue that will smell bad when left uncleaned. Make sure you check underneath the hearth refractory, on top of the fireplace, and on top of the mantel. If you are using a used gas fireplace, you should clean behind the upper and lower louvers.
You will definitely need to clean the gas on your fireplace insert on a regular—weekly basis. Make sure that the temperature has cooled and the gas is turned off completely. You can use any type of glass cleaner or one recommended by the manufacturer.
A fireplace insert can be installed in a bathroom where there is a tempered glass front to it. However, just make sure there is no danger with water getting on or in it, and the floor surface isn’t slippery enough to fall. If you want to install one in your bedroom, you should speak with the installing team first to make sure the gas unit and line is properly installed.
Just like with any other fire, you should be cautious when leaving a fire on when you’re not at home. To stay on the safe side, it’s best to shut off. There are some fireplaces that have an automatic timer shut-off feature that you can take full advantage of.
As long as you practice common sense around a fire, there is no real immediate danger. If anything, you may feel dizzy or nauseated by the fumes or heat—in which case you should move away. However, for the most part, fireplace inserts should be safe to use for pregnant women.
If you want to simply skip all the reading because you’re short on time, here are our three best options for the best fireplace insert:
The Dimplex DF3033ST is our Editor’s Choice for the best fireplace insert you’re going to get on the market today. With a 5-year limited warranty, you can also benefit from its many available features, like a multi-function remote included, a thermostat controlled fan-forced heater, and LED inner glow logs and pulsating ember technology for a realistic fire.
The Napoleon Grandville VF Series is our best gas fireplace insert on the market. With its power of up to 30,000 BTUs, if you have a big space and need to heat it up, this fireplace insert can definitely get that job done, with its heat reaching up to 1200 sq. ft! You can also benefit from the lifetime-limited warranty that it comes with.
The Best Choice Products SKY1826 is our budget pick if you want to get the luxury of a fireplace insert but you’re a bit short on cash. This electric fireplace insert comes with a safety cut-off device, a remote control included, and 5 levels adjustable flame brightness, as well as being CSA certified, meaning you can still get quality on a budget.
We hope that this guide has helped you pick out the best fireplace insert for your home, whether it’s to keep you warm during the cold, winter months or simply a great interior decor for an amazing ambiance in your home.