Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: January 19, 2021
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Nearly everything in the world has tasted the influence of modern technology, and fireplaces are not excluded: modern technology has improved them and made them more convenient and safe. If you own a traditional fireplace, you can still make it useful by buying the best fireplace insert.
These days, fireplace inserts have become tremendously popular, which means shopping for the right model for you may not be straightforward. With that in mind, we’ve assembled the top six fireplace inserts on the market, so that you will have an easier time while shopping. Among our top six, the model that comes out on top is the Dimplex DFI2309 Fireplace. Despite being a fairly powerful model, this unit operates very seamlessly and quietly, not to talk of many other things it promises.
For anyone wondering, we actually didn’t make our selections randomly. They were picked after careful consideration of some important features like fuel type, BTUs, and dimensions. Each of these factors is important in a different way, so you mustn’t take any of them lightly. In this article, you’ll be able to read detailed reviews of each product chosen, and also a comprehensive buying guide. There’s also a clearly-drawn comparison table, which may be useful for people who want to make a quick decision.
If you reside in a very cold region, we don’t need to convince you that you need a fireplace to warm your body. If that’s the case, you will probably be looking for a modern fireplace insert that needs no special tools for installation like the Dimplex DFI2309 Electric Fireplace Insert. You will hardly find any model that is easier to use than this one, considering everything you need to do to start using is unpack and plug it into a regular household outlet. It’s an excellent choice if there’s an existing fireplace in your house that you’re underusing. It also makes sense that it comes at an affordable price.
This model features just one flame setting and it doesn’t have various light effects or levels, which means that you have only one dimension to set a mood. Meanwhile, the motor included produces some flame effects you’ll really enjoy. That apart, it comes with a quiet fan-forced heater, which is capable of evenly covering about 400 square feet. The unit also comes with two 60-watt bulbs, which you can turn on to create a superb fire glow as the heater operates. You also have flexible control over the operation of the insert as the heater has two different heat settings – high and low. There’s also a remote control, which you can use to turn the unit on and off.
Incredibly, this insert offers the stunning feel and look of a genuine wire. The good thing is it doesn’t have the soot, smoke, and dangers that accompany a real fire. The fact that it’s powered by electricity is also a great thing since it won’t release dangerous gasses. Besides, it is cool to the touch, so your children and pets can safely play around it. The only real downside to this insert is that the heat can’t be adjusted remotely, which means you’ll need to go into the fireplace whenever you want to do this.
While the Drolet Escape 1800i is a rather expensive fireplace insert, its incredible functionality can’t be overlooked, for certain. It’s also the only wood-type insert on our list, so you should be interested in seeing how this performs. To be honest, it’s a magnificent insert that is capable of really lighting a room up and keeping it cozy and warm. It operates with a super-quiet crossflow blower that makes it a really attractive heating option that is ideal for any home.
Of course, we understand that it may feel a bit weird going the conventional way, and utilizing a wooden insert, we assure you that it’s completely safe as it’s backed and approved by Environmental Protection Agency. It also sports a really beautiful appearance that you can be confident in. With its sleek, black, and elegant appearance, it will seamlessly fit in any home décor. Another thing you don’t need to be worried about is the fireplace’s lifetime since this one comes with a ceramic door along with a cast iron frame that is engineered to be safe.
You won’t also have a hard time with the maintenance of this wonderful inset from Drolet. You can just easily make the most of the glass air wash system, which equates to a lot less stress for you. When it comes to running power, it’s difficult to find a model that is more powerful than this, with its remarkable 75,000 BTUs output. The only problem with this model is that it has a tendency of overheating smaller spaces, so it may not be suitable for people with small homes.
If you have a large place that you want to heat during the winter, you can’t look beyond the Peterson Real Fyre 24-inch Live Oak Log Set. It’s a gas-powered unit that’s designed specifically to handle large areas. Of course, the manufacturers have tried to make it look as realistic as possible, furnishing it with six professionally hand-painted logs to recreate the look of natural wood. The exceptional craftsmanship of the company captures quality and tradition with the natural realism of the insert.
For even greater integrity, the refractory ceramic hand-painted logs are strengthened with steel rods. The insert also a vented design, which allows the ceramic log to efficiently burn to lessen pollution and protect natural resources. On top of that, the six-log set will provide you with residual heat even after the burner has been turned off, which is incredible. In terms of power, the unit has the ability to produce a maximum power of about 75,000 BTUs, which should be enough to cover a very large room. However, this kind of insert isn’t ideal for smaller rooms, as it may just be too warm.
For the installation, it’s pretty simple if you know a thing or two about fireplace inserts already. You just need to insert the unit in your existing fireplace. However, the gas connection may be a bit tricky, so you may get a professional to do it for you.
Like the other Duluth Forge model below it, the Duluth Forge Ventless Dual Fuel Gas Log Set is a top-of-the-line fireplace insert that is certain to amaze your guests and make them optimally comfortable. The first important piece of information about this unit is that it’s powered by patented dual-fuel technology, using liquid propane or a natural gas heater that is capable of heating an area of up to 1,100 square feet. That apart, this gas-powered insert has been designed to resemble traditional solutions as much as possible, featuring eight hand-printed logs that are as realistic and as detailed as possible.
Another incredible thing about this unit is its thermostat feature, which automatically turns it on/off to maintain the desired temperature. Besides, there’s a remote control that provides the most flexible heat settings. The remote also has an LCD display, where you can see important things like the present room temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius, manual or thermostat mode indication, and burner on/off indication. However, most users wish the remote control could be used to ignite the unit.
In terms of power, this unit is capable of outputting up to 30,000 BTUs, which is ideal for a large space. Of course, the insert doesn’t depend on electricity, which is a good thing considering you don’t need to be worried about a high energy bill. It’s gas-powered, and it is energy-saving on top of that. Generally, this is a great insert fireplace that won’t disappoint you. Just stay away from it if you have a smaller room as it’s can be too hot for you.
It’s not every day you see a fireplace that combines both style and power, which is one of the reasons why the Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Ventless Insert has become very popular. Sporting a beautiful appearance and a running power of 26,000 BTUs, this fireplace insert is definitely a model worth mentioning. As soon as it’s installed, the unit provides extremely realistic flames while delivering a lot of heat. To make things look even more realistic, the gas-powered insert comes with five hand-painted logs. It’s also a nice thing that the insert utilizes a battery-powered piezoelectric igniter, which means electricity isn’t a must.
Meanwhile, there is a dual-precision vent-free gas burner delivering the flame. In terms of capacity, this dual-fuel insert is capable of heating a space of up to 1,350 square inches, making it ideal for medium to larger spaces. For the protection and safety of its users, the manufacturers have included an auto-shutoff technology, which automatically kicks in whenever the unit detects overheating. Apart from that, there’s an inbuilt pilot Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) as well, which immediately shuts the heater down if lack of oxygen or carbon monoxide is detected.
Another impressive feature it comes with is a thermostat, which turns the burner on and off automatically to maintain favorable room temperature. The insert is also energy-efficient, so you should rest assured that it won’t be costly to use. Having said that, there’re also some worrying drawbacks to this unit. The first one is that the included remote control doesn’t work properly, while the other one is that the construction is cheap.
It’s hard to find a cheap fireplace insert that can boast of excellent realistic features like the Comfort Glow Electric Log Set. It’s an incredible insert that anyone would be delighted to have in their home, especially since it has a beautiful design that will suit any home décor. Being an electric-powered insert, this model supplies your room with an adequate amount of heat, while producing realistic flames that makes it look like a traditional fireplace. To make it look even more real, the insert comes with electric fireplace logs, which have inner glowing that gives you the impression that they are actually burning.
It’s worth noting that this model has also been designed to be power-saving, so you don’t need to be worried about receiving high energy bills at the end of the month. Furthermore, the unit comes with a powerful heater, which produces a maximum heat output of 4,600 BTUs, which should be sufficient for a space of up to 400 square feet. For you to be able to control the insert conveniently, there is an included remote control, which you can either use to turn the unit on/off or adjust the heat and flame settings. Lest we forget, you can also operate the insert with only the flame effect, or with both heat and flame.
When it comes to installation, you are not likely to encounter any issues installing this unit. Besides, it’s engineered with standard measurements, which means it will fit into your existing fireplace effortlessly. However, this insert isn’t without some downsides, which shouldn’t be surprising in our opinion, considering its price. First of all, the motor makes some noise when in operation. Secondly, it doesn’t produce a lot of heat, so you may want to have a rethink if you live in an extremely cold region.
What we liked:
Easy to install and use
Convenient remote control
What could be better:
A little noisy
Doesn’t produce much heat
Things to Consider
Except if you’re an expert, it’s always necessary to ready a comprehensive buying guide when in the market for anything. We don’t want you to choose the wrong model, so we’ve assembled this short but detailed guide for you.
Features to consider while choosing a fireplace insert
Before making any buying decision, there are always some important factors for the buyer to consider. For fireplace inserts, below are the most crucial elements anybody buying one needs to check.
The first factor you must consider when buying a fireplace insert is the type of fuel that will power it. This is because it is important to know what you are working with before starting anything. Now, there are three primary types of fuel for fireplace inserts – wood, gas, and electricity. Each of these types is great for different needs. Thus, you just have to look into the pros and cons of each and decide which one suits your situation best.
Of course, the BTU output determines the energy output of a fireplace insert. The higher the BTU rating of an insert, the more powerful it will be. Now, fireplace inserts differ when it comes to BTU ratings, depending on the type, model, and size of the unit. In general, wood models can generate from 20,000 BTUs to 40,000 BTUs, while gas models range from 8,000 to 60,000 BTUs. However, electric fireplace inserts are the least powerful in terms of BTU output, with their BTU capacity being limited at 5,000 BTUs. For instance, the gas-powered Peterson Real Fyre 24-inch Live Oak Log Set produces the highest BTUs on this list, while the electric models are nowhere near.
The primary reason you’re buying a fireplace insert is that they can heat up your home or space, which means you have to keep the heating capacity in mind when shopping for the right model. That is, you don’t even have any business considering a fireplace insert that can’t effectively heat up your space. Any model you buy must come with the ideal heating capacity for your family or home.
Noting the dimensions is always an important step when buying a fireplace insert. Logically, your existing fireplace has to be large enough to accommodate your new addition. Since inserts usually come in different sizes, one has to make sure the insert is compatible with the fireplace already existing.
Correctly measure the fireplace’s opening and the distance between the mantel and the firebox also, so that you won’t accidentally choose the wrong size.
Ease of installation
Of course, you must also consider the ease of installation of the unit you want to buy. This is especially important if you’re buying this for an elderly person, since they may not be capable of installing it themselves. While most fireplace inserts are easy to install, even if you are not a professional, there are some models that can only be installed by professionals, such as the Peterson Real Fyre 24-inch Live Oak Log Set.
Fireplace inserts are typically expensive investments, so you must acquire a model that guarantees to serve you and your family for as long as possible. That said, one factor that gives us an idea if a product will last or not is the accompanying warranty. Therefore, you must consider the warranty that comes with your insert before paying for it.
You may also consider some other notable features, such as the design of the logs and if remote control is included. Apparently, the logs have to look as real as possible, even though they are made of ceramic and hand-painted. A remote control also maximizes the convenience of the users, so you shouldn’t ignore it when in the market.
A regular electric insert generates about 5,000 BTUs, which is around the same output of a residential heater. This means an electric insert can sufficiently heat a small to medium-sized room without any hassle. Some companies produce electric fireplaces that are more powerful and can generate up to 10,000 BTUs to warm larger spaces at higher energy costs.
Most basic safety tips you have to keep in mind when using a fireplace are mostly related to common sense. Experts would tell you not to use chemicals, to avoid using wet, moldy, diseased, or rotten wood, and to regularly clean your fireplace. However, we believe all these tips are logical things that even your common sense should tell you.
By far, electric fireplaces are the most energy-efficient type. Only one percent of the heat is lost since it’s not linked to the outside in any way. If you are also worried about pollutants, it’s also worth noting that electric fireplaces are the cleanest for your home’s air.
The best fireplace inserts in the world are the ones that consume the least amount of energy while producing the most efficient of performances. The Dimplex DFI2309 Electric Fireplace Insert perfectly fits that description, which makes it unsurprising that it’s the number one fireplace insert on our list. Combining style, high performance, and energy efficiency, you can hardly find a more deserving model to be picked as the best fireplace insert on the market.