Is there anything better than sitting around a cozy fire at the end of the day? Even better: a fire under the stars and out in the fresh air. An outdoor fireplace at your home captures this feeling in-person—a place to enjoy and gather with friends or family (or yourself) no matter the season.

But the burning question is, what’s your type: nostalgic wood burning, efficient on/off gas, or the modern-cool feel of an outdoor electric fireplace? To help you make the best decision for you and your home, we’ll briefly cover what’s hot (or maybe not) about each of these inviting outdoor fireplace types.

Type 1: Electric Outdoor Fireplaces

With mesmerizing LED flame imitation, electric outdoor fireplaces bring warm vibes and vision to your patio or yard, while omitting environmental damages or other dangers of a real fire. 

What’s Hot (the Pros)

  • Easy-Breezy Operation: from turning your “fire” on/off with a click of a button (with consistent flames never affected by wind) to operating various features with a remote control, electric fireplaces are a true “set and forget” relaxation—plus no wait for embers or for the fireplace to cool down (like you do with wood/gas fireplaces).
  • Simple Size-Wise: electric fireplaces fit in areas where most wood burning or gas fireplaces can’t; most electric fireplaces require less space in your wall and can easily be fully-recessed without any required venting.
  • Stress-Free, Smoke-Free: talk about breathing easy; an electric fireplace means no smoke, carcinogens, or fumes to worry about, as well as no smoke smells left clinging to clothes or furniture.
  • Quick Appeal, Low Costs: although a gas fireplace is less than a wood burning one, electrical designs only need an available electrical outlet or built-in hardwiring into electric circuits to get the fire party started.

What’s Maybe Not (the Con):

  • Faux Features: if you’re really into true firing flames or heat, an electric fireplace may not be for you. While many designs do recreate the look of a real burning fire with impressive accuracy, to some they may still look artificial. However, you may be surprised over time how much you enjoy the ease of one, especially if you add the right space heater, crackling sound effects, and other neat tech or decor features that look and feel like the real deal.

Type 2: Wood Burning Outdoor Fireplaces

Free-standing, permanent or in a wall, wood-burning outdoor fireplaces are as functional as they are architectural, consisting of smoke rising up a chimney and often a hearth or mantle that can be left bare or beautifully decorated.

What’s Hot (the Pros)

  • Hits All the Senses: from that ‘great outdoors’ forest scent down to the sounds of fire crackling, you can’t beat the authentic campy feel and experience of an outdoor wood fire.
  • Brings the Cozy Factor: wood fireplaces produce ample heat and provide surefire warmth for groups big or small, especially the more logs you add or closer you scoot to the fire.
  • Adds Great Taste: from roasting marshmallows for s’mores to roasting veggies, hot dogs, or other grill-ready foods inside a grill basket, wood burning fireplaces offer notable cooking taste.

What’s Maybe Not (the Cons)

  • More Dangerous: wood-burning flames can be sporadic when windy or spew sparks if you don’t have a fire screen or doors closed (something to think about if you have young kids or pets). 
  • Constant Need for Wood/Log Supply: remember you always need wood/log supply to burn a fire, whether you cut your own or head to the store; consider this factor when thinking about costs and convenience.
  • Most Costly Overall:  not only is there more work to take care of, but with wood burning fireplaces you may have to consider adding a firebox or chimney, which adds to the year-round buildup/cleanup costs.

Type 3: Gas Outdoor Fireplaces

From hidden propane tanks underneath a table to functional accent piece tanks, a gas outdoor fireplace is powered by a constant fuel source and provides a fiery effect that can be flipped on or off in seconds.

What’s Hot (the Pros)

  • Fire Goes On/Off Fast: with an outdoor gas fireplace, users can turn your fireside experience “on” or “off” in seconds with a simple flip or a press of a button.
  • Higher Heat Capacity: a gas-powered fireplace means larger outdoor areas feel warmer, faster—and users are getting the most heat possible without energy lost in the ignition process.
  • Cleanup & Care Is Easy: unlike wood burning, an outdoor gas fireplace (whether with or without a chimney) does not build up with ash or soot; it’s an easy way to enjoy a fire free of mess before or after gatherings.

What’s Maybe Not (the Cons)

  • Need a Gas Line: while worth the effort if the right fit for you, you will have to run a gas line to your fireplace or invest in the money and time to set one up if there isn’t one.
  • Artificial Ambiance at a Cost:  not only are logs fake, but you’ll spend more money on pricey propane or natural gas than you would for lumber in a real wood burning fire that produces the same heat.


While every outdoor fireplace type has pros and cons depending on your wants and needs, the electric fireplace is by far the most affordable option that costs less upfront, to maintain, and to run year-round. Why not enjoy the great outdoors and the warm and welcoming ambiance of an electric fireplace . . . without the extra effort, cost, or care needed for that of a wood burning or gas fireplace?

Whichever way your hearth goes, any type of outdoor fireplace offers a great excuse to get outdoors and enjoy time on your patio or in the backyard. Find the option that works best for you, and don’t be afraid to contact Electric Fireplaces Direct for more A’s to Q’s on what an electric fireplace can look like (and do) for you and your indoor or outdoor entertainment space.

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