All fireplaces offer warmth and a cozy ambiance, but there’s much to consider beyond that. Efficiency, cleanliness, cost to operate, and so much more should be a part of your decision process. Where to begin?

Start with what’s important to you. The warmth and ambiance of a wood burning fireplace cannot be beat. But there are plenty of reasons that might not be your best option. If cleaning up ashes, hauling wood, and smoky rooms aren’t your favorite, you may want to consider an electric fireplace.

Here’s the rundown of electric vs wood fireplaces point by point so you can find the perfect fireplace for your needs.


Winner: Electric fireplace

The electric fireplace has the lowest upfront cost, lowest maintenance cost, and lowest running cost. On the other hand, a wood burning fireplace means masonry work to add a chimney and firebox, regular cleaning and maintenance, buying wood, etc. It can be one of the most expensive fireplace options.

Electric fireplaces are self-contained and don’t require any renovation or preparation (unless you want to recess your fireplace). They need little to no maintenance and don’t require the procurement of a constant supply of fuel like wood. Besides paying for electricity, what you pay up front ispretty much all there is.


Winner: Electric fireplace

An electric fireplace is generally a plug and play scenario. Unless you want to recess a wall mounted fireplace, there is no additional installation work. Electric logs can be placed in existing fireplace boxes. Inserts, too, can be placed in existing fireplaces. Wall mounted models just need to be hung.

Installation of a wood fireplace is quite involved. If you don’t already have a chimney, walls may have to be knocked down and masonry work done. It is important to hire a trusted contractor to build a fireplace because the risk of fire goes up without the right materials or construction.


Winner: Electric fireplace

An electric fireplace can take up a varying amount of space. If you’re updating an existing fireplace, simply add an electric fireplace insert or logs; no extra space required. You can recess a wall mounted linear fireplace and it will sit flush with the wall. Even an electric stove takes up a minimum of space and is often portable so you can move it out of the way when necessary.

Wood burning fireplaces don’t necessarily take up that much space on the interior of the home. But they do leave their mark on the exterior. A chimney is a mostly external feature that stands away from the house increasing the footprint of the exterior. A wood burning stove and stove pipe are often the central part of a design because their presence is so pronounced. This makes them have a considerable physical and visual footprint.


Winner: Electric fireplace

There may be nothing quite like the smell of a wood burning fireplace, but it comes at a cost. Wood fireplaces are more dangerous than electric fireplaces simply because combustion is happening. And that always carries a risk. Sparks and embers are natural with wood burning fireplaces. They too increase the risk of fire danger.

An electric fireplace has no open flame. Its heating mechanisms are enclosed within the unit.
Whether it’s an infrared heater or electric coils, these have proven to be safe and effective supplemental heaters.


Winner: electric fireplace

Though electricity is known for being one of the more expensive ways to heat a home, it’s surprisingly efficient, especially when used as a supplemental heat source. Zone heating is the concept behind this efficiency. With zone heating, you heat only the areas you are inhabiting and lower the thermostat in other areas. Even when running your electric fireplace, you more than make up for it with the decreased energy consumed in other areas of the house.

A wood fireplace is a great heater for both primary and secondary heating. However, for it to be efficient, you must employ fans to circulate the heat throughout the house. This extra energy makes this less efficient. The need for wood also may give you pause as you consider sustainable options.

The clear winner between electric vs wood fireplaces is electric. It’s more efficient, sustainable, easy to install, safer, and less expensive. Learn more about the types and styles of electric fireplaces on our blog.


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