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Are You Looking For An Affordable, Realistic Electric Log Fireplace Insert For Your Home?
You’ve come to the right place!
Adding an electric log fireplace insert is the best way to add a traditional warm fireplace log experience to your living room or bedroom without going through the trouble & expense of installing, cleaning, and maintaining a real wood-burning unit.
In this guide, we review & compare the five best-selling, top-rated electric log fireplace inserts selling today. Everyone produces a realistic fire effect, and some offer flame heat.
But before we dive into the reviews, let’s start with a quick definition of what an electric log fireplace insert is.
What Is An Electric Log Fireplace Insert?
Electric log inserts are self-contained appliances that simulate live flickering flames using one of several different methods. Most use electric or ethanol technology to produce the simulated flame effect.
Log inserts are the most popular type of electric fireplace insert sold today. Today’s electric fireplace inserts use LED lighting, water vapor, or a light fabric & a fan to fool the eye into seeing live flames. Some of these flame effects can be incredibly realistic.
Some electric log inserts also produce heat, but many are simply for show.
Ethanol log fireplace inserts burn cool-temperature alcohol mixed with special dyes to simulate a colorful wood fire. Most ethanol inserts are not used for heat; they are simply for show. The downside of an ethanol unit is you have to replenish the fuel/dye mixture.
Advantages of Electric Log Fireplace Inserts Over Traditional Fireplaces
The primary advantages of log fireplace inserts over traditional wood-burning fireplaces include:
- Cost to Buy: fireplace inserts cost a LOT less than a made-to-order or custom-built fireplace
- Cost to Own: most log inserts are extremely energy-efficient, especially ones that don’t emit heat.
- Programmable: many units can be programmed to turn themselves on and off. Some produce a range of special effects controlled by remote.
- Easy to Install: Because they do not require venting and most are plug-in, many log fireplace inserts can be installed without the use of a professional.
- Easy to maintain: No more chopping wood and loading it into the fireplace. Also, no more of the messy job cleaning out ashes from the fireplace.
- Greener and safer: Wood-burning fireplaces produce harmful emissions including carbon monoxide that’s dangerous for your family and pollutes the environment as well. Electric log inserts have zero emissions.
Listed below are five popular top-rated log fireplace inserts that you can’t go wrong with.
You’ll see that Dimplex units dominate our favorites. And that’s for a good reason: no other line comes close to producing such a realistic flame effect.
Best Electric Log Fireplace Inserts
Note: some links below are Amazon.com affiliate links (learn more)
- Best Overall: Comfort Glow Electric Log Set with Heater
- Most Realistic: Dimplex Opti-Myst DFI400LH
- Best Electric Firebox Log Insert: Dimplex Opti-Myst Pro BOF4068L
- Best Log Insert with Thermostat: Dimplex 25-Inch DF2524L
- Best Value: Dimplex DFI2309
- Best With Crackling Sounds: Duraflame Electric Log Set Heater
- Best Traditional Style: Dimplex Revillusion 20″ Plug-In
|Product||Price||Our Rating||Award||Size||Heater||Remote control||Installation|
| Comfort Glow||Best overall||23”W x 13”H x 9”D||1500W ( 400 sq. ft.)||Yes||Plug-in|
|Dimplex DFI400LH Opti-Myst||Most realistic||16”W x 13”H x 8.5”D||None||Yes||Plug-in|
|Dimplex BOF4068L Opti-Myst Pro||Best firebox log insert||19.3”W x 32.5”H x 10.3”D||1400W (400 sq. ft.)||Yes||Plug-in|
|Dimplex DF2524L||Best with thermostat||26”W x 18.6”H x 7.5”D||1400W (400 sq. ft.)||Yes||Plug-in|
|Dimplex DFI2309||Best value||25.5”W x 21”H x 13”D||1375W (400 sq. ft.)||Yes||Plug-in|
|Duraflame ElectricLog Set||Best with crackling sounds||20.5W” x 14.4”H x 8.7”D||1500W (400 sq ft)||Yes||Plug-in|
|Dimplex Revillusion RLG20||Best traditional||23.7”W x 12.5”H x 19”D||1500W (400 sq ft)||Yes||Plug-in|
1. Best Overall: Comfort Glow Electric Log Set with Heater
The Comfort Glow produces realistic-looking flames that mimic the effect of a wood-burning fireplace.
Though this relatively inexpensive log fireplace insert will never look exactly like the real thing, it nevertheless creates coziness while warming up the room.
It’s also a steal for a log insert, normally priced between $140 to $200 on Amazon (click to see the latest price).
1. Energy-saving LED Technology
The LED lighting is used heavily in achieving a real fire effect. It, therefore, might be a worry that the fireplace will use up too much energy if left on for long. The LED uses energy-saving, ensuring that your power bill stays low.
2. Realistic-looking Logs
To get the full effect of a fireplace, the logs are made to look as realistic as possible. In addition to the dancing yellow flames produced using light projections, the logs themselves have an inner glow that makes them appear to be burning.
3. Enough Heat For A Medium Sized Room
At 4600 BTU maximum output, the heat emitted by the CG electric log set is enough to warm up a 400 square feet room. The heat is forced out of the unit through a vent by a blower.
4. Operates With Or Without Heat
If it gets too hot, but you still want to enjoy the fireplace, just turn off the heat and turn it on again when you need the heat. By being able to operate in both modes, the fireplace can be enjoyed all year round regardless of the weather.
● 4600 BTU heat output at a power rating of 1500 watts.
● Included with the unit is a remote control for convenient operation.
● Measurements: 23 inches width, 13 inches height, 9 inches depth.
Like other fireplace inserts with heat output between 4000 and 5000 BTU, the CG electric log set cannot heat a large room. If you have a very large room, you may want to consider other more powerful alternatives.
The Comfort Glow electric log set is an affordable and easy way to add a realistic fireplace experience to any room.
Read Our Review
2. Most Realistic: Dimplex Opti-Myst Indoor Space Heater w/ Faux Logs DFI400LH
While other electric fireplace inserts do a decent enough job simulating flames, none comes close to what the Dimplex Opti-Myst achieves.
The Opti-Myst line makes use of manufacturer Dimplex’s unique misting technology to create an extremely realistic effect of flames and smoke. When it is on, it is easy to mistake it for a real fireplace. This patented technology is not cheap. But you pay for what you get.
Check out this 2-minute video to see the Opti-Myst technology in action:
1. Opti-myst Technology
This unit comes with a water reservoir which has to be filled with water. During operation, water is released from the reservoir as a mist. As the fine mist passes through LED-emitted light, it reflects the light in different directions, creating an effect of flames and smoke that’s eerily similar to that of an authentic wood-burning fireplace. You have to see one in action.
2. Super Economical To Operate
Switching from a wood-burning fireplace to an electric one does not translate into higher energy costs. This is because the power consumed is very little. This is particularly true with this unit.
Cycling at 50%, the Dimplex Opti-Myst uses only 1 penny per hour of power when the flame is on. If you turn on the mist effect for the smoke illusion, energy costs are only 7 cents per hour.
3. Easy Tank Refill
One full tank of water will operate for 14-17 hours before you need to refill it again. Since you are not using the appliance all day long, one tank can last several days.
4. Clean & Green
You don’t have to worry about any harmful emissions from the unit.
● Traditional log design, suitable for most decor.
● An on/off remote for convenience.
● A contemporary black finish on the exterior. Fits well in any type of décor.
● A voltage of 120V and wattage of 200 watts.
● Dimensions: 16 inches width, 13 inches height, and 8.5 inches depth.
Most electric log inserts come with an integrated heater. The Dimplex Opti-Myst insert doesn’t, even though it costs more than most log inserts.
If you are looking for a log insert that also provides supplemental heat, pick one of our other recommendations.
At over $1,000 retail, it’s not cheap; but this Dimplex Opti-Myst insert is as close as it gets to a real wood-burning fireplace without having to deal with the cost, smoke, and soot.
The groundbreaking Opti-Myst technology, combined with the overall look of the unit, delivers an experience you cannot get from any other fireplace insert.
Read Our Review
3. Best Electric Firebox: Dimplex Opti-Myst Pro Indoor Fireplace BOF4068L
The stunning jet black design of the Dimplex Opti-Myst Pro Fireplace is the unique aspect of the unit at first sight.
The sleek closed firebox design fits perfectly with homes that use a modern style of décor. And Dimplex’s famous Opti-Myst patented technology creates one of the most realistic electric fireplace effects you will find in any fireplace insert.
1. Opti-Myst Ultrasonic Technology
This electric fireplace is unique in that you can see smoke. But it is not real smoke. The smoke and flames effect is created using ultrasonic technology. Water mist mixes with emitted light to create light reflection, which creates an illusion of real smoke and fire. The result is an authentic resemblance to a wood-burning fireplace.
2. Long-Lasting Effects
To get the smoke effect going, you have to fill the tank with water. A full tank can easily last for 14 to 17 hours before you need to make any other refill. This translates into several days of use, considering that it is not in use the whole day long. As for the water, normal tap water is good enough; the unit does not need any special water.
3. Highly Realistic Logs
The faux logs are intricately handcrafted to offer as much authenticity as possible. They are molded from real wooden logs to ensure a similar shape and look. Thus, the log set looks no different than wooden logs burning in the fireplace.
4. Great For Built-In Installations
Like most other modern-style fireplace inserts, this unit is designed to be connected directly to the mains. This ensures a clutter-free installation that helps preserve the sleek style of the fireplace.
But if this is not an option for you, a plug-in accessory is also available.
5. Clean And Green Operation
No harmful emissions are produced. The only thing produced is the water mist, which is completely harmless. The smoke and fire observed is an effect of light reflection.
● It requires a connection to a 120V power source. This can either be a wall socket or the mains circuit.
● The unit comes with an inbuilt heater that distributes heat using a fan. The heater can warm a room of up to 400 square feet.
● Measurements: 28 inches width, 19.2 inches height, and 10.2 inches depth.
● A modern black finish.
Unlike most electric log inserts that are zero-maintenance, the Dimplex Opti-Myst requires regular water refills. Thankfully, you only need to add water every 1-2 days.
Another issue is that the firebox is designed to be hard-wired, so you need to hire a pro. Hard wiring is great for a clean clutter-free look, but it means you have to spend money on installation.
The Dimplex Opti-Myst Pro Fireplace delivers what most other electric fireplaces can’t; great design, ease of use, adequate heating, and a realistic fireplace effect. Though it is much pricier than other models, in this case, the result is worth the high price tag.
4. Best with Thermostat: Dimplex DF2524L 25-Inch Electric Fireplace Insert with Logs, Black
The DF2524L is an affordable alternative to Dimplex’s more costly Opti-Myst units. Even though the flame effects are not quite as amazing, this unit doesn’t compromise on quality or style. It’s a great deal compared to similar-priced models from other manufacturers.
It comes with a heater with thermostatic control, allowing you to set a specific room temperature.
1. Unique Flame Technology
In creating as realistic a flame as possible, the manufacturer relied on a unique technology. When you switch the fireplace on, what you see is close to what you would see in an actual fireplace.
2. Ember Bed
The DF2524L has a unique ember bed where the realistic-looking logs are placed. The logs are modeled from real wood.
3. Energy-saving LED Technology
Onscreen LED displays to inform you about the temperature and timing cycles. The flame effects used in the unit make use of energy-saving LED technology, as well.
As a result, you only pay pennies per hour when using this fireplace. Furthermore, the longevity of LED lighting ensures that your unit stays functional for a very long time.
A fan-forced heater emits enough heat to keep an average-sized room warm and cozy. There is a thermostat included for easy control of heat settings. You can further cut back on your energy costs by lowering the central house thermostat and letting the DF2524L do the heating.
5. A Multi-Function Remote
You can control all functions of the DF2524L 25-Inch Electric Fireplace Insert from the comfort of your couch.
6. Easy Installation
You can install this ventless unit in an existing fireplace or a recessed area, such as a cabinet. No hard wiring is needed; simply plug it into a 120V power source.
• Modern black finish.
• Twenty-five inches width, 22 inches height, and 7 inches depth.
• A voltage of 120V and wattage of 1400 watts.
• On safety, the front glass stays cool, making it harmless to touch.
• Highly economical and environmentally friendly.
Do not expect this unit to heat a large room; it is ideal for a small to average-sized room up to a maximum size of 400 square feet.
This unit also lacks the hyper-realistic Opti-Myst technology of much pricier Dimplex fireplace inserts.
Offered at a much lower price than other Dimplex products, this fireplace insert is a strikingly good deal. It has a great design, functions well and is a pleasure to use. Highly recommended.
5. Best Value Electric Log Insert: Dimplex DFI2309
The DF2309 is one of the cheapest and most popular Dimplex fireplace inserts today.
While some of their electric fireplaces insert retail for almost $2,000, this unit can be found online for less than $200. That’s due to its lack of Opti-Myst technology.
But the DFI2309 does not compromise on quality or function. This compact (23.2 inches width) unit still packs a punch.
It’s one of the best bargains around AND one of the highest-rated units for sale, which explains its popularity.
1. Easy Installation
Just insert it into your existing fireplace, and you are good to go. Like many other fireplaces, you can also install them in recessed cabinet space. For power, just plug it into a standard household socket.
2. A 4692 BTU Fan-forced Heater
The unit comes with a fan-forced heater that is good enough to warm a small to the average-sized room (max 400 square feet).
3. Variable Heat Levels
The flame and the heat aspects of the unit operate independently of each other. You can turn off the heat while keeping the flame going.
Even better, you can set the ideal heat level depending on the weather. In winter, turn it on full blast. When it’s warmer, keep it at half capacity. In the heat of the summer, turn it off completely.
4. On/off Remote Control
For convenience, there is an on/off remote control.
• Dimensions: 23.2 inches width, 19.8 inches height, and 10.8 inches depth.
• 4692 BTU at 1375 Watts
• Jet black finish
• 1-year limited warranty
Unfortunately, the remote control can only switch the unit on or off; it cannot change the heat settings. This forces one to manually change heat settings on the unit, which is a bit of an inconvenience.
Another concern is the highly reflective back end of the unit. It can reflect light creating an unappealing halo effect.
The DF2309 is arguably the best budget electric log fireplace insert on the market today. For its low price, it delivers a nice set of features and does not disappoint when it comes to aesthetics.
The heater is also good enough to heat an average size room even when on a low setting. Despite its low price, it delivers an experience on par or even better than many more expensive models.
Read Our Review
6. Best with Crackling Sounds: Duraflame Electric Log Set Heater
Realistic logs and flames are great, but a crackling sound completes the real feel of an electric log set insert. It makes it sound like there’s a real wood burning in the fireplace. It adds a nice ambiance to the room and is a great sound to fall asleep to.
1. Realistic Look With Crackling Sounds
The juniper style resin logs look incredibly realistic. They have the shape and texture of real logs, and even have the charred look of burning logs.
Glowing LED lights inside the logs make them appear as if they are burning and smoldering.
The flames also look realistic. They dance amidst the logs in a random pattern, mimicking real flames.
The crackling sounds complete the realistic ambiance of the Duraflame log set. You can adjust how loud the sounds are using the included remote control or the sound button on the base of the fireplace.
2. Integrated Infrared Heater
The Duraflame log set comes with a built-in quartz infrared heater that heats spaces up to 1,000 square feet, though the heating is more effective in a smaller space of up to 500-700 sq ft.
Unlike fan-forced heaters, the infrared heater in the Duraflame log insert is more energy-efficient, runs quieter, and doesn’t dry out the air.
The heater does have a thermostat control, but it’s just a knob that you turn to increase or lower heat. You cannot set a specific temperature.
3. Easy Installation
You don’t need to call a pro to hardwire the Duraflame log set. It plugs into a standard outlet. As long as you’ve checked to make sure it’ll fit in your fireplace, installing it is an easy 10-minute DIY project.
Dimensions: 20.5W” x 14.4”H x 8.7”D
1500W, 5100BTU infrared heater
The thermostat on the Duraflame log set doesn’t let you set a specific temperature. You have to do some trial and error to find the most comfortable setting.
Another heater-related issue is that you cannot adjust the heat level using the remote control. You have to stand up and turn the knob.
If you want an electric log set that mimics everything – look, warmth and sound – about a real fireplace, the Duraflame electric log set is a great choice. The only thing it doesn’t have is the smell of burning wood.
7. Best Traditional Design: Dimplex Revillusion 20″ Plug-In Electric Fireplace Log Set
Electric log inserts look more traditional compared to other types of electric fireplaces. The Dimplex Revillusion RLG20 looks even more traditional than other log sets.
Everything from the grate to the logs and the flames reminds you of an open hearth. And because the Dimplex log set doesn’t block the view to the back of your fireplace, you still enjoy the sight and ambiance of the masonry.
1. Traditional Ambience
The Dimplex Revillusion RLG20 looks more like a real open fireplace than other electric log sets do.
Even the metal grate looks like one of those traditional ones that hold real logs. The logs themselves look very realistic. They burn and glow like real burning logs. For a realistic texture, they are cast from actual hardwood logs.
The flames are not as impressive as those of Dimplex Opti-Myst electric fireplaces, but they’ll easily fool your guests. A non-reflective partially frosted acrylic panel enhances the flames, making them appear bigger and brighter.
The panel doesn’t block the view to the back of your fireplace. So if you like the beautiful masonry in your fireplace, you can keep enjoying it.
2. 1500W Heater
The Dimplex RLG20 comes with the same standard 1500W heater found in most electric log sets and fireplaces.
Being a fan-forced heater, it does not cover as big an area as an infrared heater. It warms small and medium-size rooms up to 400 square feet in size.
The RLG20 heater doesn’t have a thermostat; you can only set the heat to high, low or off using the included remote control.
3. Easy DIY Installation
The Dimplex RLG20 log set does not require hard wiring, so you can install it yourself in a few minutes by plugging it into a standard outlet.
Size: 23.7”W x 12.5”H x 19”D
1500W, 5100BTU fan-forced heater
The heater in the Dimplex RLG20 is good only for small and medium-size rooms. If your living room is bigger than 400 square feet, get the RLG20 for the ambiance, not the heat.
Another heater limitation is the lack of a thermostat. You can only select between two heat levels.
If you are looking for an electric log set that has the feel and look of a traditional open fireplace, the Dimplex Revillusion RLG20 is a great choice.
How Do Electric Fireplace Log Inserts Work?
Electric fireplace logs create the illusion of burning logs, complete with flames and glowing embers. So you get the ambiance of a fireplace but without the smoke and work involved in burning wood.
Different log inserts create this illusion using different techniques. Some like Dimplex Opti-Myst models, use lights and fine water mist to create highly realistic flame effects.
Cheaper inserts use LED lights and a rotating mechanism with reflective tabs to make it seem like there’s a fire.
To make logs glow and smolder, electric log inserts embed LED lights within the logs.
Most electric log sets also include a heater that blows out heated air into the room.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Electric Log Insert
Here are key features and options to look for when shopping for an electric log insert for your fireplace.
How Realistic Is It?
The design and look of the log set is the most important consideration. The log set needs to come as close as possible to the look of a real wood-burning fireplace.
Dimplex Opti-Myst log sets are some of the most realistic in the market. But even cheaper brands look pretty realistic, especially from a distance.
Some log sets come with a crackling sound effect to complete the fireplace feel.
If you only need the ambiance of an electric log insert, look for a set without a heater. But most people prefer a log insert that provides supplemental heat.
It not only feels great on a chilly evening, but it can also lower your AC costs.
Virtually all electric log inserts come with a 1400W or 1500W heater with about 5,000 BTUs of output. They can heat spaces up to 400 square feet, though infrared heaters can warm bigger rooms up to 700-1,000 square feet.
Check if the heater comes with a thermostat control. That will allow you to set a specific temperature for the room. Most, however, offer 2 or 3 heat levels.
Installation: Plug-in or Hardwired
We prefer plug-in electric log inserts as they are the easiest and cheapest to install. As long as you have an outlet within or close to the fireplace, you can install the insert yourself.
Hardwired inserts are great if you want a clutter-free look. On the downside, you have to get an electrician to set up the insert safely.
Don’t forget to measure your fireplace to make sure you get an electric log insert that will fit.
Log sets are more forgiving on sizing compared to traditional electric fireboxes that have to be a perfect fit. With a log set, you can get a smaller size than your fireplace and it’ll still look good.
It may seem trivial, but the remote control is a convenience you’ll love to have. You can adjust the heat or flames from the comfort of your couch.
Remote control is also handy for seniors and people with back issues. You don’t have to bend down to reach the fireplace to adjust settings.
Check what options the remote control offers. Most let you adjust the heat level, turn on flame-only or flame and heat modes, and turn the log set on and off.
How To Install An Electric Log Insert
- Clear and clean the fireplace area.
- Make sure there’s an outlet in the fireplace or close by. If there isn’t, have an electrician install one. Do not plug the log insert into an extension cord.
- Assemble the electric log insert and set it in the fireplace. Plug it in. If it needs hardwiring, you’ll have to get an electrician to direct-wire it to a circuit.
- Check that you’ve followed the manufacturer’s recommendations on clearance around the log set. Be especially careful about proximity to combustible materials and make sure the heater vents are not obstructed.
- Test the electric log set to make sure everything is working as expected.
Note: Electric log inserts do not require venting.
Can An Electric Log Insert Heat A Room?
Yes, as long as it has a built-in heater. Most electric log fireplace inserts have a 1500W heater that can warm spaces up to 400 square feet.
Do I Need To Vent An Electric Log Insert?
Because electric log inserts do not burn any fuel, they do not need venting.
Does An Electric Log Insert Need A Dedicated Circuit?
Most do not. Since most electric log inserts have a 1500W heater, you can safely plug it into a standard outlet. Just make sure you don’t use an extension cord.
The only reason you may want to hardwire a log insert to a dedicated circuit is if there is no outlet within or near the fireplace, or if you want a clean and clutter-free look.
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