The Absolute Best Fireplace Inserts — For Every Situation
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The Best Fireplace Inserts For Every Space & Budget

The best fireplace inserts are nearly as useful as a real fireplace when it comes to heating your home during the winter. But, not all fireplace inserts are created equally, regardless of what their manufacturers claim. That is why you need to arm yourself with the most up to date and accurate information about fireplace inserts before putting one in your shopping cart.

In this article, we discuss why you should consider investing in a fireplace insert and reviewing our picks for the best fireplace inserts available this year.

Top 3 Fireplace Inserts for Winter 2020-2021

PRODUCT FEATURES
PURAFLAME WESTERN ELECTRIC FIREPLACE INSERT - The Best Fireplace Inserts For Every Space & BudgetPURAFLAME WESTERN ELECTRIC FIREPLACE INSERT
  • Size: 32 inches
  • Fuel: Electric
  • Vented: Vent-free
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ASHLEY HEARTH AGVF340LP GAS FIREBOX - The Best Fireplace Inserts For Every Space & BudgetASHLEY HEARTH AGVF340LP GAS FIREBOX
  • Size: 38 inches
  • Fuel: Propane
  • Vented: Vent-free
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DROLET ESCAPE 1800I FIREPLACE WOOD INSERT - The Best Fireplace Inserts For Every Space & BudgetDROLET ESCAPE 1800I FIREPLACE WOOD INSERT
  • Size: 29 inches
  • Fuel: Wood
  • Vented: Flue type
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Why Trust Us

It happens that most of the BYB team live in areas with long, cold winters. We have experts in winterization, firewood curing and burning, using wood-heat year round, chimney maintenance, home remodeling and much more. So when we’re making decisions about what we use and would want in our own homes, those same considerations are made in our choices for review, our rankings, and in the information we know a potential buyer is looking for and needs to know.

The following fireplace inserts will help keep your home warm and cozy all year-round. In choosing these products for review, we looked at several factors, including cost, durability, quality of construction and materials, venting, energy efficiency, and more. Here they are, our picks for the best fireplace inserts available this year:

Best Electric Fireplace Insert

PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert
    3 flame settings with variable intensity and brightness can be used with or without heat all year long; 100% energy saving LED technology. A sleek look with three-sided interior brick wall and clean glass front trim design, without the hassle of cleaning dust or ashes.

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WHY WE LIKE IT: The PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert is our favorite unit of 2020. It has three main flame settings with adjustable brightness and heat levels, which we love. The insert’s LED technology promotes energy-saving and creates a sleek look against the brick wall and glass in front of the unit. 

A realistic appearing log of resin sits on the firegrate above the ember bed, measuring just under 12 inches. This fireplace insert is designed to heat up to 400 sq ft, not an entire home. The unit heats the room quickly and can be run effortlessly via an easy to use remote control. It also has an adjustable thermostat.

Even more, the fireplace insert is simple to set up, use, and uninstall as well. The manufacturer even includes a one year warranty and customer service.

WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Those who want a no-nonsense electric fireplace insert that has a clean look, is easy to use, and don’t expect to rely on the unit to heat the entire home.

Best Gas Firebox Insert

Ashley Hearth AGVF340LP Vent-Free Propane Gas Firebox
    Ashley Hearth's classic vent-free firebox is designed to fit any heating application for your home. By itself, this kit can be placed in zero clearance fireplaces and custom mantle applications. This firebox delivers 34,000 BTU of heat, and because it does not require a vent it is 99 percent efficient.

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WHY WE LIKE IT: The Ashley Hearth AGVF340LP  is one of our very favorite picks among the best gas fireplace inserts. The unit is vent-free and includes a 14-inch hookup for the gas hose. Also, a log set is included in the gas firebox. Running at 34,000 BTUs, it can heat an impressive area of up to 12,000 sq ft. That’s more than most homes need, which means this unit can be used as a sole source of winter heat if you choose.

Further, the gas insert is designed in a way that it easily fits into most existing fireplaces. Along with a hookup gas hose, the gas insert comes in a firebox that enables you to install in any area.

Vent-free functionality makes the Ashley Hearth AGVF340LP gas insert to work at 99-percent efficiency. Once installed, it is easy to maintain without any extra costs. You have an option to upgrade the present unit with a mantle kit, insert kit, or a leg kit.  

WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Those who want a low-maintenance, high-capacity, high-efficiency fireplace insert capable of heating the entire home.

Best Wood Burning Fireplace Insert

Drolet Escape 1800i Fireplace Wood Insert
    This Drolet Escape 1800i Fireplace Wood Insert upgrades your fireplace to a cleaner burning, higher efficiency heat source. High-temperature secondary combustion provides 30 percent greater efficiency and cleaner emissions. Air-washed ceramic glass maintains a clear view. Accepts 20in. logs. High-quality 130 CFM variable-speed blower with heat activation.

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WHY WE LIKE IT: In our opinion, it is by far one of the best wood burning fireplace inserts available this year. The unit has a lifetime-limited warranty to back up its awesomeness as well, which says a whole lot more than we can type here in this article. With its ultra-quiet crossflow blower, the Drolet Escape wood fireplace insert can be an attractive heating option for people who prefer traditional fireplace inserts.

Generally, people are wary of using a wood-burning fireplace insert, but you can rest assured of the unit’s safety, as it is EPA-approved. The wood insert’s ceramic door is made of a cast-iron frame and meets all safety standards. With its black and sleek exterior, it can easily blend into your home décor.

Running at 75,000 BTUs, the unit is extremely powerful. It can burn 20-inch logs, and the maximum burn time is 6 hours. As it comes with a glass air wash system, the maintenance becomes extremely easy and leaves you with much less work.      

WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Wood-heat traditionalists without a wood-burning fireplace. This unit can heat an entire home, is easy to maintain and install, and lends the kind of old-school woodfire ambiance other units lack.

Best Quiet Running Gas Fireplace Insert

GreatCo Gallery Series Insert Electric Fireplace
    The 42 inch fireplace is perfect for renovating old gas or wood fireplaces, or for rooms where gas and wood are not possible. The heating element, flame, and backlighting all operate independently so you can use the heater without the flame and backlight on - or vice versa. Enjoy the comfort of a fireplace without the hassle and cost of gas or wood, and benefit from the slim and sleek design of the GI-29-IS electric fireplace from GreatCo.

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WHY WE LIKE IT: This unit is simple to install, ridiculously good-looking, and fits larger fireplaces where other units might seem too small or unattractive. It’s also whisper quiet, a real plus if you intend to run the fireplace often but don’t want to spend a winter yelling over the roar of a propane flame.

GreatCo Gallery Series is an all modern 42-inch electric fireplace insert. It is a nice alternative to wood-burning or gas fireplace inserts. For a traditional fireplace insert, you need a professional to install it. But for this electric insert, you don’t need to consult a professional to install the unit. It can easily slide into the existing fireplace, and if you are confident enough, you can install the insert and save a lot of money on installation charges.

With an easy-to-use remote control, you can operate the units backlighting, heating element, flame, and ember bed. The 2-stage 1500-watt heater can warm up the whole room. The insert has an ultra-quiet fan made with silent force technology that keeps the sound to the minimum.

WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Those who want a low-volume alternative to standard gas inserts, and have larger-than-average fireplaces to hold a larger insert.

Best Electric Wall-Mounted Fireplace Insert

R.W.FLAME 36 inch Recessed and Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace
    With an ETL certificate of approval, the fireplace insert is also one of the safest in its class. It comes with standard auto-heat kill safety features to reduce the chances of overheating. The feature also helps to balance the home’s natural humidity and comfortability rather than drying it out.

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WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the most popular fireplace inserts on the market right now—unquestionably—is none other than the RW FLAME 43-inch recessed fireplace insert. This bad boy is one of the thinnest (only 3.85 in) inserts (others are 6 inches or more in thickness).

An updated power supply and cable also make the unit much more attractive than previous models and competitor fireplace inserts. 

The insert comes with a touch screen control panel and convenient remote control for ease of use. In addition, the LED flame bed has several colors, speed, and brightness modes (five of each), allowing you to customize your fireplace experience more than other fireplace insert models allow.

With this fireplace insert, you can save energy on heating for any room with measurements up to 400 sq ft. That said, two versions are available; 750W and 1500W.

With an ETL certificate of approval, the fireplace insert is also one of the safest in its class. It comes with standard auto-heat kill safety features to reduce the chances of overheating. The feature also helps to balance the home’s natural humidity and comfortability rather than drying it out.

A one-year warranty with customer service is also included in your purchase of this particular fireplace insert.

WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Anyone who values high-tech advances in traditional tools, and is looking for a bells-and-whistles electric heating unit for a modern setting.

Alternative Electric Fireplace Insert

Dimplex DF3033ST 33-Inch Self-Trimming Electric Fireplace Insert
    With our electric flame technology, the pulsating embers with hand finished logs molded from real wood logs offer incredible realism. Includes on/off flame control and separate controls for flame speed, interior brightness and heater.

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WHY WE LIKE IT: The heat generated by the powerful fan of the Dimplex DF3033ST electric fireplace insert can reach up to 400 sq ft in a room. The insert’s patented flame technology, pulsating ember technology, and LED inner glow logs can create a realistic experience. 

In addition to glowing logs and ember dance, Dimplex DF3033ST’s multi-flame technology can create a perfect atmosphere. With the fan-forced heater, you can control the thermostat and can set the temperature as per your convenience. The electric insert is environment friendly. Since the power source is electric, it doesn’t generate harmful particulates or emissions. It is safe for kids, and you don’t need to worry about accidents as the glass remains cool all the time.

WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Those who want an electric unit for ambiance and occasional use, and do not rely on a unit to supply an entire home with heat.

Alternative Gas Fireplace Insert

Napoleon Grandville VF Series GVF36-2N
    3 flame settings with variable intensity and brightness can be used with or without heat all year long; 100% energy saving LED technology. A sleek look with three-sided interior brick wall and clean glass front trim design, without the hassle of cleaning dust or ashes.

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WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for a traditional fireplace insert with a modern look, then Napoleon Grandville VF Series 36-inch gas insert is the right choice for you. 

It also comes with a lifetime-limited warranty. The gas insert can generate heat up to 30,000 BTUs to warm up a room. With its burner technology and PHAZER logs, the gas insert can create realistic yellow dancing flames. 

The easy to use unit has a simple on and off switch to operate the fireplace insert’s power source. You can also adjust the heat up to 50-percent and can control how much the insert can emit heat and temperature in the room. 

Also, the gas insert has a safety screen to prevent accidents when kids and pets play around the fireplace. The unit also comes with a back-up control system, which keeps the gas insert running even when you have a power failure.

WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Anyone who wants a modern-looking, easy-to-use gas insert with additional safety features for homes with children and pets.

Alternative Electric Wall Mounted Fireplace Insert

Touchstone Sideline Recessed Mounted Electric Fireplace
    The Sideline fireplace has several configurations to match your desired temperature and atmosphere. It features dual modes that allow you to operate the fireplace with or without heat, allowing you to add ambiance to a room without adding warmth. The set includes faux logs and crystals to create a genuine fireplace feel. Easy-to-follow instructions are included to help homeowners install the unit on their own.

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WHY WE LIKE IT: This is a very sleek, easy-to-use unit that complements a minimalist or contemporary style home. The controls are fine-tunable and the unit is simple to install following manufacturer instructions.

If you have a small home and are looking for an affordable fireplace insert to warm up the house, Touchstone 80004 Sideline electric insert is a great investment. With a simple in-wall installation, the insert can perfectly fit into any wall. 

If you want to keep your home’s contemporary look pristine, then this electric fireplace insert can easily blend into your wall background as it comes with five realistic flame settings.

Not just small homes, with 1500-watt power, the electric insert can heat a 400 sq ft room. It has two heat settings and has semi-realistic looking features like multiple flame modes, crystals, and fire logs. With the built-in timer, you can set the time anywhere between 30 minutes and 7.5 hours. 

WHO SHOULD BUY IT: Anyone who’s looking for a mount-anywhere heating unit that lends great ambiance and ample warmth without looking too old-fashioned.

Why Invest in a Fireplace Insert?

Saving on monthly energy bills is one of the primary reasons to invest in a fireplace insert. It doesn’t matter whether the power source is electric, gas, or wood, as most fireplace inserts are optimized to be extremely energy efficient. You can even save up to 50-percent of your money spent on annual energy bills. Aside from investing in one of the very best electric fireplaces, you’ll have a hard time finding a more cost-effective way to heat your home with electricity.

Electric fireplace / hand in frame
It’s important to consider safety features in a fireplace insert.

Another advantage of having a fireplace insert is that it can quickly and easily fit in an existing fireplace. Most fireplace inserts can fit in central units, modern fireplaces, and traditional fireplace designs. Also, many of the fireplace inserts work with modern chimneys, with only minor modifications necessary. 

What to Consider Before Buying a Fireplace Insert

Before getting too far along in your search for the best fireplace insert for your home, there are a handful of significant factors that should be carefully considered. Among the most important considerations to make before buying a fireplace insert include:

Fireplace Insert Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency has to be considered before purchasing a fireplace insert. A high efficient unit not only saves you money but also most durable. With less fuel, it can distribute more heat throughout the house. Also, US buyers can get a potential tax credit for using energy-efficient units.

Adjustable Airflow Options

When firewood, logs, and pellets are burned, air wash forms over them. A mechanism to control the air wash is needed to make the insert more efficient. It keeps the airflow in control. Also, the constant flow of heat is more evenly distributed throughout your house with an adjustable airflow system.  

Direct Venting Fireplace Inserts

When you buy a fireplace insert, a direct venting system is crucial. The insert’s burner directly vents out smoke without affecting the airflow in the house. Direct venting is necessary, especially when you are using wood burning fireplace inserts. Though there are many ways to vent out the air, direct venting works more efficiently than other methods.

Cast Iron Doors

The fireplace insert’s body is high-end steel, and the doors consist of heavy-duty cast iron. Cast iron is chosen for the doors due to its ability to effectively resist extreme heat levels and allows the doors to stay cool on the outside. Most importantly, a cast iron door gives you access to the coal bed of your fireplace insert with fewer risks of accidental burns or accidents.

best fireplace inserts featured wide
The PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert installed and heating a cozy dining room.

Fireplace Insert Maintenance and Venting

How often does the fireplace insert have to be cleaned?

Dust, creosote, and grime builds up over time and can reduce the fireplace insert’s efficiency. You have to clean it every week with an oil lubricant recommended by the manufacturer or a vacuum cleaner with soft bristles. 

Before you start the cleaning process, make sure the gas is turned off and the temperature has cooled completely.

Does venting differ for different types of fireplace inserts?

Yes. Many units use a flex pipe to vent the exhaust through the chimney. Wood burning fireplace inserts use a stainless steel liner, which is placed into the chimney. Direct venting uses linear fibers and is extensively used by gas inserts. Pellet inserts use a 4-inch flexible liner.

Which Fireplace Insert is Best For You?

We get it: You want the short answer. Not a problem. Depending on your home-heating needs, the best fireplace insert varies. Whether you are looking to heat a single room of your home or the entire house, one of the selections from our list above meets your needs. Our top picks.

    PuraFlame Western Electric Fireplace Insert

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    A no-nonsense, easy-to-install, easy-maintenance unit that's good-looking and powerful enough to heat a large room at the touch of a button.

Best Electric Fireplace Insert: PURAFLAME WESTERN ELECTRIC FIREPLACE INSERT

Best Gas Fireplace Insert: ASHLEY HEARTH AGVF340LP VENT-FREE PROPANE GAS FIREBOX

Best Wood-Burning Fireplace Insert: DROLET ESCAPE 1800I FIREPLACE WOOD INSERT

Do you currently use a fireplace insert or plan to install one soon? If so, please feel free to share the details with us in the comments section below. If you happen to own one of the fireplace inserts on our list or another model that you swear by, we’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

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