Electric fireplaces are great, at least in theory. They start working quickly, they don’t require you to buy any firewood, and you’ll never have to worry about gas leaks or any other. Unfortunately, the field of electric fireplaces isn’t always all that exciting. For every great fireplace, there seem to be a dozen hopped-up space heaters, and it can be fairly difficult to figure out which products are worth buying and which ones are going to end up sitting in your garage after a few attempts at being used.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you not only figure out what makes a great electric fireplace but to show exactly which ones are worth your time. Whether you are trying to find the best of the best or you have specific needs, you’ll find a great electric fireplace here that will meet your personal specifications.
Best Electric Fireplaces of 2020
The list of the truly great electric fireplaces out there is pretty short, but there are still a fair number of products worth looking at before you make your choice. If you’re looking at the best of the best, though, you absolutely can’t go wrong with the Touchstone Sideline.
Best Overall: Touchstone Sideline
If you’re in the market for an electric fireplace, it makes a great deal of sense to look for the best all-around product. While there are certainly other products that excel in one area or another, the Touchstone Sideline is the electric fireplace that tends to do the most in every area. Not only does it work incredibly well when keeping your room warm, but it looks great and has a handful of great features that make it stand out above the rest. This really is a jack of all trades that has managed to master all of the most important features for the electric fireplace market.
The most important place to start, of course, is with the unit’s heating capability. If you’re looking for an electric fireplace, you probably care about its ability to keep your room warm. The great thing about the Sideline is that it manages to do just that with a remarkably small amount of effort. Rated to keep a room of up to four hundred square feet warm, it’s a product that absolutely holds its own with virtually every other electric heater on the market. The unit also has two different settings, so you can determine if you’re looking to keep a space hot or just chase off a chill.
While this unit is incredibly functional, it’s also incredibly aesthetically pleasing. At fifty inches wide, no one is going to mistake this fireplace for a simple space heater. It has a realistic faux-flame effect that you can set to not only a handful of different levels, but also to a number of different colors. This takes the fireplace from being a simple utilitarian tool to something more like a statement piece, one that will awe your guests even while it keeps them warm. A modern-looking bit of design work, it’s an excellent fit in most rooms.
Finally, there’s the fact that this is a very simple little machine to set up. You don’t need any special electrical knowledge to get this fireplace going – while you can certainly have it hardwired into your wall, you can also simply plug it into any wall socket. You don’t even have to do any demolition work to get this unit installed – it works just as well mounted on your wall like a flatscreen television as it does when recessed into the same space. It’s an incredibly user-friendly piece of tech that ensures that you can get to using the device as soon as possible.
- Can be mounted on the wall or recessed
- Realistic flame effect that can be turned on or off
- Heats up to 400 square feet
- High and low heat settings
Best High End: Touchstone Sideline Elite
When some people look for fireplaces, they’re not concerned with finding the best deal. Instead, they want the best of the best in as many categories as possible with the price never coming into the equation. If you’re on the hunt for this kind of unit, you’re in luck because you are still going to be looking at something that’s quite similar to the Sideline. In fact, the Sideline Elite is in many ways similar to the other model, with its features kicked up a few notches to provide an even higher level of luxury to the owners of this model. If the price is no object, this is where you want to start.
So, what does spending more really buy you? The best place to start, of course, is still with the unit’s heating capability. The good news here is that you’re still going to get the same massive four-hundred square feet of heating. The even better news, though, is that you are going to get much more control over that heat. This model features a thermometer to help ensure that you get the flame level you want, giving you a bit more control with your high and low settings. In fact, this unit even knows when you’ve hit your ideal temperature so that it can stop bringing the heat.
The most impressive changes, though, are definitely in the presentation. Not only do you have the realistic flames, but you have three different flame speeds with five different intensity settings. You still get the colors, but now you get more of them – six flames, as well as ten great media bed options. It even remembers which colors and intensity settings you’ve chosen so that you can turn it on and off without having to worry about losing your particular combinations. If you’re looking to produce a unique aesthetic with your fireplace, this is the unit that’s going to allow you to do it all.
Despite the fact that you’re paying for more, you’re still getting a fairly easy product to use. It can still be hardwired or plugged in as well as installed or mounted on the wall. You even get the benefit of some very useful timers and a remote control to make sure that you’ve always got control of this fireplace. You’re paying extra for convenience here to be sure, but for many, simply having that extra convenience is more than worth the extra money.
- Heats up to 400 square feet
- Customizable flame and media bed colors
- Can be operated manually, via remote or with a timer
- Can be installed in the wall or mounted like a television
Best With Mantel: Kitsco Acevedo Electric Fireplace
While the heating functionality is very important to many who own electric fireplaces, the truth is that even some of the best of these units can fail at one of the most traditional tasks of the typical fireplace. Because these units are often mounted on the wall, they don’t typically come with a mantel – something that’s become an important part of home decor and holiday rituals. Fortunately, this unit from Kitsco not only does a great job of keeping spaces warm, but it also has the all-important mantel included so that the fireplace really feels like more of a typical part of a home’s decor.
If you’re in the market for this piece, you’ll be happy to note that this unit really does have a very nice mantel. Included as part of the unit, it’s a lovely aesthetic touch that does provide for a great deal of functionality. It’s not quite so strong that you can place a television of this mantel, but the mantel is strong enough to use for normal decorating. It also helps the electric fireplace unit to blend carefully into the background of a room, helping to sell the illusion that this unit is just another part of the home’s original construction.
The good news is that this isn’t just a good-looking fireplace – it’s one that can do a great job of keeping your room warm. Like the other models, it keeps spaces up to four hundred square feet nice and warm. It can be controlled with a remote control, and it even has a built-in thermostat that will shut off the heating functions as soon as your room hits the ideal temperature. It’s an incredibly user-friendly unit that does as much for the way that a room feels as it does for the way that the room looks.
The actual flame element here is a little simpler than what you’d see in the other models, though. It still looks very realistic, and you just don’t get the same options when it comes to the color. You do, however, get to decide the intensity and size of the flames, which can help to further cement this unit as a great, natural-looking alternative to a gas or wood model. Although it does require a little more work to assemble and to install that the leading brand on this list, it’s an amazing piece that can really bring a room together.
- Includes a classic mantel
- Built-in thermostat
- Heat and flames controlled via remote
- Heats up to 400 square feet
Best Budget Pick: Touchstone Onyx
While it’s entirely possible to break the bank when you’re on the hunt for a good electric fireplace, there are also some great choices that you can find that will fit within most budgets. Though some of the higher-end features are absent from some of these models, the best budget brands are still going to look great and give off an appropriate level of heat. If you are watching your bank account when you’re on your hunt for the best electric fireplace, you might want to stop and take a look at this excellent budget unit from Touchstone.
The best place to start with this model is a reminder that this is from the same company as the absolute best model on the list. Indeed, you’re actually going to end up with something that’s got a lot of the same parts under the hood as you would if you bought one of Touchstone’s more expensive models if you pick this one. You’re still getting the ability to heat a room of up to four hundred square feet, and you’re still getting two different heat settings. What you’re losing, for the most part, are the extra features that make the other models exciting rather than those that make them work.
A great example here comes in the form of flame effects. The Onyx, like the other models, sports some incredibly realistic flame effects that are sure to impress anyone who takes a look at your fireplace. What’s missing, though, are the extra colors and settings. If you’re looking for something that’s budget-conscious and that will keep your home warm, though, you’re not going to miss those settings very much. It’s the extras you lose here, not the heating performance that you should expect to get from the fireplace itself. When you take a look at the features that matter the most from a strictly utilitarian point of view, this unit really does still have it where it counts.
The good news, though, is that the missing features here have almost nothing to do with how easy it is to assemble, install, or use this electric fireplace. Like the other models from Touchstone, you have the option of installing the unit or mounting it; likewise, you have the option of choosing a dedicated connection or a typical plug. You still even get a timer here for your heater, as well as a remote control to ensure that you keep your room at the right temperature no matter where you are. In short, this is a great budget alternative to what’s already a fantastic device.
- Heats up to 400 square feet
- Two heat settings
- Realistic flames
- Can be mounted on the wall
Runner Up: Clairevale Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace
In any contest, you’re eventually going to get the second-place option. What many forget, though, is that while the runner-up might lose to the winner, it still comes in well ahead of everyone else in the field. While this Clairevale Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace might not be the best of the best by any of the metrics listed above, it’s still a great choice for those who are either unwilling or unable to get one of the other fantastic fireplaces that have been listed above. In fact, this is a great electric fireplace that really does stand out on its own merits when you compare it to most fireplaces.
On the base level, this is a fireplace that at least hangs with the rest of the units in terms of basic functionality. It can still keep a room of up to four hundred square feet feeling toasty and warm, making it a great choice if you are looking for a more utilitarian product. Like the other units, it also has two different heat modes and adjustable flames, so you can create a fireplace experience that feels uniquely suited to your home. It can even be controlled via remote, making it particularly useful on those cold days when you just don’t want to move.
It’s a good looking unit on the aesthetic front as well, though it’s not as feature-rich as some of the top-tier units. You still get realistic flames that can be adjusted for a variety of looks, but they only come in one color. This isn’t a big deal for every buyer, but it certainly means that the unit is better suited to those situations in which a natural look is preferred. It also sports a unique stainless steel look that’s quite modern, though the lack of mantel will certainly give some pause. This is strictly a functional piece of engineering, albeit one that can still look great when paired with the right type of decor.
Unlike some of the other units, you also only get one installation option here. This unit is meant to be mounted on the wall, which actually makes it a great fit for renters and for those who don’t want to commit to a more traditional fireplace look. While this means that you can’t go for the recessed look that’s popular with some, it does still mean that this is quite an easy fireplace to install. It might not be the best of the best, but it’s certainly one that’s worth looking at when you’re considering your options.
- Heats up to 400 square feet
- Two different heating modes
- Realistic looking flames
- Controlled via remote or timer