Electric Fireplace vs Gas Fireplace: Which is Preferable and Why 2019

Electric Fireplace vs Gas Fireplace: Which is Preferable

Nothing beats sitting indoors next to a fireplace on a cold day. If you do not already have a chimney or a fireplace in your home, the simplest solution is to either get Gas or an Electric fireplace. Both produce steady warmth and ambience for your home, but they do not look or function alike. We will outline their differences and end this battle electric fireplace vs gas fireplace for you below so that you can make a good choice based on a more informed decision about which one will work better in your home.

Just a side note, one good thing they both have in common is that you don’t have to undertake the expensive and disruptive process of adding a fireplace to your home. Technology offers you the option of a gas or electric fireplace also check out the different types of fireplace.

The real question we would be addressing in this article is electric fireplace vs gas fireplace: Between these two, which is better for your home?

Below, we will be comparing both the Electric Fireplace vs Gas Fireplace using these parameters ;

  1. Appearance
  2. Installation
  3. Cost of running.
  4. Cost of the unit itself.
  5. Energy Efficiency
  6. Safety
  7. Maintenance
  8. Resale value.
  9. Flexibility.
  10. Guarantee.
  11. Environmental concerns.
  12. Heating capability
  13. Time needed to heat.

Let Dive in Electric Fireplace vs Gas Fireplace


Electric Fireplace

While you are not going to mistake either gas or electric fireplaces for a traditional wood-burning model, both come in a range of beautiful designs that can complement many rooms. Of the two, gas fireplaces have the more realistic look because the gas produces a flame you can see and heat you can feel.

Gas fireplaces are stylish, and you have the choice of many designs to suit your décor. They can be set up in any room in your home which allows you to expand on design theories and retain heat where you need it the most.

An electric fireplace does not produce flames in the same way but still produces heat. Instead of flames, they project an image of a burning log. Depending on the model you purchase and its quality, this image can be either convincing or artificial in its appearance. If you love the way a wood burning fireplace looks and feels on a chilly evening, you can achieve a very similar feeling with a gas or electric fireplace, although it is important to note that the flames in a gas fireplace typically look more realistic than those in an electric fireplace.

Gas Fireplace


Both gas and electric fireplaces are much easier to install than a wood-burning fireplace. A gas fireplace requires that the gas line be run to the area, and a small vent is needed for most models. Non-venting units are available if you are unable to run a vent. The unit is then set in place and hooked up.

Electric fireplaces are easier to install though. They just simply plug into where they will be used. If you do not have an outlet there, it is a simple process to have one installed, and then the unit can be placed.

Ideally, both should be installed by a trained professional if an outlet or gas line needs to be installed first. Otherwise, most homeowners can set up an electric unit by themselves, while a gas fireplace will need professional assistance every time.

Also Read: Practical Steps to Installing A Gas Fireplace

Cost of Running

If you don’t have an existing gas line, an electric fireplace is probably a more cost effective option. Also, because gas fireplaces are fueled by gas, they create real flames, while electric ones produce heat with no flame. Generally speaking, a gas fireplace is more expensive to run than an electric fireplace. Electric fireplaces do not provide as much heat as a gas fireplace, and they can increase your heating bill substantially.

Electric fireplaces use between 5,200 and 8,900 BTUs and convert all their energy to heat. They cost around $25 a year to run.

Keep in mind, however, that while an electric heater is more efficient on the surface, it will not warm the room as well as a gas fireplace. Therefore, you may find that with a gas fireplace, you can turn down your thermostat and still stay warm. With an electric fireplace, you will likely have another heat source running, which may negate the savings. A typical 1500 Watt unit running on high heat and flame effect will cost about $.18 /hour. The cost of operation is affected by the cost of electricity in your area. A good average for cost of electricity is about $.12 per kW and a standard electric fireplace will use 1.5 kW/ hour, so 1.5kW x $.12 = $.18/ hour.

For the equivalent in a gas insert or gas fireplace, a large could use about 40,000 BTU/hour and in this case would cost about $0.40/hour to operate for natural gas and about $1.31/hour for propane

Cost of the Units

A pre-built gas fireplace can range from $1,500 to $3,000 for the unit itself. A small gas exhaust pipe 3 for running and venting the unit can range from $500 and $1,000, including installation.

If you don’t have an existing gas line, an electric fireplace is probably the more cost-effective option. Additional installation of the gas-burning fireplace components cost between $1,500 and $3,000. The price of a gas line hookup if you have an existing gas line runs between $150 and $300. For a new line, the cost will range between $300 and $800. This makes the total cost for a gas fireplace between $3,650 and $7,800.

Electric fireplaces do not need vents or special plumbing. You simply need an outlet where you want it to go. The cost of a built-in unit ranges from $600 to $1,000. If you need a new outlet, there is an additional cost of around $200 to $750 depending on location. This makes the total for an electric fireplace between $600 and $1,750.


When it comes to energy-efficiency, both types of fireplaces have a wide range depending on size and model. Gas fireplaces use between 7,000 and 16,000 BTUs, are between 70 and 90% efficient at converting energy to heat, and cost around $60 a year to run.

Gas fireplaces are 70% to 90% efficient due to heat lost through venting while electric fireplaces are 100% efficient. if your primary concern is cost and energy efficiency, an electric fireplace is undoubtedly a better option.


Gas fireplaces become hot very quickly. While they are generally considered safe, the glass doors that house the unit can become hot enough to burn if they are touched. Like any gas appliance, a gas leak may occur if the unit is not maintained properly, which can cause significant health problems and a fire hazard if not detected and dealt with quickly. Most units have a gas shut off valve in this event.which can pose a safety concern for people with pets or small children.

 Electric ones, on the other hand, are constructed with materials that don’t transmit heat, so they don’t create a safety hazard.

One of the biggest benefits of going electric is that they are safe. The flame is not open, and they are safer for the environment as there are very little fumes or particles released into the air.

Electric units have fewer safety concerns, but like any space heater, they may cause electrical fires if they become damaged. Most new units have automatic shut-off features that kick in if the unit becomes overheated, helping to prevent fires.


Gas fireplaces are considered low maintenance when compared to wood-burning fireplaces, but they do require some yearly maintenance. The vent must be inspected yearly and cleaned as needed. Valves should also be checked for leaks and to make sure they are operating properly.

Electric fireplaces have no regular maintenance because they do not burn gas or require vents.

Resale Value

Adding a built-in 4 fireplace to a home that does not already have one can add to the resale value of any home, regardless of the type of fireplace you have. So this goes as a plus to both the gas fireplace and the electric fireplace.


If you live in a warm climate and aren’t drawn by the heat production of an added fireplace, you might want to add a fireplace mostly for the style and ambience it provides. Both electric and gas fireplaces are designed in styles that fit every taste. Plus, the presence of a fireplace in your house can increase your home’s value by up to 12%.

Electric fireplaces use less energy and do not directly release particles into the air, but the process of producing electricity to power the unit gives off harmful levels of CO gas into the atmosphere. Electricity is also a non-renewable resource. Gas inserts and log sets are a popular choice as you can turn these on with a simple flip or click of a button or switch. Some gas fireplaces are available with a remote control that allows you the ease of turning on the fireplace from anywhere in the room.


Electric fireplaces can last for 10-20 years depending on how frequently they are used. Many manufacturers offer warranties ranging from 1 year to 10 years depending on the model. Gas fireplaces are likewise subject to its wear and tear and need rekindling as they age. Prolonging its terms of use will always depend on how it is used and maintained.

Environmental Concerns

Gas fireplaces are considered efficient because they convert up to 90% of their energy into heat. However, gas is a non-renewable resource, and burning it releases some particles into the atmosphere. Gas is considered clean-burning and does not produce harmful levels of carbon dioxide. A gas fireplace provides ambiance. The fire inside the unit is real and operates in a similar fashion to a gas-oven. The burner is hidden by the logs that enable the flames to spread. Gas fireplaces will burn propane or natural gas, and they burn virtually clean. However, they do produce a small amount of carbon monoxide, which means they do best with a chimney.

Considering the important concern of global warming, Electric Fireplace Inserts are an environment friendly way of heating your residence. They may appear like the traditional fireplaces that used wood burning for heating functions however they run purely on electrical energy.

Heating Capability

Electric fireplaces are one of the most efficient ways to heat a room, which in turn, reduces energy costs. Electric fireplaces heat rooms faster and more efficiently while gas fireplaces heat larger spaces faster and more efficiently.

A gas fireplace can provide 25,000 – 30,000 BTUs of heat. They are good for heating large areas or even a whole home. To be more specific, they can heat up to 2,000 square feet. While gas fireplaces are not designed to heat up the entire home, they will heat up a room sufficiently. This is a fantastic method for you to save money by warming a single area in your home opposed to having to crank up the heat to warm the entire home. Gas fireplaces are the best way to save on electric bills.

Electric fireplaces provide 3,000 – 9,000 BTUs. This will effectively heat one room, specifically up to 400 square feet. The artificial flame can also run when the heater is turned off, lending ambiance even when you do not wish for heat. Gas fireplaces still produce heat even when the power is off.

Time Needed to Heat

Both electric and gas fireplaces begin producing heat immediately. The heat from a gas fireplace may be felt more quickly within the room than an electric unit though, depending on how far away you are.

Need for a Chimney

If you purchase an electric fireplace, you will not need to install a gas line or a chimney, which reduces your costs even further. A gas fireplace needs to be hooked up to a gas line, but typically this does not cost a lot of money because most modern homes are already hooked up to a gas line. If your home does not currently use gas to power any appliances, then you may be faced with higher costs if you decide to purchase a gas fireplace.Gas fireplaces typically are available in two options that include the vented options and the ventless types which do not necessitate a chimney. Electric fireplaces dissipate heat directly into an area or room and do not need a chimney.

In summary, here are the pros and cons for electric fireplace vs gas fireplace in very few lines that can be remembered.

Pros and Cons for Electric Fireplaces


  • Electric fireplaces are Inexpensive.
  • Fast and easy to install.
  • Cheaper to run than gas fireplaces.
  • Require little to no maintenance.
  • Little safety risks.
  • Increase the resale value of your home.


  • Do not produce real flames.
  • They do not heat as well as gas fireplaces.
  • Less environmentally friendly.
  • It takes longer to feel the heat they produce.

Pros and Cons for Gas Fireplaces


  • Gas fireplaces produce real flames.
  • Heat your room quickly.
  • Reduce the use of a furnace.
  • They are way more environmentally friendly.
  • Require low maintenance.
  • Increase the resale value of your home.


  • Costly more to run.
  • Very Expensive to purchase and install.
  • Their glass doors get hot enough to burn when being heated.
  • They have the potential to leak gas.

We hope that this article has helped you just as much as we had intended it to. We leave you to decide which fireplace between the electric fireplace vs gas fireplace you going to use to keep your home warmer.


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