Electric fireplaces inserts are a popular home heating solution thanks to their affordability, versatility and the huge range of styles they’re available in. The thing is, there’s such a huge range of choices. If you find yourself struggling to pick the best electric fireplace insert for your home, then read this buying guide from the Direct Fireplaces team…

What are electric fireplace inserts?

An electric insert fireplace is an electrical unit most commonly designed to convert an existing wood or gas fire opening into an electric one. 

These inserts (or insets) are purpose-built to slot into the current fireplace for a seamless finish. They can then be simply plugged into the nearest electrical outlet or hardwired into the electrical system for a more polished finish.

If there are any gaps, this can be easily addressed by using a surround trim to seal them.

Electric fireplace inserts are particularly ideal for homes with an existing chimney breast with a fire surround or a hole where an open fireplace previously was. It means people can start using a fireplace that would otherwise be redundant - where old masonry is present in modern redesigns, for example.

Eko Fires 1060 Electric Fire

Eko Fires 1060 Electric Fire

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What are the benefits of an electric insert fireplace?

There are several reasons why electric fireplace inserts are such an appealing home heating option nowadays. We explore the most common benefits below.


The masonry work required to install a wood-burning hearth can be extremely expensive if it doesn’t already exist in the current fireplace or mantel. An inset fireplace means you can achieve the look and feel of a crackling open fire without having to invest a lot of money, as installation is relatively inexpensive.

Electric inserts also make it much easier to control the temperature of the room, meaning you can significantly reduce energy waste, which is particularly useful as utility costs continue to climb.

Customisation opportunities

Whether you’re looking for something classic or contemporary, inset fireplaces are a great way to customise your interior. They come in a whole host of different styles and designs, so you can choose something that truly complements your home.

Some electric insert fireplace designs, like our Colorado Brushed Steel LED Electric Fire, also offer a flame-only picture setting. This means you can enjoy the ambient glow and flicker of flames without having to increase the temperature in your home or waste energy on electric heat during warmer periods.

Low-maintenance upkeep

Inset fireplaces themselves are an undemanding addition to the home. Unlike wood-burning hearths, electric fireplace inserts require little upkeep. All that is required is low-intensity cleaning from time to time, with no need to deal with things like smoke stains, soot, or chimney maintenance.

Inset electric fireplaces also compare favourably to gas fireplaces, which require an annual service by a Gas Safe registered engineer.


Installing an electric insert fireplace in your home is considerably safer than open flames, which are particularly risky with children and pets. Electric inset fireplaces also remove the risk of gas safety problems and aren’t hot to the touch. 

As they are such a safe option, another great thing about inset fireplaces is that they don’t require any special permits for installation and home use. In many cases, all you need to do is plug in the insert, and it’s ready to use straight away!

Gallery Collection Hopton Inset Electric Fire

Gallery Collection Hopton Inset Electric Fire

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Are there different types of insert electric fireplace?

Yes, there are a number of different electric insert fireplaces to choose from, depending on your requirements. Generally, these can be split into the three following categories:

Plug-in inserts

This type of electric fireplace insert can be installed anywhere near an electrical outlet that it can be plugged into. This includes interior and exterior walls, making this a super flexible option for your home. 

Plug-in inserts are designed to be installed into an existing fireplace or mantel, typically with the option of a log, coal, or pebble bed.

Built-in inserts

Built-in electric insert fireplaces are a more permanent fixture, as they are designed to be recessed into your current fireplace or a wall. This means they will generally need to be hardwired into the electrical system in your home.

Electric log sets

Log sets slot easily into an existing fireplace to create the appearance of a real wood-burning hearth or stove. They offer realistic flame effects and are simple to install and maintain.

They can also be easily incorporated into a built-in insert, so you can customise your electric fireplace.

A style to suit you

Within the various different types of insert fireplaces, there is also a wide selection of styles and designs to choose from. 

Flare Avella Hole in the Wall Electric Fire

Flare Avella Hole in the Wall Electric Fire

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Our Flare Avella Hole in the Wall Electric Fire, for example, creates the look and feel of a traditional wood-burning fire in modern homes without the need for expensive supplies or chimney maintenance.

Blenheim Black Inset Electric Fire

Blenheim Black Inset Electric Fire

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However, if you prefer the look of a burning coal bed to logs, you might like our Blenheim Black Inset Electric Fire.

Flamerite Tennyson Inset Electric Fire

Flamerite Tennyson Inset Electric Fire

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Or if you prefer a vintage aesthetic over a sleek, contemporary finish, you might like our arched Flamerite Tennyson Inset Electric Fire

With such a wide variety at your fingertips, it really is easy to put your own stamp on your home heating style.

What is the best electric insert fireplace for your home?

The answer to this question is really down to you. Now that we’ve equipped you with a plethora of useful information, you can make a more informed decision about the most suitable electric insert fireplace for you and your home.

That said, here are some important questions to ask yourself when shopping around:

  • Budget - what are you able or willing to spend? 
  • Space - what part of the home will you be installing the electric fire into?
  • Size - what measurements are you working with?
  • Style - what is your interior design style or desired aesthetic?
  • Existing fireplace - does your current fireplace or mantel impact your options?

Addressing these points before you start the buying process will help you refine your search and make it as stress-free and straightforward as possible.

Celsi Electriflame VR Acero 26 Inch Inset Electric Fire

Celsi Electriflame VR Acero 26 Inch Inset Electric Fire

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Other electric insert fireplace FAQs

Below, you’ll find our answers to the most common questions we receive from customers concerning electric fireplace inserts.

How much does an electric insert fireplace cost?

The price of an electric insert fireplace varies depending on factors such as brand, specification, company, and customisation. 

To give you a rough idea though, inset fireplaces start from just under £150 and go up to around £1,900 at Direct Fireplaces (correct at the time of writing, and subject to change). 

Whatever your budget, we’ve got something to meet your needs.

Does an electric insert fireplace need ventilation?

No, insert electric fireplaces don’t need extra ventilation, as they don’t produce the same harmful fumes as gas or wood fires. This means you don’t need to worry about installing a new chimney breast or vent if you have an inset fireplace installed.

Is an insert electric fireplace easy to install?

Insert electric fireplaces are extremely easy to install, requiring minimal tools and time. This applies to all types of electric insert fireplaces, although installation instructions will most likely vary.

It is possible to install some types of electric insert fireplace yourself, however, we strongly recommend leaving installation in the hands of the professionals. 

Gazco Logic2 Chartwell Electric Fire

Gazco Logic2 Chartwell Electric Fire

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Transform your home with an insert electric fireplace from Direct Fireplaces 

We have an extensive range of electric fireplace inserts, so you can find the perfect solution for your home.

What’s more, you can benefit from free UK mainland delivery, 14-day no-hassle returns, and a range of handy finance options to help you spread the cost.

Plus, if you have a question about any of our electric fireplace inserts, our friendly experts will be happy to help. You can reach them on 0161 376 4181 or at: [email protected]

Shop our range of electric fireplace inserts now

For more fireplace buying guides, advice and information, read the Direct Fireplaces blog

Which Electric Fireplace Gives the Most Heat? | The Best Small Electric Fireplaces for Winter | A Guide to Choosing The Most Economical Electric Fire

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