As we head into winter it’s natural to think about how you can best heat your home. No one likes being chilly after all. But then again, no one likes huge fuel bills either. With gas bills set to rise considerably, there’s never been a better time to choose an electric fireplace. But, what kind of electric fireplace is best? What are your options? Keep reading and we’ll answer all of these questions and more…
What are the benefits of electric fires?
Before we take you on a tour of the best small electric fireplaces on the market right now, we thought we’d examine the many benefits that these types of fires have.
First and foremost, electric fires tend to be cheaper than other types of fireplace. Not only do they have a lower upfront cost, but their long term running costs tend to be cheaper.
Electric fireplaces use 100% of the electricity they receive to generate heat, which means they are the most efficient heating appliances that you can buy. Compare this to open wood burning fireplaces that can lose up to 90% of their heat up the chimney and you can see why electric fireplaces make financial sense…
Electric fires can be stunningly simple to install. Depending on what model you buy, installing an electric fire can be as simple as plugging it into a mains electricity outlet.
Plus, if you live in a house without a chimney, and many houses built after the 1960s do not, then an electric fire is a great way of installing a cosy fireplace in your home. Electric fires do not give off any fumes or combustibles and so don’t require the use of a chimney or flue.
Because of this, an electric fire is a perfect heating solution if you live in a smoke control area.
Huge range of designs
There are literally hundreds of different styles of electric fireplaces available. So, whether you want a traditional-looking fireplace, or a sleek, modern contemporary fireplace, you’ll be able to find an electric fire that fits with your desired aesthetic.
Easy to use
In contrast to a wood burning fire or stove, electric fireplaces are very easy to use. With just the flicking of the power button, your electric fireplace will be on and generating heat straight away.
Electric fireplaces also tend to be much safer than other types of fireplace – especially open fires. If you have small children or pets, an electric fireplace can be a much safer way of keeping them warm. Inquisitive hands and paws are far less likely to get burned.
The glass on an electric fireplace will never get hot. The glass on a gas fire, on the other hand, will become superheated as the fire runs – which makes it a significant hazard to anyone who makes the mistake of touching it.
If you’re particularly conscious about the environment, then an electric fireplace is the greenest choice you can make when heating your home. With an increasing proportion of the UK’s electricity being generated from renewable energy sources, an electric fire represents a clean, green way to stay warm this winter.
We are beginning to see more and more ‘smart’ electric fireplaces arrive on the market. These are fireplaces that can be controlled via a smartphone app. So, you can easily schedule your fire to come on at certain times of day, or simply turn the heat up or down without moving from the comfort of your sofa!
There are also an increasing number of electric fires that feature sophisticated VR flame effects, so you can create an impressive visual feature in your living room.
With all of those benefits, surely it’s time to make the change to electric?! Well, there are a few other things you need to know before selecting an electric fireplace. Keep reading and we’ll take you through them.
How do electric fireplaces work?
Sure, electric fireplaces use electricity to generate heat; but how exactly do they do it?
The first thing to know about electric fires is that they don’t use any form of combustion to generate heat. In other words, they don’t burn anything. The flames you see on many electric fireplaces are artificial and are generally generated using a series of lights and mirrors.
When it comes to actually producing heat, the majority of electric fires do so using something called convection…
Many electric fireplaces use a fan-forced heater to generate convection heat.
Convection heat is simply heated air. An electric fire produces this heated air using a heating element. This element is a metal coil. When you turn on the fire, electric current begins to flow through this coil, heating it up.
Once the heating element is hot, the electric fire will use a fan to push air over the heating element. This air becomes hot as it passes over the element and then flows out into the room.
The beauty of convection heat is that it will spread evenly around your room; that’s because of the properties of heated air. This means that an electric fire will often do a better job of heating a room than an open, wood burning fireplace.
Fan-forced heating is the technology that’s most commonly used in electric fireplaces to generate heat. However, some fireplaces use a technology called infrared heat.
Some electric fireplaces use an infrared heater to generate heat. They do this by passing an electrical current through a quartz bulb. The bulb then emits an infrared light, which you can feel as heat on your skin.
This type of heat is the same as that which you feel from the sun. Infrared heat is the direct transfer of heat from the quartz bulb to you, without heating the air in between. This makes infrared heaters particularly efficient.
You’ll typically find infrared heating technology on higher end electric fireplaces.
Electric heaters that feature an infrared heater are capable of heating much larger spaces than fires with convection heaters. The best infrared electric fireplaces can heat spaces as large as 1,000 square foot.
How much heat do electric fireplaces create?
This is a common question we receive here at Direct Fireplaces. There’s a bit of an urban myth that electric fireplaces are purely aesthetic and don’t give off any heat.
This is untrue.
Electric fireplaces can give off up to 2kW of heat. That’s enough to heat a room of approximately 400 square feet. (However, as we mentioned above, if you have an infrared electric heater, it will be able to heat a much larger space).
Some electric fireplaces have a ‘high’ setting, which boosts the performance of the fireplace so that it’s able to heat rooms of over 500 square foot.
In short, electric fireplaces give off heat and are a great way of efficiently heating your living room.
What styles of electric fireplace are there?
Okay, so those are the technical considerations out of the way. Now, we’ll look at what style electric fireplaces are available.
If you want to create a fireplace that’s a real centrepiece of your living room, then an electric fireplace is a perfect option. As we’ve set out below, there are many different styles of electric fireplace available.
So, whether you want to create an uber-modern media wall, or a traditional brick fireplace and hearth, you’ll find an electric fireplace that fits the bill!
Electric fireplace suites/freestanding electric fires
A suite is the perfect all-in-one fireplace solution, as a suite comes complete with the fireplace appliance and the surround. Many fireplace suites can simply be removed from their packaging, placed flat against the wall and plugged in.
Voila! You have a full-blown fireplace up and running in only a matter of minutes.
Having said that, some fireplace suites will require a small cavity to be made in the wall – particularly if you want to create a slimline fireplace.
Inset electric fireplaces
Inset fires (also known as insert fires) are electric fires that simply slot into a cavity or hole in the wall. Depending on what model you buy, you can even install inset fireplaces into pre-existing chimney places.
Many people choose inset fireplaces as they only have a small footprint (a large proportion of the fireplace sits within the cavity). This means there’s more floor space available for other things such as furniture.
Wall mounted or hole in the wall electric fireplaces
If you want to create a very sleek, contemporary look in your home – or you have your heart set on creating a media wall – then a wall mounted or hole in the wall fireplace is a great option.
Wall mounted electric fireplaces can either be built into a cavity to provide a very streamlined look, or they can be ‘hung’ from the wall.
Have you ever dreamed of owning an incredibly fashionable wood burning stove, but don’t want the hassle of lighting and cleaning it?
Well, you can have all the glamour of a wood burning stove, but none of the hassle by buying an electric stove!
Electric stoves look just like the real thing, are made from sturdy high-quality materials, and can be turned on and off at the click of a button.
So, as you can see, there is a world of choice when it comes to selecting an electric fireplace that complements your home’s decor.
The best small electric fireplaces for winter 2021/2022
Have we convinced you that an electric fireplace is the right type of fire for your home? If so, keep reading as we take you through the best small electric fireplaces for winter 2021/2022.
AGA Rayburn Stratus 100 Extra Slim Inset Electric Fire
AGA, yes, the company most well known for making large traditional kitchen ranges, also produces a stunning range of contemporary electric fireplaces.
Their Rayburn Stratus is perhaps the best of these contemporary electric fires from AGA, featuring a beautiful landscape design, with an extra-slim depth allowing it to be installed into even the smallest of chimney breasts or wall cavities.
Installation of the AGA Rayburn Stratus is really simple, with no flue required and using a standard 13 amp plug to connect to your mains electricity. It’s also a beautifully elegant fire, featuring a crystal fuel bed and the ability to change the colour and settings of the artificial flames.
Flare Bewley Electric Fireplace Suite
For those of you who want a more traditional fireplace, the Flare Bewley Electric Fireplace Suite offers the perfect combination of traditional aesthetics, with the convenience of an electric suite.
The Bewley suite can be fitted directly against a flat wall and simply plugs into a standard plug socket. With an ivory painted surround and a matching back panel hearth, the Bewley is a brilliant all-in-one solution.
Fitted with a Ventris electric fire, the Bewley fireplace suite has a total heat output of 2kW and features a realistic flame effect behind an artificial coal bed.
Flamerite Virtue Free Standing Electric Fireplace Suite
Now this is a truly different electric fireplace…
What will strike you first is the Flamerite Virtue’s eye-catching light strip which surrounds the main fire unit. The colour of this strip can be changed to suit the atmosphere of your room, the time of day or for any other reason you prefer.
Aside from looking great, the Flamerite Virtue is easy to install, using a simple flat wall fix, and can be controlled using a smartphone app. It’ll also keep you nice and toasty thanks to its thermostatically controlled 750W/1500W concealed fan heater.
This really is an electric fireplace suite that can do it all.
Flamerite Luca 450 Free Standing Electric Fire with Log Box
Another electric fire with a difference, the Flamerite Luca 450 is a fireplace that’ll instantly turn heads and start conversations.
The Flamerite Luca 450 features a simple flat wall fix, stylish black finish, and a panoramic three-sided glass burn area. It also features OmniGlide two position front glass and a thermostatically controlled 750W/1500W concealed fan heater.
You’ll also be able to control and operate this fireplace using a smartphone app which also allows you to control the colour and effect of the artificial flame.
Flamerite Tropo 600 Free Standing Electric Fire
As you can probably tell, we’re quite big fans of Flamerite fires here at Direct Fireplaces. But who can blame us when they look as good as the Flamerite Tropo 600!
Like many of Flamerite’s other electric fires, the Tropo 600 is easily installed with a flat wall fix, and features OmniGlide two position front glass. It’s also equipped with a really effective 750W/1500W concealed fan heater.
You can also use a smartphone app to control and operate the Tropo 600.
OER Icon Electric Fireplace Suite
With over 30 years experience designing and manufacturing fireplaces, Old England Reproductions (OER) know how to create a stunning fireplace. And, the OER Icon is no exception.
The OER Icon features an astoria grey finish, and real slate veneer base and three sided fire for maximum viewing pleasure.
It’s also an incredibly easy fire to install, with minimal assembly required. Oh, and you can use your smartphone to control it too!
Elgin & Hall Chollerton 16” Inset Electric Fireplace
Available with a choice of frames, the Elgin & Hall Chollerton can be easily customised to match your home decor. The fire’s flickering LED flames provide a warm, cosy vibe whilst the integrated electric fan heater will ensure that your room quickly and comfortably heats up.
What’s more, it also comes with a remote control unit to make operating the Elgin & Hall Chollerton a breeze!
OER Emerson 22 Electric Fireplace Suite
An elegant, simple fireplace suite, the OER Emerson is a quick and easy way to add a complete fireplace to your home.
Available in eight colours, or any custom colour of your choice, the Emerson is the ultimate choice if you want to create a fireplace in your home that’s truly unique to you. It also features a 1.6kW Ultiflame virtual reality fire, so you’ll benefit from a highly-realistic flame effect in your fireplace.
The included remote control also makes it super easy to change the settings of your fire whilst you’re relaxing on your sofa.
Warm up your winter with Direct Fireplaces
If you’re looking for an efficient, great value, yet beautiful fireplace for your home this winter, then look no further than Direct Fireplaces.
Explore our range of electric fires and benefit from free UK mainland delivery, 14 day no hassle returns, and a range of finance options to help you spread the cost.
Shop electric fires at Direct Fireplaces today
Find more fireplace buying guides, advice and information on the Direct Fireplaces blog…
Which Electric Fireplace Gives the Most Heat? | How to Create the Perfect Media Wall With a Fireplace | Brand Spotlight: AGA Rayburn Stratus Electric Fires and Suites