Best Freestanding Gas Fireplace (Reviews and Buying Guide)

Best Freestanding Gas Fireplace
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Whether set atop a stone pad, encased in a paneled mantel or sat on caster wheels, freestanding gas fireplaces provide a stylish silhouette at a fraction of the cost of traditional wood-burning fireplaces.

Also known as standalone fireplaces, they are practical and decorative, bringing warmth and a modern feel to the home. 

In this guide, we discuss why you should consider buying one for your home. Among other things, we’ll show you the advantages of freestanding over inserts and built-in gas fireplaces.

My Overall #1 Rated Pick

Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH30DT
This Fireplace is a dual-fuel unit that can use either natural gas or propane. The unit's temperature levels can be controlled by both thermostat and a millivolt remote control that come in a set. Additionally, the fireplace  has a 30,000 BTU heating system that is enough for large spaces.

Last update on 2021-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We’ll also discuss why gas-powered freestanding fireplaces would be the ideal investment. 

Best Freestanding Gas Fireplace

  1. Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH30DTBest Overall Fireplace
  2. Comfort Glow GSD2846 30,000 BTUBest Long-Lasting Fireplace
  3. Ashley AGC500VFBLP Vent-FreeBest Large Space Fireplace
  4. Napoleon GDS20N 20,000 BTU Arlington –  Best Medium Space Fireplace
  5. Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DTBest Dual Fuel Technology Fireplace
  6. Pleasant Hearth 42 Intermediate HeritageBest Stylish Freestanding Gas Fireplace

Best Freestanding Gas Fireplace – Reviews

Let’s begin with a review of the top six freestanding gas fireplaces. These six products are guaranteed to deliver the ambiance and warmth you’re looking for without burning a hole in your pocket.

They are also chic, easy to assemble, and designed to the highest safety standards.  

Last update on 2021-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH30DT 30,000 BTU Vent-Free Gas Stove

Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH30DT 30,000 BTU 32-Inch...
  • Your purchase includes One Pleasant Heart 32-Inch Intermediate Gas Vent Free Stove in Black. Blower is not included
  • Stove dimensions – 14.37” D x 31.93” W x 28.27” H | Firebox dimensions – 12.25” D x 26.07” W x 12.08” H | Clearance space – 5” min from wall, 36” min above stove | Covered space – 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Features – Built-in Thermostat | Overheat sensor | Made of Cold rolled steel | Up to 30,000 BTU/hr. | Dual fuel technology (LP or NG)
  • Dual burner provides 2 rows of flames for a more full looking fire
  • This product and the fuels used to operate this product (LP or NG), and the products of combustion of such fuels, can expose you to chemicals including benzene, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive harm

Last update on 2021-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Packing at least 30,000 BTU of heating power, the Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH30DT is a state-of-the-art, vent-free fireplace that doesn’t require a flue or chimney.

Better still, it’s a dual-fuel unit meaning that it can use either natural gas or propane. Finally, the minimum clearance design means you can use the unit anywhere.

With regards to features, the VFS2-PH30DT is thermostatically controlled and even supports a millivolt remote control. In addition, the thermostat control knob automatically controls your temperature levels.

In addition, a dual burner provides two rows of flames for a more realistic flame. The fireplace requires a 100-lb tank or larger and a two-stage adjustable regulator, both of which must be purchased separately.

You’re also free to purchase a variable speed blower (PBAR-2427) separately for faster heat distribution. In addition, the VFS2-PH30DT comes with a 2-year warranty. 

Pros

  • Up to 30,000 BTU
  • Ideal for up to 1,000 Sq. Ft.
  • Thermostat control
  • Remote controlled 
  • Two-year warranty 

Cons

  • Regulator sold separately
  • Vent-free models are heavily coded

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2. Comfort Glow GSD2846 30,000 BTU Dual Fuel Gas Stove

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Another exceptional vent-free freestanding fireplace, though slightly more expensive than the Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH30DT, is the Comfort Glow GSD2846.

The GSD2846 features attractive, modern styling while offering the charming ambiance of a wood-burning stove. It also provides up to 30,000 BTUs per hour. 

The GSD2846’s large open-face design is a major attraction, offering maximum flame enjoyment. In addition, large, charred log sets and a dual yellow flame burner make the experience even more life-like.

Remember that the GSD2846 is also a dual flame heater that can work with either natural gas or propane. It’s designed for use in spaces up to 1,250 square feet.

For safety reasons, the GSD2846 comes with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). In addition, the heavy-duty black steel cabinet provides cool-to-touch protection.

For faster blowing, you’re encouraged to purchase the 20-6143 blower fan. 

Pros

  • Up to 30,000 BTU
  • Dual burner design
  • Dual fuel (LP and NG)
  • Built-in thermostat
  • Ideal for up to 1,250 Sq. Ft.

Cons 

  • Heavily coded vent-free design

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3. Ashley AGC500VFBLP Vent-Free 31,000 BTU Propane Stove

Ashley Hearth AGC500VFBLP Vent-Free Black Enameled...
  • 31,000 BTUs, designed to heat up to 1,000 square feet
  • Hidden controls can be accessed easily with swing-down bottom panel
  • Can be hooked up to any standard millivolt thermostat
  • Includes premium, hand-crafted split log set for realistic-looking flames
  • High-gloss Enameled porcelain finish provides beauty and durability

Last update on 2021-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Slightly more powerful than the first two options, the Ashley AGC500VFBLP also gives you a vent-free fireplace + heater option.

At 31,000 BTU and finished in rich, black, high-gloss porcelain, it’s not only a powerful heating unit but also a beautiful addition to any space. 

This Ashley fireplace is designed for measuring up to 1,000 square feet and is 99% heat efficient. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an in-built thermostat.

All is not lost, however, since the stove hooks to any standard millivolt thermostat. In addition, the stove’s premium handcrafted split logs with a real charred appearance deliver a realistic wood-burning experience and naturally glowing embers.

Being a vent-free gas fireplace, the use of the AGC500VFBLP is highly regulated. Check with your local codes to find out whether the stoves are permitted in your area. 

Pros

  • Up to 31,000 BTU
  • Up to 99% heating efficiency 
  • Easy installation. It doesn’t need venting 
  • Premium handcrafted split logs

Cons

  • No remote control
  • No in-built thermostat

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4. Napoleon GDS20N 20,000 BTU Arlington Natural Gas Direct Vent Stove

Napoleon GDS20N Fireplace, Arlington Natural Gas...
  • No electricity is required to light or operate – ensures reliable use even during power failures PHAZERAMIC™ burner system features a random flickering flame and realistic glowing ember bed 50% flame/heat adjustment for maximum comfort and efficiency Realistic, ceramic fibre, light-weight molded PHAZER log set for a natural wood burning look MIRROR-FLAME™ Porcelain Reflective Radiant Rear Panel creates the illusion of two fires in one Heat transferring ceramic glass On/off swit

Last update on 2021-07-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The most expensive product on this list and one of the best freestanding gas fireplaces money can buy, the Napoleon GDS20N is simply majestic.

Standing at 15.8 x 19.2 x 25.4 inches and weighing a massive 150 pounds, it’s a large enough fireplace that stands out even in large living areas. 

It’s a unique product too. Unlike most fireplaces, it doesn’t use a pilot light. Instead, it implements manual match lighting. As such, it can work even in settings where there’s no electricity.

A 50/50 flame/heat adjustment feature ensures maximum comfort and efficiency while the ceramic fibre and lightweight modeled PHAZER log set bring home that realistic, natural wood burning experience.

In addition, a patented Mirror-Flame technology creates the illusion of two flames. The GDS20N uses only natural gas (do not use propane).

It has a capacity of 20,000 BTU and is a vented model. Professional installation is recommended.

Pros

  • Delivers up to 20,000 BTU
  • 50/50 flame/heat adjustment
  • Realistic PHAZER logs
  • Patented mirror-flame technology

Cons

  • Single gas (natural gas) burner

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5. Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT 20,000 BTU Vent-Free gas Stove

Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT 20,000 BTU 23.5 in....
  • Dual fuel technology allows the unit to be operated with Propane or Natural Gas
  • Up to 20,000 BTU's/hr heats up to 700 sq. ft.
  • Thermostat control knob automatically maintains your ideal heat level
  • Dual burner provides 2 rows of flames for a more full looking fire
  • Separately sold variable speed blower (PBAR-2427) for quiet, yet powerful heat distribution

Last update on 2021-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT is a dual-fuel standalone gas fireplace that uses either natural gas or propane. The minimum clearance design means that it works exceptionally, even in small rooms.

The vent-free technology, meanwhile, guarantees a simple installation process. For propane use, you’ll need to buy a 100-lb tank with a 2-stage adjustable regulator. 

This stove delivers up to 20,000 BTU of heat and is recommended for spaces measuring up to 700 square feet. A blower isn’t included, though.

If you need faster air blowing, feel free to buy one separately. The fireplace comes with both a thermostat and an oxygen depletion sensor. It is, however, not remote-controlled. 

The VFS2-PH20DT measures 23.5 x 13 x 25.5 inches and weighs 58 pounds. It comes with a two-year limited manufacturer warranty.

Since vent-free gas fireplaces are location-regulated, it would be prudent to check your local codes to determine whether the appliances are allowed in your location. 

Pros

  • Delivers up to 20,000 BTU
  • Easy to install, vent-free technology
  • Oxygen depletion sensor included
  • Thermostat included
  • Two-year warranty

Cons

  • Not remote controlled
  • Highly location-regulated

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6. Pleasant Hearth 42 Intermediate Heritage 27,500 BTU (NG)

Pleasant Hearth 42 Intermediate Natural Gas Vent...
  • Rich heritage finish
  • Natural gas ready (fuel conversion not permitted)
  • Up to 27, 500 BTU's/hr heats up to 1, 000 sq. Ft
  • Thermostat control knob automatically maintains your ideal heat level
  • Wall or corner installation options included

Last update on 2021-07-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Finally, the Pleasant Hearth 42 Intermediate is a single-gas burner that only uses natural gas. Do not attempt to convert it into a propane burner.

It delivers plenty of heat energy, though, up to 27,500 BTU. The mantel-style design and rich heritage finish give it a striking appearance, while the large display window promises the ultimate fireplace experience. 

This, too, is a vent-free fireplace that doesn’t require a flue or chimney. As such, the installation process is relatively straightforward.

It features dual-burner technology that provides two rows of flames for a more full-looking fire. In addition, a thermostat control knob allows you to control the level of heating. 

This Pleasant Hearth is recommended for spaces up to 1,000 square feet and features a minimal clearance design that makes it usable even in tight spaces. In addition, it comes with a two-year warranty.  

Pros

  • Rich heritage finish
  • Delivers up to 27,500 BTU/hour
  • Used in spaces up to 1,000 Sq. Ft.
  • Thermostatically controlled

Cons

  • No remote control
  • It’s a bit pricey

Click to Check Price


Buying Guide

How Standalone Gas Fireplaces Work

Like other gas fireplaces, freestanding gas fireplaces burn gas to produce heat and have log replicas inside the combustion box to create the wood-burning flame.

The construction is similar to inserts and recessed models, except for a few structural reinforcements. Underneath the replica, logs is a pilot light that connects to a gas line.

In many cases (though not always), the pilot light is constantly lit. Operating the fireplaces is easy. In standard models, you’ll find a key to the side of the fireplace.

The key turns from left to right to control the size of the flame. When you no longer need the flame (and heating), all you have to do is turn down the key until only the pilot light is left. 

However, the main difference between built-in and insert fireplaces is freestanding heaters stand on their own feet.

They neither recess nor go into an existing stove. Instead, they stand on wheels or form part cabinet-style mantels. 

Advantages Over Inserts and Built-in Models

Standalone gas fireplaces come with several advantages over other options. These benefits include;

  • Simpler installation

All fireplaces require some installation or basic assembly. However, freestanding models require the least installation work.

While installing recessed and insert fireplaces requires hours of putting the unit together, hardwiring the electrical components, and then building or screwing it to the wall, standalone models only require basic assembly.

In addition, they are often plug-in, meaning that hardwiring isn’t needed. 

  • Lower initial costs

Although some built-in and insert fireplaces cost less, the lower installation costs of freestanding models often result in even reduced initial investment.

Installing a built-in fireplace, for instance, often costs as much as twice the price of the fireplace in question.

Freestanding models, meanwhile, mostly only need DIY assembly. So even where you hire a professional for the installation, the costs wouldn’t be as high. 

  • Portability

No matter the size, freestanding fireplaces are more portable than both inserts and built-in models. You can move them from one location to another much more quickly.

This location flexibility significantly increases the chances of finding the ideal position for your fireplace. You seek to maximize both heat distribution and the stylistic impact of the fireplace within the room. 

  • Range of design choices

Standalone gas fireplaces offer customers a wide range of designs and styles. Traditional models featuring carved or paneled surrounds to finished classic, or contemporary models are finely set within cabinet mantels.

You’re guaranteed to find a style that perfectly accentuates your décor. Some even provide storage or double up as media centers. 

Vented vs. Vent-free Fireplaces

When gas burns, it produces several byproducts, including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sometimes even carbon monoxide.

Venting is a way for these combustion gases to leave the room. Often, a pipe is used to direct the gases outside the house through the wall, roof, or chimney. 

Freestanding gas fireplaces can be vented or vent-less. While some have vents in the form of pipes, some release spent gases into the room.

So, which should be the better choice – vented or vent-free? You’ll need to evaluate the pros and cons of each option to make the right decision. 

Vented Models

Pros

  • Safer: Since all combustion gases are directed outside the house, vented fireplaces are inherently safer. 
  • More realistic flames: Flames in vented gas fireplaces wrap around the artificial logs better, creating a more life-like experience. 

Cons

  • Limited customization: Direct vent gas fireplaces, in particular, is married to the logs and fire bed for good. 
  • Lower heat efficiency: The vents carrying combustion gases outside the house often also serve as an escape route for heat, resulting in lower heating efficiency.

Vent-free Models

Pros

  • Complete burning: Vent-free gas fireplaces are designed to deliver complete burning than vented models. Some boast near 100% combustion.
  • More efficient heating: Since there are no vents, all the heat generated from vent-free fireplaces are circulated within the house, making the units extremely efficient. Indeed, most of the heaters are 99% heat efficient. 

Cons

  • Less safe: Even though vent-free gas heaters burn cleaner, they still pose a major risk if something malfunctions. Carbon monoxide poisoning, for instance, is an ever-present danger.
  • Heavily coded: Owing to safety concerns, vent-free gas fireplaces are heavily regulated. In some locations, fireplaces are prohibited altogether. 

Other Considerations When Choosing a Freestanding Gas Fireplace

Aside from venting, there are several other factors to consider when choosing a freestanding gas fireplace. These include;

  • Power (BTU)

Freestanding gas fireplaces come in different sizes. Some are rated at as little as 2,000 BTU, while others deliver as much as 50,000+ BTU. Choose the right BTU rating for your application.

Most units display the recommended coverage in the product description. Always compare this coverage value to the size of your room. 

  • Design

As we’ve already mentioned, there are several design styles to choose from when shopping for a freestanding gas fireplace. Among others, you can go with traditional designs with paneled surrounds.

You can also choose contemporary mantels that offer storage space. Or you can choose modern media center designs that come with spaces for all your electronics. The choice is yours.

  • Physical size

The physical dimensions of the fireplace should also be a key consideration. Most people want large units with 50-inch-plus glass displays.

But, do you have the space for installation? Remember that you also need clearance around the unit for safety reasons. Do you have enough room? If not, choose a smaller model.

  • Convenience features

Convenience features include things like the presence of a thermostat for temperature control and a timer function. Also, is the thermostat programmable? Is it built-in or installed separately on the wall?

Other features to consider are easy-carry handles for smaller, portable units and wheels for larger models. Remote control, flame control, and the ability to change the flame bed should also be considered.

  • Safety features

Safety features include overheating protection technology that cuts gas supply in case the fireplace tips and a cool-to-touch exterior.

We’d also recommend that you find a unit with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) to protect your family from CO poisoning. Finally, freestanding fireplaces are also safer with anti-tip-over shutoff. 

Freestanding Gas Fireplace FAQs

  • Is a gas fireplace worth it? Yes. Gas fireplaces give off more heat energy (BTU) than electric fireplaces. They also burn cleaner than wood fireplaces. 
  • Are gas fireplaces dangerous? Yes. Any heating appliance poses some danger. In gas fireplaces, burning, fires, and CO poisoning are all potential risks. 
  • Does a gas fireplace need venting? Not necessarily. Though most gas fireplaces are vented, some are vent-free.
  • Is a vent-less gas fireplace safe? Yes. These fireplaces are designed to burn more cleanly. Plus, they are equipped with ODS sensors in the case of CO.
  • Do vent-less fireplaces give off carbon dioxide? Yes. However, it’s a minimal amount of CO2. The main waste from vent-less gas fireplaces is water vapor.
  • Is it okay to leave the pilot light on in gas fireplaces? Yes, though not always. Leaving the pilot light on adds to costs as well as creates a safety risk. 
  • Can you put wood around a gas fireplace? No. Wood is flammable. Putting any flammable items around a gas fireplace creates a safety risk.

Summary

Freestanding gas fireplaces are one of your best options when shopping for a realistic fireplace. Since they come in all sizes, they can fit in pretty much any room.

Also, they are typically beautifully designed, thus seamlessly fit into any décor. Just make sure to pick the right size (both BTU and physical dimensions-wise).

Additionally, check for basic controls as well as convenience and safety functions.