6 Most Realistic Electric Fireplace Insert (Review & Guide 2020)

When shopping for the most realist electric fireplace, one of the main features consumers consider is the flame. While all electric fireplaces produce a flame, it is worth noting that the flames vary – significantly. Some flames, for example, are available in only one color.

Where this is the case, the color type will also matter. Is it blue, orange, yellow, or a mixture? Other times, meanwhile, the fireplace may offer a range of flame colors. 

Aside from color, electric fireplace flames also differ in terms of flame bed, speed, and brightness. Again, some fireplaces only come with a single pre-determined option in each of these cases. Other times, though, you may have a range of options. 

Since all these factors affect the quality of the heating experience, it’s vital to assess the flame characteristics carefully when selecting an electric fireplace. This guide is designed to help you choose the most realistic fireplace. 

6 Most Realistic Electric Fireplace Insert

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Dimplex DFI2309 Electric Fireplace Insert

Dimplex DFI2309 Electric Fireplace Insert
  • 1375-watt electric fireplace insert with patented flame technology and remote control
  • Easy to install into existing fireplace opening; plugs into standard household outlet
  • Built-in fan-forced heater distributes heat evenly and quietly
  • Full heat, half heat, or flame only for 4-season enjoyment; user manual included
  • Measures 10-4/5 by 23-1/5 by 19-4/5 inches; 1-year limited warranty

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dimplex is one of the best-known providers of electric fireplaces, and Model DFI2309 is no exception. The DFI2309 is categorized as a supplemental heater that includes a powerful fan to blow warm air into your rooms. The heater is ideal for spaces up to 400 square feet.

With no flame or emissions, the heater is safe for both the user and the environment. Meticulously handcrafted logs along with gently glowing embers create the feeling of a real fire.

The DFI2309 is designed to fit into many existing wood fireplace openings easily and provides all-year comfort by giving out a flame with or without heat. 

This heater measures approximately 19 x 23 x 10 (L x W x H) inches and weighs 33 lbs. In addition, it is rated at 120 volts, 11.5 amps, and 1,375 watts (4,695 BTU). 

Pros

  • Patented flame technology
  • Remote controlled 
  • Easy to install
  • Plugs into a standard outlet

Cons

  • The blower is a bit noisy

2. MagikFlame Electric Fireplace and Mantel

MagikFlame Electric Fireplace with Mantel -...
  • PERFECT FOR NEW HOMES, REMODELS: Whether you are an interior designer, architect, or electric fireplace enthusiast, a MagikFlame is ideal for any living space. Our Artemis is a large white, freestanding electric fireplace that is a cozy focal point for the family atmosphere. It also includes built-in 5,200 BTU infrared quartz heater, warms up to 1,000 sq/ft. as secondary heat source.
  • MOST REALISTIC ELECTRIC FIREPLACE: 30 ultra-realistic flames that simulate wood, gas fires. We use patented HoloFlame video technology of actual burning fire. This innovative experience surpasses traditional mechanical electric fireplace products on the market. MagikFlame is ideal for new home design, remodels, and family atmosphere.
  • ATTRACTIVE AND PRACTICAL DESIGN: 52″w x 45″h x 15”d. The premium, alpine white mantel is simple and compact. This traditional mantle has a luxury finish and perfect for homes and condominiums to add opulent beauty with ease.
  • MADE IN THE USA: MagikFlame uses "solid-state" electronics with few moving parts that will last for years. Our LED and LCD technology is rated at 50,000 hours. When we ship a fireplace, have confidence that it is built to last.
  • MULTI OPERATING USE WITH PHONE: Touchscreen and iPhone App for the latest mobile integration. These intuitive and easy to use controls can be used from any room in the home. Features an app for flame selection, power functions, volume levels, heat control, sleep timer, and nature sounds.

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Made from premium cherry wood, the MagikFlame mantel plus insert combo brings a bit of magic into any living space. Intricate hand-carved embellishments on top of each fluted side post makes it stand out in any setting.

It gets even better; the MagikFlame is digitally controlled (with a remote control device included), but also provides for smart control from a mobile phone app. Users get to choose from wood burning, gas burning, and fantasy flame simulations.

In total, there are 26 different flame options to choose from. The flames are unbelievably realistic, with details such as subtle smoke and crackling sounds incorporated to make the feeling even more life-like. A DIY installation guide is included.  

The portable, vent-free 4,600 BTU fireplace measures 55 x 48 x 16 inches and is ideal for spaces up to 1,000 square feet. MagikFlame offers free technical support and updates for the rest of the product’s life. 

Pros

  • Beautiful cherry wood finish 
  • Choose from 26 flames
  • 4,600 BTU heating power
  • Ideal for up to 1,000 sq. ft.

Cons

  • Some assembly required

3. Regal Flame Fusion 50-inch Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

Sale
Regal Flame Fusion 50Ó Log Built-in Ventless...
  • DESIGNED FOR IN-WALL INSTALLATION: This electric fireplace is specially designed to be recessed into wall mounting. Its black built in frame gives a room a sleek, modern look. The 50-inch fireplace comes with easy-to-follow instructions to help homeowners install the unit on their own. Overall Dimensions: 50.4W x 5.9D x 21.4H Inches - Flame View Dimensions: 45W x 12H Inches - Firebox Dimensions: 46.9W x 20.17H x 5.87D Inches.
  • THREE HEAT SETTINGS: Perfect for the cold seasons, the Regal Flame electric fireplace insert features three heat settings: high, low, and no heat. Heat vent is located on the top middle front area. The heat level can be adjusted according to the userÕs preference, making this fireplace a functional and practical fixture. The fireplace can be turned all the way up in freezing weather to keep you snug and toasty.
  • REALISTIC FLAME: This electronic space heater fireplace stove is designed with class leading LED technology to emit the most authentic-looking flames that emulate a real fire. It has multiple dimming options, from a soft ember glow or an intense blaze. This set includes faux fire logs to create an authentic real flame and fire feel. It operates on 750 or 1,500 watts to produce 5,900 BTUÕs, with a voltage of 120. The electric fireplace stove has room coverage of 450 feet.
  • MULTIPLE MODES: This Regal Flame fireplace has multiple modes to cater to your desired temperature, atmosphere, and time settings. Its dual heat modes allow it to operate with or without emitting heat, allowing you to turn on the flames to add ambience to a room without adding heat. There is also a built-in timer mode that automatically turns off the unit after a set period of time, from 30 minutes up to 7.5 hours.
  • SAFE AND EFFICIENT TO USE: The risk of having a wood-burning fireplace that might cause chimney fires or other dangers is no longer a worry with Regal Flame Electric Fireplaces! 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED! Regal Flame produces quality fireplaces, fire pits, gas logs, firewood racks, covers, accessories and more, at affordable prices and is dedicated to address any product/service issues and is committed to delivering a 5 star experience for all buyers

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Designed for in-wall installation, the Regal Flame Fusion is a 50-inch fireplace designed with class-leading LED technology that emits authentic-looking flames. The unit has multiple prism dimming options ranging from a soft ember to an intense blaze. Faux fire logs help create a life-like flame and fire feel.

There are three color options to choose from, a flame-only mode, and a built-in timer mode that lets you pre-program the heater for the desired period (between 30 minutes and 7.5 hours). The heat vent is located at the top middle.

In terms of heating power, the Regal Flame operates at 750 watts (Low) or 1,500 watts (High), generating up to 5,900 BTU of heat. It plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet. 

The Regal Flame measures 50.4 x 5.9 x 21.4 inches and is ideal for spaces up to 450 Sq. Ft. It is safe to use around children and is backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. 

Pros

  • 50-inch fireplace
  • Three heat settings
  • Up to 5,900 BTU of heat
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Cons

  • Only three flame options
  • Not so pretty when the flame is OFF

4. Real Flame 8020E-W Crawford Electric Fireplace

Real Flame 8020E-W 8020E Crawford Electric...
  • Solid Wood and veneered MDF construction
  • Includes: mantel, firebox with remote control, anti-topple safety device
  • 1400 watt heater, rated over 4, 700 BTUs per hour
  • Assembly required

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Forming part of Real Flame’s Slim Series, the Model 8020E-W Crawford mantel is a stylish, next-generation electric fireplace with a mounting depth of approximately 9.5 inches.

It is a programmable LED fireplace and comes with remote control. Neutral color finishes (including white and gray) ensure that the fireplace blends neatly into both modern and traditional decor.

The firebox plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet and features convenience features such as a programmable thermostat, timer function, and flame brightness settings. The flame is incredibly realistic, thanks to the ultra-bright VividFlame LED technology. Hardware for anchoring the unit to the wall is included in the package.

The 8020E-W Crawford is a 1,400-watt (4,700 BTU) heater made from solid wood, veneered MDF, and metal. It measures 47.4 x 9.5 x 41.9 inches and weighs 87 lbs.

Pros

  • Solid wood and Veneered MDF construction
  • Anti-topple safety
  • Generates 4,700 BTU
  • Remote controlled

Cons

  • Assembly required 

5. Real Flame 8060E Harlan Grand Electric Fireplace

Real Flame White 8060E Harlan Grand Electric...
  • Solid Wood and veneered MDF construction
  • Includes: mantel, firebox and remote control
  • 1500 watt infrared heater, rated over 5,100 BTUs per hour
  • Lay-flat plug, grounded
  • Assembly required

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re attracted to the Real Flame brand but want something more prominent than Crawford, the Harlan Grand fireplace would be a great alternative.

Made from solid wood and veneered MDF construction, Harlan is a gorgeous fireplace mantel. The beautiful molding and façade contrasts with the black base creating a striking finish that blends effortlessly into both classic and traditional settings.

As with other products in this series, the Harlan Grand firebox plugs into a standard 120-volt power outlet. The unit is digitally controlled, with a remote control device included. An adjustable thermostat allows for precise temperature control while a timer function enables you to pre-program the fireplace. 

The 1,500-watt Harlan Grand generates 5,100 BTU of heat with the VividFlame LED technology, generating a life-like accompanying flame. It measures 44.13 x 55.13 x 13.5 inches. 

Pros

  • Made from solid wood
  • Rated at 5,100 BTU
  • Remote controlled
  • Freestanding and portable

Cons

  • Ships in multiple boxes
  • Some assembly required

6. Real Flame G8600E-W Silverton Electric Fireplace

Sale
Real Flame G8600E Silverton Electric Fireplace,...
  • Dimensions: 48 L x 13 W x 41 H (inches)
  • Finish: Black Finish
  • Weight: 105 lbs.
  • Heater rating of 4,600 BTU's
  • Portable - No Installation Required
  • Plugs in Standard Outlet
  • Dual Setting Remote Control and Screen Kit Included

Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Finally, the Real Flame G8600E-W, also known as the Silverton, lies somewhere between the Crawford and the Harlan Grand in terms of size. At 41 x 48 x 13 inches and 1,400 watts, it’s designed for mid-range spaces, with the manufacturer recommending rooms between 400 and 600 Sq. Ft.

The Silverton fireplace mantel features clean lines and a crisp white finish (though black and dark mahogany finishes are also available). At the center of the unit is a VividFlame firebox, decorated to contrast the white mantel.

The firebox creates a bright LED flame with realistic logs and embers included to make the flame realistic. You can adjust the brightness of the flame. An adjustable thermostat, remote control, and timer function provide more convenience settings. 

The freestanding Silverton weighs 108 lbs and comes with a one-year limited manufacturer warranty. 

Pros

  • One year limited warranty
  • Heat output: 4,700 BTU
  • Solid wood construction 
  • Includes mantel, firebox, and remote

Cons

  • Ships in multiple boxes
  • Some assembly required

How Do Real Looking Electric Fireplace Generate a Flame?

Today, there are several ways of generating a flame in an electric fireplace. However, the basic principle involves the use of a light source (e.g., an LED bulb) and a reflecting surface. LED lights are preferred because they are reliable and require little maintenance. LEDs are also more energy-efficient.

Beyond the reflection, different manufacturers implement different technologies to achieve a realistic, life-like flame. Some fireplaces, for instance, use 3-D technology to deliver a flickering effect. Some, meanwhile, use color matching to ensure that the flame resembles the signature yellow + orange hues of a real flame.

Though not standard, you’ll also come across fireplaces that use various technologies to generate smoke. In most cases, the “smoke” is a fine water mist. The most advanced flames are also designed to progress as if the fire starts small and grows bigger gradually. 

How Realistic Are the Flames?

Very realistic! Even though they aren’t real, some of the flames offered by electric fireplace manufacturers are so realistic you’ll forget it’s not real. 

One of the main reasons for high-quality flames is better technology. Flame technology has improved remarkably over the last few decades.

Hand molded and hand-painted embers and logs combined with coloring effects and speed controls do a spectacular job at simulating real life.

Some manufacturers have gone as far as to develop a way to make the flames flicker. Indeed, some flames now even produce the cracking sounds you can often hear from burning logs. These added effects (color, speed, flickering, and cracking sounds) make the flames from electric fireplaces near inseparable from real-life flames.  

Imitation logs are the most popular flame bed choice among consumers. You can, however, opt for alternatives such as pebble which looks like coal. 

You can also consider:

Best Freestanding Electric Fireplaces

Best Wall Mount Electric Fireplaces

Best Smallest Electric Fireplaces

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Most Realistic Electric Fireplace

Things to consider when choosing the most realistic electric fireplaceFirst off, always ask the sales agent to test the fireplace so you can see how the flame works.

If you’re buying online, only choose products with accompanying videos that show not only how the fireplace works but also how the flame looks.

Without verifying the working of the heater, you risk taking home a unit that won’t deliver to your desires. 

The following are some of the qualities of the flame and fireplace you want to focus on during the assessment; 

  • The log set and flame effects

As we mentioned earlier, electric fireplace manufacturers leverage a wide range of technologies to deliver a realistic wood burning fireplace effect. The question is whether the flame looks real enough.

Obviously, the products in the higher price ranges will have better flames. But, that doesn’t mean that you must pay top dollar to get a realistic flame. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get good colors and believable flame movement. 

Thankfully, most manufacturers do a good job here. Whether you choose Real Fire, Flamerite Fires or Celsi Fires, the flame should be good enough irrespective of the price. Dimplex Fires also provide some very lively flames. 

Dimplex, for instance, uses a patented flame heightening technology to increase the size of the flame as necessary. They also use painted logs and embers to create the appearance of a natural wood-burning fire. 

  • Sound Effects

All wood-burning fires produce a characteristic crackling sound. Most electric fireplace manufacturers know this and have incorporated sound effects in their products to recreate the crackling noises. But, the sounds differ. So, again, you need to observe the flame closely to determine the sounds that appeal to you most. 

What if you can’t find a model with sound effects? Or, what happens if the fireplaces with sound effects are beyond your budget? You have two option; work without the sounds or buy fire crackling sound systems separately!

Two great fire crackling sound systems to consider are the Adagio fire crackle sound system and the Comfort smart fire crackle system. Here too, listening to the crackling sounds before making the purchase will help you choose the right product. 

Remember that most fire crackle sound systems use batteries, especially AA-size batteries. So, you’ll need to include the batteries in your future budgets.

  • Design aesthetics 

The aesthetic qualities of the fireplace have a big say on the suitability of the product. In any case, the majority of electric fireplace buyers purchase the units for two reasons – the ambiance and contribution to interior decor. 

Begin by checking whether the unit matches your decor. The finish, in particular, is vital. If you’ve been working to create a traditional décor, then a stand-alone wooden fireplace with charming wood carvings would nicely complement the setting. For a contemporary setting, meanwhile, a recessed model with stainless steel finish would do justice to the living space. 

There are many other design styles to choose from, including oak, mahogany, espresso, ivory, and stone. Most fireplace inserts use a black trim around the widescreen to allow the units to blend into both traditional and contemporary settings. 

  • Integrated functions 

Most realisitic electric fireplaces are heaters, first and foremost. They produce heat as well as a flame to recreate the feeling of wood-burning fireplaces. 

Consider whether the flame only comes to life during heating or if it can be used without heat. Electric fireplaces that allow you to use the flame without the heat can be used even during warmer seasons when heating isn’t necessary.  

Aside from working as heaters, some fireplaces are equipped with in-built air purifiers. If you or a member of the family has allergies or asthma, buying a unit with a built-in air purifier would make even more sense. Purifier removes pollen, pet dander, dust, and allergens from indoor air. 

  • Size of the unit

Size should have actually come at the top of the list for two reasons. Make sure that the fireplace will fit in the intended space. Some people choose to have the heaters even in their bedrooms. Do you have enough space in the room to house the fireplace? Or, will you be forced to make trim adjustments to fit the appliance in the room?

Secondly, for living rooms, larger fireplaces tend to create a better effect. The good news is that you’ll find fireplaces as wide as 50 inches. Positioning then becomes the next challenge. Where does the unit go? Will it be safe in the identified position? Will occupants of the house be safe? These are just some of the questions you must ask.

  • Settings/controls

Finally, it’s also important to verify the presence of necessary controls. Not all real flame electric fireplaces are the same, but some of the settings you want to keep an eye out for include;

  • Timer: Timers allow you to keep the fireplace on for a pre-determined period, say several hours. Once that period elapses, the unit goes off automatically.
  • Flame effects: Can you change the intensity, brightness, and color of the flame? Or are these effects built into the heater and beyond your control?
  • Heating control: Where the fireplace is also a heater, find out if you can change heating settings. Can you increase the temperature or turn on/off the heating without interfering with the flame?

Summary

In the end, choosing the most realistic electric fireplace, with a great, realistic flame, isn’t as simple as many people may think.

The flames come in different colors with some even equipped with flickers and crackling sounds to create a more life-like experience.

Then, you also have things like log sets, controls, and versatility to consider. Hopefully, this guide has made your work a tad easier.