Why choose an electric fireplace over gas?

What are the advantages of an electric fireplace?

Modern electric fireplaces have improved significantly making them increasingly popular. Below are the pro's and cons of choosing a modern electric fireplace over a gas fireplace.

 

Electric Fireplace

Gas Fireplace

 
Cost to buy Much cheaper, starting as low a a few hundred dollars, but $1-3k for a good one. Start at $2k but can range up to $5k
 
Location Can be mounted virtually anywhere you have an electric outlet, no venting required. Requires both venting to the outside, typically an exterior wall and be able to run a gas line to the location. Professional installation or inspection is required in Canada.
 
Cost to operate With flame but no heat can cost as low as 0.3-3 cents per hour, new LED models are especially low cost. With heat about 7-20 cents per hour depending on settings and KW output. Typically 10-40 cents per hour to operate but depending on the BTU's may be capable of heating much larger area's.
 
Efficiency 100% efficient, no heat lost through the vent. 70-90% efficient, heat lost through the vent.
 
Heat Controlled by thermostat and usually remote control. Decorative flame can be selected without heat. Ideal for smaller rooms. Controlled by thermostat and usually remote control. Decorative flame cannot be selected without heat. Ideal for larger rooms.
 
Time of year Because they can be used with decorative flame without heat, can be used all year round. Best for colder months.
 
Easy to move Very easy to move. Very difficult to move. Best done by a professional.
 
Maintenance With new LED fireplaces virtually none. Light bulbs may need replacing every 2-3 years. Safety and maintenance inspections are recommended annually.
 
Safety Do no generate carbon monoxide and typically have cooler surfaces. May require child safety screens to prevent children from touching hot glass or metal surfaces. Carbon monoxide detectors are becoming mandatory in many provinces.
 
Examples of modern electric fireplaces