Electric fireplaces are incredibly popular, thanks to their environmental and design benefits. They are often more viable than traditional wood-burning models, especially in places with strict fireplace regulations.
These fireplaces provide beautiful designs perfect for residential and commercial properties. You can even use them in cities, like condos and apartments, with no problems.
However, one of the main drawbacks of these models is that they do not provide the same ambiance as traditional fireplaces. Still, some manufacturers strive to offer the most realistic electric fireplaces so you won’t miss having a conventional wood-burning model.
In today’s buying guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the most realistic electric fireplaces on the market. We’ll examine different fireplace types and review models from some of the leading brands to help you make an informed decision.
What Is an Electric Fireplace?
An electric fireplace uses electricity to produce heat instead of gas or wood. Electric fireplaces are basically electric heaters designed to mimic the aesthetics of wood-burning fireplaces. Their unique designs provide better energy efficiency, heating rooms faster than traditional wood-burning models.
Electric fireplaces are not always as beautiful to look at as traditional models, but they can be. Some manufacturers focus on designing electric fireplaces that look just as authentic as real wood-burning fireplaces. That way, you get the ambiance and feel of a traditional model while enjoying the benefits of having an electric fireplace.
Benefits of Electric Fireplaces
Electric fireplaces offer many benefits compared to wood-burning and gas models, from heat capacity to energy efficiency.
Here’s what an electric fireplace can offer your residential or commercial property:
Electric fireplaces are easier to use than traditional wood-burning or gas models.
There’s no need to remove ash, debris, or other pollutants after every use.
They need little to no maintenance.
Electric fireplaces are more efficient than traditional models, which also means they are less costly in the long term.
The installation cost of one of these fireplaces is a lot lower than traditional and gas fireplaces.
You can have them in apartments and condos with no problems.
They often come with additional features like Bluetooth connectivity.
Electric fireplaces are better for the environment than traditional wood-burning models.
There are also some drawbacks to having an electric fireplace compared to a traditional model. For instance, they cannot be used without electricity and must be installed near an electric outlet. Additionally, the cheap models can look tacky, especially if they have wires showing.
However, the most critical drawback is that most electric fireplaces cannot provide the same level of romantic ambiance that wood-burning models offer. However, you can find realistic models that look just as authentic as a traditional fireplace.
Types of Electric Fireplaces
Similar to traditional wood-burning fireplaces, there are different types of electric fireplaces. Each of these models offers unique advantages and disadvantages you need to consider before choosing one.
Electric Fireplace Inserts
Fireplace inserts are some of the most popular fireplace types because you can switch between different fireplace fuel types. For instance, you can turn a gas fireplace into an electric fireplace by just installing an electric insert into your existing fireplace. It is the ideal option if you don’t use your old gas or wood-burning fireplace.
Media console fireplaces are ideal options for people with limited space. You can combine them with your TV stand or entertainment center to display a realistic fire.
These models include enough space to store DVDs, Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, and more. Meanwhile, your TV sits perfectly on top of the unit.
Free-standing fireplaces are some of the most popular options because they are almost effortless to install. You can simply place them against a wall anywhere in your house and move them as you need. However, remember that these models require an electric outlet to function, limiting the places where you can use them.
These electric fireplaces can also come in corner models, which are specifically designed for your room’s corners. They are the better options if you don’t have much space to work with but you really want a fire display at home.
If you don’t mind a more challenging installation process, a wall-mounted electric fireplace is a perfect choice. It allows you to save a lot of space because it is installed directly into your walls.
Wall-mounted fireplaces are ideal for residential and commercial properties like condos, apartments, lobbies, and other gathering spaces.
They are similar to built-in models, but the installation is slightly more manageable. Built-in models, for example, require you to hardwire a new circuit breaker before installing the unit.
You could also install an electric stove. These stoves work like electric fireplaces, but they have an aesthetic that resembles traditional wood-burning stoves. They are low-maintenance and highly portable, requiring little preparation before their installation.
The Most Realistic Electric Fireplaces in 2022
The most significant disadvantage of electric fireplaces is that they do not provide the same aesthetic and feel as traditional fireplaces—but that’s just partly true because some fireplace manufacturers have designed models that look as real as wood-burning fireplaces.
These are the brands that provide the most realistic electric fireplaces on the market.
DIMPLEX is one of the country’s most popular and reliable fireplace manufacturers and has been for quite some time. This company provides elegant electric fireplaces with excellent heat capacity and has some of the best realistic fireplaces available. They also have a fireplace for every budget, from the most luxurious to the more affordable options.
Most Realistic Electric Fireplace: Opti-Myst Pro 1000 Electric Fireplace
Among the extensive catalog of DIMPLEX electric fireplaces, you’ll find the Opti-Myst Pro 1000. This model has a unique design that makes the fake flames look as natural as those made by wood-burning fireplaces. It also has an elegant look unmatched by most electric fireplaces.
The flames used for this fireplace aren’t like the traditional rotisserie style. Instead, the Opti-Myst uses water combined with lighting effects to create a more realistic and romantic ambiance. It also allows you to change the flame’s appearance by adjusting the height through its user-friendly interface.
One more way the Opti-Myst 1000 creates the perfect environment is by using hyper-realistic crackling sounds. You can even adjust the volume to your preference. However, this is also one of the most expensive electric fireplaces.
These are some of the other features that the Opti-Myst offers:
To create a larger display, you can connect multiple Opti-Myst 1000s. This option is perfect for commercial spaces like restaurants, hotels, and offices.
The installation process is a lot easier than other models. You can simply build it into a wall or custom mantle.
This model needs water to function correctly; you can either refill its reservoir before every use or connect it directly to a water supply.
It uses innovative technology that creates a unique feeling and has excellent durability.
First Runner-Up: The IgniteXL Bold Electric Fireplace
The IgniteXL Bold is another excellent option by DIMPLEX and a slightly more affordable one. This model was designed to impress, featuring some of the industry’s most flexible and unique display options. It is a modern linear fireplace with a mirror effect that can increase the depth of the flame display.
DIMPLEX designed this fireplace to maximize the customization options so you can have the perfect fireplace for your home. Additionally, like with the Opti-Myst model, you can connect multiple units to create an even bigger display.
These are some more benefits and advantages of the IgniteXL Bold Electric Fireplace:
It allows you to choose from three flame colors or use multiple colors simultaneously.
This fireplace helps create unique environments that traditional wood-burning fireplaces cannot achieve.
The IgniteXL uses a stylish multi-media bed, including small and large acrylic crystals and natural-looking driftwood, to create a realistic flame display.
It has an excellent viewing area of 16" high, which gives you the best display for your home or commercial property.
The IgniteXL Bold comes in different sizes and heat capacities so that you can choose the right option for your home. Additionally, this model is easy to install and does not require too much prior knowledge of electric fireplaces to use correctly.
Second Runner-Up: The IgniteXL Electric Fireplace
The IgniteXL is another DIMPLEX fireplace with excellent features, high durability, and a realistic flame display that feels like a real wood fire. This fireplace uses a new patented flame technology to replicate the charm and ambiance of wood-burning models, perfect for residential and commercial properties.
It has edge-to-edge glass to offer a flawless panoramic view of the flames, ideal for creating romantic atmospheres and welcoming environments. This fireplace requires no chimney or gas line and is only 5.5 inches deep, making it perfect for small spaces.
Here are the advantages of choosing the IgniteXL by DIMPLEX:
Thanks to its patented Comfort$aver design, the IgniteXL uses 11% less energy than most electric fireplaces. This is an incredible feature that will help you save a lot of money in the long term, especially if you live in an area with expensive electricity.
It allows you to choose from various color themes or combine them to create a more magical atmosphere for your home.
The IgniteXL comes with a Heat Boost feature that enables you to heat a room for a small amount of time quickly. It uses more energy than the normal mode but gets the job done in half the time.
It comes with a multifunction remote control you can use to control every feature and aspect of your electric fireplace from the comfort of your couch.
Most Affordable Realistic Fireplace: The Sierra Wall-Mount Linear Fireplace
The Sierra Linear by DIMPLEX is an affordable electric fireplace with a realistic flame display and useful features. If you are looking for realistic flames without making a significant investment, the Sierra by DIMPLEX could be the right choice. This model provides excellent heat capacity, energy efficiency, and multiple customization options.
This versatile electric option can be built into a wall, hung from a wall, and even attached to a tabletop stand. It also comes in two styles: a contemporary design with crystals and a traditional look with logs.
Here are more benefits of choosing the Sierra Wall Mount for your home:
It comes with three interchangeable media options you can use to customize the fireplace to your home decoration: Logs, crystals, and pebbles.
You can alternate between eight different ember beds and flame colors, providing some of the best customization options in the industry.
It has an automatic room temperature control mode for a consistent and comfortable atmosphere.
European Home Electric
European Home has been around for over a decade, providing some of the best and most elegantly designed electric fireplaces. The company manufactures well-crafted electric models with hyper-realistic designs so that you can enjoy the feeling and ambiance of a traditional wood-burning model.
Most Realistic Electric Fireplace: The Compton 2 Electric Fireplace Suite
The Compton 2 is an electric, linear fireplace with a modern design and plug-and-play capability. Its Evoflame technology provides realistic and stunning flame effects while helping you save energy when used. It also comes in a perfect size for most condos, apartments, and tiny houses.
This 3-sided fireplace comes with a contemporary black-tile surround motif, excellent for modern homes and penthouses. You can also purchase it in white tile, depending on your preferences and home interior design.
Here are some of the features this incredible electric fireplace has to offer:
It comes with an LED flame animation, which is projected onto a mirrored background for more depth and realism.
The Compton 2 uses specialty lights to illuminate the logs and create the illusion of burning wood.
You can connect this fireplace to your smartphone, iPad, or other devices through its Bluetooth connectivity.
Each Compton 2 Suite comes with a heater and an adjustable thermostat, providing you with ideal heat customization.
Modern Flames is a relatively new company in the fireplace industry. Still, it has been innovating ever since 2008.
Today, this company sets the standard for luxurious electric fireplaces, thanks to its commitment to innovation and industry evolution. Additionally, Modern Flames’ products are more affordable than most other brands on the market.
Most Realistic Electric Fireplace: The Landscape Pro Multi-Sided
This top-of-the-line, luxurious electric fireplace by Modern Flames is another great option if you are looking for realistic flames. It is a sleek and stylish option that can become the ideal addition to your home or commercial property. This model features an incredible multi-view display with realistic flames, providing the perfect romantic ambiance.
The Landscape Pro uses an active ember bed design and RGB flames lights to create an ultra-natural flame appearance. It also allows you to choose from various flame displays so that you can customize the fire to your liking. This model combines acrylic stone, black smoke acrylic crystals, and hand-painted driftwood logs to provide the best possible display.
Here are some additional benefits of choosing the Landscape Pro by Modern Flames:
It supports 10000 BTU heat output, providing the best energy efficiency and heat capacity possible. You can use it to warm up an entire room in no time.
This model comes with a full-featured remote control that allows you to customize the heat settings to your preferences.
You can connect it to your smartphone, tablet, or other devices through WiFi and a user-friendly app.
Runner-Up: The Sedona Pro Multi-View Electric Fireplace
The Sedona Pro Multi is another excellent electric fireplace by Modern Flames and the one with arguably the cleanest built-in design. This hyper-realistic model also includes the tallest flames the brand has to offer, rivaling some of the more expensive options by its competitors.
Its 3-sided display and some seriously realistic flames will make you feel like you are using a wood-burning fireplace instead of an electric model. The fire uses an orange-lighted driftwood log; active, multi-color ember beds; and high-intensity RGB flames to create this realistic look.
Additionally, the Sedona Pro uses clear acrylic stone media, black smoke acrylic crystals, and hand-painted canyon driftwood to complement the stunning flame colors.
Here are some of the other benefits of choosing the Sedona Pro by Modern Flames:
It can heat up to 5000 BTUs, ideal for smaller rooms and homes that require good energy efficiency. This model is instrumental in apartments and condos.
Like most Modern Flames models, it comes with a user-friendly remote control so that you can set up your fire from the comfort of your couch.
It can be controlled through WiFi and the Modern Flames app, meaning you can start heating your room using your smartphone.
It is an affordable option compared to more luxurious electric fireplaces from other manufacturers.
Second Runner-Up: The Spectrum Slimline Wall Mount
The Spectrum Slimline by Modern Flames is another excellent option if you want the most realistic electric fireplace. This incredible model has some fantastic features plus an internal mechanism that creates a unique and warming atmosphere. With the Slimline, you won’t notice it is not a traditional wood-burning fireplace.
Simple installation, touchscreen control, and an ultra-slim design are just some of the many advantages of this electric fireplace. It has an active ember bed design that combines a variable speed flame control and the new Hybrid-FX flame technology for the best fire display.
Additionally, this electric fireplace comes with ten different flame and ember bed colors you can use all together or one by one. The flames and ember bed colors are made with high-intensity lights that you can independently control.
Here are some other benefits of this electric fireplace:
The media uses hand-painted canyon driftwood and clear acrylic stone to create a beautiful display that can match any type of interior decoration.
It can heat up to 5000 BTUs, perfect for small rooms in apartments and condos.
The Spectrum Slimline also comes with a user-friendly thermostat control you can use to adjust the temperature.
It also includes a remote control and a touchscreen manual control, and you can use either to control every aspect and feature of the fireplace.
Most Affordable Realistic Model: The Redstone Traditional Built-In Fireplace
The Redstone Series is a built-in conventional electric fireplace with excellent heat capacity and realistic-looking flames. It features Modern Flames’ new Hybrid-FXTM technology, which expands the fire’s height to create a more natural-looking atmosphere. If you are looking for a single-sided electric fireplace that can be built into a wall, consider the Redstone Series.
It is easy to install and much more affordable than most options in this review guide. Additionally, you can combine this model with an orange log set to make a warmer and more welcoming fire display.
Here are some extra benefits of choosing the Redstone Series:
It has ten different flame colors you can alternate, depending on the atmosphere you want to create. These flames and colors can be controlled independently, making it easier to customize your fire display to your liking.
Depending on the size you choose, the glowing logs included in every unit will be bigger or smaller. So, if you want the biggest display with realistic fire, you can buy the 54-inch model.
Like other Modern Flames fireplaces, this model comes with touchscreen controls, a handheld remote control, and a 30-inch unique face.
SimpliFire is one of the industry’s most trusted and reliable fireplace manufacturers. It is backed by Hearth & Home Technologies, one of the world’s leading developers of hearth products. SimpliFire makes fire simple by innovating through some of the most realistic electric fireplaces available.
Most Realistic Electric Fireplace: The Scion Clean Face Linear
The Scion Clean Face is SimpliFire’s sleekest design, letting you experience the luxury of owning a realistic electric fireplace. It uses some of the highest-quality finishings and materials available, including crystal glass and powerful LEDs, to create a welcoming environment for your home. This model is, without a doubt, one of the most elegant options on the market.
It features a clean look with no visible heat vents or mesh screens, which is already more than most manufacturers offer. Additionally, you can adjust the Scion to the desired temperature or use it without heat, making it suitable for even summer or hot climates.
These are some of the other essential features the Scion model offers:
It has a multifunction remote control that adjusts temperature and turns the unit on and off. It can be set to work only with your fingerprints for better safety.
You can customize your fire flames with up to 13 colors and four flame heights.
The adjustable heat option allows you to enjoy your fireplace all year round, even during summer.
Runner-Up: Allusion Platinum Recessed Linear
The Allusion Platinum is an affordable, highly realistic electric fireplace with an elegant display and modern build. This model could be ideal if you like your home to showcase your unique personality. Its large viewing area and minimal frame create an atmosphere of wonder and mystery that few fireplaces can rival.
You can select the blue flames or personalize the media to make the fire fit better with your interior home decoration.
The Allusion Platinum features an adjustable thermostat and independent lighting. It can only be turned on or off with your fingerprints for increased safety. Furthermore, the adjustable heat feature allows you to enjoy the fire display all year round, even during the hottest days.
Here are some additional benefits of choosing the Allusion Platinum by SimpliFire:
It provides a clean look that is perfect for modern homes and apartments.
The Allusion Platinum can be easily removed for relocation and is easy to install.
This model provides 13 ember bed colors and four different flame types for superior customization.
Malm Fireplaces has over 60 years of experience in the industry. Throughout its history, it has designed and manufactured some of the most breathtaking fireplaces. Recently, Malm has delved into electric fireplaces with realistic models that provide excellent heat capacity, energy efficiency, and durability.
Most Realistic Electric Fireplace: Zircon Electric Aquafire
Malm’s Zircon Electric Aquafire is one of the most luxurious and elegant free-standing electric fireplaces. This ventless fireplace combines ultrasonic technology with sepia halogens for arguably the most realistic flame display in the industry. The patented AquaFire Cartridge provides a three-dimensional fire that looks so real you won’t believe it isn’t.
This electric fireplace also simulates smoke to make the atmosphere even more realistic than it already feels. The fire illusion is also created through water, which gives the fire the ideal texture and depth for a more natural look. The Zircon Electric Aquafire could be the best option if you don’t mind spending more on the highest of quality.
Here are some additional benefits to this incredible electric fireplace by Malm:
You can set the fireplace to only display the fire without using the heater, meaning you can use this model all year round.
It has an eco-friendly design that helps you save energy and money on electricity bills.
You can easily install it without adding vents or chimneys, making the overall cost lower than traditional wood-burning models.
This electric fireplace is perfect for residential use but can also be handy for commercial purposes.
Runner-Up: Zircon Electric Matte Black
If you want the realistic look of the Zircon AquaFire but don’t have the higher budget, the Zircon Electric is a more affordable option. This model by Malm uses the same technology as the AquaFire, except without water to add depth and texture to the flames. Still, it is an incredible option with many features and an overall high quality.
This 34-inch vent-free, free-standing fireplace could be the perfect addition to your home or commercial property. It can heat up to 5000 BTUs and costs almost less than half the price of the Zircon AquaFire Electric. This electric fireplace comes in different colors and sizes, from matte black to classic white, so you can pick the ideal one to fit your home’s decor.
Here are some additional benefits and advantages of the Zircon Electric by Malm:
All Malm fireplaces are energy efficient and environmentally friendly, translating into powerful models with superior heat capacity.
You can use the heater and the fire display together or just one to save energy. You can also use this fireplace all year round, even during the hottest months.
You can control and adjust the different features of the Zircon Electric using its user-friendly remote control or the control panel on the unit.
Frequently Asked Questions About Realistic Electric Fireplaces
By now, you should have a good understanding of realistic electric fireplaces. Here are some frequently asked questions:
What’s the Difference Between an Electric Fireplace and a Traditional Wood-Burning Fireplace?
The most significant difference between an electric fireplace and a wood-burning model is their fuel types. Wood-burning models use firewood or wood pellets to produce heat. On the other hand, electric fireplaces use electricity to heat a room, making them more convenient in most situations.
Another big difference between these two models is that electric fireplaces have no real flames. Basically, they are more of an electric heater than a fireplace itself. However, as we’ve mentioned in this review guide, you can find realistic electric models that will give you the perfect ambiance for your home.
The biggest drawback of an electric fireplace is that it cannot function when there’s no electricity, making it a bad option for wood cabins. On the other hand, unlike traditional wood-burning fireplaces, an electric model can be installed in an apartment because it doesn’t emit fumes or create ashes.
How Can You Take Care of an Electric Fireplace?
One of the most significant benefits of having an electric fireplace is that it doesn’t require the same level of maintenance and care as traditional fireplaces. To take care of your electric fireplace, you won’t need to remove any ash or debris or even clean the vents, as they require little to no ventilation.
When maintaining an electric fireplace, you must keep the exterior and interior clean, including the fans and media. Remove dust and dirt every once in a while to keep the fireplace functioning at its best. It doesn’t have to be a constant deep clean, as long as you do it monthly.
One thing you need to know is that, because they are machines, electric fireplaces can stop working if something happens to their internal mechanisms. When that happens, you will need to contact an expert to fix or replace the unit altogether, depending on the severity of the problem.
How Can You Make an Electric Fireplace More Realistic?
The best way to make electric fireplaces look more natural is to install them without electrical cords showing. The cables and electric outlets can easily break the magical ambiance when you install the unit without thinking about the aesthetics. That’s why it is better to think carefully about where the fireplace will go before buying and installing the unit.
If you are adding an insert or unit inside a cabinet, consider also adding stone finishings to its surrounds to make it look more authentic. Stone is a big part of the aesthetic of traditional fireplaces, so having that material can make a big difference.
Overall, try your best to pay attention to the installation process and make your interior design match your new fireplace. You should also look for the most realistic electric fireplaces available, as purchasing one of these models will make achieving that natural look a lot easier.
Do Electric Fireplaces Need to Be Vented?
Your brand-new electric fireplace looks and feels like a wood-burning model. However, it doesn't require a chimney or any other type of venting. Unlike traditional gas or wood fireplaces, electric models do not create emissions, so there’s no need to vent out gases, toxins, or smoke.
However, you do need to meet the electrical requirements for installing an electric fireplace. You need a 120-volt outlet right next to your fireplace so it can be connected and used. Your chosen outlet should also be on a dedicated circuit breaker or fuse for safety reasons.
Can Electric Fireplaces Heat a Room?
The best aspect of an electric fireplace is that it works like traditional heaters while providing the look and feel of a wood-burning fireplace. So, you can use an electric fireplace to heat up small, mid-size, or large rooms, depending on the model you choose. The higher the fireplace’s energy efficiency and heat capacity, the bigger the space you can use it in.
For instance, electric fireplaces that heat up to 5000 BTUs are ideal for small apartment rooms. However, if you want to warm a bigger space, you’ll need a model that can reach up to 10,000 BTUs. The Landscape Pro by Modern Flames is an excellent example of a realistic electric fireplace with a powerful system that can heat a big room.
Additionally, electric fireplaces are highly efficient because they do not use fuel to create warmth. In other words, there’s no wasted energy during use, making them more environmentally friendly than traditional models.
How Much Electricity Do Electric Fireplaces Need?
The operating cost of an electric fireplace will depend on where you live and how expensive electricity is in your area. However, generally speaking, the more BTUs your fireplace can reach, the more you will have to spend on electricity because it will need more energy to function.
One of the most significant advantages of electric fireplaces is that they are friendlier for the environment than traditional wood-burning models. So, we always recommend an eco-friendly option that provides reliable energy efficiency.
Are Electric Fireplaces Safer Than Traditional Wood-Burning or Gas Models?
Because they do not use real fire, electric fireplaces are already a lot safer than traditional wood-burning models. For instance, unless there’s an electrical problem or a short, the risk of fires when using an electric fireplace is close to none. They can also be left on through the night without accidents or any other problem.
The display case, meaning the glass and its surroundings, will also not be hot to the touch. That’s because electric fireplaces do not heat up inside the display but outside. So, if you have kids or pets at home, having an electric fireplace could be a safer option.
Do I Need a Permit to Install an Electric Fireplace at Home?
One of the most significant disadvantages of getting a wood-burning fireplace is that they are heavily regulated, especially in states like New York or California. Because of the heavy regulations, you must get a permit before installing one of these fireplaces.
Luckily, electric fireplaces don’t need permits because federal or local governments do not regulate them. They create no emissions, so there’s no need to get a license before installing one. You will only need a proper electric outlet and some help installing the built-in models.
What Are Electric Fireplaces Made Of?
You can choose different styles and finishes for your electric fireplace, from classic stone models to the more luxurious mahogany or stainless steel. Other materials used to create these incredible fireplaces are oak, espresso, and tile. You can even find electric fireplaces made of wood carvings for a more traditional aesthetic.
Find the Most Realistic Electric Fireplaces at CAPO Building Specialties
Are you looking for a high-quality, realistic electric fireplace for your home? Then look no further than CAPO Building Specialties. We have a large selection of the best and most energy-efficient fireplaces available, from brands like DIMPLEX and Modern Flames to classic manufacturers like Malm Fireplaces.
We only work with and distribute the most reliable fireplace brands and strive to provide the best products. So when looking for the perfect indoor or outdoor fireplace, we will be here to help you. Check out our entire catalog to learn more about our realistic electric fireplaces and accessories!