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Best Gas Fireplaces

Updated October 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 142 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best gas fireplaces

    Modern living has its luxuries, and one of them is the gas fireplace. Yes, you could split wood, lug it inside, and ignite a fire in your living room fireplace if you wanted to – but you don’t have to. With a gas fireplace in your home, you can relax in the warmth of a roaring fire with the simple press of a button.

    If you’re shopping for a gas fireplace, you’ll find lots of reliable models on the market. Some sit right inside your regular fireplace; others are made to stand alone. At BestReviews, we studied the products in order determine which are the very best gas fireplaces. In the matrix above, you’ll find our favorites.

    If you’d like to learn more about gas fireplaces in general, please read on to discover facts, tips, and the answers to common questions you may have. When it comes to an appliance like this, it’s important to make an informed purchase. At BestReviews, we’ve got you covered.

    If you want to breathe life into an older traditional fireplace but don’t want to pay for a major home renovation, consider a gas fireplace insert.

    Types of gas fireplaces

    One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want a gas fireplace installed from scratch or one that you can insert into an existing wood-burning fireplace.

    • A freestanding gas fireplace can go wherever you want it to go. You don’t need to have an existing fireplace or chimney. Some freestanding gas fireplaces (called “vented” gas fireplaces) exhaust their fumes through a hole in your wall. Others are ventless; the exhaust enters your indoor space.

    • A gas fireplace insert goes right into your existing fireplace. It includes one or more burners and artificial logs. Some inserts are encased in a metal box. Others are simple log/burner sets that you attach to a gas line. Inserts are available in vented and ventless configurations.

    Some gas fireplaces come with electronically controlled blowers. Others use natural convection to release hot air into the living space.

    Vented or ventless: which is right for your home?

    You can choose a freestanding gas fireplace or gas fireplace insert that is either vented or ventless, but what’s the difference? That’s an important question to answer before you make your purchase.

    Ventless gas fireplaces

    Ventless gas fireplaces are essentially auxiliary heat sources, like electric heaters. You can place one anywhere in your home. The hot air blows back into your room rather than escaping up a chimney, which means some carbon dioxide and water vapor will be released back into your space, too. Regardless of which gas fireplace you choose, keep this information in mind.

    • Remember that the logs will burn hot, so you should keep all combustible materials at a safe distance from the fireplace.

    • Make sure the gas fireplace has a working oxygen depletion sensor. This will shut off the fire if too little oxygen is detected in the room.

    Vented gas fireplaces

    With a vented fireplace, the combustion byproducts vent out of your home. Most come as inserts, which means you must place the gas fireplace insert in a firebox (if one isn’t included) and connect it to your existing chimney.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Vented gas fireplaces must be operated with your chimney’s damper open.

    Other gas fireplace features to consider

    Fuel type

    Gas fireplaces are fueled by either natural gas or liquid propane.

    • Natural gas is the best choice for people who already use natural gas in their home. You may need to run a new gas line to your fireplace. The advantage of natural gas is that your fuel won’t run out.

    • Liquid propane is the alternative when natural gas unavailable. You’ll need to purchase a propane tank and refill it as necessary.

    Logs

    All gas fireplaces come with logs made of ceramic, refractory cement, or another material. Some logs look more realistic than others. Do you want something that looks like a particular type of wood, such as birch or oak? Do you prefer a split-log design, or would you like logs that show a bit of bark? Your choice comes down to personal preference.

    Heat output

    In order to make sure you have enough heat output for your space, do a quick calculation of the  British thermal units (BTU) per hour you will need. BTU is a standard measurement defined as the amount of heat it takes to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

    Follow these steps to determine how many BTUs you need.

    1. Calculate the square footage of your space. For most spaces, a simple calculation of the length and width of your room will give you a square-footage estimate.

    2. Multiply the square footage by the recommended number of BTUs per hour per square foot. This recommendation varies by climate and the efficiency/age of your home. If you live in a colder climate, you will need between 50 to 60 BTUs per hour per square foot. Warmer climates require only about 30 to 35 BTUs per hour per square foot.

    3. Check the hourly BTU rate provided by the gas fireplace. The range of hourly BTU rates for home gas fireplaces is about 20,000 to 32,000.
    EXPERT TIP

    Gas fireplaces may promise coverage of a certain number of square feet, but the actual heat output varies by climate.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Gas fireplace prices

    Gas fireplaces range in price from $350 to over $3,000. The broad categories below provide a general idea of what you can expect to find at each price point.

    • Inexpensive

    Most of the gas fireplaces that cost between $350 and $800  are inserts or freestanding portable units. Many come with a wooden mantel to create a homey look.

    • Mid-range

    You’ll find some fully vented gas fireplaces that insert into an existing chimney for $800 to $1,500. Some will have bonus features like remote start. These fireplaces tend to look more realistic, offering a higher number of burners and attractive logs.

    • Expensive

    Most high-end gas fireplaces are very powerful and look extremely realistic. If you’re looking for an oblong or rectangular unit, you’ll probably need to spend more than $1,500.

    CAUTION

    The glass front on a gas fireplace can get hot enough to cause a severe burn. Keep children and pets away from a gas fireplace that’s in use, and teach them about the danger.

    Tips

    • Consider buying a blower. While all gas fireplaces are designed to recirculate hot air back into your living space, not all are designed with electric blowers. You may want to consider buying a separate blower if yours doesn’t have one.

    • Choose a unit with temperature control. Gas fireplaces can get extremely hot. Those with temperature controls allow you to use and enjoy them without getting overheated.

    • Shut your gas fireplace down after a couple of hours. This practice is crucially important for ventless fireplaces. Reducing the time you use it will help prevent the buildup of potentially dangerous gases.
    Some freestanding gas fireplaces come with an authentic-looking mantel for enhanced ambience.

    FAQ

    Q. Can I install a vented gas fireplace if my home doesn’t have a chimney?

    A.  Yes, you can enjoy the beauty and warmth of an installed fireplace without the expense of masonry or a chimney, but you need to have the right ductwork and the right kind of venting system. Direct venting system ductwork can enable a home without a chimney to use a vented gas fireplace. The venting system can be installed through the roof or through the backside of the home.

    Q. Can I burn wood in my gas fireplace?

    A. Gas fireplaces are designed to burn natural gas or propane fuel only. Attempting to burn wood or other materials in your gas fireplace will void the warranty and could damage your fireplace.

    Q. Can the glass be removed from my gas fireplace?

    A. Gas fireplaces are designed as a system. Removing the glass would reduce the fuel efficiency of that system. The glass should only be removed for cleaning when the gas fireplace is not in use.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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