According to the National Association of Home Builders, fireplaces rank among the top three features desired by new homebuyers. While popular, the open design of traditional fireplaces causes heated air to be lost through large gaps, making them inefficient as heating sources. The solution for many homeowners is a fireplace insert, which is a shelled, efficient room heater that draft-proofs an open fireplace by keeping heat flowing towards the room.
To help you find a fireplace insert for your home, the This Old House Reviews team researched the best fireplace inserts on the market. Here are our top nine recommendations.
Ashley Hearth Wood Stove Insert
Width: 27.2 inches | Height: 22.4 inches
This wood stove fireplace insert heats up to 1,800 square feet by burning real wood logs up to 18 inches long. The unit features a durable cast-iron door that gives you a view of the burning logs through its large ceramic glass window. It also includes a large hearth surround and a spring-loaded automatic adjustment to simplify installation.
Pacific Energy Super Insert LE
Width: 43 inches | Height: 29 inches (standard surround)
The Super Insert LE is a powerful wood-burning fireplace insert that’s built for heating medium-sized spaces. The fireplace’s door makes it easy to load new logs and its one-touch temperature adjustments help you control the flow of heat in the room. This model is available in nickel, brushed nickel, and metallic black finishes and comes in either a standard or oversized surround.
For where to buy and pricing, visit the Pacific Energy website.
R.W. Flame 36-Inch Electric Fireplace Insert
Width: 36 inches | Height: 18.1 inches
This affordable electric fireplace has a thin 3.85-inch design that can be recessed into most walls for heating any room of the home. The insert’s flame brightness and color are controlled through its built-in touchscreen panel or its included remote control. While offering a colorful and brilliant display, the electric-powered insert is only made to heat rooms up to 400 square feet. The insert is also offered in larger 41-, 50-, and 60-inch models.
Lopi 34 DVL Deluxe Ember-Glo Insert
Width: 31.5 inches | Height: 23.9 inches
Heating up to 2,000 square feet, this gas-powered fireplace insert is great for warming open living rooms and dens. The insert is built with realistic ember bed lighting and comes with a remote control so that you can make adjustments from the comfort of your seat. Its flame is surrounded by a faux oak, birch, or driftwood log set.
For where to buy and pricing, visit the Lopi website.
Enviro Meridian Pellet Fireplace Insert
Width: 40 inches | Height: 30 inches (regular surround)
This Enviro pellet fireplace insert has an oversized design that sticks out from your existing fireplace opening to offer a rustic, stove-like design. The powerful insert is offered with a regular or large surround and heats up to 2,000 square feet. Additionally, the insert is lined with a decorative glass window that covers 185 square inches, which is large enough to view the pellet-fueled flames.
For where to buy and pricing, visit the Enviro website.
Comfortbilt Pellet Stove Insert
Width: 42 inches | Height: 33 inches
This high-capacity pellet stove insert features a 47-pound pellet hopper and heats rooms up to 2,000 square feet. The insert has a programmable thermostat that controls its powerful blower and is built with a large window that gives you a view of the insert’s flame. Additionally, the insert is protected by a one-year limited warranty.
PuraFlame 33-Inch Western Electric Fireplace Insert
Width: 33.1 inches | Height: 25.5 inches
This electric fireplace insert is built with a three-sided faux brick wall that gives it a realistic and rustic look. The fireplace comes with three flame settings that are controlled by an included remote and can provide supplemental heat in rooms up to 400 square feet. Additionally, the unit can rest on your fireplace floor and plug into any existing 120-volt outlet.
QuadraFire Expedition II Wood Insert
Width: 50.8 inches | Height: 34 inches
With a large heating area of 2,400 square feet, this high-efficiency fireplace is a powerful wood-fueled model that can heat large rooms for up to seven hours straight. It’s built with a 275-square-inch viewing window and uses an automatic combustion control to deliver a consistent burn. Additionally, the classic black insert finish is complemented with your choice of black steel, cast iron, or nickel trim surround.
For where to buy and pricing, visit the QuadraFire website.
Valuxhome 36-Inch Electric Fireplace Insert
Width: 36 inches | Height: 27.5 inches
Weighing just over 50 pounds, this lightweight electric insert is an affordable model that comes with lifelike resin logs and adjustable atmosphere lights. The vent-free insert warms any 400-square-foot area and can operate with or without heat. Additionally, the insert is protected by a one-year warranty and includes safety features like an automatic shutoff.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of a fireplace insert?
Installing a fireplace insert draft-proofs an open fireplace while keeping the heat in the room and away from the masonry.
How much does a fireplace insert cost?
Most fireplace inserts and a professional installation cost about $2,000 to $4,000, depending on the state of your existing chimney and the model you select. Some electric models cost significantly less, but they offer less heat output than wood and gas fireplace inserts.
Do electric fireplace inserts produce heat?
Yes. While electric fireplace inserts don’t produce as much heat as gas- and wood-fueled inserts, most models can heat spaces up to 400 square feet.
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