Read Before You Buy: Best Ethanol Fireplace Review
If you are looking to install a fireplace or insert, stop and read this before you do anything else!
You might not know it, but you have numerous fireplace options, including ones that run on wood, electricity, gas, and gel. One of the most popular types, however, is a bioethanol fireplace.
Bioethanol fireplaces use alcohol as fuel, and they don't produce smoke, soot, or ashes. This type of fireplace also doesn't need a chimney, which makes installation much quicker and easier. Another advantage of bioethanol fireplaces is that they look incredible in any space.
You’ll find a tremendous selection of ethanol-fireplace models available from various brands, and choosing the right one for your needs is easier said than done. If you don't know enough about ethanol fireplaces, you may end up with a unit that is a fire risk or that emits harmful gasses into your home.
If you don't know much about bioethanol fireplaces, learn more. You don't want to waste money on a furnace that doesn't deliver efficient fuel consumption, heat production, or aesthetic appeal.
In this ethanol fireplace review, we’ll look at the best ethanol fireplaces available on the market today, and we’ll discuss the most critical buying considerations.
In a hurry? Well, let's jump right into our list of expert picks.
5 Best Ethanol Fireplaces 2019
"This is a beautiful structure in my living room overlooking the ocean. A perfect enhancement to the fire and water scene I was striving for. I am very pleased with the product and the aesthetic." - Steve
1. Planika Prime Fire 27" Black Automatic Ethanol Fireplace Insert
Our No. 1 expert pick for this list is the Prime Fire 27-inch automatic insert that you can also use as a freestanding unit. This insert offers a wide range of features, including a long fire line and a light-emitting diode (LED) control panel. The design allows you to stack it side by side for an even longer flame.
The Prime Fire does not only provide the best in terms of convenience, but it also has a design to complement any interior space.
The Prime Fire's dimensions are 27 9/16"L x 9 5/8"W x 5.70"H. It weighs 26.5 pounds, and it features a black powder-coated top finish. This insert also has a heat output that ranges between 6,839 British Thermal Units (BTU's) per hour and 10,648 BTU's per hour. These levels are sufficient for larger living spaces of more than 1,095 cubic feet.
The Prime Fire's other features include BEV technology that eliminates contact between the fuel and the flame, plus advanced safety sensors and an automatic refill system. Installation is straightforward and doesn't require a hard connection or chimney.
- Best premium insert for the money
- Fully automatic insert
- You can install it as a freestanding or insert unit
- Fireplace dimensions: 27 9/16” L x 9 5/8" W x 5.70" H
"A beautiful warm glow adds to our room. Perfect option for easy hanging and organic ambiance." - Natalie
2. Nu-Flame Ventana NF-W4VEQ 63" Stainless Steel Quattro Wall Mounted Ethanol FireplaceThe Ventana NF-W4VEQ 63" is a high-value wall ethanol insert fireplace from Nu-Flame, a reputable brand and a supplier of high-quality green-energy products.
This unit features contemporary technology, a brushed stainless-steel finish, and a versatile design that integrates well with most styles. The fireplace measures 20.9"H X 63.2 "W X 8.7"D, a weight of 63 pounds, and you can hang it on any interior wall. For added safety, the fireplace has a tempered windscreen glass.
Its four burners have a capacity of 1.5 liters each, and they can burn for up to 1.5 hours on one fill. When you light the burners, they produce vibrant flames against a dark background. It spawns a calming, warm, and ambient atmosphere.
Installing the Ventana NF-W4VEQ 63" is quick and easy. The fireplace has a flat profile and hangs on a wall – similar to a painting. With this fireplace, you will also receive a damper tool that you can use to extinguish the flames.
There are a couple of installation limitations, though. The fireplace has to be five feet away from electrical appliances, and it is not suitable for outdoor use.
- Fireplace dimensions: 20.9"H X 63.2"W X 8.7"D
- Fitted with four burners
- Burn time of 1.5 hours on one refill
- Indoor use only
- Nu-Flame bioethanol fuel is sold separately
"Love this fireplace. It is good for inside on a dining table or out on the lanai table. I do so enjoy this unusual and modern piece. Makes a great house warming gift for someone special who likes to entertain."- Bianca
3. Nu-Flame Accenda NF-T1ACA 15" Stainless Steel Tabletop Ethanol Fireplace
If you are looking for a fireplace you can move in and around your home, consider the Accenda NF-T1ACA from Nu-Flame. This stunner has a modern design and comprises a tempered glass cylinder, stainless steel burner cup, and a full burner with a fuel capacity of 0.4 liters.
The Accenda NF-T1ACA is also one of the most affordable models in this category of biofuel fireplaces.
This portable tabletop burner is compact, with dimensions of 15 "H x 18.5 "W x 7.8" D, and it weighs 13 pounds. Its burning time ranges from 1 to 1.5 hours on one fill, and you can use it indoors and outdoors. Long-term exposure to the elements can damage the unit, though, so we recommend not leaving it outside after use.
Versatility is one of this fireplace's most significant attributes. You can place it on any secure surface, like a bar or tabletop, and its design and ambient flames add to the appeal of any setting. The fireplace also bears a durable, long-lasting construction.
The Accenda NF-T1ACA features an adjustable damper, and it comes complete with a damper tool.
- Portable cylinder-shaped fireplace
- Fireplace dimensions: 15"H x 18.5"W x 7.8"D
- One burner with a fuel capacity of 13 pounds
- Burning time of up to 1.5 hours on one refill
"This fireplace is beautiful, efficient and aesthetically pleasing. The quality is fantastic. I have never had any issues. Superb quality. Commercial grade."-Lisa
4. Planika Lincoln 41" Automatic Free-Standing Ethanol Fireplace
At first glance, the Lincoln 41" ethanol fireplace from Planika looks like a conventional, modern fireplace. This freestanding unit features a black structural powder coating and white medium-density fiberboard (MDF) polyurethane lacquer. The fireplace is 41 inches tall and comes with ceramic logs, decorative granulate, and protective front glass.
In addition to a classic appearance, the Lincoln 41" offers the latest in ethanol-burning technology. The high-performing burners have a fuel capacity of 1.59 gallons and a burning time of up to 15 hours. Another notable feature is its burning ethanol vapors (BEV) technology that improves the combustion process and eliminates contact between the fuel and the flame.
Other attributes that make the Lincoln 41" stand out from similar units include an automatic refill system, an LED control panel, and two height levels for the flames. Safety features include optional mesh and advanced safety sensors.
You can quickly and easily install this unit yourself, and there is no need for a technical inspection, hard connection, or vent. All you need is an electrical wall outlet.
- Fully automatic
- Burning time of up to 15 hours
- Plug-and-play design
- Two flame-height levels
"More than I even hoped for. I knew immediately it was exactly what I was looking for-so unique. Didn’t realize what an exciting conversation piece it would be."- Kurt
5. Decoflame Ellipse Ceiling Mounted Manual Ethanol Fireplace 44"
The Ellipse from Danish manufacture, Decoflame, is a hanging ethanol fireplace with a brushed stainless-steel construction and powder-coated steel casing.
The oval-shaped casing is attached to a tube that is 59.09 inches long, and you can rotate it freely to face any direction in the room. You can also adjust the length of the tube to accommodate your ceiling's height and angle. At 44 inches wide and 14 inches high, this fireplace is relatively large for one that hangs from a ceiling.
When purchasing the Ellipse ethanol fireplace, you can choose between a white and black model. The unit features two protective glass screens and a safety chamber. You can also adjust the manual burner's flame intensity and height.
The burner has a fuel capacity of 3 liters and a burning time of up to eight hours on one refill, depending on the flame setting you’re using. This fireplace is a viable option if you want to cover a room evenly with heating and ambient lighting.
- Premium 36-degree hanging fireplace
- Imported from Denmark
- Powder-coated steel casing
- Fitted with a 95.05-inch tube
- Fuel capacity of 3 liters
Before Buying a Bioethanol Fireplace
If you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing way to heat your home's interior, bioethanol fireplaces are worth considering. These units are ventless and run on clean-burning ethanol fuel.
Unlike fireplaces for wood and anthracite, bioethanol fireplaces don't require that you install gas lines or chimneys. What’s more, they can be portable, and they produce no smoke, ash, or odors.
Bioethanol fireplaces come in various shapes and sizes. Common types of ethanol fireplaces include hanging, tabletop, freestanding, and wall-mounted units. If you already have a built-in furnace in your home, you can convert it into a bioethanol fireplace by installing an insert.
In addition to being eco-friendly and convenient, bioethanol fireplaces typically are also visually appealing, stunning even. The latest bioethanol fireplaces from high-end brands usually feature contemporary designs to match any interior style.
The flames are another visually dazzling component of biofuel fireplaces. The fire from burning ethanol is tranquil, bright, and enhances any space significantly.
If you want to optimize the benefits of these eco-friendly fireplaces, there are some things you should know before jumping in and buying yours. In this buyer's guide, we will take a look at general information and crucial considerations for you to keep in mind.
What is Bioethanol Fuel?
Bioethanol is sometimes called ethanol or denatured alcohol and is a renewable alcohol biofuel. This fuel typically derives from fermented sugar or corn, but it can also come from the waste of manufacturing processes.
Bioethanol is highly flammable, but since it is a clean-burning fuel, it is ideal for interior fires. When bioethanol burns, it doesn't produce any dangerous fumes, only water and carbon dioxide. As a result, bioethanol fireplaces don't require you to install chimneys or flues.
Unlike wood, ethanol produces no soot build-up as it burns, which is another reason why many people prefer this type of fireplace. Bioethanol fireplaces require minimal maintenance and cleaning, which makes your life significantly easier.
You can find bioethanol fuel at hardware stores and online suppliers. Only use fuel that is formulated explicitly for ethanol fireplaces.
Installing a Bioethanol Fireplace
Because bioethanol fireplaces don't require chimneys, vents, or gas lines, installing them is generally quick and easy. What’s more, because they come fitted with fuel containers, you can install them anywhere in your home, even in the middle of a room.
You may have to assemble your new ethanol fireplace, depending on the type you select. With portable or tabletop models, however, you only have to place the burner inside the unit, add fuel, and place the unit where you want it.
Installing a freestanding unit is also relatively simple but may require additional assembly of components like safety glass and an ethanol burner insert. Five-part assembly of freestanding fireplaces typically doesn't take longer than 10 minutes, and you can do it yourself with a few essential tools.
Hanging- and wall-mountable units are more intricate to install than freestanding biofuel fireplaces. These units typically come with mounting brackets and fixtures, which you must attach to your wall or roof trusses before installing the fireplace.
If you have a traditional fireplace, you can convert it into an ethanol fireplace by stationing an insert. These installation projects don't require any reconstruction and are relatively straightforward if you follow the instructions included with your unit.
When installing a new fireplace, place it at least five feet away from things like electrical appliances, curtains, and furniture.
When it comes to open flames in and around your home, safety is obviously a fundamental consideration. One of the most prominent safety risk factors of a bioethanol fireplace unit is poor design and manufacture. To ensure that the unit you purchase is as safe as possible, check for certifications from the following electrical-certification organizations:
- TUV (indicates compliance with the German Equipment and Product Safety Act)
- UL (Underwriter Laboratories) certification for Canada
- Swedcert (Swedish certification organization)
- SP Sitac (Another Swedish technical-approval organization)
- C-UL (indicates certification from Underwriters Laboratories for Canada AND the United States)
Brands that are serious about safety will have these certifications, even though they are not mandatory. Another indicator of a safe ethanol fireplace is price because high-end units comprise durable materials with high heat resistance. The input costs of safer units also tend to be higher. With bioethanol fireplaces, cheaper often can correlate to increased safety risks.
High-quality fireplaces will typically have safety features such as a lid for regulating flame sizes, protective glass, and a spill tray to catch fuel. Keep an eye out for these features to ensure optimal safety.
Some groups are pushing for stricter ethanol regulation. But ethanol is generally safe for use in fireplace applications – even more so than wood- and gas-burning fireplaces. The U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association deem ethanol fireplaces safe for home use, too.
One of the first things buyers consider when shopping for a bioethanol fireplace is their budget. Several things determine a fireplace’s price tag, including the type, quality, fuel capacity and consumption, and its safety and convenience features.
Generally speaking, tabletop and portable fireplaces are more affordable because of their limited fuel capacity and heating abilities. Freestanding, wall-mountable, and hanging units are typically more expensive.
You will be able to find a high-quality tabletop fireplace for less than $200. The prices of ceiling-mounted units and freestanding fireplaces can range from $1,000 to 15,000.
Before shopping for a bioethanol fireplace, consider your budget carefully. When you know how much you want to spend, you will be able to consider things like size, safety features, heating requirements, and fuel capacity.
One of the drawbacks of a bioethanol fireplace is that it typically doesn't perform well as a room's primary heating source. If the room is small enough, however, you will be able to warm it to a desirable level with a bioethanol heater.
The average bioethanol fireplace produces anywhere from 2-6 kilowatts of heat per hour, which is enough to heat a room of up to 430 square feet. After lighting the fireplace, it takes about 15 minutes to reach the point where it produces optimal levels of heat.
If the room where you place your bio fireplace is smaller than 215 square feet, the average bioethanol heater will be more than sufficient to heat the room.
Proper use is crucial to ensure your safety and prolong the lifespan of your fireplace and components like burners.
FuelOnly use fuel that is specially formulated for bioethanol fireplaces and indoor use. Ethanol not intended for this application may damage your burner and result in an alcohol smell in your home.
Filling the Burner
When purchasing fuel, stick to one-liter bottles, and use a funnel to prevent spillage. Consult your user manual to ensure that you are filling the burner correctly.
Refrain from overfilling the burner – preferably no higher than ½ inch from the top. If the burner is too full, the fuel may overflow, or you may find it difficult to extinguish the flame.
Lighting the Fire
How you light the fire depends on the fireplace model you select. Some sophisticated units have a remote that you can use to start the fire. Otherwise, you can light the fuel inside the burner with a long match or lighter.
Extinguishing the Fire
When you no longer need the flames, you can extinguish your fireplace by pushing the lid over the burner opening. Don't leave the room for the night while the fire is still burning. With some fireplaces, you may also adjust the flame size. A regulator rod comes with the fireplaces.
An ethanol fireplace can burn anywhere from one to ten hours on one fill, depending on the flame size and fuel capacity you select. Mid-range bioethanol fireplaces typically burn for about five hours on one refill. If the unit has an automatic refill feature, you don't have to replenish the fuel every few hours.
The running cost of burning an ethanol fire is about $1-$3 per hour, depending on the size of the fireplace. When the fuel runs out, the fireplace will automatically shut down.
Gel vs. Ethanol Fireplaces
Gel and bioethanol fireplaces have many similarities. The most prominent characteristic that they have in common is that they use alcohol as fuel. There are, however, several differences between gel and ethanol fireplaces that you should learn.
Bioethanol fireplaces have a higher heat output than gel fireplaces. The average ethanol fireplace produces 4,000 - 8,500 BTU's per hour, while gel fireplaces produce up to 3,000 BTU's per hour.
Ethanol burns hotter than gel but takes about 15 minutes to reach optimal levels of heat output. A gel fireplace only needs 30 seconds to reach full potential.
These two types of fireplaces also have different flame appearances. Ethanol produces lively, scattered flames, and gel has thicker slow-moving flames.
Another difference between ethanol and gel fireplaces is that ethanol fireplaces use a pourable liquid as fuel and gel fireplaces use canisters that you place inside the unit. When the canister is empty, you can take it out and throw it away.
People who like the sound of a crackling fire may prefer gel fireplaces. Ethanol flames are silent. The gel produces a crackling sound, which is the result of salt added to the gel's mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water.
An ethanol fireplace does two things: It heats a room to an extent, and it delivers a design feature to enhance the visual interest of any room.
Ethanol fireplaces are incredibly popular, but they are not for everyone. If you have central heating but want a feature to establish an ambient atmosphere in your home, an ethanol fireplace may be ideal.
The most prominent benefit of an ethanol fireplace is that you can install it anywhere without worrying about vents, chimney, or gas connections.
Safety is a crucial consideration when shopping for an ethanol fireplace. All the models we listed above are extensively tested and certified. Stay away from knock-off brands, as these units may not be safe and installing one can put your family at risk.
If you are still not ready to make a purchase, feel free to give us a call or visit our home page for more ethanol fireplace options.