There is nothing like a roaring fire on a cold night, but traditional fires can be hard to clean and need frequent tending. However, with gas fireplaces, you don’t need to worry about all that!
Gas fireplaces make cutting firewood or regularly buying it for your furnace a thing of the past, all the while adding extra warmth to your house and making it a bit cozier too.
Gas fireplaces achieve the same effect as traditional fireplaces as they produce real flames, but are extremely low maintenance and can heat a room quickly with their efficient heat output.
They’re also more environmentally friendly, and can even increase the resale value of your home. With all these positives, it’s easy to see why so many people are turning to gas fireplaces to heat their homes!
But if you have never bought a gas fireplace before, you might be wondering what you need to look out for before you make your purchase. The most important factors to consider are ventilation, location, BTU rating, safety, features, and variable flame control. You should also consider what model is better suited for you.
To help you see what’s out there, we’ve selected the five best gas fireplaces on the market right now. In our buyer’s guide, you’ll find information on all the factors you need to consider when buying a gas fireplace, more information on the different types of gas fireplace, as well as some FAQs that answer some burning questions!
With a dark-brown wood tone, the Duluth Forge modern gas fireplace creates a nice contrast in your living space. Its stunning design also has an elegant and realistic flame pattern with realistic fiber ceramic logs.
It also has 32,000 BTU of heat, plenty to heat a 1,500 square foot space. The Duluth Forge also features a Patented Dual-Fuel Technology, meaning it can burn both liquid propane and natural gas.
It also comes complete with remote control functions for turning the fireplace on and off as well as temperature control, and six hands painted ceramic logs. These logs are even pinned and numbered for proper placement.
- Patented Dual-Fuel Technology: This patented technology allows you to burn two types of fuel.
- Remote system control: The handy remote system control lets you turn the fire on and off as well as control temperature.
- Does not require a duct or chimney: You may wonder if you can have a gas fireplace in your home if it does not have a duct or chimney. But with the Duluth Forget, you need neither!
- Large heating capacity: With 32,000 BTU of heat, this fireplace can heat even the largest rooms.
- No hose: Unfortunately, the Duluth Forge does not have a hose or other connectivity mechanisms.
- Does not come with a blower fan: The Duluth Forge does not come with a blower fan, but you can purchase one separately.
The Empire Comfort Systems Linear Fireplace is a modern gas fireplace with a difference. It comes equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor that continuously monitors CO2 levels and a state-of-the-art safety pilot system that turns off the gas if the flame is extinguished.
It also comes complete with an on-off wall switch to mount inside the unit, as well as a backup battery to switch to a standing pilot. This is so the natural gas fireplace can continue operating even during power outages.
To route the gas supply from the back, the Empire fireplace also has openings in the casing that also allows you to route the gas supply from the sides or from below. The unit also produces up to 10,000 BTUs but does not require a vent.
For fully or partially recessed installation, the Empire fireplace package includes a non-combustible board and a wall switch with a 10-foot extension as well as an attractive mesh barrier screen.
- No vent required: Despite producing up to 10,00 BTUs, the Empire fireplace does not require a vent.
- State-of-art safety pilot system: This system ensures the gas is turned off if the flame is extinguished, and the oxygen depletion sensor monitors the CO2 levels.
- Battery back-up: The backup battery means you don’t have to worry about the battery draining.
- Unsuitable for large spaces: Unlike the Duluth Forge, the Empire fireplace is not suitable for heating large rooms.
- Cabinet wrap and decorative front: While the Empire fireplace has an attractive mesh front, the cabinet wrap and decorative front need to be purchased separately.
With cosmetic logs carefully designed to emulate real logs with crusted bark, simulated knots, and even exposed sapwood, the Peterson Real Fyre Log Set combines the convenience of gas fireplaces with the aesthetic of traditional fireplaces.
It is also reinforced with steel rods for greater integrity and can be lit using either a match or a lighter. It runs on gas emitted from the main valve and has a BTU output of up to 75,000. It also comes with a burner, embers, six gas logs, and sand.
- Durable: The ceramic logs not only make for a more traditional fireplace experience but are also incredibly durable.
- Comes with a vented burner and gas connection kit: The Peterson Real Fyre comes with everything you need to get your gas fireplace up and running.
- Easy to install: Thanks to the gas connection kit, the Peterson Real Fyre is effortless to install.
- Expensive: The Peterson Real Fyre is one of the more costly fireplaces out there, so is not the best budget-friendly pick.
- Does not come with a safety valve: Despite coming with equipment to make setup easier, you do need to purchase the safety valve separately.
If you don’t have a chimney or flue but would love a gas fireplace in your home, then the Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH20DT Gas Stove may be for you.
It features state-of-the-art, vent-free technology that eliminates the need for a chimney or flue, as well as dual-fuel technology that lets you burn propane and natural gas.
However, if you are going to use propane gas, you will need a 100 lb tank or larger with a two-stage adjustable regulator purchased separately.
With a BTU output of up to 20,000, the Pleasant Hearth gas stove can heat up to 700 square feet of space.
It also requires minimal clearance and is easy to install anywhere. This ease of use is also reflected in how it’s thermostatically controlled, which also allows for optimal comfort.
- State-of-the-art technology: This fireplace is packed with state-of-the-art features, such as dual-fuel technology, and vent-free technology.
- Does not require a flue or a chimney: This fireplace is suitable for those who do not have a flue or chimney in their home.
- Good warranty: The Pleasant Hearth has a generous two-year warranty policy.
- Lacks remote control capabilities: Unlike the other gas fireplaces on this list, the Pleasant Hearth does not have remote control capabilities but can be thermostatically controlled.
- Does not include a blower: You need to purchase the blower separately.
Much like the Peterson Real Fyre, the Napoleon Granville VF series gas fireplace is designed with Phazer logs that create a natural wood-burning look, complete with dancing flames for an attractive, modern fireplace.
What’s more, this natural gas fireplace is more efficient than its traditional counterparts, offering 50% heat. It is also safer, coming with an oxygen depletion sensor that turns off the pilot before the oxygen drops below a safe level. It is also easy to use, with a simple switch to turn the furnace on and off.
The Napoleon fireplace also features a millivolt ignition, fireplace screen, hood, dual receptacle junction box, and a double flame burner. Plus, with a BTU output of up to 30,000, it is suitable for heating large rooms and spaces.
- Safe: Its oxygen depletion sensor monitors safe levels of oxygen, while the safety screen protects you from the flames.
- Easy to use: The on-off switch makes it easy to use.
- Not lightweight: This heavy and bulky fireplace may be difficult to maneuver.
- Does not come with top and bottom louvers: The top and bottom louvers need to be purchased separately.
Hopefully, our five picks above have given you an idea of what’s available. But before you run out and buy a new fireplace, there are a few more things you need to know. Namely, the different kinds of gas fireplaces out there and what differentiates an okay gas fireplace from a great one.
Below, we’ll list some key features to look out for and explain the differences between the types of gas fireplaces.
Patented Dual-Fuel Technology and Remote Control Thermostat
The best gas fireplaces are the ones that have state-of-the-art technology, such as Patented Dual-Fuel Technology. This means that your fireplace can run on both natural gas and propane gas.
There is nothing wrong with opting for a fireplace that only uses one or the other, and these fireplaces should adequately heat a space of 1,500 square feet.
Thermostat features are important too and are usually found on high-end gas fireplaces with premium remote control thermostat features present. Using a thermostat you can also customize the heat setting on your gas fireplace.
Stylish and budget-friendly
Fireplaces are more often than not the centerpiece of a room, so you want to pick one that is stylish and aesthetically pleasing. However, this does not mean breaking the bank. The best gas fireplaces out there are beautifully designed as well as budget-friendly.
Gas fireplaces that are stylish and sleek are also ideal for small apartments, or small sitting areas.
Safe to use
A gas fireplace that is safe and secure to use is a must. Battery-assisted fireplaces in particular are very secure to use.
Most gas fireplaces are installed and embedded with a built-in oxygen depletion sensor that immediately shuts down the fireplace as soon as it detects carbon monoxide or a lack of oxygen.
Fully engineered and tested
Always be on the lookout for gas fireplaces that are fully engineered and tested. A handy clue is that these gas fireplaces usually feature oxygen depletion sensors.
They also will have an automatic shut-off button to ensure safety.
High-quality logs are usually realistic, hand-painted ceramic ones that are featured and embedded into the gas fireplace. But an even better option is real wood logs that make your gas fireplace resemble a more traditional fireplace.
Last but certainly not least, the most important thing to consider when buying a gas fireplace is choosing a fireplace that has an extended warranty.
An extended warranty provides reassurance that this fireplace will perform well and last for years. You should also pay attention to any information given about the fireplace’s longevity and durability.
Types of Gas Fireplace Heaters
Insert Gas Fireplace Heaters: These heaters are a log and burner set that comes in a metal box.
It warms the room efficiently, radiates heat evenly, and can usually come in both vented and ventless models.
Vented fireplace heaters like this usually have a fixed glass panel, while ventless heaters have a fixed metal screen or a glass panel.
Log Sets Gas Fireplace Heaters: These are usually the most budget-friendly gas fireplaces available.
They come in the form of ceramic logs, and a gas burner is usually included.
They are simple and easy to install, and can easily be slotted into an existing fireplace. All you need to do to install the fireplace is drill holes in the gas or electric line.
There are some ventless models available, and some models even have a vent that goes all the way up the chimney. Vented sets are typically safer, as they can prevent carbon dioxide poisoning.
Built-in Gas Fireplace Heaters: These gas fireplaces are composed of metal boxes that are usually embedded right within a box construction.
The vented models come with fixed glass panels that cycle the air while heating your room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a gas fireplace worth it?
Compared to more traditional fireplaces, gas fireplaces are definitely worth it. They’re efficient, cheaper than traditional fireplaces, easier to maintain, remove all combustion exhaust, and they just look better.
Can I leave my gas fireplace on?
While it is advisable to turn your gas fireplace off when you’re not using it, if your fireplace is fully vented with a sealed glass front then you can operate it continuously.
However, if you have a ventless furnace with doors that can easily be opened, we recommend turning the fireplace off when you’re not using it, not at home, or before you go to sleep.
Modern gas fireplaces do have an oxygen depletion sensor that turns your fireplace off when oxygen levels drop significantly, which does mean you can leave your gas fireplace on for a long time. However, it is recommended that you do not always leave your fireplace on.
Do gas fireplaces use a lot of gas?
Actually no, they don’t. The best gas fireplaces do not use a lot of gas.
There is a way to calculate the amount of gas spent per hour. First, divide the number of BTUs by 1,000 to get the number of cubic feet burned per hour. Then, just multiply that answer by the current price of gas, and you’ll have the hourly operating cost.
So, if you use 40,000 BTUs of gas per hour, divided by 1,000 that’s 40 cubic feet per hour. So assuming gas costs $0.0042 per cubic foot, then 40 multiplied by $0.0042 will equal $0.17 per hour. So, this means your gas fireplace uses 17 cents worth of gas an hour.
How long do gas fireplace logs last?
This all depends on how you take care of your fireplace.
A well-maintained vented ceramic log can last over 10 years. Meanwhile, a well-maintained ventless ceramic log that is frequently used will last up to 5 years.
Do gas fireplaces need to be vented?
Not really. As we have seen, some gas fireplaces have been designed to function without a flue or chimney. As gas can potentially lead to carbon monoxide leaks, we recommend properly ventilating a room before you add a gas fireplace.
How do I convert my fireplace to gas?
This depends on what fireplace you have and what kind of gas fireplace you want to replace it with.
First, choose the type of gas fireplace you want. If you have a wood-burning stove, you will need a conversion kit. Then, clean your chimney to clear the build-up of creosote. The gas line will then need to be extended to service the new gas fireplace.
Then, you can fit your new gas fireplace into the existing masonry work. Once it’s installed, you should make an appointment with a fireplace installation expert for a fireplace inspection, and we recommend hiring an installation expert for the conversion process too.