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Pros and Cons of Electric Fireplaces vs. Bio Ethanol Fireplaces

Pros and Cons of Electric Fireplaces vs. Bio Ethanol Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces and bio ethanol fireplaces have become increasingly popular alternatives to traditional wood-burning fireplaces.

Both offer a range of benefits, including convenience, ease of use, and environmental friendliness. However, they also have their own unique drawbacks that should be considered before making a purchase.

We decided to be totally neutral on this topic so we hired Minuca Elena to reach out to 25 experienced professionals, realtors, interior designers, and architects and ask them the following question:

What are the pros and cons of electric fireplaces versus bio ethanol fireplaces?

Their answers offer insights into the price, design, functionality, safety, and maintenance of electric and bio ethanol fireplaces.

Whether you are a homeowner looking to add a fireplace to your living space or a professional interested in incorporating these features into your designs, this expert roundup will provide you a clear perspective on advantages and disadvantages of both types of fireplaces so you can make an informed decision.

Arch. Andrei Vasilief – Animo Regis

Andrei Vasilief
They are both very similar, in the sense that they are easy to install, don't require specialized knowledge, are easy to maintain, and don't require venting (which has always been the most expensive part of installing a fireplace).

An ethanol fireplace requires fuel, which the electric one does not, and it also generates real flames, which give out heat.

An electric fireplace is much easier to install as it only requires a plug, but it doesn't generate real heat, it relies on a built-in heater to do so.

If anyone is set on installing a fireplace, a bioethanol one is the better option, as it's an actual fire with all the coziness that comes with it. An electric fireplace can't replicate that.

David Ashbolt - Materials Market

David Ashbolt

Electric Fireplaces

Source of heating has been popular for some time and there are number of factors that contribute to that.

  • As they are connected to the electrical supply there is no need for other fuels - some of which require storage and can be expensive
  • It is physically clean with no additional clean up required
  • The cost to purchase and install an electric fireplace is modest compared to other types
  • The style is often considered to be contemporary
  • There is no real flame, which reduced potential harm - a key consideration for young families

There are however some downsides

  • The lack of a "real fire" lessens the appeal for some
  • With increased concerns about the rising costs of utilities may are keen to reduce their reliance on electricity

Bioethanol Fireplaces

Bioethanol provides a number of potential advantages over other types of heat sources

  • The fuel is much cleaner and easy to store that other forms of "solid" fuel such as wood or coal
  • There is no flue required meaning that installation of the fireplace is much simpler too - this is a huge plus if considering a new installation
  • The above also means that bioethanol fireplaces should not require special certification to install, which reduces the complexity and cost of engaging a specialist contract which is needed for other types of fireplace
  • It retains the "real fire" effect that many want to achieve in their home

However, as with any decision, it is good to consider all factors. For example –

  • Bioethanol does not produce high levels of heat when compared to a traditional solid fuel fire
  • It still needs to be refuelled manually
  • It claims to be a sustainable choice of fuel, however, as is often the case there are critics of how the fuel is produced, and individuals should do their research if this is a key decision factor for them
  • Bioethanol fires are probably more decorative, providing background heat, rather than a main source of heating for the home.

Eric Sztanyo - Team Sztanyo

Eric Sztanyo

Since bioethanol fireplaces came out in 2005, they have become the trendy new option for homeowners looking for an upgrade.

Bioethanol fireplaces offer a lot of the same things electric fireplaces do, with some key differences. Bioethanol creates an actual flame with real heat, and it can also be set up anywhere, and we mean anywhere.

Consider bathrooms, bedrooms, hanging on walls, outdoors, indoors, or anywhere there is space; no outlet required.

However, they do require more maintenance due to the need for fuel, which means higher long-term and consistent costs.

On the other hand, electric fireplaces offer the option of heat due to their synthetic flame, which means you can have the look of a cozy fire in the middle of summer.

And due to this synthetic flame, they emit zero carbon monoxide, so many families choose to go electric since it's the safer option.

They also cost only cents per use to operate, so they are the cheaper option of the two, but in this case, you get what you pay for in terms of mobility and authenticity.

Dmitri Kara - Fantastic Services

Dmitri Kara

Ethanol Fireplaces require no flue and chimneys are straightforward cost-thirsty.

Building one, general maintenance, and all occasional trade offs because of smoke, smell, budget, additional effort, risk of ash stains, burns, respiratory risks, and God knows what more, make smoke and ash-free ethanol fireplaces a no-brainer choice.

What you get is heat, water, and just a tiny bit of CO2, which makes these products eco-friendly. Also, no flue, means little to no heat loss!

You have easy to simple installation, no need of engineer-grade understanding of airflow, and relatively easy relocation of units.

And the best part is that you still get the heat and visual warmth of actual flames.

On the other side, you have electric units.

Also easy to operate, require little maintenance, no chimneys involved, and they are actually easier to use than ethanol fireplaces, so what’s not to like?

Personally, the whole point of a fireplace is the good old sense of fire, and that’s something that electric units just can’t cut realism, regardless of the generally lower price range, and better heat output.

And they also cost more to use in the long term, especially with electricity prices rushing up the hill in recent years.

Laurice Constantine - Casadar

Laurice Constantine

Electric fireplaces and bioethanol fireplaces are both popular options for homeowners looking to add warmth and ambiance to their homes. Each type of fireplace has its advantages and disadvantages.

Electric fireplaces are easy to install and use. They require only a standard electrical outlet, and there's no need to vent or install a chimney. They're also energy-efficient and don't emit harmful gases or fumes. Electric fireplaces can also be operated with a remote control, which makes them easy to use.

However, electric fireplaces can be less realistic than bioethanol fireplaces. While they do produce heat, the flames are typically less realistic than those in bioethanol fireplaces, which can be a downside for those looking for a more authentic fireplace experience.

Bioethanol fireplaces, on the other hand, are more environmentally friendly than electric fireplaces. Bioethanol is a renewable energy source that produces no harmful emissions. They also produce a real flame, which many people find more visually appealing than the flames in electric fireplaces.

However, bioethanol fireplaces require more maintenance than electric fireplaces. Bioethanol fuel must be regularly refilled, and the fireplace must be cleaned after each use to prevent residue buildup.

Ultimately, the decision between an electric fireplace and a bioethanol fireplace depends on personal preference and lifestyle. Both options offer unique advantages and disadvantages, and homeowners should weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

June Grinstead

June Grinstead

Electric fires are very popular because they are easy to install with the need of only a plug socket, as a flue isn't required.

An electric fire is very user-friendly as a point-of-use appliance that can just be turned on and off as required and there are lots of models to suit everyone.

The energy use is low and so it's cost-effective to run, in fact, the only way to improve an electric fire is if your home has solar panels supplying your electricity.

If you are not fortunate to have solar panels then another green option is a bioethanol fire, which is a very green fuel, with no smoke or fumes and does not need a flue or plug socket.

In fact, it's portable, so you can take it out into the garden on a cool evening.

The two negative points compared to an electric fire though, is that the fuel is more costly and there is little control over the fire, it needs to burn out.

Bella Zinti - The Homey Space

Bella Zinti

Experience the cozy warmth of a fireplace without the need for a chimney, thanks to modern technology.

Electric fireplaces are the most budget-friendly option for long-term use, producing zero emissions and smoke. You can place them anywhere, as long as there is an electrical outlet, and they don't require ventilation.

Moreover, they offer instant heat, so you can turn on the fireplace during movie nights and quickly warm up the room. Some models even have a heat-off feature, providing the ambiance without the heat.

However, electric fireplaces are not useful during power outages, and some models may not look as realistic as others.

If you want the most environmentally friendly option, go for a bioethanol fireplace.

The fuel is smoke-free and produces zero ashes, making it easy to use. You can ignite the bioethanol and enjoy real flames without the dangerous toxins released by wood.

Some models are portable, making them perfect for outdoor use. And in case of a power outage, a bioethanol fireplace can serve as a reliable heat source.

However, bioethanol fireplaces don't have an off button for heat, and they can be expensive to operate. They also consume oxygen, so it's best to open a window to circulate fresh air.

Consider the pros and cons of each fireplace type before making your final decision.

Lauren Adams - Letter Four

Lauren Adams

Electric fireplaces are an excellent option for those who want the aesthetic of a traditional fireplace without the hassle.

Pros include ease of installation, reliability, and affordability. They require no ventilation or chimney and use little energy – usually just standard wall outlets with low voltage.

Electric fireplaces generate their heat via infrared quartz heating elements which provide instant warmth to the room.

Bioethanol fireplaces, on the other hand, offer more ambiance than electric fireplaces since they operate off a real burning flame from ethanol fuel.

They don’t need venting or an existing chimney either, but can be quite costly in comparison to electric fires due to fuel costs and set up. They also don't produce a significant amount of heat.

Bioethanol emits carbon dioxide so they may not be the best option for the environment.

Despite this, they are still a popular choice due to their aesthetic qualities and the fact that they do not require a natural gas connection for operation.

Both electric and bioethanol fireplaces have their own unique pros and cons which should be taken into consideration when choosing which type of fireplace is best suited for your home or business needs.

While one may offer more convenience, the other could provide a more natural style with better ambiance. Ultimately you must decide based on your needs and budget.

Tatyana Dimitrova - Fantastic Handyman

Tatyana Dimitrova

Fireplaces are expensive and hard to maintain household features. In the long run, they can pose several serious health risks. Luckily, there are many alternatives, some of which include electrical and bioethanol fireplaces.

Electric fireplaces, also known as LED fireplaces, will help you achieve the ambience and coziness of a traditional fireplace without having to clean a chimney and get exposed to harmful air pollutants.

They come with LED screens, which display flame images and create an atmosphere similar to traditional fireplaces.

On the other hand, bioethanol fireplaces are also a popular traditional fireplace alternative. They use bioethanol and one of their main benefits is that they don’t require a connection to a flue system.

Besides that, when bioethanol is burned, it doesn’t emit harmful fumes and particles. Instead, it only produces heat and carbon dioxide.

Bioethanol fireplaces produce a real open flame which is perfect for achieving an intimate atmosphere.

However, avoid using them as the primary source of heat because that would be quite expensive to maintain.

Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of electric versus bioethanol fireplaces:

Electric fireplaces

- Pros: They’re extremely easy to install and use and don’t require ventilation, chimney or a flue system, which makes them typically very safe to use. Most models come with remote control for added convenience and they can be used all year round because their heater can be turned on and off.

- Cons: They probably won’t look as realistic as a traditional wood or gas fireplace and the heat output is usually lower than that of a traditional fireplace.

Besides that, they require electricity to work, which can affect your energy bills or leave you with no heating source during a power outage.

Bioethanol fireplaces

- Pros: They provide real fame and a better heat output, providing a more authentic fireplace experience.

They’re typically more environmentally friendly because bioethanol is a renewable fuel source and they don’t require a chimney or a flue system, which makes them easier to install in a wider range of locations. Installation is also typically easy to do.

- Cons: Bioethanol fireplaces can be a lot more expensive to run than electric ones because bioethanol is a costly fuel source. Besides that, unlike electric fireplaces, they require proper ventilation and aren’t suitable for completely sealed rooms or areas without proper air circulation.

They also pose a bigger health hazard than electric fireplaces because of the open flame and typically require more maintenance as bioethanol produces soot and residue.


If you're looking for convenience and safety, an electric fireplace is the better choice for you.

However, if you want a more authentic fireplace experience and are willing to perform regular maintenance and don’t mind following more safety precautions, a bioethanol fireplace will suit you just fine.

Bob McCranie - Texas Pride Realty

Bob McCranie

When choosing between an electrical fireplace and a bioethanol fireplace, there are several things to consider.

Homeowners facing these choices should consider the aesthetic and thermal needs of the unit being installed. An electrical fireplace generates the heat needed for the job, but the "fire" doesn't always look realistic.

Also, if this is a back-up heat source in fowl weather, losing electricity in the house also disables the fireplace. To me, this is the largest drawback to a relatively safe choice.

Many run off a standard 110 outlet (US) which could be supplemented by battery back up, but that's a lot more to consider.

One additional benefit is that you can control this system easily. Want to leave home? Turn the electric fireplace off and go.

The bioethanol fireplace burns a clean fuel that doesn't require a flue to the outside. It produces a very small amount of carbon monoxide, similar to a few candles.

It is always recommended that every home have a carbon monoxide detector. These systems definitely put out the heat, and since it's burning fuel, the flame is real.

The problem would be that you have a real flame and real fuel to handle. Overfilling the fuel chamber can cause a fire which would be difficult to extenish.

With these fireplaces you also lose the convenience of being able to turn the fire off and go. You'd need to be around until the fire burned itself out.

Dean Signori - Stoves N FittingDean Signori

While we specialise in the more traditional and effort-consuming setup, the benefits of these modern heating systems are out of dispute, especially if your property is not suitable for all the hassle and venting requirements of wood-consuming stoves.

The first and best pros of both technologies is that they are a great substitute for good-old classic installations.

Electric fireplaces are price-friendly, easier to run than those running on bio-ethanol. When running or electricity, they allow you to have various designs, and are easy to modify.

You are, however, limited by power outlets, and stale power, which is not the case with ethanol fireplaces.

If you live in the city, there’s no problem with that, but if you’re up in the mountain and winds turn to storms, to rely on power grids and wiring exposed to the mercy of nature is not the best bet to make.

Electric fireplaces are definitely safer, as there is no combustible fuel involved, but as much as they try to mimic real flames, it’s never the real deal.

Kyle Shirley - Sol Vista Roofing

Kyle Shirley

Both electric and bioethanol fireplaces add a great ambiance and heating to your space. Either one will provide a cozy, warm feeling. But they are certainly different systems.

Pros of electric versus bioethanol are that electric does not require fuel refilling, making it a lower maintenance option.

 Electric fireplaces also produce a perfect consistency in heat and flame type.

A final benefit of electric versus bioethanol fireplaces is many electric fireplaces have multiple settings for flame type/color and heat volume. This gives the owner flexibility to choose their fire motif based on the feeling or mood of the day!

Cons of electric versus bioethanol are that it produces a simulated flame as opposed to bioethanol’s genuine flame.

And while they don’t need manual refueling, electric fireplaces also draw on your electric power supply so may increase your electricity consumption.

Neither of these fireplaces require chimneys or in-wall ducting, however, making them both fantastic modern fireplace solutions.

Beril Yilmaz  - BY Design And Viz

Beril Yilmaz

Electric fireplaces are often seen as the more convenient option, as they do not require any special installation and can be plugged into any standard electrical outlet.

They are also very easy to use, with many models coming with remote controls and timers. Electric fireplaces are also very safe, as there is no open flame or hot surfaces.

However, electric fireplaces can be more expensive to run than bioethanol fireplaces, as they typically have higher running costs.

They also tend to be less realistic in terms of the look and feel of a real fireplace, as they often lack the crackling sound and smell of a wood-burning fireplace.

Bioethanol fireplaces, on the other hand, offer a more realistic experience, as they generate heat through combustion. This means that they produce flames and smoke, just like a traditional wood-burning fireplace.

Bioethanol fireplaces are also typically more efficient than electric fireplaces, as they do not lose any heat up the chimney.

However, bioethanol fireplaces can be more difficult to install than electric fireplaces, as they require ventilation. They also require regular maintenance, such as refilling the fuel tank and cleaning the burner.

Jordan Obermann - FORGE + BOW Dwellings

Jordan Obermann

Electric fireplaces are:

1. Easy to install: They don't require any specialized installation, as they can simply be plugged into a standard electrical outlet.
2. Safe: Unlike traditional fireplaces, electric ones don't produce harmful gases or emissions, making them a safer option for indoor use.
3. Low maintenance: Since they don't produce ash or soot, nor do they need a chimney there's literally nothing to maintain aside from keeping the mantle dusted.
4. Cost-effective: Electric fireplaces are generally more affordable than traditional ones.
5. Energy efficient: They're typically more energy efficient than traditional fireplaces too because there's no heat loss via the chimney.

On the other hand, electric fireplaces:

1. Lack authenticity: They just don't provide the same ambiance in the home as traditional fireplaces do.
2. Have limited heat output: Electric fireplaces are generally less powerful which might not provide enough warmth for larger rooms or open area floor plans.
3. Depend on electricity: They're not useful during power outages.
4. Have limited design options: Electric fireplaces come in a limited range of designs and styles, which may not suit all interior styles.

When it comes to bioethanol fireplaces, they are:

1. Authentic: Because they produce real flames and heat they provide the same level of authenticity as traditional fireplaces.
2. Easy to install: Bioethanol fireplaces can be easy to install. Some, like the FireOrb, can be more challenging, but look way better. They can also be placed anywhere in a room because they don't require being connected to a gas line or electrical outlet.
3. Low maintenance: While they produce flames and heat, they don't need a chimney because there's no smoke or harmful gases, nor do they produce ash or soot.

Alternatively, they also have these issues:

1. Limited heat output: With this issue comes limited flame size (from what I’ve seen), which limits the “feeling” of a fireplace.
2. Cost more than electric fireplaces
3. Require special fuel storage: Bioethanol fuel must be stored in a safe and ventilated area, as it is highly flammable.
4. Safety concerns: This type of fireplace requires careful handling, as the flames can be dangerous if not controlled properly.
5. Short burn time: Bioethanol fuel has a relatively short burn time compared to other fuels, which means the fireplace may need to be refilled more frequently. This is the biggest drawback that I’ve seen as the canisters seem to run out quickly.

Tim David - Airlucent

Tim David

A few reasons why I would suggest an electric fireplace over a bioethanol one are:
1. They are safer for households with children and pets because there is no real flame.
2. They are energy efficient as they can heat a room without the need for central heating
3. They are great for 'heat' ambiance.
4. They are less expensive to install.
5. They don't require regular cleaning.
6. They don't emit Ethanol which an be harmful if not properly ventilated.

Jane Wilson - Fantastic Cleaners

Jane Wilson

There are several pros and cons when comparing electric fireplaces to bioethanol fireplaces.

Electric fireplaces are easy to install and do not require any special ventilation. They are also clean and safe to use, as they don’t produce harmful fumes or emit any particulate matter into the air.

In addition, electric fireplaces are generally more energy-efficient to operate.

Unfortunately, electric fireplaces also have their drawbacks. They typically don’t produce as much heat as bioethanol fireplaces because they use fans to blow warm air into the room.

This can make them less effective at heating larger rooms or homes. Electric fireplaces also don’t have the same aesthetic appeal as bioethanol fireplaces since they don’t produce real flames.

On the other hand, bioethanol fireplaces have the advantage of producing real flames. This can provide a more authentic and enjoyable fireplace experience, and many people find the sight and sound of a real fire more relaxing and comforting.

Bioethanol fireplaces are also more portable than electric fireplaces, as they do not need to be plugged in.

However, bioethanol fireplaces have a downside, as well. They require special ventilation, as bioethanol produces harmful fumes when it burns.

This means you cannot use a bioethanol fireplace in certain types of homes or certain rooms, such as bedrooms or bathrooms.

Bioethanol fireplaces also tend to be more expensive to operate than electric fireplaces, as they require the regular purchase of bioethanol fuel.

Both electric and bioethanol fireplaces can be a great addition to a home. The best choice would depend on personal preferences. 

KD Reid

KD Reid

Both types of fireplaces—electric and bio ethanol—have "cons," but they also both offer a long list of advantages that help explain their appeal.

You should find it easier to choose between two stunning contemporary items that would both look amazing in your room thanks to this list of advantages and disadvantages.

Electric fireplaces are the most economical sort of fireplace to use for extended periods of time. You may put one wherever you have an electrical outlet because they have no emissions.

Electric fireplaces are ventless providing instant heat at the click of a remote. WIth this model you will always need a power source and will not give you a real flame.

As opposed to bioethanol fireplaces, which do not need a chimney either. These can be put anyplace, including a location without an electrical outlet.

Their pure fuel is the most environmentally beneficial choice because it produces no ash and no smoke.

Yet, they could cost more to run due to fuel cost and lack a heat on/off button.

Boyd Rudy - MiReloTeam

Boyd Rudy

Pros of Electric Fireplaces:

-Easy to install and maintain

-Cleaner and more efficient than wood burning fireplaces

-Safe and do not emit smoke, soot, or other pollutants

-More affordable than bioethanol fireplaces

-Can be used with or without a chimney

-Can be used to heat a room

Cons of Electric Fireplaces:

-Cannot be used outdoors

-Requires a power source to operate

-May be difficult to regulate the heat output

-Can be expensive to install

Pros of Bioethanol Fireplaces:

-Clean burning, no smoke, soot, or other pollutants

-Can be used outdoors

-Can be used in any indoor space

-Easy to install

-Can be used to heat a room

Cons of Bioethanol Fireplaces:

-More expensive than electric fireplaces

-Not as efficient as electric fireplaces

-Requires regular cleaning and maintenance

-Can be difficult to regulate the heat output

Martin Boonzaayer - The Trusted Home Buyer

Martin Boonzaayer


Electric fireplaces are great for more southern locations. In northern places, a traditional fireplace is generally more practical; here are the pros and cons of both:

Pros of electric fireplaces:

1. Cost-Effective

Electric fireplaces are much more affordable than bioethanol fireplaces and are generally cheaper to operate.

2. Easy to Install

Electric fireplaces are much easier to install than traditional fireplaces, as they require no venting.

3. Safety

Electric fireplaces are much safer than traditional fireplaces as they don’t emit any harmful fumes or produce any ash or soot.

4. Clean

Electric fireplaces don’t require any cleaning or maintenance, making them an excellent option for those who don’t want to worry about cleaning up after a fire.

Cons of electric fireplaces:

1. Heat Output

Electric fireplaces typically don’t produce as much heat as traditional fireplaces.

2. Realistic Appearance

Electric fireplaces don’t look as realistic as bioethanol fireplaces, and many people find the flame they produce to be artificial looking.

3. Limited Placement

Electric fireplaces are limited in terms of where they can be placed, as they typically need to be plugged into an outlet or have its own dedicated wiring installed by an electrician.

Antonia Ko - Escape Waste

Antonia Korcheva

I have a portable ethanol fireplace and I can’t recommend it enough! It runs on eco-friendly fuel, emits tiny amounts of CO2, comes with no ash to deal with, and I can easily carry it from one room to wherever I want.

I’ve even taken it to the bathroom for one of my home spa endeavors. That is something you’re unlikely to do with electrical fireplaces.

There is little eco-friendliness to anything electric, I’m afraid.

While the percentage of green sources is rising worldwide, that is why I bought one that runs on bio-fuel.

You do have to be careful not to spill when you refill, but that's doesn't take more than a bit of additional focus.

Brian Jones - Best in Edmonton

Brian Jones

An electric fireplace is a device that uses heat and flame effects to simulate a real fireplace fire.

Electric fireplaces come in a variety of configurations while on the other hand, a fireplace that burns bioethanol as fuel is known as a bioethanol fireplace.

Similar to a traditional fireplace, bio ethanol is a fuel source that can be fueled to produce nice flames.

Electric Fireplace


There are several reasons to choose an electric fireplace, such as: ease of use. You won't have to worry about stoking the fire or waiting for a long time to feel the heat with an electric fireplace. The process of using an electric fireplace is as easy as flipping a switch.


The fact that electric fireplaces use electricity to operate means that the fires inside are artificial. This means that an electric fireplace must use a variety of lights and rotating mirrors to create the appearance of flames. Heaters might make noise.

Bioethanol Fireplace


Using bioethanol fuel results in clean air. It does not emit a significant amount of carbon dioxide or natural gas. The bioethanol fireplace fuel burns without leaving any residue behind. There’s no dirt, ashes, or other debris.


Due to its low BTU output, ethanol is not a good primary heat source. Additionally, the atmosphere created by ethanol flames is very different from that of a wood fire because there is no puffing or crackling sound. Although it burns cleanly, pollutants are still produced inside the house.

Tim Jankowski - Aladdin's Cleaning & Restoration

Tim Jankowski

Electric fireplaces are safer than bioethanol or other open flame or natural fireplaces.

As a fire damage restoration expert, I have had to help several families recover their homes from a fire that started in a fireplace.

While both options are more environmentally friendly than the traditional fireplace (wood or gas included), bioethanol fireplaces still pose the risks of a normal fireplace when it comes to starting a larger uncontrollable fire.

Seth Williams - Reference Real Estate

Seth Williams

Economic efficiency

Electric fireplaces are undoubtedly more cost-effective than their bioethanol alternatives because the unit cost of burning bioethanol is 2.3 times higher than that of an electric fireplace. You see, the average price of electricity is 0.175 bucks.

Let's say you use the fireplace at medium heat for roughly 6 hours; your daily cost will come to a little more than a dollar, whereas 1 LGE (litre equivalent of gasoline) of bioethanol will last for only 3.5 to a maximum of 4 hours for the same cost.

Installation cost

Bioethanol fireplaces' concept is comparatively newer than electric ones and also comes at a higher price point.

Even if you get the average ones, it will cost you around $1000 to $1400 to install it in your home without the cost of fuel.

Then again, some users prefer to avoid handling flammable liquid. Instead, they prefer a more easy-to-use, plug 'n play solution.

 Brian Burke - Kenna Real Estate

Brian Burke

Operating costs

The operating costs of a bioethanol fireplace can be somewhat costly in comparison to other types of fireplaces and stoves because bioethanol fireplaces can only burn bioethanol fuel, with manufacturers often indicating the fuel used should be of a specified alcohol percentage.

Electric fireplaces cost $0.22 per hour while bioethanol fireplaces cost $3.00 per hour approximately.

Flame types

Unlike electric fireplaces, the ethanol fireplace has become a great preference by many homes because it produces real flames that move slowly as they burn. Also since there is no flue, no heat is lost.

Instead of using actual fire, electric fireplaces create the illusion of flickering flames in three dimensions by reflecting LED light off of rotating mirrors.


Electric fireplaces come with less maintenance compared to bioethanol fireplaces.

There is no need to add fresh firewood to an electric fireplace because the electricity it utilizes is produced from coal or natural gas.

Architect Andrew Mikhael

Andrew Mikhael

Electric is low cost, low maintenance.

You just flip a switch and your "fireplace" is on. I put that in quotes because it really isn't a fireplace, but a visualization of a fireplace.

It emits heat. It has a visualization of a flame; that part has gotten much better in recent years to the point that it really could look like an actual fireplace.

Depending on the electricity costs, it could have a sizable impact if you use it frequently in the winter.

Bioethanol fireplaces make actual fires.

You fill a tank under the burner with a liquid and have to do that for just about every time you want to use it.

They are smoke and odor free. Because they do not need to be vented, you have great flexibility in where you can install one.

This works great for city dwellers and for homes where installing a vent for a fireplace isn't convenient. They emit a lot of heat for their size. 

We hope that this expert roundup has provided you with valuable insights and recommendations on the pros and cons of electric fireplaces versus bio ethanol fireplaces. 

As with any major purchase, it is important to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option in order to make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences. 

We thank our experts for their contributions and hope that their insights have been helpful to you. We encourage you to consult with a qualified professional before making any significant changes to your home or design projects.

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