Can I use a gas fireplace without logs?

A fireplace is both the centerpiece of holiday stories and a highlight of expensive homes for a reason. Fireplaces are elegant, aesthetically pleasing, and heat efficient. However, you want to be cautious about how you use your fireplace and the things you’re putting in it.

You can use a gas fireplace without logs because the heat source is the burner connected to your gas line. Don’t use wood in your gas fireplace, as they weren’t built for wood to be their fuel source. Instead, use a ceramic log in your fireplace for additional reflective heat. See our article on what you can put in a gas fireplace.

You may be wondering why anyone would purchase logs to put in their gas fireplace if it isn’t required. There are quite a few benefits to putting something into your gas-running fireplace, whether you’re just looking for an aesthetic appeal or energy efficiency. Keep reading to find out what these benefits are, and how to choose the right logs for your gas fireplace.

Should You Put Logs in a Gas Fireplace?

Some people might have a fireplace in their home strictly for the luxurious and cozy design it has, even if they live in a high heat climate. Some may want a fireplace to heat their home. Others may have just moved into a house with a gas fireplace and want to know if they can switch it on just for fun sometimes. 

All of the above are valid. 

Putting ceramic logs into your fireplace is a decision that depends on your overall intention for the fireplace. 

You should put logs in a gas fireplace. Wood logs aren’t designed for gas fireplaces. However, if you use logs made from ceramic and cement, you’ll have a reflective surface for the heat to jump off from, which will make your fireplace that much warmer in the winter. 

Gas fireplace logs are made of ceramic and cement, so they can reach high temperatures without actually burning. There are designer lines of logs that are made to look authentic to natural wood, while some are even handpainted to get just the right look.

Sometimes, even with fake logs, your fireplace may still experience soot build-up. There are sprays and cleaners made for precisely that. 

You can purchase these at the time of purchase for your fireplace logs.

Why You Can Not Burn Wood in a Gas Fireplace

It’s a good rule of thumb to be cautious about fire, especially when it’s a fire inside your home. For this reason, it’s probably better to just avoid wood in your gas fireplace. 

All fireplaces take fuel to light a fire. 

An easy way to think about it is to consider your barbeque grill in the backyard. If you have a gas-burning grill ignited by flame-hitting propane, there’d be no reason to add charcoal, pellets, or wood to the grill. 

But if you’re using a charcoal grill or a chip-burning grill, you may need something to keep the fire ignited, which is where charcoal comes in as a fuel resource.

Also, gas fireplaces are usually built quite differently than wood-burning fireplaces. There are many differences for ventilation of the smoke and soot depending on the fuel source, so you don’t want to use the wrong thing as your ventilation system may not be built for it. 

Using wood in a gas-burning fireplace can potentially put you and your home at risk.

How Do I Pick the Right Logs for My Gas Fireplace?

To figure out how to pick the proper logs for your fireplace, you first have to know what kind of fireplace you have. 

To pick the right logs for your gas fireplace, consider the type of fireplace you have. Gas logs are more aesthetically pleasing but don’t give out as much warmth. Gas inserts are typically less attractive but give off a lot more heat for your home. 

There are quite a few different types of fireplaces that may be installed in your home. 

Figuring out what is in your home can be as easy as just looking. Fireplaces each have a different set of parts, and a visual inspection can tell you whether you have a gas or masonry fireplace if you don’t already know. You also need to know what type of gas is coming through your fireplace. 

Let’s break down more of the differences for a gas fireplace below. 

Gas Logs vs. Gas Inserts 

Gas logs and gas inserts are the two main things you’ll choose from for your gas fireplace. Neither is necessarily better than the other. It’ll depend on what you need from your fireplace and how much heat you currently have within your home. 

This video explains the differences between the two of them:

The main difference between gas logs and gas inserts is the performance. Gas log sets usually require you to stand pretty close to feel any heat, while gas inserts can heat your entire home. If you use a gas insert, you’ll have to get a glass cover for your fireplace, adding extra cost. 

Gas logs are easier to put into the fireplace. 

They don’t require as much ductwork as they would if you’re interested in using a gas insert for your fireplace. Gas logs are typically less expensive than a gas insert, as well. As mentioned above, you may have to get a new covering for your fireplace if you decide to go with the gas insert.

Vented vs. Vent-Free Logs

Though we’re getting into some pretty technical terms and fireplace vocab, vented and vent-free logs are pretty straightforward.

Vented logs have a vent built-in, and vent-free logs don’t. So, if you see a fireplace with flames shooting up and out of the logs in many different places as if they’re authentic, it’s likely because the flames are coming through all the many vents in the log. 

Primarily because of their visual appeal, vented gas logs are usually more popular and commonly seen in gas fireplaces. They do, however, require that you have a glass door on your fireplace. As discussed above, glass can be an added cost to your overall fireplace budget. 

Vented logs also typically only give off a lot of heat in a small room or if you’re standing right in front of your fireplace. 

Vent-free logs are noticeable because the fire doesn’t go through the log. Instead, it comes in-between spaces made in the logs. These ventless logs are created to heat your home and still work to heat your home even without power.

Check the CDC For Other Recommendations

Whatever choice you make, be sure to do thorough research on the subject and take care of your unit. The CDC recommends getting your fireplace inspected every year, whether it’s a gas or wood-burning fireplace. 

You may be putting yourself and your family at risk of CO2 poisoning or fire without doing so. Your local fire department or HUD should be able to give you an inspection and add more information to your search for the perfect fireplace setup. 
Don’t forget to also check your local and state ordinances for fireplaces. This can determine what you’re legally able to put in your fireplace, so checking this out first may prevent frivolous research over an option not available in your area.

Portable Fireplaces

If you want to avoid these ordinances altogether, you might look at portable fireplaces. These are self-contained fireplaces that use electricity to heat your home. They also come with ceramic logs that look exactly like wood logs, much like what is in gas fireplaces.

They come in a variety of colors and styles, from small portable fireplaces to large fireplaces that can heat 2-4 rooms in a larger house. 


Whether or not you use your gas fireplace without a ceramic log is up to your personal preference and why you want a fire.

  • You can use your gas fireplace without the gas fireplace logs in it, but it may be pointless to do so, as it is less heat efficient and not as pretty.
  • Ceramic logs help to maximize heat efficiency in a gas fireplace.
  • It is more pleasing to see the ceramic logs in a gas fireplace.
  • You should never use wood logs in a gas fireplace, as the ventless setups are not made to ventilate the smoke properly.

Looking For Electric Fireplaces?

Are you looking for the best electric fireplace? We’ve got you covered. Check out our article on the top 5 best electric fireplaces on the market and find your perfect fit today! The Fireplace Lifestyle team has done all of the research so that you don’t have to. You can just sit back, relax, and enjoy reading about these incredible fireplaces. Our goal is to help people like yourself find their dream fireplace with ease. So take a look at what we have to offer – we know it will be worth your time!

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