Gas vs. Electric Fireplace: The Pros and Cons


If you’re in the market for a new gas or electric fireplace, you likely have some criteria in mind that will affect what you get. Gas and electric fireplaces are both excellent for people who don’t already have chimneys, and since they don’t run on wood, they’re easy to fuel. Still, which one is better? 

While electric fireplaces are cheaper and safer than gas fireplaces, gas fireplaces produce more heat and a more aesthetically pleasing flame. Electric fireplaces use electricity to run the elements. Gas fireplaces, however, use natural gas in addition to electricity to function.

If you’re not sure which fireplace is the best choice for you, stay tuned. I’ll let you know all the details about the differences between electric and gas fireplaces and help you make the decision that works best for your home.  

What’s the Difference Between a Gas and Electric Fireplace?

Although both are designed to keep your home warm, there are many differences between electric and gas fireplaces. 

While gas fireplaces use natural gas to create a real flame, electric fireplaces plug into a power outlet in your home to radiate heat from a fake fire. Other differences include cost, safety, maintenance, and heating efficiency. 

Let’s now talk about the pros and cons that you might want to consider in your decision between gas and electric.

Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces require a natural gas connection and electricity to function properly. Let’s look at the reasons you might choose this or not.

Pros

  • It uses a real flame.
  • Creates more heat.
  • Power outages won’t keep you from using a gas fireplace.
  • It is more energy-efficient.

Cons

  • The initial cost is high.
  • The actual flame creates a fire risk.
  • Installing a gas tank can be challenging and expensive.

Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces only require an electrical outlet to function. Let’s now look at the reasons why this type might or might not be better for you.

Pros

  • Safer than gas fireplaces.
  • Installation is easier.
  • Electric fireplaces are cheaper.
  • Requires almost no maintenance.
  • It doesn’t require a chimney or vent.

Cons

  • It doesn’t use a real flame.
  • It relies on electricity to run.
  • Electric fireplaces are better for heating one room or providing ambiance.

Does a Gas or an Electric Fireplace Produce More Heat?

Most people get a fireplace so that they can heat their homes. If that’s what you’re looking for, a gas fireplace might be the right choice for you. 

Gas fireplaces produce more heat than electric fireplaces, which means that they are more energy-efficient too. You can use gas fireplaces during the colder months in the unfortunate case that your furnace stops working. However, an electric fireplace cannot do that.

Gas fireplaces require less fuel to produce more heat since they use a real flame to warm up your home. Around 90% of the energy used to feed the flame is converted into heat. 

That means that you won’t waste much gas with one of these heaters. 

On the other hand, electric fireplaces produce less heat, but they use more fuel. Electric fireplaces won’t keep your entire home toasty. At best, they will keep up to 1 cubic ft (28 cubic m) warm. 

So, if you are purchasing a fireplace that will generate enough heat to warm an entire floor of your home, you might want to stick with gas. However, if you only need enough warmth for one large room or want to enjoy the ambiance of a fire, then the electric fireplace is probably the best option for you. 

Gas and Electric Fireplace Installation and Maintenance Costs

Fireplaces can cost quite a bit of money, so it’s crucial to know what expenses you should expect. The initial cost of purchasing, installing, and running an electric fireplace is significantly cheaper than gas fireplaces.

To stay running, gas fireplaces usually cost $0.18 an hour to operate. 

On the other hand, electric fireplaces only cost about $0.04 an hour. However, it is essential to keep in mind that the heat created by an electric fireplace isn’t as powerful. 

Breaking Down the Costs 

You will need to purchase the insert for a gas fireplace, which can cost between $1,000 to $3,000 depending on your model’s size, type, and brand. Then, you will need to have a vent and propane gas installed and possibly gas lines. 

This installation usually costs between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on whether you need gas lines, a new vent, or a new propane tank. 

While the initial cost of a gas fireplace is between $3,000 and $6,000, the cost every year to run your fireplace in the winter months will cost between $200 and $500 in natural gas. 

For an electric fireplace insert, you can expect to pay anywhere between $200 to $700. You don’t need to install a vent, gas line, or mantelpiece for your electric fireplace, so installation costs very little, and you can even do it yourself for free!

In addition, most people only pay $50 to $80 a year to run their electric fireplaces in the winter months. 

So, overall, electric fireplaces are significantly cheaper both up-front and in yearly costs than gas fireplaces. 

Is a Gas or an Electric Fireplace Safer?

Electric fireplaces can keep you from worrying about burns or fires if you have safety in mind or have small children, older adults, or pets in your home. 

An electric fireplace is safer than a gas model. This is because gas fireplaces produce a real flame and radiate more heat. Due to this, they also pose a greater fire risk than electric fireplaces. 

Gas fireplaces get very hot, and they use a real flame to warm large spans of your home. This amount of heat is excellent if you want to stay toasty in the cold months. 

However, sometimes they can get so hot that they start an uncontrolled fire. For the same reason, gas fireplaces are also less safe for pets and children. 

Since electric fireplaces don’t get as hot as gas fireplaces, they are significantly safer, even if they don’t warm your home up as much. There isn’t much of a fire risk since they are essentially elaborate space heaters with the appearance of live flames. 

They won’t burn you as much if you touch them, either, and it’s easier to incorporate other decorative elements around them since they won’t melt or burn other items like TVs, pictures, or other decor items. 

The Bottom Line 

Electric fireplaces are cheaper and safer than gas fireplaces when it comes to heating and maintenance. 

However, gas fireplaces produce more heat and have a real flame. So, an electric fireplace might be better for you if you are concerned about safety, cost, or just want to enjoy the ambiance of a fire. 

On the other hand, gas fireplaces are perfect for people who want to heat their entire home with their fireplace without having to rely on electricity or wood.

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!

Recent Posts

×