The best electric fireplaces: wall-mounted and freestanding options that heat your room

Whether you want one for the nostalgic feel without the faff, or the peace of mind, an electric fireplace is an increasingly sought-after solution for warmth and ambience at home

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If you’ve always wanted a fireplace in your living room, but find yourself in a new build with no chimney or a period property where it’s sadly been bricked up, an electric fireplace is a great alternative. It replicates the look of a traditional fireplace, as well as being a handy heat source in the winter months. But how do electric fireplaces warm up the room without an open flame in sight?


There are two ways in which an electric fire can produce heat. The first is a forced fan, in which heated coils within the fireplace have air blown over them by a silent fan in order to push warm air out into the room. The second is the high-tech-sounding infrared quartz, where invisible infrared light heats up the things it comes into contact with, including as you and your living room furniture, rather than the air.

Both of these methods leave everything except the element housing cool, so it’s easy to see why electric fires are often chosen over real ones for homes with curious pets or children. If you do have an existing chimney and fireplace, but would rather have the peace of mind of an electric model, you can purchase an electric fireplace insert which fits into place without the need for venting. If you prefer, or if needs must, you can go for an all-in-one unit with a mantelpiece or even a media stand.

As with buying a woodburning stove, buying an electric fireplace requires a little bit of thinking about your room’s size and the heat output it’ll need. The general guidance is that rooms up to 400 square feet would benefit from a forced fan electric fire, while bigger rooms up to around 1,500 square feet (at which point most heaters will start to struggle a bit), would be better suited to an infrared quartz fire.

Overall, you can treat your electric fire pretty much as you would a regular fire: warm your toes by it, pop it on for sleepy afternoons, and let the dog take pride of place in front of it. The thing to remember is not to put any fabrics near it while it’s on, so as lovely as it might look in that Christmas Eve Instagram post, that means no stockings – sorry! 

Dimplex Optiflame Electric Stove

1. Dimplex Optiflame Electric Stove

The most authentic flickering flames in an equally attractive housing

Specifications
Best for: Authentic style
Style: Freestanding
Dimensions: H62 x W64 x D39cm
Remote control: Yes
Fuel bed effect: Coal or log
Reasons to buy
+ Realistic Optiflame effect + Classic double door design 
Reasons to avoid
- Flames aren’t as bright as image shows 

This traditional style electric fire has all the trappings of a rustic log burner, with its cast iron-look finish and double doors, as well as all the advantages of not having to deal with real fire. It comes with two beds, one coal-effect and one log-effect, so you can switch it up based on your mood, and features the industry’s most realistic flame effect, Optiflame, which can be used with or without heat. If you are feeling a bit chilly, there’s a choice of two heat settings controllable by remote, so you don’t even have to get out from under the blanket. Reviewers loved the realism, and it’s that, plus the ease of operation, that make it our best electric fireplace. 

Endeavour Fires Holbeck Electric Fire

2. Endeavour Fires Holbeck Electric Fire

A modern departure from the standard stove

Specifications
Best for: Modern living rooms
Style: Wall mounted
Dimensions: H55 x W127 x D14cm
Remote control?: Yes
Fuel bed effect: Log
Reasons to buy
+ Elegant low-profile design + Adjustable flame brightness 
Reasons to avoid
- Not as slim as some expected 

In a major departure from our first pick, this modern electric fire is one for contemporary living rooms. The black glass panel and elongated rectangular shape are clean, unfussy and elegant, and the low-profile wall mounted design means it can go anywhere you like. It’s an excellent one for creating atmosphere, as you can change both the brightness of the flame effect and the colour of the mood lighting that emanates softly from the back, and the easy-operate remote control means you can change it all, plus the temperature, from the comfort of the sofa. 

Endeavour Fires Castleton Electric Fireplace Suite

3. Endeavour Fires Castleton Electric Fireplace Suite

With fire, mantel, surround and even mood lighting, this is a true all-in-one fireplace

Specifications
Best for: All-in-one fire suite
Style: Freestanding
Dimensions: H82.5 x W100 x D27.9cm
Remote control?: Yes
Fuel bed effect: Log
Reasons to buy
+ Lovely looking all-in-one design + Easy to construct 
Reasons to avoid
- LEDs are a bit at odds with traditional design 

If you’re looking for the whole fireplace effect – that is to say surround, mantle and all – the Castleton model from Endeavour Fires is an elegant-looking choice with a versatile design to fit most spaces. The electric fireplace unit itself is supplied with a flat pack cream MDF surround which reviewers, even self-confessed DIY beginners, found incredibly simple to install, and loved the effect once they had. The light set into the surround is a little on the gimmicky side, but if you’re looking for a little extra ambience, it’s nice to have. 

Dimplex Cheriton Optiflame Electric Fire

4. Dimplex Cheriton Optiflame Electric Fire

A smaller freestanding fire for creating cosy corners

Specifications
Best for: Smaller spaces
Style: Freestanding
Dimensions: H68.2 x W63.9 x D19.4cm
Remote control?: No
Fuel bed effect: Coal
Reasons to buy
+ Great for bedrooms and small sitting rooms + Realistic-looking flames 
Reasons to avoid
- Controls aren’t too easy to get to 

The petite design of this electric fire means it needn’t be kept just for the living room – wherever you’re after an extra bit of atmosphere, a touch of warmth, or both, it’s sure to fit right in thanks to its tiny footprint. Its traditional looks are ever so slightly more restrictive, but for a period-styled study or bedroom its real coal fuel bed and brass hardware are suitably grand. Some reviewers found a slight niggle in the fact that the controls are trickily situated under the hood, which might not make it the ideal choice for those who struggle with mobility, however all praised the realistic dancing flame effect and the superb value. 

Endeavour Fires Runswick Wall Mounted Electric Fire

5. Endeavour Fires Runswick Wall Mounted Electric Fire

A practical heating solution plus design feature for arty spaces

Specifications
Best for: A feature wall
Style: Wall mounted
Dimensions: H59 x W110 x D25cm
Remote control?: Yes
Fuel bed effect: Coal and pebbles
Reasons to buy
+ Very much a feature fireplace + Different flame effects to choose from 
Reasons to avoid
- Will be a bit OTT for some 

Another one for modern living rooms, but this time less of a low-key heater and more of an art piece! This Endeavour Fires Runswick fire makes a beautiful focal point for a living room or sitting room, as it comes out further into the room than the low-profile Holbeck, and boasts a number of showier display options that set it apart from the more standard fare. With three different flame effects and twelve differently coloured log bed options to choose from, it’s great for those looking for a modern twist on the classic fireplace with heating capabilities to back up the good looks. 

Galleon Fires Neos Electric Stove

6. Galleon Fires Neos Electric Stove

A budget-friendly fireplace that doesn’t show it

Specifications
Best for: Realistic flame effect
Style: Freestanding
Dimensions: H55 x W41 x D27cm
Remote control?: No
Fuel bed effect: log
Reasons to buy
+ Log burner-like design + Inexpensive but high-quality build 
Reasons to avoid
- Not remote controlled 

Galleon Fires pride themselves on the high-quality construction of their collection, with the Neos electric stove being no exception. Reviewers say it really looks the part with its realistic glowing log effect and log burner-like handle, and while it’s certainly among the most inexpensive options on our list, it doesn’t for a moment look – whisper it – cheap. It’s on the quiet side even while giving out its full 1.8kW of heat, and overall users are delighted, however some noted that replacement bulbs can be a little tricky to get hold of, so it’s worth sourcing some first.

7.Garden Mile Wall Mounted Electric Heater

Curvy, contemporary, and adept at pumping out the heat when it’s needed

Specifications
Best for: Heating larger rooms
Style: Wall-mounted
Dimensions: H56 x W90 x D14cm
Remote control?: Yes
Fuel bed effect: Pebbles
Reasons to buy
+ Attractive pebble bed design + Modern look 
Reasons to avoid
- Fan a little loud on high 

Logs and coals aren’t up everyone’s street, so if you’re after a wall-mounted electric fire that’s bang up to date, this pebble-embellished version from Garden Mile is a good alternative. Like Endeavour Fires’ Holbeck unit, it’s made up in sleek black glass for a modern look, but boasts a couple of design quirks that make it more of a feature: the curved front panel, for one, and the LED side lights, offering seven colour options and allowing you to set exactly the right mood for parties or relaxing in front of the television. Plus, with a top heat setting of 2000W, it’s our best bet for larger living rooms that need a bit more oomph. 

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If you're still not completely sure that an electric fireplace is for you, Paula Woods has written a helpful guide to all the fireplace options available so that you can choose the right one.