Electric Fireplaces vs. Real Fireplace: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Klaudia Broniek

Wondering what type of fireplace you want to add to your new home? Learn the differences between electricity vs wooden fireplaces so that you can become a more informed and calculated buyer.

Heat costs are starting to rise, and the best way to save you money annually is to obtain an electric fireplace. Whether you like wooden fireplaces because of its aesthetics or the warmth of an electric model when watching TV, fireplaces serve a multitude of purposes and directly increase the value of your home.

Like most home improvement DIY projects, there are some fireplace types that homeowners should research before buying it. Fortunately, we will break down the advantages and disadvantages of an electric fireplace and a wooden fireplace.

Electricity vs Wood

Electric fireplaces have grown in popularity and became a niche within the following years. They have a lot going for them since they don’t release a lot of air pollution and are energy efficient.

Another reason why people prefer electric wood burning fireplaces is that they are safe for children and pets. Electric fireplaces are cool to touch and since the heating element is tucked in the back of the unit.

They have other benefits as well. For instance, you can run the flame without using any heat and vice versa. Some models have timers that automatically shut off once the allotted time has reached.

Some electric fireplaces have a remote control as well, and you can place them in any room in the house since they don’t require a chimney. The only maintenance you have to do for an electric fireplace is the occasional dusting.

Wooden Fireplaces

Unless you’re making a new home, adding a wooden fireplace can be expensive. For instance, a chimney must be built with the fireplace itself so that it distributes heat evenly. While the sound and smell of a wooden fireplace is intriguing, research thoroughly before spending cash.

Real wooden fireplaces can suck out about 10% of the air and let out a considerable amount of heat. There are multiple ways to make your wooden fireplace more effective. For instance, you can add a fan heat, keep it insulated, or use glass doors.

While these add-ons will cost more money, they are a great investment if you plan on using wooden fireplaces for the long term. It’s an appealing addition to your home and is great for long-term usage.

You also have to take maintenance into account when getting a wooden fireplace. Every time you start the fire, you don’t have a simple switch to turn it off like other fireplace models. You have to manually build a fire and make sure that the flames are evenly distributed.

Also, the ashes require frequent cleaning, and wooden fireplaces have a thorough cleaning at least once a year. Wooden fireplaces release more air pollution than any other fireplace, but it provides the most ambiance with crackling sounds and rear smells.

Fireplaces are where everyone goes for family meetings and warmth. They are a place to feel secure and safe, to warm up your house, and to entertain guests. Your fireplace will demonstrate the value of your home to find out what’s good for you and your family.


Wood Burning Stove vs Fireplace Insert

Both fireplace inserts and burning stoves use wood as their primary fuel, which is inexpensive and easy to come by. But there is a multitude of differences between both when it comes to efficiency.

Wooden fireplace inserts are good for heating up single rooms because due to combustion, the fireplace takes too much air from the inside of your home and might go to the outside to deliver CO and smoke through the chimney.

As a result, this can create a draft within your house. This means that you’ll receive less heat. On the other hand, a wood burning stove is 50% more energy efficient. It uses ⅓ less wood than fireplace inserts and is warmer than their fireplace counterparts.


Wood burning comes with some disadvantages. For example, we know that both units require wood which is easily exposed to pests and or mildew. We also know that burning room can create a house fire risk due to creosote buildup.

With the right amount of diligence, most of these problems can be avoided and managed. Almost most wood burning fireplaces have a mesh curtains that only have minimal protection. In some situations, sparks can fly out of the fireplace resulting in burn marks on your hands, face, or permanent damage to your property.

At the same time, wood burning stoves are too enclosed. This means that it will protect your home from getting burned and having the fire spread throughout your property. However, your stove’s flames will stay burning inside closed doors, making it hard to touch and move unless it's cooled down.

The safety levels of both units are both equal. While both can be dangerous if used incorrectly, both are relatively safe to use.

Here are some tips you should consider before planning on buying either one:

  • Place your heating appliance in a central location in your home or a stove if possible.
  • Don’t install a wood-burning insert near a manufactured fireplace. Doing this voids your fireplace warranty and can cause a fire hazard. Most manufactured fireplaces were made to fit one specific design purpose and should not be altered.
  • Plan on buying two stoves in order to heat up a larger home.
  • Don’t purchase a second-hand stove.
  • Once the electricity short circuits (goes out), the stove will continue to work and deliver heat which is very useful during an emergency situation.

Closing Remarks

To conclude, we think that having an electric fireplace is a great choice for first-time homeowners. It’s safer to use and doesn’t leave the fire on for too long which can result in property damage.


We suggest getting a real fireplace if you want an aesthetically pleasing fireplace in your home. While they are more expensive, they will increase your house’s value significantly. No matter which one you choose make sure that it fits your house’s dimensions and your personal and family needs.











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