Best Electric Fires 2023
Most homes now benefit from double glazing and central heating, and we all live in much warmer homes now than even 20 years ago. Because we have central heating our rooms can often look bare, there’s no focal point. We used to come home to a roaring coal or log fire that didn’t just keep us warm, it gave us something to look at too.
How much nicer it used to be when we could sit and look at the fire burning, embers glowing and the flames flickering, with smoke drifting up the chimney. There’s something almost hypnotic about fires, maybe that’s why our ancestors used to gather around huge fires at the end of a long days hunting and gathering. Nowadays we can recreate the warm, welcoming glow of an open fire without any of the mess, smell or inconvenience associated with burning fossil fuels indoors.
The electric fire industry is thriving and no wonder, the designs are so realistic now, and they have styles to suit everyone’s tastes and budgets. Plus with freestanding, wall-mounted and cavity models available every room can accommodate the warm glow of a realistic-looking fireplace.
Best Selling Electric Fires UK
- 2000W ELECTRIC STOVE HEATER: This NETTA 2000W Electric Stove Heater is ideal for keeping cosy whilst reducing your energy bills. Coming in a classic black design, this heater will give you more than enough heating power to warm up the room you choose to put it in.
- POWERFUL AND ECO-FRIENDLY: Boasting 2000W of power and featuring two different heat settings, this heater will more than fulfil your heating needs on these colder wintery nights. Choose between the 1000W option to keep your energy bills low or go for the 2000W setting to give the room a powerful blast of heat.
- Official Oypla Branded Product - Brand New Free UK Delivery
- Power: 950W / 1850W - Dimensions: 42.5 x 28 x 54cm
- CLASSICAL DESIGN: This NETTA Electric Fireplace Stove Heater is a classic-looking, free-standing stove heater. Made from lightweight plastic to aid portability, this cast iron-effect stove heater will give your home the finishing touch you have been waiting for.
- REALISTIC FLAME EFFECT: This stove heater is equipped with an elegant flame effect where you can barely notice the difference from a real flame.
- CREATE CALMING AMBIENCE: Achieve the charm of a log burning stove without the hassle with your VonHaus electric stove heater; watch the realistic LED flame fill your room with a gorgeous warming glow.
- COMPACT & PORTABLE: Measuring just H45 x W40.5 x D24cm, your traditionally designed portable stove heater can effectively heat rooms up to 12m², acting as a cosy focal point for hosting family gatherings.
- CREATE CALMING AMBIENCE: Achieve the charm of a log burning stove without the hassle with the VonHaus electric stove heater; watch the realistic LED flame fill your room with a gorgeous warming glow.
- COMPACT & PORTABLE: Measuring H52 x W38 x D26cm, your traditionally designed portable stove heater effectively heats rooms up to 17m², acting as a cosy focal point for hosting family gatherings.
How Does An Electric Fire Work
Electric fires work in one of 2 ways, either they use convection heating or infrared heating. They both use electricity as their power source but that’s where the similarity ends. They heat in different ways and are suitable for different conditions.
These work by passing an electrical current through a coil of metal, the amount of resistance that metal has to the current creates it to heat up. Then a fan located behind the heating element blows that hot air into the room. So the room heats up via hot air being forced into the room.
Infrared works differently, they don’t heat the air, they heat whatever is directly in front of them. Almost like sunlight, it’s the invisible rays that do the heating. Infrared heaters are sometimes called quartz heaters because the bulb that holds the tungsten heating element and halogen gas is made from quartz. So electricity heats the tungsten element, parts of which evaporate and react with the halogen to create heat. As the quartz glass is so strong the evaporated tungsten has no means of escape and so it deposits itself back onto the tungsten filament.
Convection Heaters Vs Infrared Heaters
Let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons of both heating sources. Let’s start with convection heaters because this technology has been around for years and we’re all pretty familiar with the way it works etc.
Convection Heating Pros
- Heats the room fast
As convection heating heats the air it acts quickly thanks to the powerful fan.
- Cheap to buy
Thanks to mass production, there is a wide range of convection heaters available at very reasonable prices.
- More choice
Due to the number of companies producing convection heaters, there are literally thousands to choose from.
- Safe to use
Most fan heaters are relatively cool to the touch, making them safe even in rooms with children.
Convection Heating Cons
- Lose heat fast
As they heat up the air in the room, any room with poor insulation will lose this type of heat quickly.
- Expensive to run
As a result of that heat loss, convection heaters will have to work harder to maintain the heat. Costing more in energy bills.
- Inconsistent temperature control
Unless you purchase a top-end model, the heating controls tend to be a bit hit and miss. You’ll spend a lot of time fiddling with the control to get the heat right.
- Loud fans
Convection heaters rely on fans to convey the heat, those fans are generally quite loud.
- Aggravate allergies
Convection elements attract dust, and the fan spreads that dust throughout the room which is bad news for asthma sufferers and anyone with any dust allergies.
Now let’s have a look at the pros and cons of infrared heaters.
Infrared Heating Pros
- Cheap running costs
Infrared heating is the cheapest form of electric heating to run, not only do they use less wattage, but they also don’t have to work harder in draughty rooms.
- The heat lasts longer
As infrared heaters heat objects and not the air, the heat remains in the object for longer. Even on opening a door or window, the object will still retain some of its heat.
- Nearly silent
Apart from a few crackling sounds when first turned on, infrared heaters are virtually silent when running.
- Instant heat
As soon as the infrared heater is switched on it is producing a consistent heat.
- Kind heat
The heat produced doesn’t cause any difficulty breathing like some airless heating systems. This is because it’s objects that heat up and not the air.
Infrared Heating Cons
- Hot to the touch
When running on full power, infrared heaters can get really hot, take care with young children or pets.
- No heat controls
Typically infrared heaters only have an on/off switch, or at best 2 or 3 power settings so accurate room temperature can be difficult to obtain.
- Purchase price
Although running costs are low on infrared heaters, the purchase price can be quite expensive.
What Are The Benefits Of Electric Fires?
We’ve been specific, now let’s generalise a bit. Electric fires, in general, have the following benefits:
- No installation costs
Although they look like they are coal fires or log burners, electric fires don’t need a chimney or a flue to remove any smoke.
- Can be sited in any room
With the exception of the bathroom (for obvious reasons) an electric fire can be placed in any room in the house.
- Low maintenance costs
The only real maintenance is a quick dust over on occasion and maybe the odd light bulb change.
Many electric fires cost very little to run. Which in turn means they don’t use much electricity.
- Can look realistic
Many modern electric fires look like real fires. And come in a range of styles from log burners, coal fires etc.
- No mess
Unlike real coal or log burning fires, there’s no mess to clear up, no ash, burnt wood, no smoke and no smell.
- Flame without heat
When it’s not really that cold but you still want to feel cosy, it’s nice to just turn on the flames without having the heat blasting at you.
- No emissions
No pollutants, no carcinogenic chemical contaminants in the air, just heat.
What Are The Disadvantages Of An Electric Fire?
One of the main disadvantages of an electric fire is the flame effect doesn’t look realistic enough, but if you do your homework, there are plenty of models that do actually look like coal fires or log fires. Some people say they don’t sound like a real log fire, well, there are some models nowadays that actually have a soundtrack on a loop that sounds pretty authentic. Also if the electricity gets cut for any reason you will be sitting in the cold. Plus they need to be positioned near a plug socket.
Electric Fires Buyers Guide
There are some important points to consider before buying an electric fire they are:
Where are you going to put the fire once you buy it? Do you have an old blocked off fireplace? Is there a wall recess? Or is it going to stand in a square room? You’ll need to decide on this first as that will dictate the size of the fire you will buy.
Electric fires come in all shapes and sizes, as mentioned above, check the space you’re going to place your fire and be sure the model you choose will fit in that space.
Electric fires come in many styles, you need to decide if you prefer a log fire effect, a log burner, coal fire, stove type, wall-mounted, video screen fire, the choices are nearly as endless as the companies that make them. You can get:
These look and feel like traditional stove type burners.
This is an electric fire plus a full surround including mantlepiece.
These inset or insert fires as they are also known, slot into existing cavities. Maybe a blocked fireplace or a nook in a wall.
These are like moving pictures that fit on the wall like a picture. They are a very modern take on electric fires and often produce radiant heat.
These look like rustic fires and can fit in fireplaces to look like the real thing. Some even come with a tray of fake, but realistic-looking ash.
- Radiant bar
These look more like old fashioned electric fires with a modern twist. Providing instant heat with a classic style.
Buying any electrical appliance is always best from a well-known and trusted brand. They will have many years of experience producing electric fires and will usually have a great customer service department in the unlikely event of anything going wrong.
Most electric fires come with a guarantee. The minimum guarantee seems to be for 12-months, but many come with up to 5-years guarantee. Plus many can be extended with the manufacturer when you register your purchase.
There are so many realistic flame effects for electric fires on the market these days. Whether it’s a coal fire, log fire, log burner, or even some that give the look of gas flames. There are even 3D fire displays. The choice is yours.
Many fires now come with a remote control feature, you can sit in your comfortable chair and turn the fire on, increase or decrease the heat output, switch to flame only and more.
Touch Screen Control Panel
Some electric fires have this touch screen panel that works with just the lightest touch of your finger.
Very handy for presetting the heat and then relaxing and forget about the fire.
This function can be used for operating both the heater and the flame lights.
Wifi And Smart Technology
The most up to date electric fires can be controlled via your phone. Some remotely so if you’re coming home and it suddenly turns cold, you can set the fire to warm the room up before you get home.
Electric fires are available as free-standing models that look like log burners etc but also as old fashioned fireplaces including the mantlepiece and all of the surround. Now called suites, they can add character to an otherwise featureless room.
Electric fires are rated in Watts and range from 600 watts up to 2000 watts. The higher the wattage, the faster the room will heat up, but also the more power you use as well. Many have the option to switch between heat settings from high to low.
If you are going to be relying on the electric fire to heat the whole room, you will need to know the dimensions of the room to be sure to get the correct size heater. To get the square footage of the room, multiply the length by the width so a 10-foot long room that is 8-foot wide will be 80 square feet. 10 x 8 = 80. To get the correct wattage for the room,multiply the square footage by 10. So, in this case, we would need an 800-watt fire. 10 x 8 x 10 = 800 watts.
This equation works by assuming the room has adequate insulation and has a ceiling height of 8 foot. For every extra 2 feet in the room height add 25% to the wattage. Which in this case would give us 1000 watts. 10 x 8 x 10 = 800 ÷ 25% = 200 so 800 +200 = 1000
As 2000 watts tends to be the largest available electric fire, if you need larger, you will need to consider buying 2 to make up the difference.
If environmental issues are important to you then an infrared heater will be your best choice. They do cost more but the savings on electricity will out-weigh the purchase costs and lessen greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts.
Electric Fire Price
The price of electric fires varies from make to make, brand, design and type but the average prices are around
- £30 for a 1000 watts fireplace stove heater with a log burner flame effect
- £100 for a 2 kilowatt wall mounted, flat screen glass panel radiant heater with coal effect flames and remote control.
- £120 for a free standing insert fire with 2 heat settings – 900/1800 watts with a remote control and a timer.
- £160 for a 2 kilowatt fireplace suite with adjustable thermostatic control, safety cut out system, realistic LED flame effect and a choice of image
- £4000 for an electric fireplace with a realistic aquarium scene including fish, bubbles, remote control, and a total consumption of 32 watts per hour
How Much Does It Cost To Heat A Room With An Electric Fire?
Once you have the room dimensions, you can determine just how much electricity your electric fire is using. Then you can work out how much it costs to run. So using our example from earlier, a 1000 watt electric fire, the first thing we have to do is convert watts to kilowatts, because that’s how electricity suppliers charge for electricity.
To convert watts to kilowatts simply divide the wattage by 1000. So in our case, that’s 1 kilowatt. Once we have this figure we need to find out how much our electricity is costing us. Look on the electricity bill and it will give the charge rate in kilowatts per hour (kW/h) Let’s assume the average cost is 16 pence per kW/h so 1000 ÷ 1000 = 1 x 16 = 16 So that means in this instance a1 kilowatt electric fire will cost 16 pence per hour to heat our room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Electric fires can be expensive to run, but not if you buy a modern, energy-efficient model, many will cost less than 10 pence per hour.
A gas fire will be cheaper to run because gas costs less than electricity, but there is no maintenance costs on electric fires, and they are portable with much more choice than gas fires. Plus there is always the possibility of gas leakage etc.
Yes electric fires do just plug in, and will work straight away.
Electric fires do not need a chimney, vent or a flue, they do not emit any smoke, gases, or toxins so there is no need for a chimney.
The cheapest electric fire to run is a halogen fire, also known as a tungsten fire or a quartz fire.
It costs around 16 pence per hour to run an electric fire assuming that you are charged 16 pence per kw/h and your electric fire is 1 kilowatt.
Electric fireplaces can last between 10 and 20 years.
You can plug an electric fire into an extension lead but you shouldn’t. It’s not safe to use an extension cable for anything that consumes high levels of power.
All electric fires are noisy with the exception of infrared fireplaces, they are extremely quiet.
Many electric fireplaces look real and some even sound real.
You can put an electric fireplace on carpet; it’s perfectly safe to do so.
Electric fireplaces need very little maintenance, just dusting and the occasional light bulb change.
The price it costs to run a 1kw electric fire will be whatever your energy supplier charges you for energy. They charge in kilowatts per hour (kW/h) so if your supplier charges 15 pence per kW/h it will cost 15 pence to run a 1 kw electric fire for 1 hour.
An electric fireplace is extremely safe as long as your electrics are safe.
An electric fireplace can add as much as 12% to the value of your home according to the national association of estate agents.
You can replace the bulb in an electric fireplace. Usually you remove the backplate with a screwdriver and replace the bulb.