Best Gas Fireplace and Gas Insert Reviews in 2017
Even if you’ve never dreamed about a cozy evening in front of a fireplace, the first time you try it, your heart will be conquered. Besides completely changing the decor of your room, a fireplace can bring you many pleasant moments.
Wood-burning fireplaces are becoming a thing of the past since they are hard to install, tough to maintain, and can even be dangerous. Gas fireplaces are a hit of the 21st century. They offer you the best features of a real fireplace without any of the drawbacks. If you haven’t found the best gas fireplace for yourself yet, you have some work to do.
After checking out many various standalone units, I came up with my own personal list of the best gas fireplaces on the market today. I went further to browse the reviews and speak with the homeowners to downsize it a little. Below are the six options you can consider when choosing the best gas fireplace for your needs.
Best Gas Fireplace Reviews In Details
ProCom Dual Fuel Vent Free Gas Fireplace
This standalone fireplace produces about 26,000 BTUs of heat and is suitable for rooms up to 1,375 square meters.
The vent-free system is perfect for people who don’t want to bother with the venting pipes while getting the most heat out of the fireplace.
No electricity or vent needed
If you are not a fan of complicated installation, you’ll enjoy the fact that this fireplace is completely self-sufficient. It can even be moved around the house.
You can choose between natural gas and liquid propane to keep the fireplace working. This is a great opportunity for you to try both and pick your favorite one while sticking to the budget.
The classic fireplace design makes this unit suitable for almost any décor. It has a compact built, while the top part is wide enough to be used as a shelf.
A built-in thermostat allows you the unit to maintain a certain heating level all day long. You don’t have to worry about tuning the fireplace to keep the right temperature in your room. The thermostat does the job for you.
Since this is a no-vent unit, less output is required to keep the room warm. This makes the model energy efficient which is a nice advantage for your wallet.
- Might not be allowed in some states/countries due to the no-vent technology.
Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Vent Free Fireplace – 32,000 BTUs
Duluth Forge vent free fireplace is a standalone model that can service a room up to 1,500 square feet since it produces maximum 32,000 BTUs per hour.
It’s a dual fuel unit, which allows you to choose between natural gas and liquid propane. According to me it's a great feature.
This nice feature allows you to control the temperature in your room without getting off the couch or pausing your favorite TV show. You can change the setting whenever you wish without reaching for the fireplace.
The rich autumn spice finish with 30 % sheen makes the fireplace look realistic and inviting. The large and prominent mantle is a wonderful addition to the classic room décor. This is a perfect TV stand fireplace.
Six hand-painted ceramic logs
The fireplace comes with 6 ceramic logs. They allow you not to just feel the heat but to enjoy a real fireplace experience. You can buy additional logs whenever you wish.
You can get service for the fireplace within one year if anything goes wrong. Warranty is valid only if you install and operate the fireplace according to the instructions. A long warranty usually indicates the good fireplace quality.
- Blower is sold separately
Pleasant Hearth VFS-PH20DT - 20,000 BTUs
This Pleasant Hearth compact vent-free unit is perfect for people who want to save space in a smaller room while getting a high-quality output.
This model offers maximum 20,000 BTUs per hour and can heat up a room of about 700 square meters, a decent volume of heat.
The design of this fireplace exceeds all expectations. It’s small, compact, and very original. It can fit into virtually any décor without taking up too much space. The “nothing extra” approach to the design can be appealing to many homeowners.
Duel fuel technology
You can choose between natural gas and propane depending on your budget and preferences. Since not all fuel is readily accessible in your nearby store, having a choice is comforting.
The no-vent technology allows this small unit to heat up the room rather fast. You can enjoy the natural heat in a matter of minutes. The smaller your room is, the faster you can start feeling comfortable. For a small room, this unit can replace central heating.
The no-vent technology allows you to use less energy to heat up a bigger room. No-vent fireplaces are energy-efficient. They won’t just heat your room up faster, they’ll save you money on heating bills.
- No remote control
- Not suitable for large areas
Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH30DT 30000 BTU
This small gas fireplace is designed to service the rooms up to 1,000 square feet. It produces 30,000 BTUs per hour.
The sleek design and the light weight of this model don’t just allow it to fit into most decors but make it easily transportable from one room to another.
Suitable for large rooms
Unlike the previous VFS-PH20DT model, this unit can service large rooms while being just as compact. You can use this fireplace to heat up a room up to 1,000 square feet.
You don’t have to be a professional to assemble this unit. You can do the installation in under an hour. However, you need to follow the instructions carefully in order not to lose the warranty.
The two rows of flame make this fireplace appear very natural. It’s as close as it gets to the wood-burning models. I would say it looks even better than real wood.
This fireplace comes with a 2-year warranty, which means the manufacturer is sure of the high quality of the product. Read the warranty terms carefully before installing the unit.
Since the unit uses the no-vent technology, it’s very energy efficient even when it comes to heating big rooms. You can use this fireplace as the only heat source in a large room so you can save money on central heating.
- No remote control
Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Vent Free Fireplace - 26,000 BTUs
Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Insert is exactly what you need when you don’t want to go through the hassle of pipe installation.
It produces a 26,000 BTU output and can service a room up to 1,350 square feet. The design and usability of this model exceed all expectations.
Oxygen depletion sensor
This built-in sensor shuts the fireplace off as soon as the oxygen levels fall below normal. All high-quality vent-free fireplaces are equipped with these sensors in order to keep the operation as safe as possible.
Battery assisted piezo ignition
The battery assisted piezo ignition option makes the fireplace easy to turn on and doesn’t require electricity. This is a great advantage in the event of a power outage.
Easy to set up
The standalone fireplace takes less than an hour to set up and you can start enjoying the heat immediately. The manufacturer provides clear instructions to allow you to save money on hiring professional assemblers.
This model comes with a one-year warranty, which means that the manufacturer is sure of the high quality of the fireplace. You need to be careful when assembling the unit in order not to lose the warranty.
- Blower is sold separately
Deluxe 36" Direct-Vent NG Millivolt Fireplace
This is the only direct vent model that I found to be extremely high-quality. Even if you are not a fan of extra pipe installation, this fireplace should conquer your heart thanks to its stunning design and more than satisfactory output. The unit operates on natural gas and produces 20,000 BTUs per hour
Controlling the heat output of the fireplace while being away from the unit is priceless. Enjoy the steady heat while reading a book or taking a nap. While this feature is not compulsory to the fireplace operation, it makes it much more convenient.
Provides heat without electricity
If there is a power outage, this unit can still produce heat and won’t leave you freezing even during a blizzard. While the blower won’t work without electricity, the unit itself will still produce heat.
Easy to install
If you are brave enough to try something new and have a knack for assembly, you can install this unit on your own. However, the installation must be done by a licensed professional in order for the warranty to apply.
3-year limited warranty
The fact that the manufacturer offers such a long warranty speaks highly of the model’s quality. You can forget about any fireplace worries for three years to come.
- Requires professional installation
Top Gas Fireplace Inserts Review
After reviewing the gas fireplaces, I proceeded to take a close look at the gas fireplace inserts. Even though they are not as popular as the gas fireplaces, many people enjoy them even more than the regular models. My search for the best gas fireplace inserts took weeks, but eventually, I came up with four models that I can recommend to any homeowner. Let’s take a look.
Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Vent Free Insert - 26,000 BTU
This no-vent and zero clearance fireplace insert is perfect for people with virtually any type of wall opening or fireplace space.
Whatever mantle you prefer, this insert will look natural. It produces 26,000 BTUs per hour and can service a room up to 1,350 square feet.
Thermostat remote control
A built-in thermostat allows you to keep the comfortable temperature in the room without constant setting changes. This is a convenient feature, especially during the night or when you are busy with house chores.
The brick-painted interior looks very realistic and allows you to enjoy an amazing view of logs burning against a brick background. It’s funny how something so easy as the design of a wall can completely change the appearance of a fireplace.
Five hand-painted ceramic fiber logs
The natural-looking gas logs are a great addition to the overall appearance of the fireplace. They make the fire look more natural.
Duel fuel technology
This feature allows you to choose between natural gas and liquid propane. You can make a choice depending on your requirements and availability of the fuel.
Oxygen depletion sensor
This sensor shuts the unit off automatically if the oxygen levels are unsafe so you can be sure that your air is not contaminated.
- Blower is sold separately
Sure Heat Mountain Vernon Oak Natural Gas Fuel Log Set
If you are a fan of natural-looking and environmentally friendly models, this insert is the perfect choice for you. It allows you to enjoy the most natural logs and flames in the comfort of your own home without worrying about safety or a high cost.
This unit can heat a room up to 1500 square feet.
This technology allows the fireplace to produce the 99.9% heat efficiency as opposed to about 83% of its vented counterparts.
Carbon monoxide and oxygen depletion sensors
These sensors make sure the CO levels don’t go up and oxygen levels stay high enough. You don’t have to worry about the air in your home being unsafe for you and your kids
U-shaped dual burner
This burner gives the flame a more natural appearance by creating the dancing flame patterns. You can get a better quality flame than you would with a wood-burning fireplace.
This burner can be installed without any professional assistance. This can save you a lot of time and allow you to start using the fireplace as soon as possible. If you are not sure you can install it properly, ask for professional assistance.
Might emit a slight smell.
HearthSense A-Series Liquid Propane Fireplace Insert
This beautifully designed fireplace insert is zero-clearance. While it won’t fit into absolutely any decor, it’s easy to find a mantel that will make this insert even more stunning.
The insert produces maximum 20,000 BTU and can heat up a room up to 1,000 square meters. This model works on liquid propane.
The millivolt control valve allows you to control the flame manually and adjust the settings remotely. Even though the flames look realistic at all the settings, you can play around with the fireplace appearance.
Allows you to come up with any kind of fireplace design you wish without looking back at the insert. You can choose any mantle you prefer.
The design of this model is very realistic. Special attention should be paid to the natural-looking logs. The overall feel of the fireplace with this insert can be very inviting.
This unit comes at a more or less moderate price when compared to the similar models. This is a good choice for homeowners who are on a strict budget. The low price doesn’t affect the quality of the unit.
Doesn’t have a thermostat
Direct Vent Fireplace Insert DV35IN33LN
This direct vent fireplace insert is created to be used with an Empire fireplace unit. It can heat up a room up to 1,500 square meters since it produces maximum 35,000 BTUs. The model comes with a built-in blower and naturally-looking flameproof logs. Since it’s a direct vent unit, it offers about 83% efficiency. This model works on natural gas.
Since this is a direct vent model, the contamination of the air is reduced even further than in no-vent units. Even though some heating is lost to venting, the air is fresher and you don’t have to worry about the oxygen depletion sensor working properly.
The millivolt control allows you to control the flames and the heat the unit produces. You can regulate the fireplace to act according to your needs.
Unlike many vent-free models, this insert has a blower included. It operates quietly so it won’t interfere with regular tasks or even your sleep.
Adjustable flame height
The flame height can be adjusted depending on your preference to give your fireplace a more natural feel. The slope glaze flame burner adds the flame a natural flicker.
Light and compact
This item is lightweight and can be easily transported. This is a big advantage during installation, especially, if you decide to do it on your own. The compact design makes it easy to fit into any mantle.
Barrier screen and remote control are not included.
Benefits of Gas Fireplace In Your Home
If you are still having doubts about whether or not you need to install a gas fireplace in your home, I’d like to show you why it’s one of the best choices you can make for your home.
It’s an Investment
Not a lot of people realize that along with getting pleasure and warmth from a fireplace, you are making an investment. The price of the home with a fireplace can increase by 6 – 12%. Besides that, you are saving money on the energy you use when you heat up your home. An average fireplace can service a room up to 1,000 – 1,500 square feet.
Gas fireplaces allow you to switch from central heating to “zone” heating. Instead of heating up your whole house, you can just warm up the rooms you and your family spend most of their time in, such as a living room.
Stay Warm Regardless of the Season
You know that annoying “in between” weather when it’s too warm to turn on the central heating but too cold to feel comfortable? That’s the time when a gas fireplace can save the day. You can turn it on as an additional heat source any time of the day and night and save money and energy.
Improve the Design
If you look at a room with a fireplace and then at a room without one, you’ll immediately feel the difference. Any vent-free gas fireplace can significantly improve the way your room looks without too much installation hassle. By choosing a standalone gas fireplace, you can even switch the models any time you wish in a flash.
Feel Cozy and Calm
The gas fireplaces look and feel just like the wood-burning units. They give you that warm and cozy feeling you can get only when you are close to the fire. Having a fire in your home might be disturbing for some people, but a gas fireplace is a completely safe way to use it.
If you are deciding between a brick-and-mortar wood-burning fireplace and a gas fireplace, the latter is an obvious winner. Besides being a safer way to deal with the fire, it’s environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. Don’t forget that buying a gas-operated model can help you avoid fireplace cleaning hassles.
Stay Warm during a Power Outage
Since gas fireplaces don’t need electricity to operate, you can be sure that you can keep your home warm even when the electricity is out. This is especially useful for regions with frequent snowstorms in the winter.
Electric Fireplace vs Gas Fireplace
When you are faced with a choice of a fireplace, you might be thinking about electric models. Comparing gas and electric units can help you make the decision, so here are my 2 cents on the matter.
Depending on what type of gas fireplace you decide to purchase, the installation can take a significant amount of time. A direct vent gas fireplace requires professional installation. However, some no-vent units might need it as well. All depends on the connection of the gas line. If there is no gas line, you’ll need to incorporate the gas tank.
Meanwhile, the electric fireplace doesn’t need any complicated efforts. If it’s a standalone unit, you can just plug it in. A built-in model will require more work.
Gas fireplaces are more energy-efficient than their electric counterparts are since they use no electricity unless there is a blower installed. Electric fireplaces use up plenty of electricity and the energy bills can really skyrocket. Gas fireplaces produce more heat than the electric ones. Their overall efficiency is much higher, especially when it comes to the no-vent units. Direct vent models lose some heat during the venting process; however, their efficiency is still higher.
Since there is fuel burning inside the gas fireplaces, the front part can get very hot. That’s why gas fireplaces need to be equipped with special mesh barriers in order for the homeowners, and especially their children, not to get hurt
Even the best electric fireplaces lose the battle with the gas units when it comes to the reality of the flames. The fire in an electric fireplace is obviously fake. This makes them lose points when it comes to the feeling of coziness and warmth that accompanies the gas or wood-burning fireplaces.
There is virtually no maintenance for both units. Gas and electric fireplaces don’t require any cleaning.
One of the main advantages of the gas fireplaces over the electric ones is their ability to work without electricity. This makes them irreplaceable during a power outage. While the electric fireplace will be rendered useless, a gas model can keep the family warm until the power comes back on.
Electric fireplaces are less expensive than the gas ones. However, when it comes to the operation costs, the electric models lose the battle.
Gas Fireplace Safety Concerns
When it comes to installing a fireplace in your home, be it a wood-burning unit or a gas-operated model, people are concerned with their safety. In order to make you feel safer about the gas fireplace in your home, I’d like to share a few simple points. After reading them, you’ll feel safe about the purchase.
The one and only safety concern that comes with the gas fireplace is the hot surface. Since the fuel burning inside the unit is real, the fireplace heats up. The hottest part is the front of the unit, which is usually glass. This safety concern is easily dealt with by installing mesh doors or screen in front of the glass, which will make the hot surface inaccessible to children and pets.
If you are planning to buy a vent—free fireplace, you might have a concern about carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your home. All vent—free gas fireplaces are equipped with a special oxygen depletion sensor. It works by sensing the oxygen levels in your home.
As soon as they drop below normal, the unit automatically shuts off. This oxygen level drop can happen only if the fireplace is faulty or broken. Otherwise, the fuel burns cleanly and leaves no contamination. However, you should still equip your home with a carbon monoxide detector as a backup.
While a gas fireplace doesn’t pose any threat to most people, those suffering from respiratory problems, such as asthma, might want to consider other options. If you use a fireplace that runs on natural gas, you might trigger extra asthma attacks. When you use a vent-free unit, you need to make sure that the home is properly ventilated.
When you own a fireplace, no matter which one it is (gas, electric or wood-burning), there is always a danger of a fire. While the chance of fire being started by a gas fireplace is minimal, it still exists. A fire can be caused by a gas leak produced by a faulty unit. This is why the regular maintenance of all fireplaces is compulsory.
Improper installation, irregular maintenance, lack of air circulation, and improper use can lead to dangerous consequences. If you take good care of your unit and use standard precautions, there should be no safety concerns to worry about.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are Gas Fireplaces Safe for Children and Pets?
A. Yes, they are absolutely safe for your children and pets if you install a mesh door/screen in front of the glass so they can’t touch the hot surface. Most of the modern gas fireplaces come equipped with such accessories.
Q. What is the difference between no-vent and direct vent gas fireplaces?
A. Vented fireplaces require a vent to filter the air in and out. They need to be installed by professionals. They provide better air circulation but produce less heat. Vent-free fireplaces don’t require any venting. 100 % of the fuel is burned.
Q. Where can I install a gas fireplace?
A. You can install it anywhere you wish. Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, the gas units don’t require any architectural changes for installation. So you can place the fireplace in any room, along any wall. Standalone units can even be placed in the middle of the room.
Q. Do I need to buy special gas logs?
A. All gas fireplaces come equipped with the best gas logs. These logs differ but most of the time they are well designed and produce a natural look of fire.
Q. Does a gas fireplace need electricity?
A. No, a gas fireplace can work without electricity unless you add a blower. A blower requires electricity to work. A gas fireplace can heat up your room without a blower.
Q. Can I burn something inside a gas fireplace?
A. No, this is not a wood-burning model. Trying to burn something inside such a fireplace can be dangerous and might lead to unfortunate consequences, such as gas leaks and fire.
Q. Can I remove the glass for a more natural feel?
A. Removing the glass when the unit is operating is dangerous. You can only remove the glass for cleaning and maintenance after turning the fireplace off.
Q. Do I need professional installation?
A. Most of the vent-free gas fireplaces don’t require professional installation. However, you need to play close attention to the warranty terms. Some manufacturers cancel the warranty if the unit isn’t installed professionally.
Q. Can a no-vent gas fireplace affect the air quality?
A. If the fireplace is properly installed and operated according to the instructions, the air quality won’t be compromised. If your unit is faulty, then you are protected by the built-in oxygen depletion sensor, which will shut it off as soon as the air quality is harmed.
Q. Does a gas fireplace produce humidity?
A. Yes, it does. This is especially helpful during the cold winter months when the air is overly dry.
Wrapping It Up All
Choosing the best gas fireplace is easy when you know all the important information. Since the variety of the models available on the market is extremely wide, any consumer can find the perfect gas fireplace for his or her own needs.
These units bring peace, comfort, warmth, and aesthetic pleasure to your home. Take some time to review the above information in order to make the right decision depending on your preferences and budget. When you finally purchase and install a gas fireplace, you will wonder how you lived all these years without one.