Let’s face it—these days, your living space can’t get any cozier without some rip-roaring fire on a frosty night. And while a traditional fireplace creates a graceful appeal to your home, installing a gas fireplace insert is far more efficient and cost-effective.
Traditional wood-burning also comes with a tedious cleanup routine. So, getting hold of ultramodern technology to heat up your home is not only energy-saving but also cuts off the labor-intensive efforts.
And since there’s a wide range of options in the market—each with its own set of features—catching sight of the right gas fireplace for your home might feel a little baffling, especially if this is your first time purchasing one.
Using this guide to find the perfect model that suits your preferences, fits the designated space and doesn’t cause any air leaks, will make the whole hunting experience a whole lot easier. Read on to learn the ropes and get a hold of the right option for your home.
- What Is A Gas Fireplace Insert?
- Reviews of The Best Gas Fireplace Inserts
- Fireplace Insert Buying Guide
- What Gas Fireplace Venting Options Do I Have?
- How Does A Gas Fireplace Insert Work?
- How to Install a Gas Fireplace Insert
- How Efficient is Your Gas Fireplace?
- Final Thoughts
What Is A Gas Fireplace Insert?
A gas fireplace is an elementary and maintenance-free innovation you can use to ceaselessly make your home warm. Compared to the classic wood-burning fireplaces, using this technology doesn’t cost an arm and leg to make your home feel snuggly.
Besides keeping the room temperature warm and cozy, a gas fireplace keeps the air quality in check by suppressing the cold air draft that comes down from your chimney. Natural gas is reasonably inexpensive and burns with fewer emissions.
The modern gas fireplace inserts in the market produce anywhere between 25,000 to 40,000 BTUs quite reliably, which is enough to heat a standard-size living space. Roughly, a gas fireplace can heat up to 1000 square feet of living space without burning so much fuel.
They also come with a remote-control device to help you regulate the thermostat at the push of a button. It’s also estimated that gas fireplaces offer a heat efficiency of about 70 percent, and most of it will remain in the house.
Reviews of The Best Gas Fireplace Inserts
ProCom 32” Zero Fireplace Insert
- Dimensions: 40 x 40 x 24 inches
- Item Weight: 160 Pounds
- Material: cast iron
- Ventilation Type: Built-in
- Maximum Burner Output: 32,000 BTU
- Heat Coverage in sq.: 1500
Duluth Forge Vent Free Dual Fireplace Insert
- Dimensions: 13.9 x 23.9 x 29.1 inches
- Weight: 47.6 Pounds
- Material: Ceramic
- Ventilation Type: Ventless
- Maximum Burner Output: 26,000 BTU
- Heat Coverage in sq.:1500
Empire Tahoe Deluxe Direct Vent Fireplace
- Dimensions: 37 x 35 x 16 inches
- Item Weight: 102 Pounds
- Material: Ceramic
- Ventilation Type: Direct-Vent
- Maximum Burner Output: 20,000 BTUs
- Burning Display: Log set
- Heat Coverage in sq.: 1350
Peterson Real Fyre Live Oak Log Set
- Dimensions: 20 x 2 x 2 inches
- Item Weight: 77 Pounds
- Material: Ceramic
- Ventilation Type: Vented
- Burning Display: Log Set
- Burner Output: 75,000 BTUs
Endless Summer Gas Outdoor Fire Pit
- Dimensions: 24 x13.25 x 16.75 inches
- Item Weight: 56 Pounds
- Material: Stainless steel
- Ventilation Type: Vent-free
- Burner Output: 55,0000 BTUs
#1 ProCom 32” Zero Fireplace Insert
If you’re looking to install a ventless fireplace insert with a thermostat remote control functionality, then the ProCom 32-inch model would be an ideal model for your living space. Using its battery-powered remote device, you can adjust the room temperature levels with so much ease.
It comes with a dual burner that generates enough heat to warm up to 1500 square feet of living space. This practically means you can either opt to use fuel propane or natural gas. You also won’t need any source of electricity to operate this fireplace. And since this is a ventless model, it’s easy to carry out the whole installation process without hiring an expert.
Alongside the gas fireplace, you get 9 hand-crafted fiber logs made of real wood, to present a natural and aesthetic feel. For safety reasons, this product is fitted with an oxygen depletion sensor. This feature is mostly found in modem vent-free fireplace inserts and gives a concise update anytime the oxygen levels are low.
Due to its zero-clearance architecture, there won’t be any uneven gaps to fill while installing it. You’ll, therefore, only need to designate a small space for the fireplace in your living room.
Most of all, this model is, so far, the best fireplace insert on the market since you can couple it up with a face mantle or directly mount it on the wall.
#2 Duluth Forge Vent Free Dual Fireplace Insert
With a 99.99 percent energy conservation efficiency, this dual-fuel ventless fireplace heats up to 1350 square feet. The Duluth Forge fireplace insert is tweaked to minimize costs on fuel, yet yield optimal results using stellar technology.
It has top of the range specs such as temperature remote control, a pre-installed oxygen depletion sensor (ODS), thermostat, and so on. To level up the safety standards, the ODS automatically switches off the heater when the oxygen and soon as it detects a significant carbon monoxide concentration.
If you already have a fireplace, this model would fit perfectly since it has zero-clearance and the framing dimensions allow you to install it in the corner or wall of your home. In other words, you won’t need to part with so much space.
Same as other ultra-modern models, it uses piezo ignition technology that’s battery-backed. Therefore, you don’t need to plug this fireplace insert into a power socket. Alongside this, the
Patented and mostly manufactured in the United States, the Duluth Forge fireplace insert operates using a dual-ported ventless gas burner. For the most part, this design is precisely meant to do away with the need of having to do any exterior ductwork or installing a chimney.
The only extra items you’ll need to purchase alongside this fireplace insert are the gas hook-up kit and the blower which comes in shades of black or silver.
#3 Empire Tahoe Deluxe Direct Vent Fireplace
Best Direct Vent
So far, we’d rank the Empire Tahoe fireplace insert as the most efficient direct-vent appliance for its durability and millivolt control features. If you’re not worried much about the price tag, this product will generate up to 83 percent heat efficiency quite consistently.
Roughly, that’s equivalent to 20,000 BTUs. Its contour burner is remote ready and works with natural gas, hence you’ll still keep warm even when there's a power outage. But if you’re looking to use liquid propane, this produces up to 16,500 BTUs per hour.
Unlike most other fireplace inserts, the Empire Tahoe comes with a barrier screen to prevent any sparks from flying into the living room.
You can use its nifty remote control to adjust the mini volt gas valve. This allows you to shut the system down with ease since the pre-installed receiver box disconnects the circuit soon as you press the remote button.
The manufacturer recommends purchasing this model together with a double-wall chimney pipe that’s insulated, to let out excess heat that’s released from the gas-burning fireplace.
If you already have a fireplace provision, you can install the pipe right from the very same end and fit it to protrude upwards through the roof. You’ll need one that’s insulated with stainless steel if you’re living in colder regions and best of all, it doesn’t emit too much exhaust.
#4 Peterson Real Fyre Live Oak Log Set
Best Log Set
The Peterson Real Fyre vented burner is a low maintenance fireplace insert with a refined appearance. It’s made in the United States and the logs come with a lifetime warranty, while the burner is covered for up to 10 years.
Aside from the guarantee, you might want to consider purchasing this model for its systematized design which is tailored to conserve natural gas usage. The only limitation you might have to deal with is this model is only designed to work indoors.
Inside the package, you’ll find a ductile gas line connection which makes the whole installation process a lot more seamless. You also get fine quality gas logs made of ceramic and strengthened with steel rods to enhance their durability.
The gas log sets are hand-painted to give them realistic detail. There’s no learning curve when it comes to operating the burner and it has a provision for adding a safety pilot to control the gas usage. You, therefore, don’t need to use any batteries for the burner to operate.
If you find it a bit baffling while setting up this model, just make perfect use of the user-manual since it has quick and easy instructions to follow, especially if this is your first time installing a fireplace insert.
#5 Endless Summer Gas Outdoor Fire Pit
If, say, you have a shaded patio and want to keep it warm during the chilly nights, then this model would be an ideal option for an outdoor setting. The Endless Summer fire pit carries all the functionality you’d need to heat up your patio with minimal maintenance efforts.
It includes a burner that has the potential to achieve 75% heat efficiency and output up to 30,000 BTUs, without burning too much fuel. This fire pit is designed using tile and steel mantel, making it look more like a high-end fireplace that suits an open-air space.
Another striking feature you’ll probably like about this model is its portability. You can move it without any hurdles and light it up using its electronic ignition system. The Endless Summer fire pit comes with a black glass panel that protects your proximal furniture from getting ruined by the sparks from the fire.
It has an energy-saving burner that’s made of stainless steel to make it have more longevity. The rustic design also helps enhance its durability by far. While this model uses a liquid propane grill tank for mobility reasons, the downside is it’s not included in the package.
And since this product is exclusively made for outdoors, you won’t have to grapple with the dimensions or low oxygen levels, so using the ODS system isn’t necessary. Best of all, the mantle on this model is large enough to be used as a bar-top table.
Fireplace Insert Buying Guide
Quite a handful of pointers go into the picture when planning to purchase a fireplace insert. And most of them depend on your preferences. But there are a bunch of other factors worth looking at regardless of the design and kind of aesthetic you’re yearning for. This part goes beyond the surface to give you an in-depth scene of what to look for when shopping for a fireplace insert.
You might want to choose a gas fireplace over the wood-burning ones since they need fewer accessories to operate. Most of those which are built using modern technology don’t require a mantel or a chimney.
They’re also considerably cheaper, compared to the traditional models. You can install a gas fireplace quite simply using the user-manual which comes tucked inside the package. And if you feel the need to hire an expert, it won’t cost much since it only takes a few hours to set it up.
Taking note that there is a wide range of options in the market, what matters most is striking a balance between price and functionality.
The heat output of a gas fireplace will be sufficient and spread evenly, depending on the square foot of your living space. On average, you should expect a mid-range gas fireplace to produce anything between 20,000 to 25,000 BTUs when the room temperatures are low.
And when it’s warm, your gas fireplace insert will roughly generate 450,000 BTUs, or slightly more. This level of heat output is enough to keep up to 1,300 square feet of your living space warm, so long as the ceiling height isn’t too large.
If you’re looking to heat up the whole plinth area of your home, then it makes perfect sense to purchase a gas fireplace insert that has a higher BTU output. However, it’s needless to say that going this route would cost you a few extra bucks.
Vented vs. Vent-Free
One striking difference between these two models is that ventless gas fireplaces don’t need a provision for a chimney to operate. They use the air that’s inside your home, thus why most are fitted with an oxygen depletion sensor.
A vented fireplace, on the other hand, draws air from the outside, so installing it inside a chimney would be necessary. While vented gas logs don’t produce as much heat as the ventless ones, they tend to produce the most realistic flames.
In other words, if you don’t have a wood-burning fireplace that functions perfectly, then it’s quite impractical to use a vented model. Most homeowners go for the ventless fireplace inserts since they produce less soot, compared to their vented counterparts.
The hitch you’ll highly likely experience with a wood-burning fireplace is having to operate it manually. Using gasoline to light it up is not only cumbersome but also ruins the air quality in your home.
Same as other automated home gadgets like the Amazon smart speaker, most of the leading-edge gas fireplace inserts are programmed to turn on or off at a scheduled time using a remote-control device.
You can even set the temperature to remain constant during various hours of the day or night. Another remote control feature you’ll probably find interesting is adjusting the flame levels to your liking.
Some models, especially those whose prices are a bit on the high end, will include a blower which helps enhance the air circulation in your fireplace. Adding optional accent lights would make the fireplace look a little more radiant and level-up the ambiance in your living room.
The coverage which a fireplace can handle ultimately hangs on the square feet of your living space. Gas fireplaces are designed to produce enough heat that’s evenly distributed across the entire house.
At the very least, we’d recommend going for a fireplace that yields up to 20,000 BTUs/ hour. Other factors to look at before spending on a fireplace is whether your house is insulated, together with the typical weather conditions in your region.
Installing a gas fireplace with an inbuilt thermostat is essential since you can effortlessly control the flame size anytime you need to keep the heat output at a constant unit. What’s more engrossing is that most gas fireplace inserts allow you to make adjustments on the thermostat using a handheld remote.
But before purchasing a gas fireplace, find out in the product description or user-manual the amount of voltage it needs to work just fine.
What Gas Fireplace Venting Options Do I Have?
It’s worth noting that before installing a fireplace, you’ll highly likely need to fix it together with a vent option. Hence, if you’re hunting for a gas fireplace in the market, it’s best to weigh all venting options in order to know the good, bad, and ugly sides of each.
The vent is basically meant to help get rid of harmful fumes produced when the fire is burning. But the pollutants from a gas fireplace insert aren’t much compared to those produced by a wood-burning model.
Let’s check out the different models available and what each has to offer:
Direct vents are arguably one of the safest accessories when it comes to heating your home using a fireplace insert. They let out fumes that come from the combustion process, together with other pollutants through the chimney or a provision that protrudes through the exterior of your home.
If you purchase a fireplace with two pipes, one is usually meant to pull in air from the outside to help with the combustion. The other pipe will be used to transfer the fumes and pollutants outside your home. Such fireplaces tend to be far more efficient than those which only have one pipe to draw in air for combustion.
Most homeowners choose to buy direct vent fireplaces since their safety standards are up to mark and have the potential to generate a heat efficiency of about 70-85%, on average.
As the name suggests, vent-free fireplaces don’t necessarily need any provision for a chimney since they don’t emit harmful fumes. The best part about vent-free fireplaces is they can be installed on a wall without needing to place them under a fireplace.
You basically have the option to install them in any room apart from bathrooms and bedrooms. Vent-free models are more efficient than the direct-vent counterparts and some even have the capacity to reach a 99% heat efficiency across the entire room.
In fact, a report from European Home estimates that about 17 million American households use a vent-free gas appliance. And that goes to show how much this technology is embraced. You might want to consider installing a vent-free fireplace insert, especially if you’re pretty much worried about the air quality in your home.
Natural-vent products are a lot more costly since they require a chimney to operate. Even worse, you’ll highly likely need the help of a professional and that will cost you some extra bucks.
We’d advise choosing a natural-vent model if your house already has a chimney since all you’ll need to do is just make a few modifications to the fireplace. You might also need to hire a masonry contractor to make adjustments to your chimney so it can emit the pollutants without trouble.
Although the natural-vent model might be less expensive to purchase and install, the heat efficiency tends to be insignificant, especially if your living space has so many square feet.
How Does A Gas Fireplace Insert Work?
As a rule of thumb, before you even think of purchasing a gas fireplace insert, you need to make sure that there’s a gas supply connection in your home. Unlike traditional wood-burning fireplaces, they don’t need logs to generate heat.
They operate more or less the same as other appliances that use gas to operate and you can control the heat output using remote control settings. Most of the gas fireplace inserts include “logs” made of ceramic which are placed on the burner to give it a classic look when producing flames.
To elevate the heat efficiency and keep up with the safety standards, most ventless log sets are usually fitted with an oxygen depletion sensor that shut off the fuel supply once the oxygen levels fall to 18%, or even further.
Apart from cleaning the glass barrier, there’s not much tidying up to do since the gas burns sprucely, compared to the wood fireplace inserts. While gas fireplace inserts don’t need to be plugged into a power source, you’ll need to use electricity if the model you’re looking to purchase has a pre-installed blower.
How to Install a Gas Fireplace Insert
Installing your gas fireplace insert isn’t rocket science. One of the easiest ways to go about it is carefully following the instructions listed in the user guide. But it’s worthwhile leaving this handiwork to a technician, to avoid any mishaps.
The first thing on your checklist during the installation process is making sure that there’s solid propane or natural gas supply. You also want to check whether the connection is proximate to where you want to mount your gas fireplace insert. But if you already have a gas line connected to the firebox, then you’re good to go.
Your technician will inspect the size of the fireplace to advise you on the perfect insert that would fit it without any gaps. They’ll measure the height, length, and width of the fireplace to determine whether the dimensions are generous enough to fit the insert of your choice.
For vented gas fireplace inserts, you’ll need to purchase and install an exhaust pipe and make a similar insulated provision that helps let in fresh air during the combustion process. The technician will also make sure the damper has enough space to allow the smoke to pass through the chimney.
For this to work without any hurdles, make sure the exhaust pipe is installed at the back or on top of the fireplace insert. And if you want to revamp the aesthetic feel around your place, you can fit a wooden and well-polished flame on the edges.
How Efficient is Your Gas Fireplace?
Gas fireplaces are by a great amount more efficient than traditional models. Their cost to operate per hour is less expensive and since nearly all gas fireplace types have decent fuel efficiency ratings. A fireplace running on wood to fuel it up will struggle to achieve an optimal heat output since it’s efficiency will average around 30%. Inversely, most fireplaces will reach up to 70% heat efficiency, while others have the capacity to hit the 99% mark.
Finding the right gas fireplace for your home is an incredible experience especially if you have the right dimensions of where you want to fit it. Taking cues from this guide, you’ll learn that various models in the market use different vent options and come with their own dimensions.
The design you want for your living space would also be a weighty factor to look at. Most of all, you need to pick a model with enough heat output to warm up the entire house. Choosing a gas fireplace with savvy features such as remote control functions would also be a huge plus.
If we missed to hint out any useful pointer in this guide, please drop us a line or two in the comment section below.
Q: Does my gas fireplace need to be powered by electricity?
A: No. It doesn’t really need electricity. Instead, your gas fireplace generates its own electricity using a thermopile that’s attached to the pilot light, so the gas valve can function optimally.
The only exception is only if your fireplace has a pre-installed fan, most of the gas-fueled models usually emit heat evenly without any extra appliances. What’s more fascinating about gas fireplaces is they still generate heat even when there’s a power outage.
Q: Can I install a blower or fan kit on my gas fireplace?
A: Yes, it’s possible to install a blower to your gas fireplace. But before purchasing one, you want to make sure that the blower fits your fireplace and is designed for the exact fuel-type. You also need to confirm whether the blower motor has the capacity to produce radiant heat that’s equivalent to the heat output of your fireplace.
Q: Do fumes from gas fireplace inserts hold any toxicity levels?
A: Typically, gas fireplaces produce minimal pollutants, compared to the wood-burning ones. While gas is cleaner energy, you could experience a few pollution-related issues if the fireplace insert isn’t installed correctly or when the ventilation isn’t sufficient enough to support the combustion process.
If there’s too much carbon monoxide released in the air, this could cause life-threatening damage to critical body organs such as the heart or brain.