Fireplace Inserts: Everything You Need to Know + Where to Buy Our Favorites

Keep your home cozy and cut down on your winter heating bills with these efficiency-driven fireplace inserts.

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October 19, 2020

A cozy, crackling fireplace provides homes with unmatched ambiance and comfort to get through the brisk, autumn nights and winter months. That said, it may come as a surprise that traditional fireplaces are guilty of expending more energy pulling warm air out of the home than they do heating the space. (Pulling warm air out of the home defeats all practical purposes of having a fireplace in the first place!) The solution? Fireplace inserts.

Fireplace inserts are fireproof, insulated cast-iron or steel firebox inserts that increase fireplace efficiency by blocking the generated heat from escaping the chimney or by distributing warm air throughout the room with a blower. The three main types of fireplace inserts are woodburning, electric and natural gas, and each type comes equipped with a unique set of benefits to consider before installation.

We’re breaking down all three of the MVP fireplaces inserts (plus a bonus option!) and sharing our favorite online finds for each in the links below.

Electric Fireplace Inserts

Looking for a fireplace insert with low risk and warm reward? Electric inserts are your best bet. The flame-free inserts are safe and simple to install with a plug-in design that washes the room with cozy warmth and the glow of (faux) flames and embers. Most electric fireplace inserts are easy to relocate from room to room, and the fire-free design ensures that renters and apartment-dwellers can enjoy fireside ambiance with ease.

Gas Fireplace Inserts

Gas fireplace inserts are a top pick for homeowners who desire real flames without the very real and intensely fragrant mess that comes with a wood-burning fireplace. The soot-free gas inserts require a natural gas line and are beloved by many for their next-level heating abilities that easily wrap rooms with warmth. Most come with remote controls, and some are equipped with wall adjusters and vent-free technology that provides unmatched heating efficiency for the home.

Wood-Burning Fireplace Inserts

Gas and electric fireplaces are wonderful, but there’s nothing quite like the real thing, right? Classic wood-burning fireplaces are made more efficient with the addition of a specialized, wood-burning fireplace insert that blocks heat from escaping through the chimney above. Though less efficient than their gas or electric counterparts, wood-burning fireplace inserts do allow homeowners to reap the benefits of crackling flames more safely and with significantly less smoke. Bonus: Many wood-burning inserts are designed to cut down on the amount of wood necessary for each burn and minimize chimney upkeep over an extended period of time.

Log Fireplace Inserts

Gas and electric log inserts differ from the above fireplace inserts because they are free-standing accessories installed within the firebox. Some inserts aid the efficiency of the fireplace, while other log inserts are simply decorative additions to a preciously installed firebox insert. Log sets come in several styles, ranging from rustic and rugged oak stacks to smooth and airy birch limbs. Choose the logs best suited to your interior style and color story for an effortless, understated end design.

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