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.

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
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.

Shop More Winter Home Buys

Next Up

The Best Firewood Storage Ideas

Bring the heat with these stylish log holders, totes and stands.

Our 12 Favorite Outdoor Blankets for Fall

Autumn evenings around the fire pit just got cozier.

8 Natural Mood Boosters to Help Battle the Winter Blues

Prioritize your health and wellness with these winter mood boosters, from light therapy lamps to energizing essential oils.

5 Best Electric Blankets of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

After hands-on testing, we found the best electric blankets for warming up on a cozy night in.

20 Gifts for People Who Are Always Cold

Know someone who is always chilly? Check out these cozy heated products that might finally end the thermostat debate they constantly have with friends and family.

7 Best Slippers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We walked, climbed stairs and even braved the cold in 15 of the most popular slippers to find the pair your feet deserve.

The Best Light Therapy Lamps of 2024

Brighten your spirits with these top-rated lamps.

The Best Snow Blowers for Every Budget in 2024

Ditch the shovel and upgrade to one of these top-rated machines.

15 Fall Mantel Decor Ideas Under $50

Flock your fall fireplace mantel with these high-style, low-budget decor finds.

4 Best Space Heaters of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Stay warm all winter with these affordable indoor space heaters, from personal heaters for small spaces to oscillating tower styles that offer more coverage.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.