Electric vs Wood Fireplace


Image credit: Superior Fires & Fireplaces

If you are having a new fireplace installed you might be battling with the choice between an electric or a wood burning fire, both of which have plenty of benefits along with a few drawbacks. Which one you decide to purchase really depends on your personal situation, the kind of fireplace you prefer and how much money you have to spend.  To help you to make an informed decision between an electric and a wood burning fireplace we have put together a list of pro’s and con’s of both.

Electric Fireplaces

Much cheaper to run than wood burning fireplaces, these are the most cost effective fireplace. Furthermore, they require much less maintenance however, they lack the natural look that only a wood burning fire can produce.

Pro’s of an electric fireplace:

  •         May or may not be cheaper to purchase however, they are much cheaper to install.  Electric fires are usually free standing or attached to the wall so there is minimal installation required: you simply plug in and go.  What’s more is they are often cheaper to run too, costing you less to use.
  •         Electric fireplaces are suitable for all types of accommodation, even for small apartments, whereas a wood burning fireplace requires a chimney and therefore can only be installed into a suitable home.
  •         The designs of electric fires mimic that of wood or coal burning fires, not only producing heat but also digital flames, giving you the look and atmosphere of a traditional fireplace.
  •         If your home has a contemporary or modern style, an electric fireplace will suit the décor much more than a traditional fireplace would.

Con’s of an electric fireplace:

  •         Electric fireplaces don’t look very natural; you can easily tell that it is an artificial fire.
  •         You don’t benefit from the other things a wood burning fire brings, such as the smell and the crackling sound of the burning wood, all of which add to the ambiance associated with a cosy fire.

Wood Burning Fireplaces

This is the more traditional type of fireplace, the one that feels the most homely. However, wood burning fireplaces require the most maintenance and are slightly more expensive to run. You will usually find wood burning fireplaces in older, period style homes, and you would require pieces of wood as fuel for the fire.

Pro’s of a wood burning fireplace:

  •         A romantic and cosy way to warm up, particularly in the winter months. A wood burning fireplace offers a great sense of home, warmth, and creates a lovely ambiance in the space.
  •         You don’t need to worry about there being a power cut; if you lose your electricity, you will still have a heat source which will also provide you with some light.

Con’s of a wood burning fireplace:

  •         According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homes with a wood burning fireplace lose over 90% of the heat produced from the fire out of their chimney along with some of the heated air that is in the room.
  •         When the fire isn’t being used and if you have not installed a fireplace insert, the living room will become very drafty from the cold air coming in from the chimney which could potentially increase your energy bills.
  •         There is a lot of maintenance involved with owning a wood burning fireplace, not only will you need to regularly clean up for the ash, but you will also need to have your chimney cleaned annually.  Furthermore, you will need to buy or chop up plenty of wood, transport this home and store it in an appropriate area, which can be time consuming and costly during the winter months when you need your fireplace the most.

Unless you are absolutely desperate for the natural wood burning look, live in an area prone to power cuts, and have the money to have a chimney installed in your home, we recommend you stick with an electric fire.  Not only are they cheaper to run and offer less maintenance, they come in a full range of designs so you are sure to find something fitting for your décor. And for those rare occasions when there is a power cut, we recommend having plenty of torches, candles and blankets on hand!

For more information on fireplaces, visit EcoSmart Fire.


Izzy represents Diamond Interiors’ UK following. With her very keen eye for style and design, she is an absolute wealth of information and advice in the world of interiors. To read more from Izzy, visit her blog: The Home of Inspiration.



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