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Warming to the idea of an electric fireplace

When the season is right, and the environment is right, the crackle of a real-life log fire in a fireplace can be mesmerising. With an electric fireplace, however, the season is always right.


If you’re enamoured by the visual appeal of a fireplace, but less enthusiastic about the smoke and heat and maintenance of a real one, the electric alternative might just fan your flames.

Electric fireplaces vary widely however.

Here is what it’s helpful to know to decide if the electric option is right for you.


Temperature Control

One of the big advantages of electric fireplaces is that you can control the temperature they emit.

When researching electric fireplaces, pay attention to the variation between heat settings, as some fireplaces will equip you to exercise more precise control over the temperature range.

Also be aware that many electric fireplaces are generally designed to offer supplementary heat in your home, rather than function as a principal heat source.

If you’re energy and cost conscious, be aware that an electric fireplace with higher wattage will typically deliver more warmth to your room but also cost you more in electricity.

Realistic electric fireplaces

To achieve realistic-looking flames, electric fireplaces adopt various technologies, including holographic technology, 3D projection, sound effects, and LED lighting. Because different fireplaces vary in the technologies they include to simulate real flames, the realism of their flames varies significantly. If you want a realistic-looking fireplace, you’ll also want to account for the realism of the bed of logs and embers your fireplace uses. Some manufacturers also use mist technology to create realistic flames and smoke effects.

Remote control

One of the other advantages of electric fireplaces is that you can switch up the ambience with the click of a remote control button.

A remote control equips you to manage your electric fire in a number of ways. Most remote controls will deliver on the basics, such as switching your electric fire on and off, adjusting the intensity of the flames, and dialling the temperature up and down.

Some modern electric fireplaces also offer features including voice control and app control, so you can set crackling sound styles and volumes, timers, lighting accents, flame heights, and even mood music.


Beyond the visual aesthetics of your fireplace’s flames, you’ll want to factor in how complementary the overall fireplace structure is to your decor.

Some electric fireplaces are wall-mountable, a lot like wall-mounted flat screen TVs. You can also find electric fireplaces that you can situate in the space of a traditional wood fireplace, and others are freestanding, meaning you can move them around the room.

The best style for your needs will largely depend on the style and layout of the rooms in your home.

The verdict

According to Asthma Australia research, more than three-quarters of the 25,000 people surveyed agree that woodfire heaters should be prohibited in urban and built-up areas, and more than half agree that they should be phased out or banned completely.

Although there’s no pure substitute for the romance of a crackling log fire in the home, electric fires share many of the benefits of real fires, along with their own unique benefits.

For many Australians, it’s not possible to have a real fireplace functional at home anyway. Many homes have no fireplaces, and many others are subject to strict regulations that impede the enjoyment of a wood fire.

If you love the ambience of a fireplace, but could do without the maintenance and other inconveniences, today’s high-tech electric options might be the perfect centrepiece for your home.