Fireplace Buying Guide

Nothing beats the sensation of warming yourself by the fire while sipping a hot cup of coffee or tea. Fireplaces can be a stylish focal point inside and outside your home, as well as a robust way to warm up the room during the colder winter months. This buying guide will help you incorporate this classic heating element into your home by breaking down the different types of fireplaces, how to choose the right fuel type for your space, and final considerations for selecting the best one for your home.

They may appear simple and straightforward, but due to their size and functional purpose, there are a few important details to consider before incorporating them into your home, office, or workspaces.

Built-In Fireplace Components

Fire box -The large interior area where the fire is built.

Mantel - The decorative ledge above the fireplace that can be made of wood, stone, or other heat-safe materials. The mantel is frequently used to display decorative accents such as stockings and pictures.

Chimney - The vertical channel that directs smoke up from your firebox and out through your roof or another exit point in your home.

Hearth - The very foundation of the fireplace, often extending well past the fire box into the room. Depending on the type of fireplace, they are typically made of brick, stone, metal, or tile. Many gas and electric fireplaces do not require this.

Fireplace Styles

Once you've decided to add some liveliness to your room by installing a fireplace, you'll need to decide which of the four fireplace styles is best suited to your space.


Built-in fireplaces are fireplaces that are recessed into the wall. This can include options such as wood burning, electric, and gas. Traditional wood-burning fireplaces require chimneys and vents, making them one of the more involved installations, necessitating the services of a licensed contractor in many cases.

Fireplace inserts are the next best option if you want the look of a built-in fireplace without the hassle of professional installation and possibly the addition of a chimney. They nestle into the wall like a built-in fireplace. They are designed to fit into your existing hearth or a new space you create, and they are available in a variety of fuel types, but they do not require a chimney.


Mantel fireplaces are a great option if you want a fireplace in your space but don't want to change the architecture of your home. This freestanding fireplace is constructed with a wood mantel that surrounds the design and is simple to install and use in a matter of minutes. Simply place it against the wall, plug it in, and you're ready to go. Mantel fireplaces are an excellent choice for renters or anyone who moves frequently because they are portable.

Wall Mount Fireplace

With gas or electric wall mount fireplaces, you can install a fireplace on your wall without a major remodeling project. These fireplaces mount directly to the wall and do not require the installation of vents or chimneys. For your convenience, this type of fireplace is available in electric, natural gas, and liquid propane fuel options.

Stove fireplaces, which are frequently used in cabins as a source of heat on cold days, have an industrial feel with timeless appeal. Most wood or pellet stoves have a direct vent design, which prevents smoke from accumulating in the room.

How to Select the Best Fireplace for Your Home

Now that you've learned about the various types of fireplaces available to you, it's time to consider the five most important factors in deciding on the best wood, gas, or electric fireplace or insert to display in your home.


Before you start shopping, consider where you want to put the fireplace. Consider your seating arrangement, as you'll want the fireplace to be a focal point from nearly every seat in the room. This will assist you in determining the location of your fireplace wall accent.


Take precise measurements of the available space and compare them to the dimensions of the fireplace you're considering to ensure a perfect fit. This is especially important in the case of built-in fireplaces.


The overall design style of the room will help you determine which type of fireplace will complement the existing decor the best. This can include finishes, surrounds, trim work, and other details. Flip through your favorite design magazines or visit the websites of your favorite interior designers to find fireplace surround ideas that complement your home's overall design style.

Type of Fuel

Once you've found a couple of fireplace designs that you like, it's time to decide which of the three fuel types is best for your lifestyle. Wood fireplaces create an instant mood in the room, whereas electric and gas fireplaces do not.


One of the reasons for displaying a fireplace in the home is to provide warmth during the cold winter months without having to turn on the home's heater. Take note of the BTUs provided by each model as you shop for a fireplace. The greater the BTUs, the greater the warmth provided by the fireplace. A residential fireplace's average BTU output is around 5,000. If you live in a warm climate and want to add some ambiance, a low BTU model may be ideal. If you live in a cold climate and need to warm up quickly, look for a fireplace with a higher BTU output. The size of the room is also an important consideration. It is easier to heat a small space than a large one.

Considerations for Fireplace Safety

When incorporating a fire element into your home, safety must be a top priority. Electric fireplaces are a great way to reduce risk because they have a very controlled burn and the flame height is easily adjustable.

Fireplace Safety Accessories

As it burns, wood can produce sparks. As a result, it's critical to install fireplace screens in front of wood-burning fireplaces. This prevents hot embers and sparks from escaping the confines of the fireplace and burning you, your furniture, or even your flooring.


When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, ventilation is crucial. When you burn wood, you produce smoke, and that smoke needs to go somewhere so it doesn't accumulate in your home. A chimney provides the necessary ventilation for most wood-burning fireplaces, but it is critical to keep the flue open as the fire burns.

Smoke Detectors

Every home, whether it has a fireplace or not, should have a sufficient number of smoke alarms. If you have a fireplace in your living room or bedroom, place a smoke alarm near the entrance to signal everyone if smoke accumulates too much in one space. Installing the smoke detector directly above the fireplace may cause the alarm to go off unnecessarily. When replacing smoke alarms throughout your home, choose models that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide.

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