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A Buyer’s Guide To Electric Fires

Providing instant heat at the flick of a switch is reason enough to choose an electric fire for your home. As well as easy, instant heat, there are plenty of other benefits which are making electric fires an increasingly popular choice for a wide variety of homes.
Electric fires are incredibly versatile, offer a range of styles from contemporary elegance to electric fires that look like real fires. Generating heat using electricity only, an electric fireplace can be installed almost anywhere as long as it is nearby a power source. However, there are a number of considerations to think about before purchasing and installing an electric fire. In our guide to electric fires, we will cover all of the essential aspects so that you can buy with confidence and ensure that you make the right fire choice for your home.

What is an electric fireplace?

Electric fires provide the warmth, atmosphere and style of a real fire, but it does not use gas for its heat source or requires solid fuel such as wood or coal. Instead, electric fires use electricity to generate heat in metal coils within the fire. The heat is then distributed throughout the room using an internal fan within the fireplace.
As these fireplaces only require electricity, it makes installation simple. Homes do not have to have a chimney, and these convenient fires can be placed anywhere where there is a nearby energy source. Electric fireplaces are considered highly practical as they can be used in a wide variety of homes, require minimal maintenance and still offer plenty of heat to keep your home cosy.
Since the 1980s, electric fires have progressed in style and design, and there is now a wide range of fireplaces to choose from that suits your style, interior design trends and décor.

The pros and cons of electric fires

One of the most significant advantages of electric fireplaces is the fact that heat is provided instantly, with just a simple flick of the switch. Unlike solid fuel fires that will require cleaning the fireplace and setting up the fuel, you can have heat in seconds without any hassle. With this in mind, you also don’t have to worry about having enough logs or coals available for your fire. Your fireplace will simply run from your mains electricity.
The other benefits of electric fireplaces include;

  • Highly efficient as heat energy is not lost through the burning of fuel or up the chimney
  • No servicing costs, electric fires are incredibly easy to maintain
  • Incredible safe as it does not emit any toxic fumes
  • Little installation, depending on the type of fire you choose it can be as simple as plug in and switch on
  • Low energy consumption means fires are cheap to install and run
  • Extensive variety of styles, designs, colours and shapes to suit every taste
  • Electric fireplaces can use a wall cavity, and some can sit flat against a wall
  • Can be updated, changes and uninstalled easily
  • Include a range of settings, from variable heat, timers and automatic switch off. Some fireplaces use remote controls for operation.

While electric fireplaces offer a vast range of designs and you can find electric fires that look like real fires, one of the biggest drawbacks for electric fires is that they do not have a real flame. Some designs look very realistic, they do not have the same crackle and natural flame effect compared to what you would receive with a real fire.
Some of the other drawbacks include;

  • There is a degree of noise because of the fan within the fireplace
  • Heating is usually limited with power of 2,000kW for safety
  • They may need updating with style changes and due to breakdowns after a certain period whereas real fires will often last a much longer time.

Which electric fire is right for you?

There are a number of considerations that you will need to think about before finding your ideal fireplace. One of the aspects you need to consider is the size of the room that you want to heat and which wattage you will need to achieve the results you are looking for. While small fireplaces may offer the perfect style, they may not be practical if the room. Similarly, a large fireplace for a small bedroom, for example, may be an inefficient use of space and may make the room overbearingly hot in a very short space of time.


To help you find the right fireplace, you can check the wattage of the fireplace. The dimensions of the fire will also give you an indication of what size of room it will suit. As well as considering the size for heat output, it is essential to measure the space you have available. You will want to make sure the fire becomes a focal point in a room but without becoming overbearing. Measuring the area you have available, before searching for your perfect fire, can help to refine your options.


Once you have decided on the dimensions of your fireplace, you can then consider the style of fireplace you want. If your home has period features, then you may opt for a more traditional design that is in keeping with the tone. If you have a modern or newbuild home, then you may opt for a more contemporary style. There are so many different styles to choose from that you can be sure to find the right one for your needs.


When browsing for electric fires, you will notice that some are inset fireplace. Inset fires require a wall cavity space. The benefit of this is all the technical aspects of the fire are hidden so that you have a clean finish that can sit flush with the wall. You can also find wall-mounted fires that do not need a wall cavity and can be hung flat against a wall. This can be ideal when floor space is at a premium. Freestanding electric fires will usually require more space but will not need a wall cavity.

Flame effects

Depending on which electric fire that you choose, you can find an array of flame effects. The most common is undoubtedly the ribbon flame. This style creates a glow and flickering flame effect thanks to air that is blown through strips of ribbon. Although the effect is incredibly simple, it is also very effective.
For a more realistic glow, LED bulbs can be used to create a fantastic flame simulation for a futuristic yet traditional looking real fire. This type of flame effect can also look incredibly smoky too which adds to the appearance.
Another option which is favoured by more contemporary fireplaces is the ambient glow effect. Instead of creating flames, the fire creates a warming glow. This effect is achieved with a lightbulb underneath your chosen fuel bed. Commonly, this effect works well with pebbles as they can be scattered to disperse the light realistically.

Fuel beds

The type of fuel bed you choose for your electric fire will also go a long way in creating the desired look, whether that is realistic flames or a warm, stylish glow.
A common choice for a fuel bed is coals. You can find fires with loose coals so you can rearrange them to look more natural. There are also fireplaces with pre-moulded beds for coals to be positioned with ease. To keep with the traditional effect, some electric fireplaces use logs as a fuel bed; you can even add a realistic log basket next to your fire for further style.
Pebbles are an excellent choice to create a cool, light look when the fire is switched off; they also add an ambient glow when the fire is on. You can often vary the shape and colour of the pebbles whenever you want to refresh the look of your fire.

Ready to find your perfect electric fire?

At Cast Fireplaces we have a range of electric fireplaces. From realistic and traditional options to cool, contemporary style, we have the perfect electric fire for you. Browse our range here.

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