Best Gas Fireplace Insert Reviews and Buying Guide

You’re not alone if you want the warm and cozy feeling of a crackling fire in your home, but not everyone likes the idea of having to haul wood in to the room, and clear up the mess of soot after use.

Gas fireplaces are ideal in these situations because they can still create the cozy and relaxing place that we all enjoy.

In fact, many of the styles and designs available nowadays can create the perfect focal point in any room.

Most gas fireplaces run on natural or propane gas, and are available in a range of prices to suit most budgets.

A typical gas fireplace can cost upwards of $1500 but installation can add to the price. Considering brick fireplaces with a chimney can cost quite a lot more, gas fireplaces are certainly value for money.

There are three main types of fireplace to choose from: the top-vent, direct-vent and ventless gas fireplace.

The direct-vent type of fireplace vents out the back of the appliance and through the wall of the house.

Gas fireplace inserts can be bought as top-vents that are installed into an existing fireplace design. Ventless gas fireplaces have no vent, but burn inside with gas connected to the appliance.

Not so long ago, many gas and electric fireplaces stood out like a sore thumb because they were plastic looking and totally unrealistic. Nowadays though, there are many impressive designs with gas fireplace logs that look a lot like real fires.

There are also many outdoor fireplace styles and designs which use gas. These are usually very easy to use and provide great warmth; perfect for creating a place for friends and family to gather in the garden.

Gas fireplaces have two ways of dealing with the heat they create. They either allow the heat from the burner to directly release into the room, or they heat air that is pulled in to the cabinet and then released back in to the room.

Whereas electric fireplaces are pretty straightforward to set up, the installation of gas fireplaces is more complicated as it needs connecting to a gas line. This needs to be considered when you purchase the gas fireplace, because if you can’t carry out the installation yourself then you may need to pay to hire an expert.

Although most fireplaces become focal points in the center of the room, there are corner gas fireplaces that look great also. Of course, there are many fireplace design ideas and styles so you certainly aren’t limited by choice.

The internet can suggest hundreds of styles and design of gas fireplaces, so it’s well worth taking a bit of time to look at the models several retailers have to offer. Our website features many articles on what to look for in all types of gas fireplaces, and will help you choose the best appliance for your home.

Best Gas Fireplace Inserts

Peterson Real Fyre 24 Inch Post Oak Log Set

Best gas fireplace insert

The Peterson Real Fyre 24 Inch Post Oak Log Set with Vented Natural Gas G4 Burner is a gas operated fireplace, designed for indoor use.

It comes with with artificial logs and a real fire.The log set can be lit indoors with the use of a match and runs on the gas emitted from the main valve.

Designed with refractory ceramics, the product claims a long life span and comes with a lifetime warranty.Since this set uses cosmetic logs instead of real ones, it serves as an alternate to wood. Designed like real logs, these have a crusted bark, exposed sapwood and simulated knots that give this cosmetic wood a real look.

The set weighs approximately 96 pounds and fits most standard fireplaces. The Peterson Real Fyre comes with a G4 burner that has a single pipe within the burner pan and gas ports within the entire length of the burner, help in creating more flames that appear realistic.

The set also comes with silica sand spread over the burner and embers that gives the flames more color and realism.

Product Pros
  • Easy to install and does not come with a huge book full of instructions
  • the Peterson is not messy and does not require a lot of work, all it needs is a functional gas line tube and matches
  • it is durable and comes with a life time warranty.
  • This is not a fragile set and withstands quite a lot of moving and handling.
  • he logs are very realistic and burn very well, all the time looking pretty amazing.
  • Best of all, it is attractive, safe and easy to turn off and actually gives off good heat, even when set to low, which makes it a great money saving gas fireplace.
Product Cons
  • Many people find the Peterson a tad bit too expensive, especially compared to the cost of maintaining and keeping a real fireplace.
  • In order to keep this gas fireplace safe, a safety valve has to be installed.  That also costs around $150, making the set much more expensive.
  • Even though the logs are quite realistic, the burner and connections have to be covered, as they give an unrealistic appearance to the Peterson and cannot be left around especially in a house with children or pets.

The instructions regarding the inlet is difficult, and the set comes with an inlet on the right, making it a hassle for those who have a gas inlet on the left in their fireplace. Although this can be fixed by switching your gas inlet to the other side, it is an additional hassle, especially if you do not know how to switch the inlet, which requires calling in a professional.

Overall this product is a good buy if you really are the kind of person who spends a lot of time in their living room and live in a place that is cold more often than not. The Peterson gets quite a lot of compliments and has an aesthetic appeal, so it is definitely a good buy for people who entertain guests at home often. For all the above it is definitely a great investment and pretty hassle free.

PromCom Dual Fuel Vent-Free Fireplace

best gas fireplace insert reviews

The ProCom Dual Fuel Vent-Free Gas Log Set offers the efficiency of a wood burning fireplace, without all of the hassle that a real fireplace gives.

This unit provides unparalleled warmth and style that will compliment any decor and is hand painted to look like genuine wood burning in a fireplace.

This gas fireplace log from the experts at ProCom set lets the customer switch between natural gas and liquid propane for optimal ease of use.

  • Propane use requires a 100 lb or larger tank that is not included and available at most gas supply companies.
  • It is equipped with a thermostat control with five settings that allow you to adjust temperatures as you see fit while real flames add warmth and comforting atmosphere to any room.
  • The unit sits on a heavy duty iron grate and offers 32,000 BTU’s of output.
  • However the regulator, flex hose, and blower are not included with this unit, the manufacturers warranty that comes along with it spans 12 months, limited parts.
  • Product Pros
    • This gas fireplace does not cause an upsurge of CO2 in your home, which sometimes happens with other gas burning appliances.
    • It heats evenly and gives no cause for health problems such as headache, nausea, and sleeplessness.
    • Very easy to set up and control
    • The price for gas fireplace unit is very affordable and worth every penny that is paid for it.
    Product Cons
    • The instructions were a little drawn out and redundant
    • It might take a day or two to get used to the noise that comes from the gas fireplace.
    • Does not have remote control

    Overall, the ProCom Dual Fuel Vent-Free Gas Log Set is very highly rated.

    It is perfect for large or small spaces due to the adjusting thermostat feature. It is largely for people that want to heat their homes or spaces with log fireplace comfort and mood, while not wanting to deal with the mess that they would have to worry about with a regular fireplace.

    It is also perfect for those looking to convert their wood burning fireplace into a gas fireplace. Customers who want to purchase this unit have nothing to lose and everything to gain choosing the ProCom Dual Fuel Vent-Free Gas Log Set for their home.

    Napoleon Gas Fireplaces

    best fireplace insert

    One of the best known manufacturers of gas fireplaces are Napoleon. This company began making steel railings in 1976 but saw the potential for fireplaces and began producing these same fireplaces in 1981. They are based in Ontario, Canada and are now one of the leading companies producing gas fireplaces, wood burning fireplaces plus many other accessories and products.

    If you are thinking of buying a new fireplace then a Napoleon gas fireplace could be perfect for you. It will provide your home with a stylish feel and you will know you are getting a top quality product from one of the most reputable companies in the industry. Gas fireplaces will give your home warmth, style and is a cost effective form of heating. It will add value to your home if you ever decide to sell and it will provide a wonderful warm setting on a cold winters evening.

    Napoleon sell a range of beautiful gas fireplaces in traditional or contemporary styles and you can choose from models in the style of direct vent, natural vent or vent free, depending on your preferences. Whichever style you choose, you will be getting a completely reliable product and the security of a limited lifetime warranty.

    You will not require a chimney with Napoleon’s direct vent gas fireplace as it can be vented through the ceiling or the wall. A direct vent fireplace draws the air in from outside and also expels air back out again meaning that it does not use any of the air in the house. This provides for an extremely efficient source of heat.

    One of the oldest types of gas fireplace is a natural vent gas fireplace. This is one of the most realistic looking fires. It uses what it known as a ‘B-Vent’ which is specifically designed for homes which require vertical terminations of over 20 feet.

    A vent free gas fireplace is designed to burn all the gas it uses so that it doesn’t expel any fumes and therefore does not require ventilation. Napoleon provides a range of stylish vent free gas fireplaces which will bring warmth and elegance to your home. They are easily installed and because of the zero clearance design, they can be installed virtually anywhere in your home.

    So if you are looking for an instant, convenient fire which is clean, easy to use and has realistic looking flames, then a Napoleon gas fireplace is the perfect choice every time.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Fire Place Appliances

    Q. I remember the seventies when there was a concern about running out of natural gas and homes could not be installed with gas and gaslights had to be turned off. If I buy a gas fireplace, will there be enough gas to keep it burning?

    A. The question is good, the answer is great…yes, according to the American Gas Association (A.G.A.) there are more than 60 years of proved gas reserves and an unlimited amount beyond this data. These reserves are located in gas fields that have been identified and can be accessed whenever the need arises.  Both the Department of Energy (DOE) and this number.

    Also, because of new drilling technologies, wells can be sunk deeper into the ground to allow for the availability of more natural gas. At least 90 plus percent of all gas used in the U.S. comes from this country. Only about eight percent comes from Canada and 2 percent from other countries.

    For your information, gaslights are now allowed in 48 states. Unfortunately, the conservation movement devastated the gaslight market. Twenty-five years ago more than one million lights per year were sold. Today that number is under 75,000.

    Because of a new technology that allows for on-and-off controls on gas lights, consumers are installing them at their homes, country clubs, casinos, business offices, historic sites, city streets, developments, schools, restaurants, marinas, and shrines. Back in the 1800’s the first competitor to the gaslight industry was whale oil. Times have changed!

    Q. Can I use propane gas instead of natural gas in gas fireplace appliances?

    A. Yes, most all gas appliances, except for the new gas heat pump, can work using propane or natural gas. However, because propane is a different chemical base than natural gas (methane), there are adjustments that must be made.

    Usually, the orifice must be changed to allow for the higher heat value (an orifice is the opening in an orifice cap or another device that controls the flow of gas).

    However, some appliances are made for only natural gas or propane. As a reference, look in the A.G.A. Certification Directory, or other nationally recognized laboratory’s directory to determine which appliances are certified for natural gas and/or propane use.

    Q. Which fuel burns hotter, propane or natural gas (methane)?

    Propane is the hotter burning fuel. Propane is a gas that is present in most natural gas and is the first product refined from crude petroleum. It contains approximately 2,500 Btu per cubic foot.

    Methane is the chief constituent of natural gas and has a heating value of about 1012 Btu per cubic foot. Therefore, propane has more than twice the heat value of natural gas per cubic foot.

    Q. What do I need to know about Btu and gas fireplace equipment?

    The average 24″ set of vented gas logs burn 60,000 Btu per hour. However, smaller and larger sets are available ranging from 8,500 Btu per hour to 100,000 Btu per hour.

    Fireplace inserts range from 12,500 Btu per hour to 50,000 Btu or more. Vent-free gas logs and fireplaces range from 8,500 Btu to 39,000 Btu per hour. This compares to a gas oven in a range. Gas ovens automatically cycle and cannot burn more than 40,000 Btu per hour at full load. Customers may be interested to know that gas ovens do not require venting.

    Q.I have been told that vent-free gas fireplace units burn 99 percent AFUE. What does AFUE mean, and what AFUE should I look for in buying a vented or vent-free product?

    AFUE stands for “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.” To understand the importance of the measurement, let’s look at a gas furnace. If the furnace burns 78 percent AFUE, this means that 78 percent of the heat is being utilized in the home and 22 percent is going up the chimney or flue.

    Because vent-free products do not have a chimney or flue, all of the heat enters the room, therefore their manufacturers advertise “99 percent AFUE.” If the unit is a gas fireplace insert, the AFUE measurement may equal that of a heating appliance rather than a decorative appliance such as gas logs.

    Gas logs give off heat, but because of the opened damper in the chimney, much of the heat goes up and out. Subsequently, the heat is radiant and warms the room…the same type of heat that comes from a cozy wood burning fire.

    Q.How much will my gas fireplace cost to burn for the season?

    A. This is not an easy question. It depends on how much you want to burn it. Some families use their gas fireplace for weekends and others use it daily. A good estimate is about 400 hours per season. To determine the cost, multiply the Btu per hour of your unit, times the number of hours (60,000 Btu X 400 = 24.000,000 Btu).

    Now reduce this number to therms or cubic feet. A therm is equal to 100,000 Btu: the answer is 240 therms or 24.0 Mcf. Now look at your gas bill and find the cost of gas per therm or Mcf. and multiply the annual Btu by that number (if your gas is .70 a therm or $7.00 per Mcf, your annual cost would be $168.00 or about $14.00 per month on budget billing).

    Here is another example: If you have a 40,000 Btu gas fireplace and only use it 200 hours, the cost is only $56.00 per year (40,000 Btu X 200 = 8,000,000 Btu divided by 100,000 = 80 therms X .70 = $56.00 per year or $4.66 per month. The cost of gas is different in each city. Be sure to check with your gas utility or propane dealer. National numbers are available but they are not the same as your locality. Here’s a link to a fuel cost calculator where you can compare the prices of different fuels.

    Direct Vent Gas Fireplace

    If you have always wanted a fireplace but your home does not have an open fireplace installed or a place to fit one, you can solve this problem by getting a direct vent gas fireplace.

    A direct vent gas fireplace can eliminate the need to get a chimney and a fireplace built into your home and the obvious cost involved with this.

    You can still have the relaxing flames and warmth that a wood burning fire would provide but it is much easier to install and easy to use. A wood fireplace requires a chimney in order for the smoke and soot to escape, plus they need to be cleaned out and set each time you use them. And you have to wait for the flames to die out after every use.

    The cleanliness and efficiency of a direct vent gas fireplace is second to none. It can be installed easily with a vent placed in the ceiling or wall and it has zero clearance technology which means that it can be placed directly on any combustible surface such as wood so it can be placed almost anywhere in the home.

    Most direct vent gas fireplaces have a glass door in front of the flames and they use either propane or natural gas as a fuel. They are clean and energy efficient and are a suitable alternative to pollution causing wood burning fireplaces.

    These environmentally friendly fireplaces are a great addition to any home and can be purchased in a variety of traditional and contemporary styles to suit any tastes. They are becoming more and more popular in new build homes as a stunning show feature to attract people to purchase the homes.

    Direct vent gas fireplaces are easy to use and can be operated with the flick of a switch or by a button on a remote control. They need only be turned on when required and you will not have to wait for the fuel to burn out as you do with a wood burning fireplace.

    When you have finished with the fire you can simply turn it off again with the button. They are convenient and energy efficient and would be a fabulous addition to any home.

    What are the benefits of the best natural gas fireplace?

    Best Natural Gas Fireplace

    A natural gas fireplace is the perfect centerpiece for any home.  With a fireplace that is powered by natural gas, you can experience the warmth and romanticism of a traditional fireplace, without all the mess, smoke, and potential danger that comes form burning wood.

    There’s nothing quite like a gently crackling fire on a cool evening to warm a room. There’s something about a fireplace that resonates deeply with humans.  Perhaps it’s some fragment of ancestral memory that tugs at the subconscious mind, whispering of long winter evening spent warm and safe with loved ones at the dawn of time.

    Perhaps it’s no more than memories of winter holidays spent celebrating in front of the fireplace at Grandma’s house, or warming frozen toes after a morning spent racing on waxed sled runners down frosty white hills.

    Whatever the roots of the human love affair with fireplaces, it’s a love that was built to last. Fireplaces are still immensely popular and for good reason; fireplaces provide beauty and value as well as heat.

    Still, in spite our attachment to them, traditional fireplaces have fallen out of regular use and been largely demoted to the realm of mood lighting.

    That’s because wood burning fireplaces have numerous drawbacks.

    • They are dirty and release smoke.
    • They require regular maintenance.
    • You have to buy wood, chop it, stack it, store it and carry it inside before you can arrange it in the fireplace, get it lit and adjust the damper to prevent your house from filling with toxic smoke.
    • And Once lit, a traditional fireplace represents a significant risk of causing a house fire and may even raise your homeowner’s insurance premiums.

    Natural gas fireplaces, on the other hand, are clean, smokeless, highly efficient heat sources that can be turned on or off with the flick of a switch or a press of a remote control button. These are not your parent’s gas “fireplaces.”

    Modern natural gas fireplaces are beautiful, with realistic-looking logs, glowing “embers” and naturally colored and shaped flames. Specially designed burners closely mimic natural burn patterns and logs are available to look exactly like many different types of natural wood.

    Gas fireplaces are efficient sources of heat, and can even save energy by allowing you to turn down the thermostat but continue to heat living areas.

    The best gas fireplaces typically do not increase your homeowner’s insurance payments because, although modern gas fireplaces look like traditional wood burning fireplaces, in reality they are high-efficiency natural gas furnaces.

    Heat is dispersed by a powerful but gentle fan that can be safely turned off so you can enjoy a romantic interlude by the fire even if the temperature outside is unseasonably warm. Today’s gas fireplaces are an efficient, beautiful and convenient addition to your home.

    How The Best Gas Fireplace Work

    Many of the units available can be installed in an existing firepit that is built into the wall, although complete freestanding units are also quite popular.

    What is required of course is a source of fuel, namely the natural gas itself. A gas line must be run from the main pipe entrance of the home to the location of the fireplace, connected to the gas log and a control switch, and the gas log unit must be securely fastened to the base of the hearth area.

    This is usually performed by an accredited plumber with natural gas experience.

    What Causes The Wood Burning Effect?

    Lennox Hearth H4642 42 Inch Elite Stainless Outdoor Ventle Gas Fireplace - Herringbone

    Gas logs mimic the appearance of the real thing, but instead of wood they are manufactured out of a specialized type of fired ceramic clay or cement.

    Concealed within the log is the actual burner unit, including the standing pilot light. This light is always on by default when the unit is not in use.

    If for some reason the pilot light goes out, most units have a safety feature that automatically shuts off the supply of natural gas.

    Also part of the log construction are the accent embers, which are made of a type of rockwool. They have organic components that are mineralized, giving off a glow that resembles actual burning wood coals. They and the rest of the log component are completely fireproof.

    Using The Fireplace

    When the unit is switched on the gas is sent to the pilot light, which is itself using a small amount of the gas to stay lit. Much like a gas-operated stovetop or water heater the unit now produces heat. Absorbed by the surrounding cement logs, this heat either escapes up the chimney or can be convected via a fan into the surrounding room air.

    Ventless gas fireplace units produce the most heat and lose very little of this hot air through the chimney flue. The control switch not only increases or decreases the amount of natural gas used, but in most units can be considered the switch that operates the level of glow by the accent embers. Heat sensitive, these embers may change their color or brilliance depending on the temperature of the gas logs.

    Custom Designed Units

    Most manufacturers and distributors of gas log fireplaces have various designs from which to choose, available for viewing online or in a showroom.

    Many of the styles are designed to bring out a certain lighting effect and work well with a particular shape and size hearth area.

    In most cases professional installation is recommended because of the specialized connections made between the log unit and the gas line. Gas log burners must meet ANSI standards and pass fire safety codes before being made legal for sale.

    Natural gas fireplaces provide a cozy, comfortable living room atmosphere and are easy to use and maintain. They also can save tremendously on winter heating costs for the home and carry a warranty for the owner’s peace of mind.

    Types of Gas Fireplaces

    There is a wide selection of gas fireplaces on the market to suit any home and decorating scheme. They all vent combustion gases in order to run safely and efficiently.

    The three types of gas systems differ in the way in which they deal with these combustion gases. Natural vent, direct vent and vent-free fireplaces all have advantages and disadvantages, so the prospective buyer should do some homework before making a decision on the best gas system.

    Natural Vent Gas Fireplace

    A natural vent fireplace combines the appearance of a wood fireplace with the efficiency of a gas fireplace. The chimney is combined with a double wall pipe, known as a B-vent flu, which runs from the fireplace through the roof.

    Air needed for combustion is drawn from the room.

    An advantage of a natural vent fireplace is the ability to burn wood.

    A disadvantage is that new installations require the expensive construction of a chimney, through which considerable heat is lost. Heat loss can be lessened with purchase of a model containing a fire box inside another box. In this model, air circulates around the fire box and back into the room instead of up the chimney.

    Direct Vent Gas Fireplace

    Direct vent fireplaces draw air from outside and return exhaust outdoors via a flu system. The flu pipe lies at the back or top of the fireplace and vents through an outside wall.

    An advantage to this type of fireplace is the elimination of the chimney requirement, meaning the fireplace can be positioned on any outside wall. The tightly sealed nature of the system ensures that inside air is not used, making this type of fireplace highly efficient. The airtight design also works to prevent harmful emissions from entering the room.

    A disadvantage of direct vent fireplaces is the inability to burn wood. The closed construction of the fireplace prohibits access to the fire itself.

    Vent-Free Gas Fireplace

    Vent-free fireplaces do not use a chimney at all; instead, they vent exhaust right into the room. The primary disadvantage of this type of fireplace is the danger of carbon monoxide buildup.

    Vent-free systems employ an oxygen-detection feature that shuts the vent off when the room’s oxygen level falls below 18 percent; however, people suffering from respiratory problems may opt for a different system. Advantages of vent-free fireplaces are the ease of location and efficiency of operation.

    Gas Fireplace Inserts

    Gas Fireplace Inserts are used to convert an existing wood burning fireplaces (both pre-fab and masonry) to a sealed gas appliance. They consist of a Gas Log set installed into a Steel or Cast-Iron Heat Exchanger and are usually sealed on the front with glass. Many of these units have fans to move the heat, and are also available with remote controls, wall switches or wall-mounted thermostats.

    Typical Gas Insert Shown

    These Gas Inserts are much more efficient than the Vented Gas Logs, and the sealed fronts (glass) provide an extra safety factor. Quality Gas Inserts can provide BTU outputs ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 BTU and burn at over 80% efficiency.

    Because of the high efficiency (very little heat goes up the chimney), the installation differs from that of regular Gas Logs. The flue outlet on these inserts is usually a 4″ round pipe, and it is necessary to line the chimney to the top with a Flexible aluminum pipe or a B-Vent pipe. This assures a good updraft for the chimney. Some newer units use two pipes up the chimney, one to bring in combustion air and one to send the by-products of combustion back outside.

    Gas Inserts sell for $1000. to $2100. with professional installation adding another $500. to $800. to the price.

    Recently, a new breed of Gas Inserts have been developed that do not need a chimney liner. These units are built to be less efficient than the regular inserts, therefore throwing a bit more heat up the chimney. The chimney can therefore draft well without needing a liner. This new breed of inserts sell for $900 to $1300 and include blowers and glass doors as standard equipment. Installation involves slipping the unit into the fireplace and connecting a gas line— around $200. to $300. in most areas.

    If you like the idea of a Gas Fireplace conversion, and are looking for a unit to provide supplemental heating as well as the beauty of a flickering fire, check out the Gas Inserts at your local retailer.

    Jay Green
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