So you’ve bought a house with a fireplace. But you’ve noticed how inefficient it’s heating your home. Many homeowners find themselves in the same situation and have turned to a fireplace insert. Fireplace inserts are known for being efficient, cost effective, and convenient options. We’ve reviewed the best fireplace inserts on the market today.
Differences Between a Fireplace and a Fireplace Insert
Many will hear about fireplace inserts and not understand how they differ from a normal fireplace. Here are a few differences between the two options.
What is a fireplace?
A fireplace is open fire in an existing fireplace. The fuel used in common fireplaces is wood or fireplace logs like Duraflame. There are two openings, one in the front where you can see the fire and one opening above – the flue – where the smoke escapes up the chimney.
Fireplaces are often covered by either a screen or glass. This keeps the fire somewhat contained and any ash or residue from the fire in a centralized location. If a fireplace has a glass screen it can sometimes be mistaken for a fireplace insert.
What is a fireplace insert?
A fireplace insert is a stove that is inserts into your existing fireplace. There are different types of inserts and they use different types of fuels. You can purchase a wood burning insert, a gas insert, or pellet insert. This all depends on personal preference and budgetary decisions.
If buying a fireplace insert, they must be installed into an existing fireplace and it’s recommended that it’s installed by a professional. Since fireplaces emit dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, safety is of the utmost importance.
Benefits of Fireplace Inserts
Fireplace inserts are stoves that are inserted into a pre-existing fireplace and chimney system. An insert acts like a normal fireplace but has additional benefits.
Heats your home more efficiently
Normal fireplaces allow valuable heat to escape through the chimney due to the openness of the system. A fireplace insert will close any gaps you’d normally find in a chimney. This ensures the heat given off isn’t escaping up the flue but rather into your home.
More cost effective
Because you are reclaiming that escaped heat, you’re spending less on either your fuel (wood) or your other heating method.
Traditional wood burning fireplaces push smoke and other chemicals into your home. With a fireplace insert, not only is the fire burning more cleanly, but the fire is contained. This means your eyes and respiratory system will be spared the smoke and particles that typical fireplaces kick into your home.
Fireplace inserts come in a variety of styles. This means you can remodel your fireplace without the cost associated with other fireplace remodels.
Fireplace Insert Buying Guide
If you decided that a fireplace insert is the best option for your home, you’ll need to consider the following when shopping.
First you need to make sure the insert will fit into your fireplace’s firebox. Since an ill fitting insert could be dangerous, this is your first task. Measure your fireplace. Here are all the measurements you should make.
Measure the Opening: First measure the opening of the fireplace. Measure side to side and top to bottom. If the fireplace has a curve or arch, measure the highest and lowest points.
Measure the Rear: Next measure the rear of the fireplace. This is the back wall of the firebox. Measure side to side and top to bottom.
Measure the Depth: Next measure the rear of the fireplace. This is the back wall of the firebox. Measure side to side and top to bottom.
Measure the Hearth: You’ll want to measure the hearth to know how much clearance in front of your fireplace you have. You can combine this number with the depth but knowing each measurement can be helpful.
Be sure to write all your measurements down for when you’re shopping.
There are quite a few types of fireplace inserts in terms of fuel. These are:
- Wood pellet
Depending on your preference, budget, and geographic location you’ll want to research each option. There are benefits to each, but each come with certain limitations or requirements.
One of the great benefits of choosing a fireplace insert is that you can change the look of your fireplace quite easily without the trouble of having your fireplace completely redone. A fireplace insert can change the color, style, and ambiance of a room.
Best Fireplace Inserts 2020 Reviewed
Best Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts
This wonderful wood burning stove will heat up a space up to 1,800 square feet. There is a cast iron door that opens so you can feed the stove with wood. On the door is ceramic glass which will keep the stove insulated and your house safe from smoke and other emissions.
These stoves are manufactured in the US which is another reason this is a great buying option.
Customers have stated that the firebox is a bit on the small side. But other than that, a great buy!
The Timberwolf Economizer is a wood burning fireplace that boasts it can heat up to 2,000 square feet. Included is two CFM blowers which will ensure there is proper air circulation when you have a fire lit.
You’ll love the low profile of the Napoleon Oakdale Cast Iron Wood Insert stove. It also comes with a very large glass viewing area so you can truly enjoy the fire, not just the heat it produces.
As with many of the inserts, electricity is needed in order to run the blower. The blower will ensure the space is heated in a timely fashion. The blower has varying speeds and is heat activated.
Best Pellet Stove Inserts
The Breckwell Wood Pellet stove will kick off 50,000 Btus and heat up spaces as large as 2,200 square feet. The 60 lb hopper will allow you to sit back and enjoy the fire without getting up too often to refuel.
Customers also love the fact that these stoves are made in the USA. It has an auto ignition feature and comes in a variety of styles.
One of the great things about the US Stove Multi-Fuel Stove Insert is the variety of fuels you can use with it. You can use it as a straightforward pellet stove or you can venture into other biomass fuels such as corn or soy beans.
The stove can heat a room from 1,000 – 2,000 square feet. The hopper holds 60 lbs of fuel so you’ll need to fill it up a few times a week if you plan on using it often.