When was the last time you lit a fire in your old masonry fireplace? For a lot of people, the effort involved means building a fire in the hearth is a rare event. Most of the time, that masonry fireplace just collects dust and lets in the occasional draft.
There’s a simple solution: the best insert gas fireplace. As the name “insert” implies, these gas heaters easily install into your existing masonry fireplace. Because fireplace inserts burn gas, they produce heat at the push of a button with no smoke or messy cinders to clean up afterward.
Despite the relative ease of installation, an insert gas fireplace is still an investment in your home; the gas fireplace insert you buy today may still be heating your home a dozen winters from now.
Therefore, it’s important to make an informed decision when shopping. To help you out, we’ve compiled reviews and recommendations of the best insert gas fireplaces 2018 as well as the factors that you should consider when picking the best model for your needs.
Best insert gas fireplaces 2018 reviewed
|Model||BTU:||Heating Efficiency:||Fuel Type:||Dimensions:||Price|
|Napoleon GVF36-2N||Up to 30,000||99.9%||Natural Gas||35 1/2 x 37 3/8 x 13 1/4 inches||Check price!|
|Empire Comfort Systems DV-33IN-33LNG||Up to 33,000||77%||Natural Gas||21 3/8 x 30 1/2 x 14 3/4 inches||Check price!|
|Duluth Forge 170034||Up to 32,000||99.9%||Propane or Natural Gas||45 x 45 x 15 inches||Check price!|
|Pleasant Hearth VFF-PHIMD-2H||Up to 27,500||-||Propane or Natural Gas||53.8 x 24 x 44 inches||Check price!|
|Superior Fireplaces VCI3032ZMN||Up to 33,000||99.9%||Natural Gas||35 x 17.5 x 26.25 inches||Check price!|
|Empire Comfort Systems VFP28IN23LN||Up to 33,000||99%||Natural Gas||43 x 16 x 28.75 inches||Check price!|
|Majestic MDVI35IN-CRDI35BK-SI35-4832-BK||Up to 35,000||-||Natural Gas||34.63 x 23.43 x 15.68 x 24.06 inches||Check price!|
|Duluth Forge FDF300R||Up to 26,000||99.9%||Natural Gas or Propane||13.9 x 23.9 x 29.1 inches||Check price!|
|Napoleon Plazmafire VF31||Up to 21,000||-||Natural Gas||28 x 43 5/16 x 9 1/8 inches||Check price!|
|Napoleon Hd35||Up to 25,000||60%||Natural Gas or Propane||41 x 35 1/4 x 21 7/8 inches||Check price!|
Napoleon GVF36-2N 30,000 BTU Vent Free Natural Gas Fireplace – Great Features for Gadget-Lovers
Also, while the HD35 goes over the top in terms of customization, the GVF36 Vent Free Natural Gas Fireplace spoils gadget loving customers.[wpmfc_cab_ss]This gas insert fireplace includes a thermostat which is fully programmable, meaning you can safely come home to a roaring fire after being out on a cold, damp day. The Napoleon GVF36 also comes with an oxygen depletion sensor that shuts off the pilot light before the oxygen inside the fireplace reaches dangerous levels.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Needless to say, it also comes with a remote and Napoleon’s usual lineup of accessory and design options.
Customers praise the reliability of this fireplace insert. They are also reassured by the safety features. Many say it heats large areas with ease, even spaces with high ceilings.
Empire Comfort Systems Innsbrook DV33 Direct Vent Fireplace – All-Around Crowd Pleaser
The cornerstone of their business design is specializing in a few products that are exceptionally well-made and work for a variety of customers.[wpmfc_cab_sw]The Innsbrook DV33 Direct Vent Fireplace fits this bill of solid craftsmanship and crowd-pleasing features. The all-metal construction incorporates easily into both classic and contemporary home designs.[/wpmfc_cab_sw]
Hand-painted ceramic logs are arranged around burners of variable heights which churn out 33,000 BTU and mimic the appearance of wood-burning fires.
Though the realistic logs come with the fireplace, the barrier screen and cover are not included. Some customers also complain that the unpleasant smell of the new fireplace lingers. Others also complained the blower was too noisy for their liking.
Duluth Forge 32,000 BTU Dual Fuel Vent Free Fireplace – High Heat with a Classic Look
Another Duluth Forge pick, this model differs from the other Duluth fireplace on the list for its high heat output. You can easily heat several rooms with 32,000 BTU, making this vent free fireplace insert a great pick for large spaces.
Happy customers report that this fireplace keeps their homes warm but recommend buying the optional blower.
The Duluth Forge 32000 BTU Dual Fuel Vent Free Fireplace has a classical design with beautiful finish options. The brass frame seems to be particularly popular. The easy assembly is another perk of this gas fireplace insert.[wpmfc_cab_sd]Though the fireplace itself seems to hold up fine, several customers have reported issues with the remotes breaking or not working to begin with. Since it can be a hassle to replace or return the whole unit due to a broken remote, you may want to skip the Duluth Forge 32,000 BTU Fireplace if a remote is an essential feature for you.[/wpmfc_cab_sd]
Overall, this Duluth Forge fireplace would work great for larger spaces with classic decor. Within those classy interiors, you can burn either natural gas or propane. Just be sure you don’t mind taking a walk across the room to adjust the heat if your remote breaks.
Pleasant Hearth Convertible Vent-Free Dual Fuel Fireplace – Best Gas Fireplace Insert Reviews 2017
Pleasant Hearth is a brand within the GHP Group, makers of all sorts of fireplaces, fire pits, and other heating systems. GHP also produces the propane which can be burned in this fireplace along with natural gas.
The Pleasant Hearth Convertible Vent-Free Dual Fuel Fireplace comes with a solid wood surround and all the components necessary to put out 27,500 BTU. This gas insert fireplace is priced lower than many similar products, so it might be a good fit for a family on a budget.[wpmfc_cab_sd]However, the flip-side of the low price is that there aren’t any customization options: what you see is what you get. The fireplace also doesn’t come with a remote, and some customers report difficulty reaching the buttons on the bottom of the unit. This may be a particular problem for the elderly or anyone else who has trouble bending over.[/wpmfc_cab_sd]
However, Pleasant Hearth’s many happy customers like how easy the fireplace is to install. Once it’s up and running, this gas fireplace insert provides reliable, gentle heat all season long.
Superior Fireplaces Natural Gas Vent-Free Fireplace Insert – Best Gas Fireplace Insert for Heating
[wpmfc_cab_ss]This Superior Fireplaces gas insert comes with a millivolt ignition. Because this system doesn’t require the usual 120V to light, you can have a roaring fire even if your power goes out.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Superior Fireplaces makes a variety of wood, gas, and electric units that come in both traditional and contemporary designs. Their Natural Gas Vent-Free Fireplace Insert spans both in terms of appearance. It would look at home in everything from a log cabin to a penthouse.
The 33,000 BTU of heat output are managed by a variable speed blower which comes standard.
However, that’s where the freebies stop. Unlike many of the other products on this list, Superior Fireplaces Natural Gas Fireplace Insert caters to minimalist: you get the fireplace and that’s it.
Even the standard accessories like a remote log surround are not included. This may be perfect for people who like to live with less, but might be disappointing to those hoping to get some extras for the price of their fireplace.
Empire Comfort Systems Vent-Free Thermostat 28000 BTU Fireplace Insert – Best Gas Fireplace Insert with Blower
With a built-in thermostat, this fireplace allows you to “set it and forget it.” No more worrying about falling asleep with the fireplace on: this one will maintain a steady temperature on its own.
The Empire Comfort Systems Vent-Free Fireplace insert produces up to 28,000 BTU from natural gas. Because the heat is easily adjustable, this middle-of-the-road output will work for small bedrooms to open living spaces.[wpmfc_cab_sd]Curiously, this gas fireplace insert comes with some accessories—like a blower and faux logs—but essentials like the backdrop and frame must be purchased separately.[/wpmfc_cab_sd]
Perhaps this is intended to give the customer some options to customize. However, not offering a fully functional standard package may be a deterrent for some people.
Monessen Hearth Systems Medium Direct Vent Gas Insert – For People Who Like to be Prepared
With this impressive output, some customers use the Monessen fireplace insert to heat an entire floor of their home, not just one room.[wpmfc_cab_sw]Monessen Hearth Systems also tout their unique “Intellifire” ignition. This system uses sensors to monitor the pilot light, lowering it as necessary for both safety and energy conservation. The electric ignition also features a reliable battery back-up. Even if the power goes out, you can use your gas fireplace as a source of warmth.[/wpmfc_cab_sw]
If you’re looking to customize, there are some accessories and options available directly from the Monessen website. The Medium Direct Vent Gas Insert comes with a remote that lets you adjust the intensity of the heat from across the room. The system is also programmable, so you can wake up to a crackling fire on a cold morning without getting out of bed.
Duluth Forge 26000 BTU Dual Fuel Vent-Free Fireplace Insert – Gas Fireplace Insert for the Money
The Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Fireplace Insert is a solid choice for people who don’t need a lot of extras.
By limiting add-ons, Duluth Forge makes their fireplaces easy to shop for and install. If you want to make your Duluth gas fireplace unique, the company does offer a few different faux wood and colored fireglass options.[wpmfc_cab_sw]According to customers, the Dual Fuel Fireplace Insert is easy to set up even for one person.[/wpmfc_cab_sw]
Though most people seem satisfied with the quality and durability of their fireplace, a few ran into problems. If you do have an issue, Duluth Forge is excellent at providing replacement parts.
However, customers hoping to get an exchange or full refund were often disappointed in the customer service response. This gas fireplace insert has an easy-to-repair design, but you have to be willing to get your hand dirty.
The fireplace churns out 26,000 BTU from natural gas or propane which is enough to warm moderately sized spaces. However, if you’re not the DIY type, you may want to pass on this model. Customer reviews suggest replacement parts are easy to get, but returns can be challenging.
Napoleon WHVF31N Vent Free Plazmafire Wall Hanging Natural Gas Fireplace – Eye-Catching Looks for Design Enthusiasts
The unit also includes two LED lights on the bottom, drawing yet more attention to the appealing design.[wpmfc_cab_sw]Producing 21,000 BTU, this gas fireplace will keep you warm as long as the temperature outside doesn’t drop too low. Like the similar Napoleon HD35, the Plazmafire would probably be best for small spaces and warm climates. The ignition system is electric only, meaning you can’t rely on this gas fireplace when the power goes out.[/wpmfc_cab_sw]
However, this is not to undercut this fireplace’s potential. Since this gas fireplace is designed to hang on the wall, you’re not limited to the space of your old masonry hearth. The vent-free set up also makes it easy to install as a focal point wherever you would like it.
You’ll probably look at your gas fireplace every day. For those who like the Napoleon Plazmafire’s aesthetic, it’s sure to thrill day after day. Unlike other Napoleon fireplaces, however, the essential surround is not included with the unit and must be purchased separately.
Napoleon HD35 – Best Gas Fireplace Insert for Small Room and Basement
Napoleon manufactures a variety of gas inserts and fireplaces, but the HD35 stands apart for all the options available in a small package. Weighing only 12 pounds, this 35-inch diameter gas insert is approved for use in smaller spaces including bedrooms, bathrooms, and mobile homes.
The clean, contemporary design of the Napolean HD35 allows maximum viewing space. The standard design includes a realistic Phazer logs burner and sleek black frame. This fireplace also comes with two remotes with digital screens, two andirons, and a backup ignition system that works even if the power goes out. A limited lifetime warranty also comes standard.[wpmfc_cab_ss]For homeowners with an eye for decor, the Napoleon HD35 provides options for media, frames, and accessories. You can choose to customize your stove with heat-reflecting porcelain backing, colorful ceramic glass, and decorative trays with river rocks or driftwood.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
Optional functional add-ons include blowers and distributors to circulate warm air throughout your space.
Best insert gas fireplaces – Buyer’s Guide
Vented vs. Vent-Free
Though we haven’t yet discussed vents at length, this is probably the most important factor in picking your gas fireplace insert. Before you start looking, you should check the laws in your area to see what is allowed. For example, vent-free fireplaces are legal in all of Canada but regulated in some areas of the United States.[wpmfc_cab_ss]A vented fireplace pulls air from outside. A vent-free fireplace heats the air that is already inside the home. Vent-free fireplaces are much easier to install, but there are more safety concerns with the fireplace competing with other appliances for combustible air.[/wpmfc_cab_ss]
If both vented and vent-free fireplaces are permitted where you live, you should then consider ease of installation and location. Vented inserts almost always have to be installed in an existing masonry fireplace which might cramp your decorating style.
Ultimately, you want your fireplace to warm your home—otherwise, what’s the point? When shopping, you should pay attention to the components that create the heat. First, consider if you want your fireplace to burn natural gas, propane, or both.
Natural gas lines are probably the best source of fuel for homeowners. However, if you’re renting or don’t want to install gas lines, a propane tank can keep your fireplace lit.
Next, consider the ignition. Though your fireplace may burn gas, the spark that gets it going is created by electricity. Some fireplaces come with battery or millivolt ignitions that work even if the power is out. If you intend to use your fireplace as an emergency source of heat, you should be sure to buy a model that includes a non-electrical ignition option.
Finally, look into how the fireplace distributes its warm air. Most gas fireplaces come with a built-in blower or offer one as an optional accessory. The blower can help distribute air more quickly, though some people find the extra noise they create to be annoying. Other gas insert fireplaces distribute heat without a blower through careful design and reflective materials.
BTU is the measure of heat produced by the fireplace. On the cooler end, gas fireplaces produce from about 20,000 to 25,000 BTU. This range is ideal for people with smaller homes and apartments or who only want to heat one room (a bedroom, for example).
On the warmer end, gas fireplace inserts will crank out up to 40,000 BTU. This is enough hot air to comfortably warm of a thousand square feet of space, assuming ceiling height is standard. If you want to heat a whole floor of your house, the higher BTU output you can find the better.
Also, keep in mind that your fireplace will produce more heat when you burn natural gas. Some fireplaces are also equipped to use propane as fuel, but this won’t yield as much warmth.
If your family includes small children or animals, then a safety screen is a necessity. Beyond that, some manufacturers include additional safety feature in their fireplaces. The oxygen sensors, thermostats, and automatic shut-offs can give you peace of mind (and save you money).
Because burning gas produces carbon monoxide, it’s important to make sure that your fireplace is installed correctly. Reading the instructions is always recommended, as is reaching out the company if you need help. If installed correctly, a gas fireplace should not increase carbon monoxide levels in your home. Of course, it’s a good idea to have a functioning detector just in case.
The final thing to have in mind when shopping for your new gas insert fireplace are the accessories you want. These extras include fun decor options like colored ceramic glass or colorful backdrops and surrounds.
Other accessories are more practical. For instance, you may want a remote so you can change the flame level on your fireplace from across the room. As mentioned in the heating components section, optional blowers can improve the warm air circulation from your fireplace.
Ultimately, there is no one single best fireplace insert. Each of the models that we reviewed here will work for different people in different situations. Before you start weighing the pros and cons for yourself, consider what you want from your gas fireplace insert. Knowing your own expectations will help you find the model that’s the best fit for your home.