Come wintertime, there’s nothing better than cozying up on the couch with a good book and a glass of wine in front of the fireplace. There’s just one problem: Not everyone has access to a built-in mantel! Enter freestanding fireplaces.
These stand-alone devices, which typically range from less than $100 to a few thousand dollars, enable you to bask in the glow of a roaring fire without the need to have them built into your home — a task that can run upwards of $10,000, according to HouseLogic by Realtors. That’s not including maintenance costs, which can quickly tack on another $200 annually.
While some freestanding fireplaces will require professional installation — a chimney pipe may be required for certain vented models, while others are made to go into your wall — there are other ventless or electric versions that come ready to go.
Types of Freestanding Fireplaces
As with most things, freestanding fireplaces are not created equally. While there are many different features and varieties to choose from (Do you prefer a wall-mounted piece or a retro style? A corner design or one that’s built into your home entertainment system?), most fireplaces are distinguished by their heating sources. Read on to learn more about the different types that are available and which one will best suit your home.
Electric fireplace: These fireplaces are essentially electric heaters designed to look like coal, wood-burning, or gas fireplaces. They work by drawing in cool air, warming it internally with a heated coil, and gently forcing the warm air back out.
Gas fireplace: Unlike electric fireplaces, which generate their heat internally, gas fireplaces will need to be hooked up to a gas line, making the installation slightly more labor intensive. Vented versions will also require that a pipe be installed, though ventless options are available.
Ethanol fireplace: These fireplaces are another type that truly stand alone, drawing their flames from free-standing biofuel, which can be lit with a long lighter. As such, they are 100 percent portable.
Wood-burning fireplace: Though it’s possible to get a wood-burning fireplace without having one being built into your home, it will require some work to ventilate, typically by going through the wall with a factory-built chimney.
Infrared fireplace: These fireplaces are a bit different in the sense that they only warm the objects placed in front of them — bodies included. They are normally powered through electricity, but can also be run with gas or propane.
The Best Freestanding Fireplace
Now that you know a bit about freestanding fireplaces, it’s time to shop for the perfect one for your home. From a retro design that will make you feel like you live near a lodge ($450.74, Wayfair) to one that’s built into its own living room console ($320.33, Amazon), we’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling for FIRST for Women’s picks for the best freestanding fireplace around.
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Best Infrared Fireplace
Where to buy: $98.99 (Originally $119.99), Amazon
Those looking for a more energy-efficient way to enjoy a warm fire will want to look into this quartz fireplace from Lifesmart. Not only does it have a collective 4-star review from more than 1,000 customers on Amazon, it's got three heat settings, a 12-hour timer, and digital remote controls. Since it only heats the people or objects placed in front of it, it won’t dry out your air. Better yet, you can use the flame element without heat for a snuggly feel on less chilly days.
Wrote one happy camper: “Heats up quickly, looks awesome, and the remote control means I don't have to get up while working to adjust either the intensity of he flame or the temp. Of all the similar products I've owned in the past (wood-stove type heater, electric fan heaters, etc), this one is just great.”
Best Small Freestanding Fireplace
Latitude Run Merrimack Alexa-Enabled Fireplace
Where to buy: $699.99 (Originally 769.99), Wayfair
This smart fireplace can be controlled by your voice thanks to its Alexa-enabled technology. It buttresses corners in small spaces, and can heat up areas of 400 square feet to temps between 62 and 82 degrees. A screen, adjustable thermostat, and remote are included.
Best Freestanding Fireplace and Bookshelf
Where to buy: $316.33, Amazon
Feast your eyes on this gorgeous bookshelf and fireplace combo from Ameriwood. In addition to its realistic flames, which are operated via electric heating, you’ll get a stunning space for books and knick-knacks thanks to the three-tier manufactured wood mantle. While reviewers say it takes a while to set up, the library-like ambience it creates — not to mention the heat, which will warm rooms up to 400 square feet — will be well-worth it, in our humble opinion.
Best Cheap Freestanding Fireplace
FDW Electric Fireplace Heather
Where to buy: $59.99 (Originally $69.99), Amazon
If you love the idea of a freestanding fireplace, but balk at the cost, fear not: You don’t have to spend your pension to add some fiery ambiance to your home! This No. 1 best-selling electric model from FDW costs less than $60 and weighs in at just 13 pounds, making it mobile enough to move from room to room. It’s also equipped with safe auto shut-off features, an easily adjustable thermostat, and plenty of heat (4,780 British thermal units, or BTUs).
Best Freestanding Stone Fireplace
Home Decorators Collection Faux Stone Fireplace
Where to buy: $179 (Originally $269), Home Depot
Choose from three colors of impressive faux stone in this rustic electric wall-hugging unit from Home Decorators Collection. It provides up to 5,200 BTUs of warmth for larger spaces (up to 1,000 square feet), and the flame can be operated with or without heat. It's also plenty safe for kids and pets thanks to its “safer plug fire prevention technology,” which monitors the heat of the plug. There’s a digital thermostat and an auto timer that can run between 30 minutes and nine hours.
Curved Wall Fireplace
Northwest Curved Color-Changing Fireplace
Where to buy: $579.99, Kohl’s
For a unique take on the fireplace trend, warm yourself with this curved freestanding model from Northwest. Not only can it be mounted to your wall with screws for a contemporary design aesthetic, its flames change color (choose from 10 different eye-catching hues). There are two heat settings, and you can also adjust the brightness of the flames via the included remote control.
Best Modern Fireplace
Regal Flame Delano Ventless Fireplace
Where to buy: $279.99, Walmart
You can’t get much more current than this tempered-glass table fireplace from Regal Flame. Built to reflect “purity and simplicity,” its minimalistic design gives the illusion of a floating fire. It can be used indoor or outdoors and runs on ethanol. Best of all, no installation or maintenance is required — simply light it up and watch it burn!
Best Freestanding Ventless Fireplace
ProCom Ventless Dual Fuel Stove
Where to buy: $349.99, Amazon
Compatible with gas or propane, this ventless pick comes pre-assembled to cut down on installation time and cost. It’s 99.9 percent efficient, with no outside duct or chimney required. It also packs plenty of heat, warming sizable rooms (1,100 square feet) with 25,000 BTU of sheer power.
Best Freestanding Wood Burning Fireplace
Century Wood Stove
Where to buy: $827, Home Depot
Chic though electric fireplaces may be, for some, there’s no replacing the warmth and smell of a real wood log. This wood-burning stove holds logs up to 20 inches for a whopping 75,000 British thermal units of energy (BTU) — that’s enough to heat a 2,000 square-foot room! It requires a chimney flue for installation, but once properly set up, it can burn for up to eight hours. A removable ash drawer also makes for easy cleanup.
Best Retro Freestanding Fireplace
Foundry Select Arneson Chiminea Fireplace
Where to buy: $450.74, Wayfair
If it’s an old-school vibe you’re after, look no further than this steel wood-burning chiminea, which can be used outdoors thanks to its weather-resistant finish. It burns hot and clean as it draws fresh air into the fire while transferring away smoke and soot. It also comes with a log grate.
Best Freestanding Gas Fireplace
Wolf Steel Napolean Stove
Where to buy: $3,800, Amazon
For the ultimate in freestanding heating standards, the Wolf Napololean stove is the way to go. With 44,000 BTUs and a lifetime limited warranty, you’ll be warm as can be, even if the power goes out, since it runs on natural gas or propane.
Most Realistic Freestanding Electric Fireplace
Kitsco Boyer Convertible Electric Fireplace
Where to buy: $484.99 (Originally $936.61), Wayfair
Our award for the most realistic-looking freestanding fireplace goes to this part wood, part faux stone design from Kitsco that cozies right up against your wall. It’s got a plug-in electric design and can heat a 150-square foot room by as much as 20 degrees in the span of 60 minutes, according to Wayfair. You can adjust its included thermostat via a remote, and there’s a child safety lock feature to make sure your little ones don’t get burned.
Best Freestanding Electric Fireplace
Tallosten Electric Fireplace TV Stand
Where to buy: $799.99, Target
With it’s sleek, contemporary mantle design, you’ll feel right at home in front of this plug-in electric fireplace, which boasts enough heating power to warm a space up to 400 square feet. It’s got life-like logs with glowing embers for a classic feel, but can be controlled with the touch of a remote button. It’s also equipped with cool-to-the-touch glass for safe enjoyment.