For most people, the number one reason to install an electric fireplace is for the heat they generate. But if that is all you consider before buying a product, odds are, you are going to be disappointed.
Because once you get that fireplace into your home, you’ll realize that electric fireplaces are more than just glorified heaters. They are the focal point in any room and play a huge role in creating ambiance.
That is why picking a fireplace that looks gorgeous and realistic is just as important as choosing one that heats effectively.
In this article, we’ll take you through our top picks for the most realistic electric fireplaces and give you some much-needed know-how with our electric fireplace buyers guide. Armed with this information and our detailed reviews, you’ll have no trouble finding a fireplace that looks as great as it functions.
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Top Pick: Magik Flame Morpheus
Magik Flame Morpheus
Most Realistic fireplace
Stunningly lifelike with endless functionality and reliable heat output, you just cannot go wrong with a Magik Flame.
These unbelievably realistic flames carry a premium price tag, but it is worth bringing something this gorgeous into your home.
Stunningly lifelike with endless functionality and reliable heat output, you just cannot go wrong with a Magik Flame. These unbelievably realistic flames carry a premium price tag, but it is worth bringing something this gorgeous into your home.
All Magik Flame models use patented holographic flame technology to create flames that look real as any true gas or wood-burning stove.
This technology was created by Howard Birnbaum, a Hollywood special effects artist who worked his magic on multiple blockbuster movies, including The Matrix, Harry Potter, and Starship Troopers. Thanks to his innovation, you can now bring this big-screen illusion right into your living room.
As if uber-realistic flames weren’t enough, Magik Flame fireplaces also come with audio functionality, allowing you to play real recorded flame sounds to match the visuals.
You just can’t beat the lifelike look of these flames, and though they may cost more than other choices on this list, they are absolutely worth it.
Realistic Electric Fireplace Reviews
Magik Flame Morpheus
- Uber-realistic holographic flame technology
- 30 different flame options to fit every mood
- High-quality flame crackling audio
- Quick and effective infrared heating
- Touchscreen control and phone app compatible
The award-winning, patented holographic flame technology sets Magik Flame fireplaces way above the rest.
But this product goes far beyond just providing a single lifelike flame to enjoy. You can choose from over 30 different flame options, from a roaring bonfire to a gentle hearth. Each visual option includes corresponding audio to drive the illusion home.
You can even choose to add nature sounds to help you relax at the end of a long day or a relaxing Sunday morning.
All this functionality is easy to control from the back-lit touchscreen panel on the side of the fireplace. Once you are done using it, the menu fades to black to blend seamlessly with the frame.
Too cozy to get up and adjust the volume, flame, or heat level? No problem! You can always use the Bluetooth function to control the unit straight from your phone.
Of course, realistic flames–no matter how impressive–aren’t worth much if not combined with serious heating power.
All Magik Flame units utilize super-fast infrared heating technology to quickly warm the objects in the room without drying out the air. This heater is highly efficient and will save you money by allowing you to focus your heating needs on the room you’re in.
Magik Flame offers six different hearth options to match any style, or you can buy the standalone insert to use in existing fireplace recesses.
We especially like the Morpheus model for its sleek white pillar design and ability to meld with a wide variety of aesthetics.
To see these impressive flames in action or hear what a Magik Flame sounds like, visit the Magik Flame website today.
Ashley Electric Fireplace
- Three different color options available
- Powerful, adjustable heater
- Realistic, useable mantlepiece
- Adjustable flame brightness
This gorgeous electric fireplace by Ashley features dynamic embers that glow like those in a real fire. The LED projected flames dance across the back screen, and you can adjust its brightness and color.
At the end of a tiring day, you can set this electric fireplace with yellow-orange flames or a fantastical hearth of blues, purples, pinks, and reds.
This unit is no slouch in the heat department either.
The powerful blower quickly emits enough heat to provide supplemental heating for rooms up to 1,000 square feet. And you can independently operate the flames so that you can enjoy the ambiance of your fireplace even on hot summer evenings.
With this heater, you can select your temperature for automatic operation or use the timer to reduce your energy use. The flame, temperature, and timer settings are all programmable via the included remote control.
While the flames on this model don’t quite compare to our first choice, this is still a fireplace worth considering. The gorgeous mantel is hefty enough to support decorative items and looks just like the real thing. And the fireplace offers a unique ambiance with customizable flames and temperature settings.
Dimplex – VF2927L – Opti-V Solo 30-Inch Wall Mount Virtual Electric Fireplace
- Low profile wall-mount style unit
- Uber-realistic flames and sparks
- Crackling sound
- 3D LED logs
If your only goal for getting an electric fireplace is its visual ambiance, then this spectacular wall-mount unit from Dimplex is what you need.
While it doesn’t put out any heat, this product does have incredibly lifelike flames, sparks, and crackling audio. It is so realistic that many users report that their guests think the fireplace is real!
You can install this Dimple electric fireplace model on the wall or framed onto the wall to match your decor.
The HD TV and three-dimensional flames and logs give a deep fireplace look with real burning logs and crackling flames. Even without heat, this unit is sure to make you feel comfy and cozy.
All the features are controlled with the included remote.
Best of all, you can run this energy-efficient unit all day long and pay only pennies. So you never have to feel guilty about enjoying the virtual warmth it creates.
Foundry Select Carbaijal Electric Fireplace
- Realistic faux-stone surround and faux-wood mantel
- Adjustable thermostat
- Bright, adjustable flames
The Foundry Select Carbaijal fireplace gives you the look of an authentic stone fireplace that you would expect to see in the great room of a mansion but in a smaller package to fit in more compact spaces.
The fireplace uses projected LED lights to create flickering flames that are fully adjustable for brightness and height. The glowing “ember” logs complete the look and feel of a real fire.
But this fireplace does more than just look good. It also provides adequate supplemental heat without the obnoxious hum of many other fireplaces.
The ultra-quiet direct current blower quickly pushes warm air into the room without disrupting the relaxing ambiance created by this gorgeous unit.
Do be warned, though, this product isn’t as large as it first appears, and the screen projected LED flames are not of the same quality as the Magik Flames or Dimplex. Still, this unit is perfect for adding a little class and warmth without having to break the bank.
Touchstone Recessed Electric Fireplace
- Recessed wall mount with modern appeal
- Multiple sizes available
- Adjustable flame colors and brightness levels
- Interchangeable log or glass media
Like the Dimplex, you can mount the Touchstone Recessed Electric Fireplace in the wall for a sleek and modern look. Unlike the Dimplex, however, this unit can provide heat, giving you the best of both worlds.
The 3D LED flame action is not as convincing as the other wall mount on this list, but a combination of color options and flame types makes it easy to find a visual that will work with your mood. Each kit comes with both an ember-glowing log media or glowing fire glass for further customization.
The heat settings on this unit are limited to high or low, which you can only control with the included remote. Unlike other electric fireplaces, the heat comes from vents along the top of the insert. We recommend mounting this unit lower on the wall to get the most out of its heating capabilities.
One great thing about this product? It is available in multiple sizes, making it simple to find what you need to fit your space. The smallest unit is only 28 inches wide, while the largest is an expansive 100 inches.
Amantii Cube CUBE-2025WM
- Freestanding or wall mount
- Glass on three sides allows for viewing from multiple angles
- Multiple flame color options
- Multiple media options included in the kit
Don’t have a lot of wall space for an electric fireplace? The free-standing option for the Amantii Cube has you covered.
This unit is built more like a traditional wood stove but with glass panels on three sides for a sleek, modern look that lets you enjoy your fire from almost anywhere in the room. It can be used with the included legs and set on the ground or attached to the wall as a high-profile wall-mount unit.
The LED flickering flames are projected onto a screen at the back of the box. The flames have multiple colors to correspond with the 13 overhead light options to create just the right feeling. We like the classic red/orange hue and the chilling blue and purple “ice flames” setting.
Plus, you can turn on the flames without the heater. If you use this electric fireplace’s heating, it is powerful enough to heat rooms up to 500 square feet.
The standard kit comes with a variety of media types, with more available at an extra cost. We aren’t huge fans of the very fake-looking birch, but the wispy LED flames look great when paired with the fire glass or vermiculite.
Duraflame Quartz Electric Stove
- Freestanding wood stove type unit
- Infrared quartz heating won’t dry out the air
- Adjustable thermostat
- Comes in four beautiful color options
Another freestanding unit to consider is the Duraflame Quartz Electric Stove. The flames on this fake fireplace don’t look as convincing as the Amantii, but the heating unit is far superior.
This heater uses quartz infrared, a type of heating that won’t dry out the air. It is also quieter than traditional electric heaters.
The heater works off a thermostat that you can easily program via the control panel or included remote.
While the flames projected onto the back wall aren’t overly realistic, the glowing logs add a nice touch. The flames have five brightness settings, and you can use them independently of the heating unit.
One thing we do love about the Duraflame? You can open the glass door for easy dusting and cleaning.
This wood stove-style unit comes in a black, cream, gray, or cinnamon finish.
Overall, the heating ability and price point on this electric fireplace more than makeup for the less-than-convincing flame feature.
Dimplex Revillusion 20-Inch Electric Fireplace Log Set (RLG20)
- Mirage flame panel for realistic flames
- 360 degree light cast
- Perfect for existing wood fireplaces
- Provides enough heat for small rooms
If you already have a wood-burning fireplace and are just hoping to upgrade to an electric unit to save on mess and maintenance, look no further. The Dimplex Revillusion Log Set allows you to transform your existing fireplace space without the hassle of installing an insert.
Simply set this 20-inch log unit into a cleaned-out fireplace and plug it in!
The realistic flames, which are created using a revillusion flame panel, cast light in all directions just as an actual burning log would. The flickering, dancing action perfectly imitates the motion and feel of actual flames. It even includes a smoke effect.
But this product isn’t all about looks. It functions as a heater too!
The small heating unit, which blows out from beneath the logs, is enough to warm small rooms and add to a real wood fireplace illusion.
Despite its small size, this electric heater from Duplex allows customizability – albeit a bit restricted and minimal compared to other models in our list.
You can only change the flame color between white and yellow, and the flame glow and heat output are available as low or high. However, you’ll be happy to know that this Dimplex model has a remote control.
While more limited in functionality, you just can’t beat how easy this product is to install and how quickly it can transform your space.
Electric Flame Technology
There are many different ways to create artificial flames. Each of these different flame technologies results in a slightly different look with varying degrees of realisticness.
Let’s take a closer look at how each technology functions and how authentic they appear.
Flames produced by mechanical means are by far the most popular flame technology you will come across.
In these products, a mechanical motor spins a cylinder to create the flames. LED lights are reflected off this cylinder to cast flickering flame shapes onto a screen. These projected flames are usually set at the back of the fireplace.
While not overly realistic, this technology is relatively cheap, which makes these units more affordable.
These units also tend to offer more options in terms of colors but may not provide brightness adjustability.
Because of all the moving parts, they also tend to wear out faster than other products. When this happens, it is usually impossible to just replace the cylinder or motor, which means you will likely end up replacing the entire unit.
Mist or Steam Flames
A more realistic option is a fake fireplace that utilizes mist or steam to create three-dimensional flames.
In these units, a fogger creates steam that rises out of the logs or other medium. Light is projected onto the steam, which is similar to a mechanical flame system. But, because the steam is a three-dimensional surface instead of a two-dimensional screen, the flames tend to look much more realistic.
On the downside, these products take a lot more upkeep. You will need to frequently fill the mister with distilled water –not water from the tap.
These units also require more frequent maintenance. The mister holes are prone to clog, and more parts can break down and wear out. Plus, these types offer fewer options for flame style and variation.
Overall, mist flame products offer a more realistic flame but require a lot of upkeep. They also are more expensive than traditional mechanical types.
Newer electric fireplace models use holographic flame technology to produce realistic flames. Some products are so authentic-looking that visitors will mistake them for real flames.
This technology works similarly to how a TV operates. Actual video of flames is projected through a screen onto the medium below, creating an uber-realistic 3D image.
LED lights in the medium create the look of burning embers, while audio options play real crackling and popping sounds of fire to bring the experience home. Most also offer a variety of fire types, from low and smoldering to big and bright.
Holographic flames are much more realistic than mechanical types and a lot easier to maintain than mist varieties. But they are by far the most expensive type of electric fireplace.
Electric Fireplace Buying Guide
Once you understand the different flame technologies available, you already have a good amount of knowledge to start shopping for your new electric fireplace. But as we mentioned before, the fireplace’s look isn’t always the only thing worth considering.
Here are a few more things to be aware of before you buy your new fireplace.
There are some electric fireplaces made for the sole purpose of looking great. But if you plan to use your fireplace both as a focal point and a means to add supplemental heating, you will want to consider the heat output.
Most electric fireplaces run off on a standard 120-volt outlet, which means they only have 1500 watts output to produce 5,000 BTUs.
So, if you have a 400 square foot room, this type of heater is powerful enough, but anything larger will make it inefficient, especially when used on its own.
Because of its heat output limitation, many homeowners keep electric fireplaces only for supplemental heating. If your home has central heating, an electric fireplace can warm up a room as large as 1,000 square feet.
Some smaller models may have much lower BTU output and would only be useful for heating in tight quarters.
Before you commit to any product, consider the size of the room you plan to use it in and whether it will be used as the sole source of heat or as supplemental heating.
Because the flame features of electric fireplaces don’t produce heat or smoke, you will only need to worry about its safety features.
All units should include a temperature shut-off feature that disables the heater if the elements get too hot. However, most of the time, cheaper electric fireplaces don’t have this feature.
Most of these units also feature “safe to touch” surfaces that won’t get overly hot even while the heater is running. If you have curious kids or pets in your household, this feature can save them from an expensive trip to the ER.
Many models also include auto shut-off timers that will turn the unit off after a set amount of time. This feature is important not just for saving energy but also for an extra degree of safety against overheating.
If you choose a free-standing unit, you should check for a tip-over switch. This safety feature will disable the power to the heater if it should fall. If knocked known on something flammable, such as clothing or paper, the heat produced could be enough to cause a fire if the heater is allowed to keep running.
Many products on this list include all four safety features mentioned here. Still, it is a good idea to consider where you will use the heater and if it has enough safety features to prevent potential issues.
The Wrap Up
We featured some fantastic electric fireplaces with ultra-realistic flames on this list. But when it comes to the most realistic electric fireplace, there was one clear and decisive winner.
The Magik Flame Morpheus combines authentic-looking, three-dimensional, holographic flames with real crackling fire audio to produce a real-to-life experience that no other product can touch. Combined with the long list of functions, a powerful heater, and Bluetooth connectivity for your smarthome, Magik Flame Morpheus easily lands this product at the top of our list.
This unit does come with a premium price tag, however. If you are in the market for something more affordable or a product that offers different features, there are plenty of other great options listed above as well.