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The best electric wood burners, fires and stoves to buy in 2023

Turn up the heat: the best electric log burners offer instant warmth and classy good looks for every budget

The best electric wood burner can add a touch of rustic cosiness to the modern home. While a roaring open fire in a traditional British fireplace is a thing of beauty, it’s not particularly practical or safe – or even legal in many areas of the UK. Radiators and underfloor heating are more efficient, but they lack the focus and ambience of a fireplace.

So, investing in an electric log burner is arguably the best solution for the chilly law-abiding romantic. Unlike solid-fuel burners, electric burners don’t need a chimney or regular cleaning. And unlike gas burners, they don’t need to be installed on your mains supply.

For our roundup, we looked at a wide range of electric log burners, each offering instant heat and a cosy glow at the flip of a switch. Here’s a quick guide to choosing the ideal burner for you, followed by our top recommendations.

Best electric wood burners: At a glance

How to choose the best electric wood burner for you

But aren’t electric heaters really expensive to run?

Electric heating costs more per unit (kilowatt) than gas central heating, and with the UK currently witnessing a serious cost of living crisis, these prices have increased as of late.

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy quoted the average cost of electricity in the UK at around 18.9p/KWh (pence per kilowatt hour) in 2021, but prices have increased exponentially since then. According to data from Energy Saving Trust, October 2022 figures put the average price of electricity, on a standard rate, at 34p/KWh in England, Scotland and Wales.

While it’s very difficult to make any concrete claims about how efficient electric burners are when weighed up against gas central heating, it is true that you’re perhaps not going to have the wood burner switched on as much as your central heating. Plus, many electric wood burners offer warmth instantaneously compared to central heating systems that can take a while to heat up.

Why buy an electric log burner instead of a gas or solid-fuel burner?

Now we’ve got the cost question out of the way, let’s look at some of the advantages of electric burners over their rivals in the home-heating stakes:

Instant heat: Like all fan heaters, electric log burners deliver heat the moment you switch them on. No waiting for radiators to warm up, a fire to catch, or a hot bath to run. Even the smallest burner in our line-up, which costs less than £100, can warm an average-sized living room in minutes. (And it looks fabulous.)

Heat rooms without gas mains access: Do you dread going into your conservatory or loft room in winter because it gets so cold in there? An electric log burner is the answer. A portable stove burner could turn those winter no-go rooms into cosy dens.

No installation or chimney needed: Even large fireplace-style burners don’t have to be attached to the gas mains or equipped with a chimney, so you can put them anywhere. All you need is a plug socket. If you like the look of a stove chimney, you can buy imitation outlets that look like the real thing, which are a bit like a kitchen extractor hood.

No solid fuel needed: Solid-fuel fires are the romantic, fashionable choice, and can be eco-friendly if they comply with smoke-control regulations. However they are messy and you will need to keep restocking on fuel. Some electric burners use real logs and coals for effect, but you won’t need to replace or store them.

Instant cooling: With a real fire – or even radiators – you’re stuck when it gets too hot. With an electric fire, just switch it off and the room cools quickly. No need to strip off or frantically open windows. Many burners also have thermostats for automatic temperature control (and, by extension, cost control); more on that next.

What key features should I look out for?

Adjustable heat and LED settings: The best electric heaters have a choice of settings, including a lights-only setting that lets you bathe in their cosy glow without the actual heat. This is ideal for when your radiators are already on.

Controllable thermostat: Set your desired room temperature and the thermostat will automatically adjust heat settings or switch the burner off and on to maintain that temperature. This isn’t just for comfort and convenience: it also saves money by avoiding high heat settings when they’re not needed.

Safety: When buying an electric wood burner, safety is going to be a high priority – and rightfully so. As with all electrical appliances, look out for products that have safety certification. Most Dimplex wood burners, for instance, are approved by the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB). And some burners, such as the Beldray wall-mounted electrical fire in our roundup below, feature an automatic safety shut-off feature if the appliance overheats.

Remote control: Adjust heat settings from the comfort of your sofa. Some high-end electric burners have smart digital remotes that double as room thermostats, usage meters and timer controls.

Timer: Many newer and more expensive burners have timers, so you can set them to warm the room before you wake up or get home from work. The second burner on our list even lets you configure heat settings for several days ahead.

READ NEXT: Best electric heaters

The best electric wood burners you can buy in 2023

1. Be Modern Linmere: Best electric fireplace suite

Price: £650 | Check price at Robert Dyas

An electric fireplace suite is your best bet if you want that traditional fireplace look without, well, the fire. The Linmere has the look nailed. Its elegantly designed frame and mantlepiece are made from manufactured wood with a soft white finish.

As for the ‘fire’ itself, it ticks all the boxes: the artificial flames are powered by LED light for efficient energy consumption, with a nice flickering flame effect. The heat output can be adjusted via thermostat or, if you just want the cosy feeling of having a glowing fire in the room, then it can be litwithout emitting heat at all.

The only notable downsides are that it doesn’t come with a remote control like some other models, and there is no fan included. However, it does have an automatic safety shutoff and thermal overload protection.

Key specs – Type: Freestanding fireplace suite; Heat transfer: Heated-Air releasing vent; Heating settings: 2 (1kW, 2kW), plus flame-only setting; Colours available: 1; Size: 99.5 x 112 x 33cm (HWD); Weight: 44.8kg

Check price at Robert Dyas

2. Dimplex Cheriton: Best inset electric coal fireplace

Price: £229 | Check price at City Plumbing 

If you’ve got a bare wall where a chimney breast or fireplace used to be, this regal-looking inset electric burner will bring it back to life.

The Cheriton aims for maximum authenticity, with Dimplex’s dynamic LED ‘Optiflame’ effect and a bed of real coals, trimmed by ornate brass. The lovely flame effect really does make the coals glow, so this is the perfect fireplace for anyone who pines for their old coal fire (yes, we do mean buy it for your gran).

The unit is freestanding and portable, so you can put it up against any wall you like. You will need to put the coals in place, but they’re provided along with the ready-assembled unit – plus plastic gloves to save your hands from getting messy.

There’s no timer, but you do get a thermostat with remote, so you (or gran) can control the heat from the sofa or bed. And if you don’t like the Cheriton, check out Dimplex’s wider range of inset electric fireplaces.

Key specs – Type: portable inset; Heat transfer: fan; Heating settings: 2 (1kW, 2kW); Colours available: 1; Size: 68.2 x 63.9 x 19.4cm (HWD); Weight: 12.9kg

Check price at City Plumbing

3. Dimplex Opti-Myst Evandale Electric Stove: Best for realistic-looking flames

Price: From £430 | Check price at Next

Dimplex’s ‘Opti-Myst’ range stands out from the other options on this list, in that it uses an ‘ultra-fine’ water vapour, paired with a warm backlight, to mimic the movement of flames.

Dimplex has claimed that this Opti-Myst technology has created the “world’s most realistic flame effect”, and such technology doesn’t come cheap (though the Evandale is not the most expensive option. The Fortrose Optimyst Stove, for instance, is priced at £800). In a nice touch, the artificial fire can be used with or without the heater, so you can have a nice cosy fire whether or not you need the added warmth of the electric fire.

Key specs – Type: Freestanding stove; Heat transfer: fan; Heating settings: 2 (1600, 1800W); Colours available: 1; Size: 58 x 44 x 28cm (HWD); Weight: 11.6kg

Check price at Next

4. Beldray Curved Wall Fire: Best wall-mounted electric fire

Price: £99 | Check price at Amazon

Short on floor space? Then hang your fire on the wall. This stylish, curved electric log burner is like a warm, adjustable piece of art. The heat and LED flame brightness are entirely controlled by the remote control. Hours of fun.

You do need to mount the unit yourself, using the included bracket, and you will probably need two people to hang it safely. Once in place it looks divine and is very easy to operate. Buttons for heat settings, LED brightness and thermostat are hidden away on the side, as well as on the remote, so there are no controls to spoil the view.

Key specs – Type: wall-mounted; Heat transfer: fan; Heating settings: 2 (1kW, 2kW); Colours available: 1; Size: 48 x 68 x 12cm (HWD); Weight: 18kg

5. BeModern Banbury: Best inset stove burner

Price: £299 | Check price at AO

The Banbury is certainly a looker, combining the handsome solidity of a cast iron stove with the slim convenience of an inset burner – and there’s even a dinky mantelpiece. It’s designed to fit into any fireplace with a standard 16in opening, but the back is flat so you can position it against any wall.

All the basic features are in place: LED flame effects, 1kW or 2kW heat settings, automatic thermostat and safety cut-off. However there’s no timer or remote control.

Key specs – Type: stove inset; Heat transfer: fan; Heating settings: 2 (1kW, 2kW); Colours available: 1; Size: 62 x 57.3 x 17.5cm (HWD)

Check price at AO

6. Warmlite Wingham 2-Door Portable Electric Fire Stove Heater: Best two-door stove heater

Price when reviewed: £110 | Check price at Amazon

best electric wood burner - warmlite wingham

This Warmlite two-door stove heater is a freestanding model with a retro feel and a cast-iron finish – although reviewers are quick to point out that it isn’t actually made from cast iron, but rather of plastic and steel. There are two heat settings – 1,000W and 2,000W – and an adjustable thermostat, and since the controls are hidden behind the glass doors, it doesn’t affect the heater’s traditional appearance.

The stove’s LED flames are satisfyingly realistic, with a pile of logs and glowing embers to boot. As well as offering adjustment to the flame brightness, you can also turn on the flame effect without using the heat function.

Key specs – Type: Freestanding fireplace suite; Heating settings: 2 (1kW, 2kW); Colours available: 4 (Black, Grey, Cream, Midnight Blue); Size: 59.5 x 50.6 x 28.5cm (HWD); Weight: 7.05kg

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