Which is best, a gas or electric fire?
It’s a question we get asked a lot. However, there really is no straightforward answer!
Both types of fire have their own pros and cons. While a gas fire might be a perfect addition to one person’s home, another might swear by their electric fire!
So, if you are still undecided we’ve put gas and electric fires head to head with each other on some of the most important factors when choosing a fireplace.
Which one will come out on top? Read on to find out!
For many people, one of the most important factors in choosing a fire is how efficient it is.
Just to recap, efficiency is the amount of energy used that actually goes into heating your room. If a fire is 80% efficient, for example, that means that 20% of the energy you have used is being lost.
If a fire is 100% efficient, all of the energy you use translates into heat for your room.
So, which is more efficient when it comes to gas and electric fires?
Without a doubt, electric fires beat gas fires on efficiency. As they don’t burn solid fuel, they don’t require a chimney or any other ventilation. This means that no heat is lost through a flue, so you get to enjoy 100% of the heat produced!
However, that’s not to say that gas fires are bad when it comes to efficiency. Glass fronted high efficiency gas fires are available now which can be up to 90% efficient! This is a great improvement on open front gas fires, which usually only reach around 74% in efficiency.
The winner is…
Electric fires are 100% efficient, beating any gas fires this time.
However, high efficiency gas fires now have excellent efficiency ratings, so don’t let this put you off one entirely.
What makes a fireplace environmentally friendly?
There are a few things to take into consideration:
The fuel – is it renewable?
Emissions – does it release harmful gases?
Efficiency – how much energy is wasted?
Open solid fuel burning fires are by far the most harmful to the environment. So, by choosing either a gas or electric fire you already have two good options.
The key benefits of electric fires is that they produce no smoke or emissions, plus they are 100% efficient. What’s more, if you use a renewable energy supplier, they can be highly eco-friendly.
The only downside is that they usually need more energy than a gas fire to run.
Gas fires also produce no smoke and use less energy than an electric fire. However, they do use a non-renewable energy source.
The winner is…
It’s a close battle. Electric fires are cleaner, but you’ll use more energy to run one. This, as we will discuss later, can make them more expensive to run.
Gas fires aren’t quite as eco-friendly as they do use fossil fuel. But, they are still far cleaner than a solid fuel-burning fireplace.
The whole point of buying a fireplace is to enjoy a nice cozy room. So, you’ll probably want to be sure that the fire you are buying will produce enough heat.
Many people ask us whether electric fires are as warm as gas fires. While they do heat up a small to medium-sized room nicely, electric fires usually have a maximum heat output of 2kW.
Gas fires, meanwhile, can offer twice as much heat. Some gas fires offer a heat output of over 4kW, so can be preferable for larger or poorly insulated rooms.
Electric fires also offer a different ‘type’ of heat. Convection heat is used to circulate warm air around the room. Glass-fronted gas fires, meanwhile, can push out more radiant heat through the glass panel.
Another benefit of electric fires worth mentioning though is the flame-only feature. If it gets too warm, you can turn the heat off and simply enjoy the appearance of the fire.
The winner is…
While electric fires do heat up a room perfectly fine, you might prefer a gas fire if you want a stronger heat output.
If however, you have a small and well-insulated room, an electric fire might be more suitable.
We know that cost is usually a huge factor when deciding which fireplace is best for you!
There are, however, a few things to think about when pricing up a gas or electric fireplace.
First of all, is the cost of the fire and installation. Electric fires are often cheaper in this case.
As for installation, electric fires have minimal costs as they don’t require a chimney. Some you can even plug in and go straight from the box.
Having a gas fire installed often costs more. The installation will be more costly as you will need a gas-safe engineer to carry out the work for you.
Then come the running costs.
Gas is typically cheaper than electricity. As we have already mentioned, gas fires also use less energy than electric fires, too. So, they tend to be more economical to run.
However, you should also bear in mind that gas fires require an annual safety inspection which also adds to the running costs.
The winner is…
If price is important to you, work out what the running cost of your fireplace would be based on your energy tariff.
As long as it is affordable for you, both electric and gas fires are equally good options.
One final consideration to make between gas and electric fire is their appearance,
Many people are put off both gas and electric fires because they are under the misconception that they don’t look as good as an open fireplace.
We completely disagree!
We have a whole blog on gas fires that look just like real fires to help change your mind.
As for electric fires, the latest LED technology has resulted in an array of stunning fireplaces with seriously impressive flame displays!
Take a look for yourself on our blog revealing the best and most realistic flame effect electric fires.
The winner is…
It’s a draw! Both gas and electric fires look fantastic, with stunning flame displays and plenty of gorgeous designs to choose from.