Trying to work out the best way to stay warm this winter? How would you like the old-world charm of a roaring fire, without the smoke or messy hearth? Don't have a chimney? No problem! It's time to take a look at an electric fireplace heater.

Also called flame-effect heaters, they perform as a normal electric convection heater and are the perfect antidote to a cold, wintry evening. What could be more heartening than a fire (effect) to gather around? They're also a great in-between for renters who can't have a log fire for insurance reasons.

I'm sold! What do I need to look for?

The most important features to look at are:


These heaters offer a fairly simple range of controls – two heat settings and the ability to operate the flame effect without heating should be standard.


Some models also have a thermostat, which switches the heating elements on and off to maintain a temperature.

Flame dimmer

For that extra level of ambiance, some models also allow you to change the flame level to suit your mood.

Cord length

Make sure the electrical cord of the heater will reach your power point, as the use of an extension lead is not recommended.

Replacement bulbs

Most heaters use standard clear candle-type light bulbs to create a flame effect and they're fairly simple to replace. If a bulb goes out, the model should continue to operate as a normal convection heater.


They range from around $250 - $400.