Dimplex Fortrose Lifestyle on Hearth

Five things to consider when buying an electric fire

Fitting an electric fire in your home can provide instant comfort and warmth on cold or dull days, as well as enabling you to create a relaxing ambiance year-round with its realistic flame effect. But with such a wide range of choices available, how do you know which fire is right for you? This handy guide will help you ensure you get the fire that is the perfect fit for your home, your taste and your budget.

1. Style

Electric fires come in all manner of shapes and sizes, but the good news is that these can be grouped into six main categories or styles.  Which style is right for you will depend on your personal preference, the space you have available and your décor.

Dimplex Grand Rouge Electric Stove in a white room

As the name suggests, these fires mimic the look and feel of a traditional wood burning stove but don’t have any of the hassle associated with getting logs delivered and split etc. Depending on budget, models can have nice features such as opening doors for viewing a larger flame picture. They are also freestanding, enabling them to be moved around your home if desired.

Dimplex Mustique Indulgence Optimyst Electic Fire Suite in a lifestyle room setting

Suites provide an all-in-one fireplace solution as they incorporate a fire and full surround. Many designs can be simply removed from the box and placed flat against the wall for an instant fireplace. A few may require part of the fire to be recessed into a cavity in the wall, if you are seeking a slimmer look to your fireplace.

Dimplex Torridon Inset Electric Fire lifestyle scene

Inset fires, also sometimes known as insert fires, usually slot into an opening or cavity. This could either be an existing fireplace opening or a surround that is able to accommodate the back of the fire. As a large proportion of these fires sits within a cavity, they can be less intrusive in the space of a room. If you like the design of an inset fire but don’t have a cavity, many come with ‘spacer kits’ which allow them to become freestanding.

Dimplex Ignite Wall-mounted Fire lifestyle scene
Wall mounted

These sleek fires are ideal if you have limited floor space or want a modern twist on a traditional fireplace. Some models hang on the wall, whilst others can be built in for a more streamlined look.


Basket fires are an ideal way to give a rustic, open fireplace look and feel. Some come with an optional ‘ash bed’ to give an even more realistic effect.

Dimplex Yeominster room set
Radiant bar

These traditional bar fires utilise radiant heat to provide instantaneous, comforting warmth with vintage styling.

2. Flame technology

There are multiple electric flame technologies available, and your choice of fire should take into account both the effect you would like to achieve and your budget. You can decide on a stunning, three-dimensional flame effect like our own Optimyst, which uses water mist and coloured lighting to create the illusion of realistic smoke and flames, or our premium Opti-V that utilises an LCD screen and a sound element for a fully rounded fire experience. The new Optiflame 3D effect adds depth and customisation to the flickering flames, building on our original Optiflame effect, which is a more cost-effective option.

flame comparison

3. Fuel bed

Another design element to consider is the fuel bed of your chosen fire. A gently glowing log or coal bed is the perfect way to create a traditional look, but pebbles or crystal beds can give your new fire a refreshing, contemporary style.

fuel bed effects

Most fires come with a fuel bed that suits the design of the fire – for example most stoves come with a log fuel bed, as this is the fuel generally used in a real stove. However, in order to give you a wider choice, selected fires will come with a choice of fuel bed. Our range of Optiflame 3D inset fires for example, are provided with interchangeable fuel bed options as standard, allowing you to swap them out to suit your style or mood.

4. Heating requirements

Electric fires will generally come with a heat output ranging from a minimum of 600W to a maximum of 2kW. The higher the wattage, the faster the fire can heat the room. For added efficiency, many electric fires let you select full or half power and also feature thermostatic controls, meaning the fire will only produce heat when the temperature in the room drops below a set level.

Dimplex Lucia room set cropped

The great thing about choosing an electric fire is that you can often use the flame effect without using the heating element – this allows you to enjoy the comforting ambiance of your fire whatever the weather or time of year.

If you want to have the ambience of a flickering fire but have your home heating under control, there are even a few electric fires that do not have a heating function at all. Please ensure you fully read the specification for the fire of your choice.

5. Extra features

The final thing to consider is whether you want your fire to include any extra features. For example, if you want to adjust your fire from the comfort of your sofa, a remote control would be perfect. Some fires, such as our Opti-V range, incorporate a sound element, allowing you to enjoy the relaxing sounds of crackling logs as well as the flickering firelight. Likewise, look out for accessories that may be available such as hearth pads or stove pipes for added authenticity.

Dimplex Sunningdale Opti-V room shot

So there are many options to choose from, and many things to take into account when you are choosing which electric fire you are going to install in your home.  But whatever your tastes and however large or small your budget, the on-demand comfort of an electric fire is within your reach, so take some time to explore our products and see how Dimplex can help you make your house a home.