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Fireplaces vs. Fireplace Inserts: What Are the Differences?
Fireplaces vs. Fireplace Inserts: What Are the Differences?

Fireplaces vs. Fireplace Inserts: What Are the Differences?

Whether you're looking at a new home or considering an upgrade to your current house, you may find yourself comparing fireplaces versus fireplace inserts. What are the differences? Both options have their unique benefits and considerations, which you can learn about below.

Heat Efficiency

A traditional fireplace, whether wood- or gas-burning, is a staple of many homes, providing both heat and a cozy atmosphere. However, fireplaces tend to lose a significant amount of heat through the chimney, and they also suck warm air out of the room, making them less efficient than fireplace inserts.

Indoor fireplace inserts fit into an existing fireplace, effectively transforming it into a more efficient heat source. They often come with blowers that distribute heat into the room, enhancing heat efficiency significantly.


Traditional fireplaces require a well-constructed chimney for safe venting. If the home doesn’t already have a fireplace, construction of a fireplace and chimney can be expensive.

Fireplace inserts go into an existing fireplace. They use the existing fireplace’s chimney with some modifications. Installation can also be expensive, but energy savings over time can help offset the cost.


When it comes to environmental impact, inserts often have the edge. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates fireplace inserts for their emissions, and many models are surprisingly eco-friendly, producing very little pollution.

Options for Homes Without Fireplaces

Both fireplaces and fireplace inserts offer unique benefits. A traditional fireplace can add significant value to your home and has a classic appeal that many homeowners love. Fireplace inserts, while not quite the same aesthetically, can provide superior heat output and efficiency.

For homes without fireplaces or chimneys, electric wall-mounted fireplaces offer an easy-to-install alternative. Or you can install a wood- or gas-burning fireplace during a remodeling or renovation project you’ve already decided to do and factor the cost into the overall budget.

Now that you know what the differences are between fireplaces and fireplace inserts, you can make a decision for your home. Your choice largely depends on your home’s existing infrastructure, your budget, and your personal preferences. Both options can add warmth and charm to your home, but they do so in different ways. By understanding these differences, you can choose the option that best suits your needs.

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