Home Home Improvement Pros and Cons of Different Fireplace Styles
Home Improvement

Pros and Cons of Different Fireplace Styles

Pros and Cons of Different Fireplace Styles

When the temperatures drop, and the sun goes down earlier, few things are more relaxing than sitting by a fireplace. Whether for heating a home or creating a cozy space, fireplaces have long been a sought-after part of a home. 

But wanting a fireplace is only half the battle. Even more important than knowing that you want a fireplace is knowing what kind. Some fireplaces are designed for heat, while others are more of an aesthetic. This article will go into five of the most common styles in hopes of helping you decide which fits your needs and desires best.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Wood-burning fireplaces are the traditional choice. They evoke a sense of nostalgia and warmth, as they have been used for centuries to heat homes and cook food. If you ever went to grandma’s house and sat around a fireplace, it was almost certainly a wood-burning fireplace. 

Wood-burning fireplaces have a chimney that expels the smoke outside, creating that mesmerizing ambiance and delightful crackling sound that can almost be felt and heard by anyone who has experienced it. 


  • Authentic ambiance and aroma of burning wood.
  • It provides excellent heat output, making it ideal for larger spaces.
  • Works during power outages, ensuring continuous warmth.


  • Requires regular cleaning of ash and soot.
  • Wood sourcing can be a hassle.
  • Not the most energy-efficient option due to heat loss through the chimney.
  • If not vented correctly, it can leave a smoky smell.

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are probably the second most common fireplace style and the most common in new builds. Gas fireplaces can be turned on with a simple switch and run through gas pipes instead of a chimney. Gas fireplaces also require little maintenance and use fake logs or other non-flammable materials.


  • Easy to use and control with on/off switches or remotes.
  • Clean burning produces fewer emissions than wood-burning fireplaces.
  • Low maintenance, with no ash or soot to clean.


  • Limited ambiance compared to wood-burning fireplaces. Even with fake logs, it just lacks the full look.
  • It may not provide the same authentic aroma as burning wood.
  • Requires a gas line connection, which can involve installation costs and potential issues if problems arise.

Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are a great option for those seeking the ambiance of a fireplace without the need for real flames or venting. They use electricity to generate heat and often come with LED lights to create the illusion of flickering flames. Electric fireplaces can be freestanding or built into a wall, providing flexibility in placement.


  • Safe and easy to use, with no real flames or gas emissions.
  • It can be installed in various locations, even apartments or rental homes.
  • Energy-efficient option, as they only heat the immediate area.


  • Limited heat output compared to gas or wood-burning fireplaces.
  • It may not offer the same level of ambiance as real flames.
  • Reliance on electricity, making them ineffective during power outages.

Ethanol Fireplaces

Ethanol fireplaces are a modern and eco-friendly choice. They use bioethanol, a renewable and clean-burning fuel, to create real flames without needing a chimney or venting. Ethanol fireplaces create a sleek and smooth look. Think of what you would imagine seeing in a millionaire’s home instead of grandma’s living room. 


  • No need for venting or a chimney, allowing for easy installation.
  • Clean-burning and eco-friendly, producing minimal emissions.
  • Portable and can be moved from room to room.


  • Lower heat output compared to other fireplace types. Rarely used as a central heating source.
  • Ethanol is usually much more expensive than wood or gas.
  • Flames may not be as vibrant as those from wood or gas fireplaces.

Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves offer a greener alternative to wood-burning fireplaces. They burn compressed wood pellets made from recycled materials, making them a sustainable choice. Pellet stoves come with a hopper that automatically feeds the pellets into the stove, providing a consistent and efficient heat source.


  • Highly efficient and eco-friendly.
  • An automated feeding system reduces the need for constant refilling. Minimal maintenance of cleaning. 
  • Produce a steady and even heat output.


  • Requires electricity to operate the feeding system and fans.
  • Pellets need to be stored, which requires space.
  • Some say it looks more like a furnace as opposed to a fireplace.
  • Initial installation costs can be higher than traditional fireplaces.


Whether you are looking to keep your home warm, going for the romantic aesthetic of a fire, or just want to have an addition, there is a fireplace for everyone. By considering the pros and cons of each style, you can be confident in finding the right kind for you. 

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