Compare Electric Fireplace Costs
How Much does it Cost to Install an Electric Fireplace?
$55 – $385
Average Cost Estimate
$400 – $850
$900 – $2,100
|Retail Cost||$55 – $385||$250 – $850||$700 – $1,750|
|Design Complexity||Simple||Simple to Complex||Moderate to Complex|
|Wiring Added||No||Yes or No||Yes|
|DIY||Yes||Yes or No||Yes or No|
|Unit Rating (Quality)||3-4 Stars||3-5 Stars||4-5 Stars|
|Realism||Average||Average to Good||Good to Excellent|
|Heat Settings||One||Two||Two or More|
Overview of Electric Fireplaces
There’s a lot to like about an electric fireplace – no wood to load, no venting, no mess and no risk of a chimney fire, or the need to add a chimney flue liner. And they have more options than gas log fireplaces. The best electric fireplaces produce “flames” that are nearly as attractive and mesmerizing as the real thing.
There’s a good selection for appearance, performance and heating features. Free-standing, wall-mounted, firebox inserts and large fireplaces with mantels are available.
Electric fireplace options and how they affect cost are explored in this page of Costimates. The information will help you decide your budget for the style and features you want in your electric fireplace.
A comparison of prices from other top renovation sources is included along with actual costs from homeowners like you. Finally, we’d like your opinion on DIY vs pro installation, and we’ll share our recommendation.
Note on heating capacity: Keep in mind that these units are designed for supplemental heat and for creating ambience. They are not primary heat sources. The area they can effectively serve depends on wattage, outside temperatures and the amount of insulation in the space.
Electric Fireplace Unit and Supplies Cost
Unit Retail Price Factors
There’s a $2,000 difference between the least and most expensive electric fireplaces. These factors determine how much a unit will cost that has the features you want.
- Design Complexity – Wall-mounted models have simple design – a frame around the fireplace panel. The most complex stand-alone models feature a mantel and faux stones or other design features to resemble a built-in natural fireplace.
- Size – In any given style, the larger the unit is, the more it will cost. For example, wall mounted electric fireplaces range in width from about 24 to 100 inches. Stand-alone models range from 14 to 60 inches wide.
- Realism – The more realistic the look of the flames, and logs if included, the higher the cost. Realism is achieved in a variety of ways including lifelike logs, randomly flickering flames and LED displays.
- Features – Most have multiple heat stages and a no-heat mode. A few are controlled by a thermostat for more precise comfort. Flame height, brightness and up to 12 color choices can be selected on many models. Remotes and touchscreens add convenience.
- Heat Output – It’s common to have two heat settings, usually 750 and 1,500 watts. BTU output is approximately 2,500 and 5,000 for the two settings. Units with just one heat setting, typically 1400 or 1500 watts, cost less.
- Quality – Like any other consumer good, quality varies. Cheap models are mostly plastic. They last about as long as a space heater. High-quality units incorporate steel frames and housing, genuine wood, realistic stone and LED displays. They often work well for a decade or more.
- Dual-purpose – A few large electric fireplaces cost more because they have bookshelves or a TV stand built into them.
Retail Cost Range
- $55 – $150 | These entry-level electric fireplaces are produced in desktop, freestanding and wall-mounted styles. Flame realism isn’t very good, but they do create a bit of ambience. Features and fireplace colors are limited. There is typically one heat setting of 1350 to 1500 watts.
- $165 – $385 | Features choices expand in this range, but are still limited in some styles. Quality varies, so be sure to check customer ratings and reviews before buying.
- $400 – $850 | This is the best-selling cost range. Most units have low and high heat settings and adjustable flames. Remotes are common. Better materials are used, and greater durability can be expected.
- $900 – $2,100 | The most expensive electric fireplace models are feature-rich and made with quality materials. In terms of features, expect multiple flame control options (color, brightness, height), thermostat-controlled heat, touchscreen control and/or remote, a timer and LED display. Units are made from better materials such as genuine wood and steel instead of plastic and authentically textured faux stone or brick. Some also have added features like a bookshelf, closing doors or an integrated television stand. Most are large electric fireplaces.
Cost of Installation Supplies
About 98% of all electric heaters come with standard 110-120V plugs. If an outlet is available where you want to install your electric fireplace, then there is little or no installation cost.
If there’s no outlet, you’ll have to run wire, an outlet box and an outlet with cover.
- $0.30 – $0.40 (30-45 cents) per foot | 14/2 Romex insulated wire. It’s available in packages of 15 feet and spools starting at 25 feet.
- $0.75 – $1.50 per unit | Outlet box
- $1.50 – $2.50 each | Standard 20 Amp, 110-120 volt outlet. If your fireplace will be used in a bathroom, it is recommended that you use a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet, or GFCI, if one does not already exist. They cost $15-$18 each.
- $4 – $6 | 20 Amp circuit (optional)
- $15 – $25 | Miscellaneous tools such as a wire cutter/stripper, electrical tape and wire nuts.
Permits, Inspection, and Installation Costs
A permit may be required when electric wiring is installed. Your installer should be able to tell you whether one is needed, and if so, will apply for the permit.
If you’re planning to wire it yourself, call your local Building Codes office to ask if a permit is required. And see our DIY or Not section for our recommendation on wiring.
- $50 – $85 | Permit for a simple wiring job
Jim from Source Julien in Traverse City, Michigan told us, “When there is no wiring to be done, we charge between $100 and $200 to install a wall-mounted, insert or other type of electric fireplace. This includes making sure it is functioning properly and giving the homeowner a brief tutorial on its use.”
Installation Labor Factors
These factors will affect material and labor costs when a new outlet is installed by an electrician.
- New vs Existing Circuit – If the existing circuit is sufficient in the area you intend to install the fireplace, then installing just a new outlet will cost $125-$200. When a new circuit must be installed, cost will increase to $300-$500.
- Wiring Distance – How far the fireplace location is from the circuit it ties into or the electrical box for a new circuit will impact material and labor costs.
For professional installation, here’s what you can expect.
- 1 – 3 Hours | Installing wiring, if needed
- .5 – 2 Hours | Installing the fireplace. The time it takes depends on the fireplace style. Installing a wall-mount bracket takes a half-hour or less. So does fitting an insert and fastening it in place. Cutting into drywall to install a recessed fireplace is a 1-2 hour job.
If you have to install wiring and an inspection is required, waiting for the inspector might hold up the project for a day to a week.
Note on assembly: Electric fireplaces that resemble full-size, built-in wood fireplaces require assembly. That usually takes 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the complexity of the design. This is usually done by the homeowner prior to the arrival of the pro installer.
DIY or Hire a Pro
Assembling an electric fireplace and plugging it in is a simple task, obviously. Installing a wall-mounting bracket and fireplace or fastening an insert fireplace into place are nearly as easy.
The bigger challenge is installing an electrical outlet when needed. Adding a circuit to the electrical box is even more dangerous.
I’ve installed a handful of electric fireplaces in my home and the homes of relatives and friends, and they have always been a good choice. If you need more incentive or reasons to buy one, head over to Twin Star Homes and see their list of 10 reasons why they make sense. When an outlet or complete circuit was needed, I hired an electrician for the work. In short, those jobs have been a joint DIY/pro job.
Our recommendation is to discuss the work with a local electrician and hire them when a circuit and/or outlet is needed.