Electric fireplace logs, also known as electric fireplace log sets, are a type of electric fireplace that are designed to represent the logs and embers associated with a real wood burning fire.
While many other types of electric fireplace consist of a whole unit with the fire effects in the middle, such as electric fireplace inserts and wall mounted electric fireplaces, electric fireplace logs don’t contain a larger outer frame and so are typically much smaller in size.
This allows more flexibility when it comes to placing electric fireplace logs inside an existing fireplace, for example, as a set of electric fireplace logs won’t be as constricted by the size of the opening as much other types of electric fireplace such as inserts.
We have an electric fireplace log set that often sits within our existing wood burning fireplace in the months of the year that we’re not using it for a real wood burning fire.
We’ve put this complete guide to electric fireplace logs together to explain what they are, what they do, how they work, what they look like, and more.
This article covers electric fireplace logs from a user’s perspective.
For the best electric fireplace logs you can right now see our electric fireplace log sets buying guide.
Do Electric Fireplace Logs Give Off Heat?
Many electric fireplace logs do give off heat but there are also a large number of models that don’t. While some electric logs will have a built-in fan forced or infrared heater, some models don’t contain any form of heater and therefore can’t give off heat, instead opting to focus on more realistic fire effects.
You’ll typically find more models of electric fireplace logs that aren’t able to give off heat compared to other types of electric fireplace.
Their typically smaller size means that there isn’t always space for a heater in many models.
If an electric fireplace log set can produce heat however then it will have a form of heater and you’ll be able to see the maximum heat output offered by that heater on the product box or webpage.
The heat will commonly be produced by one of two types of heater:
- Fan forced heater
- Infrared heater
Fan forced heaters use a blower and heating element to force cooler air through the element and provide warm air to the room.
The use of a fan means that these types are noisier, but typically help to reduce the cost of the fireplace and are therefore typically found in cheaper models.
Infrared heaters don’t have any moving parts and so are much quieter and you’ll instead feel the heat radiating onto you.
Our own electric fireplace log set does produce heat and uses an infrared heater to do so.
Do Electric Fireplace Logs Look Realistic?
Electric fireplace logs can look quite realistic in general, but it depends on the model of fireplace. Lower cost models may not look very realistic while top of the range models that focus on flame, log and smoke effects can look very realistic.
Some lower cost electric fireplace logs may not look very realistic as the logs may not be as well put together and look plasticky, and the light effects may not produce very realistic looking flames or burning ember effects.
However, if you have the budget, you can find very realistic looking electric fireplace logs.
Some models can use a range of the latest technology such as ultrasonic flames or smoke effects for the most realistic experience. The downside of these models can be that focusing on the most realistic flame effects can mean no heater installed within the fireplace.
Our electric fireplace log set isn’t the most realistic looking but then again we didn’t go for one of the more expensive models.
Can You Put Electric Logs In A Wood Burning Fireplace?
Electric fireplace logs can typically be put in an existing wood burning fireplace if the log set is small enough to fit within the firebox, the firebox has been removed of any grates or other objects, and that there’s a nearby electrical outlet if required.
We place our own electric fireplace logs inside our living room wood burning fireplace outside of the winter months when the masonry fireplace isn’t in use.
We ensured that this model of electric logs would fit inside the firebox of this fireplace by measuring the dimensions.
There’s also an electrical outlet located on the wall near and outside to the fireplace for us to plug it into.
Had there not been a nearby electrical outlet then we would have needed to have one installed or bought an electric fireplace log set that can run on batteries.
Electric fireplace logs that have a heater will always need to be plugged into an electrical outlet and won’t be able to run on batteries.
Can You Put Electric Logs In A Gas Fireplace?
Electric fireplace logs can’t be placed in a gas fireplace. Electric logs aren’t designed to be used alongside another form of fireplace. It’s also unsafe to use a gas fireplace with any other objects that don’t come part of its original design.
Electric Fireplace Features & Options
Electric fireplace logs will typically always come with flame effects such as logs that light up to look more realistic and/or a projection of flickering flames.
While some models, like ours, only have logs that light up, other models can project the look of flames onto the wall behind the unit.
Depending on the model, an integrated heater is also common.
It can also be possible to buy electric fireplace logs that have:
- Smoke effects
- Sounds effects
- Remote control
Smoke effects can be found on some of the higher end models of electric logs and can often be found being created using water vapour technology.
Sound effects may be integrated into some models of electric fireplace logs but may also be found as an optional extra for others.
If an electric fireplace log set comes with a remote control then it will allow you to control it from the comfort of your seat.
As an example, our electric fireplace logs:
- Has a simple flame effect using a bulb below the logs
- Has an infrared heater for putting out heat
- Doesn’t have any smoke effects
- Doesn’t have any sounds effects
- Didn’t come with a remote control.
What Are Electric Logs Made Of?
The log effects in an electric fireplace log set are typically made of plastic but may be made from other materials such as ceramic in higher-end models. The main frame is typically made of metal but can also be plastic.
Our electric fireplace log set has a metal frame with plastic logs and other plastic trim.
How Electric Fireplace Logs Work
Electric fireplace logs work by using light effects to imitate the look of a wood burning fire, typically with logs that glow, but may also have flame effects. Some models will also produce supplementary heat using a fan or infrared heater.
Depending on what features you’ll find in a specific electric fireplace log set, there might be:
- A glowing set of logs lit up from a light source underneath.
- Flames effects, either in the form of a display panel on the fireplace itself or by projecting the flames onto the wall behind the unit.
- A heater generating heat either by using a fan forced heater with blower and heating element to warm the air as it passes through, or by using an infrared heater to radiate heat out into the room.
As our fireplace has an integrated heater it needs to be plugged into a nearby electrical outlet before it can be used.
It has a light source located underneath the log effects in the form of a halogen bulb that provides the red-ish glow to the logs when the fireplace is turned on.
Removing the back of the fireplace we can see this light source inside:
In our model of electric fireplace there’s also an object that spins around to provide movement to this log lighting effect, referred to as the flicker motor in the manual.
Our electric fireplace logs also provides heat in the form of an infrared heater.
This infrared heater takes up much of the front of the unit and contains two heating elements.
The controls for this fireplace are formed of two switches, with each one controlling one heating element.
As each heating element can be individually controlled by their respective switch, we can either have none, one or both elements on at the same time.
Each heating element produces 600W of heat, for a minimum heat output of 600W and a maximum heat output of 1200W.
When these infrared heating elements are switched on, they warm up and get up to full strength after 30 seconds or so.
You can feel this heat being radiated out into the room.
See our dedicated article on infrared electric fireplaces for more information.
Other models of electric fireplace logs may use a fan forced heater instead of an infrared heater.
Fan forced heaters inside electric fireplaces consist of a blower that forces air through a heating element to warm up the air in the room, and example of which is shown below found in another one of our electric fireplaces.
How To Install Electric Fireplace Logs
Electric fireplace logs typically don’t require any form of permanent installation and in most cases can be placed on the floor of its intended location. Many models still need power and will need to be plugged into nearby electrical outlet to work.
We simply placed our electric fireplace logs onto the hearth of our existing wood burning fireplace and plugged the power cord into the electrical outlet located on the wall outside the fireplace.
This fireplace sits on the legs and can be moved around as we please.
How Do You Clean Electric Fireplace Logs?
Electric fireplace logs can typically be cleaned by first unplugging the unit from the electric outlet and using dusting cloths and damp cloths to wipe down the fireplace from dust, dirt and stains, being careful not to leave behind any moisture.
Are Electric Fireplace Logs Safe?
Electric fireplaces can be considered a safer form of fireplace because there are no real flames but every set of electric fireplace logs should still always be setup, used and maintained strictly in line with the manufacturers guidelines.
What Are The Best Electric Fireplace Logs?
See our electric fireplace logs buying guide for the best electric fireplace log sets you can buy right now.