The size of a room an electric fireplace can heat will be determined by how powerful the fireplace is in terms of heating capability, and the type of heater the electric fireplace uses.
Electric fireplaces are sold stating how much area they can heat, in the units of square foot.
So how many square feet will an electric fireplace heat?
The amount of space an electric fireplace can heat will largely depend on the heater component used inside the fireplace. Electric fireplaces that use a conventional fan forced heater are typically able to heat areas up to 400sqft, while those with an infrared heater are typically able to heat areas up to 1000sqft.
As the heaters within electric fireplaces are hidden away it’s not easy to tell at a first glance what type of heater an electric fireplace has.
We’ve explained in more detail below why some electric fireplaces can heat larger areas than others, how you can tell what area an electric fireplace is able to heat and what types of heater technology are most commonly used.
See the best electric fireplaces you can buy right now here, where you’ll find electric fireplaces that use either type of heater to suit your size of room.
How Much Space Does An Electric Fireplace Heat?
In terms of how much space can be heated, electric fireplaces are different compared to other types of fireplace such as wood burning fireplaces or stoves because the amount of heat being produced is set at a permanent and constant value.
With wood burning fires the amount of firewood on the fire and its type and condition can significantly affect how much heat is being produced.
With electric fireplaces, as long as there’s an electrical supply, you’ll always get the same amount of heat being produced.
This is because there are typically no variables when it comes to an electric fireplace heater. The heater is either switched on or off.
The only exception is with some electric fireplaces that have high and low heat settings. Our electric fireplace stove has the option of high and low heat settings.
There are two heater switches on our fireplace, one that activates the low heat setting (generating 925W of heat), and one that activates the high heat setting (1850W of heat).
The low heat setting needs to be switched on before the high heat setting switch will work.
With the high heat setting switched on our particular model of electric fireplace is said to be able to heat rooms up to 570sqft (53m2).
We undertook a test to see how much our particular model of electric fireplace could warm a room by (which is around 160sqft in size). We were able to raise the temperature within our living room by 13.5 degrees F (7.5 degrees C) within 4 hours using our 1850W fireplace that has a fan heater.
There are two common types of heater that can largely dictate how much space an electric fireplace is able to heat:
- Fan forced heaters
- Infrared heaters
Fan forced heaters work much like a conventional home space heater and include a blower and heating element. The heater sucks in cooler air from the back of the fireplace and forces it over a heating element that provides warmer air through the front and out into the room.
Electric fireplaces that utilize fan heaters are typically able to heat areas of up to 400sqft (37m2).
Our electric fireplace stove uses this method of heating and the pictures below show what the fan heater looks like on both the inside and outside.
Some electric fireplaces may also use an infrared heater rather than a fan heater.
Infrared heaters use infrared light technology to generate heat. A quartz bulb emits infrared light that can be felt on your body as heat (much like how you can feel the heat of the sun on you).
Electric fireplaces that use infrared heating are typically able to heat areas of up to 1000sqft (90m2).
Infrared heaters can typically be found in more expensive models of electric fireplace as they have the added benefit of being able to heat a larger area.
For more information about infrared electric fireplaces see another one of our articles.
If we compare two electric fireplace stoves against each other (one that uses a fan heater and one that has an infrared heater) we can see the differences in how much area each one is able to heat.
The Dimplex Compact Freestanding Electric Stove uses a conventional fan forced heater.
You’ll be able to see the fan heater located at the base of the unit in the picture below:
As this particular model of electric fireplace uses a fan heater, the details of this product shows that it’s able to heat an area of up to 400sqft.
You can find more details about this electric stove right here.
On the other hand, this Duraflame 3D Electric Fireplace Stove uses an infrared heater rather than a fan one.
In the picture below you’ll be able to see the glow of the infrared heater located at the top of the unit:
As this electric fireplace has an infrared heater the product details page shows that it’s able to heat areas of up to 1000sqft.
The heater technology therefore largely dictates how big of a room an electric fireplace is able to heat.
Electric fireplaces that use infrared heaters are typically able to heat a much larger amount of space compared to those that use fan heaters.
Other than the type of heater used and the heating area, these examples of electric fireplaces mentioned above have similar other statistics. Both electric fireplaces have:
- The same voltage of 120V.
- The same power of 1500 Watts.
- Similar heat outputs. The infrared fireplace is able to produce 5200 BTUs while the other is able to generate 4915 BTUs.
The size of the room you’re looking to heat can impact on which type of electric fireplace heater you’ll need to choose.
Electric fireplaces with fan heaters are typically able to heat areas up to 400sqft.
Electric fireplaces with infrared heaters are typically able to heat areas up to 1000sqft.
Fan heaters can take a longer time to heat a room but are able to leave residual heat within the room once turned off. The heat from infrared heaters is able to heat a larger area and can be felt instantaneously, but are generally found in the more expensive models of electric fireplace and don’t leave any residual heat once turned off.
The majority of electric fireplaces use a conventional fan heater rather than infrared.
When buying an electric fireplace:
- If you don’t see any reference to the heater type in the title or description of the product then it’s probably using a fan heater.
- If a product is using an infrared heater then it’s a selling point and can more commonly be found described with the title of the product or its description.