The Best Gas Fireplace Inserts of 2022

Gas fireplace inserts offer the attraction of a real flame and are easy to live with. Learn the key features to help you find the best model for your home.

By Bob Beacham | Updated Nov 21, 2022 11:43 AM

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Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Options


There are several different types of fireplace inserts, but gas models are a favorite since they offer the ambiance of a real fire while being much easier to light. With no soot or ash to deal with, they are also easy to keep clean. Gas fireplace inserts are even used as a replacement for existing masonry fireplaces when the homeowner wants something that’s much more efficient and economical for heating, making them a particularly popular choice for new builds and remodels.

If you’re considering a gas insert fireplace, you’ll find plenty of choices, but some of the technical aspects can be daunting. After researching the best gas fireplace inserts currently available, we created this guide to clarify some key features to help you choose the right model for your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Napoleon Grandville VF Series GVF36-2N 37″ Vent Free
  2. BEST FLEXIBILITY: Empire Loft Series DVL25 Fireplace Insert
  3. BEST DUAL FUEL: Superior DRI2000 Gas Fireplace Insert
  4. BEST DIRECT VENT: Empire Tahoe Deluxe 36″ Direct-Vent NG Millivolt
  5. MOST VERSATILE: Ashley Hearth Products 34,000 BTU Vent Free Firebox
  6. HONORABLE MENTION: Montigo Illume 30FID Direct Vent Gas Insert
Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Options


What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gas Fireplace Inserts

General questions relating to selecting a gas fireplace were explored in a previous article, and you may find that useful. Here, the focus is specifically on selecting a gas fireplace insert. An understanding of the different technologies will be invaluable in making the right choice for your home.

Types of Gas Fireplace Inserts

Gas fireplace inserts can be divided into several types according to how they are vented. They can also be separated by their gas use: either natural gas or propane.

The majority of gas fireplace inserts are designed for natural gas, but not every location has availability. The solution is a propane fireplace insert (also called a Liquid Petroleum Gas or LPG fireplace insert). Propane actually burns hotter than natural gas, but it’s more expensive and needs to come in bottles or a bulk tank. Natural gas is piped directly to your home, so it is a cheaper and more convenient option.

In fact, the majority of gas fireplace inserts that can use propane are called dual-fuel. They are primarily manufactured to use natural gas but are also compatible with propane or come with a conversion kit if needed at the time of installation.

Fireplace Inserts vs. Traditional Fireplaces

While traditional fireplaces have undeniable charm, there are many reasons to upgrade to a fireplace insert. Although they look attractive, open fires are remarkably inefficient and a huge amount of energy is wasted as the heat goes up the chimney instead of into the room. Soot and smoke can cause staining and ash has to be cleaned up regularly. Removing hot ash is a fire hazard.

Fireplace inserts provide an enclosed combustion chamber with a heat efficiency rating of between 70 percent and 99 percent. That compares with 5 percent to 10 percent for a traditional fire. This means more of the heat generated warms the room, and bills are reduced. A gas fireplace insert is also very easy to keep clean.

Vented vs. Vent-Free

While gas insert fireplaces are usually divided into vented or vent-free, there are actually two types of vented models: natural vent (also called B-vent) or direct vent. Natural vent fireplaces use an existing chimney and thus are a convenient replacement for traditional fireplaces. However, the majority of these are open, rather than closed inserts, and are less efficient. A direct vent is more common and can vent horizontally as well as vertically. As a result, they are ideal where there is no existing fireplace.

Vented systems must vent to the outside, which can be impractical. A vent-free insert, also known as a ventless gas fireplace insert, solves the problem. They are easier to install and more efficient (because no heat is lost through the vent). However, they do release potentially harmful carbon monoxide into the room. To ensure they are safe, a device called an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) is fitted. This shuts the fire down if levels become dangerous. Nevertheless, it’s important to check local building codes because some states restrict or ban their use.

Heat Efficiency and Coverage

Heat efficiency ratings of gas insert fireplaces depend on vent type. Vented models are usually between 70 percent and 85 percent efficient, while vent-free models can be up to 99 percent efficient. In terms of heating performance, the BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating should be checked. This tells you the actual heat output of the fire.

Given that the usual recommendation is for 20 BTU per square foot of living space, it is a simple task to work out the coverage of a particular model. However, while this is a good general guide, some models quote lower or higher figures than the average.

An air circulation system is also a factor. Some inserts include a blower that helps push heat into the room, spreading warmth more rapidly. On other models, it may not be standard, but provision is made for one to be fitted.


A variety of additional features make individual models more user-friendly.

  • Electronic ignition is standard, but the type varies. Some require a household supply, but both millivolt and piezoelectric are self-contained, push-button systems.
  • On some gas inserts, a thermostat can be set. The fireplace will then turn itself on and off to maintain a balanced room temperature.
  • Remote controls are available on some models. Functionality varies. Some can be used to set a thermostat, others offer variable flame control which can be set for both heat output and visual preference. Advanced models beginning to appear offer control via smartphone app or integration with home automation systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • Ambient lighting is another possible extra, designed to enhance the mood of the room.

Note: It’s important to check what is and isn’t included in the price. Items like louvers, screen doors, blowers, remote controls, etc., may be an additional cost, so the final price can be quite different from what was initially advertised.

Our Top Picks

After this discussion of the qualities to look for in gas fireplace inserts, it’s time to look at some top picks.

Best Overall

Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Options: Napoleon Grandville VF Serie GVF36-2N 94

Napoleon is a long-established company with a reputation for quality and reliability. Their Grandville VF (vent-free) is a large gas insert capable of producing 30,000 BTU of heat, which is sufficient for 1,500 square feet of space. With no loss of heat through a vent or chimney, energy efficiency is rated at 99 percent or better.

Ignition is piezoelectric, so starting and stopping is as simple as flicking a switch. Phazer glowing logs look realistic next to the flames, which are adjustable. To combat the danger posed by carbon monoxide, an oxygen depletion sensor is fitted that automatically cuts the pilot light if safe levels are exceeded. A screen is also included as an additional safety feature. While it isn’t heatproof, it should reduce accidental burns and prevent items from falling into the fire.

Product Specs

  • BTUs: 30,000
  • Vent Type: Vent-free
  • Efficiency Rating: 99 percent


  • High output
  • Adjustable flame
  • Safety screen included


  • No propane option
  • Louvers and trim are extra

Get the Napoleon Grandville fireplace insert on Amazon and at Appliances Connection.

Best Flexibility

Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Options: Empire Loft Series DVL25

Empire fireplace inserts are high-quality units with a range of options that make them suitable for a wide variety of installations. They can be fitted at floor level, in existing fireplace openings, or recessed into a wall (with appropriate vertical or horizontal venting).

The 20,000 BTU output is sufficient for a 1,000-square-foot area, with remarkably high efficiency for a vented model. It comes with either millivolt pilot (always on) or intermittent pilot (switchable), though the latter costs extra. Remote control and an automatic thermostat are also options at an additional cost. A blower is included to accelerate the spread of heat. Either natural gas or propane can be used. Decoratively, there is a choice of the surround and five different colors of crushed glass.

Product Specs

  • BTUs: 20,000
  • Vent Type: Direct vent
  • Efficiency Rating: 99 percent


  • Versatile fitting
  • Wide choice of practical and decorative features
  • Competitive price


  • Options can raise the price considerably

Get the Empire Loft Series fireplace insert at Woodland Direct.

Best Dual Fuel

Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Options: Superior DRI2000 Gas Fireplace Insert

The Superior DRI2000 can be configured for natural gas or propane. It comes as either a 27-inch or 32-inch model, with respective outputs of 25,000 BTU or 28,000 BTU. The included variable-speed blower spreads warmth rapidly, covering areas of 1,625 square feet and 1,800 square feet, larger than many rivals.

Primarily designed to be fitted into an existing fireplace, there are different facade sizes to conceal previous openings. It can be vented horizontally as well as vertically, so new installations are also possible. There is electronic ignition for trouble-free lighting and the option of a remote control, though no thermostat.

Product Specs

  • BTUs: 25,000 or 28,000
  • Vent Type: Direct vent
  • Efficiency Rating: 70 percent or 78 percent


  • Two size/output options
  • Blower included
  • Remote-control option


  • Others are more efficient
  • Remote control is extra

Get the Superior fireplace insert at Woodland Direct.

Best Direct Vent

Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Options: Empire Tahoe Deluxe 91,4 cm NG Millivolt Kamin

The Empire Tahoe gas fireplace insert is another quality model from a company renowned for reliability. The 20,000 BTU output is sufficient for 1,000 square feet of space, and the millivolt ignition gives near instantaneous heat. Efficiency of 83 percent is comparatively high for a direct vent insert. “NG” in the product title indicates this model runs on natural gas. A propane version is also available.

At 16 inches deep, the Empire Tahoe is particularly suited to shallow fireplace openings. It can vent from the top or the back. Remote control is an option, but at an extra cost. To maximize safety it is also necessary to buy a screen or door set. Some may find it frustrating that these are not included.

Product Specs

  • BTUs: 20,000
  • Vent Type: Direct vent
  • Efficiency Rating: 83 percent


  • Renowned reliability
  • Top or rear vent options
  • Propane model also available


  • Screen or door set required at an extra cost

Get the Empire Tahoe fireplace insert on Amazon.

Most Versatile

Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Options: Ashley Hearth Products 34-000 BTU

Ashley Hearth Products is another highly regarded manufacturer with a range of electric and gas models. This powerful 34,000 BTU model benefits from being vent-free and as such has an efficiency rating of 99 percent. It’s something of a surprise then that the quoted coverage area is 1,200 square feet, which is less than might be expected.

The outstanding feature of this Ashley Hearth model is its flexibility in terms of installation. As standard, it is intended to be used with a surround as a traditional gas fireplace with a mantel. However, with the proper fitting kit, it can be used as an insert. What’s more, there is also a leg set, enabling it to be used as a stand-alone stove. A thermostat can be fitted but is not included.

Product Specs

  • BTUs: 34,000 BTU
  • Vent Type: Vent-free
  • Efficiency Rating: 99 percent


  • Impressive output and efficiency
  • Versatile installation options
  • Natural gas or propane


  • Insert kit or leg set are extra

Get the Ashley Hearth Products fireplace insert at The Home Depot.

Honorable Mention

Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Options: Montigo Illume 30FID

The Montigo Illume 30FID is a stylish gas insert that would perhaps best suit contemporary decor, but thanks to vertical or horizontal venting, it can be used to replace an existing open fireplace if required. Output is 24,000 BTU. Efficiency varies slightly: 77.6 percent if natural gas is chosen and 79 percent for propane. That’s lower than vent-free models but competitive for a vented gas insert.

The included log set with its hot ember effect is particularly realistic. Adjustable flames can be set by remote control, and LED accent lighting enhances the real fire effect. An integrated door screen is fitted for safety. A blower is available, but it costs extra.

Product Specs

  • BTUs: 24,000
  • Vent Type: Direct vent
  • Efficiency Rating: Natural gas 77.6 percent; propane 79 percent


  • Impressively realistic log appearance
  • Vertical or horizontal venting
  • Protective door screen


  • Blower option is expensive

Get the Montigo Illume fireplace insert at Woodland Direct.

Our Verdict

The Napoleon Grandville fireplace insert is powerful, easy to install, and competitively priced, though trim and louvers raise the cost. Unfortunately, that’s typical of most gas fireplace inserts and the advertised price is seldom what you actually pay. For dual-fuel capability, we recommend the versatile Superior DRI2000 Gas Fireplace Insert.

How We Chose the Best Gas Fireplace Inserts

Personal taste is a major factor when choosing things like gas fireplace inserts, but we have tried to remain objective and include a broad range of styles. We researched products from as many different brands as we were able to find, from major retailers to less well-known suppliers.

We have been careful to avoid focusing only on the leading brands and to include a varied model lineup. We looked at heating performance, flue type (which impacts ease of installation), and a variety of user-friendly features. The result is a balanced selection for different-size spaces and budgets.

The Advantages of Owning the Best Gas Fireplace Inserts

Real wood fires will always have a certain appeal. Electric models are the ultimate in ease of use, but the lack of real flame means they are not to everyone’s taste. For many people, a gas fireplace insert is the perfect compromise.

  • Efficiency ratings upward of 70 percent make for far superior heat generation and lower fuel consumption when compared with open fires.
  • Vented gas inserts are normally reasonably easy to install. Vent-free models can go almost anywhere.
  • Gas fireplace inserts are easy to live with. They provide warmth almost instantly, can benefit from thermostatic control, and are a breeze to keep clean.


The information provided up to this point provides a good understanding of the technical aspects involved in choosing a gas fireplace insert. It also showcases some of the best models currently available. However, a number of questions crop up regularly. Read on for answers to these and other common inquiries about gas fireplace inserts.

Q: Does my gas fireplace need to be powered by electricity?

Some need a standard household electricity supply for the pilot light, though they may also have a battery backup in case of a power outage. Gas fires fitted with a millivolt system or piezo only need a battery. If a blower is fitted, it will need electricity, though the fireplace can usually be used without it.

Q: Can I install a blower or fan kit on my gas fireplace?

Many gas fireplaces make provision for a blower to distribute heat more effectively, but it’s important to check specifications.

Q: Do fumes from gas fireplace inserts hold any toxicity levels? 

Yes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially lethal gas that is a byproduct of burning fossil fuels. These are usually vented harmlessly outdoors. Vent-free gas inserts should have sensors fitted that automatically turn off the gas if fumes reach harmful levels. All gas fireplace inserts should be inspected annually by a qualified professional. They are very safe, and accidents are very rare, but an electric fireplace is an alternative for those who find this a concern.

Q: How deep are gas fireplace inserts?

They vary considerably. While researching products for this guide, the smallest we found was 9 inches, whereas the deepest was almost 27 inches.