The following is a comprehensive guide to the best flame effect electric fires in 2020. As with all our guides, they are continually updated to make sure we bring you the freshest products and guides as soon as they hit the market.
(For more information on buying an electric fire you can check out our ultimate buyers guide here).
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The world of electric fires is exploding this year! There are so many new electric flame effects hitting the market. So what really are the best flame effect electric fires? If you were to try to answer that question yourself it would probably take many hours of research and the internet can be a mysterious world when it comes to fires. Lucky for you, we’re here to help.
We’ve created this guide to remark upon what we feel are the best flame effect electric fires on the market. This hopefully enable you to make the best choice for your home.
Homes have become much more energy efficient over the last few years. From new homes where sweeping changes to home building regulations has meant that new builds require far less heating than ever before to older properties retro fitted with new cavity wall and under floor insulation, external insulated cladding, energy efficient double glazing or new boiler systems. These all add up to homes generally being much warmer than before.
This means more and more of us no longer require a coal, wood or gas fire in our homes. However, we still want the look and feel of a fire without necessarily the heat. This is where the best flame effect electric fires come in.
Electric fires are no longer just a poor substitute for those who can’t afford or feasibly can’t fit a gas or wood fire. Electric fires are now sought after because they do a better job of fitting around our lifestyles than the alternatives.
Therefore, we are seeing a rapidly growing trend in those who are prepared to pay into the thousands for fireplace designs that meet their aspirations for modern living.
Manufacturers of gas, wood, and traditional electric fires have begun to understand this shift in consumer demand and to develop a wide array of shapes, sizes, styles and flame effects of electric fires.
Below is our guide to the best flame effect electric fires that we feel meet these criteria, in no particular order.
You could make a compelling argument for saying Evonic have led the way in developing this new market in higher end electric fires in the last few years. At the core of their activity has been their Ultra HD flame technology. Read on to find out more about these fires.
Evonic Ultra HD’s flame effect is generated using LED’s which means it is very energy efficient and they’ll be no bulbs needing replaced after a few years. The flame effect is found to the back of the appliance and uses mirrors to create a more three-dimensional effect.
The Evonic fire also has a pulsing LED lit fuel bed that adds an extra layer of authenticity to the flicker of the flame. This coupled with anti-reflective front glass helps to create one of the best flame effects currently on the market.
The fuel bed is also very authentic and comes with the option of two varieties of ceramic logs – Silver Birch and Woodland. The silver birch can be likened to a more driftwood style whereas the woodland, as the name suggests are closer to the logs you would find if you went foraging in your local forest. The logs come individually wrapped in bubble wrap and can be placed in the fire to suit you. However, Evonic have a preferred set up for the logs that for most people would be best to follow. The additional LED lights underneath add an extra dimension to the overall appearance of the fuel bed.
The Evonic Ultra HD range has the widest selection of sizes available ranging from the smallest, the e500 up to the largest, the e1800. Each size of fire is also available with one, two- or three-sided glass meaning the fires are very versatile.
When Evonic fires were designing this range of fires they obviously had authenticity in mind. To us it feels like they wanted the fire to look like a fire, they didn’t want it to do any fancy other things like cycling through other spectrums of the rainbow, giving off blue and and green flames at the flick of the button. They wanted the UltraHD to behave just like a fire would.
Therefore, you don’t get that much control over the look of the flame, you can control the flame brightness with the optional extra eTouch touchscreen remote or via their free app, and that’s really it. However, you don’t need many options with these fires as they do look pretty good just as they are.
You can expect to pay in the region of £1198 Inc. VAT for the e500, their smallest fire, and around £2798 Inc. VAT for the e1800, their largest. For guide prices for all their other electric fires check out our Electric fire reviews section. Also note the Ultra HD range of fires are showroom exclusives to independent retailers so you’ll need to find your nearest retailer and see if they have them available to view.
Visit Evonic’s e series electric fires here.
Arguably the most realistic of all electric fires, Dimplex’s Opti-V uses a 19th century illusion called Pepper’s Ghost to bring its fire to life. The Opti-V is unique in the fireplace industry at using this effect successfully to create a more three-dimensional flame effect than most.
The flame effect used in the Opti-V is probably the most complex out of all electric fires currently on the market. It uses a combination of mirrors, angled glass, two sets of logs and real footage of flames (via a monitor) to generate its quasi-three-dimensional effect.
The fuel bed Dimplex have decided upon for the Opti-V is moulded plastic and is in place right out of the box. This is because the fuel bed (as you might have noticed in the video above) glows and pulses and needs to be in exactly the right position for the flame effect to work properly. The result is quite stunning, and we absolutely recommend you see one of these live in a showroom before you decide whether this or another fire is right for.
The Dimplex Opti-V comes in only two sizes, this limitation I would imagine is due to the complexity of using monitors to produce the flame footage. You can read our reviews on the Opti-V PGF10 and PGF20 by clicking the links. Both fires only come as one-sided options, meaning you view the fire from the front only and it doesn’t have an option for side glass panels.
The Opti-V also crackles and pops like a real log fire. The effect is very authentic and adds to the overall experience. If you think you might find this irritating, then thankfully there is an option to turn it off too.
The Opti-V does not have a heater and therefore is effect only.
Stop and think moment – In most cases people don’t use their heaters on electric fires so please don’t discount the fire until you’ve had a good think on the core reason you are thinking of buying an electric fire i.e. do I need heat? Would I use the heater? Is it only for a feature? The answers to these questions will dictate whether this fire is right for you.
Since the Dimplex Opti-V uses filmed footage you don’t really get options to control how it looks. It has a simple on/off button for the fire as well as controls for switching on/off the sound.
You can expect to pay around £1650 Inc. VAT for the PGF10 and around £3300 Inc. VAT for the PGF20. The Opti-V is a showroom exclusive product to independent retailers, so you’ll need to find your nearest retailer and see if they have it available to view.
Visit Dimplex’s Opti-V page here.
Another big hitter on the best flame effect electric fires list– the Opti-myst. Opti-myst creates the only truly three-dimensional flame effect, an effect you can touch and feel and isn’t hidden behind glass.
The flame effect is created from a combination of orange tinted bulbs and water vapour. That doesn’t sound too complex does it? It isn’t. However, what it does do, is create a lovely 3D flame effect.
It uses an ultrasonic transducer (which transforms energy to vibrations) to rapidly vibrate the water stored within a tank underneath the fuel bed. These rapid vibrations turn the water to vapour (This is not the same as steam, vapour is produced at room temperature whereas steam is produced when water is boiled). As this vapour rises from the fuel bed, this along with the effect from the orange tinted bulbs and realistic fuel bed creates the effect as shown in the below video.
Dimplex uses its Opti-myst effect in a variety of products from Inset fires to Electric stoves to bespoke built-in units such as the Cassette 600. Therefore, you have a lot of choice if you love the effect you get from the Opti-myst. Furthermore, Dimplex’s bespoke Opti-myst range such as the Cassette 600 or Chassis range can be built into any number of fireplace surrounds, false chimney breasts and even original chimneys. See our Electric fire reviews for more specific information.
Depending on your choice of model will dictate what fuel beds are available to you. The 16” Inset fires are available with Dimplex’s own moulded coals or log set. The bespoke range come with Dimplex’s own moulded log set, although your local retailer may be able to provide alternatives fuel beds as part of a bespoke service.
Opti-myst fires come with manual controls for on/off as well as a scroller to increase and decrease the volume of vapour being produced. This really can help personalise the flame to your preferred look. The fires also generally come with a remote control so you can turn the fire on and off and control the flame remotely.
The Opti-myst range varies a lot depending on size and type. For example, the Opti-myst Cassette 400 is priced around £425 Inc. VAT but this is just for the module which you will then need to build something around it to house it in. The most expensive Opti-myst unit is the Cassette 1000 which could cost you around £1850 Inc. VAT.
Visit Dimplex’s bespoke Opti-myst web page here.
The Gazco eReflex / Skope brings something else to the flame effect party. Unlike Evonic’s Ultra HD fires these fires allow a lot of different ways to customise the look of the fire.
The Skope uses Gazco’s new Chromalight LED flame effect. The flames can be changed from a traditional orange to a cold blue with the flick of the remote. If you do this, then you might want to display the fuel bed with the clear crystals that come as standard in the box. You can also play about with the LED’s that light up the fuel bed with 13 different colours to cycle through as well contrasting brightness levels.
Alternatively, if you are more of a traditionalist then the eReflex / Skope still looks good with its ceramic log set and grey pebbles that also come with all the Skope range as standard. Pairing this set up with the Amber flames and either the fuel bed LED’s off or on Orange/Red will produce the most authentic results.
The Gazco Skope comes as standard with a remote that has a very comprehensive list of features. With the remote you can control the flame colour, flame brightness, fuel bed colour and fuel bed brightness as well as controls for the heater such as thermostat and timer. There are also manual controls hidden underneath the top right lip of the fires.
The Gazco Skope range of fires are typically cheaper than similarly sized Ultra HD or Opti-V fires. The Skope 55W for example can be bought for around £995 Inc. VAT with the Skope 195R being around the two thousand pounds mark.
Visit Gazco’s Skope page here
The final fire on our ‘The best flame effect electric fires guide’ – The Evoflame.
The Evonic e Series covers models from both Ultra HD and evoflame models. The evoflame is the older of the two flame technologies. Itoffers significant price advantages over the UltraHD and most electric fires of similar sizes. Plus, they are slimmer than the competition at around 180mm (or 7 inches) deep. This means they can be built into slimmer false chimneys or fireplace surrounds saving space in your room. These factors make the evoflame e series worth looking at.
Even though the flame technology is a few years older than Ultra HD or Skope it still is impressive to the eye. The flame effect is produced using LEDs on a mirrored screen towards the back of the fire. In front of this flame effect sit a set of woodland or silver birch logs. To the front you find the glass panel which encloses the fire. There’s also the option of an open fronted model if you prefer.
The evoflame eSeries models comes in a variety of shapes and sizes such as the e600, e700 and e1000. They all have the option to be glass fronted or left open. All evoflame models are one sided fires meaning your design choices are slightly more limited than other fires. However, there’s still a huge range of things you can do with the evoflame sSeries such as our Lynden or Ellis suites.
The Evonic eSeries evoflame uses the same controls as the UltraHD fires. There is a manual on/off switch to the top right-hand corner of the appliance. The rest of the controls being found on the free app or optional upgrade eTouch touchscreen remote. The remote settings control the brightness of the flame as well as the heater. Thermostat and timer settings are the main controls available.
The evoflame eSeries from Evonic does represent good value for money as it is cheaper than most similar sized fires. However, since the Gazco Skope range of fires came along it has some serious competition at very similar price points. Ultimately, you’ll just need to decide which flame effect and features you prefer. The e600s (open fronted) is available from around £1000 Inc. VAT with the e1000gf from around £1300 Inc. VAT.
Visit Evonic’s e series electric fires here
There you have it, the best flame effects electric fires currently available anywhere in the UK. As always, we’ll update this list as soon as more options come available. You can rest assured that there’s nothing better on the market.
I hoped you enjoyed reading and please feel free to share this guide with your friends and family.
Co-founder and Managing Director @ wowfires.com.