The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Fireplaces

woman with feet up in front of the wood burning types of fireplaces

Adding a fireplace to your home can give the space something extra. When it comes to finding the right one, be aware that there are many types of fireplaces to choose from.

Whether you are building a new house or remodeling the one you currently live in, adding a fireplace can be beneficial. They do more than just add heat to an area, they make it incredibly inviting and cozy.

What Is a Fireplace?

In essence, a fireplace is a feature in a home where a fire can be made. Back in the day, the fireplace was the center of the dwelling. It was where food was cooked and people gathered to stay warm. It was often centrally located, and all activity centered around the fire.

As time progressed and humans evolved, the fireplace was no longer the place where food was cooked and the main source of warmth for the home. Furnaces took over the heating role, and stoves and ovens took on the role of cooking food. For many, though, the fireplace is still a gathering area and a place that is welcoming and comforting.

Does the Type of Fireplace Matter?

gas fireplace showing faux logs and flames

At one time, there was only one option when it come to getting a fireplace in your home. More often than not, it was a wood-burning fireplace. With the advance of technology, the fireplace has changed, and a wood-burning fireplace is one of many types of fireplaces a person can choose from.

When it comes to the type of fireplace you have in your home, there are many things to consider. This includes where it will be placed, what you’re looking for, and the function of the fireplace. Where these items were once the sole heat source for a dwelling, that is no longer the case. They can still be used for warmth, but they can also be nothing more than a decorative addition to a room.

The type of fireplace does matter based on personal preference and budget. It will also depend on the layout of your home and where the fireplace will be located. Finding the right fireplace for your space doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require knowing the different types of choices that exist.

10 Types of Fireplaces and What You Should Know About Them

As mentioned, there was a point in time when the only option a person had for their fireplace was a wood burning one. These are still available, but there are other choices as well. These include gas burning, electric, and ethanol burning.

1. Wood-Burning Fireplaces

As traditional fireplaces, these are probably what most people envision when thinking about the different types of fireplaces. They require you to place chopped wood into the hearth and then light it. The sound of crackling wood can be incredibly relaxing, and many people enjoy the smell that comes from a traditional fireplace.

Currently, there are many options you can choose from when it comes to getting a wood burning fireplace. These include the following:

2. Traditional Open Hearth

brick fireplace with historical look including braces and burning log

More often than not, these are constructed of brick and stone and will be the center of the living room. They can be placed against a wall or in the center of a room. They require a chimney to vent the smoke outside, and they produce a lot of heat as the wood is burned. These are the most common wood burning fireplaces and can be found in many different houses around the world.

3. Wood Burning Stove

Best Wood Stove

In addition to an open hearth, a wood-burning stove is also pretty common. Even though it may not technically be a fireplace, it functions in much the same way. You have to feed wood into the center and light it on fire. It will then heat up the space, and it requires a pipe to vent the smoke outside.

4. Enclosed Fireplaces

glass enclosed fireplace

This type of fireplace differs from an open hearth because it has a glass panel that encloses it. The goal is to allow more heat to enter the room instead of escaping through the chimney, keeping you and the space warmer. It still functions by burning wood and venting smoke through a chimney, but it’s supposed to be more efficient.

5. Gas Burning Fireplaces

Instead of wood, these types of fireplaces use gas to create a flame. They burn more cleanly than a wood-burning fireplace and produce more heat. Since these don’t require brick or stone to create the hearth, they don’t take as long to install or as much space as a wood-burning fireplace. There are two choices when it comes to gas burning fireplaces: direct vented and ventless.

a. Direct Vented

This fireplace can be vented through an already existing chimney or through a pipe that leads outside. If you decide to go with a pipe, you can place this feature in any room because it doesn’t require a lot of structural changes to install.

b. Ventless

For this type of fireplace, you won’t need a chimney or pipe at all. These are incredibly simple and easy to install and they can go in any room in the house.

6. Electric Fireplaces

dimplex electric fireplace 1

If you’re looking for a cost-effective option that is easy to install, then an electric fireplace may be what you’re looking for. They can go in any room in the home and are often controlled by a switch. Some even come equipped with a heater, so you still get the heating aspect of other types of fireplaces without having to hassle with wood or gas.

a. Mantel Fireplaces

These are meant to resemble a wood-burning fireplace and are placed against the wall in any room. They don’t require a chimney or other venting, so they can go anywhere and add a traditional fireplace look to your home without actually having to add a traditional fireplace.

b. TV Stands and Entertainment Center Fireplaces

Real Flame Hawthorne Electric TV Stand Type of Fireplace

In some cases, you may be able to find an electric fireplace included in a TV stand or entertainment center. This will allow you to have a piece of furniture that fulfills more than one task in your home. This can be beneficial if you don’t have a lot of space but want to add a fireplace to add comfort and warmth.

c. Free-Standing Fireplaces

If you’re looking for a way to add a fireplace to a room without getting a mantel or stand, then getting a free-standing electric fireplace is a good option. These can come in a range of sizes and are often portable. They look like a fireplace from the front and have a heating mechanism to keep the area warm. In essence, they are a fancy space heater that can add the elegance of a fire to any area.

7. Ethanol Burning Fireplaces

Nu-Flame Fiamme Ethanol Fireplace

These are the latest trend in types of fireplaces, and people like them because they are easy to install and have a contemporary design. No matter what your budget or style, you can find an ethanol burning fireplace to match your home. They may not put out as much heat as a wood burning or gas fireplace, but they are environmentally friendly. There are many options when it comes to these types of fireplaces.

8. Conversion Fireplace

If you already have a fireplace but want to convert it to an ethanol burning fireplace, all you need to do is get an insert. There are many options to choose from, including those that look traditional or ones that have a modern look.

9. Wall-Mounted Fireplace

Anywhere Fireplace Chelsea Wall Mount Fireplaces
Gas, wall-mounted fireplace

Being able to mount a fireplace on the wall increases the places in your home where it can be located. You can place it near the entryway to warm people as they enter your house, or you have the option of putting in a bathroom to create a cozy, relaxing, warm space. No matter where you decide to put this fireplace, it can add something extra to the room and make it look stunning and inviting.

10. Tabletop Fireplace

If you’re looking for a fireplace that is portable and aesthetically pleasing, then this may be what you need. They can be used in a variety of different settings and moved from room to room, giving you comfort and warmth, as well as convenience, no matter where you are in your home.


When it comes to finding the right fireplace for your home, there are many things you need to consider. While having a traditional wood-burning fireplace is common and brings with it the smell and sounds of burning wood, they can also be a hassle and challenging to install. In addition, you’ll have to deal with the mess that wood creates. However, if this is what you want, then you should add it to your home.

Adding any of the other types of fireplaces can mean less hassle and be more cost-effective. Depending on your budget and how you use the fireplace will determine if you should get something that can be moved from room to room or will remain in one area. Any of these options can be inviting and add a cozy to feel to any space in your home.