Fireplace vs. Fireplace Insert: What’s the Difference?

Fireplace vs. Fireplace Insert: What’s the Difference?

If you’re in the market for a new fireplace, you may be wondering what the difference is between a fireplace and a fireplace insert. Both have their pros and cons, but which one is right for your home? In this article, we will discuss the differences between fireplaces and fireplace inserts. We will also provide some tips for choosing the right type for you.

What is a Fireplace?

A fireplace is an open-faced structure made of brick, stone, or metal that houses a fire. The fire in a fireplace is fueled by wood logs or artificial logs. Fireplaces are typically found in the living room or family room.

What is a Fireplace Insert?

A fireplace insert is a closed-faced structure that fits inside an existing fireplace. They are usually made of metal and glass. The fire in a fireplace insert is fueled by gas, electricity, or wood pellets.

Fireplaces are typically fueled by wood logs, while fireplace inserts can be fueled by gas, electricity, or wood pellets.

Another difference is the size of the opening. Fireplaces typically have a large opening that allows for a lot of heat to escape. Fireplace inserts usually have a smaller opening that helps to keep more heat in the room.

Finally, one more difference between fireplaces and fireplace inserts is the way they look. Fireplaces typically have an open face with exposed brick or stone. Inserts usually have a closed face with metal and glass panels. This gives fireplace inserts a more modern look. [1]

So, which one is right for you? If you’re looking for a traditional fireplace, then a fireplace is the way to go. If you’re looking for something more modern, then a fireplace insert might be the better option.

Still not sure which one is right for you? Contact a professional today and they can help you make the best decision for your home.

What is a Fireplace Insert?

Why fireplace inserts work so well

If you have an older home, your fireplace was likely built when wood-burning fireplaces were the only option. These fireplaces are very inefficient at heating a home. In fact, most of the heat produced by the fire goes up the chimney.

Inserts are designed to fit into an existing fireplace opening and improve its efficiency. Inserts have a closed combustion chamber that allows them to burn fuel more efficiently and produce less pollution. Natural gas and propane are used to power most inserts.

There are many benefits to using a fireplace insert, including:

  • Improved heating efficiency – Fireplace inserts can increase the efficiency of your fireplace by up to 80%. This means that more heat will stay in your home, making it more comfortable and reducing your heating costs.
  • Reduced pollution – Fireplace inserts create less pollution than traditional fireplaces since they burn fuel more efficiently. This is more environmentally friendly and may help improve the air quality in your home.
  • Easy installation – Fireplace inserts are designed to be easy to install. In most cases, they can be inserted into an existing fireplace without any major renovations.

If you’re considering a fireplace insert, there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Size – Make sure to choose an insert that’s the right size for your fireplace. If it’s too small, it won’t be as effective at heating your home. If it’s too big, it could be difficult to install and could make your fireplace look out of proportion.
  • Fuel – Fireplace inserts can use either natural gas or propane as fuel. If you already have a gas line, then a natural gas insert would be the most convenient option. If you don’t have a gas line, then a propane insert would be the best choice.
  • Cost – The cost of a fireplace insert can vary depending on the size and features you choose. In general, inserts are more expensive than traditional fireplaces but they offer many benefits that make them worth the investment. [2]

A fireplace insert is an excellent alternative for heating your house more efficiently. With its many benefits, an insert can help you save money and improve the quality of your home.

What’s the best fuel for an insert?

There are a few options when it comes to fuel for your fireplace insert. The most common fuels are wood, gas, and pellets.

Wood is the traditional fuel for fireplaces. It’s easy to find and relatively inexpensive. The downside of wood is that it’s messy and requires more work than other fuels. You have to chop the wood, haul it inside, and then store it until you’re ready to use it.

Gas is the most convenient fuel for fireplaces. All you have to do is turn on the gas and push a button to ignite the flame. Gas inserts also produce less smoke than wood-burning inserts, so they’re better for the environment. The downside of gas inserts is that they’re more expensive to install than wood-burning inserts.

Pellets are made from compressed wood waste, so they’re a renewable resource. They’re also easy to use: you just pour them into the hopper and they automatically feed into the fire. Pellet inserts are environmentally friendly because they produce less smoke than wood-burning inserts. The downside of pellet inserts is that they’re expensive.

If you want an insert that’s easy to use, gas is the way to go. If you want an insert that’s environmentally friendly, the pellet is the way to go. If you want an insert that’s less expensive, wood is the way to go.

One final note: if you’re considering a gas insert, make sure your home is equipped with gas lines. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for the installation of gas lines, which can be costly. [3]

What’s the best fuel for an insert?

Fireplace vs. Fireplace Insert – Comparison

There are several key differences between a fireplace and a fireplace insert. The most obvious difference is that a fireplace is an open-air structure while a fireplace insert is enclosed on all sides. This means that an insert is more efficient at heating your home since it doesn’t allow heat to escape up the chimney.

Another key difference is that inserts are designed to be placed into an existing firebox. This makes them ideal for homes that already have a traditional brick or stone fireplace but want to upgrade to something more efficient. Fireplaces must be built from scratch which can be a time-consuming and expensive project.

If you’re unsure of which option is right for you, we recommend talking to a certified fireplace professional.

Pros and Cons of Fireplace


  • Less expensive than fireplace inserts
  • Does not require installation
  • Can be used with any type of fuel
  • Aesthetically pleasing in some homes


  • Inefficient
  • Can actually cause your heating bill to go up
  • Pose a serious fire hazard if not properly maintained

Pros and Cons of Fireplace Inserts


  • More efficient than ordinary fireplaces
  • Help to lower your heating bill
  • They also tend to be safer, as they are less likely to cause a house fire


  • Require professional installation, which can be costly
  • They can only be used with certain types of fuel, such as wood or gas. [4]

Which is Better?

There’s no easy answer to this question. It depends on your budget, your home’s layout, and your personal preferences.

  • If you’re looking for something more affordable, a fireplace insert may be the way to go. Inserts typically cost less than full fireplaces because they make use of an existing structure.
  • If you have a large open space in your home that you want to use for entertaining, a fireplace may be the better option. Fireplaces create a focal point, and they can accommodate larger groups of people comfortably.
  • If you’re concerned about energy efficiency, a fireplace insert may be the better choice. Inserts are designed to seal off the fire from the rest of the room.

No matter what you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the warmth and ambiance that a fireplace brings to any home. So take your time in making your decision, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from a professional if you’re not sure which route to go.

Which is Better?


What is the difference between a fireplace and fireplace insert?

A fireplace is an enclosure made of brick, stone, or metal that contains a fire. A fireplace insert is a fireproof box that fits inside a fireplace and burns wood, gas, or pellets.

A fireplace is an open space while a fireplace insert is enclosed. This means that inserts are more energy-efficient because they prevent heat from escaping up the chimney. Fireplaces also require less maintenance than inserts since there are no moving parts. [5]

Is a fireplace insert better?

There are a few key ways in which fireplace inserts tend to be better than stand-alone fireplaces. First, inserts are much more efficient. They’re designed to trap heat inside the firebox, which means that less heat escapes up the chimney. As a result, you can expect to see lower heating bills when you use an insert.

Another advantage of fireplace inserts is that they’re easier to maintain and clean. Because they have a closed combustion chamber, there’s less chance for soot and debris to build up on the insert or in the chimney. And if you do need to give your insert a good cleaning, it’s usually a fairly simple process.

What is considered a fireplace insert?

An insert is a piece of equipment that’s put into an existing fireplace. It usually consists of a firebox, flue, and surround. Inserts are used to increase the efficiency by providing a better seal and using less wood.

W/burning inserts burn wood to create heat, while gas inserts use natural gas or propane.

They are more expensive than gas inserts, but they’re more efficient at heating your home. Gas inserts are easier to use and require less maintenance than w/burning units.

When choosing an insert, it’s important to consider the size of your fireplace and the fuel type. You should also think about the look of the insert and how it will fit into your home’s décor.

Does a fireplace insert need to be in a fireplace?

The insert has to fit into the opening. It can be placed on a hearth, in a recess, or even built into the wall.

An insert is usually made of metal, with a glass front. The glass keeps sparks from flying out of the fireplace and also reflects heat back. [6]

A fireplace insert has its own flue that goes up the chimney. This means that it does not need to be connected to the existing fireplace flue.

Useful Video: Fireplace Inserts vs Fireplace


Fireplaces and fireplace inserts each have their own set of benefits that make them ideal for different situations. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, consult with a professional to get the best advice.

In short, a fireplace is an open-air structure built into your home, while a fireplace insert is a metal box that fits into your existing fireplace. There are pros and cons to both options, so weigh your needs. Thanks for reading!