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The Best Indoor Ventless Fireplaces When the Real Thing Isn't an Option

If your space isn't good with wood, then try one of these apartment-friendly fireplace alternatives.

an indoor ventless fireplace in a corner of a house with floor to ceiling glass windows

Nothing beats the coziness of a roaring fireplace. The comforting hisses and pops, the cozy glow, the romantic ambiance… it’s a vibe. Unfortunately, many people can’t have a real wood-burning fireplace in their home. Fireplaces are expensive to install and difficult to maintain, and if you don’t own your home or live in an apartment, then you don’t have the option of adding a fireplace to your living space even if you're fine with the cost and effort. Or do you?

The market abounds with alternatives to a traditional fireplace, and while these ventless indoor fireplaces won’t fully replicate the experience of a real fireplace like you might find in an old colonial home, a lot of them come darn close. So if you’re looking to add some extra heat and pizazz to your living room this winter and a traditional fireplace isn’t an option, then give one of these indoor ventless fireplaces a try.

Electric Fireplace vs Fuel-Burning Fireplace

There are two types of ventless indoor fireplaces to choose from, and the differences between them are actually quite vast. While one type isn’t necessarily better than the other, you’ll have to decide which style has the features that are most important to you.

Electric Fireplaces are far more common, and while they’re often more affordable too, there exist radically expensive options on the market as well. Electric fireplaces don’t feature any actual fire. Instead, they visually simulate flames either with lights or via an LCD display, and some will also incorporate crackling sounds from speakers as well. But don’t mistake their lack of flames for a lack of heat. Electric fireplaces feature electronic heating elements and often boast high BTU counts and built-in fans, allowing them to essentially act as more romantic space heaters that can heat an entire room. If it’s warmth that you're after, then an electric fireplace is the way to go.

Fuel-Burning Fireplaces are newer on the market and are a great option for lovers of real flames. These types of ventless fireplaces can be used indoors because they burn isopropyl or ethanol fuel, which burn clean and without any smoke. Since these ventless fireplaces burn fuel and have live flames, you should exercise extra caution when using them. They also usually don’t put out as much heat as electric fireplaces — though some can really cook — and tend to be more about generating ambiance than warming a space. So if it’s the mesmerizing dance of real flames that you love most about fireplaces, then you should opt for a fuel-burning indoor fireplace.

What About Ventless Gas Fireplaces?

There is technically a third option for a ventless indoor fireplace, and that is fireplaces fueled by propane or natural gas. Unlike other gas fireplaces that vent fumes to the outdoors, these ventless options are meant to burn cleaner and have no outside ventilation. While they may be cleaner than traditional gas fireplaces, those fumes still have to go somewhere, and since these fireplaces lack outdoor ventilation, that means the fumes end up inside your living space. Because of this, there are safety concerns over the use of ventless gas fireplaces. A number of states and countries have outlawed their use indoors, and organizations like the CDC and American Lung Association have warned against their health effects. As a result of the potential health risks, we will not be recommending any ventless gas fireplaces as an option in this guide.

The Best Indoor Ventless Fireplaces

Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove

Best Electric Indoor Fireplace

Duraflame Electric Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove

$219.99 (27% off)
  • Dimensions: 24" W x 13" D x 23.4" H
  • Weight: 28.6 lbs
  • Heating Area: 1,000 sq ft
  • Fuel: Electric

    If what you're really looking for is a space heater with the look of a wood stove, then Duraflame's mighty popular Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove is an excellent option. The stove puts out 5,200 BTU, about the same as your average space heater, and can heat a 1,000 square-foot space. It also utilizes infrared heat that heats your body directly rather than the air, meaning it stays cool to the touch and your humidity levels stay constant and won't plummet like with wood heat. The stove also features a remote control and adjustable thermostat for customization, and the patent-pending 3D flame effect is shockingly realistic.

    Real Flame Barlow Electric Fireplace

    Best Traditional Indoor Fireplace

    Real Flame Barlow Electric Fireplace

    • Dimensions: 66" W x 13" D x 40" H
    • Weight: 147 lbs
    • Heating Area: 1,000 sq ft
    • Fuel: Electric

      Looking to fool your guests into thinking you've got an actual wood-burning fireplace in your den? Then any number of products from the aptly-named Real Flame brand will do the trick. The Barlow is especially convincing, as it not only features a realistic flame effect and a sleek wooden mantle that complements multiple design styles, but also a cut-out for displaying decorative split logs. You certainly don't need to display any logs to use the fireplace, but doing so definitely amps up the coziness level.

      Dimplex Sierra Wall/Built-in Linear Electric Fireplace

      Best Wall-Mounted Indoor Fireplace

      Dimplex Sierra Wall/Built-in Linear Electric Fireplace

      • Dimensions: 60" W x 5" D x 19.5" H
      • Weight: 62.8 lbs
      • Heating Area: 1,000 sq ft
      • Fuel: Electric

        Few additions to your home are as striking or jaw-dropping as a wall-mounted fireplace, and Dimplex makes it easy to pull off with their Sierra. Available in multiple widths (the pictured example is the popular 60-inch model), the Sierra gives you versatility, as you have the option of hanging it directly on your wall, building it into your wall or setting it up on the included tabletop stand. Touchscreen controls allow you to choose between 8 different flame colors and switch up your base between logs, pebbles or crystals.

        Saracina Home Ronan Modern Storage with Electric Fireplace TV Stand

        Best TV Stand Fireplace

        Saracina Home Ronan Modern Storage with Electric Fireplace TV Stand

        $389.99 (25% off)
        • Dimensions: 66" W x 13" D x 40" H
        • Weight: 147 lbs
        • Heating Area: 400 sq ft
        • Fuel: Electric

          Kill two birds with one stone if you're also in the market for a TV stand by picking up this example that gives you something to look at even when your television is turned off. Built into the center of this media console is an electric fireplace with separate switches for the LED flames and the heater. While not the most powerful heater on this list, it will still heat up a 400 square-foot room. It's also a pretty great TV stand, with a mix of open shelving, drawers and cabinets for storage, cord cut-outs in the rear for organization and a 175-pound weight limit to support extra-large TVs.

          Anywhere Fireplace Tribeca II Indoor Fireplace

          Best Standalone Indoor Fireplace

          Anywhere Fireplace Tribeca II Indoor Fireplace

          • Dimensions: 27.5" W x 9.5" D x 23.5" H
          • Weight: 34 lbs
          • Burn Time: 5 hours
          • Fuel: Liquid bio-ethanol

            Set up a fireplace anywhere (get it?) with Anywhere Fireplace's Tribeca II. Weighing in at just 34 pounds and with nothing to plug in and no chimney to worry about, you can place this freestanding fireplace wherever you wish — it's even OK for outdoor use if your party moves from the living room to the backyard. It'll burn for five hours on a liter of smoke-free liquid bio-ethanol fuel (Smart Fuel TM is recommended, but not included), and its sleek, modern design will still turn heads even once the fire's died down.

            Terraflame Lloyd Modern Gel Fuel Fireplace

            Best Retro Indoor Fireplace

            Terraflame Lloyd Modern Gel Fuel Fireplace

            • Dimensions: 25.4" W x 25.4" D x 43.3" H
            • Weight: 25 lbs
            • Burn Time: 3 hours
            • Fuel: Isopropyl/ethanol gel

              In the 1960s, conical fireplaces from Malm were all the rage among the jet set, but installing a vintage fireplace today is an expensive and potentially dangerous endeavor. So to get the mid-century modern look of a Malm in a much more convenient and affordable package, just get the Lloyd from Terraflame. This gorgeous retro fireplace comes in a series of fun retro colors and burns Terraflame's proprietary SunJel isopropyl/ethanol-based gel fuel which is smokeless, odorless, non-toxic and its flames even crackle like a real wood fire. The Lloyd can burn up to three gel canisters (six are included), with a burn time of three hours and a surprisingly potent heat output of 9,000 BTUs at full strength.

              Flikr Fire Personal Concrete Fireplace

              Best Personal Indoor Fireplace

              Flikr Personal Concrete Fireplace

              • Dimensions: 5" W x 5" D x 5.6" H
              • Weight: 5.6 lbs
              • Burn Time: 50 minutes
              • Fuel: Isopropyl alcohol

                Not every fireplace has to be the center of the room. If you're lacking in space or are just looking to add a little warmth and flair to your coffee table, then Flikr Fire's classic personal fireplace may be just what you need. Whether you're looking for just a little extra warmth, like being dazzled by real fire or want to make s'mores in your living room (not judging), this compact little hunk of cement will make it happen. The fireplace burns smokeless isopropyl alcohol, with five ounces of fuel being good for 50 minutes of burn time.

                Cocoon Aeris Hanging Fireplace

                Best Statement Indoor Fireplace

                Cocoon Aeris Hanging Fireplace

                $2,250.00 (10% off)

                • Dimensions: 23.7" W x 23.7" D x 15" H (71.8" to ceiling)
                • Weight: 15 lbs
                • Burn Time: 5 hours
                • Fuel: Denatured alcohol or bio fuels

                  On the flip side, if you want everyone to notice and drool over your fireplace as soon as they walk in your door, then there's no beating the Aeris Hanging Fireplace from Cocoon. Mounted to your ceiling, this sleek and modern stunner is adjustable to six different heights and can rotate a full 360 degrees, allowing you to tailor your heating and viewing needs as necessary. Made from stainless steel, it burns either denatured alcohol or biofuels, with its 1.5-liter capacity translating to a five-hour burn time. Its high price and troublesome installation (there is a pedestal version for those who don't want to hang it from the ceiling) may put it more in line with a traditional fireplace, but even most real fireplaces can't match the "wow factor" of the Aeris.

                  Johnny Brayson is Gear Patrol's associate home editor.
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