Best Gas Direct-Vent & Ventless Fireplace Inserts For Homeowners

Updated: Mar. 23, 2024

The best gas fireplace inserts deliver warmth with ease of operation. Choose among the top options to find the ideal solution for you.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

The 5 Best Gas Fireplace Inserts Of 2024VIA MERCHANT

Got a fireplace? Homeowners who want minimal fuss should consider a modern gas insert, as it comes with multiple easy-to-use features, such as remote controls, quick ignition and thermostats. The best gas fireplace inserts slip into a pre-existing fireplace or properly framed wall opening. Generally speaking, any insert designed for an in-wall installation can go into an existing fireplace.

Russ Dimmitt, director of education at the Chimney Safety Institute of America, says it may be appropriate to use a gas fireplace insert if you’re retrofitting an older home that has an old chimney, as long as you take precautions. “It does have to have an inspection done to make sure the chimney and the fireplace are suitable,” he says.

Plus, gas fireplace inserts have several advantages over traditional wood-burning fireplaces, none bigger than convenience, Dimmitt adds. Gas fireplace advantages include:

  • No finding, chopping or stacking wood
  • Turns on and off instantly
  • Instant heat
  • Easier to keep clean
  • No dirt or ash
  • Relatively easy to retrofit into an existing fireplace

The Best Gas Fireplace Inserts

1 / 5

Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Fireplace Insert
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Best Overall Gas Fireplace Insert

Duluth Forge Dual-Fuel Fireplace Insert

With the convenience of remote control for temperature settings and turning the fire on and off, Duluth Forge’s dual-fuel needs no electrical hookup. It produces 26,000 British thermal units (BTUs) an hour, and the oxygen depletion sensor will shut the unit off automatically. It holds five ceramic logs and provides a realistic look, complete with a faux liner pattern that looks like fire bricks, for a much lower cost than other remote-controlled inserts.

A dual-fuel insert gives you the flexibility to choose the one that’s the least expensive for your budget. Duluth Forge’s popular version includes a five-setting thermostat and push-button ignition. Most dual-fuel inserts use a selector valve and require adjustments, depending on the fuel source.


  • Runs on natural gas or liquid propane
  • Remote control operation
  • Realistic look
  • Dual burners
  • Reasonably priced


  • Blower may be noisy

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2 / 5

ProCom Universal Ventless Firebox
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Best Value Gas Fireplace Insert

ProCom Universal Ventless Firebox

ProCom is well known for its budget gas fireplace inserts, but even the brand has outdone itself with this ventless firebox. While the exact size you need depends on your home’s existing features, this model is less expensive than smaller models, in part because you can opt out of add-ons, like a brick liner or high-quality logs. If what you want is a simple, no-frills gas insert, this is a phenomenal vent-free value.


  • Won’t break the bank
  • Zero-clearance design
  • Slim profile fits in small spaces
  • Airflow Technology System allows quality airflow
  • Works with most 18-, 24- and 30-inch ventless log sets


  • Very bare-bones option

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3 / 5

ProCom Ventless Fireplace Insert with Thermostat Control
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Best Gas Fireplace Insert for Small Spaces

ProCom Ventless Fireplace Insert with Thermostat Control

If you have 1,000 square feet or less to heat, a customizable solution is a smart alternative to a full-size insert that may put out more heat than your space can handle. At only 18 inches wide and 28 inches tall, ProCom’s ventless insert has a retro look that fits in a narrow space while providing enough heat to warm a 500-square-foot room. It runs off natural gas or liquid propane, and doesn’t require a chimney or outside duct. It comes with four ceramic logs and a mesh screen to complete the look.


  • Generates up to 15,000 BTUs
  • Push-button ignition
  • Built-in oxygen depletion sensor
  • Automatically goes on and off for heat control


  • On the pricier side

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4 / 5

Empire Deluxe Tahoe Direct Vent Fireplace
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Best Gas Fireplace Insert for Large Spaces

Empire Deluxe Tahoe Direct-Vent Fireplace

Suitable for in-wall installation, the Empire deluxe direct-vent fireplace insert has clean, modern lines and a broad opening to put out enough heat to cover 782 square feet. At 37 inches wide, this model ships with seven ceramic logs, a burner, a barrier screen and a blower. Plus, it’s remote-ready, so you can add on a remote to sit back, relax and watch that big, beautiful flame. To sweeten the deal, this Empire insert comes in at a lower overall price than many smaller units.


  • Generates up to 25,000 BTUs
  • Flame height is adjustable
  • Minimalistic, clean style
  • Four liner designs available
  • Comes with ceramic logs, a burner, a barrier screen and a blower


  • You need to buy the remote separately

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5 / 5

Peterson Real Fyre 24-inch Split-Oak Designer Log Set
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Best Gas Fireplace Insert with Realistic-Looking Logs

Peterson Real Fyre 24-Inch Split-Oak Designer Log Set

One drawback to gas fireplace inserts: They don’t all look like real logs. Even when the fireplace is turned off in the warmer months, logs that look too fake will spoil anyone’s view. Choosing your logs, whether you’re updating an existing fireplace insert or upgrading a new insert, is important. Peterson Real Fyre offers several options, from birch to red oak. These logs are hand-painted and include glowing ember beds that look so real, you expect to smell smoke.


  • Includes six realistic logs
  • Features dual-fuel vented burners that produce flames
  • Logs are reinforced with steel rods
  • Comes with silica sand for an ember glow
  • Comes in 18- and 24-inch options


  • Expensive

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What to Consider When Buying a Gas Fireplace Insert

Be sure to check code requirements for gas fireplaces where you live. Many states and municipalities have specific regulations for venting and clearance that will impact your selection. Like you would any other fireplace, it’s important to service and maintain gas fireplaces to keep them safe and working properly. Here are other considerations when shopping for the best gas fireplace insert for your space:

  • Size: Will the insert provide enough heat to the room or area you want to warm up?
  • Design: Do you want a basic model or something with a little more flair?
  • Budget: How much are you willing to spend on an insert?

Why You Should Trust Us

This article was produced by Kathleen Purvis and Dan Stout. Purvis is a freelance writer who specializes in consumer research. Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager, and has written a wide range of Family Handyman content for many years. Because of his extensive experience in building and DIY, he knows what products work best in a home.

We consulted with Russ Dimmitt, the director of education at the Chimney Safety Institute of America, on this story. Dimmit has nearly three decades in the chimney and venting industry. He educates chimney sweeps and professionals on the latest products, safety protocols and all other aspects when it comes to chimneys. Dimmitt knows the ins and outs of how fireplaces work and need to be maintained, so he’s able to properly advise homeowners on the best options for them.

How We Found the Best Gas Fireplace Inserts

To settle on the best gas fireplace inserts, we looked at the top brands in the space and scoured reviews by real-life consumers who have used them. To make sure we were focusing on industry standards, we spoke with Russ Dimmitt, the director of education at the Chimney Safety Institute of America. After considering sizes, designs and budgets, we landed on the top five picks.


What is the difference between a gas fireplace and a gas fireplace insert?

A gas fireplace is an existing fireplace built into your home that runs off natural gas or propane. A gas fire insert is designed to fit inside an existing wood-burning fireplace. It produces flames like a wood-burning fireplace, but it’s safer to use, more environmentally friendly and more heat efficient than wood fires. Like a built-in gas fireplace, an insert can be fueled by natural gas or propane and is tied into your home’s existing gas supply line.

Do gas fireplace inserts need to be vented?

Gas fireplaces, including inserts, can be direct-vent or ventless. Direct-vent systems are usually more expensive and less energy-efficient since heat escapes up the chimney. Unvented or vent-free systems are usually less expensive, but they aren’t designed to provide heat. They also pose the potential risk of depleting indoor oxygen levels. While some come with oxygen depletion sensors that can shut off the fire for safety, ventless systems are illegal in many states and jurisdictions, even when equipped with sensors.

Dimmitt says a direct-vent insert is the best. “Those are much more efficient, and you’re not paying for heat that’s going up the chimney,” he says.

Is propane or natural gas better for fireplace inserts?

Natural gas is generally cheaper and safer than propane, but propane is more energy efficient at producing heat and easier on the environment because it burns more cleanly.

Dimmitt says the type of fuel you use for your gas fireplace depends on the availability in your area or what is already set up in your home. “Generally, natural gas is the usual option available in urban and suburban areas. Liquid propane is an option available in some suburban areas and rural areas,” he adds.

Additional information was contributed by Family Handyman writer, Dan Stout.