How Many BTUs and Patio Heaters Do I Need for My Patio

Outdoor living spaces, like patios, gardens, and finished decks are not only trendy but they’re good for us. When we spend time outdoors with friends and family, we’re more likely to connect, laugh, and bond. In colder months, don’t let the drab weather drag you back inside. Turning your patio into a cozy backyard retreat is easy with a patio heater or outdoor fireplace from

When shopping for a heater, you may notice that most heaters list BTU, or British thermal units, along with how much space a heater can cover. We’re going to cover what BTU’s are and how to determine how many you need for your patio.

What is a British Thermal Unit (BTU)?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. It is the imperial system’s basic unit of heat, used to measure how much heat is required to raise one pound of water’s temperature by one degree. Heating and cooling appliances are usually marked with BTU’s to let buyers know what size space they will be best for. The heat output of a fireplace or heater is measured per hour in BTU’s.

Close up of patio heater

Calculate how many BTU’s you need

The formula for calculating BTU’s needed to heat any space is relatively simple. Don’t worry, you won’t need a graphing calculator, years of training, or any special equipment. First, you need to know how big your patio is, multiplying length x width to calculate square footage. Since patios are usually square or rectangular, this method will work for most homes.

Length X Width = Area
20 BTU x Area2
Simply multiply square footage by 20 BTU’s per square foot.

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The 5 Most Realistic Electric Fireplaces in 2023

In 2023, we want all the modern features available with all the same comforts of a robust, crackling fire. Everything from LED lighting, hologram images, and videos of actual wood-burning fires are used in today’s most realistic electric fireplaces. These realistic features create an effortless ambience. Create a cozy cabin feel with the sound of crackling wood, drifting smoke, and glowing embers, without the danger of live fire. At, we seek the very best in technology for realistic electric fireplaces for your home and business.


The Most Realistic Electric Fireplace

With all the amazing tech available, narrowing down the choices to find a fireplace that fits your lifestyle and needs, can be a massive chore. Instead of wading through hundreds of electric fireplaces on the internet , we’ve curated this list of the very best, so you can spend more time on what matters to you.

Before buying an electric fireplace, there are factors to consider, like your budget, your heating needs, and if you’ll be willing to replace the fireplace in a year or two. Of course you don’t want to replace it so soon! That’s why each fireplace in our collection has been vetted for durability, quality, and heating technology. The same can’t always be said for our competitors.

These five special models demonstrate just a handful of the possibilities for realistic electric fireplaces. The criteria for this list includes flame simulation and sound. Scope out your favorite features from our list.

1.) 32” Hollis Real Flame Black Electric Fireplace Stove

Get that log cabin look with this electric fireplace stove. Compact, yet impactful, this stove heats up the room quickly with adjustable thermostat settings. During warm months, enjoy the flickering flames on their own. Six color settings allow you to create mood lighting. The Hollis Real Flame stove has 4780 BTU’s.

2.) Dimplex Opt-Myst Pro 500 Built-in Electric Fireplace Insert

This tiny, but mighty fireplace insert creates realistic flame and smoke effect with water.

Crackling embers and smoke effect are controlled by remote. The three dimensional flames are so lifelike, so you will think they’re 100% real. To use, this insert can be placed inside any existing fireplace. Fill the reservoir with water for up to 12 hours of crackling, sparking flames without worry. Note that this insert does not provide heat, making it ideal for warmer climates and for use around pets and children.20" Dimplex Opti-Myst Pro 500 Built-In Electric Fireplace Insert

3.) Tru View Deep 3 Sided Electric Fireplace

Transform your living room or covered porch with this stunning electric fireplace. The multicolored flames can be viewed from three sides, making it an art piece as well as a functioning fireplace. Control the flames with a touch of a button. Go with traditional colors of flames to keep it real or play up the fantasy with bright blues and violets. Fireglass can be added to this fireplace for more sparkle. Choose a media set that suits your unique aesthetic for a hyper realistic fire. This fireplace can heat up to 500 square feet, but the delicious flames can be enjoyed with or without heat.

4.) Dimplex Revillusion Built-in Firebox with Logs

The Opti-V Duet from Dimplex is another incredibly realistic electric fireplace. Three-dimensional logs glow with LED technology, but the best part is that they periodically sparkle and crack! With the Opti-V Duet, you can enjoy not only the look

This detailed insert is perfect for an old brick fireplace, especially in a rental home. Dimplex gets all the tiny details right, from scorch marks to the large, random flames from the sculpted logs. Underneath, the embers glow charmingly. Rather than a mirror, this firebox is backed with frosted acrylic which looks softer and more realistic. Adjust the lighting and flame color to suit your mood. With a BTU rating of B118, this firebox will keep your home nice and toasty. This fireplace insert has all the details and features you’d want, without the worry of a real wood burning fireplace.

of a real fireplace but the sound of one, too, with the crackling sounds it gives off. The company’s patented LED flame technology is also used to create hyperreal electric flames. This is not only one of the most realistic electric fireplaces in 2018; it is one of the most realistic electric fireplaces of all time.

5.) Dimplex Opti-V Solo 3-D Fireplace Insert

Get the most out of your fireplace with this insert. This technologically advanced fireplace insert features ultrarealistic flames and 3-D LED logs for the perfect flame combination. The LED log spontaneously spark, with glowing embers and crackling sound via remote control create a full sensory experience. Keep your loved ones safe with the cool-touch glass and the direct-wire installation. The Opti-V Solo is a heat-free virtual fireplace.

Which One Is The Best?

So, that’s all good and great but which one is the most realistic?

  • If you are only looking for the most realistic then theOpti-Myst is hands-down the most realistic electric fireplace on the market. The flame effect and water vapor, plus glowing logs create one amazing display.
  • The Hollis has everything you need for a home fireplace, including space for storing actual firewood. With the flickering fire, you might forget the Hollis is plugged into the wall.
  • TheOpti-Vis the most realistic display unit. While the Opti-V does not produce heat, the realistic flames, crackling sound, and glowing logs truly set a cozy ambience. This model is ideal for commercial venues.
  • As far as inserts go, the Revillusion offers the most in terms of realism and features. Give your home an accessibility makeover without demolition with an electric fireplace insert from Dimplex. Always measure your existing traditional fireplace first!

Honarable Mentions: Rounding out the Top 10

Let 2023 be a year of great things with our Top 10 Most Realistic Electric Fireplaces.

6.) Valmont Entertainment Center Electric Fireplace in Chestnut Oak

Take your family room or library to the next level with this elegant 75.5” LED electric fireplace. Heats up to 1,000 sq. feet!

7.) Tequesta Stone Electric Fireplace in Old Wood Brown

This 40” stone fireplace and mantle is perfect for use in apartments and smaller homes without traditional fireplaces. The incredible Spectrafire effect is customizable, with adjustable heat settings.

8.) Emerson Real Flame Electric Fireplace In White

Cozy up to this 55” modern mantle and fireplace, designed to fit in with your timeless décor. The flames, which can be used with or without heat, have five brightness levels.

9.) Media Mantel Freestanding Electric Fireplace With Louvered Door in Tan

Make the most out of small living spaces with this entertainment center-fireplace combo. Tiny, yet stylish, this 42” fireplace packs a punch, with flickering 3D flame effect, and up to 400 square feet of supplemental heat output.

10.) Chateau Electric Fireplace in Dark Walnut

Classic and clean, this powerful 40.94” fireplace features LED glowing embers, adjustable heat, and multicolored flames. The Chateau heats up to 1,000 sq. feet, making it ideal for homes and businesses alike!

Shop now for Electric Fireplaces

At, we’re the experts in all things electric fireplace. We offer stylish electric fireplaces and fireplace inserts at amazing prices. We carry the top brands including DimplexAmbella HomeClassic Flame, and Real Flame Fireplaces. Explore our full catalogue for even more incredible fireplace options at the Lowest Prices Guaranteed. We offer Free Shipping anywhere in the lower 48 states. We even have fireplaces for your outdoor living area. Electric fireplaces are eco-friendly and easy to use, and more affordable than ever. Get in touch with our experts to find out more.

More Fireplace Buying Tips and Tricks

The 7 Best Electric Fireplaces that Crackle

The sounds of live fire can be comforting, but building a live fire in your home isn’t always convenient or possible.  Fortunately, electric fireplaces make it possible to have realistic looking and sounding fires in your home without mess or danger.  

If you already own an electric fireplace or fireplace insert that doesn’t have that satisfying crackle,  the Adagio Crackler System is fantastic addition. It’s easy to use and portable. Volume control allows you to have a roaring fire or gentle background noise. Create instant ambiance with your electric fireplace with sounds to match.

The Best Electric Fireplaces with Natural Crackling Sounds

1)56” Brighton Coffee Black Electric Fireplace Media Cabinet

This cabinet fireplace is perfect for smaller homes and apartments, providing stylish storage and a glorious fire. Infrared quartz technology helps retain natural humidity in the air for extra comfort. The fire’s brightness is adjustable to your liking with several color ways to cycle through. Family movie nights are made that much cozier with this crackling fireplace.

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The 5 Best Electric Fireplace Inserts

Electric fireplace inserts are an efficient way to heat the heart of your home. They come in a variety of styles, with a variety of features. To choose the best electric fireplace insert for you, decide what’s important to you. Are you looking for realistic flame? How about that cozy crackle sound that real wood fires provide?

At Portable, we pride ourselves on offering high quality fireplaces and inserts, at the best prices guaranteed. We’ve gathered this list of our best electric fireplace inserts, with different styles and unique features, so you can keep toasty all year-round.

1)25” Dimplex Acrylic Ice Contemporary Electric Fireplace Insert

This stunning insert features shimmering acrylic ice embers that create a multi-color adjustable light display. The heat radius reaches up to 1,000 feet, ideal for heating living areas. The front of the box remains cool to the touch, making this insert a safe choice for families. Sustainable and energy efficient, this insert costs pennies to run and its LED lights require zero upkeep.  Enjoy the calming flame effect with or without heat, for a soothing visual experience any day of the year.

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Which Electric Fireplace Insert is the Best?

Electric fireplace inserts are the quick, modern solution to update your fireplace so that you can enjoy a cozy night by the fire, any night of the week. An electric fireplace insert fits into your existing mantel or fireplace. Inserts are designed to provide a realistic experience with faux logs and glowing lights, and even, the comforting crackle, with none of the mess. Use our guide to help you find the perfect electric insert for your home.

Top Rated Electric Inserts

Each of our fireplace inserts has been carefully chosen for its high quality, but these inserts have been rated our top inserts by you, our customers. At, we’re the fireplace experts, but only you know what you want in style and features for your home.

16” Dimplex Opti-Myst Cassette Fireplace Insert

This deceptively simple insert provides up to 12 hours of warmth and realistic looking flame and “smoke.” Quick set up with a remote allows you to place, fill the water reservoir, and enjoy your fireplace within minutes.

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Fireplace Inserts: What You Need to Know

What is a Fireplace Insert?

What is a Fireplace Insert
Installation of the Dimplex Revillusion is as simple as plugging it in

A fireplace insert is a unit that’s installed into a pre-existing wood or stone fireplace, and serves as the primary heating element. An insert typically includes the interior walls of the fireplace, a grate, and life-like logs that are made of materials such as resin.

The first fireplace inserts were invented in 1896 by Joab R. Donaldson. These early inserts used smokeless coke fuel—a derivative of distilling coal—and used an electric blower to make the insert more efficient.

Early fireplace inserts were adopted and used primarily by low-income coal mining families because the coal could be procured from their own backyards. There are many varieties of inserts and can be categorized by fuel type.

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Tabletop Fireplaces: What is the Difference between Bioethanol Liquid Fuel and Gel Fuel?

When shopping for a tabletop fireplace, you need to learn about the different ways such fireplaces are fueled. Most tabletop fireplaces use either bioethanol liquid fuel or alcohol gel fuel. I created an organized presentation of the differences between the two types of fuels.

Two important considerations to note:

  • Fueling methods for devices are not interchangeable. Tabletop fireplaces are designed specifically to utilize only one type of fuel. The owner’s manual will specify which fuel to use.
  • These fuels create REAL flames, just like those created by wood burning. Therefore, fuels and flames should be kept away from pets and children.

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Pearl Mantels: Dedicated to Home and Hearth

For humankind throughout the ages, a fireplace and mantel have evoked a sense of warmth, stability, safety… home. It is, and should be, the centerpiece of a room. As important as the raw, organic flame, the mantel that surrounds it should be beautiful.

Pearl Mantels has but one passion, creating mantels that are the perfect complement to provocative, glittering flames. In fact, the company has dedicated itself to the art of fireplace mantel design for over 20 years. Their artisans and craftsmen, like the ones of yore, lovingly hand cut and polish each mantel. Overseen by the master artist herself, Mother Nature, the mantels often retain the rudimental features only she can imbue. Her exquisite and sensual touches to wood make each mantel a one-of-kind piece of art.

Many of Pearl’s mantels are made from live edge wood. Live edge wood furniture is created by retaining the original lines of the tree trunk, including edges, knots, gnarls and holes. This technique elicits the innate glory of the tree. The master of this technique was woodworker and architect George Nakashima, who believed that furniture could evince “the soul of a tree.” (See his 1981 memoir: The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworker’s Reflections

The Soul of a Tree by George Nakashima

George Nakashima’s book “The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworker’s Reflections”

Featured below are some of Pearl Mantels original mantel designs:
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Guide to Ethanol Fireplaces

Ethanol fireplaces are fireplaces that burn using bio ethanol fuel, a renewable fuel source that’s only by-products are heat, carbon dioxide, and steam, making it an eco-friendly alternative to traditional fireplaces. Bio ethanol, or gel fireplaces as they’re sometimes referred to as, give off of the warmth of an authentic flame while eliminating the emissions released into the air by traditional gas or wood burning fireplaces.

Bio ethanol only gives off carbon dioxide, similar to burning candles indoors, so they don’t require a flu or chimney in most cases. As with any other source of flame like candles or wood fires, it is not recommended to burn ethanol flames indoors in non-ventilated rooms for extended periods of time because of the carbon dioxide. Aside from this, bio ethanol fireplaces are completely safe to be used indoors or outdoors.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for an ethanol fireplace.
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History of the Electric Fireplace

The history of electric fireplaces is more interesting, and perhaps a bit longer than some might think at first. From its belittling introduction to the majestic marble mantle-clad wonders of today, knowing this history will make you unable to look at your electric fireplace the same way again.

Humble Origins Among the Stars

Traversing the ages, fire has been a common theme in man’s journey and advancement, especially in technological improvements. While the electric fireplace sits relatively late in the table of harnessing fire, it can claim to be an important innovation, rightly deserving to be made a part of the modern home. But for the first electric fires in 1912, the play was their restriction.

First Electric Fireplaces in Theater Productions

Electric fires were first used in theatre productions like this one – By Central Litho. & Eng. Co. (signed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID var.1527.; image is a reproduction, also in the public domain.

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