Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Ethanol fireplaces are an interesting alternative for all those who would like to make their home as cosy as possible and for whom the quiet crackling of a burning fire is the ultimate comfort, but who either do not have space for a traditional fireplace or do not have a chimney connection.

With our big ethanol fireplace test 2021 we want to help you find the perfect appliance for you. We have taken a close look at different models and filtered out the decisive advantages and disadvantages for you. Finally, we would like to explain the different types of ethanol fireplaces in more detail




Summary

  • An ethanol fireplace allows people who have a flat too small for an ordinary fireplace to listen to the soothing crackle of a real fire and relax.
  • In contrast to a stove, an ethanol fireplace does not give you heat. It merely serves the purpose of a decorative object.
  • You should inform yourself about the dangers and risks of an ethanol fireplace before you make a decision. There is a risk of fire if handled improperly.

The Best Ethanol Fireplace: Our Choice

Buying and evaluation criteria for ethanol fireplaces

Since you are truly inundated with offers when you search for "ethanol fireplace" on the Internet, we have compiled the most important aspects according to which you can distinguish such fireplaces. This should make your decision as easy as possible.

In summary, these are:

Below you will find detailed explanations of the individual points.

Safety inspection

For heating appliances, there are regulations that provide numerous specifications for the safety of the appliances. However, ethanol fireplaces can also be put on the market without being tested. For your own safety, we strongly recommend that you make sure that your future fireplace has undergone an appropriate safety inspection.

Another must is the presence of an extinguishing aid. This way, in case of an accident, you can act quickly and prevent the worst from happening.

In any case, you should have your appliance explained to you in detail in a specialist shop and, ideally, also demonstrated.

Tank capacity / filling quantity

Both factors depend on each other. The larger the fuel tank, the longer the burning time. At first glance, it may seem ideal to choose a model with the largest possible tank.

However, there are recommended maximum values per type of fireplace to keep the fire risk as low as possible.

Experts recommend choosing a unit with a maximum tank capacity of 3 litres for floor-standing and wall-mounted fireplaces. The recommended tank volume for tabletop fireplaces, on the other hand, is a maximum of 0.5 litres.

Covering

Manufacturers pay special attention to unusual designs. The most popular materials are glass, ceramic and stainless steel.

  • Glass: Although glass enclosures look very noble and modern, fingerprints can be seen on them very quickly and the cleaning effort is therefore comparatively high.
  • Ceramic: Enclosures made of ceramic are easier to maintain and less sensitive.
  • Stainless steel: Fingerprints are also quickly visible on stainless steel. However, stainless steel is very uncomplicated to clean. Dirt can be wiped off quickly with a cloth.

The cladding is, of course, a matter of taste and should be chosen based on personal preferences and preferences, or to match the rest of the room. Nevertheless, there are a few advantages and disadvantages of the respective materials.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying ethanol fireplaces

Below we have tried to answer all the other questions about ethanol fireplaces that may pop into your head.

What is special about an ethanol fireplace and what advantages does it offer?

Compared to a normal fireplace, an ethanol fireplace is, as the name suggests, a device that uses ethanol as fuel. Ethanol, also known colloquially as alcohol, is a hydrocarbon that is split into carbon dioxide and water during combustion.

Since it is a highly pure fuel, no other residues such as ash, soot or smoke are produced. Furthermore, no noise or odours are produced during combustion.

Ethanol Kamin-2

Ethanol fireplaces are very versatile, and add that certain "wow effect" to any indoor or outdoor space.
(Image source: Białasiewicz / 123rf)

In addition to ethanol in the liquid version, some ethanol fireplaces can also be operated with gel or even solid ethanol. This is significantly less complicated to use.

However, you should always follow the manufacturer's recommendations and only use the form or forms recommended by the manufacturer.

Another clear advantage compared to conventional fireplaces is the fact that ethanol fireplaces can be placed almost anywhere, because no connection to a chimney is necessary.

What types of ethanol fireplaces are there?

As already mentioned, there are countless different models in all shapes and colours. Basically, however, there are three different basic types of ethanol fireplaces. All the facts, as well as the respective advantages and disadvantages, can be found below.

Ethanol Stand Fireplace

Ethanol stand-alone fireplace

Stand-alone fireplaces can simply be placed against the wall, but they need a solid weight to prevent them from falling over. The ethanol is tipped into the container provided and then lit. Normally, this variant has a front made of safety glass.

Advantages
  • Wide range of options
  • larger tank and thus longer burning time possible
Disadvantages
  • expensive to buy
  • risk of tipping over
  • accessible to children
Ethanol Table Fireplace

It offers a wide range of options but is expensive to buy.

Ethanol tabletop fireplace

Tabletop fireplaces are usually smaller than the other two types and can simply be placed on a table or other object. The fire itself is usually smaller, but this does not detract from its beauty and cosiness.

In any case, it should be noted that a fuel tank of no more than 0.5 litres is recommended for this type (as opposed to 3 litres for other types).

Advantages
  • small space requirement
  • inexpensive to buy
Disadvantages
  • Danger of tipping over
  • short burning time
  • within reach of children
Ethanol Wall Fireplace

It is inexpensive but has a short burning time.

Ethanol wall fireplace

This type of ethanol fireplace is mounted on the wall with screws. This eliminates the risk of it tipping over. In addition, they can be mounted at any height, so they can be placed out of the reach of children if necessary. Wall-mounted fireplaces are particularly suitable for large rooms.

If you are not sure whether the walls in your house can support the weight of a complete ethanol fireplace, it is best to contact a plumber and have him install the wall fireplace if necessary.

Advantages
  • safest option
  • safe for children
  • longer burning time
Disadvantages
  • Fixing by experts necessary
  • requires a large piece of free wall

The ethanol wall fireplace is the safest option, but must be fixed by experts.

The different types have their different strengths and weaknesses.

Can I also use my ethanol fireplace outdoors?

Yes. There are portable models, such as tabletop fireplaces, which can also be used outdoors if necessary. However, for other types of ethanol fireplaces, it is not recommended to install them outdoors.

How dangerous is an ethanol fireplace?

Since an ethanol fireplace is an open fire, there is definitely some risk associated with the use of such a decorative device in case of improper handling. You should pay attention to these points:

  • In any case, follow the manufacturer's warnings.
  • Do not place or install within reach of children. We advise households with children to use wall-mounted fireplaces and to install them at an appropriate height.
  • Look for trustworthy, independent test seals.
  • Always ventilate sufficiently when the fireplace is in use.
  • Make sure that an extinguishing aid is included in the delivery.
  • Do not refill the ethanol while the fire is burning in the fireplace, but only when it has cooled down completely.

These are the points you should consider in order to keep the risk as low as possible.

What does an ethanol fireplace cost?

The price range for ethanol fireplaces is very wide. Simple tabletop fireplaces can be purchased for comparatively little money, and wall fireplaces are also available at very low prices. Floor-standing fireplaces are on average the most expensive type of fireplace.

Here is a small overview, divided into the different types of fireplaces presented above:

Type of fireplace price range in €
Floor-standing fireplace 120,00 - 500,00
Table fireplace 25,00 - 150,00
Wall fireplace 80,00 - 300,00

Of course, there are also luxury models that easily exceed the price range indicated and go into the four- or even five-figure range.

Where can I buy ethanol fireplaces?

Due to the complexity of these devices and the non-negligible risks involved in using an ethanol fireplace, we strongly recommend that you seek expert advice in a specialist shop.

Once you have decided on a model, it is up to you where you finally buy the fireplace. There are numerous options both online and offline.

Does an ethanol fireplace have heating power?

While some suppliers may still advertise a cosy, comfortably warm fireplace, it must now be stated on the packaging that the appliance is only intended for use in well-ventilated rooms and only for decorative purposes. The devices are not suitable for heating.

Ethanol fireplaces serve a purely decorative purpose.

In addition, one should be aware that, according to studies, burning ethanol can produce harmful substances in addition to carbon dioxide and water, which can pollute the air of the interior.

It is therefore essential to ensure regular ventilation whenever the fireplace is in use.

Can I build an ethanol fireplace myself?

In principle, it is also possible to build an ethanol fireplace yourself. However, we would like to clearly advise you to leave this to a professional. After all, it is an open fire and ethanol is not a safe fuel.

Image source: Ihlenfeld / 123rf

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