How Much Does It Cost to Install an Ethanol Fireplace?

Average range: $700 - $1,400
Low
$250
Average Cost
$1,000
High
$2,500
(Recessed, wall mounted ethanol fireplace professionally installed)

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How Much Does It Cost to Install an Ethanol Fireplace?

Average range: $700 - $1,400
Low
$250
Average Cost
$1,000
High
$2,500
(Recessed, wall mounted ethanol fireplace professionally installed)

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Reviewed by Irene Pomares. Written by Fixr.com.

If your home doesn’t have an existing fireplace, installing or setting up an ethanol fireplace can be an easy and inexpensive way to add a real-flame fireplace to any room of your home. Ethanol fireplaces don’t require chimneys. They can be placed or installed anywhere inside or out, even in the center of a room. They use clean-burning ethanol known as bioethanol for fuel. They don’t produce soot or give off harmful gasses, so all you get is the warmth and flicker of a real flame.

Ethanol fireplaces come in many different sizes and configurations, from small, tabletop models to large, wall-hung styles. This means that they also have a wide range of costs as well. The national average cost for installing an ethanol fireplace is around $700 to $1,400, with most people paying around $1,000 for a recessed, wall mounted ethanol fireplace professionally installed. The lowest cost for this project would be a table-mounted ethanol fireplace without any installation at $250. The highest cost of this project would be a recessed, wall mounted fireplace with a built-in surround for $2,500.

Ethanol Fireplace Cost

Ethanol Fireplace Installation Cost
National average cost$1,000
Average range$700-$1,400
Minimum cost$250
Maximum cost$2,500


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Ethanol Fireplace Cost by Project Range

Low
$250
Tabletop ethanol fireplace, installed
Average Cost
$1,000
Recessed, wall mounted ethanol fireplace professionally installed
High
$2,500
Recessed, wall mounted ethanol fireplace with built-in surround

Ethanol Fireplace Cost by Type

Ethanol fireplaces come in a wide range of sizes, styles, and types. Because these fireplaces don’t require a chimney or vent, they can be used or placed anywhere. The fuel they use is poured into a well inside the fireplace at the time of use, so they also don’t require a gas line or other fuel delivery system the way that a gas fireplace would. There are several different models available, depending on the look and type of use you’d like to achieve.


Ethanol Fireplace Cost Chart

Ethanol Fireplace Cost Chart


TypeCost Range (Material Only)
Ethanol Burner$75-$100
Tabletop$150-$250
Wall-Mounted$600-$1,200
Freestanding$800-$1,500
Recessed$900-$2,000


Ethanol Burners

If you currently have a fireplace that is not in use, an ethanol burner can be an inexpensive way of bringing it back to life. While all wood-burning and some gas fireplaces require a chimney that must be cleaned regularly, an ethanol burner does not. Even if your chimney isn’t functioning, you can place an ethanol burner inside the firebox and get the look and feel of your fireplace again. This is also a good solution if you want to switch from using a wood-burning fireplace but don’t want to retrofit with a gas line. Burners cost between $75 and $100 on average, making them an affordable option. They do not require any installation.

Tabletop Ethanol Fireplace

Tabletop ethanol fireplaces are a great way to add instant ambiance anywhere. These fully contained ethanol units are meant for use on a tabletop inside or outdoors. You simply set them down, fill them up, and light them--no installation is required. Always exercise caution when using a tabletop fireplace, particularly if you have small children or pets, as these units produce a real flame. However, they are safe to use with proper supervision and add warmth and charm to any party. They cost between $150 and $250 on average.

Wall-Mounted Ethanol Fireplace

A wall-mounted ethanol fireplace can be hung on the wall like a flat-screen TV, or they can be recessed into the wall. Most wall-mounted models come with mounting hardware for either scenario. If you choose to hang the unit on the wall, you simply need to locate the studs to install the hardware and hang the fireplace like a TV or oversized portrait. If you choose to recess, you need to hire a professional. These units cost between $600 and $1,200.

Freestanding Ethanol Fireplace

Freestanding ethanol fireplaces make beautiful centerpieces to any room or patio. These 360-degree fireplaces can be used in any clear space. You can have one mounted in the center of a room or place it on your patio for entertaining. If you have one burning, make sure not to leave it unsupervised, particularly around kids or pets, as they do produce real flames. You can choose from a range of sizes and styles. Freestanding ethanol fireplaces cost between $800 and $1,500 on average.

Recessed Ethanol Fireplace

A recessed ethanol fireplace is meant to recess slightly into your wall so that it’s flush with the wall itself. While most wall-mounted models have a recess option, a full range of models is meant only for recessing. These models are often larger, heavier, and meant to be incorporated into a more permanent, built-in display. You can install a recessed ethanol fireplace on its own or build a hearth or mantle to surround it. Recessed-only models cost between $900 and $2,000 on average.


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Ethanol Fireplace Cost by Brand

Many companies manufacture ethanol fireplaces. Some specialize in small, table, or floor mounted varieties, while others are known for their custom designs. Regardless of what style you’re looking for or what your budget is, you can easily find an ethanol fireplace to meet your needs. The following are some of the most popular brands and the average costs for their products.


Ethanol Fireplace Cost by Brand

Ethanol Fireplace Cost by Brand


BrandAverage Cost (Material Only)
Nu-Flame$100-$500
Ignis$100-$1,500
Anywhere$150-$500
Bio-Blaze$500-$2,500
Eco-Feu$800-$2,500
Planika$2,000-$6,000


Nu-Flame Ethanol Fireplace

Nu-Flame has a variety of ethanol fireplaces, including freestanding and tabletop. They come in a range of decorative designs, so it’s easy to match your home’s decor. They may be more difficult to fill than some other models, leading to safety concerns, such as spilling ethanol when you fill them. It’s important not to leave extra ethanol in the tank when not using it. They cost between $100 and $500 on average.

Ignis Ethanol Fireplace

Ignis manufactures an incredible range of fireplaces. They have small, tabletop models and large, recessed models. They also have smart fireboxes that can be controlled by your smart speaker or phone. Their designs are fairly modern and innovative from an installation standpoint, making them fast and easy to hang. They cost between $100 and $1,500 on average.

Anywhere Fireplaces

If you’re looking for an ethanol fireplace that produces enough heat to warm up the average bedroom or living room, consider Anywhere Fireplaces. They make a range of high-style designs that produce up to 4,500 to 8,500 BTUs. They give off water vapor, increasing the relative humidity in the room where they are installed. This helps make the room feel even warmer in cold, dry weather. They cost between $150 and $500 on average.

Bio-Blaze Ethanol Fireplace

If you’re looking for units that can be used both indoors and outside, consider Bio-Blaze. They have a stylish range of fireplaces that can be used anywhere. This includes large, freestanding varieties and smaller tabletop and wall, hung, or recessed styles. This Belgium-owned company manufactures fireplaces with styles that reflect the European designs, which sets them apart from other brands. They are more costly at $500 to $2,500 on average.

Eco-Feu Ethanol Fireplace

If you’re concerned about quality, then Eco-Feu is the right fireplace brand for you. They have high quality, ultra-modern fireplaces that come with substantive warranties. They have various styles to choose from, although most tend to fall into the ultra-modern category, which can make them a poor fit for some traditional-style homes. They hold their products to higher safety standards than many other companies, so you can trust that their products will last a long time. They cost between $800 and $2,500.

Planika Ethanol Fireplace

If you are looking for something unique or want a size that you can’t find elsewhere, consider getting a custom ethanol fireplace made by Planika. They carry non-standard lengths and sizes and offer more than 200 finishes and colors. They have one of the largest fuel storage tanks in the industry on all their fireplaces, so their fires burn the longest. They have one of the highest safety ratings. However, their units are expensive, with costs ranging from $2,000 to $6,000 on most models.

Ethanol Fireplace Fuel Cost

Ethanol fireplaces run off of bioethanol, pure alcohol that has been “tainted” to prevent human consumption. It’s relatively inexpensive at costs of around $1 to $2 a gallon. Depending on how much ethanol your fireplace requires, you can heat the room for around $1 to $3 a day. Some fireplaces require more ethanol than others. They have varying heat outputs, so it is important to check on the exact specifications of the unit you are considering.

Ethanol Fireplace Installation

While tabletop and floor mount models do not require any installation beyond unboxing and setting up, wall mount and recessed models may require professional installation. A homeowner can easily mount some wall mount models provided a stud is located first. Recessed models involve opening the wall for installation. This is best done by a professional. A handyman is capable of performing this job.

Most ethanol fireplaces can be installed for $100 to $150. If you choose to have a model built-in, you can expect an additional $250 to $350 in labor fees. You may wish to engage the services of a carpenter to build the surround. For a simple, recessed fireplace, installation is around $150 out of the $1,000 total.


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How Does an Ethanol Fireplace Work?

Ethanol fireplaces are incredibly easy to use. They need to be filled with ethanol before use. Never leave ethanol in the fireplace when it is not in use. Always use bioethanol made for indoor use and avoid using any gel fuels.

Follow the instructions on your unit for filling, and always inspect it for dust or debris first. Use the long lighter to ignite the fuel at the burner and allow the flames to grow in capacity until they reach their final height--about 15 minutes. A 1-liter cylinder lasts around four hours, but this varies by manufacturer and brand.

Whenever possible, burn off all the fuel in the burner before snuffing the flame with the built-in tool. Allow the fireplace to cool down completely before moving it--a minimum of 15 minutes for most models.


Recessed ethanol fireplace installed in a living room


Ethanol Fireplace Pros and Cons

Ethanol fireplaces are a great alternative for those who want a fireplace with the look and heat of a real flame without the invasive and costly installation of a fireplace and chimney. Ethanol fireplaces do not need a vent or chimney and can be installed or placed anywhere. They’re very economical to both purchase and run, making them an attractive option for homeowners on a budget or for those wanting to use the fireplace sporadically. These fireplaces can also be used outdoors on patios.

Because the user must pour the liquid in, however, there is always a chance for spilled fluid. This can cause a fire hazard. Floor mounted and tabletop models may tip and are in easy reach of kids and pets. They don’t produce as much heat as a gas or traditional wood-burning fireplace and lack the sound of crackling flames. The unit must cool down completely before being moved and can cause burns if touched before then.

Ethanol vs Gas Fireplace

If you don’t have a wood-burning fireplace, you have several options for adding one. Ethanol is one, and a gas fireplace is another. Gas fireplaces can be installed in an existing fireplace, as a built-in fireplace, or as a direct-vent fireplace that vents right outdoors through the wall. They do need to vent, however, while ethanol fireplaces do not. Gas fireplaces require you to install a gas line to bring the fuel to the fireplace. Ethanol fireplaces allow you to put them anywhere; you just add the fuel as needed. Gas is cheaper and, in many ways, safer than ethanol, but the ethanol fireplace is easier and less expensive to install.

Gas fireplaces must be built-in and remain in one place. To move one would mean relocating the gas line. Ethanol fireplaces can be moved around as needed. Although an ethanol fireplace will not warm your home as much as a gas fireplace, both produce heat without electricity.


Ethanol vs Gas Fireplace


Fireplace TypeAverage Cost (Material Only)
Ethanol$75-$2,000
Gas$100-$3,000


Ethanol vs Electric Fireplace

Another choice that does not require a chimney or vent for your home is an electric fireplace. Electric fireplaces are very easy to install and use. They simply plug in and run. You can move them around the room or home as needed. Ethanol fireplaces can be moved anywhere. They don’t require a plug as you pour in the fuel as needed.

Electric fireplaces do not produce real flames, and this can be an aesthetic drawback. Ethanol fireplaces produce real flame, although the fuel is sometimes unsafe, as it can spill. Electric fireplaces are safer and less costly to run.

In the event of a power outage, electric fireplaces will not run. Ethanol fireplaces can be used without electricity, however, so they can remain a source of heat. Both come in various styles, and neither is designed to be the primary source of heat for your home. Both units come in a range of sizes with comparable costs.


Ethanol vs Electric Fireplace


Fireplace TypeAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Ethanol$75-$2,000
Electric$100-$6,200


Ethanol vs Gel Fireplace

Ethanol and gel fireplaces both use a type of alcohol to produce flames. In an ethanol fireplace, liquid ethanol is poured into the fireplace, then lit. In a gel fireplace, isopropyl alcohol formed into a gel is placed inside a container in the fireplace to burn.

Except for this type of fuel, the two fireplaces work essentially the same way. They burn alcohol-based fuel and do not need any vents or chimneys. They come in many sizes, can be used anywhere, and have a range of styles.

Arguably, gel fireplaces are safer to use because there is no risk of spilling ethanol or fuel. However, the cans maybe more expensive than liquid fuel, making the gel fireplace more costly to run. With those few exceptions, the fireplaces are very comparable.


Ethanol vs Gel Fireplace


Fireplace TypeAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Ethanol$75-$2,000
Gel$150-$3,000


Ethanol Fireplace Safety

Ethanol fireplaces are safe if they are used correctly. Ethanol is flammable. The way that it is poured into the fireplace can lead to spills. If this happens, the material it spills onto is at greater risk of becoming flammable.

Because the fireplace vents into the room, the flames consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. For most fireplaces in most rooms, this is perfectly fine. But a large fireplace in a small room could produce too much CO2 to be considered safe. Having a way to ventilate the room, such as opening a window, is very important.

The ethanol itself produces a stable flame with no sparks or smoke. Make sure to follow all instructions on the fireplace itself for adding the fuel, dousing the flame, and allowing the unit to cool to avoid any potential burns or hazards. Keep the fireplace out of reach of children or pets while it is running or cooling down. Do not store the ethanol inside the fireplace when it is not lit.

What is Ethanol Fuel?

Ethanol is considered a “clean fuel.” This plant-derived fuel is made by fermenting saccharine from corn, potato, and cellulose. It contains no dangerous chemicals but leaves behind soot, ash, or smoke. It does emit some level of water vapor and CO, which makes it environmentally friendly. There is no residue or smell.

Because ethanol is pure alcohol, it is sometimes given a treatment to make it unfit to drink. It is considered toxic. The fumes should not be inhaled or the fluid ingested. Burning it does not produce any toxic gasses.


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Ethanol Stoves

Ethanol stoves are a subtype of ethanol fireplaces. They are freestanding stoves that have a more traditional look than some of the more contemporary versions. Like the fireplaces, they can be moved anywhere. They run on the same fuel and have the same concerns and attributes. They cost between $500 and $3,000 on average.

Custom Ethanol Fireplace

If you want a specific color, size, or shape of the fireplace, it is possible to get a custom model. Custom ethanol fireplaces are made for you directly from the manufacturer. You need to supply the exact dimensions and other specifications. They are more costly than standard fireplaces. Costs start around $2,000 for a custom unit and go as high as $6,000.

Automatic Ethanol Fireplace

If you want your fireplace to adjust its output automatically, you can get a smart, automatic fireplace. These are connected to your smartphone or home speaker. You program them ahead of time to work automatically or operate them remotely. Make sure never to leave an automated fireplace running when no one is home to avoid fire risk. They cost from $500 to $3,000, depending on the size and style you choose.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Fireplace Placement. Ethanol fireplaces can be placed either inside or outside your home. This increases your living area outdoors or adds ambiance and warmth to any room in your home. One of the biggest benefits of the ethanol fireplace is that they are safe and can be placed anywhere. They can be set on carpeting and pose no safety hazards, provided they are kept at least three feet from flammable materials.
  • Permits and Licenses. Ethanol fireplaces do not need electricity, gas lines, chimneys, or vents. For this reason, no permits or licenses are needed to install.
  • DIY. Most ethanol fireplaces can be set up DIY. The only method that is recommended to have professional installation is the recessed or built-in units. Even these fireplaces could be installed by an experienced homeowner.
  • Maintenance. Ethanol fireplaces are very easy to clean and maintain. Burn all the fuel you use at once. Wipe away dust as needed. Use steel or glass cleaner on the relevant parts of the exterior to keep them in good condition.

FAQs

  • Is it expensive to install a fireplace?

This depends on the type of fireplace. Brick fireplaces are very expensive. Gas fireplaces are less and electric and ethanol are very inexpensive.

  • Do ethanol fireplaces give off heat?

They do. The amount varies based on the size of the fireplace and the amount of ethanol that it holds at one time.

  • Do ethanol fireplaces need to be vented?

They do not. If you have a small space, however, you should make sure that the windows can be opened to avoid a build-up of CO2.

  • How do you install a recessed ethanol fireplace?

The wall will need to be opened based on the template provided with the fireplace. A support is installed below it. The fireplace fits into the opening and rests on the support. The wall is then sealed up around it.

  • Is an ethanol fireplace expensive to run?

It costs around $1 to $3 a day to run an ethanol fireplace, but some units consume more or less ethanol. The cost to run varies based on consumption.

  • Are bioethanol fireplaces any good?

This depends on their use. They can add supplemental warmth and ambiance to any room. They are not necessarily going to act as a primary heat source.

  • Are ethanol fireplaces safe?

Yes. When ethanol fireplaces are used and maintained correctly, they are very safe. However, it is possible to spill the ethanol, which can cause other surfaces to be flammable.

  • How does an ethanol fireplace work?

Ethanol fireplaces are filled with ethanol--a type of alcohol-based fuel. The fuel is lit, which produces a flame.

  • How hot does ethanol burn?

This depends on the unit. Some produce as many as 8,500 BTUs. Others may produce only 2,000 BTUs depending on their size.

  • Where to buy ethanol fuel for a fireplace?

Most hardware stores carry ethanol. Otherwise, you may be able to order it from any fireplace supplier or the place where you purchased your fireplace.

Cost to install an ethanol fireplace varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Modern fireplace burning on ethanol gas

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Cost to install an ethanol fireplace varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources