Should You Buy a Gas Insert or Gas Log?

Buy a Gas Insert or Gas Log

There are many disadvantages of burning natural wood in your fireplace. This is even with a chimney that is properly constructed. For instance, this system of heat production can reduce the presence of oxygen in your interior space.

Additionally, there are certain kinds of wood that are very dangerous when used for this purpose. Examples include sumac, poison oak, ivy, Mexican Elder, and Oleander. Some of them have been discovered to be highly toxic.

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The good news is that there are options that allow you to avoid all of these complications while making the most of your natural fireplace and the chimney setup. We will discuss two of these options in this article and share information that will help you decide which is best for you.

Let us talk about gas inserts and gas logs!

Factors to Consider before Getting a Gas Log or Gas Insert

There are 3 major things you should take into consideration before you decide to get either of these options. These factors are:


These options are not only about providing heat in your space. They also serve the purpose of making your interior space look beautiful. As a matter of fact, some studies have shown how they increase the value of a property in the real estate market.

So, you should think about the aesthetic appeal that your option commands before making a decision. This will ensure that you are happy with the looks after all.


The upfront cost and installation fees should also be taken into consideration before making a decision. This is because both options are very different in this regard.

The amount you are willing to part with will determine which of these options you will end up with. So, it is important that you know the costs that come with either of these options.

Heat Production or Performance

This is very important especially if you live in a cold region. So, understanding the performance features of either option will help you make the right decision.

Gas Insert vs Gas Log

gas insert vs gas log

Now that you are aware of the factors that should be taken into consideration before choosing either of these options, below are our thoughts on the best option:

Gas Logs Win in Terms of Aesthetic Appeal

For us, gas logs are the best option if aesthetic appeal is high up on your priority list. The truth is that they look very good and real in your fireplace. The flames of the logs are amazing to watch and they make your interior space better.

Furthermore, they do not adversely alter the good looks of your existing fireplace. They simply add to it with the beautiful logs, (probably accessories), and the flames that are generated while it is working.

While gas inserts are also good, we consider logs to be better in this regard. The reason is that inserts are going to alter the existing fireplace. First, they will make the place look smaller because of the installation on the sides.

Secondly, the use of ceramic glass does obstruct the look of the fireplace. So, logs are better in this regard.

Gas Inserts Are Better with Performance Features

There are many benefits of logs but this is one of the downsides especially when compared with inserts. Logs do not generate as much heat and there may be a need for additional heating options in the house. For instance, a furnace may be needed as the main source of heat supply.

Furthermore, the heat generated by logs is not distributed properly. This is because most of the heat goes up the chimney and outside the house.

Well, this is not the situation with the insert option. It can even be relied upon as the main source of heat supply.

Gas Logs Are Better in Terms of Cost

Frankly, there is a wide difference between both options in terms of cost. However, you should know that logs are better since they are a lot cheaper.

A look into the market prices has shown that you may have to pay triple the cost of logs when you consider the cost of installing gas inserts. So, people that cannot spend big might have to settle for logs or wait a while till they can save up for the insert option. To know more about the cost of installing these options, you can click here.

Installing a Gas Log Is Easier

It is very easy to install logs. On the other hand, the installation of inserts is not only difficult but costly and technical. The technicality stems from the fact that some locations require permits before this installation can be carried out. This is so that it is properly done and the safety of occupants is guaranteed.

Wrap Up

Many people find it difficult to choose between gas logs and inserts. Well, we have explained what these heating options bring to the table in terms of cost, performance, and aesthetics. We, therefore, advise that you make informed decisions based on this information.

Gas logs- everything you want to know before buying

There are two main categories of gas log sets: vented and vent-free and each of the categories comes with benefits and limitations. Suppose you’re buying gas fire products for an existing fireplace. In that case, you need to check out the venting system first. Otherwise, we recommend you consider the characteristics of both categories before selecting a model.

Gas logs- everything you want to know before buying

Vented gas logs

Here is the essential information about vented gas logs:

  • They generate the most natural and realistic flame
  • They require installation in wood-burning fireplaces that are fully functional
  • If the flame touches the log, they create some soot
  • The radiant heat heats the room, and the heat output resembles the burning wood

Vent-free gas logs

Check out the characteristic of this category to make an informed decision:

  • Installation is possible only in fireplaces approved for vent-free logs
  • They generate more heat inside the house
  • State and local codes may limit installation. In some regions, vent-free models aren’t allowed.

Direct vent systems

If none of the two categories sounds appealing to you, you should consider installing a direct vent system instead. Its haracteristics come next:

  • High-efficiency vented heater with fireplace appearance
  • There are both natural gas and propane models in three various sizes
  • They provide a generous viewing area of the fire

How do you know which size of gas log to buy?

You will get the most out of your gas log set when it matches your fireplace perfectly. The measuring process is relatively straightforward, and you can ask for help from professionals at this stage. In the meanwhile, here’s what your need to measure:

  • The width of the front and the back of the fireplace
  • The depth from the front to the back of the fireplace
  • The height from the top to the bottom of the fireplace’s front
  • The height from the top to the bottom of the fireplace’s back

Are you interested in purchasing a gas fire insert?

Since there are many models on the market, you might need basic information before picking a gas fire insert. One place to start is to decide which type of control you want on your gas fire insert.

Type of control for the gas fire insert


This type of control is possible only for natural gas models. You don’t have a pilot, but only a burner and the logs. You place a match/lighter near the burner to light the fire and turn off the gas with the key valve. You can adjust the flame height with the key valve; typically, the valve is placed outside the fireplace, either in-floor or the wall.

Manual safety pilot

This sort of system comes with a safety pilot that you light manually; it remains lit all the time. Also known as the standing pilot, the safety pilot resembles the one in the water heater. You need to reach inside the fireplace to turn on/off the burner by turning the control knob.

You cannot use a remote control with this kind of system, but you can upgrade after some time.

Remote control

Remote Control Systems feature remote pilot valve assembly. You will have the possibility to adjust various functions of the log set from the remote control according to your selected remote option. Basic on/off control and control to adjust the flame height are some of the remote-controlled options you can have.


You can select the additions for your fireplace so that it suits your house and lifestyle to perfection. You can have branches, reflective Fyrebacks, acorns, wood chunks, and pine cones to have the most beautiful fire gas insert.

Natural gas or propane?

If you already have a line installed in the fireplace, you will pick according to the line you already have. Otherwise, you can select the fuel type for your gas log.

Extra tip

Check out the appliances in your home to see their fuel source. If you have a natural gas dryer, heater, stove, etc., it makes perfect sense to opt for a natural gas log. On the other hand, if your appliances run on propane, buy gas logs that use propane. Should your house lack plumbing for either gas type, ask professionals to see which fuels are recommended in the area you live.

Direct Vent or B-vent?

Direct vent

Direct vented models don’t alter indoor air quality, are affordable, and keep the house warm. They also prevent cold drafts from getting inside your home and allow warm air to escape outside the house.

Such models use air from outside your house and not air from inside like conventional open flue/natural draft gas fireplaces. Direct vent models are top-rated as they’re safe, efficient, and keep the house warm.


B-vent gas inserts draw air from the area near the fireplace for combustion. They’re common in condos as several units can be connected with just one vertical flue. Moreover, B-vent is affordable to install.

How should you measure for your fireplace insert?

You can pick from many sizes for gas fireplace inserts. Here’s what you need to measure:

Fireplace opening dimensions

  • Height of fireplace opening (back)
  • Height of fireplace opening (front)
  • Depth (opening to back wall)
  • Width (front and back of the fireplace)

Other measurements:

  • Location in the room
  • Ceiling height
  • Flooring material
  • Wall material
  • Ceiling material


You can add accessories to your gas fireplace inserts to give it the appearance you like most. Veneers, square/arched designer vignette faceplates, interior panels, fire bed option, fireplace doors are some of the details you can opt for. There are also functional accessories that you can have:

Remote control

You can have a remote and turn on the fire from your bed. Modern gas fireplace inserts can also be programmed to turn on/off at specific times. It’s also possible to set the temperatures you want at particular times. Some gas fireplace remotes can operate the fan in the fireplace and control the flame height.

Adjustable speed blowers

Fireplace blowers push heat into the corners of a room to heat the space quickly and efficiently. Blowers with adjustable speeds ensure great comfort as they allow adjustment to move warm air quickly or slowly. High-quality blower fans run reasonably quietly. A standard gas fireplace insert will generate heat, but only a fireplace fan blower will give powerful and instant heat.

Safety screen

Reliable manufacturers make gas insert fireplaces with safety screens to keep everyone and everything near the fireplace safe and sound.

Heat radiating ceramic glass

A ceramic glass viewing window on the gas fireplace insert will provide maximum radiant heating.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a gas insert?

Expect to pay around $1,200 for a gas fireplace inser, and don’t forget to add the spending for installation. The latter will cost you anywhere between $500 and $3,500. Additionally, the chimney will require cleaning before installation, which increases the final spending by $200.

What’s the price for a gas log?

A basic set of gas log fireplace and installation costs you around $250. In the case of high-performance gas logs, professional installation can go as high as $1,470-$1,750. This spending covers works such as running a new gas line to the fireplace.

What’s the main difference between a gas insert and a gas fireplace?

The gas insert is smaller than the gas fireplace, so it permits installation inside of the opening of an existing wood-burning fireplace or existing masonry. Also, the gas insert gets much hotter on the outside than a gas fireplace.

Is it affordable to run a gas log?

When using natural gas, there are 100,000 BTUs in a Therm. With propane, it’s around 91,500 BTU in a gallon. According to these numbers, to operate a 70,000 BTU/hour decorative gas log, you will pay approximately $ 0,70/hour for natural gas and about $2,50/hour for propane units.

Which type of gas logs generates the most heat?

Different types of gas logs will suit other houses. Therefore, vented models are the most appropriate choice for homeowners who only want a small amount of radiant heat but enjoy the beauty of roaring fire highly. Even if the vented gas logs create the most realistic flames, they’re not as effective as vent-free logs.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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