If you’re looking for convenience, flexibility, solid economical options, and a snug and cosy place to curl up and watch Netflix this autumn, you can’t go far wrong with a nice new electric fire. They come in all shapes and sizes, a wide range of designs and styles. Log burners, stoves, real flame, or handy fan heater, plug it in, switch it on, and you’re good to go. Here’s our buyer’s guide to electric fires.

First things first, where’s it going? If you already have a cavity in the wall that needs an inset fire to fit the gap, obviously that will dictate the kind of scale and type of fireplace you’re looking for. If you want to hide the lead that plugs it into the mains you can get an electrician to help, but otherwise, you should be able to plug it in straight away, out of the box. It’s not like gas fires, where you need a registered professional to install it. With electric fires, you can do it yourself.

Of course it depends on your requirements - if you want an electric fire to create an ambient focal point in the heart of your living space, you’ll probably be making different decisions to if you’re looking for a small electric fire to go in the back of the car when your teenager heads off for uni. Perfect for versatility and peace of mind. And when they come home for Christmas, you have that extra heating option for the spare room you don’t normally use.

Make sure you know in advance the dimensions of the area, taking care not to choose such a big appliance it overpowers the space, or too small to do the job. The power of your new electric fire will depend on how much space it needs to heat. Just one small corner, as an extra boost of heat in winter? Or is it in a hallway, with corridors leading in different directions? To maximise your fuel efficiency, get the right power of heater.

Electric fires don’t have the downside of gas alternatives, where you’re often paying for heat that disappears up the chimney. With electricity, you’re talking 100% efficiency. When you don’t need any more heat, you just switch it off.

How about a wall-mounted model. if you need to conserve floor space, you can get electric fires that fit to the wall, in much the same way as a flat-screen TV.  And if you only want the flame effect flickering in the background as a visual effect without any extra warmth, you can choose that instead. Different electric fires will offer different settings, but you can often choose the size and colour of the flame, the rate it flickers and the glow. Electric log fires are a convenient and non-nonsense contemporary alternative to an old fashioned open fire.

The most efficient electric fires are the ones that are suited to the space, and only as powerful as they need to be. Do your homework and work out exactly what you need. We’re here to advise.