In the early days, those gas and electric fires were, at best, a bit fake looking. Do you remember the plastic moulds of logs and coals, and the uninspiring red light supposed to get you thinking of real flames if you could overlook the mechanical whirring sound? If that’s your only experience of gas and electric fires, you could be forgiven for not getting too excited.

However, times have changed, and in these days of advancing technology, smartphones and automation, modern day fires have made impressive leaps forward. You might be surprised. A contemporary electric fire doesn’t have the same look or feel as the one your granny had in the 70s. It’s slick, attractive, cost-efficient, and something well worth considering if you need to upgrade your heating solution.

Take, for example, the traditional log burner, which gets a remake with living flames. Or a wall-hung LCD screen with high definition graphics that give your room the vivid impression of a proper fire, without any of the hassles. It means you have that all-important focal point, but it’s at the flick of a switch, on or off, right when you need it. Some screen-effect fires come with the realistic sounds of crackling and burning, and there’s even birdsong available in some models.

One of the great reasons for this kind of fire is that if you’re moving between properties, there’s no need for the huge upheaval of extensive building work, you can probably take your appliance with you. If you rent, and you don’t have the set-up for a real fire, your landlord may well be open to the idea of you getting a gas or electric fire, which won’t require the same extent of alternations and reconstruction. And then it won’t take too much work to return the property to its previous state when you leave.

So if you’re looking for a new fire and you don’t want to go to the trouble of the real thing, the big question is, how fake will you go? You’ll want to weigh up the cost of fuel bills as well as the aesthetics so that every time you light it you’ll have the confidence of money well invested. Consider the dimensions of your living space, and how often you’re likely to use it.

But perhaps the bottom line is, if you’re in the market for an electric fire, you no longer have to feel as if you’ve compromised. Choose correctly, and the fake-factor can be a secret between you and your fireplace.