In the old days they had that definite retro look to them - lacking somewhat in aesthetics, often boarded up or removed in room makeovers.

If you haven’t investigated electric fires since then, it could be time you had a look at modern electric fires. You’ll discover that the new generation of models really benefits from contemporary advances in technology, offering you the warmth and atmosphere of a living flame in your home, without the need for extensive building alterations.

Imagine the fast room-heating benefits of a high tech fan heater, together with the on-screen ambience of a real log fire. Now imagine all that with improved fuel efficiency. Modern electric fires offer the best of both worlds. The open fire appearance comes courtesy of a slimline television-type screen, which you can choose to have fitted flat into the wall or set a few centimetres out to enhance the suggestion of a real-life heating device.

Change the settings to activate the heat without the visuals if you like to save a few pence on your hourly bill, or alternatively you might like the look of the cosy fire burning in the room without the additional heating. These sound like the kinds of choices that you’d expect in contemporary home design in 2018, don't they.

Let’s talk about installation. Forget needing a chimney or a flue built to accommodate your modern electric fire. If you’re in a rush, you could even just plug in the appliance straight out of the box and have it up and running immediately. However, if you’re looking to create the seamless and professional look these models are designed to offer, you’ll more likely want to get an electrician to hide the plug from sight, so that you can enhance the illusion of a real old-fashioned fire. Simple and easy.

A number of different brands of modern electric fire are available, and your choice will depend on factors such as how powerful you want your fire to be, and what kind of look you’re going for. The options include Flamerite, Dimplex and Celsi, each of which has trusted experience in the industry. Select your output according to your room size, and get advice on this calculation as it will make all the difference. The maximum is usually around 2kW, with other less expensive ones providing an output of 1.25kW to 1.5kW.

The cost will vary from the more affordable to the top most powerful models, with the sleekest designs setting you back around £1000, but other very popular units are priced upwards from around £400. But how about the difference in running costs? The maximum 2kW output modern electric fires, powering both the heat and the visual fire effect together, cost around 34p per hour to run. You could save around 4p of this if you didn’t turn on the screen. The running costs are around 14p more per hour than the cost of running a gas fire but remember that gas fires waste up to half their heat, and installation costs are much higher.

Check out new electric fires and see if they could be the best option for your room.