Gas Logs vs. Gas Inserts vs. Gas Fireplaces: What’s the Difference?

As we enter the fall, the temperatures are still high. You may be hanging onto summer. But, don’t be fooled. Winter is coming to New England in a short period of time. We don’t want to believe it, but it will be here eventually, and we need to be prepared. Now is the time to determine what you need to do to get your home ready. This includes asking yourself an important question. How is your heating equipment in your Cape Cod home? Now is the time to figure out if you need to invest in a heating product, like a gas log, gas insert, or gas fireplace. But which one do you choose? You don’t want your current heating product to have any issues, need repairs, or worse, fail during the winter. Continue reading to learn the differences between gas logs vs gas inserts vs gas fireplaces, so you can make an educated decision on which one is right for you.

Gas Logs vs Gas Inserts vs Gas Fireplaces

  1. Gas Logs

Do you have a wood-burning fireplace, but now want an easier, more decorative option than burning wood? Gas logs are a stack of ceramic logs that sit inside your existing fireplace. Gas logs have a gas burner and they come in vent-free and vented options. Vented gas logs vent up your existing chimney, while vent-free gas logs vent all of the heat, and exhaust, into the house (they do not require a chimney or flue).

Gas logs are usually more for looks and aesthetics than for warmth. While they will emit some heat, they do not discharge as much heat as a built-in gas fireplace or gas insert. Most of the heat that is generated from a gas log set goes right up your chimney – just like a wood burning fireplace. This is one of the main factors that will help you decide which type of heating product you want to choose. Aesthetics vs. warmth. If you are looking for more warmth, you should consider a gas insert or built-in gas fireplace.

Gas logs are also the cheaper heating product option, so if budget is a concern, this will be less expensive than a gas insert or built-in gas fireplace.

  1. Gas Inserts

Gas InsertsIf you have a fireplace in your home, but want to skip the hassle of burning wood, a gas insert may be for you as well. Gas inserts are retrofitted wood-burning fireplaces that operate using gas. Inserts sit inside a metal box surrounded by a larger metal box that fits into the fireplace. The gas insert heats air in the area between these two boxes and then emits heat from its firebox. They are great for the homeowner who wants to convert from a wood-burning fireplace to a much more efficient and easier to manage heating product, while retaining the heat.

Unlike gas logs, inserts produce a lot of radiant heat and warm air. If you are going to rely on the fireplace as a source of heat, a gas insert will be better for you than a gas log. However, gas inserts will usually produce less heat than a built-in gas fireplace. Like gas logs and gas fireplaces, your gas insert comes in the vented and vent-free models. Also, like a gas log, you usually need an existing fireplace or chimney to install.

Gas inserts are the middle option in terms of price. They are more expensive than gas logs, but less expensive than a fully built-in gas fireplace. That being said, due to its efficiency, gas inserts cost far less to operate than gas logs because they require less gas.

  1. Gas Fireplaces

gas logs vs gas inserts vs gas fireplacesGas fireplaces are very similar to gas inserts. They are made the same way, with the box-within-a-box setup. However, the difference between gas fireplaces vs. gas inserts is that a built-in gas fireplace doesn’t require an existing fireplace or chimney. So, if you don’t have an existing wood-burning fireplace, this is your only option. But how great is that? If you’ve dreamed of having a fireplace and didn’t have a fireplace/chimney, you now have a possible solution.

Similar to gas inserts and gas logs, gas fireplaces come in vented and vent-free models. Vented gas fireplaces exhaust the air through an exterior opening in your wall. Ventless gas fireplaces exhaust into the room. There is no masonry or chimney built or used. Built-in gas fireplaces are also very much like gas inserts, in that they are very reliable providers of heat. Out of these three heating products, you will probably get the most amount of BTU’s from a built-in gas fireplace. Also, as you might expect, a gas fireplace is the most expensive of the three heating products.

Gas Logs vs Gas Inserts vs Gas Fireplaces: Which One is Right for You?

So, now that you know all about the similarities and differences between gas logs vs gas inserts vs gas fireplaces, which one is best for you? How do you make the best decision on which of these products? to choose Let’s boil it down to some basic questions to help you choose.

Are you mainly interested in a product that produces heat?

If you need a product that will produce heat for your home, this will rule out gas logs, which are more for aesthetics than for warmth. Then, when deciding between gas inserts and gas fireplaces, decide how much heat you need. Generally, a built-in gas fireplace is going to deliver more BTU’s than a gas insert, so figure out how much you need. Either of these products can also help offset some of the cost of heating your home. Ask about the BTU’s when shopping or deal with a heating professional, like Breakaway. Are you looking to heat the whole house? Do you only need to heat your living room or another room? This will guide you in your decision.

Are you looking for a product that has a realistic look for aesthetic purposes?

If you are looking for a heating product that has a great aesthetic look, gas logs will provide the most authentic real-fire look. Gas logs’ main purpose is for looks and aesthetics. It will produce some heat, but not as much as built-in gas fireplaces or gas inserts. Gas fireplaces and inserts will also provide a great look, but not as authentic as gas logs.

How much can you spend on a heating product?

If your budget is not an issue, you could choose a gas fireplace or gas insert to get both aesthetics and warmth. However, if those are out of your price range, you can go with the gas logs to get some heat, but a great, beautiful, real-looking fire aesthetic.

Do you have an existing fireplace?

It’s simple. If you have an existing fireplace, you can choose between gas logs and gas inserts. If you do not have an existing wood-burning fireplace, your only option is to install a built-in gas fireplace.

Your Cape Cod Heating Product Specialists: Breakaway

Confused about what to choose between gas logs vs gas inserts vs gas fireplaces? We understand. There is a lot to consider when purchasing hearth products, like gas fireplaces or gas logs or gas inserts. If you have additional questions about these products, reach out to Cape Cod’s heating product experts at Breakaway. We carry top heating brands, like Savannah (gas fireplaces), Vantage Hearth (gas inserts), and Tri-Flame (gas logs). Breakaway also carries other heating products that could be an option for you, including decorative gas stoves, patio heaters, and generators. In addition, we provide the installation services of our own products.

Visit Breakaway at one of our stores in South Dennis or Mashpee to find the perfect heating product for your Cape Cod home. Our experienced staff is ready to help you select the right heating product model and schedule your installation. Whether you are deciding between gas logs vs gas inserts vs gas fireplaces, we have a heating product to keep you warm this winter. Call us at 508-398-3831, or contact us below, for more information.


Monday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Closed.

435 Rt. 134 South Dennis, MA 02660
Next to Mid Cape Home Centers

Phone: (508) 398-3831


Monday – Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Closed.

17c Trinity Place Mashpee, MA 02649
Next to Boston Interiors

Phone: (508) 539-1674