Wood Burning Fireplaces vs. Gas Fireplaces: What’s Better for You?

When looking to install a fireplace in your home on Cape Cod the first hurdle you’re going to encounter is choosing between a wood-burning or gas fireplace. If finding an answer to this question is what brought you to Breakaway today, we’re happy to say you’ve come to the right place. Follow along while our fireplace product specialists go over the advantages and pitfalls of wood fireplaces vs. gas fireplaces.

The Pros & Cons of Wood Burning Fireplaces

Wood fireplaces are the classic choice for installing a new fireplace in your home. They’re traditional, they’re gorgeous — the quintessential fireplace for s’mores and family time. And they can be extremely enjoyable to run and maintain once you have the fire going, too. They also produce that absolutely phenomenal smell of real burning wood, especially if you use properly seasoned birch or ash wood.

What are the advantages of wood burning fireplaces?

  • Wood burning fireplaces deliver an outstanding flame, obviously because it’s real!
  • With a wood burning fireplace, you get authentic sounds and smells.
  • You can cook s’mores and other family favorites in a real wood burning fireplace, where this cannot be done with a gas fireplace.
  • If you have an affinity for wood burning fireplaces, they are really fun to manage. Who doesn’t like the satisfaction of building a fire and keeping that fire going all night?

What are the disadvantages of wood burning fireplaces?

  • Wood burning fireplaces produce more emissions than gas, meaning they’re a bit worse for the environment overall.
  • Wood fireplaces require some time and effort to get started and going strong.
  • Maintaining a healthy supply of wood takes more planning.
  • More heat is lost up the chimney than gas, making wood a little less efficient for heating.
  • Wood fireplaces take time to start and get them going. A novice fireplace owner may even struggle lighting the fire and keeping a consistent fire lit. This is different from a gas fireplace which can be turned on and off instantly.
  • You need to pay attention to a wood burning fireplace at all times. It would not be wise to leave your house, for example, when the wood is still burning.

To counter a few of these cons, though, wood is a renewable resource. So while it does produce more emissions, it also utilizes a more environmentally-friendly source of fuel, which mitigates the argument regarding emissions.

The Pros & Cons of Gas Fireplaces

Starting a gas fireplace takes a simple flip of a switch, and the fire burns hot and strong for as long as you want it. Gas is also very cost-efficient when compared to wood, and securing a supply is a no-brainer once you have a gas line installed. Additionally, and maybe most appealingly, gas fireplaces don’t need chimney cleaning nearly as often, since gas doesn’t produce anywhere near as much creosote when it burns.

What are the advantages of a gas fireplace?

  • Gas fireplaces turn on and off instantly, whereas wood fireplaces take time to start and then die down at the end of use. You never have to worry about hot ashes or embers potentially starting a fire when you’re using a gas fireplace because the flames are completely controlled.
  • You don’t need the hassle of acquiring wood to burn, as your gas fireplace will only need a supply of fuel. Once your fuel source is setup, you should be good to go! This makes a gas fireplace a very cost-efficient option.
  • Gas fireplaces don’t always need a chimney. There are several options of gas fireplaces, including vent-free and direct-vent. Venting options include being able to vent directly through a wall, versus needing a chimney.
  • Gas fireplace inserts burn as hot as you want, and for as long as you want. You can control everything with a remote. With a wood burning fireplace, you’re at the mercy of how hot the fire gets that you are building.

Related Post: How to Install a Gas Fireplace

What are the disadvantages of a gas fireplace?

  • A much reduced fun factor, since feeding a fireplace is part of the charm.
  • The lack of distinctive crackling fire, and blue rather than orange/red flames, turns some potential gas fireplace buyers off.
  • Gas fireplaces don’t need chimney cleaning as much, but they come with their own maintenance needs through burner maintenance and gas line care.

Related Post: Direct-Vent vs. Vent-Free Gas Inserts: Which is Right for Your Cape Cod Home?

Which is Right for You: Gas or Wood?

It’s time to really answer the question: which is better between wood fireplaces vs. gas fireplaces? Unfortunately — or perhaps fortunately, depending on your feelings on the matter — there is no clear-cut answer to this question. Both fireplace types come with plenty of perks and downsides, and each is a perfectly suitable option in terms of beauty, functionality, and home heating.

The real question is this: Which fireplace meets your needs best? If you’re looking for a social and ambient experience, and you love the smell of burning wood, then the answer is clear. If you want a gorgeous source of heat with minimal fuss, then gas is the way to go.

Breakaway is Cape Cod’s Leading Gas Fireplace Company

If you decide that gas is the way to go, we’re happy to say that Breakaway is your superior source of gas fireplaces on Cape Cod! We offer plenty of product options, each from trusted brand names, and provide vent-free, vented, gas logs, gas fireplace inserts, and decorative gas stoves.

Do you have further questions about wood fireplaces vs. gas fireplaces? We encourage you to call (508) 398-3831, or visit our South Dennis or Mashpee stores to talk with a fireplace specialist today!

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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