Do Gel Fireplaces Give Off Heat? Find Out How Much

When you buy any type of fireplace, you expect it to produce heat. That is the whole purpose of having a fireplace in the first place. So, YES, a gel fireplace gives off heat. 

However, someone would want to know. Just how much heat does a gel fireplace give off?

Before all that, we need to understand more about gel fuel and how it works. 

What is Gel Fuel?

A gel fireplace needs the right fuel to work. In this case, we need to use gel fuel. 

Gel fuel is made of isopropyl alcohol which can burn impressively for two to three hours on a small can of 13 ounces. Such a can will cost around $3, making it expensive to use compared to some other form of heating the room. 

Sometimes gel fuel is mixed with some organic materials, which releases a popping or sizzling sound. The idea is to mimic how wood burns in a wood-burning fireplace. Many people enjoy that crackling sound. 

Gel Fuel Heat Output

Now, I can answer the question of just how much heat you can expect from a gel fireplace. 

A single can of 13 ounces is likely to produce an average of 3,000 Btus of heat. When you use around three cans a night, then expect to have an output of 9,000 Btus. 

When you compare this to wood, it produces an average of 20,000 to 45,000 Btus. It is 8,500 to 55,000 Btus for gas fireplaces. 

So far, you can see that a gel fireplace will not be the hottest compared to the other two popular alternatives. 

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However, do not be quick to dismiss a gel fireplace. Even though it may have less heat output, you can find that it has low heat losses. This is because there is no chimney. When there is no chimney, that might lead to a draft pulling warm air from the room, then more heat is maintained in the room. 

Can you use gel fuel in a regular gel fireplace?

One of the biggest concerns is if the gel fuel would be safe for your regular gel fireplace. Well, YES, you can use gel fuel in a regular gel fireplace. What you should always consider is the type of gel fuel. 

Ensure you pick the right type of gel fuel. Here the options will include indoors or outdoors gel fuel. So long as it is meant for indoors, then it will remain a safe gel fuel to consider. 

Gel fuel is alcohol-based and rated 90 percent effective in terms of burning. It will also leave you with no fumes or smoke. This is more reason to get it for your home. 

Is gel fuel expensive?

You may not notice that gel fuel is not expensive when buying in bulk. On average, you would spend $3 per can. However, running a gel fireplace will now be the expensive part. On average, a person might use a whole can in three hours. This translates to $1 per hour. 

$1 per hour for a gel fireplace is more expensive than when using natural gas, which will cost you about $0.42 per hour. Nevertheless, there might be reasons why people often go for gel fireplaces. 

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Safety Tips for Using Gel Fuel 

Fireplaces, including the gel fireplaces, are generally safe. However, there are a few things you should always consider to maintain the safety of using gel fuel. Here are some;

  • You should never burn gel fuel unattended. 
  • If you have an outdoor or freestanding gel fireplace, ensure the floor is level to prevent tipping over the fireplace.
  • You should always exercise care while using gel fuel outdoors. You are advised against burning it in high winds or when it is snowing or raining.
  • You should only burn your fuel from its original container. You should not refill the used containers unless specified.
  • Start the fireplace only as recommended by the manufacturer. This ensures proper use of the gel fuel. 

If you can follow the tips mentioned above, you will find it easier to operate your gel fireplace.


So far, you have learned that gel fireplaces will generate heat. You should not expect to have high heat as you would with wood-burning fireplaces or gas fireplaces. Nevertheless, you would find that such a fireplace would be ideal for small rooms. So, go ahead and use it when you have smaller areas to heat and have a good conversation around a gel fireplace. 

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