Wall Mounted vs Recessed Fireplace: What is the Difference?

Have you ever heard that two things are closely related but are different? Then today you have the exact situation. Wall mount and recessed fireplaces are simply the same but the biggest difference comes in the way they are installed. 

A recessed fireplace is installed in a hole in the wall or an already existing fireplace. On the other side, a wall mount fireplace is installed directly on a flat wall or floor. You can see the whole fireplace system mounted on the wall. But the recessed fireplace is hidden in the wall and you can only see the flame illusion. 

Wall-Mounted Fireplace

A Wall-mount fireplace is an electric fireplace that is directly patched on the wall. You must use screws and brackets to install it on the wall. The way you hang a piece of art on the wall is how you can install a wall-mount fireplace. 

Here are quick features of wall-mounted fireplaces you should know about. 

  1. Apart from the wall, you can also install it on the cabinet, console, faux stone, and more. 
  2. Wall mount fireplaces will save you a lot of space because they do not take up any floor space. They also do not require venting because they are smokeless.
  3. Wall mount fireplaces come in different sizes from small to medium and finally large. 
  4. Just like any other electric fireplace, wall mount fireplaces have flame elusion. The flame technology changes with the quality of the wall mount fireplace. 
  5. All wall mount fireplaces require a good clearance distance of about two feet. And they can use a standard 120V plug-in electric outlet. 
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Complex wall mount fireplaces come with extraordinary features like a remote control. Some come with advanced flame effects that allow you to change the color of the flame. 

They can also come with a timer that allows you to set the auto-switch-off time. Most outdoor electric fireplaces are wall-mount because you can easily take them indoors during extreme weather conditions. 

Recessed Fireplace

These are electric fireplaces that are slit into a wall opening. They are permanently built into the wall. You have to take part of the wall if you want to remove them. They are fully recessed into the wall giving you a clean finish and a contemporary look. 

They can be installed in an already existing wood-burning fireplace too, completing the new look. 

Recessed fireplaces come with a flame effect. They are also available in different sizes and colors, including the small ones for single-room applications. 

They are directly wired on the electric circuit because they are permanent in the wall. They can still have remote control and extra settings like flame color. 

Recessed fireplaces have an air inlet and outlet on the front side. And they also require a good clearance distance, especially on the air outlet area. They do not have smoke so they do not require ventilation. 


  • Both types of fireplaces are electric. These electric fireplaces can use the standard 120V household circuit. 
  • Both of these fireplaces have a flame effect. The flame effect is caused by a series of rotating mirrors that reflect light. Some complex designs of these fireplaces come with flames that can change colors. 
  • Both types come in different designs and sizes. They start with small, then medium, and finally large. They can also come in different colors but black is the common color. 
  • Both fireplaces can be used all year-round. Because they allow you to switch off the heating side and only use the flame effect. 
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  • A wall mount fireplace is directly hung on the wall, while a recessed fireplace is slid into a hole in a wall. 
  • A wall mount fireplace requires you to have screws and brackets for you to install it. On the other hand, a recessed fireplace is just flushed into the ready-made hole on the wall. 
  • A wall mount fireplace has a plug-in cable that allows you to plug in an electric outlet socket. On the other side, a recessed fireplace is hard wired on a circuit. You have to hardwire the power cable before you slide the fireplace in position. 
  • A well-installed recessed fireplace gives you a clean finish on the wall. Wall mount fireplace stands protruded on the wall. 
  • Wall mount fireplace can have the air inlet or outlet on any side except the backside. The recessed fireplace has both an air inlet and an outlet on the front side. 

Can You Recess a Wall-Mounted Fireplace?

Yes, you can recess a wall mount fireplace but it depends on its design. The position of the air inlets and outlets is the main determining factor if you can partly or fully recess a wall mount fireplace. 

If the wall mount fireplace has air inlets and outlets on the front, then you can fully recess it. 

How Do You Install a Recessed Fireplace?

Step #1. Frame the wall for your recessed fireplace. The frame should be a quarter an inch bigger than the fireplace. 

Step #2. Connect the power cable. The power cable is hard wired on the 120V electric circuit. Make sure you use a less congested circuit or else it can trigger the circuit breaker. 

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Step #3. Slide the fireplace into the frame. This step requires you to be careful with the power cable. Make sure it remains connected to the circuit. 

Step #4. Reinforce the fireplace to the wall using screws. Most recessed fireplaces come with these reinforcement screws. Use a screwdriver to fix this up. 


A wall mount fireplace can be a recessed fireplace but vice versa is not true. Because a wall mount fireplace with air inlet and outlet at the front can be fully recessed in the wall. Both of these fireplaces are electric with excellent flame effects. A recessed fireplace is known to have a clear finish with the wall. 

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