This is the DFI2309 Dimplex electric fireplace insert review.
We chose to review this fireplace insert/log set because it has been an Amazon best seller in its class for a long time. There is a very similar model the Dimplex DFI2310 which is about $100 more expensive and slightly more deluxe. To avoid confusion be aware that we are referring to the Dimplex DFI2309, which is the best seller.
Review Update – Since the original posting of this review the price has dropped dramatically (last look under $100). Value conscious customers may want to consider this fireplace.
An electric fireplace insert is designed to be used in 1 of 2 ways. In the first case it can be inserted into standard built in fireplace and ‘convert’ the fireplace to a cleaner, more efficient, source of electric heat and flame effects. Mo muss, no fuss. That is the use we will address in this review.
The second use of a fireplace insert is to be the working ‘guts’ of a free standing mantel enclosure. In other words, you can build or buy a furniture or mantel enclosure to surround the insert, thereby adding a fireplace relatively cheaply to a room where none existed.
This insert is plug-and-play. You unpack it, slide it into your fireplace enclosure plug it in to a standard outlet and turn it on. No need for carpentry framing or special electrical installation framing. Fireplace inserts are a great idea if you are under-utilizing your existing fireplace.
NOTE: If you have arrived on our site and have decided to buy the Dimplex electric fireplace insert then we recommend clicking through to Amazon.com and checking out this product and the daily discount. You will get very fast delivery (often free) and the great Amazon guarantee and service pledge.
Dimplex Flame Effects
This first item we will examine is the flame effect of the insert. That is what most people are primarily looking for. This Dimplex insert has only one flame setting – On. There are no different light levels or effects; it does not get any more basic than this. In regard to setting a mood this unit is rather one dimensional.
The flame effect is produced by small motor inside the logs and 2 standard 60 Watt incandescent bulbs. This motor was the topic of several complaints due to it burning out quickly. This raised a question of reliability and useful life of the unit.
Several buyers wondered if it was possible to switch to LED bulbs to save energy. While it is possible, changing bulbs requires a good deal of dis-assembly of the log set and locating bulbs was difficult. The slots that house the bulbs are very narrow. The location and access of bulbs was received to be a design flaw. On the good side the bulbs do last a long time.
The flame effect is reflected off of an odd half moon shaped reflective mirror surface behind the log set. It looks like a halo. That half moon mirror was very unappealing to significant minority of buyers. The chief complaint is that it reflected not only the flame effect, but anything in front of it, such as shoes or anything in the room and destroys the illusion of fire. Some owners tried to paint out the mirror or put static cling window film on it with varying degrees of success (not recommended).
Some owners stated that the only way the fire and flame effects looked real was to have a screen in front of it. The trade off for doing that is that somewhat weak heat circulation is cut down even more with the screen as a barrier.
There was definitely dissension in the owner ranks about the realism of the flame effects.
All that being said, the majority of owners were pleased with the look of the flames. That is a good thing.
Dimplex Heater Functions
The heater has a fan which forces air out of the top vent of the unit for heat dispersal. The heater has 2 heat settings, but only 1 fan speed. There are 2 heat strips on the low setting, 1 strip activates, on the high setting both strips activate with the same speed of airflow on each setting. The fan is fairly quiet. It does not have a thermostat to regulate itself to maintain a set temperature.
As previously mentioned the heat is discharged out of the top of the unit and this may not be optimal for heat dispersion. The insert is set into the cavity of your fireplace and a good deal of heat gets trapped depending on the shape and volume of the ‘ceiling’ in your fireplace. The top of the unit can get somewhat hot. There may be some heat loss up the chimney, even with the flue closed (recommended).
The Dimplex fireplace insert is purported to heat 400 square feet. It produces 4695 BTU’s, using regular 120 volt plug and drawing 12.5 amps. What does all that mean? Well it falls into the ‘average’ range of heat production for inexpensive to mid-range electric fireplaces. If your expectations are to have a supplemental heat source to cozy up a chilled room, or lower your thermostat a few degrees to save money you probably will not be disappointed.
As with most electric fireplace heaters, your degree of satisfaction with the heat function will depend on your expectations. Think of the heat given off as a nice bonus, not a replacement for your primary heat source. This is not a knock on the Dimplex, but rather a general statement about most electric fireplaces. They do a far better job on setting mood with nice flame effects than as a primary heat source.
Fireplace Insert Controls
The controls are very basic. As stated previously, the blower has only one speed so it is either on or off. There are a total of 3 switches on the unit: on/off, heat, and high/low heat. For the 2 heat settings ‘high’ means that both heat strips are activated and ‘low’ means only one heat strip is activated. The high/low control is on the top of the unit to the right of the heat vent. It does come with a remote control which only controls the on/off function.
The cord of the unit is six feet long and is attached at the rear right of the unit. You will lose some effective length depending on whether your outlet is to the right of the unit or the left of it. If the plug is on the left of the fireplace and within about 2 feet you should be fine; if your plug is to the right you will have about 4 feet of reach to the plug. (see safety tips on use of an extension cord).
Fireplace Insert Safety
There are some necessary warnings to take notice of concerning electric fireplaces in general. Extension cords are not recommended in principle but, if you must Dimplex recommends No. 14 gauge wire (AWG America Wire Gauge) minimum and rated at no less than 1875 Watts. This unit should be on a 15 amp circuit.
Do not use the unit outdoors. The manufacturer does not recommend setting the unit on carpet (although the heat comes out of the top).
Don’t use it in a damp fireplace or near water. It is not intended for use in bathrooms or laundry areas. Water and electricity or heating elements do not mix. Don’t block or stuff anything in the heat vent or exhaust opening. This includes running the heater behind closed fireplace glass doors that are sealed off (see fireplace set-up section).
Dimplex DFI2309 Set Up
The actual set up of the Dimplex fireplace insert could not be easier, unpack it and plug it in. The set up time estimate is 5 minutes to unpack it and plug it in. There are, however a couple of things that need to be done prior to setting up your fireplace. The manufacturer recommends capping the top of your chimney flue in addition to making sure that the damper is closed. You do not want to be sending heat up the fireplace. This is also a precaution to prevent moisture from coming into contact with the fireplace. You also may want to consider painting the inside of your fireplace black or a dark color to enhance the visual effects. If you plug the fireplace into an outlet that already has appliances running off of it you may risk tripping a circuit breaker. For a comprehensive look at fireplace safety tips: Click Here.
Dimplex Running Cost
The cost of operation is very comparable to other fireplaces in the same class. There is a big difference in cost between operating the fireplace with the flame and heat together and just the flame effect alone.
Operating the fireplace with just the flame effect should cost about 2 cents per hour. That is the cost calculated of incandescent bulbs, and the slow turning effects motor. Therefore, using the flame effects mode and assuming 5 hours of use each and every night it would add about $3.00 per month to your electric bill.
If you operate in heat and flame mode it will cost about $.19 per hour. So, running the unit every night for 5 hours would add $28.50 to your electric bill. The 2 variables that will greatly affect your actual cost are how long you run the unit each month, and the cost of electricity in your state.
In order to get a more exact idea of the true costs for you, visit these two sites:
1. This site will show you your states energy cost per KWH or you can get it off of your electric bill (use residential column). Click Here: Your states energy cost.
2. Then go to this site and use this calculator to your determine your cost: Click Here for Cost Calculator
Values= 120 watts flame (and motor) only. Use 1500 watts for the heat + flame combination. Then fill in your states KWH cost, hours used and generate results.
Dimplex DFI2309 Dimensions
It is really important to make sure that you have accurately measured the various dimensions of your existing fireplace. If your opening is larger that’s OK; if the fireplace insert is larger than your opening, it’s trouble. In the accessory section we found an expandable trim set that can fill space around the heater to make larger openings look like a custom installation. We have double checked the accuracy of the dimensions of the fireplace insert with the manufacturer in those dimensions being reported at Amazon.
23 3/16 inches is the width. 23.188”
19.5/8 inches is the height. 19.625”
10 13/16 inches is the depth. 10.813”
Weight: 29 lbs.
There are three accessories that we recommend: an expandable trim kit, crackling fire sound effects, and a cord cover to hide the cord.
1. Dimplex DFI23TRIMX Expandable Trim Kit for Electric Fireplace Insert. The trim color is black. It is designed to bridge the gap between larger fire place openings and the insert. The following is from the manufacturer:
The minimum opening the trim kit will fit is: 24.6” inches wide and 19.5” inches high
The maximum opening the trim kit will fill is:43″ inches wide x 28.5″ inches high
Therefore, if the opening of your existing fireplace falls between the range of 24.6” and 43” wide, and between 19.5 inches and 28.5 inches high, this will work for you. Click Here
2. Crackling fire sound effects. This electric fireplace does not come with sound effects, but we found a great solution. For about $30 you can add this sound FX machine, The device is about 2 1/2 ” x 3″ and can attaches out of site to the fireplace body. Click Here
3. Hide the cord with a paint-able wire cover. Paint to match the color of your walls. Wire Covers
Pros and Cons – Dimplex Insert
• The setup could not be easier, take it out of the box and plug it in.
• It has a 1 year warranty from the manufacturer.
• The low price point is a major plus.
• Rated an attractive unit by owners.
• Heating function, though adequate is not outstanding.
• Minimal control options: 1 flame effect, 1 fan speed. Remote is just on/off.
• Controversial flame effects, some liked them but there were quite a number of complaints about ‘halo’ mirror and fake fire effects.
The first thing to note is that this electric fireplace insert is a best seller in its class on Amazon. That is a powerful endorsement. A lot of people like what they saw enough to purchase it and give it good reviews. However, there were also more than a few dissenters. As far as ratings go, most people loved it but some really knocked it harshly; especially the flame effects and reliability. There was an unusual polarization, most loved it, some hated it.
NOTE: If you want to see even more proof of what a good deal the Dimplex electric fireplace insert offers, then we recommend clicking through to Amazon.com and checking out the exact star ratings and reading more buyer reviews:
The price point places the unit under $200 and that fact is cited as a big plus from purchasers. Does it represent a good value? That is very subjective. This unit is somewhat ‘entry level’ and has been around for a few years. There may be newer, more attractive alternatives at this price point.
We do not recommend this unit. We want to be cozy by our fire. The lack of control of flame effects strikes us as being one dimensional when setting a mood. There are a number of complaints about the realism of the flame, some were unforgiving, that make us not want to risk being disappointed. That half moon mirror effect so clearly visible is a deal killer. There were also some questions about the durability and longevity of the flame effects motor.
A possible alternative selection with the same dimensions might be the more deluxe Dimplex DFI2310, though it is $100 more expensive, and at that price point we like the Classic Flame 23II310GRA Infrared SpectraFire.
Thank you for reading what may be a controversial review of the Dimplex Electric Fireplace Insert Model DFI2309. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.
- Low price point
- Simple set up
- 1 year warrenty
- Controversial flame effects
- Very basic controls
- Remote is poor