Welcome to our Duraflame Electric Log Set DFI021ARU Review. We’re excited to take a look at this electric fireplace alternative because it is an inexpensive electric log set.
Spoiler Alert: This is the first product we have reviewed that sits squarely in the ‘under $100’ category.
NOTE: If you have arrived on our site and have decided to buy the Duraflame DFI021ARU 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.
The Duraflame DFI021ARU performs the exact same two functions as the more expensive full-featured electric fireplaces, at a very low price. It provides flickering fire flame effects and supplemental heat to your room. The big question is how well does it do it? Read on to discover the answers.
This Duraflame portable electric log set heater is a sturdily built one piece unit designed to be placed inside an existing fireplace. The log set can be viewed with the flame effect with or without turning on the heat. It comes with a full function remote control.
The following video shows the Duraflame Electric Log Set DFI020ARU, the slightly older version our reviewed log set.
Duraflame Fire Effects
How realistic are the Duraflame log set flame effects?
As with most things in life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The majority of buyers are very pleased with the flame effect, especially at this price point, although they admit it is not as realistic as actual flames of a real fire.
There are two components that generate the flame effects. The first component is the LED lights within the plastic logs that generate the glowing ember effects. These can be controlled for a pulsing or steady effect. The “ember bed undulation” control gives you the option to change this to a steady light or pulsing.
The second flame generation component is that light is also projected from the rear of the unit through flame shaped cutouts that project on the wall or whatever reflective surface there is behind the log set. The reflected flame effect is orange light that is bounced off whirling foils strips. The brightness of the flames can be adjusted to five different levels of brightness and can be controlled with the remote.
Because the flame effect is a result of reflection, there are a couple of factors to consider that will materially alter the flame effects.
The first factor is the distance of the log set from the back of whatever reflective surface is behind the unit. You may have to move the log set closer and further away to get the appropriate height of flames that looks best for you. The further from the back wall, the higher or larger the flames will appear.
The second factor is the color of the wall on to which the light is being projected.. The darker the surface, the light is hitting, the better the flames will show up. A few enterprising buyers painted the inside of their fireplace black or dark gray to get an enhanced effect.
As with most fireplace inserts, the flame effects look more realistic when viewed with a fireplace screen in front.
Duraflame Heater Functions
How does this Duraflame electric heater stack up?
As with most electric fireplaces or electric fireplace inserts, the usual heater warning and caveat applies. These appliances are primarily designed to provide supplemental. They are not meant to be a primary heat source in a home.
The Duraflame log set has a maximum BTU of 4600, 1500 Watts, 11.7 Amps and is designed to warm up to 400 sq. ft. These are pretty standard specifications when compared to most basic electric fireplaces.
What does that mean in realistic terms of heating?
One buyer states that his fireplace will raise the temperature in his living room by 10°. His room measurements are 11 x 19 (209 square feet) but has an unusually high 20 foot ceiling. Another buyer states that it warms up her 20 x 20 room (400 square feet) but it takes over an hour to do so.
This unit has a blower that forces the hot air from the lower part of the unit and directs the heat out the front. There were some complaints about the noise level of the blower unit. One comment was “when you using the heater you know you’re using the heater” by the noise . Whether or not the noise it emits fade into the background for you is a matter of personal sensitivity to noise.
The heat can be felt approximately 2 ½ feet from the unit and then it dissipates. There is a thermostat switch on the right side of the unit that must be manually selected, the remote has no function for that control.
Log Set Controls
This Duraflame electric log insert has the manual switches for both the light, heater and thermostat are located on the right side of the unit. The controls are not very clearly marked, and sometimes it takes a couple of presses to get them to work. You must hold the buttons down for several seconds. It takes a little bit of fiddling around to get used to them.
The log insert comes with a remote control that has an on off function and will control the heat, flame effects, and intensity. There were several buyer complaints concerning the range of the remote control in the fact that it had to be aimed rather precisely at the lower right hand side of the unit, at the grate. The also appeared to be a range limitation for some buyers on the remote. It might not work from across the room.
The electrical cord is 6 feet long with a three pronged plug. It is attached to the unit on the rear right side. So, if your electrical outlet is located on the left side of your fireplace you will have a shorter reach that if the outlet is on the right side of the fireplace. We will discuss the use of extension cords in the next section on safety.
As with all electric fireplaces and inserts the flame effect involves no heat so this unit is basically kid and pets safe. Even with the front discharge heat flow the area around the vent gets warm but not very hot to the touch at all. It is still important to follow general appliance safety standards. Click here for detailed safety practices and warnings.
Use of extension cords is not recommended by the manufacturer or the owners’ manual. We believe that most electric fireplace manufacturers prohibit the use of extension cords for legal and liability reasons. However, one owner reportedly called Duraflame customer service and was informed that if they used an extension cord it had to be a 14 gauge wire rated at 15 Amps and 1875 Watt load. Do not under any circumstances use a standard household extension cord.
This could be the world’s shortest set of instructions for set up.
1.Take it out of the box, place it where you like.
2.Plug it in, turn it on.
That’s it, plug-and-play. As noted in a previous section, the distance from the wall at which the unit is placed will affect the size of the flames projected on it. So there may be a little initial trial and error to get the flame effect you desire.
Because the unit is free standing, you may wonder if the unit can be placed on a tabletop or dresser top or even in the middle of the room. One thing you must take into consideration that is not readily apparent from looking at pictures of the unit, is that the log and grate effect is only realistic looking on three sides. On the backside there is the cut out where the light shines out to reflect the flames.
If the unit is not placed where the rear of it but all wall or reflective surface you will lose the flame effect and only have glowing embers. Some buyers have placed the unit on dresser tops or small tables and brought coziness and ambiance to rooms without a fireplace in it.
Cost Of Operation
The costs of operating this electric log set or no more or less than a standard electric fireplace. As with any electric fireplace heater the cost of operation is significantly higher when both the flame effects and the heater are being used simultaneously
If you just operate the flames by themselves the cost is approximately $.02/ per hour. That is the cost calculated of LED bulbs energy consumption which is much less than old fashioned incandescent bulbs. Therefore, using the flame effects mode and assuming 4 hours of use each and every night it would add about $2.00per month to your electric bill.
Operating the heaton high and the flames at the same time would drive the cost to about $.15 per hour. So, running the unit every night for 4 hours @ rated max of 1400 Watts would add $18.00 to your electric bill. The 3 variables that will greatly affect your actual cost are the price you are paying for electricity in your state, how long you run the unit and the modes you are operating it in. h
To get a more precise cost of operation:
1. Determine the cost of electricity in your state, it should be on your electric bill. Alternatively, go to this site and determine your states energy cost per KWH. For examples above,I used the US average of $.12/KWH.
Click Here to find out: Your states energy cost.
2. Then use the calculator at this site to calculateyour cost: Click Here for the Cost Calculator
Values= 1400 watts high heat + flame, 700 watts for low heat and flame. Fill in your states KWH cost, the hours you think you will use it per month and generate results.
Overall Height – Top to Bottom: 12 inches high
Overall Width – Side to Side: 20.5 inches wide
Overall Depth – Front to Back: 8.66 inches deep
Overall Product Weight: 13.86 Pounds
Shipping Weight: 16.8 pounds
We would like to suggest 2 accessories that will increase your level of enjoyment; the first will provide provide crackling fire sounds, the second provides a low tech aesthetic solution to hide the cord.
1. Crackling fire sound machine. You can see the fire – now you can hear it snap, crackle and pop. For about $30 you can purchase this sound machine, The device is about 2 1/2 ” x 3″ and you can attach it out of site to the back of the log set body. Click Here for: Fire Crackle Sound
2. Camouflage the cord with a wire channel that is paint-able. You can match the color of your walls. The cord will blend into the background. These are available at any hardware or just Click Here for: Wire Covers
Pros and Cons
I believe the pros far outweigh the cons, but here is a bullet point presentation of the high and low notes:
- It is very inexpensive
- Adjustable flame effects – can achieve large flames by moving unit further from the wall.
- Very portable – plug and play.
- It has a full function remote.
- Controls are somewhat difficult to master.
- Noise level is certainly noticeable.
- Cord is thought to be short.
About 60% of 200 reviewers rated this a 5 star item. This is not a notably high number of top notch reviews. 25 % of reviewers it 4 stars and 25% were 3 stars or less. This indicates to us that most people were reasonably pleased with their purchase, but it was not universally and exceptionally well received.
NOTE: If you have pretty much have decided to buy the Duraflame Electric Log Set DFI021ARU then we recommend clicking through to Amazon.com and checking out the exact ratings and reading buyer reviews:
Is the Duraflame dfi021aru log set a good customer value?
The short answer is, yes, we believe so. We take into account the exceptionally low price point of under $100, coupled with reasonably pleasing flame effects and average heating capability, this unit appears to be a really good deal.
The question becomes one of balance. If you’re really persnickety about completely realistic flame effects, you can achieve them with electric fireplaces but you must pay more. Quality costs a premium. If you are looking for above average heating performance, again, units are available that will meet that need what you need to pay more.
If you’re looking for some pleasing ambiance and a little supplemental heat when needed this Duraflame log set will certainly fit the bill and not break your budget. It is a perfect way to utilize the ‘dead space’ of a currently unused or non-functioning wood or gas fireplace installation. It is currently available for under $100 and a really good value and bang for the buck.
We hope you enjoyed our Duraflame Electric Log Set DFI021ARU Review.
- Low price point
- Full function remote
- No set up - plug in
- Logs not too convincing
- Slightly noisy
- Short power cord