As people's lives get busier and busier, electric logs are increasing in popularity. After all, you still enjoy an evening relaxing in front of the fire. But you don't want to go through all the labor beforehand to start the fire and all the messy cleanup afterwards.
For some people, this means switching to gas. Gas is fine if you have a masonry fireplace already installed. Otherwise, you may find yourself going to more trouble than you care to just to find a place to vent the fumes. It's possible to get an unvented gas log or fireplace, of course, provided such things are legal in your state. But even where they are legal, they may not be a good idea. Unvented gas logs are meant to have very low fume emissions (when functioning properly). But even when functioning properly, they still produce condensation that can leave you with mold and mildew problems.
The electric log can provide an answer to all these concerns. You won't have to purchase and store wood or spend any time getting the fire to light. Many of them can be turned on by remote control. Afterwards, you won't have any messy ash to clean up or partially consumed logs to dispose of. And the electric log won't produce the same mold and mildew problem as an unvented gas log or force you to find a way of venting the fumes.
A final advantage is that the conversion to electric doesn't have to be permanent. If your home has a masonry fireplace, you can set electric logs in the grate and use them in place of a wood fire. Then, if the mood strikes you and you have the time, you can remove these logs quite easily and store them out of the way. Build a roaring old-fashioned wood fire and enjoy that for an evening. Next day, you clean out the fireplace and restore the electric logs to their former home. That night you're back to having a warm, flickering, but low-hassle electric fire in your fireplace.
All electric fireplace logs can provide you a realistic fire that gives your living area a cozy look. If the look is all you need, these logs shouldn't cost more to operate than a light bulb or two. The cost is pennies per day.
Many electric fireplace logs are also built to give out heat. A built in blower will send the heat wafting out into the room. If you use this option, you can expect to pay lots more. Like other electric heaters, electric fireplace logs produce heat via electrical resistance. That means that you are likely to see a jump in your electrical bill if you don't limit your use of the logs as a heating device.
A set of electric logs on their own can run you from $150 to $600.
If you live in an apartment or home without a fireplace, you can also get a set of electric logs as part of an electric fireplace or stove. These can run from $500 to $1,500. They are an ideal solution for a living area that lacks a chimney or convenient venting.
For any of these devices, of course, there is a final advantage. When you move, you can take them with you.