The Dimplex Cube and the Bionaire Electric Fireplace are two cool looking, clean and green electric fireplaces that are as much conversation pieces as they are room heaters.
Their compact size and price ( around $200) makes them a good fit for just about any room and any budget.
Before we delve into the not so obvious differences between the two, there are a number of features they have in common.
Each features a flame effect that operates with or without heat for year round enjoyment. They plug into standard 110 volt outlets and have over-heat and safety tip-over protection. Both have 1 year warranties and are shipped for free from most retailers.
But this is where the similarities end.
Quality of flame display
Judging the quality and realism of the flame display for an electric fireplace is personal and highly subjective. As they say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
Owners of the Cube describe its flame display in mostly positive terms with phrases like, "The flames seem so real and the wood chunks so red and hot," and "…the flame simulation is very attractive - realistic from a distance."
For the Bionaire, the enthusiasm of the comments was mixed and went from "The heater is great and the look is a pretty realistic flame," to "I don't like that it doesn't have life like flames; it's just a glowing, moving background."
Despite their compact dimensions, the heating capacity for both heaters is identical to that of a large electric fireplace mantle.
Specifically, the Bionaire is rated at 1,500 watts with the Cube slightly less at 1480 watts, or around 5,000 Btu’s each.
Bionaire gives no estimate as to how many square feet their fireplace will heat, but Dimplex states the Cube will heat an area up to 400 square feet. Although this is possible under ideal circumstances, the results you achieve will be determined by how well your home is insulated and weatherized.
If you want easy, it doesn’t get any simpler than the Cube’s On/Off and Hi/Lo switches.
Offering more in the way of functionality, the Bionaire features a programmable digital display, thermostat, and 12-hour on/off timer - plus everybody’s favorite accessory - the remote control.
The hardest part about installing the Cube is figuring out where you’re going to plug it in once you get it out the box.
The Bionaire requires slightly more effort because you have the choice of using it as a free standing fireplace by attaching the base, or mounting it on the wall with the included hardware and step by step instructions.
Aside from the aesthetic appeal of mounting an electric fireplace on the wall, it’s also a great safety feature if you have toddlers and/or pets running around.
Just as a side note, the fireplace heaters reviewed here each draw around 12 amps, so they require a dedicated outlet and circuit to prevent blowing fuses or over-loading your home’s wiring. Also, if you must use an extension cord, use a power strip/surge protector – not one of those flimsy extension cords sold at the corner store.
Both the Bionaire Electric Fireplace and the Dimplex Cube offer exceptional value and fast heating from stylish, durable, space saving packages. Ultimately, as with most purchases, the deciding factor is personal taste.