Chaska Direct Vent Insert Gas Fireplace by Kozy Heat

Which is Better? Gas Logs vs. Direct Vent Fireplaces

Josh Rowell

Direct Vent Fireplaces vs. Gas Logs: What's the Difference?

If you're looking for a way to add warmth and ambiance to your home, a direct vent fireplace or a set of gas logs are both great options. But what's the difference between the two?

Direct Vent Fireplaces

Direct vent fireplaces are a type of gas fireplace that brings in outside combustion air and that also vents directly to the outside through a sealed 2-pipe system. This means that they don't use any indoor air for combustion, and they don't produce any emissions or odors that could enter your home.

Direct vent fireplaces are also very efficient, converting up to 90% of the fuel they use into heat. This makes them a great option for homeowners who want to save money on their energy bills.

There are 2 main types of Direct Vent Systems: Inserts and Fireplaces

Type 1. Direct Vent Inserts

Just as their name suggests, direct vent inserts are complete units that will INSERT into an existing wood burning fireplace.  Because they must be fit into an existing fireplace, direct vent inserts are often smaller than direct vent fireplaces.  Direct Vent Inserts will offer a number of trim options that seal off the old opening of your fireplace for a completely new and refreshed look. 

(Because direct vent inserts use their own piping system they are great options for homeowners who's wood burning fireplaces may no longer be safe to use due to cracks)

Chaska Direct Vent Insert

Type 2. Direct Vent Fireplaces

Direct Vent Fireplaces function the same way as all direct vent fireplaces but they are intended for new construction or remodeling.  They are often larger than direct vent inserts, giving you a larger flame are a larger viewing window.  They are designed to be fastened to studs so some framing work and finishing work such as sheetrock, granite or stone work will be required. 

Because of the piping systems associated with direct vent fireplaces, you should expect more type and more costs than installing a set of gas logs.  

Bellingham Direct Vent Fireplace by Kozy Heat


Gas Logs

Gas logs are a type of gas fireplace that can be installed into an existing wood-burning fireplace or a prefabricated fireplace (think metal box). They come in a variety of sizes and styles to match any décor from rustic timber to modern linear designs.  

Unlike direct vent fireplaces they need the existing air inside the home for combustion, therefor it is imperative to make sure you choose the right type of gas logs for you fireplace. 


Which One is Right for You?

So, which type of fireplace is right for you? It depends on your needs and budget. If you're looking for the most efficient and safest type of fireplace, a direct vent fireplace is the best choice. But if you're on a tight budget, gas logs are a good alternative.

Here's a table that summarizes the key differences between direct vent fireplaces and gas logs:

Feature Direct Vent Fireplace Gas Logs
Venting Vents directly to the outside Vents through the chimney, or into the room.
Efficiency Up to 90% Very wide range of efficiency
Cost More expensive* Less expensive
Installation More complex Less complex
*Cost - often homeowners will opt for a set of glass doors if installing a set of vented gas logs.  The cost of a set of door and gas logs will often nearly reach that of a direct vent insert.  Due to the efficiency of a Direct Vent Insert, these systems can often pay for themselves in just a few years. 

Other Considerations

In addition to the factors listed above, there are a few other things to consider when choosing between a direct vent fireplace and gas logs:

  • Appearance: Gas logs can be more realistic-looking than direct vent fireplaces and will not have a piece of glass in front of them. 
  • Features: Direct vent fireplaces often come with additional features, such as blowers, auto-ignition pilot assemblies and ambient lights. 


Ultimately, the best way to decide which type of fireplace is right for you is to consult with a professional. They can help you assess your needs and budget, and recommend the best option for your home.