How Do Gel Fireplaces Work [Explained]

Wondering for how do gel fireplaces work? 

The simple answer is that it works flawlessly. Once you install your gel fueled fireplace, the induced heat will warm up your home even in harsh winter. To perform so, just add a gel fuel of 13 ounces and use it for more than 3 hours straight.

However, in today’s article, you will learn what is a gel fuel fireplace, the gel fireplace working mechanism, its cost, safety tips, and its advantages and disadvantages. So, keep reading…

Modern Gel Fireplace Working Mechanism

A gel fuel fireplace logs are the combustion of isopropyl alcohol which produces zero fumes or smoke. The fuel comes in 13 ounces of a can with a two to three hours burning capacity.

Setting the fireplace on fire is as easy as lighting a match stick. The steps are:

  • Firstly, adjust everything surrounding the fireplace. Don’t let your guard down or else the fireplace can burn your house down. 
  • Get a gel fuel can from the store near you or order it online from Amazon. 
  • To burn the gel fuel, try removing the paper label from the can and opening the lid.
  • Then, place the can in the fireplace and light it up. 
  • If you have a big house and your fireplace has tons of space, just shove in two to three cans at a time.
  • Once done, try closing the lid to extinguish the fire.

How Do Gel Fireplaces Work from Different Types

Though the basic mechanism is the same, depending on where you use it matters the most. In the market, there are three types of gel fireplaces, which are…

Indoor Freestanding Fireplaces

Indoor freestanding fireplaces offer the best floor-to-fireplace freestanding with no mounting on your part. This feature makes your life easier, as you can move it anywhere you want.

Having a small area, the fireplace can fit into any home or small room apartment. As the fuel burns cleanly, you don’t have to worry about any smoke or black fumes arising. You can also find indoor freestanding fireplaces with modern-style glass panels.

Outdoor Gel Fuel Fireplaces

As the name suggests, an outdoor gel fuel fireplace serves as an outdoor campfire or fire pit. They come in all shapes and sizes including fire bowls, fire tables, traditional fireplaces, and so on.

With some organic matter inside the fuel can, you will hear the crisping sound of burning wood. Additionally, depending on the brand some outdoor gel fireplaces can work in both outdoor and indoor conditions.

Wall Mount Gel Fuel Fireplace

Do you want a fireplace which makes a cool fire from the wall?

Well, a wall-mount fireplace unit can come in handy for people with such taste. A wall-mount fireplace will upgrade your class, and give your house a Sci-fi vibe.

Similar to some outdoor gel fireplaces you can use a wall fireplace outdoors as a lantern hanging from a tree. In addition, you can install it in any place where other gel fuel fireplaces are unusable.

Well, you can also make gel fuel on a budget for your gel fuel fireplace. To do this, you can check out this article.

What Safety Precautions You Should Take While it is Working?

There is not better than a warm and cozy room in the winter morning. Burning some wood or gel fuel can help increase the room’s temperature and offer you the perfect cuddle.

But is it completely safe? Technically no. You need to keep in mind some safety tips before you get a fireplace of your own.

  • Try keeping a distance from the face and the device while refueling. When the fuel drips onto your clothes, wash it properly with soap.
  • Don’t keep the fireplace burning if you are not around. Make sure to keep anything flammable away from it during burning.
  • The fire pot should be kept on a rigid surface. Only adults should stay within the 3 feet distance of the burner.
  • Don’t let your pets near the burner. If your pet spills the fuel on top of him, give him a proper bath.
  • Avoid any contact during burning and 3-4 mins after extinguishing the burner.
  • Try using only gel fuel outdoors and never substitute the fuel indoors.
  • Keep the fuel in a sealed container and don’t let your kids play with it.

Gel Fireplace Costing

A gel fuel fireplace is kinda pricey when compared to other types of fireplaces. For starters, a simple can will cost you three dollars, which lasts for 2-3 hours on the go.

On the other hand, an average natural gas fireplace prices about 0.42 dollars per hour. But for the installation part, you don’t have to break the bank, unlike other traditional fireplaces.

Overall, a gel fuel fireplace is more time-saving than anything else. This is why the average American uses it only during parties or when guests come over.

Here, you can watch the vedio on how to make gel fuel.

Gel Fuel Fireplace Pros and Cons

Before you dive into the working mechanism, know the pros and cons of the gel fireplace first. Knowing them will improve your vision on whether it is for you or not.


  • Provides you with a freestanding fireplace and no chimney.
  • Usable in both big and small households. No rental rules are violated.
  • Available in both indoor and outdoor versions.
  • Flawless wall mount gel fireplace option.
  • Clean burning with zero combustion fumes.
  • Keeps the house warm with real fire.


  • Gel fuel burners are more dangerous if unchecked.
  • Heat output is relatively low.
  • Flame-retardant items should be ensured.
  • Gel fuel fireplaces are more expensive.
  • Not for all-day usage.

You can check out the video to know more about get fuel.


Are gel fuel fireplaces safe?

A gel fuel fireplace uses an isopropyl alcohol solution as its core power source. Producing zero combustion smoke and harmful gases, gel fuel fireplaces are petty safe to use. However, you need to make sure you keep all the precautions in mind while using it. Don’t keep anything flammable near it and especially don’t let your kids near the active fireplace.

How long can a gel fuel last?

Alcohol pretty much burns immediately when you light it on fire. But a gel fuel can last for hours with the right fuel volume. In the case of a gel fuel fireplace can, they can last for 2-3 hours, and you would about 3 of them to operate properly.

How do you put out a gel fuel fire?

Putting out a gel fuel fire is as easy as lighting it up. They can have a lid on the upper end which you open before lighting it. To put out a gel fuel fire, just close the lid, and you are good to go. However, you need to keep in mind that fire is burning you. So keep a distance and avoid direct contact.

Can you use gel fuel in a regular fireplace?

Similar to other fireplaces, a gel fuel fireplace is easy to operate and produces less greenhouse gas. It is similar to a normal fireplace, with an added health benefit. You can use it as a regular fireplace, but the pricing will reach the rooftop. If you use it as your regular fireplace, you will have fewer harmful gases getting inside your precious lungs.

Is gel fuel safe to breathe?

Gel fuels have an alcohol base that powers them. Having a source of clean energy, the combustion makes zero harmful gases. The only waste produced is CO2, and it is safe for the human lungs. So, gel fuel smoke is a hundred percent safe to breathe.

Do gel fires give off heat?

Yes. A gel fuel fireplace does give off heat. Additionally, the fire from a gel fuel can look somewhat similar to a normal fireplace with a crisp burning sound. However, the heat gives away it is kinda low and your home won’t get too much warm. A gel fuel fireplace is good for decoration, and you will get a cool vibe in front of guests.

Is gel fuel the same as Sterno?

In the general sense, the answer is yes. But when you dive deeper, you will find some key differences between a gel fuel and a Sterno. For starters, Sterno doesn’t spill if you accidentally tripped over it. On the other hand, gel fuels can spill over your clothes, and you have to wash them immediately. Sterno also has a heat indicator, which will notify you when the temperature rises.

How do gel fire pits work?

A gel fire pit has a burning alcohol-based solution that lights up when you hold fire near it. Alcohol has hydrocarbons and can produce tons of light and heat with minimum combustion fumes. In the case of a gel fuel fireplace, you leave the 13-ounces can inside the fireplace and light it on fire. Variation in the fireplace can make you use more or fewer cans, but the basic working machinist is the same.

What is a gel fire pit?

Similar to a normal fire pit, where you dig a hole in the ground and set it up on fire, a get fire pit is the same. The only key difference is, that you use an alcohol gel can and set it on fire instead of wood or twigs. The best part is, that you can carry the gel cans into your home and use it as your indoor fireplace.

How do you make burning gel?

Making a burning gel solution for your fireplace is quite easy if you have some soy wax and some isopropyl alcohol. At first, melt about six ounces of soy in a pan and add a cup of isopropyl alcohol into it. Make sure, the percentage of isopropyl alcohol is higher than the regular 70% one. Finally, add a wick to the bottom of the gel and voilà you have yourself a burning gel fuel.


A gel fireplace is a damn good alternative to your traditional smoke-producing fireplace. It uses an alcohol-based gel as a fuel source, which burns clean and efficiently. But how do gel fireplaces work in terms of performance?

For starters, the pricing is too high, and you can use it for about 3 hours top on a single go. The heat production is also not good, but the fire shines bright with a crisp burning sound.

If you own a restaurant, a gel fuel fireplace can serve you better as it makes no combustion smoke or harmful fumes.

About William

William is the founder of He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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