Choosing a Gas Log Set

So you understand the benefits of a gas log system and want to find a set that is right for you. Where do you start?

 There are several things to consider when choosing your set, including whether to get a vented or vent-free system. First, check your local building codes for any restrictions or requirements, which can vary by city or municipality. View this map to see which states allow vent-free gas logs.

 Here are the questions you will need to answer:

  • Do I have a functional, wood-burning fireplace or a vent-free fireplace?
  • Do I care more about having a realistic-looking fire or a great heat source?
  • Does my house use natural gas or liquid propane?
  • How do I want to operate my log set?
  • What gas log size do I need?


Do I have a functional, wood-burning fireplace or a vent-free fireplace?
If you have a vent-free fireplace you need vent-free gas logs and can skip the next question. If you have a vented fireplace, read on to choose between vented or vent-free logs.

Do I care more about having a realistic-looking fire or a great heat source?
Vented gas logs are designed primarily to give the look and feel of a real wood fire. Vent-free gas logs are made for heat and are the most efficient source of heat on the market today. Neither option requires electricity. More about the pros and cons of each are below.


Vented gas logs
Dancing flames roll over these logs, and beautiful beds of glowing embers mimic a roaring, wood-burning fire.
Vented gas logs must be installed in a fireplace that can burn wood and has an operational chimney. The chimney damper (which regulates the airflow) must be completely open when in use because the chimney needs to be properly vented.



  • Extremely realistic – looks like a real wood fire
  • Tall, beautiful flames that touch the logs just like with real wood
  • Do not require a carbon dioxide detector or oxygen depletion system


  • Provide less heat than vent-free gas logs


Vent-free gas logs
Because they operate with a closed flue damper (which regulates the airflow out of the chimney), all of the heat these gas logs produce stays in your home. As a result, these logs are 99.9% energy efficient and 30-40% more efficient than most home furnaces. They can be used in a vent-free fireplace or a functional wood-burning fireplace with a closed flue damper. 
Vent-free logs must be placed strategically so they don’t touch the flames, which is why they look slightly less realistic than vented gas logs. 



  • Provide more heat than vented gas logs
  • Much more energy efficient
  • Consume less gas than vented logs


  • Does not use glowing embers 
  • Shorter flames do not touch the logs
  • Restrictions may apply*

* Vent-free gas logs are not legal in California and some cities and municipalities. Other limitations may also apply, such as BTU limitations based on the cubic feet of the space.     


Does my house use natural gas or liquid propane?
Always make sure you purchase a log set that matches the gas in your home – either liquid propane or natural gas. See our FAQs on what to do if you don’t have a gas line.
When you purchase vented and vent-free logs, they can be pre-set to either natural gas or liquid propane. All Emberside vented gas logs are pre-set to natural gas, so you will need a pilot conversion kit if you have liquid propane. Our vent-free logs come in natural gas or liquid propane.


How do I want to operate my log set?
Once you’ve chosen a vented or vent-free set, you can choose how to operate your set.


Vented gas logs
Like most vented log sets, Emberside sets are “match-lit” units, which means you hold a flame over the burner and turn on the gas to ignite it. Then you can control the flame height with your gas valve.
You also can buy a safety pilot kit, which is easier to use. Once the pilot is lit, you can turn your logs on and off as well as adjust the flame height using a simple knob. Liquid propane requires safety pilots but natural gas does not.


Vent-free gas logs
Our vent-free log kits come with a manual controlled or thermostat controlled valve. With manual control you turn a knob to adjust the flame height. Thermostat control allows you to set the temperature, and the flame adjusts to maintain that temperature.


What size gas log set do I need?
Like most gas log sets, ours can range from 18” to 30”. The size is determined by the length of the front log, which is typically the largest.
To choose a size you will need to measure your fireplace front width, back width and depth.