A lot of people elect to not use a wood burning appliance because of the hassle that comes with it. You have to order or cut your wood, make sure that it is properly seasoned, and build the fire in order to experience the effects of the fire; warmth and a natural glow. If all of this work has deterred you from burning some type of fuel to heat your home in the past, a gas appliance may be right for you.
Gas appliances offer the user an “automatic fire.” Turning on a gas fireplace takes minimal effort in order to enjoy a lovely flame in your fireplace. I would recommend either installing vented gas logs into an existing fireplace or installing a gas insert into your existing fireplace, but other options exist. Gas appliances can be more efficient than wood burning fireplaces. The gas is burned more completely, burning hotter creating more heat for your home. Just think, you do not even have to go out and gather the wood or build the fire and you are actually getting more heat!
A wood burning appliance needs to meet many stringent regulations because of the hot, acidic gases that are the products of combusting wood or other solid fuels. The main products of the combustion of gas are heat and water vapor, so the ventilation of the byproducts are less stringent. Some gas appliances are deemed “un-vented,” “vent-free,” or “ventless” and burn gas so efficiently that they do not need to have a chimney to vent out of. These are questionable in my opinion and can have an effect on the air quality in a home, especially if the home is new and very air tight. Consult with a chimney professional on the idea of air quality in your home if you are looking to install vent-free gas logs because air quality is a serious concern.