Bio Ethanol Fuel and Gel Fuel, The Differences

There are a number of differences between Bio Ethanol Fuel and Gel Fuel and these need to be considered when choosing the type of bio-fuel burner or bioethanol fireplace that you want to use in your home.

Bio Ethanol Fuel and Gel Fuel, the Differences

The differences between bio ethanol fuel and gel fuel can include properties like the viscosity, the colour, smell, how it is to be used, how it burns, where it should be used and also the emissions that can be generated from the fuel.


The first obvious difference between these biofuels is the viscosity of the product. The viscosity is an indication of how easy it is to pour the fuel.

Bio-ethanol Fuel is very much a liquid which means it is easy to pour, and unless great care is taken, also easy to spill.

Gel fire fuel is a thick liquid, more like a syrup, so it is difficult to pour unless you squeeze the bottle, which also means it does not spill easily.


Bio-ethanol fireplace fuel tends to be sold as a clear liquid. This means that it looks a lot like water. Gel fuel is typically sold as a yellow fuel however there are some cans that contain coloured fuel like blue or green gel fuel that are sold.


All Bio-ethanol Fuel types have a smell it is generally not noticeable however in some environments the smell may be noticed by some people than others.

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Burning Quality

Bio Ethanol Fuel
Bio Ethanol Fuel
Gel Fuel for Fireplaces
Gel Fuel for Fireplaces

Both fuels burn relatively clean when compared to carbon based fuels (Gas, Coal, Wood etc) however it has been noticed that when gel fuel is burnt, it will burn cleanly, until it reaches the point at which it is starting to run out.

The gel fuel, during burning, can creates a residue, or scum, on top of the fuel. Once the fuel starts to run out, the scum starts to line the sides and bottom of the burner, once the flame reaches this residue it can start to generate smoke. This can be quite strong and can be harmful if inhaled.

For this reason generally gel fuel should be used in smaller burners or inside the small fuel cans it is bought. Personally, I will not use a gel fuel indoors, I only use bio-ethanol fuel indoors in my bioethanol burner.

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Type of Burner

If you use the wrong fuel you can damage the burner so read the manufactures instructions for the fireplace. Bio-ethanol fuel can be used in a wide range of burners including remote control bio-ethanol fireplaces.

Gel fuel tends to be used in smaller cans, burners and outdoors. Sometimes bioethanol burners can include ceramic foam sponge which reduces the fuel usage. Gel fuel should not be used with the sponge due to the reason given above. Read the guide to adding ceramic sponge to bioethanol burner trays


Overall bioethanol fuel is the best option however the down side is that it is a highly flammable liquid which is  and easy to spill. As it is a clear liquid these spillages may not be noticeable before lighting the fire. Therefore great care must be take on the filling of the burner and cleaning up and spillages before lighting. Gel fuel as it is thicker is much less likely to be spilt but it is still flammable so any spillages must also be cleaned before lighting.

Overall my advice is use bio-ethanol fuel indoors and use gel fuel outside as then the problem with residue and smoke will not be noticed.

Suppliers of Bio-Ethanol Fireplace

More Bio-Ethanol Fireplace Technical Pages

More Styles of Bio-Ethanol Fireplace