You will likely spend less money on an electric fireplace than a similar size gas model. A gas fireplace is a more complicated piece of equipment with an ignition system, adjustable gas valve, gas pressure and air to fuel adjustments, an insulated firebox and a coaxial venting system.
The flames and lighting effects on an electric fireplace are basically on or off. The heating element is either on high, low or off all together. Although both gas and electric models are operated with a remote control, electric equipment is not nearly as complex as its gas counterparts.