Start reading to find out exactly what you need to know to buy your own fire pit with our Fire Pit Buying Guide.
FIRE PIT BUYING GUIDE
Fire pits can be a stylish and safe way to bring the rustic feel of a campfire to your backyard, deck or patio. Now this city-view can be enjoyed in Spring and Autumn too! And this Fire Pit Buying Guide will help you decide which one is right for you.
Fire pits have become increasingly popular with plenty of prefabricated models available to buy. They’re made from a variety of heat resistant materials including metal, concrete, clay, and stone.
Fire pits can be fueled by a number of different sources like wood, propane or natural gas. Of course, they provide an excellent source of heat on a chilly day or evening, but they can also become an attractive accent in your outdoor living space.
While you expect a fire pit to provide light, heat and ambiance, some models can be used for cooking too.
When used year-round, a fire pit offers a cozy spot outdoors where family and friends can gather. Unlike other outdoor heating sources, fire pits provide 360 degrees of open flame heat.
Let’s explore the world of residential fire pits, shall we?
WHAT FUNCTIONS CAN FIRE PITS HAVE?
GRILLING – Some models are equipped with metal grates that can be used for grilling too. If the model you choose doesn’t, it’s won’t be hard finding one that fits over the top of your fire pit. There are tons of options available.
ENTERTAINING SURFACE – Many fire pits have tops or surrounds that allow you to use the surface for food and beverages. What could be more special while enjoying the warmth of a crackling fire.
OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE ACCENT – Your fire pit will be an attractive accent piece in your outdoor living space. It won’t matter if its roaring fire is warming you and your guests, or it’s serving as an impromptu coffee table. With the many different decorative options available, you’re sure to find a fire pit that will fit your entertaining style and decor.
WHAT TYPES OF FUEL DO FIRE PITS USE?
WOOD – Logs, wood chunks and kindling are used to fuel the simplest types of fire pits. The type of wood you burn will likely depend on your geographical location and local sources.
PROPANE – Propane powered fire pits use tanks of gas, making them convenient and safe to use. The initial investment may be higher, but these units are efficient and outperform natural gas powered fire pits by far.
NATURAL GAS –These models are usually installed in a permanent location (built-in) and connect to your home’s gas source. Natural gas units generally have a higher up-front cost because they require professional installation. But, it may balance out, because natural gas can be a less expensive fuel option overall.
GEL – Many small or table top fire pit models use a gel that is comprised of a chemical that doesn’t emit an odor or any smoke.
BIO-ETHANOL – Another “clean” fire pit fuel that is extremely efficient and doesn’t produce any ashes or smoke.
CHARCOAL – Provides a smaller flame fire, but heats evenly and is easily controlled outdoors.
WHAT MATERIALS CAN FIRE PITS BE MADE OF?
While this Fire Pit Buying Guide is comprehensive in content, it does not claim to list every single type of material that could be used for a fire pit.
Here’s where you can get more bang for your buck! Cast iron gives you the look of a more expensive metal, but with a price that is great for the budget. But, they generally only come in two different shapes, a bowl or bucket.
BUCKET – Deeper fuel source area that’s used without any screen on top
BOWL – Shallow design necessitates the use of a screen on top of the fire pit for safety
Sturdy, but it’s lightweight and can be easily moved
Bowl models are great for grilling
Rust resistant and is an excellent conductor of heat
Affordable and easy to find option
This easily molded metal can make almost any shaped fire pit, whether it’s got sleek, clean lines, or is highly embellished and decorative. Steel fire pits come in a large range of finishes and you can also find one stained to match your outdoor decor perfectly!
Stain choices are available in copper, burnished and regular brass and popular colors
The downside is that it is susceptible to rusting, so you should look for a powder-coated option
If you’re looking for a contemporary styled fire pit, stainless steel is your best choice. To keep its finish looking attractive, you’ll need to clean it periodically. But the convenience of having both above-ground and built-in options make it well worth the maintenance!
Stainless steel is both durable and lightweight
It’s a great weather and heat resistant choice
Won’t rust like regular steel
Available in a smooth, shiny finish or a lovely brushed look
These fire pits can be a bit more pricey than other options
What’s not great about aluminum? There’s tons of options out there that are affordable and really durable for the price. There are so many styles, shapes and sizes, it’ll make your head spin with delight!
Since aluminum doesn’t re-absorb the heat of the fire inside, they’re super-safe family options, especially with little tikes around.
Lightweight and easy-to-move around your outdoor living space
Won’t rust or warp out of shape from the heat
Aluminum is practically maintenance-free
Heat-conducive material that lasts for years
Copper fire pits are some of the most popular portable “starter” options on the market. The bowl-shape of many models makes them perfect for small spaces like patios and decks.
While the copper finish will tarnish with use, you can clean your fire pit with cleaners made specifically for copper. I personally don’t mind the aged look of an “aged” copper fire pit!
Copper is extremely durable, but you must beware of purchasing an inexpensive model
Won’t rust, and will develop a lovely patina over time
Are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes
You can find models in both moderate and expensive price ranges
Polyresin fire pits are made by placing the mixture into molds to produce a natural stone-like aesthetic. Because the molds can be made with intricate patterns or shapes, these fire pits can lend lots of style and atmosphere to your outdoor spaces. I’ve seen both table-top models and free standing units that are absolutely stunning.
Sturdy and durable material allows for a safe and stylish heat source
They’re a lightweight choice that’s generally quite portable
Low maintenance option
FIRE PIT BUYING GUIDE – My Favorite Fire Pit Picks!
YAHEETECH – 32 inch Metal Square Table Wood Burning Fire Pit with Spark Screen, Log Poker and Cover
I like this model because it’s not only a great looking fire pit, but it’s multi-functional too! I love that it doubles as a coffee table for drinks and such, especially when it’s not lit. Aren’t your guests always looking for someplace to put their glass?
MULTIPURPOSE/SQUARE TABLETOP – Premium fire pit is built in a square shape for stability. The 32-inch wide tabletop around the center fire area provides a convenient surface for beverages and supplies.
SAFE AND SECURE – Comes with a mesh screen top to prevent burning embers from escaping. The log poker can be used to stoke the fire and remove the mesh lid.
DURABLE DESIGN – Both the frame and mesh screen are constructed of high quality iron. It also comes with a cover to keep water and dirt out when not in use. (it can rust if left with water inside the unit)
EASILY ASSEMBLED – The simple design is easy to assemble with the included hardware.
LANDMANN – 26 inch Barrone Fire Pit with Cover in Antique Bronze
This model has “style” written all over it! It’s small enough to fit almost any outdoor space, and has a domed cover to keep it safe to use too.
Sturdy steel construction that can withstand high heat
Will not rust and can handle outdoor elements
Comes in an attractive hand-rubbed antique bronze finish
A friend has one in her outside patio behind her townhouse that makes the cool North Carolina evenings more enjoyable.
Before she purchased it, she rarely spent much time there after the sun went down. Now, you can’t get her to come inside to watch television!
OUTLAND – Firebowl 883 Mega Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Pit with UV and Weather Resistant Durable Cover, 24-Inch Diameter 58,000 BTU
This little cutie is not only powerful, but packs a lot of warming capability in its sleek and compact design.
It’s not exactly rustic, but the convenience and clean burning propane fire are perfect, especially for an urban setting. It looks just fab on the city high-rise balcony in the image at the beginning of this article, doesn’t it?
NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: Sturdy, easy to use and portable, with quick set up and no tools required. All weather fire bowl delivers a clean and smokeless flame. Measures L 24” x W 24” x H 13” with total output of 58,000 BTU/HR.
BEAT THE CAMPFIRE BAN: CSA approved fire pit is safe to use during most campfire bans; always check with the current fire restrictions in your area. Spark free propane campfire helps protect campgrounds and forested areas with a safer easy-to-use fire option.
COMPLETE FIRE PIT KIT: Includes pre-attached 10-Ft hose to keep your standard 20-Lb propane tank cylinder (not included) safely out of sight. Plus a fully adjustable regulator with chrome valve knob for varying flame height, and 6.6-Lb natural lava rock set. Convenient UV & weather resistant cover protects fire pit when not in use.
QUALITY DESIGN: Durable high quality steel construction with protective enamel finish for dependable longevity. It’s got a superior stainless steel burner and fasteners with a manual ignition.
HEMBOR – 28″ Propane Gas Square Fire Pit Table, 50,000 BTU with Waterproof Cover, Lava Rock, CSA Certification
Here’s a model that’s extra fabulous because the frame’s powder-coated surface is molded to look like rattan. I know tons of people have a set of brown rattan outdoor furniture that will perfectly match this attractive fire pit.
In fact, we own the very rattan furniture of which I speak. That’s me on our upper deck overlooking the mountains of Western North Carolina. If I didn’t live among the treetops, I’d have this exact unit! (it’s not safe with the high winds and nearby trees)
SAFE & CSA APPROVED: 50,000 BTU fire pit table has CSA certification and safety valve. The fully-enclosed hidden table body is designed with a ring that secures the bottom of the gas tank.
SMOKE-FREE BURNING: Utilizes propane gas and larger burner ring, which can offer perfect bonfire atmosphere without smoke and ash of wood fires.
STURDY & DURABLE: The frame is made of powder-coated stainless steel, which is sturdy and heat-resistant. Delicate craftsmanship ensures smooth edges. 600 D waterproof table cover is offered to protect fire pit table from rain or snow.
EASY TO ASSEMBLE & START: Outdoor gas fire pit uses a charged ignition device and clear panel prompts. Quick ignition perfectly solve unstable ignition situation. Rotating the safety valve can easily turn on/off the fire pit, which is easy and convenient to use. And all accessories and instruction are provided, gas fire pit can be assembled within a few minutes. No tools required.
COMPLETE FIRE PIT SET: When used with the provided lid, it can be easily converted into an outdoor dining table, coffee table, or casual bar. It includes Square Cover, 4.18 lbs Lava Stone, 600D Waterproof Table Cover, Screw accessories and Product Manual.
CAMPFIRE DEFENDER PROTECT PRESERVE – Pop-Up Fire Pit, 24 inches
This one’s great for taking along camping, a day at the beach or a romantic evening in the mountains.
It’s a great deal for the price, considering it comes with a 50 fire/1 year minimum guarantee for it’s fire mesh. This one’s going on my wish list!
The Pop-Up Fire Pit is the first truly portable wood or charcoal burning fire pit. The Pop-Up Fire Pit packs down smaller than a camp chair and weighs just 8 pounds. Opens up to an outstanding 24″x 24″ fire pit that’s large enough to keep the whole party warm!
ENGINEERING SIMPLE – The Pop-Up Pit sets-up in just under 60 seconds without the use of any tools. 6061 Aluminum design cools down in 90 seconds once your fire is extinguished. The Pop-Up Pit comes in its own carrying case that measures just 27″x5″x5″ when packed up making it the perfect companion for the beach, backyard, or backwoods!
PERFECT BURNS – Burning on a fire-rated Stainless Steel Mesh (Fire Mesh) means our fires get perfect airflow. Enjoy brighter, hotter fires with almost no smoke. The Fire Mesh holds up to 125 pounds of weight and doesn’t allow ash to fall through.
EXCEEDS THE REGS – It’s 576 square inches of burn area, elevated base, and 3.5 inch sides exceeds BLM and Forest Service regulations for fire pans.
FIRESIDE GUARANTEE – While limited in its lifespan, the Fire Mesh comes with a unique 50 fire/1yr minimum guarantee. Heat and weight will stretch your Fire Mesh over time, so replacements can be purchased and will renew your warranty. Lifetime Guarantee On Frame and Ember Guards.
EASY FIRE PITS – Complete LP Deluxe Fire Pit Kit & Lifetime Warranted 316 Stainless Steel Burner Choice
This is the my DIY pick! You buy the fire pit surround you like, be it metal, stone or brick. Then this handy complete kit gets installed by a professional, and you’re toasting marshmallows by sundown.
Set includes: 18 inch Round Burner, T-Burner, Trough Burner, and Bowls
Burner Mounting Kit, 3 & 12 ft Flexible Hi-Pressure Gas Hoses, Key Valve, Gold Cover Plate & Key, 4 Fittings, High Pressure LP (Propane) Regulator and a Roll of PTFE Tape
Marine grade stainless steel with burners that come with a lifetime guarantee
Easy match light start; works with electronic ignitions systems
SUNNYDAZE DÉCOR – Crossweave Fire Pit Campfire Ring with Fire Poker – 36 Inch
Although the most simple of fire pits, this pretty fire ring is a nice solution for those that don’t want too much fuss. It’s made from heavy-duty steel and finished with a high temperature paint that provides long-lasting durability, functionality and quality. And with a price well below $100., it’s in most people’s budgets too.
FIRE RING DESIGN: Overall 36 inch diameter x 12 inches high, weighs 15 pounds and includes a fire poker to safely tend to the fire
HEAVY DUTY CONSTRUCTION: Made from 0.8mm thick steel metal and finished with high temperature paint for long-lasting functionality and resistance to rust
STURDY: Mesh design allows for good airflow and a strong, long lasting fire (Note: There is no bottom to this ring)
EASY TO PUT TOGETHER: Large campfire ring comes in 4 pieces and assembles in minutes; Perfect for camping or in your own yard
And now for the creme de la creme of the Fire Pit Buying Guide’s picks, it’s also the most expensive one in the bunch. Check this out…
BXYIZU – Wooden Barrel Stonecrest Propane Fire Pit Table, 35-Inch 50000 BTU with Free Lava Rocks and Flame Adjustment
I included this lovely fire pit in my list because, despite it’s high price tag, I wanted you to see it. It really is fabulous, isn’t it?
Now, I’m saying it’s expensive, but that’s relative to the kind of fire pit you want to purchase. If you’re going to have a built-in unit, you’ll be spending almost double of what this model costs. So, like I said, price is relative.
Uses propane fuel to provide stable and green burning, with no ashes or smoke
50000 BTU Wooden Barrel Stonecrest Propane Gas Fire pit is 35-inch W x 35-inch H x 24-inch D
Faux wood look cabinet with heat resistant surface
24 month warranty
Uses lava rocks in conjunction with the propane fuel
WHAT FIRE PIT BUYING GUIDE WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT ACCESSORIES?
I wanted to include a few of the basic add-ons that I recommend when buying a fire pit. Each item’s necessity depends on the type, location and fuel source of your particular fire pit.
CAMPFIRE DEFENDER PROTECT PRESERVE – Fire Pit Ember Mat, 67″ x 60
67″ x 60″ Ember mat protects the ground from popping embers or dripping grease
Fire Resistant Sub-straight coated in a food-grade silicon for durability and easy clean-up
High Reflective Edging for visibility at night
This Ember Mat will not stop heat from transferring to sensitive surfaces like grass or wood decks. Please make sure your fire pit has a heat shield and/or use heat absorbing material such as bricks or pavers
WARNING – THIS MAT IS DESIGNED TO STOP POPPING EMBERS FROM DAMAGING SURFACES. ALLOW A MINIMUM OF 10″ OF DISTANCE BETWEEN HEAT SOURCE AND GROUND
These gloves are a worthwhile investment, considering they can be used for your fire pit, and also while grilling or smoking foods this Summer.
PRO DESIGN –Made with food-grade neoprene rubber, they are water, fire & stain resistant. Designed with insulated textured palm non-slip five finger design and 14 inch length
COMFORTABLE & FLAME RESISTANT – The double layer soft cotton liner provides max comfort and good insulation from heat. They are intended to fit loosely so your hands stays cool and comfortable while tending to your bbq, smoker or fire pit
EXTREMELY EASY TO CLEAN – The flexible waterproof neoprene coating on this glove should be washed with a little soap and hung to dry
PURE GARDEN – 4.75 Gallon Black Ash Bucket with Lid and Shovel
THERMAL INSULATION- The bucket features a raised bottom and thermal insulation to prevent the ashes from heating up the floor or grass
SECURE LID- The ash bucket has a tight-fitting lid to ensure that hot embers and ash stay inside, helping to prevent burns while cleaning, and keeping your hearth or patio neat and tidy.
WOOD GRIP- With a metal handle and wooden grip, the bucket is easy and comfortable to carry even when it’s full.
PRODUCT DETAILS- Material: Steel. Bucket Capacity: 4.75 Gallons. Bucket Dimensions: (Diameter)12.5” x (Height)13”, Shovel Dimensions: (L)14.25” x (W)4.5”. Color: Black.
FOR THE “DIY” CROWD, HERE’S A VIDEO…
Remember that DIY kit that I showed you earlier? I thought it would be great for you to see a video showing lots of different styles of fire pits using their kits. It’s under 3 1/2 minutes, and is really informative.
NOTE: This Fire Pit Buying Guide does not endorse any one product appearing within this article.
It’s chock-full of great information on lighting, layout, decor and outdoor furniture. And it’s even got a fabulous 3-page PDF resource for you to download and print to help you care for and maintain all types of outdoor furniture.
FIRE PIT BUYING GUIDE – Ready to set your yard on fire?
Why not bring home a fire pit for your patio, deck or back yard this weekend? I bet you found more than one design that you love and would fit your outdoor entertaining style.
Bring some rustic panache to your outdoor decor, whether it’s portable or permanent, metal or stone, wood or gas burning. As I’ve shown you today in our Fire Pit Buying Guide, there really is something for everyone and every location!
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