The human response to fire is primal and instinctive. We need it to live because it keeps us warm and kills bacteria in our food (through careful cooking). We all get excited at the idea of beach bonfires and crackling campsite flames. But fire can also cause considerable harm.
That’s why many fireplaces are installed indoors. Outdoor fireplaces exist, but they can be pricy and complex. Fire pits are a good compromise. They’re more affordable than outdoor furnaces and offer other advantages. Let’s review our ten best fire pits to start your yard-heating journey.
The Best Fire Pit on the Market 2020
1. Blue Rhino Outdoor Fire Pit Table
With some fire tables, the emphasis is on function. As a result, the tabletop is wide, with a tiny glowing fore in the middle. Endless Summer has different priorities, so the bulk of the tabletop contains roaring flames. The fire rises out of blue or copper-colored fire glass that looks just as gorgeous when it’s unlit. There are 12 pounds of fire glass per table, couched in a steel fire bowl.
The rest of the 30-inch square tabletop is made of resin and fiberglass. The table itself stands 25.14 inches off the ground, and its steel pedestal is hollow, making room for your propane gas tank. It can comfortably hold a 20-pound tank, but you have to buy this separately. The table comes as a flat pack that’s relatively easy to assemble. It produces 30,000 BTU.
To light the fire pit table, press the convenient ignition button. It instantly produces crackling flames that have no smoke, no fumes, no ash, and no mess. The fire pit table also has a safety gauge to prevent accidental damage from gas leaks and fireballs. The fire table is safe for outdoor use. When it’s not in use, you can drape it with the PVC cover that comes included.
The table stands on four metallic feet so it’s technically portable. But it’s bulky and weighs 67 pounds, so you’re unlikely to move it around much. Pick your position carefully so you don’t break your back trying to shift the fire pit. But despite its aesthetics and specs, you have to sit very close to the table if you want to feel the heat. It pushes heat upwards and doesn’t spread.
The Blue Rhino Propane Fire Pit Table elevates the style and ambiance of your back yard. You can also install it on the patio or deck. But if you want a fireside chat, be sure to bring a blanket.
2. Outland Fire Bowl Propane Fire Pit
We started with a square fire pit that has a square fire bowl. Now let’s look at something curvier. The Outland Fire Bowl has a round fire receptacle that’s 24 inches in diameter. The bowl is filled with naturally-formed lava rocks. It gives off generous heat, about 58,000 BTU per hour.
This powerhouse is still small enough to be portable. You can lug it to campsites or bring it in from the yard when the weather is harsh. It’s not essential to keep it indoors though because its body is made from high-grade weatherproof steel. Its on-switch is probably the most touched part of the furnace, and these easily wear out. In this fire pit, the dial is made of chrome.
This means it can withstand the constant touching of slippery hands soiled by the outdoors. Campfires are usually harsh about fire sources because they can spread to the surrounding greenery. The Outland is a spark-free propane fire pit, so it complies with many camp bans. The fire pit comes with a 10-foot hose attached, but you have to buy the 20-lb gas tank separately.
The hose has a regulator so you can monitor gas usage. The chrome knob makes it easy to control flame size. When you’re done using the fire pit, you can drape the included cover, with its built-in UV protection. This will extend the lifespan of your fire pit. The enamel coating on your steel fire pit also helps it last longer and look glossier. The lava rocks weigh a bit of 6 lb.
If you’d like a pretty, portable fire bowl, buy the Outland. Its lava rocks make the firelight dance and flicker, and the circular, low-profile bowl distributes heat evenly in all directions.
3. Landmann Stars and Moons Fire Pit
We often think of firelight as something to be enjoyed under the stars. This fire pit takes that motif and reflects it through stenciled moon and star cutouts. These create attractive shapes and shadows when the furnace is alight. You can also buy a version with animal stencils instead.
The cutouts are filled with mesh though, and another mesh dome covers the top of the fire bowl, preventing sparks and ashes from escaping. You can buy the fire pit in two colors – black or Georgia Clay, a matte reddish-brown shade. Many fire pits are exclusively used for heat.
But this one doubles as a cooktop. Just remove the protective dome and replace it with the included cooking grate made of enamel. This is a wood-burning fire pit, so the grate comes with a poker to control your crackling logs. The fire pit barely weighs 30 pounds, so it’s easy to carry.
The outer circumference of the fire pit has a safety ring for unburnt portability. The mesh lid also has an insulated handle. The rest of the fire pit is made from weatherproof steel, and the sand-painted fire bowl is 23.5 inches in diameter. You can buy the 10-inch or 12.5-inch version.
This fire bowl is both pretty and functional. The cutouts catalyze airflow through your logs, ensuring a steady flame. But sourcing wood year-round can be a hassle for urbanites.
4. Christopher Knight Round Stone Fire Pit
Curves are comforting, and this fire pit table has a lot of them. It’s built on a cylindrical stone pedestal that opens on one side to conceal your gas tank. You have to buy the tank separately, but you do get a PVC cover for your fire pit, and a set of lava rocks for that extra crackle.
The ‘stone’ on the fire pit frame is magnesium oxide with uncut stone finishing. The center of the fire bowl is steel. All these materials are weatherproof and can resist rust, corrosion, mold, and heat, both from sunlight and fire. The top of the fire pit has a round speckled stone rim.
The hearth is 24 inches tall and 34 inches in diameter. The fire pit table produces 40,000 BTU per hour. It uses battery-powered ignition, so remember to keep spare AAAs. The fireplace is ‘plug and play’ so you don’t have to assemble anything. Just connect the gas tank and it’s ready.
At 117 pounds, it’s a heavy fire pit table. So settle on the right yard location before you position it. Also, consider buying a separate cover made of metal, wood, or some stiff material. It should be large enough to seal the fire bowl. This lets you use the tabletop while the fire is off.
Chimneys are homely, and this fire pit table is reminiscent of one. It’s safe outdoors and produces sufficient heat, but you may need to buy a sturdy tabletop cover for it.
5. FireSense Folding Fire Pit
A lot of us are drawn to miniature things. They’re cute and convenient, especially for portability. This fire pit boasts compact storage, but it has full-size heating dimensions. How? Well, its legs are foldable, so you can stash the fire pit in tight spaces without losing potential heating power.
The fire pit also has a convenient carry case included in the box. The FireSense has a domed design, and you can get a 22-inch one or a 29-inch one. It has two grates – one to hold timber and the other for cooking. This foldable fire pit is a wood-burner, and the mesh dome prevents embers and sparks from spreading. It also keeps the wood contained for controlled burning.
The hands-free hoop at the top makes it easy to lift the dome without burning yourself. Just slip the included screen-lifting tool into the hoop. The whole fire pit weighs about 7 pounds when it’s packed away. Everything fits inside the carrier case, even the protective anti-spark dome.
But because the dome is bulky, you have to take off its handle and flip it to make it fit into the carrier case. The handle and grates come off, but the foldable legs are permanent. There are four legs, so the fire pit stands stable on any type of flooring. The legs neatly tuck out of sight.
If you’re looking for the type of fire pit you can constantly pack in your trunk, the FireSense is a good pick. It gets ashy though, so it does require regular cleaning.
6. Yaheetech Wood-Burning Fire Pit
You know those Thermos flasks that keep hot things hot and cold things cold? The Yaheetech is a bit like that. When the fire is lit, the fire bowl keeps wood and embers contained. It has holes at the bottom to conveniently let ashes out without causing a fuss or a mess. But when the fire is off and there’s no wood, you can fill the bowl with ice and use it to chill your drinks.
The fire bowl will stay chilly for an extended period, draining any drips through the ash holes. But beyond this double function, the Yaheetech is a top tier square fire pit with a wide 32-inch square bowl. Above the cooking grate, a trapezoid dome prevents sparks and ashes from causing accidental fires outside the pit. A lifting tool lets you safely handle the heated dome and grates.
The Yaheetech looks great once it’s completed, but it has lots of components that have to be assembled, and some are small and easy to lose. The fire pit also comes with a waterproof, weatherproof cover to protect it when it’s not in use. The fire pit is made of iron, so it’s susceptible to rust. Consider getting a tougher cover if your area has high precipitation.
This low-profile high-quality fire pit table stands roughly 14 inches above the ground. It’s suitable for warm areas, but in rainy, snowy, or human conditions, there’s a risk of rust.
7. Best Choice Fire Pit Table
Firepit tables can sometimes feel like a ripoff. There’s a wide tabletop, but most of it is on fire! The Best Choice table solves this by including a fire bowl lid in the box. It firmly seals the bowl, offering more table space while the fire is off. Beneath the lid, glowing glass beads add some sparkle and dance to your firelight. This furnace gets as hot as 50,000 BTU.
The table has hollow side panels, ideal for storing a 20-lb gas tank. This tank doesn’t come with the shipping box though, so order it separately. The table itself is made of extruded aluminum, so it’s suitable for all weather conditions. There’s a thick nylon cover too, and it’s thick enough to prevent moisture, dust, and other forms of debris.
The fire table is 57 by 22 inches and stands just under 25 inches tall. It’s a gas burner, so you won’t be stuck with smoke or soot, and the flames are unscented. The burner dial makes it easy to control temperature levels, and the fire pit weighs 74 pounds. The sides stay cool even when the fire is on, so there’s a lower risk of burning yourself on hot metal. The warranty is 60 days.
The ignition button sticks sometimes though, so you may need to replace it soon. Other than that, the BCP fire pit table is a purchase you’re unlikely to regret.
8. DeckMate Copper Fire Pit
If you want a fire pit that’s just the basics, DeckMate is a good selection. It has a wide 29-inch diameter, a mesh dome lid, and a copper-colored fire bowl. He bowl stands on four slanted feet held together by a reinforcing ring. The ring makes a good footrest and doesn’t heat up.
The anti-sparks dome does get hot though. So while it has a convenient hoop at the top, never touch it directly. Use the lifting tool instead. The tool can also be used to poke at the fire, encouraging air movement and making your fire burn more efficiently. This fire pit can use logs, driftwood, lumber pellets, charcoal, or artificial wood. The pit has a vintage look and feel.
The fire pit has hoops on the side to make it easier to lift. But it doesn’t have a fuel grate or a cooking grate, just a hollow fire bowl. This may limit airflow, so the fire won’t burn as brightly or as thoroughly. There’ll be a lot of ash and unburnt logs to clean up. And there’s no plastic cover included, so buy one. Otherwise, outdoor elements will tarnish your copper bowl.
Simplicity is a gift, so if you’re willing to let go of frills, the DeckMate Copper Fire Pit is worth looking at. You can’t cook on it though unless you buy a detached grate and pile it on.
9. Sunnydaze Cross-Weave Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Many circular fire pits have a solid section and a mesh section. With SunnyDaze, the entire fire pit is cross-woven mesh. This may seem counter-intuitive, and you may worry the fire will constantly blow itself off. But the perforations allow free airflow for a more vibrant flame.
The SunnyDaze has an extra-large diameter of 31 inches and stands at 24 inches. Its three legs keep it steady will its 36-inch carrier ring allows easy, burn-free portability. The mesh serves three purposes: ventilation, aesthetics, and spark management. The fire pit comes with a grate to support your burning logs and a poker to turn them. It also has a PVC cover for dust and rain.
The lightweight device weighs 29 pounds and is made from gauge steel that’s 1.7mm thick. The steel is painted a black that won’t fade because the paint is designed to withstand high burning temperatures. It needs minimal assembly since only the legs are detached when it ships.
For pretty cross-weave fire shadows, invest in a SunnyDaze fire pit. It has a 1-year warranty and the shipping box contains a complete fire pit kit, including the cover, mesh cage, feet, and poker.
10. Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit
The Solo Stove is larger than it seems, with a cylindrical design and a 19.5-inch diameter. In some ways, it’s just a large fireproof metal receptacle. But it’s perforated grate to let air flow through, which heightens and catalyzes the efficiency of your flames. It has a double-wall design.
There’s a row of perforation near the outer bottom rim and the inner top rim to create the right airflow pattern for roaring flames. The free-flowing air reduces smoke levels and ensures a complete burn. This means less waste … but more ash and higher clean-up requirements. And for the socially-conscious, this stainless steel fire vat was initially built and sold via Kickstarter.
The Solo Stove is 14 inches tall, made of 304 stainless steel and needs no assembly. It weighs 20 pounds so you can easily carry it around. Wait until it cools though, or you could singe your hands. It has a carry case included, which helps because Solo Stoves don’t have handles. But all those parts can make the Solo Stove a hassle to clean. You can never quite get all the ash out.
Stainless steel doesn’t clean easily, so the Solo Stove handles wood-burning well. You can quickly wipe off any soot and residue and soon have it sparkling again.
Fire pits offer the benefits of indoor furnaces but none of the drama. And they’re generally safer than just burning dry twigs in your yard. But what considerations help you buy the right model?
Modern hearths often have a glass screen, whether they’re burning timber or gas. By contrast, fire pits have a naked flame, so they can cause more accidents. Look for a fire pit wit safety features like anti-spark screens, adjustable flames, wind-guards, and anti-tip mechanisms. These all lower the chances of accidentally burning your yard and home. It prevents injuries too.
If you own your house, you can install permanent fixtures like decks and outdoor hearths. But if you’re a tenant, consider buying something portable. You can move it from the balcony to the yard as needed, and take it on road trips as a back-up heat source. You can also carry it when you move out, and it saves you the hassle of begging your landlord for construction permission.
The most common types of fire pit fuel are wood and gas. Electric fireplaces exist, but these are usually al fresco models. They sit in patios and similar indoor-outdoor spaces because they need access to your power grid. Wood-burning pits are cozy, but the clean-up process can be lengthy. Gas fire pits are convenient, but you have to be extra careful not to spark your gas bottles.
Because your fire pit spends a lot of time outdoors, you want it hardy and weatherproof. Construction materials for fire pits include stone, concrete, clay, or metal, and each has benefits and drawbacks. Metal can be galvanized or oiled to repel moisture. Stone, clay, and concrete hold heat better, but they’re permanent structures, so they’re tricky for your lease.
If you have a lot of space, you can invest in a larger fire pit, maybe even a fire table. These are great for family bonding and romantic dinners. Some fire tables have centralized space with open surfaces all around, so you can eat, work, or talk at the table. But if you have a tiny yard or a balcony, you can buy a portable piece that goes back indoors when it’s idle.
What type of fire pit do you find attractive? Stone fire pits have a classic feel, while metallic ones look modern. Brick (or brick-patterned) fire pits give your yard a rustic ambiance. Think about the decorative theme in your yard, then pick a fire pit that goes with it. You can also consider your yard flooring. Is it grass, tile, or concrete? Get a fire pit that matches your theme.
Larger fire pits (or small ones with high BTUs) can heat the whole yard. If your yard is partially enclosed, the heat may bounce off the walls of the ‘indoor’ section. So your heater won’t need to be as large as an open-space model. On the other hand, for a tiny balcony or porch, a small, low-heat-emitting model may be enough. Don’t buy a bigger fire pit than you need.
Access to Supplies
Many people don’t realize firewood should be seasoned (dried) for a year or two before use. So if you live in a wooded area, you can chop, stack, and season it yourself. But for urban areas, you need a firewood service that can bring you logs weekly or monthly. Without this, you’re better off with a propane burner. But only if you have a local gas bottle supplier … or a hardy truck.
Portable fire pits may have casters or foldable legs for enhanced mobility. Gas pits may have a hidden compartment for storing gas bottles. Wood-burners may have cut-outs on the side to create shadows and mesmerizing light shows. Other fire pits come bundled with pokers, bellows, or ash pans. These accessories add pizzazz to your fire pit, and they can save you money too.
In some places, you’re not allowed to burn wood. In others, your pit has to be a certain distance from power cables, sewers, tree lines, or yard perimeters. Flame height may be regulated as well. That may mean you have to put the fire pit in a corner of the yard or locate it centrally in a designated ‘fire hole’. This will affect the type, size, and even the shape of the fire pit you purchase.
Fire It Up!
If you ask us, the best way to light up your back yard is with the Outland Firebowl.
- Its flaming lava rocks are soothing to watch.
- It’s 13 inches tall and 24 inches wide.
- It’s conveniently compact and portable.
- It’s made from premium steel and chrome.
- Its flames are clean, with no smoke, fumes, or ash.
- It’s weather-resistant and safe for outdoor use and storage.
- It comes ready-to-use. No assembly or tools needed.
- It produces 58,000 BTU per hour.
Do you have a fire pit or permanent outdoor furnace? Show us a picture in the comments!