The romantic scene of an outdoor fire is an idyllic thought for many and there’s nothing that quite compares to the comfortable crackling and warmth of the best fire pit.
Many people have fond memories of socializing around the best fire pit, whether that’s sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows, or simply spending time with your nearest and dearest.
Now, thanks to some of the best fire pit designs, you can experience the warmth and atmosphere of an outdoor fire, and be confident that it will look great and be perfectly safe for you and your family to enjoy.
*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read the best fire pit reviews below.
What Types Of Pits Are Available?
There are a wide variety of different pits available for purchase, varying in style, size and the type of fuel used to operate them. In terms of style, there are the more traditional handcrafted, wrought iron pits and the more exotic kadai, or fire bowls and the choice is entirely down to your own personal taste.
However, you will often find that the more traditional pits are larger, while fire bowls are perhaps more suitable for smaller gardens or backyards, therefore, this is definitely something to consider when choosing the right outdoor heating.
Many people also opt into building their own DIY fire pit instead of buying one. The downside to this is they are often fixed in place and this can mean more work in the future if you ever think about rearranging your yard or if you find the location you build it turns out to be less than desirable.
You can find more info on DIY fire pits further on in this article.
What Are The Features Of The Best Fire Pit?
Just like the size and style of your pit, there are many other features you will want to be aware of, as these can often separate the lower quality fire pits from the best on offer, this includes:
Materials – There are many different materials used to create outdoor heating pits, this includes ceramic, stone, wrought iron, and copper.
You will often find that the best fire pits are made from high-quality metals such as copper and iron last longer and retain their heat far better than other materials such as stone.
Although, the stone and ceramic style is the preference for many people, so don’t let longevity be the only factor.
Cooking – Some pits come with added features such as grills and windows, which allow you to easily cook, BBQ and roast food, perfect for family get-togethers during the summer, or for sharing some marshmallows on cold winter nights.
Open or closed? – This also links to style choice, but there are fire pits that are openly giving you that natural campfire feel, yet they won’t retain heat as well as closed pits such as bowls. So this is something to bear in mind if you want a pit that will provide a good amount of heat and efficiency.
Top Picks: Best Fire Pit Reviews
Gas Fuel Means No Mess
This is a gas stove meaning there is no concern about cleaning up ash and wood waste like you would find if you used a wood burning fire pit, which can be messy, laborious and time-consuming.
Importantly, wood campfires are restricted in many regions, in particular, many campsites and locations on the west coast prohibit wood-burning fires.
Lightweight & Portable
At just 24.5 lbs this stove is an excellent portable stove as its both small enough to fit in a small car and rucksack and it’s also extremely light, making it easy enough to be carried while backpacking, camping or hiking.
The best part is that the sturdy design requires no tools to assemble, is extremely lightweight and comes with a handy carry strap, making it the ideal portable fire.
Generous Heat Output
This stove generates a heat output of up to 58,000 BTU’s, which is very good considering its size. It easily gets hot enough to roast marshmallows, which is a must for any outdoor camper!
Outland Living was founded in 2010 by accomplished business partners Willie Fisher and Frank Fan. Before starting the company both men had a lot of experience in the outdoor living market.
Today their brand has a solid reputation and they certainly produce some of the best fire pit models out there. They are especially renowned for their fire outland firebowl and portable propane fire pits.
The Savannah is a top rated fire bowls online, offering a beautiful and sturdy design. A popular feature is the full-scale views thanks to the mesh-like design, creating a great ambiance, especially in the evenings and in our view makes one of the best patio fire pits.
This Landmann fire pit comes partially assembled, meaning that the remaining assembly is incredibly easy and at 22 pounds you can be confident that it won’t be moved easily, especially once loaded with the fuel of your choice.
Installation is straightforward and involves connecting legs at the bottom of the pit, and the spark guard-supporting clips on the edge of the bowl. The legs are relatively simple to fit – although tools are advised.
It also comes with a very snug spark screen to prevent any ash or sparks from harming you or your friends. One downside to this pit is that does not come with any added bonuses such as grills and it is also quite open.
This means it will not keep its heat as well as other designs, but it’s definitely a pretty good choice for the infrequent user.
The Sunnydaze fire bowl is the best fire pit if you are looking for a safe and aesthetically pleasing wood burning fire pit.
This bowl style fire pit by Sunnydaze is a top rated and solidly designed fire pit, which, as well as offering a unique, industrial design, also offers a pit that retains more heat for longer.
This is all thanks to its enclosed, steel base which has been painted with black high-temperature paint, accented with brass-colored highlights.
Constructed from steel and coated with a high-temperature black paint that not only adds to the ancient styling of this fire pit but also helps it last longer by making it more resistant to the extreme heat.
The Sunnydaze firepit is safer than many other models due to its design. For instance, the handles at either side of the base, meaning that it can be safely and effectively be lifted to other areas without any difficulty (when not in use of course).
In addition, because the base is solid and it comes with a handy spark screen, embers and sparks aren’t a threat, which is a great advantage, especially for those who have pets or small children.
A firewood log poker is also included ensuring you can safely adjust and rearrange logs and the spark screen when it’s in use.
The cosmic fire pit is great value for money and the best fire pit for those on a budget. It’s on offer by Sunnydaze, and is ideal for seasonal users.
The design features a cosmic pattern which is appealing in its own way, however, be wary that this design may also cause sparks and embers to escape. This isn’t a huge safety issue, but it’s something you may want to bear in mind if you have small pets or children.
The Best Outdoor Fire Pit
If you are looking for a pit that will provide a good amount of outdoor heat and double up as a cooking facility, then this fire pit is ideal. The pit comes accompanied with a built-in firewood grate for better air and oxygen circulation, as well as a grill for easily cooking food over the fire.
While it won’t cook a full course meal, it certainly functions well for roasting marshmallows and other easily cooked items. As one of the best patio fire pits, it certainly makes a welcome addition to social garden events too.
The Landman fire pit has several design options and by far the most appealing, to me at least, is the dancing bears and paw designs.
The bears and paws are cut out on the side of the bowl replaced with a safety mesh so you can see the fire flicker and roar through the shapes of the magnificent beast.
The Best Fire pit Design for Heat
Even though this fire pit has a smaller diameter than others with circular designs it means it can fit snugly into a small patio area. If the area is partly enclosed by half walls, the projected heat would be retained and absorbed by the masonry making for a cosy and warm yard space.
Still, being smaller, this fire pit is slightly lighter than other options making a more portable wood burning fire pit. The full diameter safety ring makes it easier for you to carry and move it around.
A mesh spark guard is included which covers the top of the pit, protecting your friends, family and you from any wayward sparks that pop out of the fire.
A free 37″ fire poker is included which is a great length to stab and prod at the fire or move the wood around effectively whilst reducing drastically reducing your chances of coming into contact with the fire.
What Type Of Pit Is The Right Choice For You?
The exact fire pit or bowl you choose needs to be assessed on a personal basis, and you need to think of your own and your family’s needs.
For example, if you have a small garden or outdoor area a fire bowl or pot will probably be a better option than a larger, square, fire box style which is often at least 20-30 diameters.
Another factor is the type of fuel you want to use. The best fire pit options require wood logs or pellets and sometimes charcoal, which offers the natural crackle and warmth that many people are searching for.
However, these don’t offer the portability and convenience that propane and gas fuelled pits do. These are usually a box-style and equipped with an access point where you can easily replace the fuel tank.
As well as the lack of the idealistic crackles, propane doesn’t disperse heat as well as more solid fuels like logs and coal.
Gas Fire Pits Vs. Wood Burning Fire Pits
A dilemma for many first-time fire pit buyers is deciding whether to obtain a pit that utilizes gas such as propane, or a wood burning fire pit that utilizes firewood as the fuel source.
Similar to the decision between wood or pellet stoves, this isn’t a clear-cut decision, since there are various advantages and disadvantages for each type. Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference.
Pro’s And Con’s Of A Gas Fire Pit
A gas fire pit is perhaps the easiest to run and requires less labor than a wood fire pit. With a gas fire pit, you simply need to attach the gas valve to the propane tank and that’s about as much effort required.
You will notice when you need to refuel your fire pit and use a new tank as the flames will start to dwindle until eventually they completely die.
Pro’s And Con’s Of A Wood Burning Fire Pit
On the other hand, a fire pit that uses firewood will require more labor and maintenance, since firewood will need to be placed into the combustion space whenever required.
Since firewood produces waste in the form of embers and ash, you will need to regularly clean your fire pit. In certain areas, the wood itself can be more difficult to source than gas, so this is also something to bear in mind, although typically this isn’t really an issue in most regions.
Many people think that the extra labor and mess made by a wood burning fire pit is a price worth paying, for the natural crackle and ambiance created by a wood fuelled fire.
While others prefer less mess and a more convenient outdoor heating solution, whichever way you look at it, both methods are providing heat and ambiance; so the decision is largely a personal one.
Key Differences Between LPG, Propane And Natural Gas?
What Is LPG?
LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas, which is a combination of different hydrocarbons stored in a liquid form. The types of hydrocarbon gases used in LPG include butane and propane.
The LPG gas mixture is both colorless and odorless. These gases make an efficient fuel since they burn well in the presence of oxygen, for these reasons, they are commonly used for home cooking and heating.
The components of LPG gas vary depending on location. For example, certain states only use propane, while other locations use a combination of butane and propane.
What Is Natural Gas?
A natural gas is generally sourced from underground deposits and includes combustible, odorless gases such as methane. For safety reasons, a smelling agent is typically added in order for leaks to be easily detected, for example, sulphur, which gives off that familiar rotten egg smell.
The Key Difference
The major constituent of natural gas is methane. Natural gas is located in rock deposits or allied with other hydrocarbon lakes in coal deposits.
Methane has an incredibly good safety record and for this reason, is commonly used in home cooking appliances and heating systems. Methane is lighter than oxygen and in the case of a leak will quickly disperse.
Liquefied petroleum gas or LPG gas also termed propane or butane are combustible compounds of hydrocarbon gases. LPG gases are heavier than oxygen and so fall and concentrate in a specific area.
DIY Fire Pits
Instead of buying one, many think that they can create the best fire pit for themselves! Those who are handy with DIY and landscaping are easily able to do so and produce some beautiful looking and well designed fire pits for their friends and family to enjoy!
There are a few key considerations to think about when considering the best design of a fire pit, some being more obvious than others:
What are The Advantages of a DIY Fire Pit?
The main benefit of building your own DIY firepit is that you can design it how you want it to be.
It can be as large as you want, what shape you want, the color you want and you can decorate it in your own way. You have full control and can build it to compliment your yard aesthetically.
Also, in building your own fire pit, you can practise your DIY skills and feel a real sense of pride in what you have achieved.
It’s something that will impress the neighbours and your friends and will be a talking point when you have guests around. Especially if you have managed to create something artistic and unique.
Additionally, you can experiment! If you are feeling up to it, you can mess around with your own design and try and figure out what is the best fire pit design for heat output, adding chimneys and changing the height to direct the heat better towards the guests whilst directing the smoke away from them.
They can also be cheaper than ones bought from a store if you preferred for things to be kept simple. Masonry blocks, paving slabs and bricks are relatively cheap and it doesn’t take many to arrange a pretty but simple fire pit with little effort.
What are The Disadvantages of a DIY Fire Pit?
The main problem with building a DIY fire pit is that it can get stressful when the design you have chosen is not working out. You may not have the ability or the right materials to replicate a particular DIY fire pit design and this can lead to it never being finished.
Fire pits that are built into the yard are also stuck there, and if you happen to thinkin in the future that it would be a nice location for a shed or a green house that you really want or need, you may have to deconstruct the fire pit leading to more work in the future.
You might simply feel like rearranging your garden in the future and if you had, for example, a portable wood burning fire pit, you could move that to compliment your patio set wherever you decide to place them.
A DIY fire pit would have that ability and you would have to rearrange with the idea of keeping the fire pit where it is unless you were to deconstruct it.
Fire Pit Safety Advice
If you plan on using a fire pit in your garden it’s vital you understand the risks associated with them and to familiarise yourself with the correct safety procedures in order to help mitigate these potential dangers.
Choose An Appropriate Location
It may sound obvious but a fire pit is burning fuel and producing an intense amount of heat that should not be underestimated. Therefore, always ensure you keep a safe distance between your pit and other structures such as walls, fences and your home.
In addition, ensure you only ever use your pit on hard, inflammable surfaces such as the ground or stone surfaces, as flammable materials such as wood decking are of course likely to catch fire.
Be Wary Of Glowing Fragments & Smouldering Ashes
You will also want to consider the embers, ash, and sparks that can easily escape the fire. As a result, always ensure you use your spark cover when you are not cooking or adding more fuel, this extra precaution will ensure there are no nasty surprises or damaged property.
You may also want to consider a fireproof matt as an extra precaution.
The leftover debris including ash and embers can also be recycled by adding a little ash to your garden beds or backyard compost bin.
Ash contains a lot of useful nutrients for soil and plants so don’t worry about it causing any issues or harm to your plants and flowers as it actually benefits them!
Only the best fire pit products include these extra safety precautions for free with the product, so shop carefully, and you’ll come out with a cracking deal!
Key Fire Pit Safety Guidelines:
It goes without saying that you need to be cautious around a fire source, but it’s easy to forget the importance of safety. Never underestimate the importance of maintaining good safety protocols as it can literally take seconds for a fire accident to occur.
The following steps should be followed to keep you and your loved ones safe:
- Always keep the pit at a safe distance away from property and potentially flammable objects
- Always use a poker and other tools to add fuel or rearrange hot logs, coal, and ash
- Never breath in the smoke from the fire it could contain potentially toxic compounds that could irritate your airways
- Avoid loose or flammable clothes (nylon) as these can catch fire quickly. If you are the primary person tending to the fire opt for clothing that is tight fitting or cotton.
- Have a pair of fireplace tongs handy to feed wood into the fire safely!
- Ensure there is a fire extinguisher available near by!
The Best Fire Pit in Summary
When shopping for the best fire pit you have a lot to consider. Firstly you will want to think about portability, do you intend on moving it with ease? If so, consider buying a smaller bowl design that uses propane or gas.
Next is style, which is entirely down to personal taste. Finally, you will want to think about function, do you simply want a warm, crackling fire to light up your garden and keep you warm?
Then a normal pit is great, however, if you want to cook, consider a pit that comes with extras such as a grill.
About the Author
Dave Miller is a HVAC technician with over 10 years in the industry. Dave created HeatTalk with the ambition for it to become a resource for individuals looking for answers, whether they be a layman, student or a professional.