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Our Top Choice...
Campfires are one of the great unifying features among all cultures on the planet. Sitting around, sharing stories and a hot meal, warding away the chill of winter, it’s a touchstone experience that most people have shared.
It’s harder and harder to get that experience though, with urbanization and a drier environment in many places. That’s where fire pits come in, providing a safe, available alternative to a roaring flame that provides the comfort without the danger of rampant wildfires. We’re going to go over a lot of great options today (and a few that act as sort of an example of what not to do) as well as how to choose one for yourself.
This is a very tasteful looking firepit with a lot to recommend it. The wicker analogue is made of a durable high density polyethylene (HDPE) with a UV resistant treatment in the nice coffee colored paint to keep it safe from fading or cracking in the sun for years to come.
The frame itself is durable but lightweight, made of a sturdy powder coated aluminum. Aluminum is not usually my ideal choice for outdoor construction, but aluminum is an excellent heat conductor and will help this fire pit radiate heat just a little better, while making it resistant to warping.
It run son propane gas, with an easy to turn knob sparking it up, and it’s easy to light. The black tempered glass tabletop is heat resistant and smooth without being slippery, and the dark coloring nicely compliments the “arctic ice” glass rocks set into the brazier portion.
All in all this is the best fire pit I could find, with excellent performance, easy to use, a great price, and a very nice understated appearance that goes well with almost any patio setup.
This is a very nice looking wood fire pit from Landmann. It’s made of bronze, and incredibly conductive material, which makes it great material for a fire pit. The pit is spacious (23 inches square around the edges and 10 inches deep) and holds a lot of wood, easily stacked neatly in whatever arrangement you want.
The air flow is excellent, being able to vent and receive air from every direction, while the mesh protects the fire from gusts and you from sparks popping off of it.
The lid is nicely arranged and easy to remove with the hook of your poker and returns just as easily, which is more than I can say for some of these lids that sway too much, being made of either flimsier materials or having the wrong kind of ring (a standard handle shape slides too much).
It sits at a comfortable height, and looks nice from every angle, with very good welds and hidden or decorative rivets. When not in use as a fire pit (during the summer months, for example) I could still see it being a nice decorative piece on my patio or porch, and used as light storage.
It’s incredibly lightweight for the size and easy to move. The only real drawback is the price, which is a bit high, but well worth what you’re getting.
This is another good propane powered model from Outland. A smaller one this time, it still provides a lot of high quality performance. It can be hard to note, but it has little flame shaped holes cut out for ventilation, giving it very good circulation for the flames and a little heat venting.
The volcanic rocks are a nice looking touch and add a great flickering effect to the flames. Purely cosmetic, but it adds to the cozy atmosphere.
The fire itself is powered by propane and controlled by an easy to use knob (though still needs lighting of the pilot light).
It puts out a solid 58, 000 BTUh, quite a lot of heat in a small package and will keep you warm on cold nights pretty much no matter where you are.
As another bright side, unlike many wood fire pits this model is CSA approved for use during most campfire bans, so no need to cancel your camping trip during those more dry, dangerous months.
Overall this is a quite excellent propane powered campfire pit for a very reasonable price.
This is an interesting one. It goes for size above all, with an enormous 30 inch diameter rig and 16 inch height, it’s made for whole extended families and gatherings to warm up around at once.
The flame it produces is just as enormous as the ring itself, being fed by the excellent design of the chamber itself. It’s double walled for insulation, and has a unique bottom focused airflow design which sucks cold air through the vents in the bottom to feed the flame without it being blown crossways and dimming.
If your focus is finding the biggest fire you can possibly muster in a fire pit, this is your go to. Its construction is solid double walled 304 stainless steel and it’ll last you a lifetime if you take care of it, and every facet of its design is spent cranking that fire higher and higher.
If you want a simple, but effective fire pit this is a great option. It is a nicely spacious (12.5 inches deep by 24 inches wide) steel bowl with a great design.
The mesh covering protects you from sparks, and the decorative cutouts are also meshed over to catch sparks and are arranged to increase air flow, keeping the fire smoldering for long periods of time without suffocating it.
It sits at a comfortable distance off the ground and the cutouts will also help it radiate heat, while the steel frame retains heat for a long time after the fire stops burning, keeping those nice waves of heat radiating out for hours at a time.
It’s easy to clean and use, and will last you a long time.
This is a fun one, aesthetically. It come sin 4 distinct designs, all in the same brazier style, but different takes on it.
It can get away with this as a propane model (no sparks to worry about, so no mesh needed), so you can get this excellent appearance without the worry of starting a fire.
It ignites easily, being the only propane model I’ve seen that actually has electronic (pulse) ignition built in instead of needing to manually light the pilot. It stores well, with the propane tank going directly inside the body so you don’t have an ugly hose hanging around ruining the aesthetic.
40, 000 BTUh isn’t the greatest, but this is clearly mean to be more of a decorative piece, not a primary heat source, so we can give it a pass. In a pinch it will do, but is clearly mean for lounging around in warmer climates that might get a bit chilly at best.
The price isn’t too bad either, being about $100 cheaper than our winner, so you won’t find yourself breaking the back buying this one. A great pick for a back yard with a pool or garden, especially if you want something vaguely Greek themed.
“Basic” is certainly the right word to use to describe this one. There’s nothing overwhelmingly wrong with it, but nothing really to recommend it either.
It’s quite cheap, but not so much more so than other models that I can really recommend it as a budget option. The size is nice, being 23.5 inches across and around 15 inches deep, giving you plenty of room for wood to burn without crowding it and ensuring the ash will smother the fire prematurely.
Ventilation is good, with quite a lot of holes evenly spaced around the fire pit, and a good protective mesh around the exterior that protects you from sparks.
The main issue with this fire pit is a distinct feeling of cheapness. The rivets and welds are clearly visible and the metal is thing and flimsy feeling. It makes the unit satisfyingly lightweight for transport (around 30 lbs) but it would also make me wary of moving it around too much for fear of it bending.
It’s hard to recommend this one over a similar model like the Landmann fire pit above, as the quality is severely lacking compared to most similarly constructed fire pits around.
This fire pit is almost identical in every respect to the other Landmann fire pit near the top of the list, save that it is a reddish orange color.
It is the same dimensions (12.5 inches deep and 23.5 inches in diameter) that makes it perfect for building good sized fires in a little package. It’s fairly lightweight and easy to move around, with a good handle on it. It sits at a good height, and has a great mesh to protect you from popping sparks, with the moon and stars cutouts still acting like quite good air flow increasing vents.
…So why does this model cost twice as much? As near as I can tell, it is entirely for the privilege of having the reddish paint instead of black, because it’s not actually MADE of Georgia clay.
On paper this one looks pretty good. It has a nice spacious interior (though not much depth, which is annoying to work with) and decent air flow.
The mesh is easy to remove and replace, with great spark protection while still letting you see the fire.
The table itself looks nice, and actually works as a table. Great for sitting around the fire drinking cocoa or hot toddies or having a small meal.
The main rub is the construction of this model. It’s pretty flimsy overall, with weak screws and thin metal, as you’d expects from something you nee to put together yourself.
This in itself I wouldn’t mind overly much if it was a low price; I’ve gladly used my fair share of cheap furniture like this over the years and been happy with it for what it is. But the price is exorbitant for what it offers, more than the far superior Outland Firebowl and Landmann Bronze models I would vastly prefer at a cheaper price.
I often talk about the good and the bad when reviewing products, but I rarely have to talk about the ugly. This is an exception.
Let’s get the good out of the way first. This fire pit looks gorgeous in all 3 of its designs. The fire pit is huge, and holds logs up to 21.5 inches long comfortably, and lets you stack them high with its spacious interior. This produces a long lasting, strong burning flame with a nice mesh overhead for air flow and protection from sparks.
It even has a good price. A little too good for a fire pit of this type.
As you might expect, this results in a bit of a quality control problem. Normally quality control issues result in something like a motor burning out, or parts repeatedly being dented by poor shipping. These things are annoying and enough to not recommend the product, but in the grand scheme are just something to mention and move on.
This product though is one of the most dangerous I’ve seen. It explodes. No moving parts, no mechanical failure, just shoddily produced bricks full of air pockets, causing explosions of shrapnel as reported by a surprising number of buyers.
I could overlook one; accidents happen, but this is multiple repeated buyers saying their fire pit has cracked, exploded, or otherwise suffered catastrophic failure. That is inexcusable. Avoid at all costs.
There are a lot of good options here for both kinds of pit. The Landmann Bronze model and Yukon Stove are hands down the best wood fired models for their respective price ranges, while the Outland models steal the show for propane fire pits.
The same four are the overall best options for home centerpiece options (Outland Living Series 401 and Yukon Stove) and camping (Outland Firebowl and Landmann Bronze), as all of them work the best for their respective purposes and types, and run around the same price range as each other based on size and use.
Some of the others are okay, but the prices are so similar you may as well shell out for the best.
Whatever you choose, make sure to stay far, far away from the Sun Joe model; that way the shrapnel won’t hit you.
How To Pick The Best Outdoor Firepits
Fire pits come in two basic types, and the criteria for choosing them are almost completely different between the two. Let’s start with wood fire pits.
Wood fire fire pits are pretty simple. You really only need to look at the overall construction of the pit itself, making special note of the materials used, the size of the pit itself, and the basic design,
The size needed is going to vary based on your tastes, but generally you want it to be at least 21 inches wide (as that’s about what most logs are going to be) and maybe 10 inches deep (just so you have plenty of space.
The pit should generally be made of either a heavily insulated or heavily conductive material. An insulated pit will create a long burning, ultra hot flame for people to huddle around, which is great for kind of setting and forgetting a fire. The more conductive materials will radiate heat better and keep the air and people sitting around it warmer on average, but the fire will burn out much faster as a result.
Typically insulated materials include steel and cast iron, while conductive materials are aluminum and bronze.
The design can vary from many different shapes, but all should include good ventilation. Fires feed on oxygen, and air flow is important to the longevity and heat of a fire. You don’t want to smother it.
All wood fire pits should come with a mesh covering to reduce sparks, unless they have some other way of preventing sparking (like keeping the wood hidden inside a larger body, as one of the models on this list does).
Propane pits are different. You want a model that looks good, while having high performance and a large heat output more than anything else. For a propane fire pit, shape and overall design don’t really matter all that much.
These are typically going to be decorative items for your kitchen outside, centerpieces for your patio, deck, back yard seating area, or whatever you have. The few that aren’t are typically designed to be used on dangerous campsites during the dry season when there would normally be a ban on campfires; propane fires produce no smoke or sparks.
Heat output is measured in BTUh (British Thermal Units per hour), and should be a minimum of 35, 000 BTUh. Most of the heat is going to be leeching into the air after all, unlike a grill (which is enclosed and insulated), so the output needs to be much higher.
Both types of grills are going to be around the same price range based on sized; larger models cost $300 and up, while smaller ones will run you around $100 on average. This is consistent whether you’re talking about propane or wood fired pits, as most of the cost comes from the materials, not the internal components of propane using fire pits.
Therefore price wise it is mostly a matter of preference, though keep in mind propane centerpieces do tend to BE bigger.
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