Last Updated on August 6, 2020
Our Top Choice...
For many people, their backyard is a sanctuary. Whether it’s a carefully cultivated garden of beauty, untamed wilderness, a fenced in oasis in the suburbs, or anything in between, there’s something that feels magical about having a part of your home that nobody else will normally see or enter.
In a way, it can be a home aside from your home, and much like indoors, but worse, the changing of the seasons and waning of the day results in two immutable truths: it gets cold and dark outside at night.
Building a fire is the traditional way to stave off the dark and chill, but sometimes you just want something easy and quick. Enter the outdoor gas fireplace, most of which can be fired up with the flick of a button and provide a faint light and small circle of warmth against the chill.
So why don’t we take a look at some of these great options, and what, exactly, makes them so great.
Here is the list of the best outdoor gas fireplaces to buy
- American Fyre Designs Mariposa 63 Inch Outdoor Gas Fireplace
- American Fyre Designs Cordova 110 inch Outdoor Natural Gas Fireplace
- Napoleon Riverside Clean Face 47 inch Outdoor Built In Propane Gas Fireplace
- Cal Flame Stucco and Tile Outdoor Gas Fireplace
- Empire Comfort Systems Carol Rose Outdoor See Through Linear Fireplace
- Napoleon Galaxy See Thru 51 inch Built In Outdoor Gas Fireplace
- American Fyre Designs Manhattan 59 inch Outdoor Natural Gas Fireplace
- The Outdoor Great Room Company 63 inch Stone Arch Natural Gas Outdoor Fireplace
- Lovinflame Freestanding Vent Free Outdoor Gas Fireplace with Ethanol Free Fuel
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
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Beautiful spanish inspired design
Great ceramic logs
Top notch performance and heat output
Excellent price for the quality
Aesthetically versatile in many regions of the world, but completely incompatible with other sensibilities
- Materials: fiberglass reinforced concrete (overall), steel (burner).
- Type: freestanding
- BTU Range: 75, 000 to 89, 999 BTUh
- Dimensions: 63” x 34” x 66”
- Total weight: 900 lbs.
This is one of the best looking gas fireplaces here, by a wide margin. As a freestanding option it’s easy to set up and put anywhere you need to, and looks nice with a lot of design aesthetics out there, so long as your tastes trend toward lighter colorings of adobe, sandstone, or similar building materials (or paints).
This is the perfect fireplace to put around your in-ground pool as an example. The ceramic logs inside are likewise aesthetically pleasing, and are some of the best on the list.
In terms of performance it also blows most of this list out of the water, with an excellent BTU range, producing a large and striking flame that produces a lot of heat. This is a great fireplace for colder climates, and can keep you warm any time of year, for at least a while.
It’s hard to do better than this one. Even the price is good; though a little higher than the average it provides a lot more heat output for the money. The only complaint I’d struggle to come up with is that it might be less than ideal for some types of backyard setups; more rustic looking areas with a lot of wild growing plants or wood construction might not play nice with the look of this fireplace.
Aesthetically superior to our winner; takes what makes that model great and adds onto it
Great realistic ceramic logs
Versatile in terms of looks
Ludicrously expensive given the performance
- Materials: fiberglass reinforced concrete (overall), steel (burner)
- Type: freestanding
- BTU Range: 60, 000 to 74, 999 BTUh
- Dimensions: 110” x 43” x 95”
- Total weight: 1700 lbs.
This one was so close to being the winner. In many regards, it’s everything I liked about the Mariposa, but more.
It’s bigger, and prettier, for one thing. It keeps the same Spanish inspired aesthetic as the Mariposa, that fits in so well in a lot of places (especially around where I live), and takes it a step further by giving a proper fireplace base that can be used as seating in a pinch, or for various other purposes.
The logs are even nicer than the Mariposa, and look striking and realistic when the flames are coming up through them.
However, its shortcomings are in its performance, which is more than the average but less than our winner, and its price, which is…ludicrous, to be frank. The absolute size of this freestanding fireplace has made it cost fully twice as much as the Mariposa, and while I can’t say it’s not worth it in many ways, it’s still quite a steep price increase for a fireplace that looks great, but doesn’t keep you nearly as warm.
Ultimately it still snags the number 2 spot for sheer aesthetic value (which is a huge part of what we’re looking for, you’ll recall), but for the price it could be a bit more powerful.
Simple look fits well with most decorative sensibilities, though this is clearly a piece to build around
Excellent quality materials
Beautiful ceramic logs look very realistic
Great heat output and realistic looking flame
High price even by outdoor gas fireplace standards.
Lacks some of the quality of life extras some of these fireplaces provide
- Materials: stainless steel (main fireplace), ceramic (logs)
- Type: built in
- BTU Range: 60, 000 to 74, 000
- Dimensions: 46.688” x 23” x 35.625”
While a little smaller than the average outdoor gas fireplace, everything else about this fireplace is a cut above the rest of the competition.
In terms of looks it’s simple, but striking steel, extremely durable and able to weather the elements quite well. The main fireplace portion is a high quality steel that compliments the flames inside well, reflecting them nicely back at you when you sit down in front of it.
It’s a little more powerful than most of these fireplaces as well, with 65, 000 BTUh of heat. Not a ton more, but it produces a slightly warmer and more impressive looking flame, all the more so because it’s contained in a single small fireplace area rather than spread out across a lengthy see through fireplace, as most of these tend toward in terms of design.
The ceramic logs are quite well made, and look very realistic, complimenting the fire excellently. If it weren’t for the price (prodigious even by the standards of this list) I’d say snap it up right now, but as-is it might be worth more consideration.
Small, cozy real fireplace look
Good quality materials
Simplistic but elegant design
As expensive as larger and arguably better models
- Materials: tile and stucco (fireplace backing and base), fiberglass (fire box), steel (frame)
- Type: freestanding
- Heat output: 55, 000 BTUh
- Dimensions: 40” x 72” x 78”
- Total weight: 1100 lbs.
This is a downright cute little fireplace, significantly smaller than the average for this list, but with a lot of style to it.
In a lot of ways it’s simple, but simplicity is often underrated. Its two primary shades of gray complement each other very nicely, and the tiny chimney-like design provides a very cozy look to any outdoor space.
Performance-wise it’s no real slouch either, with 55, 000 BTUh of heat output, it’s great for warming up chilly days, though will struggle in any actual cold weather. The logs that come with it are likewise not the best I’ve seen, but are serviceable, and look nice in the fire (though are far from looking real, like some higher end options).
All in all, if all you need is something pretty and small that gets the job done, this is a good one to go with. I just wish it were a bit cheaper; it’s about the same price as most of the other units here.
Looks quite nice in most settings
Fairly low price for one of these options
Great for warmer climates and intimate gatherings
Doesn’t come with a lot of the basic accoutrements most of these options do
Lower than optimal heat output and flame size
- Heat output: 55, 000 BTUh
- Type: built in
- Dimensions: 22.31” x 51.75” x 24.31”
- Total weight: 198 lbs.
This is a nice budget gas fireplace. In terms of looks, it fits in well with most outdoor decorative sensibilities; equally at home in a garden yard or built up back porch. It’s a very slimline frame that remains unobtrusive in most stone settings you might decide to put it in.
The performance is where this option suffers compared to the more expensive similar models here, with only 55, 000 BTUh as its max flame height and heat output. Not only does this provide a smaller, less impressive flame than some options compared to the length, like many of the other mid-range options here it makes this more of a “summer fireplace”. It might be good for fairly chilly evenings in some seasons, but can’t stand up to truly cold weather.
Still, if that’s all you’re looking for you can do a lot worse. If you live in a warmer climate and just want something to look like a knife when you’re holding small get together, this is perfect.
Sleek and modern design
Sturdy stainless steel construction
Led lights provide a customizable color pattern for your fire
Lower than average price for the quality
Inelegant look compared to some here may not fit in with certain decorative patterns
- Materials: 304 stainless steel (overall construction), topaz crystalline (ember bed)
- Type: built in
- Max heat output: 55, 000 BTUh
- BTU Range: 30, 000 to 44, 999
- Dimensions: 50.5” x 24” x 24.5”
A more modern design this time, with a nice stainless steel look. While it doesn’t look like much when unlit, the fire plays nicely on the burnished steel surface, lighting it up merrily.
In addition to the standard orange glow, LED lights set into the high quality topaz crystalline ember bed can create a variety of other colors that shift the view available to you, changing to any color on the RGB spectrum, including white.
The fireplace is easy to use, with electronic controls, always welcome in a fireplace like this. It’s also safer than other options might be; if the flame goes out, the gas automatically shuts off with it. This saves you quite a bit of money in gas, and also prevents any unfortunate mishaps with the flames.
In terms of overall quality for the price, this is one of the best around, with a fairly unremarkable 55, 000 BTUh maximum output and otherwise standard performance and flame size for a fireplace of this length, but a significantly lower than average price point than our winner.
Small and compact frame
Looks quite nice, though simplistic
Sturdy concrete construction
Fairly low performance
Extremely high price even by the standards of these fireplaces
- Materials: concrete (total)
- Type: freestanding
- BTU Range: 30, 000 to 44, 999 BTUh
- Dimensions: 59” x 31” x 42”
- Total weight: 600 lbs.
This is a long, but overall fairly small and intimate fireplace. While most here are steel fireboxes designed to be set into a larger fireplace stone of your design, or come with their own stone, stucco, or other durable material frame, this one is a complete concrete fireplace, designed to be a singular unit.
This has advantages and disadvantages. The trim profile means it doesn’t take up as much space, allowing for a fairly unobtrusive fireplace that doesn’t cover half your backyard.
In terms of performance, you get quite a bit less than other fireplaces on this list, which is the problem. In terms of price, manhattan fireplace absolutely dwarfs what most of these cost, including our winner, while not providing much to warrant it in terms of performance or aesthetics. It looks fine and works well enough, but is hardly exceptional enough to justify a price tag nearly double what some similar models cost.
Very nice rustic look fits well in natural surroundings
Great performance for the size
Good price for the quality
Strong concrete construction is the perfect material for a fireplace like this
Look is very good in ideal surroundings, but clashes with a lot of decorative options
- Materials: concrete (total)
- Type: freestanding
- BTU Range: 45, 000 to 59, 999 BTUh
- Dimensions: 62.75” x 22” x 49.5”
- Total weight: 475 lbs.
This is a very nice little freestanding fireplace. It looks great, with a quite rustic design that complements a lot of outdoor settings, particularly more natural looking back yards rather than the usual cultivated look.
In terms of performance it falls a little bit lower than the average (a max of 52, 000 BTUh) but for such a small fireplace it’s perfectly fine, creating a nice flame that plays nicely with the included fire glass (though would likely look better when replacing the glass with a nice lava rock, ceramic logs, or some other duller looking material that doesn’t look quite so artificial.
Of course, the well defined look of Stone Arch fireplace is also one of its biggest weaknesses. It looks quite out of place in a large variety of different decorative styles, so its usefulness could be considered limited. But if it fits where you live, then it’s one of my favorites.
Relatively lightweight and portable
Compact and easy to fit anywhere with space constraints
Runs on individual fuel units for easy use with no prior setup
Extremely cheap compared to other fireplaces
Less visually impressive and overall lower performance than full sized outdoor gas fireplaces
- Materials: steel (frame and burner), glass (wind break)
- Type: portable freestanding
- BTU Range: 0 to 14, 999 BTUh
- Dimensions: 23.82” x 11.62” x 11.72”
- Total weight: 44 lbs.
This is an interesting little fireplace, sort of bridging the gap between an outdoor gas fireplace and an outdoor gas fire PIT.
In terms of functionality, it more resembles the latter than the former, with small units of fuel (an ethanol free fuel made by the same company that manufactures the fireplace) that burn for about two hours apiece and provide a…decent enough flame.
Overall this Lovinflame fireplace is a pretty weak, but on the bright side, it comes in at somewhere on the order of a sixth of the price of the next cheapest option here, so you get what you pay for.
If you just want something lightweight and compact you can set on your back porch, especially if you don’t have a ton of space to work with, this is a great option.
This list is primarily rooted in subjective factors. While there is an element of objective truth to suss out (the heat output and size of the flames that each fireplace provides, for one), it ultimately comes down to how nice the fireplace looks.
To that end, the Mariposa and Cordova remain my favorites. However, I tried to pick a wide variety of fireplaces that fit an equally wide variety of aesthetic designs and which could give a wide range of options to anyone, no matter what their back yard looks like. There should be something here for just about everyone.
How to Pick the Right Outdoor Gas Fireplaces for You
The first thing you need to understand about outdoor gas fireplaces is that choosing an objective best is impossible. This is for the simple reason that a good part of what makes an outdoor gas fireplace good in the first place is what it LOOKS like.
These fireplaces are decorative pieces first and foremost, with their use as a warmth and light generator a close second, but secondary nonetheless. If you just wanted something that heats and lights up your backyard, you could buy a lamp and a portable heater and be just as happy.
So, the most important thing to keep in mind is whether you like what it looks like, and whether it fits with the decorative sensibilities of the rest of your yard.
Not to give spoilers, but as an example our winner is a nice, light colored and Spanish inspired fireplace. It fits in well with a lot of similarly light colored abodes, as well as most gardens. However, if your back yard is primarily characterized by, say, its deep chestnut coloring…it’s going to clash. Always keep that in mind when buying.
In terms of objective measures: the warmth of the fire. This will be measured primarily by the fireplace’s BTUh (British Thermal Units per hour) output. On average, you get about 50, 000 BTUh out of your standard fireplace. Not bad, but not great either, especially in colder climates. This will chase out a chill, but any truly cold weather will seep through, especially if you’re not practically curled up inside the fireplace.
To that end, look for a fireplace with a higher than average BTU output. As well, it’s worth looking for something that provides proper insulation from the wind for the fire. This will not only ensure the fire stands up straight and strong, and looks much nicer, but it will help direct the heat outward, toward the people sitting in front of it.
Other than that, it’s all down to what you’re willing to pay. For the most part you’re paying for looks, and on average should expect to pay within the ballpark range of $4000. Anything less than that is a pretty sweet deal for a good outdoor gas fireplace, and any more than that should not be surprising to you; there are some quite good fireplaces that cost well more than double that.
Ultimately, it comes down to your budget and aesthetic sensibilities. Matchinga fireplace to what already exists in your backyard is the hard part, so you should be prepared to shell out for whatever looks the best, though don’t let that stop you from searching for a better deal.