The 10 Best Fire Pits
This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Maybe you want to generate some warmth on those chilly summer nights, or perhaps you're just looking to create an attractive focal point on your patio or deck for parties. Either way, one of these beautiful fit pits should do the job. We've included models that burn wood or work off propane and butane canisters, as well as a few that rank as stunning pieces of art with or without the flames. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 07, 2021:
Most of our choices from last year still seemed like solid selections, but we did notice that the Best Choice Products Extruded wasn’t available in time for this update to be published, so we decided on removing it. We also eliminated the CobraCo Copper SH101 for similar reasons, but we felt like our new addition – the Sunnydaze Outdoor — was a nice alternative for users who are already settled on the copper aesthetic. We liked that this pit was equipped with drainage holes, unlike some other bowl-style offerings – like the Fire Sense Roman – that are prone to holding water.
The Fireside Outdoor Pop-Up joined our list for the first time, and stands out on this page as the most portable option we ranked. While other models – like the Outland Premium, for example – sport slight sizes that might make them a practical choice for weekend adventures, the Outdoor Pop-Up has a completely collapsible design that folds right up and fits into a convenient zippered bag with a shoulder strap. When the party’s over, it only takes the unit 90 seconds to cool down before you can safely pack it up, and it’s priced pretty reasonably, too.
We aimed to include a healthy mix of options on this generalized list, but if you already have a pretty solid idea of what style of pit you’re looking for, then you might be better off hopping over to one of our specialized sets of rankings. We cover a range of related categories, like stone fire pits, metal fire pit rings and fire pit tables.
March 20, 2020:
A quick word on safety from someone who once carelessly burned his toe by keeping his bare feet too close to the flame in his fire pit: These things can be dangerous. Be extremely cognisant of everything from the height of the flame and the quantity of wood in the bowl to the furniture, pets, and kids that can come within striking distance of it. Use caution, and never leave a burning pit unattended.
You also won't want to buy a pit that suffers from any kind of durability issues, either for safety or aesthetic reasons. The latter reason is why we sent the Blue Rhino Endless Summer packing. We really liked its tiled mosaic design, but unfortunately those tiles had a tendency to break or to break off way too often, and after a short while the pit looked more like it was salvaged from an old ruin that anything else.
In its place, we added the Outland Living Series 401, which is about as elegant as you can get, with glass rocks and a mirror finish on its top surface to provide additional light from the flickering flame. Its rectangular shape is also an added bonus if you have any outdoor furniture fit for two or more, as its length can run parallel to that seating arrangement.
Iron Embers This company has a catalogue of 22 designs to choose from. Their pits are built with 1/4-inch steel, come backed by a 10-year warranty, and can even be customized with your company logo. ironembers.com
Arterflame If you're the kind of consumer who favors American-made wares made with American materials, then this company's for you. Their modern designs will look great with contemporary landscaping. arteflame.com
Why Add A Fire Pit To Your Outdoor Space?
Whatever is the root of it, adding fire to a space sets a different tone than any other piece of furniture or entertainment you could imagine.
There’s something undeniably hypnotic about a fire. If you’ve ever found yourself staring into a campfire and losing yourself in a kind of trance, then you know what I’m talking about. And it seems like it’s more than just the movement of the flames, more than just that unpredictable lapping motion of the tips against the night air that draws our minds into another mold of being.
Philosophical alchemists would argue that the same thing that draws us toward that level of introspection when staring into the flames is present anywhere there is a meeting between two of the great elements, and that this effect is greater when those two elements meet more rarely than another two. For example, earth and air are in contact with one another more or less anywhere you look, so their meeting point doesn’t hold quite the same spiritual potential as that of fire and air. The beach presents a similar space, where a massive amount of water meets a massive amount of earth, and it does so with such force and drama.
Whatever is the root of it, adding fire to a space sets a different tone than any other piece of furniture or entertainment you could imagine. When people sit around a fire, they seem to become less guarded and more connected with the people around them.
The problem with fire, of course, is its destructive potential. A fireplace in the home presents a relatively contained beast, with a more festive air than that of the outdoor blaze. And building a campfire in the backyard isn’t particularly safe, nor is it practical. But a fire pit allows you to construct a fire that is open on all sides and allows you and the people closest to you to gather around it and experience it in a safe and natural way.
If you live in a climate that gets chilly at night for several months out of the year, you can also use your fire pit to extend the amount of time you get to enjoy your curated outdoor space. You may have put a lot of work into creating the perfect backyard patio area, so it’s understandable that you would want to enjoy it as many nights as possible. A fire pit allows you to keep warm even as the air around you acquires the telltale bite of winter.
Choosing The Best Fire Pit For You
Choosing a fire pit is primarily an aesthetic decision, one that will be influenced by your current decor or the decor to which you aspire more than any other factor. The majority of the features that differentiate one fire pit from the next are rooted in aesthetics. However, there are a few features worth examining that may help narrow down your selection from those that appeal to you visually to the one model that’s perfect for your yard or patio.
That can allow your unit to pull some serious double duty during summer barbecue season.
Quite possibly the most important of these practical differences is what exactly a given fire pit is intended to burn. The most traditional material is wood, but this is also the material that costs the most in the long run and is probably the most difficult to work with. Other fire pits are designed to connect to gas lines or extension cords, allowing them to burn controlled fires or heat up lava rocks respectively. Still, other models run on propane or similar standalone gas tanks that you can refill and replace with relative ease.
After that, you might want to look into whether or not the pit you have your eye on boasts any additional versatility. Some models are made to burn a nice, cozy fire and that’s about it. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if your primary intention is to enjoy a good blaze. Other models, however, can harness that fire with a simple grate attachment that converts your fire pit into a grill. That can allow your unit to pull some serious double duty during summer barbecue season. Other models feature sturdy covers for the fire burning area that convert the entire pit into a kind of table, while still others have pits that are equally capable of hosting ice as they are burning logs, making them suitable coolers during a hot pool party.
Adding To Your Outdoor Ambiance
Once you’ve decided on the best fire pit for your space, you’re going to want to make sure that the area around it complements it as much as possible. To that end, there are a few additional purchases you can make to increase the comfort and aesthetic of your yard.
That said, some materials are better around the fire pit than others.
There’s a really good chance that you’re going to spend a lot of time sitting around your new fire pit, so you want to make sure that you invest in high-quality chairs to place around it. Any set of outdoor furniture designed to withstand the rigors of weather and intense UV radiation should be able to sit comfortably within a close distance to a roaring fire and still maintain its integrity. That said, some materials are better around the fire pit than others. Some metal furniture, for example, may get a little too hot if you like to sit right on top of the fire. Likewise, wicker or other flammable wooden furniture may pose a bit of a hazard, especially if you like to build your fire beyond the recommended size.
To really set your outdoor enjoyment apart, you need to work on more than just one sense. A little music will go along way toward creating the perfect backyard space, and there are a number of outdoor speaker systems that can easily take you there. Some of them even camouflage themselves as garden rocks, creating the illusion that the music is coming from nowhere.
Finally, when enjoying the fire pit with others, try to employ the tactics of a good host. That means listening intently, doing your best to anticipate the needs of others, and inquiring genuinely about others while keeping as little of the attention for yourself as possible. And if it’s true that time around the fire makes people a little more honest, you may find out some fun and exciting secrets.