There’s something inexplicably alluring about a fire pit. While it can be hard to put a finger on why we’re drawn to it—is it the crackling, the smell, the s’mores, the glow—there’s no doubt a fire pit is the backbone of an inviting outdoor living space that keeps friends and family toasty. Upgrading to one of the best fire pits makes more sense than ever. Entertaining outside is the safest way to socialize as the pandemic enters a cooler seasons, because the large volume of air outside, combined with social distancing, is your best defense against spreading coronavirus. The longer you’re outside, the safer you are and the more people you can hang with. And to stay outside comfortably, you’ll need a toasty fire. But visit the outdoor section of a home center or hardware store and it can be overwhelming to find the right fire pit.
Fire pits are generally categorized by the fuel they burn. Wood-burning fire pits can crank out a lot of heat, and when they’re made out of chunky masonry, they become a centerpiece of the yard. Fire pits require some skill to get them started, the most attention while using, and can sometimes create smoke, which can make sitting nearby uncomfortable.
Gas fire pits burn either natural gas or liquid propane—like your grill—using a burner covered by decorative stones, glass, or faux-wood logs. Starting these requires little more than pressing an ignitor button, then turning a knob that controls the height of the flame (though they’re generally smaller and the flames aren’t as vigorous as burning wood.) You’ll need a licensed plumber to run lines for natural gas to a fire pit.
More for ambiance than heat output, fire pits that burn isopropyl alcohol-based canisters last for a few hours, but not with enough BTUs to be a primary heat source on cool nights. Often modern and sleek, these look great on tables scattered around a yard and are easy to light and use, but they lack the size and the heat to gather around or toast marshmallows.
Check out the 6 best fire pits that’ll keep you warm this season.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Best Portable Fire Pit
Solo Stove Bonfire
Once you start using a fire pit, it becomes the kind of element you’ll want to bring to any gathering—like a killer wireless speaker or a sixer of a favorite craft brew. The Solo Stove Bonfire’s 14 x 19 ½-inch size means you can toss it into a trunk or backseat to bring the heat to a buddy’s house, the beach, campsite, or on an RV trip. The 304 stainless steel build is maintenance-free—unlike flimsy painted metal versions—with a crisp, modern design. But there’s a reason the Bonfire was in the Men’s Health Outdoor Awards: it punches above its scan 20 pounds weight with a smart design that burns 17-inch long logs more completely, efficiently, and with less smoke.
Best for Smokeless Wood Fires
The knock against wood fires is they can—for anyone sitting downwind—be too smokey for comfort. The hack? Smart engineering. The BioLite FirePit has a fan that pulls air in, forcing it through 51 jets, in the shape of a burner, into the burn chamber. That helps the logs burn better and give off less smoke so there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The 10,400 mAh pack that powers the fan is rechargeable via USB (or a solar panel) and has enough juice to keep a fire going for 24 hours. While the BioLite burns wood, you can control it like a gas-powered flame: The companion app controls the fan’s intensity. Turn it up for max flame or way down to maximize burn time. The mesh front gives you a front-row seat to the fire and a grate on top works like a hibachi grill that can also accommodate coals—meaning you can go way beyond s’mores here.
Best for Car Camping
Primus Kamoto Open Fire Pit
The smaller version of this pit weighs less than 14 pounds, though it will burn sizable logs at camp. The simple folding design sets up faster than any pit you could build in the wild, and at 15 inches tall, it feels intimate. The ashtray makes it easy to dispose of remnants when you’re done, so you leave less of a footprint. The mesh top adds the ability to cook burgers or heat a pot of water for pour-over coffee, but Primus also offers a large steel pan that can turn the fire into a giant skillet.
Best Tabletop Fire Pit
Anywhere Fireplace Southampton Teak Tabletop Fireplace
Blurring the lines between a tiki torch and wood burning pits are gel fuel fire pits that burn alcohol-based gels. It’s a similar technology to the cans caterers use to keep food warm. The fuel comes in canisters that you nestle inside a decorative pit, then light. The Southampton Teak torch blends sleek, polished stainless steel with warm teak in a modern shape that feels right at home on outdoor furniture, from a coffee to end tables. At 14-inches tall the design ensures the flames are at eye level, and while the heat from the canister (which lasts about 2 ½ hours) won’t generate a lot of heat, it also burns clean with no smoke and no odor so you can sit closer to them.
Best for Big Wood Fires
Pavestone Rumblestone Round Fire Pit No. 1
If you want serious bragging rights, roll up your sleeves and build your fire pit—no masonry skill required. This Pavestone kit comes with 72 concrete pavers you assemble like a giant puzzle, holding it all together with construction adhesive from a caulk gun. The kit’s 10 1/2-inch high sidewalls keep fires manageable and contained while the nearly 4-foot diameter leaves plenty of ledges space to rest drinks, plates, and feet. The tumbled concrete pavers have a weathered stone vibe that’ll fit in just about any yard’s style and the stainless-steel insert gives the pit a finished look that’ll hide the charred sidewalls.
Best for Having Drinks Around a Fire
Real Flame Forest Ridge Fire Table
Gathering around a fire is great—better still if there’s a convenient spot to set down a drink or prop your feet. Fire pit tables, like the Forest Ridge, run on propane, like your grill, or borrow natural gas from your house, so they’re set it and forget it easy to use. The best fire pit tables, like this one, comes with an electric start that’s even easier to use. The 42×42-inch top includes a wide ledge around the fire to set down a beer or tray of soon-to-be roasted marshmallows. The weathered barn wood shell is concrete and steel, so it needs almost no maintenance, and a door in one of the sides is removable to conceal the standard 20-pound propane tank.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below