The Best Fire Pit – Buyers Guide and Comparison

No one wants to watch their new fire pit melt the very first time they use it. Or to see their fancy gas-powered pit explode into a ball of flames each time they try to light it.

Ever since I bought my house a decade ago, I’ve become an avid fire pit enthusiast. I have experienced both of these disasters firsthand. But the days of cheaply made firepits that lack functionality are far behind me.

Through a lot of trial, error, and research, I have found some quality fire pits, for the backyard, the campsite, and everywhere in between. And now I am here to share eight of my favorites with you. There is a model on my best-of-list that folds up like a backpacking tent for easy travel and one wood pit that puts out almost no smoke.

Whatever you are looking for in your next fire pit, I’ve found a quality product to fit your needs.

best fire pits

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Fire Pit Comparison Table

ProductDetailsWhere to Buy

Sunnydaze 36" Black Crossweave Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Sunnydaze 36" Black Crossweave Wood-Burning Fire Pit

**Editor's Choice**

Best Overall Fire Pit
Material:
Steel with a high-temp finish
Additional features: Lightweight, cover included
Check Price

OT QOMOTOP Outdoor Propane Fire Pit Table

**Editor's Choice**

Best Propane Fire Pit
Material:
Steel
Additional features: Auto igniter, smokeless
Check Price on Amazon

Outland Living Series 403-Espresso Brown Fire Table
Outland Living Series 403-Espresso Brown Fire Table

Best Fire Pit Table
Material:
Aluminum, steel, and HDPE
Additional features: Push-button auto ignition, smokeless
Check Price on Amazon

Sunnydaze 42" Cosmic Outdoor Large Fire Pit
Sunnydaze 42" Cosmic Outdoor Large Fire Pit

Best Outdoor Fire Pit
Material:
Steel with a high-temp finish
Additional features:
Spark arrestor
Check Price

Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit
Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit

Best Smokeless Fire Pit
Material:Stainless steel
Additional features: Smokeless without using gas fuel, portable
Check Price on Amazon

Campfire Defender Protect Preserve Pop-Up Fire Pit
Campfire Defender Protect Preserve Pop-Ip Fire Pit

Best Portable Fire Pit
Material:Stainless steel
Additional features: Reduced smoke output, wood or charcoal, portable
Check Price on Amazon

BALI OUTDOORS Firepit LP Gas Fireplace
BALI OUTDOORS Firepit LP Gas Fireplace

Best Patio Fire Pit
Material:
Stainless steel
Additional features: Doubles as a table, powerful
Check Price on Amazon

Best Choice Products 22" Fire Pit Bowl

    Best Choice Products 22" Fire Pit Bowl

    Best Patio Fire Pit
    Material:
    Stainless steel
    Additional features: Doubles as a table, powerful
    Check Price

    Top Pick – Our Favorite Fire Pit

    Best Choice

    Sunnydaze 36" Black Crossweave Wood-Burning Fire Pit

    Sunnydaze 36″ Black Crossweave Wood-Burning Fire Pit

     Best Overall Fire Pit

    • Design features that are functional and beautiful
    • Large capacity but still portable if needed
    • Well-made with added safety features

    The Sunnydaze 36” Black Crossweave fire pit brings the magic of the campfire right to your backyard. This pit is large enough for eight people to stand around but still easy to move if needed. The spark screen keeps your yard and home safe while adding to the aesthetic appeal of this substantial yet beautiful piece.

    What We Look for in a Fire Pit

    There are a lot of things that separate the best fireplaces from all the rest on the market. When choosing our top picks for each category, we paid particular attention to three aspects that help distinguish a quality, user-friendly fire pit from those that will disappoint you.

    Quality Of Manufacture

    In addition to their durability to withstand extreme heat from the flames, a high-quality firepit should be able to stand up to the degrading power of the sun and precipitation without looking utilitarian. 

    How Easy Is It To Light?

    Wood-burning fire pits are easy enough to light, assuming you’ve stacked your wood well. But gas pits can be a bit tricky. The best gas-burning fire pits have extra features that make this process easier and less likely that you’ll singe your arm hair doing it.

    Smoke Levels

    Smoke levels will depend on the fuel a fire pit will burn. You should expect a decent amount of fumes from traditional wood-burning units, but gas units don’t put out any. The best fire pits often have extra features that increase burning efficiency and limit smoke or gas smell production.

    Best Overall Fire Pit

    Sunnydaze 36″ Black Crossweave Wood-Burning Fire Pit

    Sunnydaze 36" Black Crossweave Wood-Burning Fire Pit

    Key Specifications

    • Large capacity wood burner
    • Oversized spark arrester
    • Durable construction but light enough to move

    The Sunnydaze 36” Black Crossweave pit earns the best overall fire pit spot thanks to its elegant yet sturdy design and versatile functionality.

    This large-capacity pit burns like the campfires you remember from your childhood but with added features that make it perfect for the backyard. The oversized spark guard and mesh sides allow for optimal airflow without sacrificing safety. And you’ll love being able to watch the flames flicker and dance from the embers up.

    This pit is 36 inches wide on paper, but in reality, the burning tray is only about 30 inches. Still, this pit is large enough to comfortably fit about eight people around it, making it perfect for backyard parties, family gatherings, or just stretching out next to the flames to watch the stars.

    High-temperature tolerant painted steel means this pit will hold up well to burning but will put off a bit of a smell during the first few uses. The Sunnydaze Crossweave comes with a cover that you will need to religiously use if you want this pit to continue looking its best for years to come. Without the cover, the paint will begin to break down around the seams, and the steel will rust–a look that we actually like as it adds to the overall rustic feel.

    Pros

    • Elegant look
    • Safe for backyard use
    • Large capacity
    • Fire poker included
    • Cover included

    Cons

    • Bowl is only 30 inches wide
    • Will rust over time
    • Some odor on first use

    Best Propane Fire Pit

    OT QOMOTOP Outdoor Propane Fire Pit Table

    Key Specifications

    • Hidden propane tank
    • Auto ignitor makes lighting easy and safe
    • Includes cover to turn it into a table

    Propane fire pits are the perfect choice for patios and decks. They allow you to enjoy the beauty and ambiance of a fire without having to deal with smoke in a semi-enclosed space or having to worry about the flames getting out of control. The QOMOTOP Propane Fire Pit offers all these benefits and more.

    Design-wise, this steel propane has a wicker-like style that harmoniously blends with the decor of your home patio. When not in use, the included cover transforms the piece into a table to hold drinks, plates, or just for kicking your feet up. 

    When the mood strikes, all you have to do is pull the top off and turn the ignitor knob to spark the flames instantly. This same knob allows you complete control of the flame height, a necessary feature for a fire pit designed for decks and near structures.

    The OT QOMOTOP claims a smokeless, clean-burning fire, and they do deliver. You won’t have to worry about dodging plumes of propane with this efficient burning fire table. This pit does take some serious investment to put together, but the company does have instructional videos available to ease the process.

    The kit comes with lava rock to fill the pit. While the included material will work if needed, we recommend investing in some fire pit glass or higher quality lava rock to better match the beauty of the table itself.

    Pros

    • No smoke or off-gassing
    • Auto igniter
    • No external lines
    • Beautiful wicker finish

    Cons

    • Difficult to assemble
    • Included lava rock is subpar

    Best Fire Pit Table

    Outland Living Series 403-Espresso Brown Fire Table

    Outland Living Series 403-Espresso Brown Fire Table

    Key Specifications

    • Push-button ignitor and simple flame adjustment
    • Wide glass tabletop for setting drinks and plates
    • Wicker finish to blend into patio decor

    Fire pit tables give you two functional pieces of furniture in one. Or, at least they should. The key to accomplishing this is how the table is designed and how much heat it can create. The Outland Living Series 403 Fire Table hits the mark on both, earning our best fire pit table award.

    This rectangular fire pit is large enough to use as a table even when the flames are on and powerful enough to warm you up, despite the surface area in between. And it accomplishes all this while looking great. The table itself uses HDPE woven to resemble wicker with a sturdy steel and aluminum frame.

    The black glass top hangs well over the edges to give you plenty of space to kick your feet up. The pit, which is small compared to the table, uses a simple push-button ignition with easy flame height control. While the fire area is smaller than other pit tables, the 50,000 BTU burner pumps out plenty of heat.

    Assembly of the Outland 403 is straightforward but will take a little bit of time. We also recommend purchasing the glass wind guard to keep your flames dancing gently even on stormy nights. This feature also keeps curious little fingers away from the fire. If you want to use your new fire pit as a full-sized table, you can also purchase the pit cover, which will provide a little extra surface area.

    Pros

    • 50,000 BTUs for powerful heating
    • Large surface area
    • Auto ignitor
    • Wide internal space for the tank

    Cons

    • Glass is prone to scratching
    • Heavy
    • Pricey

    Check Price on Amazon

    Best Outdoor Fire Pit

    Sunnydaze 42″ Cosmic Outdoor Large Fire Pit

    Sunnydaze 42" Cosmic Outdoor Large Fire Pit

    Key Specifications

    • Fun cosmic cutouts provide air and ambiance
    • Large capacity bowl with spark arrestor
    • Included fire poker

    Gas-powered fire pits are great for relaxing nights on the deck, but if you want a functional fire that will keep you warm and bring you back to your childhood, the Sunnydaze Cosmic Outdoor pit is what you need. Its large capacity bowl, fun, functional design, and domed spark arrestor help make this the best outdoor fire pit available.

    Glowing stars and moons while stargazing in the backyard? Yes, please! We love the look of this decorative fire pit. But those screened cutouts aren’t just for tickling the imagination; they also help provide airflow so your fire can burn more efficiently and put off less choking wood smoke.

    Like our other Sunnydaze choice, the actual size of the pit bowl is a little less than the total advertised diameter–in this case, only 34 inches compared to 42 inches. But that is still big enough to get a raging bonfire going and for packing in ten of your friends to enjoy it. That missing 8-inches is accounted for by the safety bar that encircles the pit and helps keep curious kiddos away from those glowing patterns.

    The steel on this pit is thinner than it looks, which means it may not last as long as a cast-iron model. But that also means it is less expensive and lighter, an essential feature if you expect to move your fire pit around the yard as the seasons change. To help keep your stars and moons looking their best, we recommend purchasing a cover and using it whenever the pit isn’t in use.

    Pros

    • Large capacity
    • Well priced
    • Screened-in for safety
    • Lightweight for size

    Pros

    • Will rust over time
    • Some odor on first use
    • Bowl is only 34 inches wide

    Best Smokeless Fire Pit

    Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pi

    Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit

    Key Specifications

    • Compact and portable for camping and backyard use
    • Burns wood without producing smoke
    • Stay-cool base for use on any surface

    Listening to the crackle of wood burning in the fire pit is a cathartic sound for so many of us. But dodging smoke plumes and smelling like campfire for days? That is something most of us could do without. Getting all the benefits of a wood-burning fire without the drawbacks is the brilliance of smokeless fire pits. And the Solo Stove Bonfire does it better than any of them.

    This ingeniously designed fire pit burns wood as clean and efficiently as possible. The holes along the exterior base and interior shaft push heated oxygen to the top of the flames, where it reignites to burn up the tiny particles that would otherwise turn into smoke. This clever engineering means less running around the fire pit to avoid choking smoke and more time to relax in the firelight.

    The key to getting a “no smoke” fire in the Solo is to start small and build up slowly so the convection technology can get to work. If you are patient, you will end up with little to no smoke. If you aren’t a patient person, expect less smoke but certainly not a smokeless fire.

    This canister is larger than it looks and will create huge flames with enough fuel, despite an undersized footprint. It might seem small compared to non-portable fire pits, but it puts out just as much heat as the best of them.

    The biggest gripe about this stove? It shows up looking nice and shiny, but it doesn’t last. The steel will tarnish due to the constant temperature changes and even rust if exposed to humidity. If you want a pretty portable fire pit to gawk at, this isn’t it. But if you want a super-functional pit that will keep you toasty without the smoke, the Solo is the way to go.

    Pros

    • Portable
    • Little to no smoke
    • Easy to clean out
    • Little heat loss through the base

    Cons

    • A bit pricey
    • Tarnishes quickly
    • Thin sidewalls are prone to denting

    Best Portable Fire Pit

    Campfire Defender Protect Preserve Pop-Up Fire Pit

    Campfire Defender Protect Preserve Pop-Ip Fire Pit

    Key Specifications

    • Folds up to fit into a handy carrying bag
    • Takes only 60 seconds to set up
    • Burns with less smoke

    A large, heavy-duty fire pit is great if you plan to set it up in your yard and leave it there. But if what you are after is a durable, functional fire pit that you can take with you in the RV or on backwoods camping trips, then you need the Campfire Defender Protect Preserve Pop-up Fire Pit.

    This portable fire pit weighs just 7 pounds and folds up into a carrying bag that is only 2 feet long and a few inches wide. This thing is so portable that you could go backpack camping with it! 

    Once it is time to settle in for the evening, the Campfire Defender sets up quick and easy, which means you can spend less time setting up the campsite and more time enjoying the crackle of real wood or charcoal fire.

    What makes this firepit ultraportable is also what allows it to burn clean enough that it hardly puts out any smoke. The bottom of this raised pit is a fine stainless steel mesh. Not only can this be rolled up for compact storage, but it allows for incredible airflow so your fire can burn hotter and put out fewer particulates.

    Before you get too excited about this uber-portable pit, know that its ingenious fire mesh will not last forever. But the company does guarantee a 50-fire or 1-year lifespan. And when the mesh does begin to break down, you can replace just that piece for less than a quarter of the original fire pit price. The other big downfall is that the corners and edges of the ember guards are quite sharp, so if you have little ones, be sure to keep them away whether the fire is going or not.

    Pros

    • Super lightweight and compact
    • Easy set-up
    • Highly efficient burn
    • Can hold up to 125 pounds
    • Includes heat shield to protect ground

    Cons

    • Limited lifespan
    • Sharp edges
    • Some quality control issues

    Best Patio Fire Pit

    BALI OUTDOORS Firepit LP Gas Fireplace

    BALI OUTDOORS Firepit LP Gas Fireplace

    Key Specifications

    • Compact design for patios
    • Converts to a table when not in use
    • 50,000 BTUs for powerful heating

    Most table-style propane fire pits are suitable for use on a patio or uncovered deck. But the best pits to use on your patio are those that don’t take up a ton of space, can double as a table when not in use, and are capable of putting out enough heat to keep you comfortable on the coldest nights. The Bali Outdoors Firepit checks all of these boxes.

    This compact square table is only 28 inches across, making it compact enough to fit on small patios. Despite the small footprint, it still offers plenty of space for setting drinks and putting your feet up. And when the fire feature is not in use, you can use the included cover to convert the pit into a full-sized bistro table.

    But more importantly, this 50,000 BTU fire table is capable of putting out a serious amount of heat. Even on the lowest setting, the flames dance higher than that of any other compact patio table we looked at. On high, you are sure to stay warm no matter how deep into winter you use it.

    Thanks to its simplistic design, this table is also fairly straightforward to put together. Most customers said it took them less than 30 minutes. While the product is marketed as having an auto ignitor, this feature seems only to work on about half of the units sold. But getting the fire started with a lighter is simple enough–just be sure to set the flame dial to low if you want to avoid creating a fireball. 

    Pros

    • Well-sized
    • Easy to assemble
    • 50,000 BTUs

    Cons

    • Auto ignitor often malfunctions
    • High flames even on low setting

    Best Cheap Fire Pit

    Best Choice Products 22″ Fire Pit Bowl

    Best Choice Products 22" Fire Pit Bowl

    Key Specifications

    • Quick and easy to assemble
    • Lightweight but durable
    • Sleek and simple design

    Cheap and fire pit are not two words you really want to put together. But if you are looking for a more affordable product than other options we have looked at here, the Best Choice Products 22” Fire Pit Bowl is a great option. 

    Although this fire pit has a simple design and comes with only the necessary features, it is durable and functional enough to get the job done. And, most importantly, it has a very budget-friendly price tag.

    This 22-inch fire pit bowl uses coated steel. The long legs hold the relatively shallow bowl off the ground to bring the flames closer to those gathered around. With a spark arrestor to help keep stray embers in place and a small footprint, you can use this fire pit in just about any outdoor space, from the patio to the garden.

    You can even fold the legs, making it portable. At just under 10 pounds, you could even bring this pit camping with you. And, like most bowl-style pits, you can use this one to roast hotdogs and marshmallows.

    Unlike the other bowl pits we’ve featured here, this one has limited air intake capability. While it does have a built-in wood grate to oxygenate the fire a little, it can put off as much smoke as a traditional campfire. It isn’t fancy, but for the price, it is surprisingly reliable and functional.

    Pros

    • Affordable
    • Lightweight
    • Legs fold for portability
    • Small footprint

    Cons

    • No air intake vents
    • Short spark arrestor
    • Shallow bowl

    Fire Pit Buying Guide – What Type Do You Need?

    fire pit in back yard

    Not sure which category of fire pit would work best to meet your needs? Let our handy buyer’s guide walk you through all the factors you need to consider before settling on the best fire pit for you and your family.

    Learn More: How To Make a Homemade Fire Starter

    Where Will It Be Used?

    First things first – decide where you’re going to use a fire pit.

    Are you looking for a fire pit to use on your patio, in your yard, or one that you can easily move around your property? Or maybe you are after a highly portable unit that you can also take camping.

    Table-style fire pits are perfect for the deck or patio. They don’t create any smoke, and the flame height is highly adjustable, making them safer for use around furniture and walls. These products do need a fairly flat surface to sit on, especially if you plan to set your drink down on the edge or use it as a table.

    Bowl-style pits have little immediate control over the flame height, and heat output makes them less suitable for near structures. These are better suited for use in the garden or yard. Like the Sunnydaze Cosmic Outdoor pit, some bowl pits are quite large and make the perfect centerpiece for a large outdoor seating area. 

    Bowl fire pits are also great for camping, assuming they are small and portable enough to pack and move around. A portable fire pit like the Campfire Defender Pop-up Fire Pit is an excellent choice because it compact and lightweight. 

    What Fuel Is Available?

    cedar firewood

    You will also want to consider what type of fuel will be most readily available to you before choosing your fire pit.

    Propane fire pits are a great choice if you have easy access to propane tanks. Most of these models use 20-pound tanks–the same type you would get for your barbeque. These are generally available for purchase at gas stations and some supermarkets. Propane is an excellent choice because it burns without creating smoke or ash. Other home appliances like heaters can also use propane as a fuel source.

    Some fire pits that use propane tanks can also be hard-piped to your natural gas line. Others are natural gas-only fire pits. This option is even easier because you will never have to replace an empty tank. But it does require more work upfront to get the line piped in and will also likely require some digging to keep the gas line out of sight.

    Wood or charcoal-burning fire pits are a good option if these fuels are readily available. If you plan to use your fire pit while camping in the forest, a wood burner is an obvious choice. But keep in mind that burn restrictions may prevent you from using your wood burner at certain times of the year.

    In the backyard, a wood or charcoal burner is most appropriate in open areas away from structures. But keep in mind that wood burning in a bowl-style pit will create some smoke wherever you are. If you would rather skip the smoke and campfire smell, opt for a propane option or a smokeless wood burner like the Solo Stove Bonfire.

    Portable or Permanent?

    You will find a permanent fire pit in some homes – one built into the deck or built into the ground. While these are great for forming a designated spot to sit around the fire, they don’t offer much versatility in location.

    Permanent fire pits are also more expensive because they often need to be custom-installed. If you are getting a new fire pit because you are installing a permanent seating area on your property, then, by all means, take the extra step to install a permanent fire pit as well. 

    But, if your seating area is likely to move around throughout the season, then choosing a movable pit is a better option. You can even get uber-portable pits so you can enjoy them even when you are away from home. 

    The Wrap Up

    Fire pits create a relaxing ambiance in the summer and a cozy place to curl up and enjoy the outdoors in the winter. But how much use you get out of your fire pit will depend on how well suited it is for your needs.

    About The Author

    Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.

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