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The Different Types of Fire Pits & Which Is Right for You

When someone says that they have a fire pit in their backyard, it can mean many different things. Some homeowners are talking about a manually dug out wood burning fire pit, while others are speaking about a luxurious fire pit table that runs on propane.

The scope of 'fire pits' can make it difficult to decide what the best option is for you, and your house. This article is a guide to the different types of fire pits on the market so you can know your best choice to give your backyard some ambiance!

What Are The Fire Pit Types?

Wood Burning Fire Pits — There are multiple kinds of wood-burning firepits, but broadly they are wood-burning fires set in a controlled space. That said, generally, the best option for wood burning fire pits are going to be steel fire pits that keep the fire raised off the ground, as these are the safest and easiest to maintain of any wood fire pit.

Fire Bowls — Best suited for camping and patios, fire bowls are small compact fire pits that run on an external propane or gas tank. These fire bowls are notable for their portability and are easy to bring around with you wherever you need or want fire. Their portability, alongside running on gas, makes them the height of convenience when it comes to backyard flames.

Fire Pit Tables — The largest of the options, fire tables are essentially fire bowls built into a small social dining table. This makes them an incredible social gathering point for your outdoor space, but they aren't meant to be moved often, or carried with you on camping trips.

Which Fire Pit Should I Buy?

Which of the fire pit options is the best for you is a personal choice, but depending on what you want out of a fire pit, you can narrow down exactly which of the outdoor fire pits is the best for you, your friends, or your family.

Why You Should Buy a Wood Burning Fire Pit

Wood burning fire pits offer the closest thing to a traditional campfire on the market. Though feeding a campfire firewood requires more effort than turning on a propane valve, there is nothing more authentic than the crackling of real wood and the smell of a traditional campfire. If you want to invoke memories of the outdoors in your backyard, then an enclosed wood burning fire pit is going to be the safest way to emulate an old-school campfire, seeing as the other gas fire options on the list don't have smoke, embers or sparks shooting into the night sky.

The other advantage of wood-burning fire pits is that they are safe to cook over. Though gas fire will cook your food, it's not recommended that people cook anything over a propane fire bowl or table's fire, which means a wood-burning fire pit is your best option for smores or marshmallows.

Our selection

Oakridge Wood Fire Pit

This wood-burning fire pit is perfect for cooking and keeping warm in the backyard – fully accessorized with a protective mesh lid, grill grate, and poker tool.
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The main downside to a wood-burning fire pit is that they require a lot more maintenance than propane fires and have quite a few more safety regulations. For example, many fire bans put in place by local fire authorities allow for small propane-powered fires, while completely banning wood-burning fires.

Why You Should Buy A Fire Bowl

As we said above, fire bowls are the ultimate when it comes to fire convenience. They are lightweight and easy to move, and also burn clean gas fires that require minimal setup and cleanup. This combination makes for the most flexibility, something that is key if you want to bring your fire to campsites or another home. 

Fire bowls are also the best option for households with limited space. Even smaller patios and backyards likely have space to safely use a fire bowl as their propane fire pit.

Between quality flames that are safe in a suburban environment and their ease of use, propane fire bowls are one of the best options for outdoor fireplaces, especially for families that enjoy camping or don't want to have a fire as their social focal point year-round.

They are especially a good option if you live in an area with strict fire safety laws during drier parts of the year. Always check with your local fire authority before buying any fire-related products, but they are likely to recommend a controlled propane fire over a wood one for safe use.

Our selection

Standard Fire Pit

This lightweight propane fire pit can go with you whenever you need a little warmth. Our original fire pit is easy to set up and simple to use.
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Why You Should Buy A Fire Table

Fire tables, more than either of the other options, are a full piece of furniture for the household and can often be connected to a home natural gas line to save money on propane. If you're looking for a proper centrepiece for your larger patio or a more spacious backyard, a fire table is a fantastic option, offering both warmth and a place to set drinks or snacks during a social gathering.

Fire tables work the best in established homes, as they can be a bit difficult to move but make for durable and beautiful furniture for an outdoor space. Additionally, fire tables have all the ease of use and simplicity of a fire bowl, meaning that you can leave the poker at home, though you are going to miss out on the crackle of traditional wood.

One key advantage of a fire table is that they also typically have places to store a propane tank if you are using propane fuel, meaning that you won't have to have it anywhere in your outdoor space.

Our selection

Rectangular Grey Fire Table

Featuring award-winning design, this propane-powered fire table is a perfect combination of functionality and elegance – bringing people together.
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In Conclusion...

In the end, which fire pit you should buy deeply depends on your wants and needs. If you want a fire pit because you love the crackle and smoke of a traditional fire, a raised wood-burning fire pit is going to be the best option for you. If you want to keep yourself mobile and bring your fire to the great outdoors, a fire bowl is the best option, and if you want a new centrepiece for the backyard, a fire table is likely your best bet.

Once again, always check with your local fire authority to ensure that you're following all local fire codes when shopping for anything fire-related so you know you're keeping yourself safe and your fire burning, all year round.

Common questions

What's the best fire pit fuel type?
Most fire bowls or tables you find are going to be propane or natural gas fueled, and with good reason. Propane is the most common and cheapest option when it comes to efficient fire fuel, only beat out by your home natural gas line if you have access. There are fire tables or bowls that are powered by other fuels like gel fuel, but those fuels are generally harder to find and are being phased out over time. Getting propane or natural gas-powered fire bowl or table is your best bet.
What's the warmest fire pit?
A traditional wood fire is going to burn the hottest most of the time, as they tend to be larger than gas fires. Gas fire bowls and fire tables follow strict safety regulations to ensure they are as safe as possible to use, which means they have lower, controlled flames that, while hot, are not going to compete with the size of fire you can make with traditional wood. That said, make sure you're always being safe when adding wood to your fire, and never make a fire bigger than you can handle.
What's the best fire pit option for cooking?
If you're looking to make occasional smores, then a wood fire pit is your best option as cooking over fire tables or bowls is not suggested. That said, if your primary hope for the fire is to use it for cooking, then you should take a look at outdoor stoves for a safe cooking experience at the campground.
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Outland Living is the premier brand for outdoor patio and camping equipment. We love to share our knowledge with you. Read more about patios and gardening.