Best Outdoor Fire Pits 2021: Wood vs. Propane Backyard Patio Fire Pit - Rolling Stone
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The Best Fire Pits For Camping, Backyards and Movie Nights Outdoors

Liven up your backyard or patio with some mood lighting and warmth

Outland Firebowl 863 Cypress Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire PitOutland Firebowl 863 Cypress Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit

Amazon

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Whether you’re looking for a way to stay warm, want to set some mood lighting in the backyard, or looking to roast marshmallows without leaving the comforts of home, a fire pit is the right tool for the job.

The best fire pits give you more control over your flame than digging a hole in the ground, and are durable enough to last you many years. There’s no denying the aesthetic value, either; a fire pit will quickly become the hub for you and your guests to congregate around during late-night cookouts or a movie night outdoors.

If you’ve been considering getting one for years, we did some research to find fire pits that will suit every type of situation.

What Are the Best Fire Pits?

There are many factors to think about when choosing the right fire pit for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.

Above or below ground: Fire pits come in two styles: above-ground, which means they’re smaller and more portable, or in-ground, which are bigger, require some DIY work to build, and cannot be moved. Our guide covers above-ground fire pits because of their versatility; you could use yours to make backyard s’mores one weekend, and take it camping the next.

Wood vs. Propane: Above-ground fire pits can be fueled by either wood or propane, which each have pros and cons. Propane-fueled fire pits give you more control over their flame, are easier to turn on and off, and require no cleanup, but they require you to have a propane tank on hand to use it. Fire pits that use wood require manual cleanup, give you less immediate control over your flame, and require you to bring or forage for some wood.

Size and weight: Just because an above-ground fire pit is portable doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily want to move it all the time. We made sure to pick options you can pick up and take with you quickly, or keep on the patio most of the time without fear of it blowing away.

General safety tips: Using an above-ground fire pit can be relaxing and fun, but it’s important to realize that you’re still dealing with fire, which can be volatile. The Fire Department says it’s best to use your fire pit from at least ten feet away from your home to prevent potential damage in case of high winds.

We recommend using your fire pit on non-flammable surfaces like tile or concrete instead of grass, or a wooden deck. Remember to always keep at least a three-foot “Pet and Child Zone” around your pit to prevent both from getting hurt. These are suggestions, but you should also consult your town or city’s laws before starting your first fire to see if there are any hard rules to follow.

1. Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit

Best Overall
Solo Stove Bonfire

Amazon

Solo Stove’s Bonfire Fire Pit is only 14-inches tall, 19.5-inches wide, and weighs just 20 pounds. The circular pit is made completely out of metal, and sits on a base plate that allows air to flow inside. This keeps oxygen flowing through the fire pit’s double wall, and allows ash to fall down into the ash pan, which can be removed once the fire is out.

Using a venting system without batteries or fans means you don’t run the risk of damaging the pit with heavy use. It also enables a feature Solo Stove calls a “secondary burn,” which occurs when hot air from the double wall is pushed up and over the flames.

This air is hot enough to burn wood particles that would have otherwise turned into smoke. You end up with a pit that can burn wood better than similar pits, and one you can use even if it’s a little windy. Solo Stove recommends using birch, maple, hickory, and oak because it says they’ll burn longer, but you can use any wood with this fire pit.

If smoke and an extended cleanup time are what’s keeping you from getting a fire pit in your backyard, Solo Stove’s Bonfire is the one you should get.

Buy: Solo Stove Bonfire at $299.99

2. Amazon Basics Steel Lattice Fire Pit

Best Value
Amazon Basics Lattice Fire Pit

Amazon

Fire Pits used to be an expensive luxury, but this small one from Amazon Basics bucks that trend without cutting very many features.

The wood-burning fire pit is roughly 27-inches tall, 28-inches wide, and weighs around 18 pounds. Its lattuce- design allows smoke to dissipate outward and upward to avoid funneling all of its smoke toward your face. Amazon bundles its fire pit with an mesh lid that keeps charred pieces of wood from flying out and a fire poker to help manage burnt logs, which makes it easier to add fuel.

This fire pit is made out of pure steel, so you shouldn’t have an issue with it getting warped or damaged. Its darker color will hide potential scorch marks or ash very well, too. It doesn’t have any bells and whistles, but the Amazon Basics Lattice Fire Pit will improve any patio or backyard you put it in.

3. Outland Firebowl Outdoor Gas Fire Pit

Best Gas Fire Pit
Outland Firebowl Outdoor Gas Fire Pit

Amazon

Outland’s Firebowl 823 is 21 inches around, weighs 22 pounds, and has a large dial on its front that lets you easily turn it on, and adjust the intensity of its flame. Outland is so proud of the Firebowl 863’s portability that it even bundles a carrying strap with it.

The pit comes with natural lava rocks to give it a classic look, but the flame actually comes from a single, 58000 BTU (British Thermal Unit) stainless steel burner. It comes with a 10-foot hose, which is designed to be attached to a 20-pound propane tank, but you can detach it and use another one of Outland’s hoses to connect it to natural gas (this is sold separately).

The only real downside to using the Firebowl 863 is that it does require a propane tank to work. If you have a propane grill, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to detach it, and light this fire pit. It’s even easier if you have a natural gas line running to your backyard, since you can attach and detach this fire pit whenever you want.

You’ll have to determine whether this fire pit’s easy cleanup and light weight are worth the inconvenience of having to detach and reattach it to a propane tank or natural gas line every time you use it.

Buy: Outland Firebowl at $160.78

4. Landmann Barrone Fire Pit

Landmann Barrone Fire Pit

Amazon

A simple, classic fire pit, this one from Landmann features a 26.3-inch square frame made out of steel, with a hand-rubbed bronze finish. The criss-cross mesh pattern along its siding gives the wood-burning fire ample access to air while being small enough that large embers can’t pass through.

This open design also allows you to feel the fire’s heat equally from all sides. Despite the steel construction, this fire pit weighs only 22 pounds, so you could easily take it camping, or to a friend’s home if it’s their turn to host a party.

The Barrone’s pyramid-shaped cover allows you to grab the top of handle on top without putting your hands near a flame. It will still be red hot, but you won’t be in danger of being licked by the flame. Landmann includes two accessories with this fire pit: a full cover, which can protect it from the rain when it’s not in use, and a metal poker, so you can move logs around.

Functionally, Landmann’s design choices make perfect, practical sense, but compared to AmazonBasics’ fire pit, the Barrone looks pretty plain. This isn’t a huge problem — it looks like what you’d picture when you hear the term fire pit — but it won’t stand out.

Buy: Landmann Barrone Fire Pit at $276.90

5. Bond Newcastle Propane Firebowl

Best Design
Newcastle Propane Firebowl

Amazon

Bond’s Newcastle Propane Fire Bowl is both simple to use and incredibly aesthetically pleasing. It’s the fire pit that’ll complete your backyard renovation.

The fire pit runs on propane, and reaches a maximum heat output of 40,000 BTU. That’s powerful enough to provide comfortable amount of heat for a small crowd. Because it runs on propane, you’ll be able to control this Firebowl’s intensity any time you want.

This level of control is nice, but what makes Bond’s firebowl stand out is its extremely classy look. The bowl sits on top of an enclosure made to look like stacked stones. The fire pit’s propane tank fits inside the enclosure, so it’s completely out of sight. Bond includes lava rocks with its fire pit, which adds aesthetic value.

A fire pit’s main purpose is to provide heat, but it should also add some pleasant ambiance to your outdoor space, too. Bond’s Newcastle Propane Firepit checks both boxes, plus it’s extremely easy to use.

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