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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 2.0 Fire Pit
Solo Stove’s latest Bonfire 2.o Fire Pit is only 14-inches tall, 19.5-inches wide, and 20 pounds, making it the easiest way to bring the campfire to you. 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.
One much-asked-for upgrade for the 2.0 is a new removable fuel grate and ash pan — this makes it much easier to empty the fire pit after the flames go out, without having to pick up and turn over the entire pit.
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 2.0 is the one for you.
2. Biolite FirePit+
Our favorite portable option is the FirePit+ from Biolite, which is by far the easiest fire pit to transport. With a lightweight frame (at just 20 pounds), collapsible legs, and carrying handles, you can set up the party anywhere. Campfire cooks will also rejoice at the hibachi-style grill grate, which makes prepping campground meals a breeze.
The Biolite achieves its “low to no smoke” ability differently than most fire pits — in place of a vents to circulate airflow, the FirePit+ has a battery-powered fan and air jets that inject oxygen into the flames. This fan-injection system is not only super effective, but allows heat to radiate directly from the fire onto everyone sitting around it. You’ll still get that classic, crackling fire air though, since the fire pit burns wood or charcoal. Bonus: the fan is rechargeable and lasts up to 30 hours on a single charge.
3. Amazon Basics Steel Lattice Fire Pit
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 lattice 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.
4. Outland Firebowl Outdoor Gas Fire Pit
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.
5. Breeo X Series Smokeless Fire Pit
It’s no secret that fire pits will begin to discolor after prolonged exposure to heat, but rather than trying to avoid that, Breeo leaned into it with its X-series fire pit. The smokeless fire pit is made out of corten steel, which will patina over time, giving it a classy look not unlike an aged leather wallet. If you want to keep it looking pristine, you can opt to get it in stainless steel instead.
The Breeo X comes in two sizes, with the 19-inch model clocking in at 22.1-inches wide, 14.75-inches tall, and a weight of 47 pounds. A 24-inch model is roughly 25% larger. The company offers a couple of rims, too — one designed for traditional use, and a “SearPlate” for cooking.
This fire pit is smokeless thanks to its design, which promotes airflow thanks to carefully placed vents. You’ll still get a raging fire, but your clothes won’t reek after a night roasting marshmallow. We love that Breeo thought of everything when designing its X-series fire pit, so you can get one that fits your exact needs rather than having to settle.
6. Tiki Brand Fire Pit
The Tiki Brand fire pit combines handsome design with a virtually smoke-free experience, and doesn’t forsake easy clean-up for good looks, either. The angled legs are minimalist, but sturdy enough to keep the pit off the ground, and the slatted steel exterior is not only easy on the eyes, but pretty weatherproof.
If you’re going camping with a fire pit, you’re going to want something utilitarian, but the Tiki fire pit is made to compliment patio furniture and other outdoor decor. The Tiki Brand fire pit also has a unique airflow system that redirects smoke back into the main chamber, so you won’t even catch a hint of it downwind.
The Tiki can use standard firewood for fuel, but we’ve found that it burns hotter and more smoothly with Tiki’s own wood pellets. When we say that this fire pit burns hot, though, we really mean it — logs in the Tiki fire pit can last for hours, and it can take some time to cool down after you’re done, so this probably isn’t the option for you if you need to pack up and leave quickly. But when you are done enjoying the fire, you’ll find an ash pan on the bottom that slides out for easy cleaning.