A fire pit can be a beautiful and functional focal point of your backyard, but deciding on what kind of fire pit to get isn't always easy. There are many different options, and a little research is required to find the best fire pit that will suit your needs. When shopping for a fire pit, consider these questions:
What Do You Want Your Fire Pit For?
Decide whether you want your fire pit to be more of a decorative feature or something functional that can be used to keep warm on cold nights or even cook food. (Think roasted hot dogs and marshmallows—it won't replace your grill). How you want to use your pit will be a factor in what type you choose. Also consider how people will enjoy your fire pit. Seating is important—think about how your family or guests will sit around the fire. Do you have seating already and simply need to add a fire pit, or are you starting your set up from scratch?
Where Will the Fire Pit Go?
The location plays significant role in what kind of fire pit to get. For example, most city ordinances do not allow wood burning fire pits to be under covered front porches. It's also not a good idea to place a wood burning pit under trees with low branches. No matter what type of fire pit you get, it’s a good idea to review basic safety tips.
Types of Fire Pits
There are a number of different types of fire pits, each one suited to different needs and desires. Explore your options below to determine what type of fire pit may be right for you.
What Is It?
A fire bowl is a medium to large concrete or metal bowl that sits on the ground or on a low, wide surface. Although a fire bowl can be as simple as a large bowl that holds firewood, more often than not they are filled with lava rocks or other fire-resistant stones and give the appearance of the fire coming from within the stones.
The centerpiece of a seating area
Most often natural gas, but in some cases wood
What Is It?
A fire table is both functional and beautiful. It can be a square, rectangular, or rounded table, and it typically has a large area of the center that is cut out and filled with fire-resistant rocks, similar to a fire bowl. The outside of the table, or "ledge," can easily be used for setting down drinks or small plates of snacks or food, making entertaining easy and fun.
The centerpiece of a seating area. The table also allows for hidden storage of a propane or natural gas tank inside the table, whereas with a fire bowl, the tank is usually in a compartment off to the side of the bowl.
What Is It?
A fire ring is very similar to what you would see at a campsite. A fire ring is typically one of the most affordable types of fire pits and is even quite easy to DIY. A fire ring can simply be a metal circle in which a fire is made, or it can be taller with brick or masonry stone built around it. Metal fire rings may also have decorative cut outs, which can be a nice sophisticated touch.
Rustic, outdoor settings with lots of open space
What Is It?
A fire pagoda looks fairly similar to an Italian brick oven or even a traditional fireplace. It's tall with walls or screens and a chimney, which is designed to keep a fire contained. Some pagodas can be metal and are freestanding and movable, while others may be built in to the side of a home or added on with brick and masonry materials.
Larger fires near covered areas—usually the pagoda will sit just outside the covered area.
Wood, but natural gas may also be used.
Tabletop Fire Pit
What Is It?
A tabletop fire pit is often considered a miniature fire bowl. However, they can also be square or rectangular, and are designed to be a focal point or centerpiece for a table. The difference between a tabletop fire pit and a fire table is that a tabletop fire pit is not attached to or built into the table—it sits on top and can be moved as needed.
Adding an enchanting centerpiece to an existing table and chairs set up, especially under a covered porch. Table top fire pits are also easy to DIY.
Gas, usually in small pots that need to be replaced. Some tabletop fire pits may be attached to canisters of propane or natural gas under the table.
Buying Your Fire Pit
Choosing the right fire pit for your backyard doesn't have to be an overwhelming task if you have a bit of knowledge under your belt and an open mind. You may have an idea of what you want and come home with something entirely different! No matter what you choose, your fire pit will help you stay warm, happy, and social throughout the cold winter months.