As autumn temperatures decrease, fire pits become the central point of outdoor spaces for social gatherings. Fire has symbolized safety from predators, warmth, and community for thousands of years. According to Marcus Latner from the Valencia Hotel Group, fire pits can commonly be found in hotels and resorts because people are naturally drawn to them. The company offers various sizes of gas and wood fire pits to create comfortable areas for guests to gather and relax. However, for home use, most people will choose only one pit, so selecting the perfect size, type of fuel, aesthetics, and extra features requires thoughtful consideration. After consulting with Latner and researching the market, we have compiled a list of the top eight fire pits that meet the most common criteria. Keep reading to discover our best fire pits.
Hampton Bay Piedmont 30 in. Steel Fire Pit
– Simple and attractive design
– Deep bowl for ample firewood
– Effective spark screen
– Needs to be covered to prevent rust
– Instructions are in diagram form
If you’re looking for a straightforward yet stylish fire pit, the Hampton Bay Piedmont Steel Fire Pit is a top choice. With no complicated controls, it’s easy to use and manage. Plus, it doubles as a grill and comes with a poker and mesh screen. The size and depth of the bowl are convenient for adding and moving firewood, and we had no issues with embers escaping through the screen.
Assembly took us 21 minutes, but the instructions could be clearer as they were in picture form only. However, once it was setup, the unit was easy to use and maintain. The hook on the poker’s end made it simple to adjust the mesh cover when adding more wood, and the lid was light yet sturdy. The fire pit’s design is plain, but still stylish with a clean look.
The only downside is that to prevent rust on the screen, it needs to be covered, but the rest of the fire pit still looks great. Overall, it’s a great value, and an essential addition to any outdoor space.
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
For easy storage and portability, consider the Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0. Its simple design and stainless steel finish lend a minimalist look, although some may find it reminiscent of a dryer drum. What sets it apart is its lightweight construction, making it effortless to move from storage into outdoor use, and back into storage once it cools down. It’s available on Amazon for $300 and $260 on Solo Stove, with Wayfair carrying it for $45.
This fire pit is ideal for those looking for a compact and portable option, perfect for smaller spaces like patios or garages. It’s also easy to load with wood and light, although logs need to be stacked carefully due to the smaller pit diameter. Solo Stove markets it as a “smokeless” option, and though it does reduce smoke by around 70-80%, it’s not entirely smoke-free.
One issue with the “smokeless” feature is that it redirects the fire’s heat into the air, reducing the amount of radiant heat one would expect to feel when sitting near a regular fire pit. However, the thin-gauge metal of the Bonfire holds less heat than heavier models. Solo Stove also offers smaller and larger sizes and a grill grate accessory.
The 2.0 models come with a removable ash pan and grate, along with an upgraded stand for improved wind flow and heat separation from the ground. The new design addresses a significant flaw of previous models, making it easier to clean and hose down after use. There is also a spark screen accessory that costs around $160 and is a great addition for those living in high fire-risk areas or wanting to avoid any sparks or embers.
While not entirely smoke-free, the Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0’s lightweight design and easy portability make it an attractive option for those looking for a simple, functional fire pit.
Tiki Brand 25-Inch Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit
With its size measuring 24.75 by 18.75 inches and weighing 45 pounds, the Tiki Brand Fire Pit boasts impressive features that make it a hit among customers. Crafted from durable 16-gauge stainless steel with a robust weatherproof powder coating, this fire pit is built to withstand the elements for long-lasting performance. The internal airflow system, exclusive to this product, ensures a superior burn with minimal smoke and ash production. Additionally, the included ash pan facilitates quick and easy cleanup. Enjoy the versatility of using traditional firewood or opt for Tiki Brand’s wood pack for instant-light convenience that lasts up to 30 minutes per pack. The Tiki Brand Fire Pit has received acclaim as the 2021 Edison Awards winner, providing exceptional value for its mid-range price point. In reviews, satisfied customers praised the pit’s stylish design, ample depth, and cozy ambiance, frequently incorporating it into their nightly routine for a relaxing wind-down before bed.
Breeo X Series 24
It is no exaggeration to say that the Breeo X Series 24 is built to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Produced in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the X Series comprises a combination of corten (weathering) steel and 304 stainless steel, which means that it is not necessary to use a rain cover or weather shelter. In fact, the fire pit’s outer wall develops a natural patina that shields it from corrosion after six months of exposure to the elements. The X Series’ airflow system is designed to promote secondary fuel burn, much like the smokeless fire pits from Solo Stove. Although it is not as simple to ignite as the Solo Stove pits, the X Series remains lit once the fire is going. Starting the process takes only five minutes and entails using smaller logs and kindling at first. The pit emits an ample amount of heat when operating at full temperature, but the secondary burn releases hardly any smoke, which is a major advantage.
Another desirable feature of the X Series is its stainless-steel sear plate that encircles the outer rim of the fire pit and has a diameter of 29.5 inches. The plate gets hot enough to cook items such as burgers, chicken, and other savory foods, and it can also be used to warm pots, pans, and skillets.
There are a few extra accessories to explore as well. The first is Breeo’s SearPlate griddle cooking attachment, which costs $250 and provides a convenient grilling surface. Additionally, Breeo offers a $130 stainless-steel lid for the X Series that shields the pit from excess moisture when it is not in use.
There is one last point to consider. You should carefully consider where you want to position the pit, given that the X Series 24 weighs 78 pounds, making it 33 pounds heavier than the second heaviest pit in this category, the Tiki Fire Pit. I suggest that you enlist one or two friends to help transport it to its desired location in your yard or on your patio.
KingSo 22-Inch Outdoor Fire Pit
The KingSo 22-inch Wood Burning Fire Pit offers a stylish and affordable option for those who want to enjoy a cozy outdoor fire without breaking the bank. Made from sturdy alloy steel, this fire pit looks more expensive than it actually is, thanks to its high-end aesthetic.
Assembly is easy, and the included mesh spark guard and fire poker tool make it simple to use and tend to your flames. However, keep in mind that this fire pit is designed for wood-burning fires only and may not be as long-lasting as some of the more expensive models on the market.
While the manufacturer warns that the paint coating may peel off after several uses, this fire pit should still provide plenty of warmth and enjoyment for those on a budget. Just be aware that if you’re looking for a fire pit that will last for multiple seasons, this may not be the best option for you.
Currently priced at $90, the KingSo 22-inch Wood Burning Fire Pit measures 22 x 22 x 20 inches and weighs in at just over 12 pounds.
More Wood-Burning Fire Pits to Consider
Guide to Buying Wood-Burning Fire Pits like an Expert
Choosing between Smoke and Smokeless
For those who are not acquainted with the term, buying a smokeless fire pit may seem perplexing. However, it is imperative to note that just because a fire pit is stated to be smokeless does not imply it will not produce any smoke at all. Nevertheless, there should be less smoke than with a typical wood-burning fire pit due to the fire pit design.
According to McCoy, “A smokeless wood-burning fire pit employs an array of technologies (which may vary by product) that channel airflow away from you and your guests.” Our testers affirmed that the smokeless fire pits dramatically reduced the amount of smoke they saw and smelled compared to the traditional wood-burning fire pits. Moreover, there was no lingering smell of smoke on their clothes or hair after using the smokeless fire pits. Therefore, a smokeless fire pit is ideal for those who want to steer clear of being close to smoke or people with smoke sensitivities.
When buying a wood-burning fire pit, powder-coated steel should be your priority for optimal durability. According to McCoy, “Powder-coated steel ensures a long-lasting product, preventing rust and decay.” Stainless steel is the second-best option, but its tendency to rust and corrode over time is dependent on the type of stainless steel used, and this information is typically not disclosed to the consumer.
Steel and iron that lack a protective coating will rust when exposed to water. Provided you do not mind properly covering or storing your wood-burning fire pit inside during bad weather, you can purchase an iron, steel, or stainless steel fire pit. However, if you seek a hassle-free option, go for one made of powder-coated steel.
Even if you intend to leave your fire pit outdoors, it is crucial to consider its weight. This decision may be influenced by the need to move it to an alternate location in your backyard, store it inside your home, or carry it on a camping trip. Our top picks weighed between 22 to 66 pounds, although some may weigh more than that. Some of our testers noted that they required an additional person to assist them in assembling the fire pit since it was so heavy. Bear this in mind as you make your purchase.
Do smokeless fire pits really produce no smoke?
No. Smokeless fire pits can be misleading because when you have any fire, there will be smoke. The difference between a smokeless fire pit and a regular one is simply that there will be less. This is due to the design of the ventilation. When using a smokeless fire pit, you should be able to see less smoke, smell less smoke, and your hair and clothes shouldn’t smell like it after the fact.
Where is the best place to put my wood-burning fire pit?
According to McCoy, wood-burning fire pits should be placed at least 10 feet from your house and other structures. You should also allow for 20 feet of overhead clearance to avoid burning tree branches. “Additionally, different areas have different regulations, so be sure to check your local laws and ordinances when choosing where to place your new fire pit,” he says. “Regardless, you should never place your fire pit under a covered patio and always on even ground.”
Make sure to verify where you can safely place your wood-burning fire pit before you buy. More often than not, brands advise not putting a wood-burning fire pit on a deck made of wood, or any flammable materials. You can buy pads and matts to put underneath your wood-burning fire pit for added safety, but make sure it’s compatible with your product before you buy. An accessory that McCoy highly recommends getting is a mesh screen, which keeps sparks and embers contained and helps prevent accidents.
Is there any maintenance for wood-burning fire pits?
Yes. McCoy told us that the biggest mistake he sees people making with wood-burning fire pits is not knowing that they require routine maintenance due to the ash produced in burning.