Sitting around a crackling fire pit in the backyard is one of life’s simple pleasures. The dancing flames create a mesmerizing ambiance while the heat keeps you cozy as the sun sets. Outdoor fire pits have become wildly popular backyard features for gathering with family and friends.
But like any outdoor equipment, your fire pit needs proper care and maintenance to look its best and function safely for years to come. One of the keys is protecting your fire pit with the right cover when it’s not in blazing action.
In this post, we’ll discuss the top 5 most popular styles of fire pit covers and what you need to consider when choosing one. You’ll also get tips on using and caring for your cover to extend the life of your fire pit. Let’s get started!
The Importance of an Outdoor Fire Pit Cover
A quality fire pit cover may seem like an optional accessory, but it’s actually crucial for protecting your investment. Here are some key reasons you need one:
- Protects from weather damage – Covers prevent rain, snow, falling leaves, and other debris from blowing into your fire pit. This moisture and accumulation of dirt and leaves can damage the fire pit surface over time.
- Safety – A fitted cover prevents accidents by keeping flammable items from accidentally getting tossed or blown into the fire pit. It also stops pests like birds and rodents from getting in and nesting.
- Aesthetics – Fire pit covers keep your pit looking neat, tidy and inviting when not in use. No more piles of leaves or dirt eroding the beautiful finish.
- Longevity – Proper covering prevents rust, corrosion and decay which directly extends the lifespan of your fire pit. This saves you money down the road.
So while that initial outlay for a cover may seem annoying, consider it cheap insurance to protect your fire pit for seasons to come!
Top 5 Outdoor Fire Pit Covers
Now that you’re sold on getting a fire pit cover, let’s explore the most common options…
Basic Vinyl Cover
The inexpensive vinyl fire pit cover is the most budget-friendly choice, with prices ranging from $20 to $50. These lightweight covers are typically made from water-resistant or waterproof vinyl material.
Pros: Very affordable, easy to find, provides basic water protection
Cons: Less durable than other materials, minimal insulation value, unexciting appearance
Best for: Occasional fire pit use in milder climates without harsh weather
Premium Vinyl Cover
Step up to a thicker, higher-end vinyl cover and you’ll get better durability and more customization of color and pattern. Many premium vinyl covers also have a waterproof inner lining for added moisture protection. They better regulate temperature and prevent mildew too.
You’ll pay more in the $50 to $150 range, but it’s increased value over basic vinyl.
Pros: Great value, good protection from elements, more stylish appearance
Cons: Not as durable long-term as canvas or aluminum
Best for: Moderate climates and fire pit usage
Want a natural fabric look with better durability? Canvas fire pit covers made from heavy-duty, thick cotton canvas deliver. Water-repellent and breathable canvas naturally resists mold and mildew.
Unlined canvas versions cost $70 to $250. Or splurge on an insulated canvas cover for $250 to $500 to add weatherproofing. Lots of earthy color choices available to suit your style.
Pros: Stylish natural fabric, mold/mildew resistant, breathable
Cons: Requires re-treatment with weatherproofing solution
Best for: Frequent fire pit use, long-lasting cover
Aluminum Fire Pit Cover
On the luxury end, an all-weather aluminum cover provides maximum durability. Powder-coated aluminum can withstand anything nature throws at it – from baking sun to heavy snow. A hooded design with adjustable vents keeps contents cool.
Prices run from $100 into the $500+ range, but aluminum covers last practically forever.
Pros: Very durable, reflective surface, adjustable ventilation
Cons: More expensive, can dent if hit by falling objects
Best for: Top-end fire pits, extreme weather regions
Get a cover tailored specifically for your fire pit model and size. Choose from vinyl, canvas, aluminum and other materials cut to match the exact shape and dimensions of your fire pit, allowing full access to controls and doors.
Pricing ranges from $100 for basic materials up to $800 for intricate custom work. But for permanent backyard fire pit installations, the perfect fit is worth it.
Pros: Flawless fit, full access to features, quality materials
Cons: Very expensive, limited sizing options
Best for: Permanent fire pit installations
As you can see, fire pit covers come in all shapes, sizes, materials and price points. Time to figure out which one suits your needs…
How to Choose the Right Fire Pit Cover
Selecting the perfect fire pit cover requires a bit of pre-purchase prep. Here are key tips for picking the right one:
- Measure dimensions – Diameter and depth are essential. Height too for any lidded models. This ensures a tight, tailored fit.
- Determine needed features – Do you need tight-fitting construction to keep out debris? Access to controls or doors without removing? Insulation? Waterproofing? UV or mold resistance? Make a list.
- Consider your local conditions – Frequency of use and typical weather exposure should inform your material choice. More extreme cold or precipitation means selecting heavier duty materials.
- Inspect materials and construction – Look for thick, quality materials like heavy vinyl, canvas or aluminum. And features like zippers, drawstrings, velcro closures.
- Match cover style to your fire pit design – For stone, brick or tile fire pits, go for canvas or custom covers. Use vinyl or aluminum for plain metal fire ring styles.
- Set a budget, but don’t skimp – Higher cost often means better quality that lasts longer. But set realistic spending expectations. Consider cost per year over the lifepan.
- Read reviews and details – Don’t just order blindly. Seek out user reviews and look for key specifications before selecting a cover.
- Ensure easy periodic removal – Covers with zippers, velcro or drawstring closures make occasional fire pit inspection and maintenance a breeze.
Choosing the right fire pit cover upfront saves money over time. Follow this advice to find one tailored to your needs.
Caring for Your Fire Pit Cover
You chose that perfect fire pit cover – now it’s time to make it last! Proper use and care are key.
- Before covering, ensure the fire pit is completely cooled and cleared of debris like ash or loose sediment.
- Check periodically for holes, tears or broken parts and repair or replace as needed. Don’t wait for total failure.
- Follow the manufacturer’s advice on any re-treatment of weatherproofing solutions for canvas covers.
- Secure the cover tightly with velcro, zippers or drawstring closures to prevent wind lofting.
- Avoid placing heavy objects on top that could dent or tear the cover.
- If possible, use a ventilated cover to discourage moisture condensation inside.
- In cold climates, use an insulated cover to better regulate interior temperature.
- Always remove the entire cover before using your fire pit, and wait until completely cool before replacing.
- If machine washable, launder fabric covers periodically to remove dirt, stains and grime.
- Store the cover when not needed to prevent sunlight and weathering damage.
- Plan to replace vinyl or canvas covers every 2-3 years. Get maximum mileage by caring for them diligently!
With some basic maintenance and care, your fire pit cover will keep your pit looking fabulous and functioning safely for many seasons of cozy fireside memories ahead.
Let’s Review Key Fire Pit Cover Tips
After all this, the main takeaways for choosing and using a fire pit cover include:
- Take measurements carefully before ordering for that ideal custom fit.
- Select materials and features suited to your specific climate conditions and fire pit usage.
- Inspect frequently for damage and replace proactively when needed.
- Use ventilated and insulated covers in damp or very cold conditions.
- Always remove entirely before fire pit use, and replace when completely cooled down.
- Follow manufacturer’s fabric care instructions to maximize lifespan.
Investing in the right fire pit cover saves so much hassle and expense down the road. Keep your fire pit in tip-top condition for more magical evenings enjoying backyard ambiance for years to come.
FAQs about Outdoor Fire Pit Covers
Q: How much does a fire pit cover typically cost?
A: Basic vinyl covers start around $20-50. Mid-range canvas and vinyl covers run $50-150. High end aluminum, premium canvas with insulation, and custom-fit covers can cost between $150 up to $800 or more.
Q: Should I get a waterproof fire pit cover?
A: Waterproofing is recommended for any outdoor fire pit cover, but especially if it will be exposed to regular rainfall or snow. Water can damage the fire pit surface over time.
Q: What is the most durable fire pit cover material?
A: Aluminum fire pit covers stand up best over time to all weather conditions. High end double-lined vinyl would be the next most durable option.
Q: Is it necessary to get a ventilated fire pit cover?
A: Ventilation is recommended to allow airflow and prevent moisture buildup inside the cover. This is especially important for climates prone to rain, snow, and humidity.
Q: Should I remove the cover before using my fire pit?
A: Always remove any fire pit cover before lighting and using your fire pit. Most covers are flammable and can melt from the heat. Remove the cover completely before use.
Q: Can I keep a fire pit cover on during a fire pit fire?
A: Never attempt to keep a fire pit cover on while the fire pit is in use with an active fire. These covers are designed only for when the fire pit is cool and not in use.
Q: How do I know if my fire pit cover needs replacing?
A: Look for wear and tear like holes, tears, cracked vinyl, broken zippers. Fading from sun exposure can also indicate the need for cover replacement after a few years.
Q: Is it okay to put stuff on top of my fire pit cover?
A: Avoid placing heavy objects on top of the cover to prevent damage, tears or dents. However, decor items like pots or ornaments are fine.
Q: How can I make a custom fire pit cover?
A: Custom covers require precise measurements and specialty materials. It’s recommended to purchase a tailored cover specific to your model online or from the fire pit manufacturer.