How to Pick the Best Fire Pit for Your Backyard

Imagine curling up with a glass of wine around a blazing fire pit.

Sounds more like something you find at a romantic hotel getaway, than in your own backyard.

The truth is a backyard fire pit can bring a sense of warmth and luxury to any outdoor space. They are perfect setups for cooking or simply for ambiance. The presence of fire can even reduce your blood pressure.

Fire pit options include the convenience of gas power or the traditional charm of a wood-fueled pit.

No matter which style you choose, it should match your personal wants and needs.

Let's review the world of outdoor fire pits and find the best fire pit for you and your family.


Portable vs. Built-in

Depending on your needs, a fire pit can either be a permanent fixture in your backyard or a seasonal additional.

Portable fire pits are great because they can move to different locations. You might want it on your porch for some after dinner warmth. Or, maybe wheel it poolside to warm up some guests after swimming.

Portable pits give the flexibility to create an ambiance where you want it.

They often come at a favorable price point as well. If you are on a budget or have a small apartment to furnish, a portable fire pit might be the best fire pit.

Moveable outdoor fire pits come in all shapes and styles. You're sure to find a model to suit your outdoor design.

For those who are looking to add an architectural feature to their backyard, a built-in fit is a great idea.

A built-in outdoor fire pit is a great focal point that brings people together. A permanent pit will make a statement to your friends and family.

Another great aspect of the built-in is its ability to create a luxury feeling. It can turn an ordinary backyard into a luxurious oasis, or a winter ski lodge.

fire pit

Wood vs. Gas

Deciding on the fuel for your fire pit is another factor.

Do you love the smell of burning wood? Is it essential to your campfire experience?

Then a wood-burning fire pit is the best fire pit for you. There's no doubt that a real wood fire creates an unmatched experience.

However, with the charm comes a bit more work and cleanup.

You will have to first make sure that open fire pits are allowed in your community.

Several cities with heightened fire danger do not allow for wood-burning pits. Real wood can throw burning embers into the air and potentially ignite dry grasses.

You will also need to maintain a stockpile of dry wood at all times.

That means protecting your wood from the elements. Rain and snow will dampen your wood and make it impossible to use as fuel for the fire. 

If you're planning on using your fire pit to cook, wood is the most flavorful option. Imagine roasting meats over an open flame. There is no substitute for the amazing flavor that comes from burning wood.

You can even consider using different wood types to add different flavor profiles to your food. A sprinkling of cedar chips adds a bold smokiness. Cherry and Apple wood add a more subtle, sweet smoke.

Of course, you can't forget the classic roasted marshmallows. S'mores have been the hallmark of outdoor grilling for generations.

Conversely, gas fire pits provide a convenience which is highly desirable. After a long day of work, you don't necessarily want to build a wood-burning fire from scratch. The flip of a switch can give you instant heat and ambiance.

Propane Tank vs. Natural Gas Line

Portable fire pits operate on fuel tanks filled with gas.

Propane tanks can be conveniently refilled at your local gas station. Many use the same size tank as your BBQ grill. Portability and convenience are the main factors benefits of using propane tanks.

There are many designs on the market that hide the gas tank. This allows for the look of a built-in, without the commitment. A less costly portable fire pit operating on tanks can create the illusion of a major design element.

Fire pits with tanks might also be an option if you don't have a gas line running close to where you plan to put the fire pit.

It can also be costly to hire a contractor to reroute a permanent gas line to your fire pit.

Built-in fire pits will require a natural gas line attached to the pit.

Although there is added cost and coordination upfront, this can be quite convenient in the long run. There will be no need to change tanks. You can simply flip the switch and have access to a continuous gas supply.

Another factor is the cost of gas. It turns out that a natural gas line is 1/6 the price of propane

Building a fire pit can also increase your property value.

D.I.Y. vs. Contractor

Creating your own fire pit by hand is really based on your skill level.

There are more simple setups involving pavers and concrete which most people can do. However, the more complicated the design becomes, you should consider hiring a professional.

Of course, anytime there is a natural gas line involved you will need a licensed professional.

The local gas company will also need to test the line to make sure there are no leaks in the system. Leaking gas can be both costly and dangerous.

The best fire pit is ultimately something that fits your needs. Whether you tackle it yourself or hire someone, the goal is to be satisfied.

The Best Fire Pit for You

With careful consideration, you will surely find the best fire pit for your home.

There are endless possibilities to consider when choosing a design. Yet, the warmth and comfort provided are surely worth any amount of effort or cost.

For help making your decision, check out these detailed reviews of the best fire pit of 2017.

About the author

I'm a lover of the little things that make life beautiful. And I love to share them with the world!

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