The Best Outdoor Gas Fire Pits for Your Backyard
An outdoor gas fire pit makes it possible to gather friends and family outdoors, even on chilly nights, all without the mess of a wood fire.
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Buying an Outdoor Gas Fire Pit
An outdoor fire pit provides the warmth and visual beauty of a fire without the hassle of building and tending a wood fire. Gas fire pits allow you to enjoy instant-on flame without smoke or ash. And they’re available in various styles and sizes.
“When it comes to outdoor gas fire pits, size and shape matter,” says Aaron Mumford, COO, Jet Hospitality, a luxury camping resort brand. “Square or rectangular tables with built-in center pits fit well in modern settings and provide a convenient surface for drinks and snacks. Round pits often provide a cozier space and bring back feelings of an old school campfire. Most units take 20-pound propane tanks, with table-style designs having built-in storage underneath.”
Whether you want a permanent gas fire pit for the backyard or a portable model to take on camping trips, there’s an option out there for you. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for a gas fire pit:
Type of outdoor gas fire pits
Gas fire pits can be in-ground or self-contained, permanent or portable. Some are intended for entertaining and eating, while others are purely decorative. Fire bowls are round, attractive designs that curve upward from the ground. Fire tables with flat tops may be tall enough to use as a dining table, or low-slung like a coffee table. Fire columns have a small footprint, just enough space for the propane tank and decorative enclosure.
Most gas fire pits run on propane, with some permanent installations connected to natural gas lines. (There are fire pits that run on ethanol, but they’re less common.) You could also connect to a whole-house propane tank. Most fire pits use five-gallon propane tanks like those on a gas grill. The body of the table usually hides the tank, but if not, you can tuck it into a hideaway table. Natural gas and propane are not interchangeable, although some fire pits are sold with kits to convert from one fuel to the other. The guts of a gas fire pit are similar to a gas grill, consisting of a gas supply line, a burner and a fire box to contain the burner.
Portability and construction materials also matter. Most natural gas fire pits are permanent installations. While many propane models are intended to remain in place, others can be picked up and taken on the go. Keep in mind you’ll need to factor in a propane tank when considering a portable model. Propane is available in containers as small as one gallon, but the most readily available tanks are five gallons.
What to look for in the best outdoor gas fire pits
Electric ignition (usually battery-powered) creates that spark via a button, switch or phone app. These are by far the most popular, though manual and spark ignition models exist as options. Heat output is also an important factor to consider. Fire pit heat output is rated in British Thermal Units (Btu). Most fire pits are in the 30,000 to 60,000 range, with some producing 100,000 Btu or more.
BTUs aren’t the only determining factor of how warm a fire feels, though. The material and design of the fire pit impacts how much of that heat is captured and radiated outward.
Accessories for outdoor gas fire pits
“Choosing a firepit that has an insert to cover the flame area is a good idea,” says Mumford, explaining that, “You won’t always want to have the flame lit. This accessory converts the pit into a functional flat surface or table. Protecting your investment with sturdy cover during winter should also be considered.”
Because a plain flame can’t capture the feel of burning wood, many people prefer to surround it with a non-combustible material, such as flame glass or lava rock. Glass reflects the flame. This adds to its glow, while lava rocks add a sense of stability and return some of the fire’s heat. A weather-resistant cover, similar to a grill cover, is also a popular fire pit accessory. Sometimes accessories are included with the fire pit, though you may need to purchase them separately.
Best Tank-in-Table Outdoor Gas Fire Pit
Bali Outdoors Propane Fire Pit Table
The most common way to conceal a propane tank is to hide it inside the table itself, as is the case with the Bali Outdoors Propane Fire Pit Table.
With an output rated at 60,000 Btu, this attractive fire pit table has a natural slate top with a metal insert to cover the pit when not in use. It’s 42 inches long, 24 inches wide and 24 inches high. It ships with fire glass, and the full unit weighs 77 pounds.
- Concealed tank-in-table design
- 60,000 BTUs
- 42-inch length is ideal for most outdoor spaces
- Stylish slate top
- Over 1,800 Amazon ratings
- Modest price point
- Relatively modern style may not work well with some outdoor design schemes
Experts recommend cleaning fire pits regularly. Here’s how to clean your outdoor fire pit.
Best Campground Gas Fire Pit
Outland Living 870 Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit
If you’re more interested in a portable fire pit, consider the Outland Living 870 Premium Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit. Whether you’re tailgating with friends or vacationing alone, this small fire pit is a perfect traveling unit.
Auto-ignition gets the fire going quickly with no matches required. The bowl is 19 inches in diameter and 11 inches high. It produces 58,000 Btu and ships with a cover, lava rocks and a 10-foot hose to connect your propane tank.
- Portable design is camping and tailgate friendly
- Automatic ignition, no matches required
- 58,000 BTUs
- Hearty 19-inch diameter
- Nearly 4,000 Amazon ratings
- Affordable price point
- The smaller footprint of this model means there’s no space to conceal the propane tank, though it comes with a 10-foot hose
Best Imitation Stone Gas Fire Pit
Teamson Home Propane Fire Pit
Do you love the look of a stone fire pit but aren’t interested in something so permanent? The Teamson Home Propane Fire Pit has the look of stone without the installation. Great for renters who want to keep their options open, this propane-fueled fire pit weighs just 77 pounds. This makes it tip-resistant but not too heavy to pick up and move.
Rated at 50,000 Btu, this fire pit ships with lava rocks to give a natural look. It measures 37 inches in diameter and 11.5 inches high, perfect for gathering around and roasting marshmallows.
- Looks and feels like natural, local stone
- 77-pound weight means this model is tip-proof, but still easily moved
- 50,000 BTUs
- Medium 37-inch diameter makes it ideal to surround with for four to six chairs
- Only about a foot high
Best Imitation Wood Gas Fire Pit
Casainc Fire Pit Table
Though we’ve already looked at one fire pit with a rustic wood look, we really like the style of the Casainc WFEHFP-05-A Fire Pit Table. Rather than try to mimic natural wood, Casainc’s designers opted for a modern, design-forward approach. This round pit is 28 inches in diameter. Stainless steel burners wrapped inside sleek, black composite material looks like a hollowed out tree. It’s a form-meets-function piece that is sure to wow guests.
The battery-powered electric ignition sparks the 30,000 Btu fire to life, and the whole fire pit weighs in at 44 pounds. Note that it runs off an external tank, so you may want to consider a tank cabinet. It comes with lava rocks and a PVC cover.
- Imitation wood surrounds for a hollowed tree stump look
- 30,000 BTUs
- Modern design that meshes well with most outdoor settings
- Moderate price
- 28-inch diameter
- Smaller footprint and less heat output makes this model ideal for smaller patios and balconies
Best Splurge Natural Gas Outdoor Fire Pit
Monarch Outdoor Natural Gas Fire Pit
Interested in a permanently-installed, gorgeous fire pit with all the convenience of natural gas? Consider a splurge with the Monarch MS23NG Outdoor Natural Gas Fire Pit.
Constructed of glass fiber reinforced concrete, it should withstand years of use and adverse weather. It’s large a large unit at 60-inches wide by 16-inches tall. This impressive fire pit generates 65,000 Btu and weighs 500 pounds.
- High-end design that’s worthy of a boutique hotel
- Glass fiber-reinforced concrete
- Withstands years of use and adverse weather
- 65,000 BTUs
- Runs on natural gas vs. propane, which many home owners prefer
- Weighs over 500 pounds, so once you install it you should plan to leave it there
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