Fall nights by the fire are nights well spent, and with temps dipping, it’s time to get your burn on. Sure, you could take a shovel and a pile of bricks before doing your best, but the new crop of fire pits are well worth the investment and work a hell of a lot better than your homemade contraptions. These metal or stone enclosures keep the flame contained while assisting it to burn cleaner. They also add an elegant touch to outdoor areas rather than the look of a community college pottery class (no offense). Portable fire pits also come in a variety shapes and sizes, from basic cauldrons to elegant enclosed models, and they are fed off a variety of fuel sources, from wood to kindling, gas, or kerosene. Some can even be used to cook, extending wiener roasts and s’mores into the autumn and early winter. So if you’re looking for family-friendly, socially distanced activities this season, it’s time to pick up a patio fire pit before everyone else gets the same bright idea.
Our advice: Get something that’s durable, first and foremost. Next, select one that’s aesthetically pleasing, since it’ll be a prominent piece in your yard, deck, or porch. Wood-powered fire pits are more traditional but require a constant source of wood, which can be challenging in the city. Gas-powered fire pits turn on instantly, providing immediate gratification, and will burn for far longer, but they’re often pricier. Regardless of the type that best fits your needs, these are the best ones out there, at all price points.
The Best Wood Burning Fire Pits
This minimalist stainless steel fire pit is the result of a successful Kickstarter. Its double-wall design creates a constant airflow that allows even the most stubborn of wood to blaze up quickly. The best part of is that it emits almost no smoke due to its ingenious design so everyone can sit close. It only weighs 20 pounds so it can be set up anywhere, from backyards to tailgates to campgrounds.
Classic and streamlined, this 30 inch wood-burning fire pit is built from coated stainless steel, with an open bowl design that fits logs. The handles make this pit truly portable, and yes, you can use it make s'mores.
This one is a keeper: It's a tripod fire pit, with a hanging steel cauldron. And it comes with a grate for grilling. And you can take it apart to fit in the trunk of your car. This one burns both wood and charcoal, and is big enough to hold a standard campfire because of course you need a campfire.
This one looks like something a famous sculptor designed, so it's a true backyard showpiece. You put this tother in minutes, without using a single tool. And the more of a beating it takes, the better it looks, because it's made of non-powder coated steel.
The Best Gas Fire Pits
If you plan on having cocktails around a fire pit, this stunning and modern one has a lip so you can rest a drink on it. This particular pit burns e-NRG bioethanol, and can burn for 11 hours at a time. It has 360 degree height-adjustable articulating feet, so you can have at your exact height and level position. You can even use this indoors or out. There's also a propane option.
A lovely fire pit, for an unbeatable price: This 36 inch one has a rounded concrete base, burns propane, and has an adjustable flame. It includes a gas regulator, lava rocks for the interior of the fire pit, and a gas hose long enough to connect to the propane container. It sets the mood, for a price that won't give you a headache.
The oval shape of this fire pit is just downright cool and unexpected. It's made of fiber-cast concrete and burns propane. It's safe to use on a wooden deck, as long as there is a heat-resistant barrier. The flame is adjustable and the output is 50000 BTU.
The Best Table Top Fire Pits
A handsome, understated, and all-around perfect fire pit for his table, desk, or anywhere, really. This one is ultra-portable, burns clean, and can be used indoors or out. It burns isopropyl alcohol, so there's no smoke or soot buildup. And five ounces of the stuff gets him 50 minutes of burn time.
Sensual and pretty, this fire pit is 11 inches in diameter and is hand-cast from concrete. It burns the brand's own gel fuel, which crackles with like a real campfire. Each can has three hours of burn time.
A smaller, tabletop-sized version of one of our favorite full-sized firepits, the Ranger is just over a foot in diameter but still has all the smoke-free tech of the larger. It takes logs and sticks up to 12 inches in length, and its stainless steel construction ensures it won't deteriorate with some inclement weather. (But, come on, take it in when not in use.)
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