Homeowners who spend much time enjoying the outdoors with family and friends will find a wood-burning fire pit a welcome addition to their patio or lawn. Outdoor fire pits come in a variety of styles. Fire pits are structures sometimes constructed of stone or brick. But portable fire pits made of metal like steel, cast iron, or copper have become very popular. The purpose of a fire pit is to contain a fire, to keep it from spreading, and to facilitate versatility of use. Those who love nature, and flexible ways to take celebrations outside no matter the season, choose from the best wood-burning fire pits when selecting a model to enhance their landscape. They appreciate the ability a heavy-duty wood-burning fire pit gives them to enjoy special experiences on the lawn, not only on starlit midsummer nights, but through crisp autumn evenings and during early spring twilights.
From simple metal bowl-shaped structures to rollaway models, to large, elaborate pedestal tables with fire pit centers, or modern art-shaped angular metal forms, the shapes and themes of modern wood-burning fire pit designs continue to evolve. If you're thinking of adding a useful, distinctive feature to your outdoor living space, a unique, well-built, outdoor wood-burning fire pit. Check out all the pros and cons of these units below, along with some of our expert picks!
Pros of Outdoor Wood-Burning Fire Pits:
Outdoor fire pits enhance experiences. From cozy family gatherings where older generations teach children the tradition of marshmallow roasting at dusk, to classy catered moonlit parties featuring formalwear and champagne toasts at midnight, fire pits make any style of outdoor gathering special. Here are a few obvious perks:
Wood-burning Fire Pits are Cost-Efficient
Worried that the cost will put the purchase and use of an outdoor fireplace out-of-reach? That's not the case.
Outdoor fire pits are available in styles to suit almost any budget. And the cost of using wood as a fuel for an outdoor fire pit compares favorably to the operating cost for gas or propane units.
Wood logs can burn for approximately four to eight hours, depending upon the type of wood and the area's current airflow. And partially burned logs can be saved for continued use at a later date.
The Portable Design of Outdoor Fire Pits is a Plus
Since there is no need to hook up to a utility connection like a gas or propane line, a wood fire pit can be placed anywhere you want. Whether you want to relax by the fire on the beach, on your patio, or in the woods, a wood burning fire pit can make it happen. Select models may come with foldable legs, allowing you to easily transport them from your preferred destination by car.
Fire Pits are Great For Backyard Cooking
Foods prepared over a wood fire absorb a smoky, wood flavor. Wood-fire fueled cooking feels like traditional cooking. You can even prepare comfort foods like 'smores. As you search, look out for models that come with a cooking grids. These outdoor appliances can replace a grill in some instances to help you whip up burgers and franks together with your loved ones. Nothing says old-fashioned like cooking around a wood fire!
This round stainless steel wood-burning fire pit from Curonian is definitely one of our favorites. At 25 in. wide, you can fit the whole family around it for telling stories, making s'mores, and whatever else you want to do. The pit and the legs are both made from high-grade steel, and the pit has a unique weathered finish that takes on a rusted appearance without sacrificing its strength. Meanwhile, the legs are finished by hand, providing a sturdy base. With the optional stainless steel barbecue grate accessory, you can use your fire pit to cook burgers as well. Because it arrives fully assembled, you can start using your fire pit right away. And you can position it in six different heights to fit any yard.
One of our best small wood-burning fire pits is powerful and portable, and it comes from Fire Sense. At just 22 in. wide, it can fit in the smallest backyards, but it still packs quite a punch. It comes with a variety of accessories, including a log grate, a cooking grate, and a screen lifting tool. The spark screen prevents sparks from flying away from your fire pit, adding a layer of safety without sacrificing beauty or function. It's simple to assemble, making it ideal for camping or cookouts. And it all fits in the included carrying bag, so once it's cooled off it will be easy to take home.
If you're in the market for a smokeless fire pit, this one from US Stove is one of our favorites. Made from sturdy stainless steel with a cast iron burner, it's sure to last for years. Its outside top ring makes it portable, and its flat bottom has a removable burner that's easy to clean. Its 31 in. width can fit seasoned cordwood up to 25 in. long, making it ideal for heavy-duty use. But the real star of the show here is the secondary combustion system, which reburns the smoke from your fire. This not only makes using a wood fire pit easier for you, your family, and your neighbors, but it makes it more efficient as well. This fire pit is incredibly versatile, suitable for use as a portable unit or as an insert for a masonry or stone fire pit.
Do you want a wood burning fire pit that has a chimney? This 25-in. one from Endless Summer one is one of the best. It provides you with the aesthetics of an old-fashioned wood stove, but instead of sitting next to your wall, it gives a view of your fire from any angle. The chimney controls the smoke, and the 360-degree grate protects you and your friends from errant sparks. The fire pit is constructed from cast iron with a gorgeous black coating, and it even comes with a retractable cooking surface that lets you use it for grilling.
This large wood-burning fire pit is also one of the most dramatically elegant ones that we have to offer, so it's only fitting that it comes from Fire Pit Art and the brand's Bella Vita Collection. At 46.5 in. wide, it can light up your whole night for years to come (and this size isn't even the largest one they make in this style). It's constructed from 1/4-in. thick 304 stainless steel, which stands up to corrosion and to your fire's heat. The bowl has a matte finish that complements the polished base, and the included drain prevents water from building up inside it when you don't have a fire going.
Cons of Outdoor Wood-Burning Fire Pits:
Every fire pit may not be right for your home or preferences. But if you have a backyard or patio of moderate size, chances are you'll be able to find a fire pit that suits your needs and the theme of your home's outdoor setting.
Ember and Smoke Production may Not be Compatible With Every Location
Depending upon which direction the wind usually blows at your location, smoke inhalation problems could result from a wood burning fire pit that's inappropriately placed. That would be an uncomfortable threat for any family members or guests, especially those with asthma.
Fire pits also carry the risk of embers blowing away from the site and igniting nearby objects. Checking wind conditions before starting a fire in the pit and remaining in the vicinity until you put the fire out help prevent problems.
Some Environmentally Conscious Buyers may Prefer Another Fuel Choice
Gas and propane-fueled outdoor fire pits are favored by some. Liquid fuels burn cleaner than wood. Therefore, though many people love the ambience of a wood fire, gas or propane may be a better option for the environmentally conscious.
Do you have to check local laws before getting a fire pit?
Yes. You'll need to review the laws governing fire pit construction and use in your state, and your city/county as well. Most locales allow fire pits, with certain restrictions.
What are some safety rules to follow when enjoying an outdoor wood-burning fire pit?
Outdoor fire pits are inherently safe, if properly designed and enjoyed with care and vigilance. Here are some important guidelines for enjoyable backyard celebrations centered around a wood-burning fire pit.
- Be aware of wind conditions
- Keep an eye on the flames
- Don't place the fire pit near buildings or flammable objects - keep chairs and tables at a safe distance
- Don't use construction lumber as fuel
- Be prepared to extinguish the blaze at any time
- Follow local laws and no-burn alerts
What type of wood should I burn in my fire pit?
Kiln-dried hardwoods are best. Soft woods are more prone to popping embers and they normally give off more smoke.