The 11 Best Fire Pits of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The Hampton Bay Piedmont Steel Fire Pit is our favorite

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Real Flame Anson Wood Burning Fire Pit being tested

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

If you enjoy cozy outdoor nights with the perfect ambiance and amount of warmth, you may want to upgrade your backyard and invest in a fire pit.

According to Larry Campbell, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board, when considering where to place your firepit, you need to keep in mind “safety is always first” and “you need to be sure the area you plan to use the fire pit is a fireproof type surface. If you choose wood, a dirt area surrounded by paver stones works well to be safe.”

We tested 17 wood-burning fire pits in our own backyards, and methodically evaluated their ease of assembly, heating performance, smoke control, design, extra features, and value. To test heating performance, we started a fire in a given pit and sat around each of its sides to determine how the heat felt from different angles and whether the heat was evenly distributed. In regard to ease of use, we considered how easy it was to start and control the fire, as well as how easy it was to use a given fire pit’s additional features.

The Hampton Bay Piedmont Steel Fire Pit is our top pick, thanks to its capacious bowl, its attractive and simple design, and its screen’s ability to effectively keep flying embers at bay.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Hampton Bay Piedmont 30 in. Steel Fire Pit

4.8
Hampton Bay Piedmont 30 in. Steel Fire Pit

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    4.5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Straightforward design

  • Bowl depth

  • Effective spark screen

  • Attractive design

What We Don't Like
  • Needs to be covered

  • No written instructions

The Hampton Bay Piedmont Steel Fire Pit has an easy-to-use, easy-to-manage, attractive design, making it our favorite fire pit that we tested. One of the most appealing aspects of this model is its simplicity. While it doesn’t have any special controls for controlling the flames or smoke, it can also serve as a grill and comes with a poker and a mesh screen. It has a conveniently sized bowl, too. We noted that the size and depth of the bowl allowed us to place a good amount of firewood in and move it around with ease.

We were able to fully assemble the fire pit in 21 minutes and found the directions a little hard to follow, with diagrams instead of written instructions. But once we were finished with assembly, we didn’t have any difficulties using the unit and were able to get the fire started quickly. We could easily maintain the fire by using the poker and adding more firewood,

The poker conveniently has a hook at one of its ends, which makes removing and adjusting the mesh cover easy when you need to add more wood. The lid itself is light, easy to move, and feels sturdy. We had no problem lifting the lid when it came time to roast a marshmallow, for instance. Also, throughout the duration of our time using the fire pit, we didn't experience any embers escaping through the screen. 

In terms of design, the fire pit has a plain, but clean and stylish appearance. However, to keep the fire pit looking like new, you will need to cover it up, otherwise, rust will develop on the screen (although we found the rest of the fire pit still looked great). Overall, the unit offers a simple, yet effective design at a great value, and is an essential addition to any outdoor space.

Price at time of publish: $149

Dimensions: 23 x 29 x 29.3 inches | Material: Steel | Fuel Type: Wood | Features: Grill, smoke screen, poker

Best Budget

Yaheetech 32" Outdoor Fire Pit

4.8
Yaheetech 32" Outdoor Fire Pit

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    4/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Easy to assemble and use

  • Poker and grill included

  • Unique design

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't fit a lot of wood

  • Could be better for grilling

The Yaheetech Fire Pit 32-inCH Fire Pit is our best budget-friendly pick, thanks to its attractive and manageable design, included accessories, large bowl, and price point. The unit comes with a trapezoid-shaped mesh cover, a poker with a hooked end, and two grill grates. Plus, it has a rust-resistant coating, so you shouldn't have to worry if you leave it uncovered.

Although this is not noted as being a smokeless fire pit, the unit produced less smoke than we expected. We also found it easy to clean, as we only needed to lift the unit to expel the ashes from the pit. Note that while this fire pit has a large bowl, we do recommend making sure it's not overloaded with wood to keep the smoke, embers, and sparks under control.

We think this fire pit is a good option for grilling hamburgers and hotdogs once its flames subside, though it still wouldn't be our first choice for grilling due to its height (but it's certainly doable if it's your only option). However, we think it can serve as a good option to take with you camping, since it's fairly lightweight, weighing 22 pounds, which makes it a reasonably manageable option to move around.

Price at time of publish: $116

Dimensions: 32 x 32 x 25.2 inches | Material: Iron | Fuel Type: Wood | Features: Grill, smoke screen, poker

Best Splurge

Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit

4.9
Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Smoke Control
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Speedy assembly

  • Large bowl

  • Rustic aesthetic

  • Sturdy

What We Don't Like
  • Not easily portable

  • No accessories included

The Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit has a sturdy build, a large bowl that allows it to produce a good amount of heat, and a unique, rustic design. The fire pit is made from steel, and once the fire starts burning, it turns a bronze color (courtesy of the Patina layer it develops when the fire burns). We think this is a stylish heat source and could blend seamlessly into any outdoor living space.

We were able to quickly assemble this unit in approximately one minute. No tools were required, and we only had to attach the bottom piece to the main unit to set it all up. We found the handles and weight made it easy to move around the yard, but it's not the best option for bringing to a tailgate or on camping trips. On the plus side, we found this fire pit to be very sturdily built. In fact, while testing the fire pit, wind speeds reached around 30 MPH, and, unlike our patio furniture, this fire pit did not move with the wind. 

While it is noted as being a smokeless model, we did notice some smoke, but it was very minimal. It's also worth noting that accessories for the unit, such as a lid and poker, must be purchased separately.

Although the Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit is one of the most expensive options on this list, if you want to add an interesting focal point to your yard, we think it's unique design, durability, and little to no smoke, makes it worth the splurge.

Price at time of publish: $600

Dimensions: 27.5 x 27.5  x 14.75 inches| Material: Steel | Fuel Type: Wood | Features: Smokeless

Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit

The Spruce / Tammy Gardini

Best Wood Burning

Tiki Brand 25-Inch Smokeless Fire Pit

4.7
Tiki Brand 25-Inch Smokeless Fire Pit

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    5/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Smoke Control
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Low maintenance

  • Comes with pellet fire starter bag

  • Nice warmth

  • Sophisticated design

What We Don't Like
  • Two people needed for assembly

  • No additional accessories included

We were very impressed with the Tiki Fire Pit’s heating performance. While standing five feet away from the pit, we were still able to significantly feel the warmth. Even at a greater distance, we could still feel the fire’s warmth, even though it wasn't as strong. Overall, we found the heat to be evenly distributed and have a nice feel.

The unit comes with a pellet fire starter bag, and we found the pellets matched their claim of lasting approximately 30 minutes: The flames were pretty high for about 15 minutes then started to die down for the next 15 minutes. We loved that we did not need to even tend to the fire when using the pellets fire pack—we could just sit back and relax around the fire! Outside of its heating performance, we also like the fire pit’s modern appearance, and we think it makes for a nice decorative touch to any backyard.

We also tested the fire pit using wood only, and we found the heating performance to be as great as with the pellets. We also noticed that the smoke output was about the same as we did not notice any when using the pellets, and only a barely traceable amount with the wood. If you prefer the pellets, you can always order more, at a price that we found comparable to purchasing regular firewood.

Assembling the fire pit was quick and straightforward, as we only needed to use three screws to attach the base to the main unit. However, we found the assembly process to be a two-person job, since we needed to lift the firepit and line up the screws to properly attach the base. The fire pit comes with a cover, and it also comes with an ash-collecting tray, though you will have to use your own brush to fully expel the ashes from the tray once the fire pit has cooled down. Extra accessories such as a fire poker are sold separately.

Price at time of publish: $395

Dimensions: 24.75 x 24.75  x 18.75 inches | Material: Stainless Steel | Fuel Type: Wood/Pellets | Features: Smokeless with pellets

Tiki Brand 25-Inch Smokeless Fire Pit

The Spruce / Emma Tollefson

Best Large

Real Flame Anson Wood Burning Fire Pit

4.7
Real Flame Anson Wood Burning Fire Pit

Target

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Smoke Control
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Evenly distributes heat

  • Minimalist and modern style

  • Great spark screen

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to move

Our favorite large fire pit is the Real Flame Anson Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit, which measures 20.25 inches high, 36 inches wide, and 31.5 inches deep. The fire pit has a smooth, minimalist appearance and is shaped like a large, deep bowl, making it a stylish addition to any outdoor setup. While testing, we used 10 logs and newspaper as kindle to start the fire, and we found the heat distribution to be perfect from every angle. Also, we found that maintaining the fire was fairly undemanding. There was also minimal smoke produced when using dry firewood. This fire pit also comes with a spark screen which did a great job of keeping embers inside.

Assembling the fire pit took us 15 minutes, and while it did come with instructions, the process was straightforward enough that we didn’t need to heavily rely on them. We did need to use our own pliers and screwdriver, otherwise all the necessary materials were included.

The unit is expensive, and we wish the base and the bowl of the unit were attached, because we couldn’t move the pit individually and needed one person to move the bowl and another person to move the base. The fire pit is also quite heavy, weighing 59 pounds, so—needless to say— if you are looking for a unit that can easily be moved around, this may not be the model for you.

In addition to the spark screen, the unit also comes with a log grate, fire poker, and cover. We found that the included cover was perfect for inclement weather storage.

Price at time of publish: $648

Dimensions: 20.25 x 36 X 31.5 inches | Material: Steel | Fuel Type: Wood | Features: Fire poker, log grate, and cover

Real Flame Anson Wood Burning Fire Pit being tested

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

Best Design

Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit

5
Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit

Frontgate

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Large diameter

  • Very sturdy

  • Stylish copper bowl

  • Simple assembly

What We Don't Like
  • Spark screen sold separately

  • Heavy

  • Not approved for cooking

Balancing function, style, and durability, we think the Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit has the best design among the fire pits we tested. It has a copper bowl and iron base, which offers an attractive contrast of colors and gives the unit a look that is both sophisticated and rustic. We also love that the unit has a wide base and sturdy build—the base is made of thick and heavy metal, and held up well on windy days.

This unit was easy to assemble since we only had to place the bowl on the stand and then the grate inside the bowl. The entire assembly process took us less than five minutes. Unfortunately, if you would like to have a spark screen for added safety, you will need to purchase that component separately.

In regard to the unit’s heating performance, its bowl is deep, allowing you to create a fire in a range of sizes. While testing, we created a smaller fire with five logs, but we felt the bowl could have easily fit twice as much. The unit is also noted as being able to hold logs up to two feet long. 

We also appreciated the size of the pit, as it has a 40-inch diameter and stands 14 inches high. We were able to place five Adirondack chairs around the unit, but there was still lots of space to add more people if needed. If you plan to host some guests around the fire pit, it is important to note it is not approved for cooking. Also, the fire pit is hard to move, in part, due to its 66-pound weight, so it’s not the best option if you’re looking for an easy-to-move model.

Price at time of publish: $649

Dimensions: 40 x 40 x 14 inches | Material: Copper/Iron | Fuel Type: Wood | Features: No extra features included

Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit

The Spruce / Jodi Espinosa

Best Smokeless

Solo Stove Yukon 2.0

4.9
Solo Stove Yukon 2.0

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    4.5/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Smoke Control
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Pushes smoke upward

  • Even heat distribution

  • Useful extra accessories

  • Portable

What We Don't Like
  • More logs needed to maintain fire

If you are looking for a great smokeless option that you can use in your backyard or take with you camping, we recommend the Solo Stove Yukon 2.0. The unit is made of three pieces, and it is easy to assemble thanks to its clear instructions. It also weighs 41 pounds, and is designed to be portable. The unit also comes with a ring that can go under the pit to protect grass underneath it, as well as a removable ash tray that helps streamline the cleaning process.  

While using this fire pit, we were pleased with how evenly the heat was distributed. We were able to feel the warmth without it feeling overpowering. Maintaining the fire required slightly more maintenance compared to other models, and we felt that the fire needed to be fed more firewood more often than other models. However, adding wood and kindle to the unit was a seamless process, and we do like that the bowl was decently sized and able to hold up to six firewood logs.

Larry Campbell, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board tells us that when burning wood, smoke is inevitable. However, this unit is designed to funnel all the smoke straight up (instead of blowing at you with the wind). We were unable to smell the smoke and barely able to see the smoke. However, be sure to properly follow the instructions to take advantage of the smokeless feature. When we first used the unit, we did not properly start and maintain the fire and, as a result, a lot of smoke was created due to our user-based error. When we used the unit again, and properly maintained the fire with smaller wood pieces, we found the smokeless feature worked well.

Dimensions: 17 x 27 x 27 inches | Material: Stainless Steel | Fuel Type: Wood | Features: Smokeless

Solo Stove Yukon 2.0

The Spruce / Jennifer May

Best Tabletop

Solo Stove Mesa

4.5
Solo Stove Mesa

Solo Stove

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    4/5
  • Design
    4.5/5
  • Smoke Control
    3.8/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
What We Like
  • Compact and light

  • Useful accessories

  • Smokeless when using pellets

  • Available in multiple colors

What We Don't Like
  • Not as much heating power

  • Outside gets hot

  • Maintenance when using pellets

If you’re looking for a fire pit that you can place and enjoy on a tabletop, we recommend the Mesa Smokeless Tabletop Firepit. The unit is compact, measuring 5.1 inches in diameter and 6.8 inches tall, as well as lightweight, weighing only 1.24 pounds. The unit comes with a stand and a carrying bag, making it easy to tote around and use in different settings. It also comes with a pellet adapter, so you can choose between using regular kindling or pellets to start the fire.

A fire pit of this size is not going to provide as much warmth as a larger model, but we were still pleasantly surprised by the amount of warmth and the size of the flame it provided. In fact, we think it's ideal for crisp fall days when you want just a warm, cozy ambiance. Overall, this is a great portable option at a great value, costing less than $100.  

When using regular kindling, we did detect smoke, athough it was not an overwhelming amount. However, when we used the wood pellets and pellet adapter, we were able to enjoy smokeless warmth. That being said, the fire pellets did require more fire maintenance on our part, and we only recorded about 10 minutes of solid burn time when using the pellets. You can add more pellets to sustain the fire, but we recommend adding them slowly because, one time when the fire was getting low, we dumped a bunch of pellets at once and it smothered the flames entirely.

We also found that the outside gets very hot, so you will want to be careful when near it or when trying to move it. On the plus side, we found that it is quick to cool down, too, and we were able to touch the unit approximately 10 minutes after the fire stopped burning. We also really appreciate the simplicity of the design, and that it is available in multiple colors. 

Dimensions: 5.1 x 5.1 x 6.8 inches | Material: Stainless Steel/Ceramic | Fuel Type: Firewood/Pellets | Features: Pellet adapter

Solo Stove Mesa

The Spruce / Hannah Freedman

Best Modern

Novogratz Asher 27-Inch Wood Burning Fire Pit

4.5
Novogratz Asher 27-Inch Wood Burning Fire Pit

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    4.5/5
  • Design
    4/5
  • Smoke Control
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Attractive design and shape

  • Available in multiple colors

  • Nice warmth

  • Includes grill and accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Bowl could be deeper

  • Long wait to start grilling

If you want a fire pit with a unique shape and modern appearance, we recommend the Novogratz Poolside Collection, Asher 27" Wood Burning Fire Pit. This fire pit has a rounded, bubble-like shape and is available in an array of colors, including red, aqua, green, white, and gray. We also think it's a great value due to its even heating performance and accessories including a grill, grill tool, lid, spark screen, and rain cover.

We were able to assemble the unit in around 10 minutes. While there were no instructions, each part was clearly labeled and we only had to place the various included parts, such as the grill grate and screen, into the main unit.

While creating a fire, we noted that the bowl was not as deep as those you find in other models and we needed to purchase a specific type of wood that would fit. Plus, around thirty minutes after our initial startup of the fire, we had to add more wood to refuel it, so the fire pit did require some maintenance. However, the unit provided an overall pleasant and even warmth. We also appreciated that the fire pit did not generate much smoke, noting that after using the pit our clothes and hair didn't smell smoky at all, which was a huge plus.

We also enjoyed grilling hot dogs on the fire pit. However, you will need some patience—because of the shallowness of the bowl, we had to wait 45 to 50 minutes for the flames to go down enough for grilling to be possible.

Price at time of publish: $276

Dimensions: 27 x 27 x 14.5 inches | Material: Steel | Fuel Type: Wood | Features: Grill, grill tool, spark screen, lid, and rain cover

Novogratz Asher 27-Inch Wood Burning Fire Pit

The Spruce / Ashley Craiger

Best with Grill

Barebones Living Cowboy 23-Inch Fire Pit & Grill

4.6
Barebones Living Cowboy 23-Inch Fire Pit & Grill

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Heating Performance
    4.2/5
  • Design
    5/5
  • Smoke Control
    4.4/5
  • Value
    3.8/5
What We Like
  • Adjustable grill pole

  • Even warmth

  • Easy startup

  • Beautiful and portable design

What We Don't Like
  • Accessories sold separately

  • Needs to be covered or will rust

  • Expensive

The Barebones Living Cowboy 23" Fire Pit & Grill is perfect for those who love grilling and entertaining outdoors. It comes with an adjustable pole that lets you adjust the height of the included grill grate so you have better control of the cooking temperature. The unit is also compatible with a handy side table add-on accessory—purchased separately—to keep grill utensils, food, and plates nearby.

In order to assemble the unit, we only had to attach the three legs and situate the grill grate. If you choose to use the pole feature, you will need to use a bolt to securely mount it. Since it is made from stainless steel, we recommend covering the fire pit when not in use to protect it from rust.

Starting up the fire with kindling was a seamless experience, and we found the wood burned evenly. We also liked the handles on the side which made it easy to move. Overall, we think this would be a great option if you want a fire pit you can take with you, especially if you like to grill.

Price at time of publish: $400

Dimensions: : 23.75 x 23.75 x 14.5 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Fuel Type: Wood/Kindling | Features: Adjustable grill pole

Best Propane

Hampton Bay Park Canyon 35 in. Steel Propane Fire Pit Kit

Hampton Bay Park Canyon 35 in. Round Steel Propane Fire Pit Kit

Home Depot

What We Like
  • Auto-shutoff safety feature

  • Adjustable heat

  • Stylish design

  • Sturdy build

What We Don't Like
  • Price

  • Low seat capacity

  • Difficult-to-access controls

The Hampton Bay Park Canyon 35 in. Steel Propane Fire Pit Kit is a stylish, propane-fueled fire pit with effective heating power. This is the only model in this roundup we did not have first-hand experience testing. The unit has a heat output of 50000 BTUs and is capable of warming a space up to 215 square feet in size. The heater is easy to use, as it starts with the press of a button.

Its heating power is also adjustable, though the controls are not easily accessible, as they are located in the unit’s base behind a door. However, this does keep the controls tucked away and safe. We appreciate the safety components, too, including an auto-shutoff feature and a mesh guard.  

You will need to assemble the fire pit, but it comes with all of the tools needed to put it together. The unit has a 35-inch diameter and a 26-inch height. With a weight of nearly 93 pounds, this is not a portable option and it is not easy to move around. However, its weight and steel frame help it to stand sturdy. While it has a durable build, you will want to make sure you properly store or cover it to prevent any damage.

One of the main downsides of the unit is that it’s expensive and is on the smaller side (perfect for four people to sit around it). On the other hand, it brings you easy-to-control heat and has a nice decorative appeal for the price. The base balances a modern sleekness with a rustic design, while the resin table is a practical and stylish addition. 

Price at time of publish: $499

Dimensions: 35 x 35 x 26 inches | Material: Steel | Fuel Type: Propane | Features: Adjustable heat

Final Verdict

After methodically testing and comparing various fire pits, the Hampton Bay Piedmont Steel Fire Pit is our top pick, since it offers an efficient and attractive design with a nice-sized bowl and a great overall value. If you’re looking for a larger-sized fire pit, we recommend the Real Flame Anson Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit, since it provides even heat distribution, has a uniquely minimalistic design, and a sizable, deep bowl.

Real Flame Anson Wood Burning Fire Pit

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

How We Tested the Fire Pits

The Spruce tested 17 fire pits in our backyards. We followed a meticulous testing methodology in order to properly test and evaluate each product’s ease of assembly, ease of use, heating performance, smoke control, design, extra features, and value. We rated each attribute based on our experiences using each unit, and we included the best performing and highest scoring units in this roundup.

In order to evaluate ease of assembly, we timed how long we needed to fully set up each fire pit. We also noted which fire pits came with all the necessary tools for building and which models required additional tools, as well as the clarity of a given model’s included instructions. In order to test heating performance, we set on all sides of a given fire pit and noted if the heat felt pleasant and evenly distributed. We also allowed the fire to run for a minimum of one hour before extinguishing the fire, and we used each fire pit at least three times for at least one hour. We also evaluated the fire pits’ smoke control.  Propane fire pits typically do not produce smoke, and some wood burning fire pits are labeled as being “low smoke” or “smokeless,” so for such models we noted whether or not smoke was detected. If smoke was produced, we judged whether the amount was low, moderate, or high. 

When it came to rating ease of use, we noted whether the start-up process was smooth and straightforward or if it was finicky and required multiple attempts. For the wood-burning fire pits, we built a fire following each unit’s set of instructions. We used standard firewood, which measured about 16-inches long, and counted how many logs were able to fit into each unit. We evaluated a variety of other factors as well, such as how easy it was to produce and maintain, as well as regulate the strength of the flame. For fire pits that included grills, we considered how easy the grill was to set up and how well it fit onto the pit. We also cooked hamburgers or hotdogs on the grill and noted how efficiently it was able to cook such meats. When we were done with the fire-related tests, we tested how easy it was to clean and store each fire pit.

When evaluating design and extra features, we analyzed the usefulness of any additional and functional design elements, such as an integrated table, as well as any additional tools, such as a firewood poker. We also noted the fire pits’ abilities to contain sparks, and tested this trait both with and without a screen for fire pits that came with a spark screen. Our evaluation of a fire pit’s value was based on whether a given fire pit's features and performance were below, on par, or beyond what could be expected for its price point.

Solo Stove Yukon 2.0

The Spruce / Jennifer May

What to Look For in a Fire Pit

Size

It is important to note a fire pit’s dimensions before purchasing a unit. You should measure how much room you have available in your outdoor space to hold a fire pit, and see how that compares to the dimensions of the fire pit you would like to buy. Keep in mind the following fire pit safety tips as well as the safety-related advice from The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board’s Larry Campbell that you should be placing your firepit in an area with a “fireproof type surface.” 

It’s also important to make sure you don’t buy a fire pit that will take up too much of your available space since you will likely want to divide your outdoor area and place chairs around the unit so you can leisurely enjoy the fire pit’s warmth and ambiance, as well as comfortably host guests. Another relevant factor to consider when deciding what size fire pit to purchase is how many people you would like to host around the fire pit. The larger the diameter, length, or width of a firepit, the more people you will be able to sit around the fire pit. Our pick for the fire pit with the best design, the Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit, has a diameter of 40 inches, and we noted that we were able to place five Adirondack chairs around the fire pit and still have room for more chairs.

Burn Type

The main types of fire pits are wood-burning fire pits, propane fire pits, and natural gas fire pits. Our roundup consists of all wood-burning fire pits and one propane fire pit. Campbell says to “remember that wood requires work whereas propane is a simple turn of a knob.” This is because once a fire starts to dwindle in a wood-burning fire pit, you will need to add more wood to sustain the fire. You will also have to keep a stock of firewood if you want to be able to use your wood-burning fire pit at a moment’s notice. 

One of the major benefits of opting for a wood-burning fire pit is that they produce more heat than propane or natural gas-fueled fire pits. Campbell tells us other benefits of wood-burning pits include that they are typically “cheap to fuel” and “cheaper to purchase,” while some downsides of wood-burning fire pits are that they are “messy” to use, require the added step disposing of ashes, and have a longer cool-down period. 

Propane fire pits also have their own benefits. Campbell lists “clean burning,” a smokeless burn, and a quicker cool-down period as some positives that come with opting for a propane-fueled fire pit. On the other hand, Campbell tells us some cons of a propane-fueled fire pit are that they don’t produce as hot or as realistic-looking of a fire, and that they are typically not portable. Keep in mind propane fire pits typically rely on propane tanks as their fuel-source, which can be heavy and pricey and require refills.

Natural gas fire pits need to be linked up to a gas line, which means you won’t be able to move the fire pit—it essentially becomes a fixed part of your property, which can be a pro or a con depending on your personal preferences. This also means you will have to be aware of certain natural gas-related safety concerns. Installation of natural gas fire pits can also be more tasking, and this type of fire pit also doesn't produce as much heat as wood-burning units. However, natural gas fire pits also don’t have as much maintenance, since they don’t require you to refill a propane tank or stock up on fire wood.

Some fire pit models may be noted as being “smokeless.” When it comes to wood-burning fire pits, Campbell notes that “once wood is involved smoke is inevitable,” so smokeless fire pits “are usually gas type.” However, there are still wood-burning fire pits that are specially designed to produce a limited amount of smoke and are thus virtually smokeless. For instance, our pick for the best smokeless fire pit, the Yukon 2.0, is a wood-burning fire pit. However, as our tester noted, it pushes the smoke upward, which means our tester could not smell the smoke and was barely able to see it as well.

Additional Features

Some fire pits come with extra accessories and features that can make starting, maintaining, or utilizing a given fire pit easier or safer. For instance, some fire pits come with mesh guards or spark screens to cover the fire and stop flying sparks/embers, while others come with fire pokers to help you stoke the fire. Certain wood-fueled models, such as our pick for the best tabletop fire pit—the Mesa Smokeless Tabletop Firepit—come with a pellet adapter and allow you to use pellets to create a more smokeless fire, while certain propane-fueled models come with a safety auto-shutoff feature and/or an adjustable heat feature. 

If you’re looking to use your fire pit to cook things like hot dogs and hamburgers, you may want to look for a model that comes with a grill grate and is approved for cooking. Our pick for the best fire pit with a grill, the Barebones Living Cowboy 23" Fire Pit & Grill, not only comes with a grill grate, but also a pole that allows you to adjust the height of the grill grate and, consequently, the temperature at which you cook your food. It also has a table add-on you can purchase separately.

Yaheetech 32" Outdoor Fire Pit

The Spruce / Ashley Bayley

FAQ
  • What is the best material for a fire pit?

    The best material for a fire pit will vary depending on your personal preferences and needs. Both steel and aluminum fire pits tend to be durable and easy to move. Cast iron fire pits, on the other hand, are heavy, but they’re also very sturdy and tend to be rust-resistant. They also tend to get hot quickly, which can be either a pro or a con, depending on your heating preferences. Stone fire pits can be made with materials such as retaining wall blocks and pavers, and they can be made in various styles with personal touches to best match your outdoor aesthetic.

    Campbell recommends “plate steel or well-ventilated aluminum (solo type)” fire pits. He tells us that if you think you’ll frequently move your fire pit, a “well-ventilated aluminum (solo type) is best,” whereas if you don’t intend to frequently move your fire pit, “plate steel is best due to its weight.” And if you don't plan to move your fire pit at all, Campbell tells us “a stone type made from prefab interlocking paver stones made for retaining walls is best.”

  • What type of fire pit gives off the most heat?

    Wood burns hotter than propane, which means wood-burning fire pits give off more heat than propane fire pits. However, the quality of the fire you can create in a wood-burning fire pit will depend on the type of wood you use and its quality. For instance, dry and dense fire wood tends to generate the best type of heat output. In regard to the material of the fire pit, Campbell tells us that, while vented aluminum fire pits may be aesthetically pleasing, they are “not the best for heat.” On the other hand, “plate steel allows for hotter fire and holds heat longer.”

  • What is a smokeless fire pit?

    A smokeless fire pit is a fire pit designed to produce either no smoke or a limited amount of smoke. As Campbell tells us, while gas-type fire pits tend to be smokeless, smoke is bound to be produced when burning wood, which means smoke is bound to be produced when using a wood-burning fire pit. However, some wood-burning fire pits are specially designed to minimize the amount of smoke produced so they are practically smokeless. According to Campbell, smokeless wood-burning fire pits reduce the amount of smoke produced, in part, by burning the wood extra hot. With our pick for the best smokeless fire pit, the Yukon 2.0, we also see how a fire pit can limit the smell and sight of smoke by directing the smoke upward.

  • How do I choose the right-sized fire pit?

    According to Campbell, there are three main factors you should consider when deciding what size fire pit you should buy: the size of your available outdoor area, the number of people you would like to be able to sit around the fire pit, and, for wood-burning fire pits, you should also think about how much firewood you have available for fuel.

Yaheetech 32" Outdoor Fire Pit

The Spruce / Amber Leventry

Why Trust The Spruce?

Sarah Toscano is a freelance writer for The Spruce, specializing in all things related to home tech and smart home products. All but one of the fires pits included in this roundup were tested by The Spruce, where we followed a meticulous testing methodology to evaluate important qualities and functions of each unit. Toscano carefully researched the one model that was not tested, as she read through scores of customer reviews and discussion forums and analyzed the product's specs to make sure it was worth including. Toscano also consulted with Larry Campbell, a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board, in order to gain expert insights for this article.

What Is the Spruce Approved?

Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut.

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