An outdoor fireplace is a source of warmth and a focal point for backyard get-togethers, even on chilly nights.
Budget, placement, and function are the most important factors to consider when shopping for an outdoor fireplace, according to Kimberly Greenwell, home education expert and host of the TV show, My Southern Home. "Budget will significantly affect the size of the fireplace and the materials used to construct it." A small chiminea or a portable steel fireplace will cost much less than an outdoor fireplace made of brick, concrete, or stone veneer. Regardless of whether you're looking for a functional but simple model or a large outdoor fireplace with a hearth, there are plenty of options to pick from.
We researched dozens of outdoor fireplaces, evaluating ease of assembly and use, durability, heat output, and smoke control.
Sunjoy Electra Wood-Burning Outdoor Fireplace
Chimney for venting smoke
Steel mesh doors for spark protection
Attractive stone finish
Shelf for storage of firewood
Prone to rust if not covered
For a functional and attractive outdoor fireplace, the Sunjoy Electra is our top choice. This wood burning option has a functional chimney to dissipate smoke, a removable ash pan for easy clean-up, and metal mesh doors to eliminate worries about shooting sparks and escaping embers during use.
The Sunjoy Electra Outdoor Fireplace is constructed with a powder-coated steel frame and finished with a manufactured stone façade, for a rustic look. The focal point is the firebox with steel mesh doors, which allow for easy access when you need to add wood to the fire or stoke the flames. A removable grate inside the firebox supports the logs, which can be stored on the shelf underneath.
One advantage of choosing an outdoor fireplace with a chimney, as you’ll find on this Sunjoy model, is the fact that smoke is directed up and out of the fireplace. This can make it more enjoyable to sit around the fireplace and enjoy the warmth and flames, without smoke directed at you. While this fireplace is designed for outdoor use, it’s worth noting that it’s not weatherproof. When exposed to precipitation, the exposed steel of the chimney or frame can begin to rust. Unless you’re placing it in a covered area or live in a very dry climate, you may want to use a tarp or cover to prevent rust formation.
Price at time of publish: $1,515
Dimensions: 48.03 x 24.02 x 41.93 | Material: Steel, stone | Style: Traditional | Fuel Type: Wood
Endless Summer Wood Burning Outdoor Fireplace with Chimney
Includes grate for cooking food
Removable ash pan
360-degree view of the fire
Not as tall as some other options
Basic utilitarian design
You can spend less on an outdoor fireplace by choosing a freestanding, metal option without a stone surround or facade. This model from Endless Summer is a great example of how functional and affordable an outdoor fireplace can be. It has enough space in the fire bowl to accommodate four or five logs, a cooking grate for grilling up favorites like hotdogs or hamburgers, and a removable ash pan for quick clean-up after you put the fire out.
One advantage of the all-steel construction of the Endless Summer Wood-Burning Outdoor Fireplace is the 360-degree view of the fire. Regardless of where you sit or stand in relation to this outdoor fireplace, you’ll be able to see the flames inside and benefit from the warmth of the blaze. The chimney is not especially tall (the fireplace has a height of only 45 inches), but it serves to direct smoke and ash up and away from the area immediately surrounding the fireplace.
Price at time of publish: $240
Dimensions: 45 x 23 x 20 inches | Material: Steel | Style: Traditional | Fuel Type: Wood
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
Includes carrying case and stand
Fire bowl design reduces smoke
Lacks aesthetic appeal of a fireplace
A portable outdoor fireplace gives you the flexibility to enjoy the ambiance and warmth of a fire in a variety of locations. While most outdoor fireplaces are heavy and best left in a single location, the Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 is designed with portability in mind. It weighs only 23.3 pounds and includes a carrying case so that you can pack up and build a fire in a friend’s backyard, on the beach, camping, or anywhere else.
Aside from standing out as a portable alternative to a conventional outdoor fireplace, the Solo Stove is also unique for its patented airflow design that reduces smoke and extends burn time of the logs inside of the fire bowl. Even though it doesn’t have a chimney like traditional outdoor fireplaces, you won’t experience as much smoke while sitting around this firepit.
An included stand elevates the fire bowl and also makes it more versatile for use on heat-sensitive surfaces, like a wood deck. When the fire is out, you can access the removable ash pan at the base of the firepit for simple clean-up. The Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 is made of 304 stainless steel for durability and excellent heat-resistance in the face of high temperatures.
Price at time of publish: $300
Dimensions: 19.5 x 14 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Style: Firepit | Fuel Type: Wood
HeatMaxx 45 in. Outdoor Fireplace Chimenea
Wire mesh screen for visibility of flames on all sides
Fits standard 16-inch logs
Rain cap for chimney
Only 45 inches tall, including chimney
A chimenea fireplace is characterized by its wide-bottom vase form (with a side opening for loading firewood) and a narrow, tall chimney on top. This style of outdoor fireplace typically requires no installation and is popular for use on patios, porches, or decks.
The HeatMaxx 45 in. Outdoor Fireplace Chimenea stands out for its exterior cast iron construction. While it’s heavier than some other portable outdoor fireplaces, it won’t easily tip over, and it can withstand high heat. A wire mesh screen encloses the 22-inch fire cage and provides visibility on all sides of the chimenea, making it a great gathering spot on chilly evenings. The fire bowl is large enough to accommodate standard 16-inch cuts of firewood, which can easily be added through the sliding door at the front of the chimenea.
This chimenea is 45 inches tall, which is shorter than some other outdoor fireplaces. However, the design of the chimney helps to keep smoke moving up and away from your seating area. Plus, there's a rain cap at the top of the chimney to prevent rain from extinguishing the fire inside.
Price at time of publish: $211
Dimensions: 45.7 x 22 x 22 | Material: Cast iron | Style: Chiminea | Fuel Type: Wood
Touchstone Sideline Outdoor 50-inch Electric Fireplace
Adjustable flame settings and colors
Hardwired or plug-in installation
Includes remote control and timer settings
No heating function
The Touchstone Sideline Outdoor Electric Fireplace earns our nod for the best insert. It can be hardwired or plugged into a 120V outlet and offers various flame settings, including adjustments for color and intensity. When paired with an outdoor fireplace surround of your choice, it adds instant ambiance to your outdoor living area.
This electric fireplace insert measures 50 inches wide and is designed for outdoor applications. However, its purpose is purely aesthetic—there is no heating element on this model. Decorative logs and glass crystals are included, giving you the option to customize the look of the ember bed. There are three flame color options (orange, blue, and blue-orange) and five flame intensity settings. In total, you have 15 flame settings to choose from.
There’s no clean-up needed with an electric outdoor fireplace. Simply turn the unit on and off with the included remote control, or set a timer for 30 minutes to 7.5 hours.
Price at time of publish: $1,049
Dimensions: 17.9 x 50 x 6 inches | Material: Steel, glass | Style: Insert | Fuel Type: Electric
Necessories Santa Fe Compact Outdoor Fireplace
Tumbled concrete blocks resemble limestone
Compact footprint fits in most backyards
Cap pieces may require two people to lift
Stone outdoor fireplaces are sturdy, durable, and beautiful. They can also be costly to have custom-built. For a more affordable DIY outdoor fireplace option, consider the Necessories Santa Fe Compact Outdoor Fireplace. It includes everything you need to build a stone fireplace: pre-cut blocks, reinforcements, adhesive, gloves, and step-by-step instructions. The manufacturer estimates that this fireplace can be assembled in as little as two hours, but actual building time may vary.
This stone fireplace measures nearly 6 feet high and about 3.5 feet wide once assembled. It’s large enough to serve as a focal point for your outdoor living space but compact enough to fit in small backyards. The concrete blocks that construct this stone outdoor fireplace are tumbled to imitate the look of limestone and have a warm, neutral color tone to blend into your yard decor. The focal point of the fireplace is a brick-lined firebox that measures 26.5 inches tall, 29 inches wide, and 18.5 inches deep. Smoke is directed up and out of the fireplace through the chimney.
Price at time of publish: $3,410
Dimensions: 70 x 40 x 32 inches | Material: Concrete, brick | Style: Traditional | Fuel Type: Wood
Pavestone RumbleStone Outdoor Stone Fireplace
Stones treated to reduce UV fading
Includes 21-inch custom-fit log grate
Multiple color options to pick from
For a large and impressive option, we recommend the Pavestone RumbleStone Outdoor Stone Fireplace. While smaller outdoor fireplaces and chimeneas are convenient for tight spaces or small groups, an oversized outdoor fireplace makes a statement and is a great pick for entertaining spaces or large outside living spaces.
The RumbleStone Outdoor Stone Fireplace measures almost 8 feet tall and is 7 feet across. It does require assembly, but before you dismiss the project as too intimidating, consider the fact that the manufacturer includes the supplies and instructions you need to take this project from start to finish, with the exception of foundation materials, sand, shims, and a saw or chisel. If you’re still on the fence about assembling this large outdoor fireplace yourself, you can hire a professional to do the job for you. In either case, the end result is a beautiful, large wood burning fireplace with red, brown, or gray-hue stones that have been treated with iron oxide pigments to resist fading from UV exposure.
For the sake of durability, the chimney and firebox are lined with galvanized steel that has been coated with heat-resistant paint.
Price at time of publish: $4,499
Dimensions: 94.5 x 84 x 94.5 inches | Material: Stone | Style: Traditional | Fuel Type: Wood
Cuisinart Chiminea Propane Fire Pit
Excellent safety features
Steel construction for durability
40,000 BTU burner
Optional cover sold separately
Lacks wheels for easier repositioning
A propane outdoor fireplace is a quick and easy way to enjoy the flicker and warmth of flames, without the hassle of starting a fire or cleaning up ashes afterwards. If that level of convenience appeals to you, we recommend the Cuisinart Steel Chiminea as the best option. It features a 40,000 BTU heater, a cut-off switch if the flame goes out, and a tip-over safety switch—which makes this outdoor fireplace a great choice for use on a wood deck.
This outdoor fireplace has a chiminea design, with a wide-bottom fire bowl and a chimney, although there is no smoke to vent, due to the fact that this model uses propane fuel. While propane or gas outdoor fireplaces don’t output the same intensity of heat as wood-burning versions, this product includes a directional heat shield to maximize the impact of the heater. Lava rocks add an aesthetic element to the fire bowl, but they also trap and radiate heat. The size and design of this outdoor fireplace make it an attractive option to reposition as needed in your yard, but you’ll have to carry the 45-pound unit, since it doesn’t include wheels at the base.
Price at time of publish: $609
Dimensions: 48 x 31 x 31 inches | Material: Steel, stainless steel | Style: Chiminea | Fuel Type: Propane
The best overall outdoor fireplace is the Sunjoy Electra Outdoor Fireplace. It's our top choice, because it has a realistic stone veneer finish plus functional features like mesh doors to guard against sparks and a chimney for controlling smoke and ash. It also features a shelf for firewood and a removable ash pan for quick clean-up. On the other hand, if you're looking for a more compact option, consider the Endless Summer Wood-Burning Outdoor Fireplace. It's budget-friendly and smaller than other models, but it offers a 360-degree view of the flames, and it can easily be used for roasting marshmallows or hot dogs.
What to Look for in an Outdoor Fireplace
Outdoor fireplaces vary widely in size. The smallest versions are compact and easier to move around. For example, the Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0—our pick for the best portable outdoor fireplace—measures only about 18 inches tall and less than 20 inches across. This type of outdoor fireplace can fit on a small patio but won’t accommodate as many people gathered around it.
Outdoor fireplaces come in much larger sizes, as well. Some concrete-and-brick structures are more than 7 feet tall and have a large fireplace opening for gathering around. Of course, as the size increases, so do the space requirements and the budget for buying or building an outdoor fireplace.
Outdoor fireplaces are constructed of various fireproof materials. Steel and cast iron are among the most common options. Many stone veneer fireplaces also have a steel frame that gives support to the structure. The exterior of a traditional outdoor fireplace may feature concrete blocks or a stone veneer for aesthetic purposes and a brick firebox. This is true of our pick for the best stone option, the Necessories Santa Fe Compact Outdoor Fireplace. It has tumbled concrete blocks that imitate limestone and a brick-lined firebox for building a warm and toasty fire.
Picking the style of an outdoor fireplace is largely personal preference but will also depend on how you plan to use the fireplace. Aesthetically, outdoor fireplaces made of metal and stone usually have very different styles. Stone, concrete, or brick outdoor fireplaces are more traditional. A steel or cast iron fireplace may be more modern or utilitarian, depending on its design. Most people choose the style of fireplace that fits their backyard decor, along with space and budget constraints.
The style of an outdoor fireplace plays a functional role as well. Home education expert and host of the TV show, My Southern Home, Kimberly Greenwell says you should consider the following questions: “How do you want to use the fireplace? Do you want to sit in front of the fireplace or around it?” Traditional outdoor fireplaces with a hearth, like our best overall choice the Sunjoy Electra, project warmth and provide a view of the flames in front of the fireplace only. On the other hand, outdoor fireplaces with exposed or metal mesh sides, like our budget pick—the Endless Summer Wood-Burning Outdoor Fireplace—make it feasible to sit anywhere around the fireplace and enjoy the flames.
Options for a variety of fuel sources exist in outdoor fireplaces. “Homeowners can use wood, propane, or natural gas,” according to Greenwell. “All of them are great options. It is all about personal preference and budget.” Wood-burning outdoor fireplaces are simple by design, but they require ash clean-up. Propane or natural gas fireplaces may require more installation but have fewer clean-up requirements. However, these fuel types don’t generate the same heat intensity as a wood-burning outdoor fireplace.
Don't forget to factor in the cost of your fuel source as part of your total expenses for an outdoor fireplace. Running a natural gas line can be very costly. Replacing propane tanks or buying bundles of firewood involves recurring expenses that must be considered.
Ease of Use
There are many useful features that can make using an outdoor fireplace more enjoyable than time-consuming. Some of the most common options to look for include a removable ash pan for wood-burning outdoor fireplaces to simplify cleaning or an electric starter on gas outdoor fireplaces for faster start-up. If you plan to cook on your outdoor fireplace, a cooking grate can make the job easier and keep you from losing your hotdog in the logs below.
What size outdoor fireplace do I need?
There is no one-size-fits-all option for an outdoor fireplace. The budget and space that you have available are likely to be the biggest factors in determining what size you should choose. Greenwell points out that homeowners should think about their outdoor living design and where the fireplace figures into that arrangement to guide sizing decisions. In addition, how do you want to use the fireplace? Answering that question will help you size it right for various activities, like warming, cooking, or ambiance.
Do outdoor fireplaces provide heat?
Yes. Greenwell says, “Outdoor fireplaces are perfect for keeping you warm on a cool night!” However, how much heat is provided by an outdoor fireplace depends on its size and fuel type. Generally speaking, wood-burning fireplaces will offer more heat intensity than gas outdoor fireplaces.
What is the difference between an outdoor fireplace and an outdoor fire pit?
An outdoor fireplace and an outdoor fire pit serve similar functions but differ in structure and appearance. Greenwell sums it up this way: “A fire pit is a moveable structure that provides a campfire atmosphere for homeowners. An outdoor fireplace is a permanent structure that requires a chimney.” When it comes to materials, Greenwell says, “Firepits are usually made of metal and come in various shapes and sizes. Outdoor fireplaces are made of various materials, such as brick or stone.” The advantage of an outdoor fireplace is that the look “can be customized to the exterior design of your home.”
Why Trust The Spruce?
Erica Puisis has been writing about the latest innovations in home products and décor for The Spruce since 2017. With a background in product research and interior design, she identifies products that are both functional and beautiful. To find the best outdoor fireplaces, she researched popular options that included traditional, portable, and chiminea styles. Products were evaluated based on their installation requirements, ease of use, heat output, and durability. Puisis also interviewed home education expert Kimberly Greenwell, who is also host of the TV show My Southern Home. Greenwell spoke about how to choose the right size and fuel type for an outdoor fireplace, as well as what distinguishes outdoor fireplaces from fire pits.