The different types of fire pits : A buyer’s guide

fire pit buying guide
There's lots of different styles of fire pits on the market, each with their own pros and cons. In this article, we run over the different types and help to demystify the most common fire pits.

Updated: August 20, 2021

In the 21st century, modern life has become so fast-paced that we often forget to slow down and take time for ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am always busy, especially around the school holidays!

For me, there’s nothing better than retreating to your patio or outdoor area with a nice glass of wine at night and spending some downtime with friends and family.

In the winter season, the chill of colder nights might stop you from staying outside after the sun goes down. However, with a good fire pit, you can kick back and relax into the evening with the added light and warmth, watching the flames flicker and the coals glow.

There are many types of fire pits on the market, and you can buy one based on the style of fuel they use, shape and how they are made. But which one is right for you? This article will help you make an informed decision with your fire pit, explaining the different types of products available in the market and matching them with your needs.

It’s important to remember that each variety of fire pit will have its own distinct advantages and disadvantages, so let’s have a closer look at your options.

Wood burning fire pits are the most common and date back as far as history can remember. However, today this type of has become much safer and more convenient to use.

Wood Burning Fire Pits

A traditional wood-burning pit gives a classical look of a campfire in your very backyard or patio. The distinctive smell of wood-burning also creates a feel of its own. You also have the choice of permanent installation and portable options.

steel fire pit
A high-quality steel fire pit will last you a lifetime with good maintenance.

Fire Pit Bowls

A fire pit bowl is another popular option. Super easy to maintain and quite portable, fire pit bowls are available in various materials, such as cast iron, steel, copper, and even clay.

Most fire pit bowls are shallow but wide at the top, often used as a centrepiece in a garden or outdoor area. This allows the best view of the glowing fire but keeping all of the ash and coals inside.

fire pit bowl
A well-constructed fire pit bowl is a great way to add light and warmth to your evenings.

Folding or Popup Fire Pit

Typically made from ultra-light stainless steel, these fire pits are designed for camping and hiking and, as such, are lightweight and highly portable.

Weighing in at around 3 kilograms, these fire pits are designed to be folded flat for easy storage and transport.

This folding design is made possible by using ultra-light materials such as thin stainless steel sheet metal and aluminium tent poles and a clever hinge design. This means that you can take your portable fire pit anywhere from the beach to the campsite to a picnic in the park.

If you are looking for a more heavy-duty portable fire pit, then why not check out our TinyMAX portable fire pit.

folding fire pit
A lightweight folding fire pit made from aluminium or stainless steel is easy to carry and setup when hiking.

Barbecue Grill / Weber Kettle

This is a typical barbecue made from some metal, primarily mild steel. The distinctive feature of a wood-burning grill is that it has a flat grill over the coals. Often available with a range of accessories like flat grill plates and even a commercial-style rangehood.

As compared to other fire pits options available in the market, wood-burning fire pits need more maintenance. For example, you have to arrange woods, chop them and make the fire ready every time. This will take some of your time. Similarly, you will need a dedicated place to store the wood.

Fire Pit Table

A fire pit table is a tabletop sized pit that has been designed to burn wood.

Typically, the tabletop will be steel and coated with porcelain, ceramic, or stone to protect it from high temperatures and extend its longevity. In addition, it’s vital for the fire bowl on the top of the table to have ample room for airflow. There should also be a flat area underneath that can be used as seating when the fire bowl isn’t used.

There are two types of fire pit tables – freestanding models that are entirely portable or have legs to allow placement on top of a deck or outdoor living space and more permanent tables built into your outdoor entertaining area.

table fire pit

Propane Gas Fire Pits

If you’re looking for a solution to keep your outdoor social area warm during the winter with the hassle of wood and smoke, then a propane fire pit might be for you.

It’s more than just a wood-burning patio heater – it’s a stylish centrepiece of any party or gathering. The “wow factor” helps create that perfect ambience that allows even the most cynical of guests to put down their guard and enjoy the warmth a fire offers.

An electric propane fire pit can be used year-round without posing any threat to your landscaping because it is pre-installed inside of a ceramic bowl that hides all evidence of smoke and flames.

It’s ready for you to turn on when you want to warm your guests or yourself. It doesn’t require water, ash, dirt or any other messy clean up after the fun is done, nor does it emit smoke and flames. And, because there’s no smoke, you won’t have any trouble with fire pit regulations in your area.

Gel Fire Pits

Gel fuel is a great alternative to the standard liquid fire pits. Gel fire pits are easy to use, require little maintenance, burn clean and give you the most enjoyment out of your outdoor fireplace or patio heater. Using either an electric or natural gas burner as your heat source makes it even more advantageous.

The gel fuel is made of water using a low temperature reaction that produces no odor, smoke or soot and burns extremely hot. Another great aspect about gel fire pits is the variety of fuel options available, with some brands even offering scented fuel to add another dimension.

Chiminea

Chimineas are portable fire pits, typically made of clay pots and clay tile. With their unique funnel shape and flared fire bowl area, they are a striking addition to your backyard. Usually fuelled with wood or lump charcoal, a fire in a chiminea is maintained for a long burning time, leading to glowing coals which radiate warmth for hours!

A backyard chiminea is a practical and enjoyable way to have a fire in your outdoor area.

Stone or brick fire pit

This is a common fire pit and is a cost-effective way of providing warmth and entertainment for your family and friends. You can also easily build one yourself in a few days.

You can buy bricks or stones from a nearby Bunnings or landscaping supplies store and put together a brick fire pit yourself. There are plenty of informative videos on youtube to help you plan, design and construct a stylish brick fire pit in your yard.

There’s actually an excellent guide on the Bunnings website which shows you exactly how to make one. Check it out!

So what fire pit should you buy?

Well, it really depends on a few factors about your budget and the space you have to work with. To get started, it’s often good to ask yourself these questions:

  • How much space do you have?
  • Where is the fire pit going to be located?
  • is it important that the fire pit is portable?
  • Is smoke going to be a problem for you or your neighbours?
  • How much light and warmth are you needing?

Whatever you decide, we are confident you are going to appreciate your purchase, and spend many nights keeping warm and enjoying the company of your family and friends.

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