Nothing beats a long evening outdoors by the fire. The best fire pits enable you to embrace the outdoors and create memories you’ll treasure. Whether you’re looking for a stylish design that will be the focal point of parties or you’re yearning for quality time roasting marshmallows by the fire with family, there’s a fire pit for you. The best fire pits keep you warm and transform your outdoor space into a cozy retreat, extending the time you can comfortably spend outside. You can wave goodbye to having to retreat inside and call it a night because it’s too cold.
When it comes to choosing one of the best fire pits, we’ve got you covered. Our round-up includes affordable picks from top brands like BioLite, Tiki Brand, and Solo Stoves plus we’ll walk you through the key considerations. The first choice you’ll need to make is how your fire pit is powered. Want the benefits of a fire pit without smoke? A propane model is a modern, planet-friendly option. More of a traditionalist? You’ll also find fire pits that burn charcoal and wood. Bear in mind that wood-burning options do require more maintenance to remain in top condition than gas-fueled options. Advances in technology such as clever airflow management mean you can find fire pits that generate maximum heat minus the smoke.
Can't decide between one of the best patio heaters and a fire pit? The best fire pits boast similar heat to a patio heater and have the bonus of providing entertainment for you and your guests. They’re a great choice if you fancy making fire gazing part of your evening’s activities. When it comes to budget, there’s a huge range available with models ranging from $100 to $1000. Don’t forget to invest in a heat protection mat to prevent damage to your surface.
1. Tiki Brand Fire Pit: Best fire pits for parties
Balance is the order of the day here and Tiki Brand has perfectly combined the attractiveness and practicality of the Fire Pit's design and the convenience of its pellet-burning capabilities with the freedom to fire up logs if you prefer the ability to build a roaring fire with airflow which effectively cuts smoke down to the bare minimum.
It has a slide-out ash tray for easy cleaning, an assembly process that involves attaching just three screws, and a cover included. The only thing it lacks, at least as we write, is a spark shield - but only because Tiki Brand has gone back to the drawing board to create a better one, due in summer 2021.
This is pricier than some, but if you're planning an evening get-together it's the perfect centerpiece. If you want style and ultimate relaxation, we'd also suggest throwing in a hot tub to complete your garden oasis.
- Read our Tiki Brand Fire Pit review
2. BioLite FirePit+: Best fire pit for control
Biolite's innovative fire pit enables you to do more than you can with many, using a battery-powered Bluetooth system to control airflow, allowing you to tweak the size of its flames using your phone, and keeping smoke to a bare minimum.
Throw in some charcoal and you've got a portable hibachi grill, with a grill grate included; burn wood instead and you can make the most of its 'X-Ray Mesh' body, which offers a good view of the fire from three sides and radiates heat outwards for maximum warmth.
It isn't huge, and you'll definitely want to maintain it a little more often than some of the rough-and-ready fire pits on offer here, but there's nothing quite like it, particularly if you're planning a camping trip and need something to pull double duty.
3. Outland Living Mega Fire Pit: Best propane fire pit
The CSA approval of the Outland Living Mega Fire Pit means you can use it in places where burning wood fires are banned (see below for more on that) which is certainly one reason to pick it over the other fire pits in this guide - but it's also very convenient.
You can start it in seconds, switch it off rather than having to wait for a fire to burn out, convert it to natural gas if it's staying home, or carry it around without any of the mess of wood pits if you're on the move. It's very handsome, too, and includes everything you'll need bar a propane bottle.
And you may need more than one of those, depending on how much you burn it, since it has a maximum 58,000 BTU output, though this can be easily adjusted if you're happy with slightly smaller flames.
- Read our Outland Living Mega Fire Pit review
4. Amazon Basics 26" Geometric Square Fire Pit: Best cheap fire pit
Proof that you don't need to spend through the nose if all you need is a convenient place to build a fire, Amazon's bargain fire pit comes with everything you'll need, from a spark screen to a poker, and seems very sturdy with it.
Perhaps its pre-distressed looks won't be for everyone, but wood burners all tend to get a little charred after a few fires anyway - this has plenty of ventilation to allow good airflow, and radiates a heck of a lot of side-to-side heat.
It's square, too: that means you get far more room to build a fire than those pits with a 26-inch circular diameter. The Amazon Basics 26" Geometric Square Fire Pit is also on the lighter side, meaning you can move it where it needs to be with ease.
5. Bali Outdoors Wood Burner: Best fire pit for cooking food too
There's nothing to stop you roasting the odd marshmallow over one of our other top fire pits - or, indeed, adding your own grill grate over the top of them - but nothing else here can match the Bali Outdoors Wood Burning Fire Pit when it's time to use that heat for a little cooking.
It has an integrated grill top with a high capacity, as well as a generous shelf running around the top of the pit that's perfect for keeping things warm. And you won't be short of warmth, because this offers great outward radiation, and even has a ring around its legs which you can (carefully) use as a footrest.
The price isn't bad, either, although there's no spark shield and that grill may make it quite difficult to introduce your own.
- Read our Bali Outdoors Wood Burner review
6. Solo Stove Yukon: Best fire pit for big flames
While its stainless steel look is either likely to suit your patio or stand out like a sore thumb, Solo Stove's largest fire pit is capable of creating some truly huge flames, employing a furnace-like airflow system that drags air in under the fire as well as pulling it in around the top ring, reigniting smoke for a double burn.
It's really very clever - although its design does mean that cleaning out ash means inverting the whole thing. This is a luxury option, the most expensive fire pit on our list, and also the most basic by default; things get even more expensive once you've picked up a spark shield, a cover, and a host of other accessories. But if you're looking for a fire pit that'll impress, and one which will stand the test of time, this is it.
- Read our Solo Stove Yukon review
Today’s best fire pit prices
How to choose the best fire pit
Before you invest, it’s worth taking a little time to think through how you’re going to use your fire pit. You’ll want to factor in where you’re planning to put it. If you’ll be using it on decking or grass, you’ll want a heat-resistant barrier to avoid scorching your surface. An alternative is to opt for a fire pit that doesn’t radiate heat downwards. Planning a camping trip? You’ll be pleased to know there are portable options available so you can gather around the fire wherever you are.
In the excitement of buying a fire pit, it can be easy to forget about how you’re going to store it for the long term. If you think you’ll be leaving it out in the open, look for a rust-resistant model and ideally one with a cover. You’ll thank yourself later.
Worried about safety? Spark shields give you peace of mind that flaming embers won’t stray out towards you and your guests. They’re worthwhile if you think you’ll be huddling around the fire or if there’s anything flammable nearby. If you’re planning to get close to the fire pit a smoke-free option can save you and your guests from smarting eyes.
Finally, don’t overlook the tools you’ll need to make the most of your fire pit. Check what’s included with the model you buy so you don’t end up having to fork out for extra accessories on top of the initial outlay.
Wood-burning laws when using fire pits in America
Before lighting your fire, you’ll need to understand the laws around wood-burning. This will give you peace of mind that you’re using it responsibly and reducing the impact on the planet. If you’ve opted for a smoke-free choice then the good news is that you don’t need to worry about this.
Wood burning fire pits release high volumes of smoke and give rise to particle pollution. The EPA recommends burning only seasoned and dry firewood with a moisture content of around 20% to protect air quality. Having somewhere covered to store your wood can make sure you always have a supply handy.
On days when there’s an air quality alert, the EPA recommends not burning at all. You’ll certainly want to avoid burning green wood or anything that’s not wood, a huge no-no.
While there’s no federal legislation restricting the use of wood-burning fires, many local governments have rules in place. The City of Albuquerque, for example, has regular no-burn days to keep air quality high. They also often have state-wide bans in periods of drought to reduce the risk of bush fires. Before you buy, be sure to check with your state or city ordinance to avoid any trouble.