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.
The best fire pits
The Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 is designed to be enjoyed by both novices and experienced campers. Its 360° Airflow technology creates a smokeless fire, so heat and warmth can be enjoyed without the unpleasantness of smoke. With a 19-inch diameter, it’s large enough for entertaining small gatherings and parties, but still portable enough to be transported around via the free carry case included with it.
Ty Hancock, Solo Stove’s Product Marketing Manager, says that “the Bonfire 2.0 is our most-popular fire pit. It is big enough for backyard entertaining but still portable enough to take camping.”
We put the Bonfire 2.0 to the test, weighing up how easy it is to use and maintain, and its claim to be able to create a smokeless fire. We found that cleaning the fire pit was made simple by the extractable base plate and ash pan, which could be easily removed and emptied after using.
The fire pit does manage to produce a smoke-free fire for the most part; only a very small amount of smoke was experienced, but not enough to affect the overall enjoyability of use. The fire pit felt safe to use, the main difficulty experienced was the awkwardness of moving it around, plus the reflection of fingerprints on the stainless steel shell.
- Read our full Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 review
The BioLite FirePit+ doubles up as a fire pit and a cooking stove. With an integrated fan powered by a rechargeable USB powerpack, the flames are super-heated to create a smokeless effect, and the fan can be controlled either via manual buttons or the Bluetooth BioLite Energy app.
The fire pit has an enamel-coated steel body with mesh sides, and comes in all black apart from the powerpack at the front, which is yellow. There is a trap door at the base of the pit to make emptying the ash easier. We found that the BioLite FirePit+ is easy to set up, use and maintain as both a traditional fire pit and a cooking stove, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite produce a completely smokeless fire.
Demian Lashlee, Associate Director of International Sales at BioLite, says “We all love being outdoors and gathering around a campfire but don't enjoy the ‘smokey shuffle’ from inefficient burns. With our FirePit+ you get a significantly better burn thanks to the consistent flow of air by the battery driven fan, creating a flame with way less smoke than a traditional fire. We also love to cook outdoors and this product also allows you to grill your favorite foods over wood or charcoal.”
The BioLite FirePit+ is priced at $299.95, with the option to buy cooking accessories separately, though these aren’t necessary to use the fire pit as a stove. We would recommend this fire pit for people looking to enjoy the experience of a fire without suffering from copious amounts of smoke, and for those who want a fire pit/stove that is portable enough to take away on vacation.
- Read our full BioLite FirePit+ review
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 full Outland Living Mega Fire Pit review
The Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit is the latest fire pit released in Solo Stove’s smokeless fire pit range. It’s designed to be extremely lightweight and portable, weighing only 1.4 lbs and measuring only 6.8 inches in height. It comes with a nylon carry case, a stand to protect surfaces from heat, and a pellet adapter.
The Mesa takes either firewood or wood pellets as fuel. We found that the Mesa is a really enjoyable fire pit; it’s easy to use, and would be suitable for beginners. Little effort is required in terms of cleaning, and it’s suitable for small storage spaces. The review also found that claims that the Mesa can produce a smokeless fire are true, as long as the burn holes are given adequate breathing space.
The only real critique of the Mesa is the price tag; it’s quite expensive, given how small it is. It can’t produce enough heat for several people to enjoy at once, so people looking for a fire pit to entertain larger parties may not be well suited to the Mesa.
Ty Hancock, Solo Stove’s Marketing Manager says “Solo Stove is all about helping people create memories outside. Mesa is the perfect way for new users and experienced pros alike to spend more and more time outside with those that they care about.”
- Read our full Solo Stove Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit review
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
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.
- Read our full Amazon Basics 26" Geometric Square Fire Pit review
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 full Bali Outdoors Wood Burner review
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 full Solo Stove Yukon review
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.