Best Fire Pits

By: Carl Laron on September 18, 2017

Wood burning fire pits are versatile and fun

Wood-burning fire pits are the most basic and popular type, and many receive abundant and largely positive reviews. At their heart, they are simply a metal bowl for holding burning logs, but the most popular -- and safest -- models are also equipped with legs and a screen to keep the embers contained.

Among wood-burning fire pits, the Red Ember Bronze Crossweave Firebowl Fire Pit (Est. $140) looks to be a top choice. We found the most feedback at Hayneedle.com, where it earns an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 following more than 1,050 reviews. Users overwhelmingly describe this squat bronze-toned steel bowl with its open basket-weave design as attractive, well built and easy to assemble. It is also very weather-resistant, though a few users complain that theirs rusted quickly -- sometimes in as little as one week. However, the staff at Hayneedle.com say that keeping the fire pit covered with the included PVC cover when not in use should prevent this problem. A couple of users also recommend drilling holes in the bottom for water to drain. In addition to a cover, the Bronze Crossweave Firebowl comes with a spark screen and a poker. There's also a grill grate, so the Red Ember fire pit can serve double duty as a barbeque grill.

The Landmann 28345 Big Sky Stars and Moons Fire Pit (Est. $90) a little smaller (23.5 inch diameter), a bit cheaper, and has a design that's a little more whimsical -- though whether that last point is a plus or minus depends upon your decorative preferences. As the description implies, in place of the classic basket-weave design, the Stars & Moon fire pit is adorned with punch outs of stars and crescent moons. This version features a black finish, but if you prefer, it's also available in a "Georgia clay" finish as the Landmann 28335 Big Sky Stars & Moons Fire Pit (Est. $105) for a few dollars more.

The Landsman Big Sky series also includes the Landmann USA 28347 Big Sky Fire Pit, Wildlife, Black (Est. $95), which features cuts outs of animals such as a moose, bear, fox and others. A western themed version, the Landmann 28336 Big Sky Fire Pit Western (Est. $130), which features cutouts such as a steer skull, cowboy boot, and horse is also available, but we only spotted it in the Georgia clay version.

Other than styling, these fire pits are similar, and similarly well liked. The Landmann 28345 Big Sky Stars and Moons Fire Pit has accumulated nearly 380 reviews at Amazon.com and an overall rating of 4.5 stars, while the Landmann USA 28347 Big Sky wildlife-themed fire pit has a 4.7-star rating following nearly 400 reviews covering both the black and Georgia Clay versions. At Walmart.com, the Stars & Moons Fire Pit in black has good feedback, though only a handful of reviews, but the Georgia clay version enjoys 4.7-star rating following roughly 215 reviews and ratings.

Owners say this fire pit looks great and is lots of fun to use. They also like its depth (12.5 inches), which makes building a decent, long-lasting fire easier. You also get a nice assortment of accessories, including a grill rack, spark guard and poker. The most common complaint about this otherwise sturdy fire pit is that it's vulnerable to rust if left out all of the time. A cover is not included, but there is the option to purchase the Landemann Big Sky Firepit Cover (Est. $20) to keep the fire pit protected between uses if you don't intend to store it inside. If you prefer a larger fire pit, the Landmann USA 28905 Super Sky Fire Pit (Est. $170) is a little shallower (roughly 10.5 inches) but has a 36-inch diameter and comes in the Georgia clay finish. Otherwise, it's similar, and similarly well liked. We spotted a user rating of 4.6 stars at Amazon.com based on more than 210 reviews.

If you'd prefer a fire pit with a built-in stone look (but without the price tag) for a patio, consider the 35-inch Sun Joe SJFP35-STN Cast Stone Fire Pit (Est. $180). The exterior is fiberglass, not real stone (a source of disappointment for some buyers, particularly at Amazon.com), but it looks good and wears well, most owners say. Versions with grey stone and faux wood finishes are available as well. The bowl comes in for some criticism for not standing up well to the elements, so it will need to be covered or moved inside between uses, and it's recommended that the entire fire pit be stored indoors during the winter.

Feedback doesn't look terrific at first blush at Amazon.com, just 3.6 stars based on just over 150 reviews. However, at Wayfair.com, things are rosier -- 4.3 stars based on more than 1,175 reviews. Negative comments follow those at Amazon.com regarding durability, but many more are completely pleased with the look, performance and the value. It comes with typical accessories -- a log grate, screen guard and screen guard hook/log tender. If the fire pit bowl wears out, a replacement bowl, the Sun Joe SJFP35-STN-B (Est. $55), is available.

Gas fire pits

Among gas-fueled fire pits, the Endless Summer GAD860SP (Est. $500) looks to be a good choice. The fire pit's fire bowl is surrounded by an attractive multi-shade slate-tile mantle, while the rustic open latticework housing does a great job of hiding the propane tank. It's supplied with lava rocks and realistic-looking cement logs for a traditional wood-burning-fire look rather than the more modern look of fire glass that's found with many competing models. Many owners report that the GAD860SP puts out a good amount of heat and it's rated at 40,000 BTU.

Users say the GAD860SP, which is sold under both the Blue Rhino and UniFlame brands (UniFlame is owned by Blue Rhino), is as convenient to use as it is beautiful to look at. It features a battery-operated electronic ignitor for safe, reliable starts and a slide-out tray to make changing the propane tank easier.

Feedback is generally strong. At Amazon.com, it draws a 4.2-star rating following more than 330 reviews. Satisfaction at Walmart.com is higher still -- 4.6 stars after nearly 575 reviews and ratings. The Endless Summer GAD860SP propane fire pit draws solid feedback as well at HomeDepot.com -- 4.4 stars after more than 130 reviews, with recommendations from 94 percent of owners. Of course, not every user is happy. Some find the GAD860SP incredibly difficult to assemble. We also saw a smattering of complaints that it produces too much smoke and soot, just as if it were burning real wood.

While most propane fire pits are anything but portable, the Heininger 5995 Portable Propane Outdoor Fire Pit (Est. $115) is quite the opposite. At a weight of just 22 pounds (not including the required propane tank), it's marketed specifically as a portable solution for backyards, patios, tailgating, camping and more. Though it's not very large -- just 19-inches across -- it's rated to put out 58,000 BTU of heat. It resembles a wood-burning fire pit like the ones above, but it can't double as a grill for cooking. The Heininger 5995 comes complete with a hose and regulator, as well as decorative rocks. The propane tank is not included. The Heininger 5996 Black Fire Pit Cover with Carrying Handle (Est. $45) and DestinationGear 5997 Carry Bag (Est. $40) are available as options.

User feedback is almost uniformly positive for the Heininger 5995. At Amazon.com it gets a 4.7 star rating following more than 640 reviews. Around 95 percent grant it four stars or better, with the majority giving it a perfect score. At HomeDepot.com, user satisfaction is similar -- 4.8 stars out of 5 following more than 65 reviews, with 100 percent saying that they would recommend this portable propane fire pit to a friend.

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