When to consider a gas fire pit
Whether you need a way to keep warm when enjoying your outdoor space or you simply want to add a bit of charm to your yard, a gas fire pit is the way to go. They are cleaner than wood-burning pits, easier to maintain and are generally more economical.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a gas fire pit, from cost to features to overall aesthetics, and this handy guide covers them all. Our favorite choice, the Outland Living Firebowl 883 Mega Outdoor Gas Fire Pit, is popular thanks to its high heat output, compact size and similar feel to a traditional campfire.
What to consider before buying a gas fire pit?
Gas fire pits come in a variety of appearances. Consider which type will best complement your outdoor space and the look you are trying to achieve. Rustic models are often made of faux stone or faux wood, while those with a modern style are generally made of metal, sometimes with an accent material like glass or resin wicker.
When it comes to fire pits, the warmth they produce is just as important, if not more so, than aesthetics. You’ll want to keep heat output in mind, and this is measured in British thermal units. Most pits range between 30,000-58,00 BTU. The higher the number, the more heat it gives off. If you only want to heat a small space or don’t live in a frigid climate, a low BTU model may be perfect. Conversely, if you often entertain many friends and need to keep everyone toasty on chilly nights, choose a model with a high BTU rating.
From circular to square to rectangular, gas fire pits come in several shapes. They can range from as little as 22 inches in diameter to nearly 4 feet long and vary in height. Those with limited space should opt for a compact fire pit, while those with a large area to fill can choose a more elaborate model. Just be aware there is often some relationship between size and BTU rating.
The majority of gas fire pits come almost fully assembled. This means most people can easily set one up by themselves. If you consider one that requires some assembly, you should check that it includes easy-to-follow instructions and any necessary hardware.
Features to look for in a great gas fire pit
Most people keep their gas fire pits outside at all times and are constantly exposed to the elements. Look for models where the frame is composed of rust-proof materials, such as aluminum and stainless steel. If choosing a wicker model, it should be made of resin.
One of the great conveniences of a gas fire pit is easy ignition. The majority of models have a built-in ignition system that lights at the push of a button. However, some may not. If you would prefer not to light the fire pit by hand, choose one equipped with an igniter. A Piezo one won’t require any batteries.
Controls on a gas fire pit are pretty minimal. Often, it is simply a knob that you rotate to adjust the flame and heat output. You should check to ensure they are well-placed for convenient access.
For models that don’t have built-in storage for the fuel tank, you’ll need a long hose. The longer the hose, the easier it is to hide the tank out of sight.
Some pits may include accessories that either add to their aesthetic or help keep them in good shape. For example, you may get lava rocks or glass stones to place inside the pit. The former provides a realistic flame effect, while the latter offers an attractive modern style. Another accessory to look out for is a cover. These should be tough and weather-resistant enough to stand up to the inevitable wear and tear.
What does a good gas fire pit cost?
Gas fire pits can cost anywhere from $100-$400 or more. You can potentially find small ones for less, but the quality may be questionable. The more expensive pits are often larger, made of better materials and include more accessories.
Gas fire pit FAQs
What type of fuel tank do I need for a gas fire pit?
A. Gas fire pits use the same size propane tank as gas grills. You can find them at most hardware stores, grocery stores and big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart.
Are gas fire pits safe?
A. Anything that has an open flame is potentially dangerous, but gas fire pits are usually considered safer than a standard campfire. The flame size and height are easy to control, and they don’t emit smoke or sparks.
Can I use a gas fire pit indoors?
A. No. You should never use gas fire pits indoors. Though you may not see smoke coming off the flames, gas fire pits burn propane and release toxic fumes. Only use them outdoors and in well-ventilated areas.
What is the best gas fire pit to buy?
Top gas fire pit
What you need to know: A small pit with a high heat output, this one is perfect for those without a lot of space.
What you’ll love: Its round shape is reminiscent of a traditional campfire, and it is safe to use during most fire bans. Also, it offers high-quality construction and comes with a weather-resistant cover.
What you should consider: If large lava rocks are positioned too close to the burner, they can affect its heat output.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top gas fire pit for the money
What you need to know: At just 19 inches in diameter, this compact option is ideal for taking on the go.
What you’ll love: It has an impressive BTU rating for its size and comes with a lid for transport.
What you should consider: It lacks an ignition system.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A large and attractive model, this one makes an ideal centerpiece.
What you’ll love: With a vibrant flame that burns atop decorative glass rocks, it fits in well with modern décor themes.
What you should consider: It’s more expensive than many others.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Brett Dvoretz is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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