Backyard Fire Pit Buying Guide

Backyard Fire Pit Buying Guide

April 16, 2024

So you’ve decided you want to add a backyard fire pit to your outdoor space. Great choice! There are few things more enjoyable than gathering together around an open flame to make memories with your family and friends.

But there are so many fire pit options out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Don’t worry, we can help you decide.

In this article, we discuss some of the most important things to think about before buying a backyard fire pit and offer ideas to help you decide on the one that’s right for you.

Table of Contents

How To Choose a Backyard Fire Pit

Check local laws

In some areas, it’s illegal to have an open flame on your property. In other areas, regulations may allow an open flame, but:

  • Restrict the size of the fire pit
  • Require you to get a permit
  • Require a site inspection
  • Require specific safety features

Take time before you buy to check local laws so you don’t run into problems later.

Pick a purpose

To narrow down the options, pick a purpose for your backyard fire pit and shop accordingly. For example, will you be hosting large parties on a regular basis? Or will it just be you and your family most of the time?

If the former, you’ll likely want a larger model. If the latter, you can probably get by with a smaller fire pit.

Find a spot

Once you have an idea about the general size of the fire pit you want, find a spot on the patio, in the yard, or on the deck for its permanent location.

Planning ahead in this way will help you see if the general size you’ve chosen will work in the available space.

If you can’t visualize, tape some newspaper or printer paper together to represent the footprint of the fire pit and move it around until the arrangement feels right.

Take safety precautions

While you’re considering the spot for your backyard fire pit, look around the potential location for things that could be damaged by heat, and make sure the fire will be at least 10 feet away from walls, furniture, and other flammable items.

And don’t forget to consider the area above the fire — building eaves, tree branches, and sunshade umbrellas are just as susceptible to heat damage as walls and furniture.

Choose permanent or portable

Most backyard fire pits are meant to be permanent, while others are portable and can be folded into a smaller size for easy transport.

If you don’t think you’re going to need to travel with your fire pit, choose a more permanent option for your outdoor space.

Decide on size, shape, and style

Once you’ve settled on where your fire pit will go, decide on the size, shape, and style that best fits your needs.

If you’re furnishing a small space, you may want to choose a small square, round, or chimney unit that leaves plenty of room for seating. If you’re furnishing a medium-sized space, you may want to go with a larger fire pit that takes up a bit more room.

Lastly, if you’re furnishing a big backyard, the sky’s the limit on the size, shape, and style you can choose, and going with a larger fire pit may be the best way to fill your space.

Consider build material

Backyard fire pits are made from a variety of materials, including:

Each comes with its own unique look and feel to accommodate every backyard decor. Choose the build material that works best for your needs.

Choose a fuel type

Some backyard fire pits are designed to burn fuels other than wood, including:

  • Natural gas
  • Propane
  • Charcoal
  • Pellets

If you live in an area where wood is hard to come by, consider one of the other options, but keep in mind that you may have to run pipes from your gas source to the flame area.

Once you’ve thought about each of the variables discussed above, you’ll be better prepared to choose the perfect backyard fire pit for your purpose and space.

In the next section, we discuss a number of ideas and options to get you started.

Backyard Fire Pit Ideas

Suspended fire pit bowl

A suspended fire pit bowl (or cauldron) adds style to any outdoor space and provides plenty of heat and light for backyard activities.

The bowl allows you to add plenty of coals, chips, or firewood without worrying about the fire burning out. Or you can start a fire below the hanging bowl to create a Dutch oven for cooking pastries, stews, and casseroles.

Log grate

If your backyard is equipped with an outdoor fireplace or you have limited space on your patio or deck, consider a log grate to hold the wood for the fire.

The vertical design lifts wood off the ground for better airflow and initiates a self-feeding fire, promoting a much hotter and cleaner burn.

If you opt to use the log grate on a patio or deck, be sure to place a layer of brick, steel, or other inflammable material underneath to prevent damage to the underlying surface.

Fire ring

A steel campfire ring is a simple way to set aside space for a backyard fire and cooking surface.

If you choose this option, put down a layer of stone, brick, or other inflammable material to protect the surface underneath and you’ll be ready to go.

Simply assemble your fuel inside the ring, light it, then sit back and enjoy the heat and flickering flames.

In-ground backyard fire pit

If you’re installing a new patio or building a backyard fire pit from scratch, consider including an in-ground fire pit.

In-ground fire pits are low profile and can preserve the beauty of any open space while still providing the ability to enjoy an outdoor fire and cooking space.

Keep in mind that you’ll likely need a grate of some kind (wagon wheel, round, or hex) within the pit itself to provide airflow for the wood you assemble there.

Above-ground backyard fire pit

If you don’t want to go below ground level, consider adding an above-ground backyard fire pit to your outdoor space.

You can use anything from decorative rock to simple cinder blocks to form the perimeter of the fire pit. Be sure to leave room for a liner on the inside to keep the heat and flames from damaging the rock or block.

Hemisphere fire pit

One of the easiest ways to add fire to any backyard space is with a hemisphere fire pit. Set the eye-catching bowl on any inflammable surface and you’ve got the perfect container for a cozy wood fire.

Assemble a few chairs around the fire, add a bag of marshmallows, and you’ll have everything you need to enjoy the evening with family and friends.

Smokeless fire pit with lid

Most smokeless fire pits use fuel other than wood, but there are also newer near-smokeless wood fire pits available that are designed to draw air in from the bottom and feed it to the top, which can result in a hotter fire with less smoke and ash.

When not in use, the lid helps prevent rain and snow from entering the fire pit and keeps leftover ash from blowing away.

Smokeless fire pits come in a variety of build materials, including carbon steel, stainless steel, and corten steel.

Pyramid fireplace

Another easy way to add a fire space to your patio, deck, or backyard is with a pyramid fireplace.

Most pyramid fire pits divert smoke upward, away from anyone seated in the area, and include a fire tray that keeps the firewood off the base of the tower so the unit can be placed anywhere without worrying about damage to the underlying surface.

Fire pit basket

The vertical stacking design of the fire pit basket helps ignite a self-sustaining fire and ensures a cleaner, more consistent, and longer-lasting burn.

Elevated by four sturdy legs, fire pit baskets raise the fuel and fire off the ground, allowing the embers to descend while maintaining a constant flow of oxygen.

Fire pit baskets can be placed inside an existing fire pit or used as a standalone option for all of your backyard fire needs.

Incinerator fire pit

Want to use your fire pit as a backyard centerpiece as well as a way to dispose of yard debris, papers, and other flammable materials? Consider installing an incinerator fire pit in your outdoor space.

The structure is engineered to increase airflow for a hotter flame and includes a removable reinforced vented lid with an easy-grip handle to prevent ashes, embers, and burning material from becoming airborne.

Mobile fire pit

If you think you might want to take your fire pit on the road with you, consider an option that is more mobile, like this Foldable Panel Campfire Ring or this Portable Pop-Up Fire Pit.

Complete Your Outdoor Space with Ash & Ember

Once you’ve chosen the perfect backyard fire pit for your outdoor space, complete that space with plenty of comfy seating options for your family and friends.

At Ash & Ember, we take pride in providing durable, weather-resistant outdoor furniture at affordable prices, including:

Regardless of the furniture you’re looking for, we’ve got high-quality yet affordable teak, aluminum, and polywood options that will bring your backyard escape to life.

Visit today to create a backyard oasis where you can unplug and make memories that will last a lifetime.