Embracing the Elemental Essence: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Fire Pit

Embracing the Elemental Essence: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Fire Pit

April 16, 2024

We all love a good summer day by the pool or sipping coffee in the garden on a fresh spring morning, but how do you get your outdoor fix in the colder months?

Few elements hold as much primal allure as a crackling fire. Humans have gathered around the fire for millions of years – but choosing the perfect source of fire for your space has become a little more complicated since then. Still, there’s nothing like a cozy communal fire to create a truly inviting atmosphere.

Whether you’re choosing outdoor furniture for your first home or want to spruce up an old backyard, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know when choosing a fire pit, as well as the different types of fire pits available.

Things to Consider When Shopping for a Fire Pit

Space and Purpose

Assess Your Space

Measure the area where you plan to install the fire pit. You want to make sure there's enough room for seating and a safe distance from combustible materials. Wood burning fire pits need more space than propane fueled fire pits because the flames can be more unpredictable. And some space-saving smaller fire pits can be stored away while not in use, while others are permanently built into the ground.

Define Your Purpose

Maybe you want a small fire pit for intimate gatherings. Maybe you’d rather a larger one for hosting big outdoor get togethers. Or maybe you need one that’s portable enough to bring on a camping trip. Consider whether you need a portable fire pit, or if you’d rather a more permanent fixture like a fire table or in-ground fire pit.

Propane Fire Pits Vs. Wood Fueled Fire Pits

Consider Convenience vs. Authenticity

Gas fire pits can run on a propane tank or your home’s natural gas line and produce a full flame with the flick of a switch. Meanwhile, many wood-burning fire pits can take 15-minutes to reach a full flame. But what wood fire pits lack in convenience they make up for in aesthetics as propane-fueled flames are often less visually authentic than the rustic flames of a wood-burning fire pit. Consider whether convenience or the romantic allure of tending to a real fire is more important to you.

Think of the Time of Year

Consider whether you plan to use your outdoor fire pit year-round or only in the cooler months. Wood burning fire pits produce more warmth because wood burns hotter than propane, and most of the warmth a fire pit puts out is actually emitted from the coal or wood rather than the actual flames. If you plan to use your fire pit for warmth in the cooler months, you might want to consider a wood burning fire pit. On the other hand, if you're more concerned with creating visual ambiance during the summer months, you may prefer a gas fire pit.

Check Local Regulations

Check local regulations about open flames. Some areas may have restrictions on wood-burning fire pits for environmental reasons. In this case, gas may be a safer choice in high-drought and fire-prone areas.

Plan for Sensitivities

If you have asthma or are sensitive to smoke, you may want to choose a clean burning gas fire pit – although more and more wood fire pits are available in a near smokeless fire pit design through convection, like this one.

Material and Construction

Pay Attention to Durability

What is the weather like in your area? Take your environment into consideration if you want a fire pit that’s going to last. Because your fire pit will be outdoors, it will need to withstand the elements. Do you live in a region that sees a lot of snow? Rain? Heat? These are all things to consider when looking for outdoor fire pits.

Don’t Forget Maintenance

Different materials and environments mean different fire pits will have different maintenance needs. Consider the level of maintenance you're willing to put into your fire pit. If you live in an area with a lot of rain or snow, you may want to consider a fire pit made with Corten steel – a weathering steel that gains a weather-proof patina that protects the steel beneath. On the other hand, if you live in a mild climate, you may have more options available without sacrificing the longevity of your fire pit.

Choose the Perfect Aesthetic

And you can’t forget how your fire pit looks. The material of your fire pit will be a big factor in its appearance. Stainless steel fire pits are durable and rust-resistant, while cast iron fire pits offer a more traditional, timeless aesthetic. But if you live in a mild climate and are looking for a stylish design you may want a stone fire pit that blends with your decor.

Types of Fire Pits

Classic Fire Pits

Classic fire pits embody the essence of traditional outdoor gatherings. Typically, these fire pits have a basin design and legs, allowing for a 360° view of the fire. This classic design is suitable for various spaces and occasions, from intimate gatherings to larger parties and is often made of steel or cast iron.

Hemisphere Fire Pits

Hemisphere fire pits give an artistic flair to your outdoor area without having to invest in a large fire pit table or an in-ground fire pit. Plus, they’re portable enough to move to a different area if needed – the perfect combination of style and practicality.

Fire Rings

Fire rings are a great budget-friendly choice for those looking for a basic but practical fire pit they can use in a variety of outdoor spaces. These rings create a defined area for a fire and can be used above or below ground, making them a perfect addition to campsites, casual backyard setups, or even as part of a spectacular permanent in-ground fire pit.

Smokeless Fire Pits

Smokeless fire pits use innovative technology to reduce smoke production, creating a more comfortable experience for people who have sensitivities. These fire pits feature a double-walled construction and airflow system to minimize smoke – ideal for those who want to avoid smoke from traditional wood-burning fire pits.

In-Ground Fire Pits

In-ground fire pits blend seamlessly with the natural landscape and offer a subtle elegance to your outdoor space. Constructed directly in the ground, these fire pits provide a low key but elegant appearance – Perfect for those who want a fire feature that harmonizes with the surrounding environment while also providing warmth.

Fire Tables

If you’re looking for functional elegance, a fire table may be what you’re looking for. Fire pit tables combine the warmth of a fire pit with the practicality of a table, offering a dual-purpose outdoor furnishing that serves as a design focal point and a social hub for friends and family to gather around.

In Conclusion

Fire pits are not only a functional outdoor heating solution, they’re also an extension of your decor, a place to connect with loved ones, and can be a game changer when it comes to creating an outdoor escape. Finding the perfect fire pit can feel overwhelming but keep these pointers in mind and you’ll find the perfect fireside companion that resonates with your own unique style and needs.