Fire pit buyer’s guide
There are a few things to consider before choose your fire pit.
Inside or out?
A limited number of our fire pits can be used either indoors or out. You will find the ones that can be used indoors in the ‘table top fire pits’ category.
Type of fuel?
There are three basic choices:
- A traditional fire pit where you can burn wood, coal, etc
- A gas fire pit, typically powered by a propane gas bottle (these have to be purchased separately)
- A fire pit that burns bio ethanol fuel
Gas fire pits
Gas fuelled fire pits can simply be switched on – there’s no messing around to get the fire pit to light! There’s also much less mess afterwards. You’ll have to source the appropriate gas cannister – but these are widely available (garden centres often provide them). Look for a gas fire pit with a regulator, allowing you to turn the flame up or down. Consider that if you’re planning to use your fire pit as a BBQ, gas may provide less of that ‘flame grilled’ taste than other fuel sources.
Wood fuelled fire pits
Wood fires take just a little bit of effort to light, but they are comparatively cheap and you don’t need to worry about refilling the gas cannister when it runs out! You may not realise it but burning wood can actually be eco friendly. It really depends where you get your wood from. The act of burning wood itself is practically carbon-neutral. A minimal amount of carbon is released into the atmosphere, and this compares very favourably with other energy sources (e.g. propane). You need to buy from a sustainable supplier that replaces each tree harvested.
Charcoal can be a bad choice eco wise, if purchased from an unsustainable source. It is the main driver of forest degradation, sometimes deforestation, and lead to desertification and erosion. It is also almost pure carbon – but there are some good alternatives. Some stores and supermarkets now sell Forest Stewardship Council approved charcoal – and there are companies such as the Dorset Charcoal Company, Graig Farm and Bioregional which offer their own home-grown coppice wood charcoal. The Dorset Charcoal Company offers both charcoal and firewood "from 100% natural hardwood grown in well-managed local woodlands to suit all requirements."
Bio ethanol is another environmentally friendly choice that creates very little mess and no smoke. Burning bioethanol in a fire pit produces about the same C02 emissions as you would get from burning a candle. This type of fire pit tends to be smaller and can often be used indoors.
For outdoor pits, you might want something to go on an existing table, or to sit on the wooden decking. Read the descriptions carefully as not every fire pit can be stood on wood.
Portable or not?
Most of the metal fire pits are portable in theory – they are lightweight, and therefore can be put in the back of the car and taken to the beach or camping. If you choose a fire pit that is specifically portable, you’ll likely find that the legs fold down, making it much easier to transport.
Fire pits are made from a range of materials. Rust resistant metal is a very popular choice, although we always recommend you use a good quality cover to prolong the life of the pit. Stone-effect pits can be made from a range of materials – take care when purchasing, as some fashioned from cement mixtures can be prone to cracking.
BBQ or not?
Some fire pits come with a grill, allowing them to be used just like a BBQ. Others don’t, so it just depends what you want to use your pit for.
There are a range of styles, from ultra modern to rustic charm.
Some fire pits come with added extras, such as covers, pokers, mesh screens and so on. Covers are essential for prolonging the lifetime of your fire pit so don't skimp. If you're storing your fire pit outdoors and the cover provided with the pit is fairly lightweight, consider buying something more durable.