Gathering around a fire pit is the ideal way to spend cool evenings, basking in the cozy glow of a crackling fire with your family and friends. Whether you want to toast marshmallows or cook hot dogs, light up the night, or just warm your hands, the right fire pit can give your backyard the magic of a campfire when the sun goes down, with good-quality, inexpensive options that don’t require a major construction project.
Finding the fire pit that fits your tastes and outdoor plans means thinking about where you want to use one, how often you will use it, and how much you want to spend. Where you live is also an important factor to think about before you buy—check local ordinances to see whether there are restrictions on outdoor fire pits in your area.
Safety note: It’s best to keep an open fire at least 10 feet away from overhanging trees, shrubbery, and structures. It’s also a good idea to keep a garden hose with a sprayer, a bucket of sand, and/or a fire extinguisher on hand when using a fire pit.
Guidelines for Choosing Your Fire Pit
There are a lot of fire pit options on the market. Take a look at these tips to help you pick the one that’s right for you:
- Fuel: Wood is the traditional fuel for a classic backyard fire pit; it’s an inexpensive and natural resource that gives you that warm campfire feel, but it also produces smoke and sparks, which can be a problem for some. Propane gas can also be used for fire pits and offers the advantages of a quick start, a smoke-free fire, and no messy cleanup.
- Size: Most fire pits are between 20 and 48 inches wide. Keep in mind that a larger fire pit will put people gathered around it farther apart. Fire-pit bowls are usually fairly shallow to keep the size of the fire more manageable.
- Material: Fire pits must be made from fire-rated materials. Most are made from metals like copper, steel, and cast iron. The material will impact durability and weight—heavy metals like cast iron, for example, are not good materials for a fire pit that you want to transport from one location to another.
- Design: In addition to choosing a pit that’s either round, square, or rectangular, consider the overall style of the fire pit and how it fits in with your outdoor furniture; a propane fire pit can also be an outdoor table when covered, so it should fit in with your outdoor furniture. Also, take a look at the safety features a fire pit provides—a wood-burning fire pit should always have a cover to prevent blowing sparks and embers all over the place.
Take a look at our picks for fire pits that will make your backyard your favorite evening hangout spot!
Best for Grilling: Sunnydaze Northland Fire Pit
The Sunnydaze Northland wood-burning rectangular fire pit is made from durable steel and finished with a high-temperature black paint to fit any outdoor décor. This pit’s size and the included chrome cooking grate make it perfect for grilling while enjoying an outdoor fire. It also includes a metal mesh spark screen with hinged doors to make stoking your fire easy and a weather-proof cover to protect the fire pit when not in use.
This fire pit measures 36 inches in length by 27 inches in width by 25 inches in height, and it weighs 30 pounds.
Sunnydaze Northland Outdoor Rectangular Fire Pit with Grill - 36-Inch Large Wood-Burning Patio & Backyard Fire Pit for Outside with Cooking BBQ Grill Grate, Spark Screen, Poker and Cover
This rectangular wood-burning fire pit is great for grilling while enjoying a cozy blaze.
Best Budget: Kingso Fire Pit
Kingso’s wood-burning fire pit is a good choice for most outdoor entertaining needs and any budget. It adds a cozy atmosphere with its sturdy steel bowl and mesh dome cover, and its construction and finish make it a long-lasting addition to your outdoor space. S’mores, anyone?
This round fire pit is 22 inches in diameter and 20 inches tall; it weighs 12.27 pounds so you can take it with you to the beach or to a friend’s backyard party.
KINGSO Fire Pit, 22'' Fire Pits Outdoor Wood Burning Steel BBQ Grill Firepit Bowl with Mesh Spark Screen Cover Log Grate Wood Fire Poker for Camping Picnic Bonfire Patio Backyard Garden Beaches Park
This round bowl fire pit is a good fit for just about any budget.
Best Propane: Tacklife Fire Pit
If propane is your fuel choice, TackLife’s gas fire pit will add both style and bonfire warmth to your outdoor living space. It’s designed to function as both a fire pit and an attractive outdoor table: just cover the burner with the flat lid when not in use. An anti-rust finish on a steel frame, a stainless steel burner, and an external metal switch make this fire pit a practical and elegant choice.
This propane fire pit is 28 inches square and 25 inches tall; it weighs 55 pounds.
Best Portable: Landmann Heatwave Fire Pit
Ideal for tailgating and camping, the Landmann Heatwave fire pit has a durable porcelain fire bowl and porcelain lid that will stand up to heat, time, and the elements. This portable fire pit comes with a sturdy base with large steel wheels and a handle that all make moving it a breeze. The galvanized steel spark guard gives you 360-degree use of the fire, and it can be removed if you want to use the pit as a grill.
This portable fire pit has a bowl that’s 28 inches in diameter, and it weighs 35.4 pounds.
Landmann USA 28051 Heatwave Fire Pit
This portable fire pit is great for tailgating and camping.