Although there are many different designs of gas fire pits, they all work on the same principle.
The main part, the housing, contains a gas line from a tank that leads to a large heat-resistant bowl. On the bottom of the bowl, there may be one or several burners that are attached to the tank below.
To make the fire pit visually pleasing, the burners are covered with fake logs, coals or stones.
In order to get your money’s worth, there are a few key things to look for in a gas fire pit.
Safety comes first…
First and foremost, you need to make sure it’s UL Listed and tested for safety.
In short, that means it passes the checks to make sure it is safe to use.
From there, try to get a high-grade stainless steel burner – it will prevent rust and maximise the lifespan of your fire pit, especially when left out in the open year-round.
When you follow these tips and get a high-quality gas fire pit, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing benefits. Let’s go through some of them.
- Quick start and stop – gathering for a nice evening around a fire doesn’t have to include setting up the fire and spending hours making sure it doesn’t die out. With a gas fire pit, you can start it at the push of a button and spend all your precious time taking pleasure in the nice warmth. And the best part, when the evening’s finished, just push a button and the flames will be off in just a second.
- Heat control – gas fire pits often have small dials with which you can control the amount of fuel released, allowing you to adjust the level of flames depending on your needs. You can keep a low flame in the summer, and crank it up on a chilly autumn day, without any hassle at all.
- Environmentally friendly – the flames from a gas fire pit are entirely clean, without producing ashes, soot, or any other dangerous byproducts.
The first thing you need to consider when choosing between the two is how you plan to use it. Yes, they both have plenty of similarities, but the experiences they provide can differ quite a lot.
A fireplace is much more of a statement piece, as it can be an elegant architectural part of your garden. You can also build it into a wall, saving you valuable space, and even place a TV above it!
However, it offers limited seating space, as you can only sit in front of it.
You may not need planning permission, but you may need to comply with building regulations depending on your installation type with a fireplace.
Best to check first, to avoid having to knock it down!
Compare that to a fire pit…
On the other hand, you can gather around a fire pit and create seating on all sides, allowing for a more interactive experience where everyone can see and talk to each other.
If you have a garden with a view, a fire pit won’t block any of it and you’ll be enjoying that as well. It’s a bit more like a camp fire experience.
But if you often have winds in your garden, a fire pit might not be the best option as there’s no protection from the wind.
To sum up, if you’re looking for a more formal, dining-like experience, a fireplace might be your best bet. However, if you want to encourage conversation and roasting s’mores, it’d be best to choose a fire pit.
As with any home improvement project, cost plays a big role in deciding which way to go.
Fireplaces are the more expensive option here, as they need a lot of material to be built and together with the labour cost, it adds up to be quite an expensive project, anywhere from £2,000 to £5,000.
Fire pits, in contrast, provide a much less expensive option as they don’t require building materials and structural design.
You can even pick up a cheap fire pit from Amazon for as little as £35.
Having said that…
If you are looking to build your own fire-pit, you should expect to pay between £250 and £1,000 for a bespoke fire pit design.
Before you go shopping for an outdoor fire pit, you need to consider which features are required for your use and set-up.
Let’s go through some of them now:
Whether you’re looking to warm up a big patio or you need a small fire pit to gather around with your closest family, there are plenty of fire pit styles to choose from.
- Fire Pit Tables – a fire pit table is similar to a regular outdoor coffee table, but with a built-in fire pit in the middle. They are perfect if you want to save some space since the gas tank is hidden inside the table so the whole design is sleek, elegant and you can also place snacks and drinks on top of it, which is an added bonus.
- Fire Pit Bowls – instead of having a table surface, this design has a big bowl filled with glass beads or stones surrounding the burner. They are lightweight so you can easily move them around your garden or patio, and cleaning is very easy. If you wish to entertain a larger group of people, a big fire bowl in the center of your seating area will make everything cozier.
- Fire Pit Columns – you can use this design to add an elegant touch to your patio or garden. Fire pit columns are taller and thinner than tables, and often have stone or masonry decoration. They are a great option if you have a smaller space to work with, and they can be placed between two chairs instead of in the middle of the seating area.
Most outdoor fire pits are made of metal as it’s the most durable and easy to clean material. Still, there are a range of options to choose from, such as stainless steel, copper, cast iron and stone.
Stainless steel offers the most resistance to outdoor elements and is also lightweight so it can be moved around often.
Stone fire pits, on the other hand, are much heavier and difficult to move around, so only choose them if you plan to keep the fire pit in one location.
The same goes for cast iron, while copper can be difficult to maintain.
Aren’t all fire pits the same…?
The short answer is no. On the face of it, they might appear the same because they are fresh out of the factory and all new and shiny.
However, you will see the real difference between a good quality one and a poor one after some use.
With a lower quality fire pit, you will see that it fades and doesn’t withstand the heating and cooling as well as a higher quality one.
This is usually down to the materials used, the thickness of any protective finishes, how well made it is and how much time was spent making it.
More often than not, you get what you pay for so a cheap item will be lower quality overall. The best fire pits, some of which can be seen at this link and others on this page, are hard to come by so the best thing to do is look at the reviews from real users.
Although not an exhaustive list, the below are some key points to keep in mind when using your fire pit to prevent accidents.
- Always put your fire pit on a non-flammable surface, like concrete or stone, and never on wood or grass
- Don’t position a fire pit under hanging tree branches or a covered porch
- Keep children and pets away from the fire
- Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby
- Check with your local government about any rules
If you have a wood-burning fire pit, you need to regularly empty out the ashes and any remaining pieces of wood.
You can do this with an ash scoop or a special vacuum.
Gas fire pits, on the other hand, don’t need any ash removal, just make sure to regularly remove any unwanted sticks or debris from the burner.
To maintain your fire pit, give it a deep clean once every season with a solution specific to the material of your pit.
Also, make sure to keep the pit covered when not in use – that way, it won’t collect any unnecessary debris.
To further protect your fire pit from the elements, keep it in a dry and closed location.
Gas fire pits are very convenient – they’re easy to start, easy to maintain, and give you full control over the fire.
The only downside is that they’re more expensive to run, but that’s easily neutralized by the convenience they offer.
Using wood for your fire pit is cheap, natural and allows you to enjoy a campfire experience with the crackle and aroma of real wood. However, there are a few downsides.
They are much more difficult to start and maintain the fire throughout the night, and smoke might bother people’s eyes and your neighbours.
Now it’s up to you…
We’ve covered the basics of what to look for, suggestions for safety and the best fuel for your fire pit.
Now it’s your choice on the exact look and feel you want to go for.
An in-depth guide on how to choose the best fire pit for your garden. We’ll cover all the basics and talk about the different styles, options, and all their advantages.