How to Shop for Fire Pits
A fire pit can be the centerpiece of an outdoor patio and add warmth and ambience to your outdoor gatherings. You have a number of choices when selecting outdoor fire pits depending on where you will use them and how you will use them.
Check the laws
Before you buy a fire pit, be sure to check your county’s burning laws. Some counties completely prohibit fire pits while others occasionally put burn bans into effect. Make sure you are familiar with the outdoor burning rules and regulations before you buy a fire pit. This may influence what type of fire pit you buy, because these regulations commonly only apply to wood burning fires.
Location, location, location
Determine where you will place the fire pit. It should be on a patio or on level ground that is clear of brush and other material that may catch fire. The location will influence what style you choose.
Many fire pits are on legs or raised from the ground so they do not transfer as much heat to the ground. Read the manufacturer’s precautions and guidelines for safe placement of your fire pit.
Next, you’ll want to determine which fuel type you want to use. There are four main fuel types that each have different benefit.
- • Wood burning fire pits tend to be deeper and more open than other styles. These give you a fire closest to a real camp fire and can be used for roasting marshmallows. Many wood fire pits come with a protective screen to prevent sparks from escaping.
- • Charcoal fire pits will have less flame but will provide a more even heat for outdoor cooking and consistent warmth. Many charcoal fire pits come with a grate for cooking.
- • Gel fuel fire pits do not emit smoke or odors and use a chemical gel to create a flame. They use a similar technology to heaters used in catering to keep food warm. There is some debate as to whether it is safe to cook over gel fuel fire pits, but they tend to have a more controlled burn than wood fire pits.
- • Propane fire pits provide an easy way to get a fire going without having to start a fire. They do not create embers or smoke like a wood or charcoal fire will and are still safe to use for cooking.
Once you receive your fire pit, place it somewhere to minimize the risk of the fire spreading. Always exercise caution when you are around fire and don’t leave small children unattended.