The Best Fire Pits for Outdoor Entertaining


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Oct 09, 2023

The Best Fire Pits for Outdoor Entertaining

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Whether in the backyard or at the campsite, these pits are fire.

There's just something special about sitting next to a fire outdoors, especially on a summer night. Whether it's the natural warmth provided, the hypnotic glow of the flames or the fact that you can casually live-fire roast marshmallows and hot dogs while enjoying good company, a fire in the backyard just makes everything better. But most people don't live in a place where it's safe, or even legal, to build a roaring bonfire on their property. But if you have a fire pit, then a fire becomes simple, safe and convenient to set up wherever you are.

We certainly believe that a good fire pit is the perfect way to elevate any outdoor event, which is why we've tested the biggest names in the industry to find our favorites. So whether you're looking for a fire pit for family nights in the backyard, a portable fire pit to bring camping or an envy-inducing propane fire pit table for your patio, you'll find what you're looking for in this guide to the best fire pits.

Our testers have spent a lot of time with their respective fire pits — ranging from 6 months to 2 years — and have used them for entertaining, cooking and keeping warm while enjoying the outdoors. They've evaluated their fire pits on their build quality, how easy they are to use, clean and cook with, their available accessories and the flames they produce. They've also made note of any negatives or quirks you should look out for when shopping for any of the below fire pits.

Solo Stove's claim to fame as the "smokeless" fire pit is quite impressive, and we have found that it holds up as long as you follow the instructions on how you should build your fire. We love being able to enjoy the warm glow, roast some marshmallows and hot dogs or even cook a pizza without needing to worry about moving your chair around the pit to avoid the smoke. If you were an owner of the original Solo Stove Bonfire, it might be nice to know that it now comes with a removable ash pan, making it super easy to clean.

It is built with stainless steel, so not only does it look good, but your concern about rust can go by the wayside. Our tester has noted that it naturally has gotten a patina, but this was expected and not necessarily a bad thing. While you aren't supposed to store it in the elements, our tester has forgotten it outside on occasion and has not run into any issues. Solo Stove recommends you snag one of its shelters if you plan on leaving it outdoors, which might be worth it if you anticipate yourself not wanting to lug it into the garage very often. The fire pit is not necessarily heavy by any means (23.3 pounds), though it can be a bit awkward to carry, and Solo Stove makes an add-on handle that you can purchase later if this ends up bothering you. In general, the brand has done a notably good job of expanding its options for accessories. While the Bonfire 2.0 can seem pretty barebones, it's an awesome starting point since you can always add features via the brand's extensive selection of add-ons.

The Breeo is hand-built by the Amish in Lancaster, PA, so as far as durability and quality are concerned, our tester says it's hard not to notice that this does feel more elevated than other fire pits she has come into contact with. The X Series is heavy, no matter what size you choose — you have the option of the X19 (22 inches), X24 (27.5 inches) and X30 (34.5 inches) — but that's understandable when you consider that this thing is made from heavy gauge 304 stainless steel and corten steel. (If you want stainless, you'll have to shell out an extra hundred bucks.)

Our reviewer chose corten, and she loves how it's patinaed over time — it arrived with a blue steel finish and slowly took on the earthy corten color over a few months. This fire pit is easy to use and cook on, whether or you're using the cooking accessories or not. It's not very easy to move unless you've got another adult to help you haul it, so our tester says it's best to choose where you want it to live long-term and set it there.

This fire pit is just what the brand says: barebones. There's no smokeless technology, no stainless steel construction and no extra doodads. It's a shallow blackened steel pot that you throw wood into and light it on fire. It's as simple as fire pits get, but sometimes, that's all you need. The Barebones Fire Pit is super affordable and extremely portable, yet its still large enough to burn bigger logs than most other fire pits (the bowl measures 29 inches across, yet the fire pit weighs just 21 pounds). Its legs keep it well elevated off the ground for safety's sake, and the convenient handles make it easy to move when needed ... just wait til it cools down, please.

BioLite's FirePit+ is anything but barebones. In fact, it might just be the most technologically advanced fire pit in existence. First up is BioLite's smokeless technology, which uses 51 air jets to control the flames and keep smoke at bay. Then there's the "X-ray mesh" body that gives you a 360-degree view of the flames while keeping it contained at the same time. Finally, there's the rechargeable battery pack controlling the action, which you can also control from your phone via Bluetooth. It allows you to control the size of the flames like you're some kind of wizard, and it'll run for up to 30 hours on a single USB charge. The FirePit+ also doubles as a hibachi grill, as you can fill it with charcoal and attach the included grill grates for a spur-of-the-moment cookout. And with a total weight under 20 pounds, you can take that cookout practically anywhere.

Our tester has "abused the heck" out of his trusty solo stove campfire. He stores it outside year-round and uses it routinely to burn all sorts of yard debris, twigs and cuttings. Due to its small size, the campfire runs best on kindling under 7 inches in length. While you may think this would result in a puny fire, thanks to the clever design of the Solo Stove you'll unleash the incredible power of a wood gasification.

Thanks to air pathways, when your fire is up to temp, the Campfire will start burning the smoke from the fire, leaving you a smokeless fire that's burning incredibly hot. While the Campfire's small size isn't the most appealing option for entertaining friends, the heat put out is nice for a circle of four to enjoy.

Since the Campfire is technically a camp stove in addition to being a fire pit, our tester mostly uses it for cooking in his backyard. (Also worth noting: Legally in his city, and possibly yours, you can't have a campfire on your property unless it's for cooking). Cooking on the Campfire is quite fun, says our reviewer, and by maintaining a healthy feed of fuel it's easy to stay well above 350 degrees. If you do plan on cooking with it, he recommends choosing a dedicated set of cookware to use over the fire because the bottom will get completely covered in hard-to-remove soot.

According to our tester, the Outer Fire Table provides a nicely elevated experience that feels more elegant than many of the alternatives. The design of the fire table is very simple, and assembly is as easy as unboxing it and getting it hooked up to a propane tank, which you can then cover with a side table meant to obscure the tank. This does necessitate a hose running from the tank to the table which some might find unsightly, but it's easy to look past once you're used to it. Once set up, the flames burning around the ceramic spheres create a nice ambiance and you can adjust the fire's intensity, which allows you to get some real heat coming from this thing.

Our tester didn't like that from time to time he would get some pretty strong whiffs of the smell of propane, and he recommends making sure that the hose's connection is nice and tight. The added griddles and stands make for some fun outdoor cooking if you opt for the full cooking set, and while it's far from being a true grill experience, it certainly gets the job done. The main kicker here is the price tag, with the barebones fire table starting at $3,900 — more than ten times the cost of our top wood-burning pick from Solo Stove. What you're paying for here is great design — the Fire Pit Table looks nice and sleek in any luxury setting, and it doubles as an outdoor coffee table with the cover on. But if you're just looking for a simple fire pit to sit around and enjoy, there are plenty of options available in this guide for a lot less money.

If the Bonfire is a bit small for your needs, then Solo Stove's Yukon should fit the bill. Sporting the same basic design as the smaller Bonfire and even more compact Ranger, the Yukon is Solo Stove's largest smokeless fire pit, boasting the same "Signature 360° Airflow" tech for a smoke-free experience and the same removable ash pan for easy cleanup.

Because of its larger size, measuring 27 inches across compared to the B0nfire's 20-inch diameter, we find that the Yukon is best suited for living in the backyard. It's big enough to provide actual warmth to a group of people, and its wide size makes it a bit more cumbersome to move. Though, at 41 pounds, it's not so heavy that you can't take it on the go when the need arises. Also, because of its size and heat output, you can expect the Yukon to burn through larger amounts of wood than the Bonfire, which is something to consider prior to making your purchase.

There are no two ways about it: Fires are dangerous. If you're going to be starting a fire in your backyard, safety is the most important thing to consider. You'll want to have a fire pit that does a good job of keeping the fire contained so errant sparks and embers don't start trouble, and you'll want it to be sturdy enough to stay level on unstable ground. Also, before you even begin shopping for a fire pit, it's a must to check and make sure it's even legal to have a fire burning on your property — in many places, such as those prone to wildfires, it isn't.

Fire pits come in several different sizes, from small personal pits that can fit on a table to monstrous slabs that function as tables themselves. Consider how much space you'll have to work with and how you expect you'll use your fire pit. If you want a permanent fixture that acts as the centerpiece of your patio, then a Solo Stove probably isn't the best bet. But if you want a portable fire pit that works as well at the campsite as in your backyard, then a Solo Stove may be the way to go.

We are living in somewhat of a golden age of fire pits. Typically, the worst thing about sitting next to a fire outdoors is the smoke that inevitably seems to follow you around, targeting your eyes and nose. But these days, brands like Solo Stove, BioLite, Breeo and others have pioneered smokeless fire pits that nearly eliminate smoke from the equation, bringing you all the benefits of a live fire without the worst part. You can also get fire pits that come loaded with cooking accessories that transform them into a grill or camp stove, fire pits with mechanisms that make cleaning a breeze and even fire pits that allow you to control the flames with your phone. Consider what features you want and think you'll use in your fire pit and make your choice from there.