Fire pits are available in a huge range of designs and choosing the best one for your garden can depend on several factors.
The most common designs are basic round units, decorative options, table fire pits and portable fire pits.
Basic Round Fire Pits
These tend to be the most budget-friendly fire pits. They have simple designs, generally consisting of a stand, a bowl, and a spark guard. Whilst sizing can vary a lot, they may measure somewhere in the region of 60 x 60 cm.
Even the majority of these more basic fire pits either come with, or can be fitted with, a cooking grill to turn them into a BBQ.
The benefits of these fire pits are: they’re generally inexpensive, easy to store, and don’t use too much fuel because of their size.
The drawbacks of these fire pits are: they may not burn hot enough to heat medium-size/large patios.
Decorative Fire Pits
These are generally an advancement on the ‘basic round fire pits’ mentioned above, although any fire pit could have the potential to be decorative.
Here we are mostly referring to fire pits that have cut-out designs which means the light from the fire creates an attractive pattern and can be seen through the bowl of the fire pit.
There are two primary benefits to these fire pits, on top of the benefits mentioned in the section above. Firstly, heat can be better felt around the sides of the fire pit, secondly, they tend to have a slightly deeper fire bowl (which can hold more logs and therefore produce more heat) in order to accommodate the design.
Table Fire Pits
These combine coffee tables with fire pits. Therefore, they’re generally quite large, but they can have a variety of uses.
This is a particularly useful option to consider if you don’t already have some sort of coffee table outside.
There’s more than one style of table fire pit, but generally you’ll have one of two options: pits that can be covered with a lid when not in use, and pits that can’t.
Certain table fire pits will allow you to completely cover the fire pit hole, leaving a perfectly inconspicuous table. These are probably the most practical, as they’re very versatile and useful at any time of day.
If you can’t cover the fire pit hole, you can still use the outer rim of the table for resting drinks and entertaining.
A lot of people consider table fire pits to be a little safer to use around pets and young children, as opposed to other more basic designs, as the table ‘rim’ naturally creates a bit more space between the people and the flame.
A lot of table fire pits can also be used as BBQ grills and ice boxes.
The benefits of table fire pits are: they have a lot of different uses, they are large enough for a lot of people to sit around, you can often BBQ food whilst sitting around the table.
The drawbacks of these fire pits are: they’re large so you need to have enough space to accommodate them, they may be heavy and difficult to store, they’re often quite low meaning the table won’t be appropriate for eating dinner.
Portable Fire Pits
There are other places where it can be nice to have a fire, not just on the patio at home.
Having a portable fire pit means it can be taken along to the beach or on camping trips, helping out with the cooking as well as keeping people warm in the evenings.
There are ‘basic round fire pits’ that have collapsible legs, making them smaller and a lot easier to carry.
Even with a portable fire pit you’ll still want it to be at least 40 x 40 cm, but buying a slightly bigger model will help generate more warmth – you’ll just have to make sure you can still carry it to the destination as well as fit it in the car.
If you buy a portable fire pit, make sure it comes with a carrying bag – this will stop you from having to source an appropriate bag each time you want to take it somewhere.
Finally, just because you buy a portable fire pit, doesn’t mean it can’t be used at the patio at home. Therefore, buying a model with collapsible legs might be a good idea if you think you’ll want to take it places in the future, even if you don’t have anything planned right now.
The benefits of portable fire pits are: you can take them to the beach or camping, they can often double up as BBQs, their collapsible nature makes them easy to fit in the car.
The drawbacks of these fire pits are: you need to reach a compromise between weight and size, they will likely be smaller than units you would get just for the patio at home.