A fire pit is a great way to bring family and friends together outdoors. While there’s no mistaking a wood-burning fire pit, a propane-based system will make your patio usable during colder months of the year. The best propane fire pit could resemble an elegant table made from steel and glass or a simple concrete bowl – it all depends on your needs and budget.
- The Best Propane Fire Pits for Outdoor Use
- How to Find the Best Propane Fire Pit
- Final Thoughts
- Propane Fire Pit FAQ
The Best Propane Fire Pits for Outdoor Use
- Material: Cast Concrete
- BTU Rating: 45,000
- Dimensions: 43”W x 16”H
- Weight: 143 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
- Material: Envirostone
- BTU Rating: 40,000
- Dimensions: 20.5”W x 29”H
- Weight: 63 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
Prism Hardscapes Pentola 3
- Material: GFRC
- BTU Rating: 65,000
- Dimensions: 24”W x 26”H
- Weight: 135 lbs.
- Warranty: 2 years
- Material: Cast Concrete
- BTU Rating: 45,000
- Dimensions: 39”W x 17”H
- Weight: 121 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
Christopher Knight Stillwater
- Material: MGO
- BTU Rating: 40,000
- Dimensions: 34.5”W x 24”H
- Weight: 129 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
Outland Mega Firebowl 883
- Material: Steel
- BTU Rating: 58,000
- Dimensions: 24”W x 13”H
- Weight: 34 lbs.
- Warranty: 1-year
While there are hundreds of wood-burning fire pits on the market, we were blown away by the sheer number of propane fire pits. That made finding the top models a bit tricky, especially once you factor in the wide range of styles and price points available. With that in mind, we chose six fire pits for our list; each has a completely different vibe.
#1 Elementi Boulder Fire Pit
The Best Propane Fire Pit Bowl
The traditional fire pit has evolved significantly over the years, which has brought new form factors to the market. Fire bowls have grown in popularity, and the best one for outdoor use is the large Lunar Bowl fire pit from Elementi.
While not from the stone-age, this propane fire pit was inspired by nature and made from cast concrete. The exterior has been finished to resemble a natural boulder, and it could easily be mistaken for one that’s been cut in half. It’s one of the larger fire pits on our list, as well, considering it’s 43” in diameter with ample room around the edge to sit drinks or prop up your feet.
Despite its size, this propane fire pit only weighs 125 pounds. It’s not quite as permanent as heavier systems and can be moved with 2-3 people. The 12” stainless steel burner produces flames from 18” to 20” tall, and it’s simple to control and start. It’s rated at 45,000 BTU and holds a little over 13 pounds of lava rock, although you can use other types of media as well.
The Elementi OFG147LP comes with a sturdy weather-resistant cover, but that won’t help you hide the propane tank. Unless you already have a solution in mind, you may want to pick up the matching propane cover for the Fiery Rock cast concrete fire pit. This miniature boulder cover doubles as a table with a flat top and is made from fiberglass-reinforced concrete.
When you want a premium fire table or fire pit for your home, Elementi is the best brand to turn to. This highly-rated fire bowl definitely sets itself apart from others due to its size and design, which allows it to blend in naturally outdoors. The only issue you may have with this system is if you want accessories like the boulder cover, which can be challenging to find throughout the year.
#2 Bond Manufacturing Newcastle Fire Pit Column
The Best Propane Fire Pit Column
One of the more difficult things about choosing a fire table or propane fire pit is the height. Find a system that can provide warmth at just the right size is challenging, but not if you have a tall fire pit like the Newcastle from Bond Manufacturing.
Compared to the other systems on our list, the Bond Newcastle is more of a fire column than a fire pit. A decorative fire bowl sits atop a pedestal that provides chest-high heat and keeps you from craning your neck to enjoy the flames. It has a total height of 29,” and the bowl itself is 20.5” in diameter. Despite its stone-like appearance, the Bond 63172 only weighs 63 pounds.
The exterior of this fire pit is constructed from Envirostone. This synthetic material provides a realistic design and is covered with something called ProCoat for additional protection. The weatherproof coating will help prevent UV rays and the elements from breaking down the fire pit. It’s a huge advantage, and we found that consumers have been able to leave this one out in the weather with no issues.
From a technical standpoint, this fire pit column is in-line with the rest of the pack. It’s rated at 40,000 BTU and has a stainless steel burner ring inside the fire bowl. It will work off any standard 20-pound tank, which is hidden behind a removable panel in the base. It comes with lava rock, a hose, and is fully assembled out of the box.
Bond did an amazing job with the Newcastle as they crafted an attractive system that’s both versatile and affordable. It’s a great fit on porches and patios that are tight on space and sturdy enough to be used as an accent piece outdoors as well. Drainage can be a bit of a problem according to several consumers, so you’ll want to invest in a high-quality waterproof cover for this fire pit.
#3 Prism Hardscapes Pentola 3 Fire Pit
The Best Concrete Fire Pit
When you want something rugged that will stand up to Mother Nature, where other materials falter, concrete is an excellent choice. While you’ll find several fire pits made from concrete on our list, the Pentola 3 from Prism Hardscapes has a distinctly different design.
The Pentola 3 is constructed from fiber-reinforced cement and resembles an oversized flower planter. It’s almost as wide as it is tall, but as it isn’t completely solid, the weight is a manageable 135 pounds. While we don’t know exactly how thick it is, rest assured its well-made and not the type of fire pit that will tip over in a storm or crack easily.
This concrete fire pit is 26” tall and 24” in diameter. The propane tank is hidden inside this large fire pit, which is an upgrade over previous Pentola models. You can access the tank through a flush mount door on the side of this fire pit, but you don’t use a push-button ignition to fire up this system. It has a classic key valve ignition, which adds a touch of class and keeps the design streamlined.
At 65,000 BTU, the Pentola 3 can put out more heat than the rest of our picks. It has a large 18” stainless steel burner pan to go along with a matching 15” burner. It holds up to 25 pounds of lava rock or glass media as well. These fire pits have a handcrafted patina, and while we chose Café, it’s also available in Natural, Pewter, Ebony, Ultra White.
Concrete fire pits aren’t cheap, but the Pentola 3 should be towards the top of your shopping list if you want a heavy-duty system that’s tall and puts off plenty of heat. It’s easier to manage than wider concrete fire pits, although the key valve ignition may be a turn off for some. There are variants with electronic ignitions as well, but they are double the cost.
#4 Elementi Manchester
A Propane Fire Pit with a Natural Style
While we could have easily filled our list with selections from Elementi, we narrowed our choices down to only two fire pits after much deliberation. Our second option is another fire pit engineered for the backyard, but the Manchester has a completely different vibe than their Fiery Rock fire pit.
One look lets you know why the Manchester made the cut and why it’s a fire pit homeowners love. This fire pit was carefully crafted to mimic the look of a cut log, complete with tree rings around the top. It’s highly realistic, although you’ll never have to worry about the “wood” burning up in your fire. It’s made from high-quality cast concrete and built to last, like most of the company’s outdoor fire pits.
The Manchester is an inch taller than the Boulder but slightly smaller with a diameter around 39”. It’s a bit lighter as well at 121 pounds, but has the same stainless steel burn ring. That means you’ll get 20” flames from this propane fire pit, and it also holds the same amount of media. The problem with the design is the same one that plagues all fire pits of this nature – you will need to hide the tank.
As you might suspect, Elementi has a stylish solution for that problem with a log-like tank cover. You can also pick up concrete stumps to sit one if you want to keep everything uniform. Other optional accessories for this fire pit include a stainless steel cover and insert or a circular fire pit windscreen made from tempered glass.
The Elementi Manchester is a unique alternative to traditional fire pits and a great choice if you prefer something a little warmer looking than their grey cast concrete designs. Simply put, this propane fire pit is essentially the same system as the Boulder, but in a different form factor. That’s not a bad thing as both are well-received and built to outlast their warranty. The Manchester is also available in Grey if you want the weathered look.
#5 Christopher Knight Stillwater
An Attractive Faux Stone Fire Pit
When you’re looking for a fire pit, the Brady Bunch is probably the last thing on your mind. The attractive Stillwater fire pit does have a bit of a 70s vibe, and it’s an instant conversation starter as it hails from the Christopher Knight collection.
This round fire pit has a stone-like appearance with a circular ring around the top. It’s not made of slate but from MGO, a type of cast concrete that’s durable but relatively lightweight. This material is designed to handle the weather, and the inside of the fire pit has a sturdy metal frame. It has a bit of a sheen like sealed stone and slots in the top for moving the Stillwater around.
A 20-pound propane tank fits inside the base of this fire pit and is accessible through a removable door. The stainless steel burner can produce up to 40,000 BTU’s of heat and is adjustable through a dial. At 34.5” tall, it’s shorter than the Newcastle but taller than a traditional fire table. It will also arrive fully assembled, so you simply need to add the lava rock and hook up a propane tank.
With a hand-crafted exterior that homeowners found realistic, the Stillwater is a propane fire pit you can leave outdoors or use on a porch with proper precautions. The fact it’s fully assembled is a plus, and the ledge around the top is wide enough to be usable. Its price is a little high compared to similar fire pits, but well worth a look if you like the style and size.
#6 Outland Firebowl 883 Mega Fire Pit
The Best Portable Propane Fire Pit
When compared to their wood-burning counterparts, many outdoor propane fire pits are designed for fixed locations and aren’t exactly portable. This fire pit from Outland is an exception to the rule, as it’s easy to transport and just as powerful as the other systems on our list.
The exterior of this portable propane fire pit is constructed from high-quality steel, while the burner and fasteners are made from stainless steel. It’s built for the outdoors and will hold up well thanks to enameling and a powder-coated finish. The design itself is simple but well thought out, from the stabilizer ring around the base to the chrome valve.
A manual ignition will fire up this fire pit in a matter of seconds. It works from a standard 20-pound propane tank and is rated at 58,000 BTU. Considering it’s only 24” wide and 13” tall, that’s impressive. The Outland 883 comes with everything you need to get started as well, including a 10’ hose and regulator, 4.4 pounds of natural lava rock, and a UV-resistant cover.
The design of the Outland 883 rules it out if you’re interested in a centerpiece for your patio, but the only real option for a portable propane fire pit. While there are more permanent alternatives, this system is perfect for homeowners short on space and want something they can break out as needed. A natural gas conversion kit is available for the 883, along with a wealth of replacement parts.
How to Find the Best Propane Fire Pit
Wood-burning fire pits outnumber propane-based models by a wide margin. That means you have to dig a little deeper to find a propane fire pit, most of which sit above the ground… not below it. In this guide, we’re going to cover key areas to help you find the best fire pit for your backyard, including safety, design, and placement.
Propane vs. Wood-Burning Fire Pits
If you have never owned a fire pit, there’s a strong chance you’ve found yourself torn between choosing a fire pit that burns wood or one that uses gas for fuel. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both types of systems, which we will compare below.
Propane Fire Pits
Propane fire pits have the advantage of burning clean, so there’s no smoke, and no ash left behind. That also means you won’t spend half the evening stoking a fire as you just need to hook up a tank. Overall, they are easier to use, easier to maintain, and far quicker to light. They are also safe to use on covered patios as long as you watch the flame height and heat output.
Propane fire pits can be more expensive than ones that burn wood, but that largely depends on the design and style. The main drawback with a propane fire pit is fuel cost if you intend to use it regularly. Safety is always a concern with any gas-based system, but propane fire pits are more self-contained than natural gas and don’t have embers that can park fires in your yard.
Wood-Burning Fire Pits
When you need a lot of heat outdoors and love tall flames that can reach several feet high, you’ll want to consider a fire pit that burns wood. You can’t replicate the atmosphere of a warm, crackling fire with a propane fire pit, even if they are a whole lot easier to clean and maintain.
Fire pits that burn wood are cheaper unless you choose a designer model made from thick laser-cut steel. They are also lighter and easier to store when not in use. Unfortunately, you can’t use them on a patio, and you’ll need to acquire and store wood for fuel. They are safer in regards to combustion but will still scorch the ground and set anything too close ablaze.
Consider the Location
While an advantage of purchasing a propane fire pit is ease of use, finding a model that’s suitable to use in your backyard is tricky. That’s because of Mother Nature and other factors like landscaping. In other words, before you let your heart become set on a certain type of propane fire pit, think about where it will sit and the location around it.
If you intend to use the propane pit on a patio, clearances are the first thing to consider. While this style of fire pit doesn’t produce a great deal of heat, they still get warm enough to catch things on fire. That includes plastic patio furniture along with anything else that’s above or around the heat source. You can usually dial down the height of the flames but should always refer to the owner’s manual and follow the directions on distances.
For propane fire pits that sit outdoors throughout the year, drainage can be a problem. Even if the fire pit has a large drain hole, water shouldn’t be allowed to pool or sit around the bottom of the fire pit. Placing it on pavers or another suitable surface to get it off the ground can solve that problem, but you’ll want to invest in a waterproof and weather-resistant cover as well.
Shapes and Sizes
To say fire pits come in all shapes in sizes would be an understatement. Whether you prefer something spherical and made from thick, natural steel or a pit with a built-in grill, you can find one. That’s with wood-burning fire pits, however, as your choices are somewhat limited from a design standpoint when you choose propane.
Round Fire Pits
When many homeowners first think of a fire pit, a round structure usually comes to mind. It’s the most popular style for wood-burning fire pits, and you can find hundreds of round propane fire pits on the market as well. These fire pits can range between 30” to 40” in diameter and are shaped like a large bowl.
You can find models that sit atop of decorative columns alongside that serve as accent pieces or standalone units large fire bowls that you can comfortably sit around. When choosing a tall circular fire pit with a metal base, keep seating and leg clearance in mind along with the BTU rating if it has a narrow ledge surrounding the fire bowl.
If you intend to use a fire pit on your patio and want to seat 2-4 people, a square propane fire pit is often the best choice. They can be just as compact as a larger round fire pit, but models with bases usually have larger ledges.
They are better suited for outdoor entertainment and the most popular type sold today. Height is important with this type of fire pit, especially if you intend to use seating. Most are around 24”, which is a comfortable height, but you have to take your patio furniture into account as well.
When round fire pits are too small, and a square fit pit isn’t long enough, the only suitable option is a rectangular fire pit. Often referred to as fire tables, these systems can comfortably accommodate between 4 to 6 people depending on its size, height, and overall design.
In our experience, most large, rectangular fire pit tables are around 24” to 30” tall, but there are a variety of models under 20” that sit directly on the ground with no legs. These fire pits can be expensive but offer more variety when it comes to design.
Fire Pit Materials
Fire pits that use propane fall into two categories. There are fire pits that are light enough to be put away as needed and ones that are more of a permanent fixture outdoors. Systems designed to sit outdoors throughout the year are priced at a premium, whereas lightweight models are often made from materials that aren’t always ideal for the outdoors. Here are the most common options you’ll encounter when looking for the best propane fire pit.
Steel – No matter what your fire pit looks like or how much it costs, some steel will be used in its construction. If you intend to use your propane fire pit on a covered patio, fire pits made from thinner powder-coated steel are considerably cheaper. They aren’t ideal for long-term exposure to the elements; however, as rust can eventually take its toll.
Stainless Steel – If you want to stick with steel but aren’t keen on coating, stainless steel is a much better choice. It’s used for the burner, burner pan, and other parts of propane fire pits, which makes it ideal for damp areas and outdoor use. You won’t find any systems on our list made entirely made from stainless steel, but all use it in their construction to a degree.
Aluminum – Aluminum can resemble stainless steel from a distance, but it’s lighter and impervious to rust. It’s one of the best choices for extended periods of exposure outdoors but is costly compared to regular steel, stainless steel, concrete, and other building materials. With that in mind, a cast aluminum fire pit can last for decades when properly maintained.
Concrete – From sidewalks and cinder blocks to patios themselves, concrete is one of the most versatile building materials in the world. It’s also commonly used for high-end gas and propane fire pits. A concrete fire pit has a distinct style, but you need to keep the weight in mind along with your budget for this type of fire pit. Returns can be costly as well, considering some can weigh around 800 pounds.
GFRC – GFRC stands for glass fiber reinforced concrete, and it’s a unique alternative to traditional concrete. It can be formed into lightweight but strong panels while maintaining a density close to traditional concrete. When weight is a concern, but you still want to rough look of concrete, fire pits made from GFRC are well worth your time.
Fire Pit Ignition Systems
Every fire pit on our list has a few common parts, regardless of its size or how it's designed. One of those is the ignition system, which is how you start a propane fire pit. These components can raise the overall cost of your fire pit and have a major impact on how easy it is to use.
Match-Lit - When propane-based fire pits were first introduced, a simple match was all you needed to start a fire. Well, you can still find those systems today in the form of a match-lit propane fire pit. While it’s technically not an “ignition” system like the other choices, fire pits of this nature much cheaper and doesn’t require power.
Spark Ignition – If you want something a little more sophisticated than a long fireplace match, consider a fire pit with a spark ignition system. As the name implies, an igniter will send out a spark that ignites the flame of your fire pit. They do need batteries to work but simply require you to press a button and turn a valve. It’s not a foolproof system, though, as dead batteries and loose wires have left many homeowners frustrated.
Electronic Ignition – Any fire pit with an electronic ignition requires a constant source of power. They automatically monitor the flame and can handle things in the event it becomes extinguished. They are priced at a premium but can be controlled remotely through wall switches and high-tech remote controls. When you are concerned about safety or just want something easy to use, choose a fire pit with an electronic ignition system.
A well-built propane fire pit can bring your family years of enjoyment outdoors, and we hope our guide sheds some light on a few murky areas with this type of fire pit. Just remember to pick up a good fire pit cover if you want to protect your investment. If you’re looking for something larger than a traditional fire pit, check out our list of the best fire tables.
Propane Fire Pit FAQ
Q: Is it safe to use a propane fire pit on a wooden or composite deck?
A: That depends on the style of the fire pit, but it isn’t an issue with fire pit tables or systems with legs that keep the ground cool. Simply put, any fire pit that makes the ground hot isn’t suitable for these types of decks.
Q: Can I change out the glass or lava rock included with a propane fire pit?
A: Yes. While there are many options available, you’ll need to refer to your user manual to ensure the glass or rocks are suitable.
Q: Which type of fire pit will last the longest outdoors?
A: One made from concrete, GFRC, or aluminum. You still need to maintain your fire pit as required and should keep it covered, but fire pits made from these materials are built to last.
Q: Is it safe to cook food on a propane fire pit?
A: It’s just as safe to cook food over a propane fire pit as it is to cook with a gas grill. Unless you plan on simply roasting marshmallows, it can get quite messy as most of the systems are designed for style and warmth… not cooking.
Q: Should I be concerned about ventilation with a propane fire pit?
A: Ventilation isn’t a problem with propane-based systems outdoors, whether the fire pit is in your backyard on a screened-in patio.