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There’s something about a fire. If it were only the heat, it would be comforting. If it were only the light, it would be mesmerizing. If it were only the aroma, it would be energizing. But put them all together, and you’re in the realm of the sublime. Or at least the realm of a really good time. There’s no better time than the summer to gather your friends and family (or just fly solo, if that’s your thing) and sit around the backyard fire pit. Tell a story. Share a drink. Play a song. Spill some secrets. Dream. If you’re looking to enter the fray or upgrade your current setup, here are six fire pit options you could have right now with just a spark of inspiration and the click of a mouse.
The Best Old School Fire Pit: Fire Sense 60873 Fire Pit
The Best Smokeless Fire Pit: Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
The Best Cold Climate Fire Pit: Sunnydaze Cauldron
The Best Unique Design Fire Pit: Fissfire Octagonal Fire Pit
The Best Chiminea Fire Pit: BALI OUTDOORS Chimenea Outdoor Fireplace
The Best Gas Fire Pit: Ciays Propane Fire Pits 28 Inch Outdoor Gas Fire Pit
The Best Old School
Fire Sense 60873 Fire Pit
This is one of the simplest and the most inexpensive solutions you’ll find. It won’t break the bank, it’s lightweight and it sets up in minutes. If you’re a fan of burning real logs and don’t mind the smoke and effort required to stoke a fire (part of what I enjoy about the experience, frankly), there’s no better way to go. I decided to hack the product a little, which I’ve been very happy with. I removed the legs (a simple operation) and placed the metal bowl into a double-high stacked ring of fire pit bricks from Lowe’s. There’s a good tutorial on a few different ways to do this here. It’s sturdy, looks great, and in the winter I can just remove the bowl and stow it away from the rust-inducing elements.
The Best Smokeless
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
For some folks, the smoke generated by a free-burning wood fire can be too much. The Solo Stove 2.0 is designed to look great in streamlined stainless steel and is engineered to provide airflow for excellent combustion with minimal sooty by-products. I have a couple of friends who’ve upgraded to the Solo recently and I’ve found they live up to the hype. The flame burns hot and clean and they come in different sizes and configurations with some cool accessories like this heat deflector or cooktop.
The Best Cold Climate Fire Pit
If you’re in a colder climate (or just prefer the Medieval vibe), a cauldron could be a good fit for you. Once fire pits like these get cooking, they kick off some serious heat due to their depth and thickness and the type of metal they are built with. This one is relatively thick steel with a bronze finish. I also like the high spark screen, so you have room for stacking logs and also good visibility for the flames.
The Best Unique Design
Fissfire Octagonal Fire Pit
There’s a classic perfection in the abovementioned bowls and tub-style fire pits, but don’t discount the great variety of shapes now available. This unique pit features an octagon shape with five-pointed star cutouts. The side vents provide extra airflow and cast captivating shadows. If you shop around a bit, you’ll find landscape scenes, spheres and all manner of shapes and patterns to suit your personal aesthetic.
The Best Chiminea
BALI OUTDOORS Chimenea Outdoor Fireplace
The chiminea originated in Mexico and offers an intriguing alternative to a traditional fire pit. They were commonly made from terracotta clay but now come in iron and steel. With their bulbous base and short chimney stack designed to whisk away smoke, they provide warmth, convenience and a bit of eye candy for your outdoor setting. If you want to go more upscale, check out this large cast aluminum version (no rust) from Blue Rooster.
The Best Gas Fire Pit
Ciays Propane Fire Pits 28 Inch Outdoor Gas Fire Pit
If convenience is your main concern, it’s hard to beat the simplicity of this 50,000-BTU propane-fueled fire table. It starts in an instant and features no smoke. You can easily control the flame intensity and heat as you wish. The pit is filled with lava rocks and has a wide rim for holding drinks or appetizers. If you’ve bought into the concept, check out this 35” base unit with aqua fire glass that abandons any trace of the rustic for a contemporary feel.
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