Okay, okay, I’ll admit that fire pits don’t really have a “season” per se—they’re ripe for enjoyment pretty much any day of the year (as long as it’s not raining outside). But summer is an especially great time to gather round the hearth, when your cheeks are sun-kissed and the chilly night is setting in. Close your eyes and picture it: You, your friends and family, a cozy sweater, a glass of wine and lots of lots of conversation around the fire. Aaaahhhh. I’m relaxed just thinking about it.
But, like most fantasies, the realities of fire pits are not as glamorous as the picture in our minds. Most of us order these online assuming they’ll be a piece of cake to assemble and within an hour of opening the box we’ll be unwinding with our feet warmed by the flames. But IRL there are 10,000 parts, directions practically written in Chinese and you and your husband are screaming at each other about who misplaced the hex key.
So we tested about a slew of the best-rated, most-reviewed gas fire pits to determine which ones not only look beautiful, but are also relatively easy to assemble and are sturdy enough to give you a decade's worth of fireside chats. Why did we go the gas route? Mainly because while versatile, wood-burning pits involve more work on our parts (carrying the logs! replacing the logs!), and don’t even get me started on the smoke. So below is our lineup of the best bets you can make when buying a fire pit this summer, and here’s why.
Outland Living Fire Table
First off, this table is a beauty and is sure to be the standout element of your outdoor space. (And if you’ve already got an espresso-hued resin wicker patio set, it will complement those pieces perfectly!) Secondly, it’s a powerhouse, conveniently concealing a five-gallon propane tank (not included) within the table, which provides up to 16 hours of smoke-free flame. Third, the assembly was probably a two out of 10 in terms of difficulty—it took under an hour to build and the instructions were surprisingly clear and easy to understand. The end result is a sturdy, super-luxe-looking fire feature that will elevate your backyard experience. Bonus: For a little added drama, consider purchasing the glass wind fence to maintain the flame (or keep kiddos’ hands away) and add even more flare to the table.
Blue Rhino Endless Summer Outdoor Firebowl
If you love the look of logs—but don’t want the hassle of the aforementioned smoke—then this is the pit for you. With its rustic slate-and-marble top, this “fire bowl” blows a strong and steady flame out via lava rocks and faux logs, heating approximately 150 square feet of space—perfect for a small patio or pool-side area. All in, assembly takes roughly hours and you have to rely on instructions comprised mainly of images, which means you really have to FOCUS. But the result is an incredibly well-made table that is the opposite of flimsy. Note: The pit top is super heavy and heats up fast, so you will want to place cheese plates and wine bottles on a nearby side table instead.
Heininger Portable Propane Outdoor Fire Pit
Don’t want to deal with the smoke and mess of a wood-burning fire feature…but also want a pit that’s portable? Then Heininger is the option for you. Whether you’re looking to move it across the yard to catch a better view of the meteor shower or you want to throw it in the back of the car for an impromptu BBQ down the street, is lightweight (only 22 pounds) and easy to carry given it’s slight dimensions. The kit comes with ten feet of hose, so safely tuck your propane tank out of sight and away from the crowd. Bonus: The pit’s metal ring base doesn’t get hot—or burn your patio or grass. Oh, and did we mention the price? Let’s just say that it’s right.
Bond Mondavi Gas Firebowl
If you want to eschew the standard square or rectangle fire table, Bond’s Mondavi bowl is what you’re looking for. Rustic and modern all at once, the pit has a pulse ignition and gives out a massive 70,000 BTUs of heat and is big enough to accommodate up to eight or so people. Set up is a cinch and shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes—it mainly involves pulling the bowl out of the box (Head’s up: It’s heavy and cumbersome at 80 pounds and 36-inches wide!) and fill it with rocks. A 10-foot regulator hose is included and as many reviewers noted, the included lava rocks aren’t enough to fill the bowl, so you might want to buy an extra bag with this purchase.
Best Choice Products Aluminum Gas Outdoor Fire Pit Table With Cover
Perhaps the most elegant in design on our list (and the most universally compatible with your existing outdoor furniture), this aluminum-paneled pit is dual-purpose thanks to the lid that allows it to also full-fledged function as a table when the fire feature isn’t being used. We like that it conceals the propane tank within its frame and is super-sturdy once assembled. (Total build time was roughly two hours.) Bonus: Cover is included with the purchase.
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