Our quest for the best outdoor gas fire pits began last summer after our old earthen chimnea which came with the house, finally kicked the bucket. (RIP)
We’ve enjoyed many a warm outdoor gathering with family and friends around it, a glass of wine in hand, the smoldering alder sending out tiny clouds of smoke into the air, the chilly summer night around us.
But this time around, we wanted something that was more practical.
Less smoke, no hauling logs to burn and fewer moving parts to maintain. A table top to store our drinks and essentials was desirable, but certainly not a necessity.
How To Tell Which Gas Fire Pit Is Best?
So, we set off to work by digging up customer reviews on the internet, trying our best to sift through the predisposed ones to find the real nuggets. Next, we drove down to retail outlets to speak to sales guys to know their perspective on the best outdoor gas fire pits. By this time, we had enough data to evaluate and narrow down on the best rated ones.
But, we like to be doubly sure. So we searched and searched for user forums for home appliances and Facebook groups and got a few hundred unbiased suggestions from the moderators and people who’d purchased gas fire pits in the recent past.
Finally, we had about 5 best outdoor gas fire pits to choose from that best suited our requirements. Here they are.
Outland Fire Bowl 883
The Outland Fire bowl 883 is a pocket-sized, portable, propane fire pit that boasts of 58000 BTU output, a 10 feet long hose to connect to your propane tank and 24”, large surface area for 8-10 inch, high flames.
Most importantly, it’s not overly expensive nor a gas guzzler.
Irrespective of whether you want a fire pit for the patio, for your RV or for campfire banned locations, this one fits the bill.
Easy to use
A lot of customers that we spoke to, complained about receiving set up instructions in Chinese. Yikes! Thankfully, the Outland Fire bowl has clear, illustrated instructions in English. You will be able to set this up and use it in less than 30 minutes.
The CSA approved bowl is made of heavy-duty steel, with a temperature-resistant powder coated finish. But it weighs a meagre 34 lbs. Rubberized chrome knobs make it easy to move it around the patio or lug it along for an impromptu camping trip.
The fasteners and burners are made of stainless steel as well.
Clean, smokeless flames
Outland Living throws in a set of aesthetic Lava rocks that look stunning when the flames engulf them. When arranged correctly, the rocks will throw the flames as high as 8-inches creating enough warmth for the entire family.
The propane burns clean and smokeless. No more clothes smelling of firewood after a gathering. On the technical side, this connects to a standard 5-gallon propane tank, that has to be bought separately.
There’s a weather-resistant cover included in the package that does a reasonable job at covering this. But we’d still recommend that you store this inside during the rains to prolong its lifespan.
What could have been better
- There have been instances where the poor packaging has caused the fire bowl to get damaged in transit. However, the manufacturer is friendly, responsive and helpful. A replacement should be on your way in no time in case this happens.
Key takeaways: Budget-priced, portable, durable, gas-friendly, great reviews by customers and salesmen alike! No reasons to complain.
AZ Patio Heaters Fire Pit
Our next pick is the AZ Patio Heaters fire pit. This one is perfect for larger households looking for a patio fire pit that can double up as a seating area for four people at least.
It is 22.5” tall and 49.5″ wide, with a Hammered bronze finish. That’s the perfect height to kick back and warm your legs on a cold night. The output is 42000 BTU though. So that less heat than the Outdoor Living fire pit.
But the aesthetics and the ambience are far superior with the AZ Patio fire pit. You can choose what works best for you.
Reasonably easy set up
If you are mechanically challenged, then you might find this a tad difficult to install. That’s cause the instructions are not the best. They are not very difficult or impossible to understand mind you. But if this is your first attempt, then having an extra pair of hands during setup might prove helpful.
The fire pit is CSA approved and made of heavy-duty aluminum. The cover and the legs are stainless steel. So, there’s a lot of metal on this and it weighs about 80 lbs. So, come rain, storm or hurricane, this won’t tip over. Also, the casing does not get hot and works great even if you plan to install this on a composite deck.
The propane tank is neatly concealed inside the casing and is within arm’s reach thanks to an intuitively placed door.
There’s nothing better than a fire pit that ignites at the touch of a button. The AZ Patio fire pit turns on instantly thanks to the starter fireglass and the Piezoelectric ignition.
The 12×27 inch fire bowl provides a flame about 8-inches high and there’s no smoke, residue or odor.
Even at the lowest setting, a tank lasts all night. If you like to entertain a lot, then this translates into lesser propane costs.
What could have been better
- The rain cover is poorly designed. It has slats and water might pool near the ignition burner and the fire glass. However, there are many cheap rain covers available. So, we wouldn’t call that a deal breaker.
Key takeaways: Great patio outdoor fire pit for medium-sized homes. Excellent heat output and great aesthetics.
Endless Summer, GAD860SP
Fire pits with a stone top have an irreplaceable old-world charm about them. The Endless Summer GAD860SP features a multi-colored slate and marble tile top that’s reminiscent of vintage English fire pits.
But there are enough contemporary elements peppered in the design to make it a perfect outdoor centerpiece in a modern home.
Once again, this is a large sized fire pit that can easily seat four to six people. So a medium-sized household or a small family who likes to entertain a lot would like this the best.
Nobody said that the best outdoor gas fire pits had to be boring. We love the aesthetics on the Endless Summer fire pits. The slate and marble table mantel is perfectly complemented by a slated decorative base that also doubles up as the tank storage compartment.
There’s ample room for your beverages, snacks and other knick-knacks on top.
The lava rocks and the artificial logs complete what’s a well-rounded package.
This looks beautiful when ignited and most people wouldn’t be able to make out that it is a gas powered kit and not a real wooden fire pit.
Electronic Ignition, easy set up
Despite what the manufacturer says, you will need at least two hours to set this up if you are doing it alone. With an extra person to help, maybe an hour at tops. The instructions are a set of illustrations at best. Might take some doing, especially if you are not used to it.
There’s a large cardboard included in the package which serves as a base while you assemble the fire pit. Keeps the marble top from getting scratched.
The electronic ignition is unlike a conventional Piezoelectric one. You’d have to turn the propane gas knob on for a second or two and then press the electric ignition until it ignites. A lot of customers that we spoke to took a while to figure this out.
However, it ignites quickly and the 40,000 BTUs output is perfect for a reasonable-sized patio. It doesn’t drain your gas tank too fast either.
What could have been better
- The quality of some of the screws could have been a lot better. You might want to look for heavier duty ones, especially the Philips head screws.
Key takeaways: A few minor quibbles, but the stunning aesthetics and the spacious mantel more than make up for them. Looking for a fire pit that gives you a great ambiance? This is your best bet.
Great Deal Furniture Stone Finish Fire pit
This stone-finish fire pit from Great Deal Furniture ticks all the right boxes when you are looking for a fire pit that doubles up as a focal point for the patio.
It has an exquisite artificial stone finish, a roomy mantel and a large fire pit that’s perfect for homes of all sizes.
The assembly is easy and the heat output more than suffices for a warm seating area on a cold summer night.
Perfect Stone finish, Zero assembly required
The Great Deal Furniture fire pit has a stainless steel housing that is covered by a magnesium oxide stone composite finish.
The finish is so perfectly done that your guests would find it impossible to find out that it’s not authentic stone.
It comes ready to use out of the box. So, if you hate tinkering around with tools, this one’s right up your alley. Just hook up the propane tank, put the batteries in the igniter, add the lava rocks and you are ready to enjoy some fire.
The top is about 8-inches wide and can easily accommodate your glasses, bottles and the likes. We wouldn’t advice parking your wine bottle there though. Can get pretty warm even at the lowest setting.
Flame adjustable, ample heat
The fire pit is flame-adjustable and provides about 40000 BTU output. That’s ample heat and much more than what’s available in fire pits priced more than $600.
You can adjust the flame. And it is fairly low on propane consumption.
The tank itself remains concealed in a storage compartment inside the base. One side has a removable cover that gives you convenient access to the tank for a fast replacement.
What could have been better
- Not compatible with natural gas. Also, if it were us, we’d give those lava rocks a miss and use fire glass instead. You’d need 20 lbs. at least though. Not a biggie. But worth a mention.
Key takeaways: This is a quintessential, old, stone fireplace minus the bulk, the smoke and the soot. It burns clean, is flame adjustable, requires no assembly and has a very attractive price tag.
Outland Fire Table
Last but not the least, we have this award winning best outdoor gas fire pit from Outland Living. These guys certainly know their fire pits and their designs are a blend of great aesthetics and practical features.
The Outland Fire Table is the bestselling model on Amazon and also on many other retail outlets.
Unlike conventional fire pits, this one is rectangular table with a tempered glass table top. No more relying on a thin ledge to keep your dishes and glasses.
Wicker panels, Icy-blue glass rocks
This fire table is about 23” tall and 44” long. That’s just about the right size for a backyard or a patio and provides ample seating room for a family of four to six.
The base is powder-coated aluminum covered by a wicker panel ultraviolet light high density polyethylene. Not only is this temperature resistant, it also does not fade when exposed to the sun. The base also stores the propane tank and comes with a pre-attached 3-Ft hose and regulator. So, all that you need to do is plug in the propane tank and you are good to go.
Outland living also throws in 15.5 lb. Arctic Ice decorative glass rocks. Now, we have seen a variety of glass rocks in different colors. There’s nothing cooler than watching a set of ice-blue rocks emit flames. It’s just one of those things that must be experienced.
One touch ignition, 35,000 BTU
Outdoor living does have a separate accessory package that includes a wind shield, a clear glass cover for the burn pan and a weather-cover.
If you intend to store it outdoors where it will be exposed to the elements, we highly recommend this package. Keeps the burn pan protected and prevents the flames from going haywire on a windy day.
You can access the propane tank from either side of the fire pit base. The covers have convenient, chrome plated pull rings for easy removal.
Ignition is one-touch and it provides 35000 BTUs of heat.
What could have been better
- As much as we tried, we couldn’t find a nit to pick with this one. This is a flawless design. Period.
Key Takeaways: Near 100% positive customer ratings all over, great pricing, stunning design, easy to set up and use. What more do you need?
The quick Outdoor Gas Fire Pit buying guide
It’s not uncommon for customers to get overwhelmed while shopping for the best outdoor gas fire pits, with all the features and functionalities that are advertised in bold letters.
However, if you put some thought to it, there are only a few key variables that matter. Everything else is marketing rhetoric.
Why buy one: Because it extends the living space into the backyard. Gives you a great place to entertain, gather with family and friends or just unwind on a cold night. Tip: Adds to the resale value.
Aesthetics vs. Heat: Decide whether you want one to spruce up the patio and add to the ambience or one that creates a warm seating area. With some luck, you can get both. Like the Outland Fire table.
Style: Personally, we’d not attribute too much importance to the style as long as it’s not an eyesore. But in case you are hung up on it, you can pick from a bowl styled one or a table styled one. Portable = Bowl, Stationary = Table. Also, the table will have a mantel that can store your drinks and dishes.
Fuel: Since we are talking about gas fire pits, the options that you have are propane and natural gas. Some of the best outdoor gas fire pits, like the Outland Fire bowl 883 have a conversion adapter that lets you switch fuel types.
Accessories: Extra accessories are a great addition. But not necessary as long as the other boxes are checked. A weather-cover for the unit, a cover for the burn pan and a wind-sheild are the most desirable add-ons.
To sum it up
So, after all that research, we picked the AZ Patio Heaters Fire Pit. The design and the 42000 BTUs heat output was what swayed the decision in its favor. Having said that, we were really hard pressed to not buy the Outland Fire Table and the Great Deal Furniture Stone Fire Pit. Just that we found the AZ Patio better suited for our home.
We hope that this helps you to make an informed decision while shopping for the best outdoor gas fire pits.