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How to Shop for Fire Pits

A fire pit can be a great centerpiece for an outdoor living space and bring warmth and ambiance to your yard or patio. If you are looking to add an outdoor fire pit to your home, there are a range of different options available to you. To select the best one for your space, simply follow the steps below!

Check the Laws

First things first: before you even start shopping for a fire pit, be sure to check your county’s burning laws to ensure that fire pits are permitted. Some counties completely prohibit them or have regulations about placement, while others occasionally put burn bans into effect. There can also be different rules for wood burning fire pits than for ones that use other types of fuels, so that may affect what would work for your space.

Choose the Location

Once you’ve established that it’s legal to have a fire pit, decide where you would like to place it. To ensure safety, choose an uncovered area that is clear of brush or flammable material. Depending on the specific type of fire pit, it may also need to be placed directly on to concrete, stone, or bare ground; be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions if you are unsure about safe placement.

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Select from the Different Types of Fire Pits

Fuel

Next, you’ll want to determine which fuel type you want to use. There are four main fuel types that each have different benefits:

Wood burning fire pits tend to be deeper and more open than other styles. These give you a fire closest to a real camp fire and can be used for roasting marshmallows. Many wood fire pits come with a protective screen to prevent sparks from escaping.
 
Charcoal fire pits will have less flame but will provide a more even heat for outdoor cooking and consistent warmth. These frequently come with a grate for cooking.
 
Gel fuel fire pits use a flammable gel to create a constant burn and do not emit smoke or odors. There is some debate as to whether it is safe to cook over gel fuel fire pits, but they tend to have a more controlled burn than wood fire pits.
 
Propane or natural gas fire pits provide a real flame with simple and convenient ignition. Some gas fire pits can even be lit with the push of a button. This fuel type doesn’t create embers or smoke like a wood or charcoal fire, but is still safe to use for cooking.
 

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Shape

The shape of a fire pit is important both for style and function. There are three main options to choose from:

Fire rings are the simplest structure, consisting of a ring with high, straight sides and are often open to the ground on the bottom. This shape makes them ideal to contain the flame and fuel for wood or charcoal fires.
 
Fire bowls, as the name implies, are roughly the shape of an oversized bowl. This structure keeps the fire up off the ground, providing a bit more safety, a better view of the flames and an easier height for marshmallow roasting. When it comes to fuel, fire bowls are generally intended to be wood burning but could also burn charcoal.
 
Fire pit tables generally feature a much smaller fire than the other options and the flame is more for decorative purposes than warmth or cooking. Because of these smaller fires, the table can be placed in any uncovered outdoor space, whether that be a deck, a lawn, or atop concrete pavers. Fire pit tables typically will burn gas or gel rather than wood, as these fuels offer a much more controlled and consistent flame that provides a great aesthetic. However, this also means that most fire pit tables are not suitable for cooking food.
 

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Material

The available materials will depend on the type of fire pit that you are going to install. Patio fire pits that are ready to use out of the box come in a wide range of materials including copper, stone, cast iron, glass, steel, clay, and concrete There are also a few different options of DIY fire pit kits, which typically use stone, brick or cinder block.
 
These options will differ in terms of appearance, weight and heat retention, so keep these factors in mind when selection the right one for your space.

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