There’s nothing quite like relaxing around one of the best outdoor fireplace or fire pits. Whether you like to spend time with your friends and family by throwing fun backyard parties, relax on a quiet night by the bonfire, or simply stay warm as you make s’mores and enjoy the night sky. They’re one of the most important elements to have for one’s outdoor lifestyle and can be a practical addition to your patio or outdoor room.
Fireplaces don’t necessarily need to placed indoors anymore thanks to advancements in all-weather materials surfacing within the past 10 years. With this, there are plenty of options to choose from depending on your taste and how much room you have.
Before choosing the best outdoor fireplace, you’ll most likely start to question things such as: where do I start? What different types of fireplaces are there? Which one will fit my budget? What size shall I get? In the short guide below is all the information you’ll need to give your landscaping an upgrade. Fireplaces and fire pits come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and styles, which is why it’s important that you take the time to select the one you think will best fit your needs.
Buying Guide – Best Outdoor Fireplace Types
Depending on your budget, how much space you have, and what style you like, there are many types to choose from when it comes to outdoor fireplaces.
Fire pits can either be created by yourself or by a professional and is constructed by building a base out of either stone or brick. The stones are oriented in a circle and the fire is built inside, creating that classic campfire aesthetic. If you have a little extra room in your wallet, you can use more exotic stones for a touch of elegance while still maintaining the classic look.
Fire bowls can be portable and built on legs or placed into the ground for a fire to be built inside. They are more lightweight and smaller than fire pits, but like pits, the style of fire bowls are highly variable. They’re practical for areas that prohibit pits or fireplaces because they’re self-contained and can get past most regulations.
However, it’s important to be cautious with wood-burning fire bowls because of the amount of sparks that arise. It’s best to use a screen over a firebowl to prevent any embers from releasing and burning you or any patio furniture nearby.
Fire columns are columns with space inside for a fire. Most are powered by propane or natural gas rather than wood and they take up less space than fire bowls, which is ideal if you have a small patio.
In terms of style, many columns are made out of wood or stone (while the inside is commonly made of metal) which lets you add a more natural look to your backyard. Be mindful that fire columns are not really used for grilling or cooking food but are more for heating up a small area.
Fire tables are designed with both functionality and style. The center of the table contains a fire which is commonly gas powered or electric, never wood burning. You can have plenty of space to set items on the table space around the fire as well, which is useful if you’re having backyard parties on a cold night.
Depending on the space you have, fire tables can range from a small bar table to a large dining table. Most come in a modern or contemporary style although more rustic styles can be found.
Usually seen in Mexico or in the American Southwest, chimineas are specifically designed to provide heat for people sitting near it and isn’t used for cooking or grilling. These are traditionally made from terra cotta and covers the majority of the fire with only a small opening at the top of the chimney. This design allows for more heat to be produced and the open hole at the front helps to direct heat straight out into the seating area.
Because of the enclosed design, chimineas are one of the safest options which is good if you have pets or small children. Most are wood burning, but if you don’t like burning wood, you can also choose between natural gas and propane powered models.
Traditional Outdoor Fireplace
An outdoor fireplace has high heat output, an open flame, and is recommended if you prioritize safety and cleanliness. These work essentially the same as indoor fireplaces and you can opt for a built-in model or a portable one. If you choose the built-in kind, it’s highly recommended that you get a professional to install it for you.
Portable fireplaces are easier to manage and tend to be enclosed for safety purposes. There are many styles ranging from modern, sleek, minimalist, or traditional depending on your taste.
How Tall Does an Outdoor Fireplace Need to Be?
The size of an outdoor fireplace all depends on how much space you have in your backyard area and how much heat you’re looking to get out of one. Wood burning fireplaces are often taller and wider than gas powered ones since they have higher chimneys for safety and larger fireboxes to make room for logs.
Smaller fireplaces (with a chimney height of around 18.5′ or lower) are great for a warm ambience, need less maintenance, and are more cost effective. Larger ones (with a chimney height of around 20.5′ or higher) give off more warmth in a surrounding area and are more ideal if you wish for it to cater to large groups of people.
Does an Outdoor Fireplace need a damper?
Wood burning fireplaces are recommended to have a damper installed in the upper portion of the firebox. This way, when the fireplace isn’t being used, the damper is shut and can easily be opened when it is in use. Keep in mind that fireplaces with installed gas logs need to have the damper open constantly. A pilot light is most likely always burning under the logs or you may forget to open the damper as you turn on the fire.
Ten Best Outdoor Fireplace Reviews
You can warm up on those cold summer nights with some friends and good food with this Martin Wood burning fire pit in the middle of your outdoor social area. It can fit in no matter what style of décor your patio flaunts and has a unique form that makes it the focal point of any get-together.
Its 12″ deep design gives you enough space for a toasty fire and the mesh cover helps to reduce the number of flying embers to protect you and your guests. The built-in CirculAir system allows for more airflow which means bigger and more consistent flames. If you wish to cook, the chrome-plated cooking grid lets you BBQ right over the fire and a poker is included to safely remove the mesh cover and tend to your fire.
- Small and light enough to be portable
- CirculAir system raises firewood and allows for more consistent fire
- Includes chrome-plated grill to BBQ
- Sturdy and plenty of room for firewood or charcoal
- Tends to rust with exposure if not covered
- Bolts provided are too short
- Paint burns off first use and gives off chemical smell
This wood-burning fireplace provides everyone near with a 360° view of the fire inside and has an easy access door with a latch so you can safely tend the fire. To protect anyone near it from free sparks, it features a 25″ x 20.5″ housing and has sturdy high temperature enamel painted steel construction for a longer lifespan.
You and your family can throw some delicious hot dogs or hamburgers on the chrome-plated cooking grid and because of the large chimney, smoke and ash are directed up and out of the way for superior exhaust control. The removable ash collector makes for easy cleanup and there are no tools necessary to assemble the unit.
- Easy to assemble for everything locks together
- Light enough to relocate
- Removable ash receiver make cleanup easier
- Metal is fairly thin
- Will rust easily if not under a cover when not in use
- Smaller than expected
The steel construction design of the F2C fire pit makes it durable and long lasting to ensure that it keeps you and others warm for a long time. The flame retardant lid helps to limit the amount of embers emitting from the flames for safer use. Because it only weighs about 16 pounds, you can easily move the fire pit around your backyard.
The F2C fire pit has a bowl 12″ deep and wide enough to accommodate for large amounts of wood to keep the fire going for hours. Its bronze finish and lattice design makes it an ideal decorative addition to your patio, porch, or garden and can stand up against outside elements to keep from rusting, although it should still be covered.
- Light enough to move around easily
- Assembly is effortless
- Exposed sides for maximized heat flow
- Can rust easy if not covered
- Metals seems a bit thin
- Not meant for coal
This unique outdoor fireplace boasts a spherical steel fire dome with hand crafted design. In terms of looks, it’s quite the focal point at a party since it looks like floating, starry fireball at night. The large dome lid has a handle on the top allowing you to easily restock the pit with wood, charcoal or kindling. The bowl has a hand hammered copper finish and the stand is a sturdy cast iron base.
The Good Directions Fire Bowl is best if you like firepits on the larger side as it’s better for keeping large groups warm. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a poker but you can grab one here.
- Large size for better heating capability
- Unique spherical look to add more style to your patio
- Metal susceptible to rust if not covered
- Take care when lifting lid to refuel
The Fiarhaven firebowl has a 40,000 BTU heat output that provides warmth and light for any occasion. The natural lava rock that’s included covers the stainless steel burner and the protective cover helps to preserve the longevity of the fire pit. The handy pulse ignition feature makes for easy lighting and extinguishing of the flame and you can customize the flame to your preferred size with the control knob.
- Aesthetically alluring when used with fire glass
- Sturdy and durable
- Easy to set up
- Flame gets blown around quite easily
- Heat doesn’t distribute evenly
- Goes through propane quickly
The Endless Summer gas outdoor fireplace is equipped with a 30,000 BTU stainless steel burner for high heat output all the while featuring the classic elements of elegant and high-end furniture. Its weather resistant steel keeps it from rusting easily on the first few uses and it’s heavy enough to be a sturdy addition to the rest of your patio décor.
Its base cleverly conceals a propane tank (separately sold) and a control panel with electronic ignition. You can enjoy the warmth of a traditional fire without having to worry about messy ashes, and with the included lava rocks, you can also enjoy how they beautifully accent the dancing flames.
- Assemble is simple and easy
- No messy ashes
- Even distribution of heat
- Pilot can fail to heat up thermacoil after extended use
- Takes a while to get hot
- Legs aren’t very durable
If you’re more interested in a rustic or antique style, the Bali Outdoors Chiminea fireplace boasts a rounded form with a complete 360° view of the 22″ by 20″ fire bowl. This 4-foot tall wood burning unit is made of steel instead of terra cotta clay for a more modern take of this traditional fireplace. It has a sliding door for easy refueling and an ash tray for easier clean up.
The round roof and rain cap on the chimney helps to protect the fire cage from rain and wind and directs the smoke up and away from you and your guests. Its four sturdy cast iron legs elevate the fireplace and makes for a more secure placement.
- Can accommodate standard 16 inch long log
- Round roof funnels smoke out of the way
- Easy to assemble
- Can rust easily if left to the elements
- Many screw holes are either too small or don’t line up well
- Metal base is thin
This portable outdoor fireplace is highly practical for those late night parties where everyone gathers for warmth and tells stories. It features a spark guard to protect your guests from hot flying embers and hinges up and out of the way for easy access. The fireplace also includes a grate and stoking tools to grill up some hamburgers and tend the fire during those cool summer nights.
You can easily take this unit anywhere with the full-perimeter handle and the ash grate allows for plenty of airflow, easy starts, and effortless cleanup. The Landmann measures 35″ x 26″ x 26″ with a 360° of the fire inside making it a noticeable focus to any patio or backyard space.
- Breezy assembly
- Light enough for portability
- Vents prevents hot embers falling through
- Tends to rust quickly
- Metal seems flimsy
- Cooking grate only covers 1/3 of fireplace
You can add a touch of elegance with this 100% copper-topped pagoda style fireplace. It is ideal for small to medium patio spaces. It’s sized at 24″ x 24″ x 24″ and weighs around 22 pounds so that you can place it anywhere you’d like. The Catalina Creations fireplace is made of high-quality steel with a woven mesh screen. It also has a hi-temp painted frame for a more durable design to last you years.
With safety in mind, it features mesh sides to prevent hot embers from flying out. The built-in steel grate allows for optimal airflow while the hinged door panels give you easy access to restock and tend the fire. Because of its simple design, it’s virtually effortless to assemble. A storage cover is included to protect the fireplace from outside elements when not in use.
- Lightweight for easy portability
- Great for small or medium outdoor spaces
- Durable and heavy duty construction
- Copper top gets discolored after first couple uses
- Can rust easily if exposed
Weighing around 20 pounds, this 29″ lightweight and portable fire pit features a deep steel bowl. This accommodates for large logs which make for toasty fires and light. The stable steel construction and heat-resistant paint makes for a long-lasting design. The decorative lattice cutouts allows for better visibility, maximized airflow and a sense of style.
The heavy-gauge spark screen prevents flying embers from harming anyone near the fire pit. The included poker lets you move logs around safely. An additional steel net supports the wood and lets in plenty of air beneath for increased combustion, making for longer and warmer fires.
- High quality design
- Practical for small to medium patios
- Included hardware for simple assembly
- Ring around rim won’t support any weight
- Certain parts don’t install seamlessly