A Buyers Guide to Propane Fire Pits - What to look for when buying a propane firepit

February 22, 2019

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This is what to look for in a propane fire pit!

Use of Fire Glass Marbles in a Fire Pit

When you’re planning to buy the best propane pit for those nights when you want to get cozy around it, you still need to pay attention to more than just the basic name and description of the pit.

To be sure that the pit will work for you for years to come, pay attention to the following factors while making your choice.

how do i store a firepit for winter

1. Heat Rating

Heat rating is likely to be the top thing that you should take into consideration when choosing a fire pit to use to stay warm and cozy while outside.

Understanding heat rating is pretty straightforward: higher heat ratings can produce more heat.

There isn’t a specific heat rating that you should look for, though.

The heat rating that will work best for you is going to depend on the environment, weather, layout, and the number of people that will be using the fire pit.

Still, these simple guidelines might help you to determine what heat rating you want to aim for:

  • 15,000 to 20,000 BTU: Produces enough heat for four to five people sitting near the pit

  • 20,000 to 40,000 BTU: Good for heating a larger area or in colder weather for the same number of people

  • 40,000 BTU: Can heat large area for 10 or more people even when it is cold

The amount of BTU power that you will need for your at-home fire pit is going to depend entirely on your specific needs, so consider what you want to use the fire pit for to make your selection.

Wood Burning Fire Pit for Timber Decking

2. Material

Consider what the fire pit is made out of before you decide which one you want to take home with you.

Many fire pits are made from steel; particularly, the base and legs will be made from steel on many different models.

Steel is very strong, stable, and secure, so making the legs from this material ensures that the pit is less likely to tip over or collapse.

Then again, steel isn’t a perfect material, as it can rust over time.

Should you decide to buy a fire pit that has steel legs, you will want to be sure that you protect it from the elements as much as possible by moving it into a covered area.

Some fire pits will not look like they are made of steel on the outside, but the base underneath any added composite materials is still metal or steel.

3. Style

The fire pit is as much of a patio or yard decoration as it is a heater, so you will want to take the style of the pit into account.

If you hate how something looks, don’t choose it!

There are also different styles that affect the functionality of the fire pit.

Some fire pits are shaped like a bowl; others are shaped like a table.

Among these design types, there are hundreds of design variations that you can check in order to find a design that suits your taste and needs.

Don’t settle for a specific fire pit just because it is the cheapest if you don’t like how it looks; keep looking for an option that will make you happy every time that you see it.

compact fire pit for wooden decking

4. Portability

Do you want to be able to easily move your fire pit around the yard or take it with you to your campsite for special events?

Portability is an important fire pit selection factor for those who don’t want to keep it in one place forever.

Some fire pits are meant to be set up and then not moved because they are very heavy or have other bulky components.

If you are looking for a portable fire pit, consider looking for one that has these features to make it easier to move around:

  • Relatively lightweight

  • Cover that can be securely attached

  • Wheels

  • Bar for easy moving

  • Compact size

With these features, you’ll have more luck moving the fire pit around as needed.

stylish tabletop fire pit set in table with rattan furniture

5. Ignition

Does the fire pit you are considering have a built-in ignition system or does it need to be lit manually?

Many fire pits must be lit manually, but there are some that are outfitted with futuristic lighting systems that can be used to get the spark going without having to do as much work.

If you want to be able to simply turn a knob and have your pit roaring to life, you’ll want to look for one that has an advanced ignition system rather than a simple one.

family around the fire pit

6. Are Propone Fire Pits Safe?

Yes! Extremely safe. Look for CSA standards on fire pit listing. 

CSA stands for compliance, safety, and accountability.

Items that are given good CSA ratings are known to be safe, reliable, well-tested, and more likely to be used safely at home.

CSA ratings are particularly important when choosing an item like a propane fire pit that could be, if made incorrectly, very dangerous to use.

By focusing on choosing a fire pit that has good safety ratings, you’ll be ensuring the protection of your family and friends who gather to use your cozy fire pit.

Propane Pit FAQs

1. Do propane fire pits keep you warm?

While propane fire pits tend to be less warm than their wood fire pit counterparts, they do keep you warm.

As long as a propane fire pit has a high BTU rating and you are burning materials that give off, rather than absorb, heat, you will feel warm while you sit around your propane fire pit.

If you don’t, you may want to consider getting one that has a higher BTU rating for better results.

2. Can you cook over a propane fire pit?

While you can cook food over a propane fire pit, doing so can cause excess debris and drippings to build up in the pit, which could cause it to malfunction down the line.

Nonetheless, you can roast marshmallows from time to time, as long as you are careful and clean the pit up afterward.

If you plan to do a lot of cooking on your fire pit, the best type of fire pit to choose is a wood fire pit.

3. How long do propane fire pits last?

When running a wood fire pit off of a 20-pound propane tank, you can expect the fire pit to run for between four and four-and-a-half hours.

The exact amount of time that the fire pit will run will depend on the size of your propane tank as well as the pit itself.

Generally speaking, however, most will last for about this time on a 20-pound tank.

4. Can propane fire pit get wet?

Propane fire pits, like most fire pits, can get wet, but it is preferable that they are kept out of the elements when possible.

When water is allowed to build up inside of a propane fire pit, it can cause some of the elements to rust or wear down more quickly than they should.

If your fire pit comes with a cover, try to cover the pit when possible so that it doesn’t wear out from exposure to the elements.

5. Do propane fire pits smell?

Since the gas is being burned as soon as it is exposed, propane fire pits should not smell.

If you smell gas when using your propane fire pit, something is not hooked up correctly, and you should stop using it immediately until you figure out the problem.

When turning the pit off to find the source of your problem, be sure to turn off the pit itself.

Also turn off the gas at the source so that you are not accidentally putting yourself at risk.

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