Sitting in front of ais a surprising way to , and you don’t need to be a hiker or committed to camping in order to enjoy one. It’s also unnecessary to build a permanent one from heavy materials like stone or brick, because some of the best fire pit models are portable and available to buy directly from fire pit manufacturers and major retailers like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Amazon.
These transportable fireplaces range widely in price, size and weight. There are inexpensive $60 models and high-performance pits that’ll set you back as much as $350. You can even spend $1,500 or more on a fancy propane fire pit. Lots of them also come with extras like a cooking grate, so if you’re feeling extra outdoorsy, you can cook your dinner over a backyard fire pit instead of the kitchen.
There are lots of outdoor fire pit options out there, including propane fire pit and fire glass models, but in this roundup, we focus on genuine, wood burning fire pit options. The good thing about these wood fire pits is their ease-of-use and versatility. You can use them for heat and also for cooking food, including by grilling. Most importantly, a wood fire offers a great way to roast marshmallows for tasty s’mores. The models on this list are either bestsellers, highly ranked or worthy challengers for the best fire pit from established outdoor brands. We tested them to determine their strengths and weaknesses. If you need help choosing a fire feature that matches your needs and your outdoor space, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll update this list periodically.
Solo Stove fire pits have gained an avid following in recent years, and the company’s newest product, the Solo Stove Yukon, is its biggest and best yet. With a top side that measures 27 inches across, and a mouth 23 inches in diameter, the Yukon is large enough to accept full-size firewood logs. Despite the Yukon’s wide footprint, its stainless-steel body gives it a sleek appearance.
The Yukon shares the same sophisticated airflow system you’ll find on other Solo Stove products. According to Solo Stove, these vents help drive a continuous supply of oxygen to its fire. In our experience, the Yukon delivers performance just as good as its smaller cousin, the Solo Stove Ranger, but on a larger scale.
The Yukon’s fire starts fast: Its logs fully caught in just five minutes. Once they caught, they burned for hours. This pit was efficient too, consistently consuming all of our test firewood logs. At the end of the night, there was little solid debris to speak of, merely a few bits of charcoal and ash. It produces a lot less smoke than the other fire pits we’ve tested here, save the Solo Pit Ranger.
You can also order the Yukon with a rain cover ($60) and a metal stand ($70) for extra cash or as part of a bundle. Because the pit weighs 38 pounds, we don’t recommend moving it often. Also, as with other high-performance fire pits, kids (and adults) need to be careful around the Yukon. In addition to the intense heat from the fire itself, the Yukon’s steel surface heats to burning temperatures fast.
To say the Breeo X Series 24 is built to take a beating is an understatement. Manufactured in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the X Series is constructed from a mix of corten (weathering) steel and 304 stainless steel. As a result, the X Series doesn’t require a rain cover or weather shelter. In fact, after six months of exposure to the elements, the outer wall of the fire pit develops a natural patina that protects it from corrosion.
The X Series also has an advanced airflow system designed to facilitate secondary fuel burn, similar to the smokeless fire pits from Solo Stove. While not as easy to ignite as Solo Stove pits, the X Series definitely stays lit once you get the fire going, and when it’s done properly, the process takes five minutes and only requires smaller logs and kindling at first. It puts out plenty of heat as it burns away at full temperature, but the pit’s secondary burn releases hardly any smoke.
Also nice to have is the X Series’ stainless steel sear plate. It rings the fire pit’s outer edge and spans a diameter of 29.5 inches. The plate gets hot enough to cook burgers, chicken and other savory items, and you can also use it to heat pots, pans and skillets.
You have a couple of accessories to consider, too. Up first is Breeo’s Outpost cooking attachment, a $189 accessory that creates a height-adjustable grilling surface. Breeo also sells a $99 stainless steel lid for the X Series. It’s designed to shield the pit from excess moisture when not in use.
One last note: Be sure to think hard about where you want to deploy this pit. Weighing in at 78 pounds, the X Series 24 is 33 pounds heavier than the second heftiest pit in this group, the Tiki Fire Pit. I recommend having a friend or two to help move it where it needs to go.
The FirePit, made by Brooklyn-based BioLite, weighs under 20 pounds and is built for portability. Measuring 27 by 13 by 15.8 inches, it’s relatively long and narrow. However, it holds a little more wood than you’d think, with room for up to four cordwood logs. You can either use it as a standard fire pit or as a backyard grill and it’s been upgraded in 2021 with an enamel coating for easier cleaning and a higher-capacity battery for its built-in fan.
In fire pit mode, you lower the fuel rack to the bottom of the pit. To grill over hot wood coals, or charcoal briquettes if you prefer, raise the rack to its highest position. BioLite offers a bundle with a grill grate, which sits over everything. The grill lit up fast, in less than five minutes, and was fully burning in less than 10.
The FirePit has a couple of signature features, one being patented airflow technology. A motorized fan drives air to the fire box. You can also control it using an iOS or Android app on a phone using Bluetooth. A mesh body lets you see flames through the FirePit from any angle.
In the new 2021 version, battery life has improved by about 20%, with up to 30 hours at the low setting, 14 hours on medium and seven hours on high. The airflow technology also helps create an almost smoke-free fire. The FirePit’s legs fold up when you want to take the grill on the go, plus the pit comes with a handy rain cover. A removable ash tray makes cleaning up easy.
All in all, this is a compelling little fire pit for someone who doesn’t want (or can’t have) a permanent pit always eating up patio space.
This fire pit from Garden Treasures (Style Selections) proves you don’t need to spend big bucks to enjoy a backyard campfire. Despite its low price, this wood burning pit is nice and wide (29.5 inches in diameter). It also comes with a mesh lid to keep sparks at bay.
It lacks an advanced airflow system, however, so fires in this wood burning fire pit generate a lot of smoke. And its steel frame isn’t stainless, so leaving the pit out in the elements will invite rust. That said, we were able to get a self-sustaining fire lit in about five minutes. Its ignition time is comparable to those of premium fire pits such as the Solo Stove Ranger and Tiki Brand Fire Pit.
Those products burn their fuel more efficiently, leaving less unconsumed firewood and ash to clean up in the morning. Still, the Garden Treasures wood burning pit does get the job done on a tight budget.
Our favorite fire pit on this list is made by Tiki, a company that began with the familiar Tiki bamboo torch over 60 years ago. Now Tiki offers a fire pit that’s large, sturdy and attractive. Priced almost $300 more than its budget rivals, this pit has performance, ease of use and superior style that make it worth the investment.
The steel and stained-wood pit doesn’t just look good. The Tiki Brand Fire Pit has a clever airflow system that recycles hot smoke back into the fire chamber. During our testing, it was easy to ignite, firing up in about five minutes and fully burning in 15.
It also generated far less smoke than the other fire pits we tested, especially after its logs caught fully, usually at about the 15-minute mark. Only the Solo Stove Ranger burned wood with less smoke emission, its fuel burning fiercely in five minutes. The Tiki Fire Pit’s logs burned efficiently as well, lasting for hours.
Because of its large (16 inches in diameter) mouth, it’s easier to share the fire with multiple people. The Solo Stove Ranger is smaller: Its metal fire ring is 10 inches in diameter. Kids gathering around to roast s’mores need to be careful, though: All surfaces of the Tiki fire pit, including its metal lip, are scalding hot after the fire is lit. It also takes time to cool after the flames die down.
We do appreciate the Tiki Brand pit’s removable ash tray. It makes for easy cleanup. The pit puts out a generous amount of heat; while that’s perhaps not ideal for hot summer nights, it’s excellent when the temperature dips during the fall and winter. Finally, tipping the scales at 45 pounds, this fire pit is heavy. Think twice before you position it, and get help when you do.
Others we tested
The most portable fire pit idea in this roundup is the Pop-Up Pit. Its collapsible design lets you assemble it and break it down quickly. It also uses a heat shield so it won’t scorch the ground below. The pit offers a large (2-foot-square) burning surface for your fire, too. Since its frame is constructed from stainless steel, the Pop-Up Pit is rust-resistant. However, because the pit is so large and has low walls, it creates a lot of smoke.
Squat, cylindrical, compact and made from stainless steel, the Solo Stove Ranger appears simple at first glance. Tucked away inside this pit, though, is the same sophisticated airflow system that its larger sibling, the Solo Stove Yukon, has. The system is designed to enable fire in the pit to burn hotter and consume more of its wood fuel.
We can confirm that the Ranger delivers on these promises. It starts fast, with its logs aflame in just five minutes, and it burns for hours. The fires we started in the Ranger also burned with incredible ferocity. The flames inside the pit focused into an impressive rolling vortex. Despite the conflagration, the Ranger emitted very little smoke.
The Ranger does have a few drawbacks. Its compact size means it can’t accept standard 15-inch firewood logs. It’s also not the best for large groups or families. More than two people roasting marshmallows at once quickly becomes a crowd.
Though it’s a bestseller on Amazon, we don’t recommend purchasing the Kingso Outdoor Fire Pit. Its small size (22 inches in diameter) feels cramped. And since airflow throughout the small fire pit unit is poor, we consistently had difficulty both starting fires and keeping them lit inside this pit. It doesn’t come with a protective cover, either.
The Hampton Bay Windgate is by far the largest fire pit in this group. It has a massive 40-inch-diameter fire bowl, roomy enough for big groups to gather around. As the pit weighs in at a substantial 60 pounds and is constructed from heavy-duty steel, it takes a lot of effort to set up the pit where you want it. Unfortunately, the Windgate suffers from poor ventilation. As a result, fires we started in the pit consistently died out in 15 to 20 minutes. That makes it difficult to recommend this wood burning pit model.
How we evaluated them
To test each fire pit, we used the same fuel, Simple Simon Premium Hardwood sourced from a local Lowe’s. For a consistent amount, we selected three split log lengths roughly 15 inches long. We then stacked the logs together so at least some portion of each was touching the others.
To ignite each pit, we usedfire starters that were available at our neighborhood Kroger supermarket. One of these starter matches should be all that’s required to get a fire pit’s fire burning. We then logged how long it took to establish a fully sustained fire.
A good fire pit will fully ignite in five to 10 minutes. A pit with poor airflow and design will take a lot longer, or even flame out after 15 minutes no matter how well you’ve stacked your wood. Additionally, we made note of how much smoke escaped each pit. Ideally, a fire pit will generate a lot of flame and little smoke. A quality fire pit will also burn fuel efficiently, leaving little solid material remaining once its fire burns out naturally.