The Best Firepits Do Double Duty as Tables, Grills, or Sculptures
Keep the outdoor party going year-round.
Updated Sep 13, 2023 10:13 AM
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The sound of crackling flames, clinking glasses, and fireside chatter could lure just about anyone—and there’s no need to hike to a campsite to get it. The easiest way to extend the entertaining season (perhaps even year-round, depending on how low the temperature dips in your neck of the woods) is with a freestanding firepit. Now that two-thirds of U.S. homeowners say a pit is a vital feature of their ideal outdoor living space, designs have become more artful—to the point they can be mistaken as a backyard sculpture. Recent releases are also smokeless, lightweight enough to port around, or come with a top to double as a table.
“Adding one to your outdoor living experience can provide a focal point that is both functional and beautiful,” says Brittney Herrera, a Portland, Oregon–based interior designer and founder of Wildwood House, an online and brick-and-mortar shop that sells curated homewares from a diverse network of artisans and manufacturers. We checked in with Herrera, along with a few other design experts, to bring you the best firepits for any outdoor setting.
- Best smokeless: Solo Stove Bonfire
- Best Amazon find: Tiki Patio Firepit
- Best value: Solo Stove Mesa XL
- Best multipurpose: Neighbor Rook Fire Table
- Best for cooking: Outer Firepit Cooking Set
- Best for large gatherings: CB2 Rectangular Firepit
- Best portable: Snow Peak Pack & Carry Fireplace
- Best tabletop: Terraflame Basin Fire Bowl
- Best low-profile: Terrain Low-Profile Firepit
- Best for harsh climates: Stahl Firepit
Best Portable: Solo Stove Bonfire
Material: Stainless steel | Fuel type: Wood or pellets | Accessories: Nylon carrying case, pellet adapter, stand
Why we chose it: This lightweight pit fires up in an instant, sans smoke.
Solo Stove makes one of the more innovative models on the market, featuring a unique double-wall design and ventilation system that allows for smoke-free burning in every size of its firepits. No watering eyes, smelly sweatshirts, or having to play musical chairs to avoid smoggy clouds. You (and your neighbors) will appreciate that, especially if you’re in an urban setting or where houses and yards are close to one another. Plus it’s compact, at 19.5-by-19.5-by-14-inches and weighing just 20 pounds, so it’s also lightweight enough to tout around the yard or take your flames on the road, since it’s safe to light up on pretty much any surface. One reviewer, who was nervous about placing it on their exposed aggregate patio, used a laser thermometer to confirm the base temperature hovered at 75 degrees, whereas the opening was upwards of 200.
Best Amazon Find: Tiki Patio Firepit
Material: Powder-coated stainless steel | Fuel type: Wood | Accessories: Stand, fabric cover
Why we chose it: Not too big, not too small—this powder-coated pit gives off an impressive 4-foot heat radius.
From the same people who brought you the backyard tiki torch more than 60 years ago, the Tiki brand knows how to keep things lit, and it is available to shop at Amazon. Its patent-pending internal airflow system makes for easy, long-lasting fires that are relatively smokeless, ones you can start enjoying in as soon as two days’ time if you have a Prime membership. Shoppers were impressed with the packaging, and this pit is basically ready to go right out of the box. The powder-coated black exterior, made from 16-gauge stainless steel, features a tiki torch–inspired slat design; plus it comes with its own stand and weatherproof cover. And if you opt for the “instant light” wood pellets, you can spend more time getting warm by the fire rather than canvassing the yard for sticks and twigs. Then once the ashes cool, a pull-out pan makes cleanup a breeze.
Best Value: Solo Stove Mesa XL
Material: Faux concrete | Fuel type: Wood | Accessories: Poker
Why we chose it: Tight on budget or space? This pint-size pit may be the biggest bang for your buck.
Not all of us have the space or budget for a massive firepit. If you’re limited on both, there may be no better option than the Mesa. Slightly larger than a football, it weighs no more than 2 pounds, ships with a carrying case, and comes in five fun finishes like deep olive and navy blue. “I have a Bonfire, but this Mesa XL is the perfect size to have a nice, usable fire but small enough to quickly clean up,” one reviewer notes. “So much easier to pull this out than my big one for a quick fire.”
Best Multipurpose: Neighbor Rook Fire Table
Material: Fiberglass-reinforced concrete, teak | Fuel type: Gas | Accessories: None
Why we chose it: A slatted cover disguises this pit as a coffee table when the fire goes out.
Neighbor’s latest outdoor offering has more to offer than just flames—part firepit, part table, this concave-shaped concrete bowl is an entertainer’s dream. Choose between either the natural gas or propane option (both are filled with professional-grade lava rocks for even heating) and three earthy finishes (a natural stone, terracotta, or charcoal gray). The slatted top—a brand signature, made with FSC-certified teak—perfectly covers the opening, so it’s always a centerpiece to gather around no matter the time of year. We also love that this ships for free and you have 45 days to decide whether it works in your space or not. Psst: If you’re looking for a firepit that functions as a table while in use, we’d like to point you in the direction of Anthropologie’s Terrazzo square design.
Best for Cooking: Outer Firepit Cooking Set
Material: Concrete | Fuel type: Gas | Accessories: Griddle pan, stand
Why we chose it: This three-in-one firepit means you can do more than roast s’mores.
Not all firepits are food-safe, but this model by Outer is specifically designed with eating over an open flame in mind. While it’s a splurgy purchase, it’s totally worth the investment if alfresco is your favorite way to hang. The modern concrete shell features a small opening lined with ceramic stones that can easily be covered to convert into a coffee table, and it can be topped with a cast-iron grill and stands to roast everything from meat to veggies. Aside from their aesthetic value, the accessories can also prevent wind from snuffing out your heat source. The edges are wide enough to simultaneously hold plates of food, bottles, and cups while the fire still works its magic.
Best for Large Gatherings: CB2 Rectangular Firepit
Material: Iron | Fuel type: Wood | Accessories: None
Why we chose it: A modern rectangular design at a great price.
At their core, firepits are all about simplicity. This version from CB2 epitomizes that ideal with its clean lines and craftsmanship. The black iron construction and heat-resistant finish makes for an extremely durable pit (but do cover it in inclement weather). The interior grate enhances airflow for even burning and keeps the bottom of the pit from overheating; just don’t forget to place it on a fire-resistant material like brick or stone. We also love its size and shape—measuring 48-by-24-by-15.5 inches, the coffee-table proportions make it an ideal choice for outdoor seating areas.
“This is a nice, big firepit for the price,” one reviewer writes. Another adds, “The design is gorgeous, and our friends compliment our backyard all the time. We get plenty of heat from the fires we build. My husband thinks this is the best purchase we made for the backyard so far.”
Best Portable: Solo Stove Bonfire
Material: Stainless steel | Fuel type: Wood | Accessories: Stand, base plate, grill bridge, nylon bag
Why we chose it: Sturdy stainless steel that folds flat.
Most firepits are designed to stay in one place. But what if you want to take your flames on the road, say for a camping trip or to a second home? At a mere 10 inches wide and 8 inches tall, this 4-pound find is our favorite for its portability. Designed and manufactured in Japan, we fondly think of it like metal origami; the triangular base—one reviewer refers to it as an inverted pyramid—is fully collapsible so you can easily slip it into its nylon carry case. A shopper who bought it for a fly-fishing trip in Idaho declared, “It’s the best piece of camp gear I’ve bought in 40 years.” Another adds, “This item is a gem for a small fire…I can tell it will last a very long time.” If you need it to whip up grub after a long hike, add on the adjustable grill bridge for a convertible cooktop that also folds flat.
Best Tabletop: Terraflame Basin Fire Bowl
Material: Concrete | Fuel type: Gel fuel | Accessories: Skewers set, snuffer tool
Why we chose it: No backyard? No problem.
Not all of us are lucky enough to live somewhere with a big outdoor area outfitted with a deck or patio. If you’re craving the ambient sound and light of a crackling wood fire but have nowhere to put a pit, Terraflame scratches that itch with its small space-friendly styles. The brand’s tabletop collection is top-notch—choose between four sculptural styles in a range of earth tones that are all hand-cast and compact enough to fit comfortably on a bistro table. Plus the cork-lined bottom will protect surfaces from scratches. All you need to get a fire started is popping open a fuel can that’s designed to disappear into the center opening; you’ll see nothing but the dazzling flames.
Best Low-Profile: Terrain Low-Profile Firepit
Material: Steel | Fuel type: Wood | Accessories: None
Why we chose it: This one will patina beautifully in the long run.
The low-slung circular design of Terrain’s firepit evokes traditional campfires, making it a good fit if you’re looking for a style that will blend in with its surroundings. Its ample 39.5-inch diameter is ideal for permanent installations, particularly since the raw Corten steel construction’s rustic red finish can leave residue on your hands if moved. And although this is preoxidized, note that the pit’s color will naturally change over time and further rusting can occur, which may result in staining the ground below.
Best for Harsh Climates: Stahl Firepit
Material: Aluminum or raw steel | Fuel type: Wood | Accessories: Sold separately
Why we chose it: Doubles as art but is far more durable than it looks.
This pit is Herrera’s choice, who tells us the brand is building a big following throughout the Northwest. “We like our Stahl firepit for its sculptural, modern form and the way it patinas over time,” she says. Plus it’s something to gaze at even when there are no flames dancing within it. That’s true whether you choose the raw steel finish or anodized aluminum in black or silver. Assembly is simple—just slot the puzzlelike sections together and you’re ready for a fire. The rugged materials can withstand the elements, and the nonwelded construction means there’s no chance of it falling apart over time.
More Firepits We Love
Firepits come in a range of sizes and styles, which is why we also have dedicated guides to tablese and smokeless and tabletop versions. Many deep dives into the category have taught us that most options under $200 start to look the same or are a little chintzy. So we dug around for a few affordable designs—from elevated bases to fun finishes in a cheery yellow—that look good but also won’t rust after just a week of use.
Our Shopping Checklist
This is mostly a matter of portability and how big your typical crowd is. If the firepit is going to stay in the same spot, you don’t have to worry much about its size. However, if you plan to move it around the yard or take it with you on vacation (or your next place), look for a model that will be easy to lift in and out of a car—say 20 pounds or less. As for crowd size, a round firepit that’s about 20 inches in diameter will fit a couple chairs comfortably, while one that’s 36 inches can host up to eight chairs.
All firepits are built to withstand high heat, making them inherently durable. But some materials are more weather resistant than others. If you live near the coast, for example, 304-grade stainless steel will withstand harsh salt water. Iron and anodized aluminum are other highly durable metals. Still other materials are designed to take on a patina over time. Raw stainless steel, which doesn’t have the same protective finish as the 304, will darken with age, while Corten steel will develop a reddish patina. Cast concrete is a nonmetal option that’s suited to less extreme climates.
Every year thousands of people sustain burns and other injuries from firepits. To minimize risk, enforce the 3-foot rule for kids and pets, keeping them that distance from the pit at all times. Make sure anything combustible, like blankets and clothing, is also a few feet from an open flame. For good measure, have a hose, bucket of water, or a shovel and dirt nearby in case you need to douse the fire in a hurry. Finally, never use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start wood fires. Old-fashioned newspaper and twigs or other kind of kindling is the only way to go.
Q: Is it safe to leave a firepit on a deck?
Yes, but for starters, a firepit should be at least 10 feet away from anything that can catch on fire, including your house. So unless it’s a big deck, that distance requirement could be a deal breaker. And if the deck itself is made of wood, you will need to place the pit on a fireproof pad or other heat-resistant surface—for example, tiles made of metal or ceramic.
Q: How do I clean my firepit?
Firepits are fairly fuss-free. You just need to get rid of the ashes after each use. Some models have pull-out ash pans, similar to the tray on a toaster oven. With smaller firepits, you can simply turn them upside down. Either way, remember to let the firepit and ashes cool before cleaning. And even ashes that have grayed over might still have heat in their core, so be sure to wet them down in a noncombustible container before disposing of them with the household trash.
Q: What’s better—wood or gas?
If the goal is maximum nostalgia, opt for a wood-burning firepit. You can’t beat the smoldering aroma, and the flickering flames are perfect for roasting marshmallows. But if you just want to create a little ambience out back with instant startup and minimal upkeep, gas is the way to go.
The Last Word
The best firepits are the centerpiece of your backyard. There may be no cozier place to gather than near the crackling flames, especially if s’mores are involved. Our favorite finds range in durable materials (steel, cement); come in a range of sizes (for big backyards and small balconies), and pull double duty either as tables or grills.