There’s nothing better on a cool night than sitting around a fire with your friends. The downside to a fire is somehow someone is always sitting directly in the path of the smoke. Not so with a smokeless fire pit — these use propane bottles to fuel the flames, which means less mess in addition to no smoke.
The best smokeless fire pit is the Outland Living Firebowl Mega Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Pit. It outputs up to 58,000 British thermal units, keeping you warm on the coldest nights.
Smokeless fire pits have two key dimensions: width and height.
Many smokeless fire pits are designed with travel in mind and especially for camping. If you plan on traveling, look for fire pits that include transportation assistance or easy-carry handles and check to make sure it isn’t heavier than you can handle. Most travel-minded pits weigh 20-40 pounds.
Smokeless fire pits measure their power with British thermal units. Most pits have 30,000-58,000 Btu. Aim for at least 40,000 Btu to stay warm. Though, if you're in a cold climate, you should aim for at least 50,000 Btu. Any Btu less than 40,000 is more for show than for heating.
Igniting gas is never completely safe. As such, the best smokeless fire pits have ignition systems that let you ignite the gas at a distance. The best ignition systems trigger with the push of a button.
The best smokeless fire pits include a cover, with the best covers having weather and ultraviolet light protection plus a method to secure the cover in place. These covers are invaluable for extending the life span of your fire pit.
Many smokeless fire pits include lava rocks, glass beads or other similar items. These help the propane-fueled flames look more natural and also help to spread out the heat of the flames.
Smokeless fire pits typically cost $100-$400. Smaller pits typically cost $150 or less while most cost $200-$300. The largest and most decorative pits typically cost $400 or more.
A. No, smokeless fire pits must only be used in a well-ventilated outdoor area since propane gives off toxic fumes as it burns. This means no using one on a sealed patio, even if it has some ventilation.
A. Some smokeless fire pits are designed to use natural gas, but most are set up to use propane. It’s possible to convert a propane pit into a natural gas pit, but it’s difficult to do and — because of natural gas’s high flammability — dangerous. If you want to use natural gas, buy the correct fire pit.
A. There are a few.
What you need to know: This large fire pit is perfect for backyards as well as campgrounds.
What you’ll love: The pit is 24 inches wide and has a maximum power of 58,000 Btu to comfortably warm up to six people. Included is a weather-resistant cover, decorative rock set and a 10-foot hose with a regulator. It’s made of strong, durable steel to last for years.
What you should consider: It takes time for the rocks to heat enough to better spread out the heat, plus the heat is mostly directed upward rather than outward.
What you need to know: This smaller fire pit is designed for travel and includes extras to make it easier.
What you’ll love: The pit is 19 inches wide and has a maximum power of 58,000 Btu to comfortably warm up to four people. A weather-resistant cover-and-carry kit lets you carry the pit with one hand and your propane bottle in the other.
What you should consider: There’s no igniter. The pit takes time to cool enough to place the travel cover and straps on — packing up early melts the straps.
What you need to know: If you value aesthetics, take a look at this fire pit.
What you’ll love: The raised design places the flame at chest height when seated or waist height when standing. Its power is 40,000 Btu at maximum. A pulse ignition system and control knob make lighting and adjusting it safe and easy.
What you should consider: A few purchasers received damaged columns. Others reported cracks appearing after a year or two. It’s among the priciest pits.
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.