Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best gas fire pits

When you want a campfire but don’t want to deal with the hassles that go with it, a gas fire pit comes in handy. Unlike a wood fire pit, a gas fire pit uses propane — the same tanks used for gas grills — as a fuel source. As such, a gas fire pit burns cleaner without creating either smoke or ash. Propane is also more convenient than wood, generally cheaper, and easier to control.

There is any number of options available to you when shopping for a gas fire pit. In addition to the broader questions of heat output, size, and assembly, there are features specific to gas fire pits, such as ignition system (if any), burner, and cover.

We’ve put together this buying guide to help walk you through some of the features you’ll need to consider before purchasing a gas fire pit. We also dive into the various price points and offer up some suggestions for pits that we particularly like.

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Some gas fire pits have an initial warm-up period before you can adjust the flame to the desired level.

Key considerations


There are several types of gas fire pits available, most of which consist of metal, resin wicker, and faux stone. In rare cases, pure stone fireplaces are available for purchase. Stone provides more of a rustic look but is difficult to move, whereas metal, resin wicker, and faux stone are more portable. 

Heat output

The heat output of most gas fire pits is measured in British thermal units (Btu) and ranges from 30,000 Btu up to around 58,000 Btu. Simply put, the higher the number, the more heat the pit can produce. A fire pit with a low Btu level is really more decorative and atmospheric than a significant source of heat.

Size and weight

The size of gas fire pits varies quite a bit, anywhere from under 20 inches to 32 inches or more in diameter. The pits also range in height from under 10 inches to 30 inches or more. If space is an issue, go with a more compact fire pit, although you should be aware that smaller pits have a lower heat output than larger pits.

Take the weight into account, too, particularly if you plan to be moving the fire pit around frequently. As mentioned, metal fire pits might be a better (and lighter) option if you plan to do much tailgating or camping with your gas fire pit.


Most fire pits come preassembled or nearly so. As such, you shouldn’t have a hard time setting up a pit and starting your first fire. Those that do require some assembly should include clear, easy-to-read instructions and all the necessary hardware. Also verify what, if any, tools you will need to put a pit together.

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Did you know?
While you should check with local authorities, some of these fire pits are rated as being safe for use even during campfire bans.



The burner emits the flame. You should focus on a pit that includes a rustproof and durable stainless steel burner. The burner should generate a clean flame that doesn’t give off any smoke. For maximum safety, try to find a burner that is safety tested and UL rated.


The ignition system is largely standard on gas fire pits, although some do not have one, so you’ll have to light the pit by hand. An ignition system should be easy to use, often by simply pushing a button. Some systems work via batteries, which may or may not ship with the fire pit.


While controls for gas fire pits are typically minimal, you should have some way to adjust the flame’s height and intensity. Any controls should be easy and comfortable to use.


The hose connects the burner to the propane tank, and the standard hose is 10 feet’ in length. This is long enough to allow you to tuck the tank behind patio furniture or other element, which is both safer and more aesthetically pleasing. The hose should have a built-in regulator.


Most gas fire pits come with a cover. A decent cover offers both UV and weather protection for when the fire pit is not in use. Some covers (particularly for metal pits) also have fasteners to hold the cover in place when you’re transporting the pit.

Lava rocks

Most gas fire pits also include lava rocks, which provide a more realistic flame effect. You should receive a large enough supply to fully cover the interior of the pit.

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Did you know?
This type of fire pit produces no noise when operating except for possibly a slight hiss of gas.

Gas fire pit prices

While you can find a few small gas fire pits for under $100, most start around $100 and can reach up to $400 or more. As you move up in price, you’ll find larger-diameter pits that are better able to stand up to the elements, stone/rustic pits, and fire-pit tables. Pricier pits also offer a more protective cover and more lava rocks.


  • Buy a tank. While you will need to provide your own propane tank for use with a gas fire pit, it’s the same type of tank used for gas grills, so you should have no problem finding one.
  • Protect your deck. If you plan to use your gas fire pit on a deck, double-check that the bottom of the pit doesn’t get hot during use. If it does get too warm, set the pit on bricks or pavers on the deck.
  • Stack the lava rocks correctly. You can usually get more heat from a gas fire pit by placing smaller lava rocks closer to the burner, then stacking the larger ones on top. Placing the larger rocks first can block holes in the burner and limit the heat output.
  • Try fire glass. For a different appearance and effect, leave some lava rocks off and use fire glass or tempered glass beads for the top layer.
  • Don’t use your fire pit as a grill. Never try to use your gas fire pit as a grill to cook items like hamburgers, because the grease will quickly ruin your pit. While pits are not generally set up for cooking, you might be able to place a grill on top of some of these pits for cooking in a pot or pan.
  • Protect your gas fire pit. Does your area suffer from harsh winters? If so, store your covered gas fire pit in a garage or basement until spring.
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Did you know?
One benefit of gas over wood is that gas is easier to start and bring up to the desired flame level.
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A recessed burner in a gas fire pit can help protect the flames from the wind.


Q. Can a gas fire pit be used inside in addition to outside the house?
A. No. Because it burns propane and produces toxic fumes, a gas fire pit should only be used in a well-ventilated area. Manufacturers recommend that these pits only be used outdoors.

Q. What safety precautions should I take with my gas fire pit?
As you will be dealing with an open flame, you should approach a gas fire pit as you would any fire. Set up your pit away from structures when using it, and leave as much space between you and the pit as you can when lighting it. Never leave a gas fire pit unattended, and don’t use it during periods of high wind or very dry conditions. Take advantage of the hose length (usually 10 feet) to keep the propane tank as far from the pit as possible when it’s being used.

Q. Can a gas fire pit also be used with natural gas?
While some buyers have successfully managed to swap out the propane line and controls for natural gas ones, this is not recommended, even for those with superior do-it-yourself skills. Natural gas is highly flammable and explosive, and even a minor leak in a DIY conversion could prove catastrophic. Your best option is to seek a fire pit specifically designed to be used with natural gas.

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