A wood-burning fire pit can make a huge difference to your outdoor space – crackling logs, warm blazing flames, and that cozy campfire smell invite a relaxing, sociable focal point where friends and family can gather at night, even during the chill of autumn.
You can use the pit to enhance the ambiance of a garden party or have a romantic fireside meal for just the two of you.
Firepits are so much more than just a lump of metal, they bring people closer together, creating beautiful memories. Think of entertaining company, enthralling kids, and getting the full summer experience from your own garden. You can roast marshmallows or sit beside the pit with blankets and hot chocolate. It’s a safe campfire experience that can be built without burning your grass.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your fire pit is cleared with any local regulations, know how to use it safely, and with the correct fuel types before you get started.
There’s quite a variety of shapes, sizes, and types to choose from, so we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best wood burning fire pits to suit your garden, with some guidance on how to use them safely.
1. Cheshire Onsite Welding Fire Pit
Topping the list is a stunning firepit that’s Made in Britain, by hand, using high-quality eco-friendly stainless steel, crafted into a modern, contemporary appearance.
It can burn both wood and charcoal. Unlike some other options on the list, the bowl is made from thick rust-resistant steel with a polished finish and wide 60cm diameter.
Another great thing about the bowl is the small drain hole at the centre that allows rainwater to drain away when not in use, and air to flow through for improved burning.
The thick angular steel frame that supports the bowl really makes this durable firepit stand out. They’re powder-coated in black and provide a sturdy base that will last for many years.
The silver finish gleams in both sunny and overcast weather. With a weight of around 8 kilograms, the fire pit can be portably moved from place to place. It’s rated for use with a wooden deck as long as you use a heat-resistant barrier. It’s not just a pit for burning wood, you can use this to cook food with the grille and barbeque tools, and clean up is simple with the removable bowl.
No assembly is required for this particular fire pit, so you don’t need to worry about struggling with instruction manuals and tools. Sure, this is more expensive than a lot of other similar-sized fire pits but cheaper ones use a thin tin bowl that rusts and degrades with use. This, on the other hand, has a stainless steel design and is built with professional British craftsmanship.
2. Amagabeli Extra Large Fire Pit 70cm
It has a similar style to the Cheshire, with chunky legs and a wide bowl for a campfire vibe, although it’s slightly wider, it’s not as deep, but is made from iron and will offer the same results, at a lower price. The wider bowl is intentional, as the manufacturer states that by being wider and flatter, airflow makes for better burning.
You can use it to burn charcoal and other compressed wood fuels. It has a sleek, modern design that can be easily integrated into your garden or backyard patio. The thick 3mm iron powder coated bowl will slowly develop a rustic, natural patina over time, and is mounted on three sturdy legs for a rock-solid foundation.
You can purchase a stainless steel grill grate to turn the pit into a barbecue option. The grill isn’t included in the initial purchase, though. You’ll also need to do some basic assembly work. An instruction manual is included along with all the tools necessary for assembly.
The handles on the side make it easily portable without having to touch the bowl or get your fingers dirtied with ash. You can place the pit on a deck as long as there’s a heat-resistant barrier between it and the wood as it can radiate a lot of heat, and in the legs can heat up, too.
3. VonHaus Round MgO Fire Pit Set
This stylish fire pit is outfitted with safety dome mesh, BBQ grills, and looks great in any garden. In addition to making a great campfire spot, you’re able to cook on this, too. You can cook for company over a real open flame or barbecue with charcoal.
The MgO material is resistant to intense UV damage during the summer months, and when the winter hits, the frost and rain will not cause any corrosive damage. It’s built to last but does require some care, as the protective paint layer wears away, it can become exposed to deterioration.
While it looks like natural stone, the hollow outer bowl is actually much lighter than a stone concrete construct would be. This makes the fire pit a practical choice and very easy to move around. However, you’ll notice two handle slots cut out of the side of the bowl. These are not symmetrical, which makes it quite awkward to lift – but that’s just a minor niggle.
I found that the top of the outer cream / white bowl becomes quick black from smoke over time, so keep in mind that there’s some cleaning maintenance involved in keeping that pristine modern look.
The bowl also has a black finish mesh screen lid, and this protective mesh stops sparks from leaving the bowl as a safety feature. You can place it over the flames to keep sparks from crackling and popping logs escaping, making it safer for use on wooden decking. This mesh grill is supposed to be rust resultant, but after several burn tests, and exposure to rain, the mesh is beginning to show signs of rust, and holes are spearing in the mesh – I recommend getting a fire pit cover to keep it dry.
On testing, I found that the heat from the base of the bowls would scorch and blister stained decking boards. To avoid this from happening, I placed the fire pit on top of a small stone slab, which worked very well.
Also included is a heat-resistant poker to let you stir the coals. The pit can burn both charcoal and wood logs. The metal bowl where your burn the wood is quite thin and is showing small signs of rust. I suspect after some time that this bowl will rust through entirely, from the intense heat of the fire, and then exposure to the elements. I highly recommend a cover or storing the fire pit in a shed when not in use, to prolong its life.
You can fit almost a whole bag of firewood in the empty bowl, which is ideal for around two hours of a relaxing fire.
The grill rack allows you to barbecue small portions. If you’re feeding a massive party, though, you might want to invest in a larger grill to make it a mini cooking station. The grill rack should be kept indoors or covered when it isn’t being used.
The fire pit comes with an instruction manual, but the components are easy to assemble. Everything slots into place without needing complicated tools. The manufacturer also provides a two-year warranty against defects and damage.
4. Relaxdays Fire Bowl in Rust Look Wood Burning Fire Pit
This fire pit has a modern, contemporary look. It’s capable of burning both charcoal and wood logs. The hand-finished steel construction has been sanded so that rust can form naturally over time, creating a rustic appearance that fits with a typical garden.
The sturdy steel legs are also hand-finished and made from durable rustic steel. Overall, the fire pit is made to last for years and has a deliberate rustic patina which makes it look old and rusty. The rusting process begins when the metal is first exposed to water and gives an old outdoors feel.
Like the previous entry, this fire pit can be converted into a barbecue by purchasing a stainless steel grate from the manufacturer. The design is also portable, so you can move it from place to place in your backyard when entertaining. You can also bring it inside during the winter if you want.
The classic rusty finish will appeal to anybody who likes older stuff and vintage-style kitchens. You can also use the product on a wooden deck as long as you use a heat-resistant barrier.
Unlike many other options on the list, this simple fire pit doesn’t require any assembly. This makes it an ideal fit for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of tools or multiple components.
5. Chyna Concrete Charcoal and Wood Fire Pit
This circular fire pit is a great choice if you want a charcoal-burning pit that includes both a cooking grate and a spark screen. The pit can be set up on a balcony, patio, or garden. Like the first option on the list, this pit makes use of faux-concrete MgO material but with an attractive rose gold trim.
The material is lighter than concrete while maintaining the aesthetic look of concrete. Another advantage that MgO has over concrete is that the material is resistant to weather. It will not develop cracks due to frost, become damaged due to UV rays, or develop rust when exposed to water. This makes it ideal for those who live in areas with varied weather.
The copper finish gives the fire pit a modern look that seamlessly integrates with other outdoor furniture. You can use wood logs to create a warm, glowing campfire. If you use the included grill to cook, you’ll want to use charcoal to generate maximum warmth.
The fire pit doesn’t come with a cover, but it does have a grill lid and a spark screen to protect against errant heat. It’s an affordable option for those who want a grill and a dual-burning design without breaking the bank. Some minor assembly is required, but all tools are included except a screwdriver.
The full manufacturer warranty lasts for two years. You can also extend the warranty by registering with the manufacturer.
6. Esschert Design Fallen Fruits Oxidised Woodland Globe Speher Fire Pit
Most wood burning fire pits look the same – a circular bowl mounted on a base or frame. If you find the common design a little boring, then check out this fire glode made from oxidised steel with laser-etched cutouts of trees, deer, and other shrubberies. The laser makes the cutouts more precise than most hand-etched or machine-etched cutouts.
The ball-style construction has a rustic brown finish that suits any natural garden and is a real talking piece at outdoor gatherings on cold nights. It’s a cozy piece of outdoor furniture suited to chilly autumn evening or long summer days. The design pieces are made by Esschert Design, a firm that works with Sol 72 Outdoor Furniture to create unique products.
The soft steel material acquires a natural finish over time. Because of the open flame, lower position, and hot stand, this piece is not safe to put on a wooden deck or patches of dry grass. Some assembly is required as well, and the pit cannot be used for grilling purposes.
It’s a great choice for anyone who wants a beautiful decorative fire pit that looks great when not in use in a garden or on a stone patio.
7. Beige Majestic Garden & Patio Heater Fire Pit
This wood burning fire pit has an exterior that resembles natural stone and would make a great patio fire pit as it will match the stonework. It looks like a hand-constructed pit that was built specifically for your backyard. A cooking grate is included. In addition to burning wood logs, you can use charcoal to grill food.
In addition, a spark screen is included to protect against errant flames. Whether you’re cooking or using the pit as a campfire, you can make use of the components without worrying about potential burns. A fire poker provides additional protection.
The grill insert can be easily installed. The design is also versatile, able to burn wood chips, wood logs, coal, and charcoal. The exterior resembles stone but is coated with polyresin material for maximum weather resistance. It’s more lightweight than a stone pit, which makes it portable.
Some assembly is required. You can use this fire pit on a wooden deck as long as there’s a heat-resistant barrier in place.
Wood Burning Firepit Accessories
Fire pits come in one piece and are typically shipped fully assembled and ready for immediate use once unpackaged. You may expand their functionality by adding cooking and safety accessories separately.
Lid: Lids have two functions – to extinguish the fire and to protect from the rain after use.
An additional benifit, is that ash and the remains of the embers cannot be blown out by the wind. Because the fire bowl gets very hot and retains high temperatures for a long time, it usually cannot be emptied and cleaned immediately after use. Covered with a lid, the fire bowl can easily and safely cool down overnight.
Grill grate: A grill grate is rarely included with the fire bowl with a diameter of 100 cm. Suitable grill grates can be swiveled over the fire bowl using a tripod, for example. If you want to place the grill grate on the edge, you have to pay attention to a high degree of accuracy so that the grate lies securely and cannot be accidentally knocked off.
Some manufacturers offer custom-fit grill grates for their fire bowls. Before buying, you should therefore inquire whether these are available in the range of the desired manufacturer or whether grill grates from other manufacturers can be used.
Grill ring: The same applies to the grill ring as to the grill grate. It enables grilling in the edge area of the fire bowl and is therefore particularly suitable for delicate foods that do not need or tolerate the high temperatures in the middle of the fire. Great value must also be placed on a good fitting accuracy.
Poker: The burning firewood can be easily loosened with the poker. The tool can also be used to stack the logs. Fire bowls with a diameter of 100 cm allow large quantities of firewood to be burned and a large campfire to be lit. The poker offers a safe and convenient way to control the fire.
Spark protection: Large campfires often lead to strong-flying sparks. The burned wood and the weather (wind) also determine the intensity of the flying sparks. A spark guard in the form of a lid or grid ensures that the fire burns down safely and in a controlled manner and should be used above all when the campfire is burning down near hedges, trees, garden furniture, and other flammable furnishings. If children are present, spark protection is particularly important.
Base plate: Because the fire bowl is closed at the bottom, many users do not protect the base. Even if ash and embers initially remain in the closed pan, burning or glowing pieces of wood can fall out of the pan when stoking or rearranging. The heat generated by the 100 cm fire bowl should not be underestimated either. The distance to the ground is about 30 to 45 cm for almost all models and can quickly lead to discolouration on stone slabs and burns on lawns. If you don’t want to temporarily place the fire bowl on stones, you can use a suitable base plate.
What are the Different Types of Fire Pits?
Fire pits come in different shapes and size options, as well as different styles and power sources. You can buy a portable fire pit, which is ideal for those of you who enjoy camping, tailgating, or late summer beach parties. Let’s quickly review the four main styles: propane gas, wood-burning, natural gas, and gel fuel.
Wood Fire Pits – These are the closest to recreating the experience of a campfire without having to bother building one yourself, and can be taken along to use on a camping trip. Heat, smoke, and fire can be safely contained and you can enjoy the reassuring crackle of a real wood fire, but there’s some post-cleanup involved with these standalone fire pits. They’re a great option for alfresco dining, but proper firewood can be an expense and it will need to be cleaned regularly.
Propane Fire Pits – Clean, convenient, and popular, propane gas still creates a nice, smooth and comfortable flame, but without the mess. They can be purchased in beautiful designs and will often be portable as well as have the ability to use for cooking. You must of course use a propane tank separately and monitor the level.
Natural Gas Fire Pits – More difficult to install and assemble, you still have the option of running a line into your natural gas supply to create a permanent fire pit in your backyard. You’re guaranteed never to run out of fuel, but you won’t have any flexibility or portability, and the initial assembly cost will be higher.
Gel Fuel Pits – This is a clean, versatile and flexible new fuel source that can still create a great ambiance. They don’t give off as much heat and you can’t cook with them, but they’re decorative and create a nice ambiance.
What Kind of Wood for Fire Pit?
Use kindling wood or dry hardwood such as oak. This type of wood will limit smoke and maximise burning. Damp wood will give off a lot of smoke when burning, that’s why it’s best to buy kindling wood because it’s dried and cut to the ideal size for burning in a fire pit.
Do outdoor fire pits keep you warm in the winter?
Yes, they give off a high level of heat. You need to stay within 1 – 3 metres of the fire to feel the warmth. Too far away and you won’t feel much heat, but don’t get too close, either. There’s an optimal zone that depends on the intensity of the fire and outside temperature.
How to use a Wood-Burning Fire Pit Safely
Safety precautions are important when using a fire pit, for obvious reasons.
When choosing a place to use the fire pit, you should consider how much heat the fire will give off. It is therefore always advisable to keep a safe distance from house walls, garden fences, trees and bushes, awnings, ledges, garden furniture, or anything flammable in the immediate vicinity.
Set up outdoor fire bowls, fire baskets or Swedish fires should be placed on a firm and level surface so that nothing can wobble or sway.
Check the weather before use, and only use when there’s not a lot of wind, as gusts of wind will blow burning embers and particles of wood around the garden, which could start a fire. Never light a fire pit in windy weather. Of course, weather is unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to use a mesh screen lid over the wood.
Only sufficiently dry and natural wood may be burned. No rubbish or cardboard – only approved firepit approved fuels.
A suitable extinguishing agent must always be available in the immediate vicinity of a burning firepit. A bucket with enough water is usually optimal, even if it may seem less romantic at first.
The fire must never be allowed to burn uncontrolled and without supervision. The supervision of an outdoor fire pit in the garden is the responsibility of an adult, never leave children unsupervised near a burning pit.
Note: Never stack the wood too high and keep an eye on it even when it is running low. The glowing residue can still be a fire hazard. Always follow responsible outdoor fire safety.