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Our favorite is the Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit for its weather-resistant materials and great fire performance.
Wood-burning fire pits are a great way to recreate a campfire in the comfort of your own home. Not only do they add warmth on cool days, but also create ambiance that elevates the experience of gathering with friends or family.
According to Gary McCoy, Lowe’s Store Manager serving the Charlotte, North Carolina market, the most important factors when choosing a wood-burning fire pit are quality, safety, function, and smell. To determine the best wood-burning fire pits on the market, we tested 18 different models and evaluated them based on that criteria and more.
Our top pick is the Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit for its impeccable style, incredible functionality, and the fact that it was designed to withstand the elements.
Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit
Best Overall Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Who it’s for: People who want a firepit that is functional and decorative.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a fire pit that is portable.
Our tester really liked how this fire pit manages to be both “stylish and functional.” The raised copper basin and elegant iron gate elevates this product to being a piece of home decor in addition to a vessel that keeps you warm. The fire pit has been tested against extreme heat and weather, so you can keep it outside safely when not in use and not worry about the materials significantly wearing down over time. In fact, when examining the fire pit, our tester told us that the materials “seem sturdy enough to last for years to come,” and could “last through a windy day without any pieces blowing away.”
This firepit is quite large, measuring 40 inches wide and able to hold logs up to two feet long. Our tester liked that the wide basin allows people to customize the size of the fire they want (we used five logs but found there was room for many more). They also liked that the firepit was big enough to fit at least five Adirondack chairs around it with plenty more room for other guests. Just take note that this fire pit should not be placed on a wooden deck or other flammable surfaces.
Price at time of publish: $649
Material: Copper basin and powder-coated iron base
Diameter: 40 inches
Weight: 66 pounds
Solo Stove Yukon 2.0
Best Smokeless Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Who it’s for: People who are sensitive to smoke.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a fire pit that is larger than 30 inches in diameter.
People who are sensitive to the smoke produced from a wood-burning fire pit will delight in this smokeless option from Solo Stove. It’s important to know that smokeless fire pits do still produce some smoke, but it’s significantly less than your average wood-burning fire pit. Our testing revealed that the Yukon 2.0 lived up to its promise, with our tester saying that they could barely see smoke while the fire was going, nor could they smell it. They attributed this success to the way the mechanism is designed, which includes plenty of ventilation holes for airflow.
Our tester also liked that this fire pit comes with a removable ash pan, making cleaning much easier, as well as its “classy look.” Although this Solo Stove model is priced higher than other fire pits on the market, our tester believes it’s definitely worth the cost. “It’s a great fire pit that doesn’t get your clothes or hair smelly with that campy smell that usually comes with a bonfire,” they said. “I also feel like it’ll last forever due to the way it’s built and the materials.”
Price at time of publish: $450
Material: Stainless steel
Diameter: 27 inches
Weight: 41.6 pounds
Real Flame Anson Wood Burning Fire Pit
Best Steel Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Who it’s for: People who want a large fire pit that can withstand the elements.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a lightweight fire pit.
Steel is considered to be one of the strongest metals, so you can expect this firepit to last for several years. The Real Flame Anson Fire Pit is powder-coated to protect it from wear caused by the outdoors, making it rust-resistant and UV-resistant. Our tester was able to fit ten logs in the pit, which produced a heat distribution that they called “perfect from side to side.” They liked how deep the fire bowl was as well as the included accessories: a poker, a grate, a spark screen that worked very well, and a vinyl cover to put over the pit when not in use. The latter is not a common accessory that’s included with purchase, adding to this fire pit’s overall value.
They also told us they didn’t have any issues with smoke and loved the pit’s contemporary design. The one complaint they had is that the base and the bowl are not connected. And considering it’s so heavy, it takes more than one person to move if need be. Still, our tester said the pit has been a welcome addition to their backyard and considers it to be a worthwhile investment.
Price at time of publish: $370
Material: Powder-coated stainless steel
Diameter: 31.75 inches
Weight: 59 pounds
Tiki 25-Inch Smokeless Fire Pit
Best Small Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Who it’s for: People who have limited outdoor space.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a portable fire pit.
This fire pit is great for people who have limited outdoor space but don’t want to sacrifice the ambiance that an outdoor fire pit brings. Although comparatively small, this fire pit is powerful, able to heat up to a 4-foot radius around it. Our tester said that it produced a “very enjoyable heating performance.” You can use the included pellets, which produce a smokeless fire for 30 minutes, or wood. Our tester said that the timing listed on the pellet bag was exact, producing a fire that roared for about 15 minutes then slowly died down for the remaining 15. When using wood, they said the pit was able to heat up to a 5-foot radius.
The Tiki Smokeless Fire Pit comes with a lid to further cover it from the conditions of the outdoors, a feature our tester really appreciated. They noted that it is above the median price for your average fire pit, but they found it to be worth the extra money. “I think this fire pit hits pretty much every feature you want,” they said. “The design of this fire pit is very beautiful and would complement any backyard and it has high quality materials that should last a very long time.”
Price at time of publish: $395
Material: Powder-coated stainless steel
Diameter: 25 inches
Weight: 45 pounds
Solo Stove Mesa
Best Tabletop Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Who it’s for: People who want a small, portable fire pit.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a firepit that can keep them warm in very cold temperatures.
Don’t have space for a fire pit? Solo Stove says no problem. As long as your outdoor space has a table, you and your loved ones can gather around a fire. This super cool product is just over six inches tall and weighs less than 1.5 pounds, so you very easily take it inside (in the included nylon bag) for safe storage. The Mesa can burn pellets (sold separately) or even small pieces of firewood.
Our tester was surprised by how much heat it produced for such a small mechanism. “The flame is bigger than I thought it would be,” they said. However, don’t expect it to be able to adequately heat a group of people in bitterly cold conditions. “This would be nice on a crisp fall day around 50 degrees when you just need a bit of extra warmth and a nice ambiance,” they said.
The pellets produced only about 10 minutes of a fire, although you can add more pellets during burning and the fire will continue going. Just make sure to add one by one or the fire will go out completely. When using wood, our tester said there was smoke present, but not an overwhelming amount.
Price at time of publish: $105
Material: Stainless steel, ceramic
Diameter: 5.1 inches
Weight: 1.4 pounds
Yaheetech Square Fire Pit
Best Wood-Burning Fire Pit for Grilling
Who it’s for: People who are looking for a large yet portable fire pit.
Who it isn’t for: People who don’t plan to use their fire pit for grilling.
This wood-burning firepit from Yaheetech offers an incredible value for the price. In addition to being able to create a fire in your outdoor space, you can also grill on it. The two removable grates and the mesh cover make this possible. Our tester told us that they enjoyed using this fire pit, telling us that it looked attractive in their backyard and functioned well. It can hold about eight pieces of firewood, produce an expected amount of smoke when lit, and is easy to control once the fire starts going. However, our tester said they could easily see how the fire could get out of control when putting in too much wood.
The Yaheetech Square Fire Pit also comes with a poker that doubles as a tool to lift up the cover of the fireplace. You can have this live in your backyard or, according to our tester, take it with you on a camping trip since it’s relatively low in weight. With all that this fire pit has to offer, our tester didn’t expect it to be priced so low. As such, they’d recommend this to people looking for an affordable, portable fire pit.
Price at time of publish: $116
Diameter: 32 inches
Weight: 22 pounds
Barebones Living Cowboy 23-Inch Fire Pit & Grill
Best Stylish Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Who it’s for: People who frequently entertain in their outdoor space.
Who it isn’t for: People who want a fire pit that can survive when exposed to wet conditions.
Our tester called this versatile fire pit “a masterwork of design,” differing from others in more ways than one. First, its sleek and modern design makes it far more attractive than most wood-burning fire pits on the market. In fact, our tester told us that they wouldn’t want to use this fire pit every day because it’s “so chic and elegant.” This fire pit also comes with attachments that make it easy to cook food. This includes a half grate that you can conveniently maneuver up and down without getting your hands super close to the fire.
Our tester said that the wood burned evenly, and they also found the fire pit to be sturdy overall. They told us that they would recommend this to people who like to entertain outdoors, particularly those who will use it for both grilling and creating a fire. If you plan to use it just as a fire pit, they didn’t think the high price was worth it. Plus, unless you have the space to store it or an adequate cover, it will rust when exposed to wet conditions.
Price at time of publish: $349
Diameter: 23 inches
Weight: 30 pounds
Overall, we recommend the Frontgate Classic Copper Fire Pit for its striking good looks, weather-resistant materials, and its ability to hold a lot of logs. You can create a fire as small or as big as you like and there’s enough room around the pit for multiple chairs, making it great for gatherings.
Our Testing Process
We tested 18 wood-burning fire pits and evaluated them on setup, heating performance, design, smoke control, and value. We first had our testers set up the fire pits and assess how easy assembly was, including how long it took to put the fire pit together. We then had them set up a fire following the manufacturer’s instructions, using standard sized firewood that measured 16 inches long. Once the fire was started using the pit’s ignition system, we asked them to burn the fire for an hour three times over the period of the month. During this time, we asked them to note how easy it was to produce a flame and maintain it, how well the pit maintained sparks and embers, and if the additional tools included proved to be helpful.
For low smoke or smokeless fire pits, we recorded how much smoke was detected. For fire pits with a grill grate, we made sure that the included grill grates fit properly and then cooked a hot dog or hamburger on them. Finally, we asked our testers to clean the fire pit and note if it was easy or difficult. We took all this information to come up with the best wood burning fire pits.
More Wood-Burning Fire Pits to Consider
Hampton Bay Piedmont Fire Pit: Our tester, who told us their family has owned “several fire pits over the last nine years in a range of prices and styles,” told us that this one is “the best so far.” They said they would recommend this fire pit for its style and sturdiness but didn’t like that rust started to form after leaving it outside.
Novogratz Asher Fire Pit: This modern and relatively small fire pit was able to provide even heat distribution during our testing. Our tester liked this product for its unconventional design and lack of smoke, but didn’t like the shallow bowl, which was only able to produce a fire for up to 30 minutes without needing more wood.
Breeo Smokeless Fire Pit: Our tester told us that the value of this fire pit is “spot on” for its size, good looks, the amount of heat it produces, and low smoke output, so much so that they’d feel safe having their asthmatic kids around it. Still, it’s on the very high end.
How to Shop for Wood-Burning Fire Pits Like a Pro
Smoke vs. Smokeless
Smokeless fire pits may be confusing to people who are unfamiliar with the term. Just because a fire pit is deemed as smokeless doesn’t mean that it will produce no smoke. You should expect some smoke, but it should be significantly less than a regular wood-burning fire pit. This is all due to the design of the fire pit.
“A smokeless wood-burning fire pit uses a technology (which varies by product) that redirects airflow to keep smoke away from you and your guests,” says McCoy. The smokeless fire pits we tested did just this. Our testers told us that they saw and smelled less smoke from the smokeless models, as compared to traditional wood-burning fire pits. They also reported that their clothes or hair didn’t smell like smoke either after the fire finished burning. A smokeless fire pit is great for someone who doesn’t want to deal with the effects of being close to smoke, or people who are sensitive to smoke.
McCoy told us that powder-coated steel is the best material for wood-burning fire pits. “Powder-coated steel allows for the longest usable life of the product, preventing rust and decay,” he says. Stainless steel is the second best of materials, but whether it rusts and corrodes overtime depends on the type of the stainless steel, which isn’t usually made known to the consumer.
Steel and iron that has no protective coating, will rust when exposed to water. If you don’t mind adequately covering or storing your wood-burning fire pit inside during inclement weather, you can get away with owning a stainless steel, iron, or steel wood-burning fire pit. However, if you don’t want to deal with that hassle, go with something made of powder-coated steel.
Even if you plan to leave your fire pit outside, it’s still important to know what you’re getting into in terms of weight. You might need to take your fire pit inside due to inclement weather, want to eventually move it to another spot in your backyard, or want to take it with you on a camping trip. Our top picks ranged from 22 to 66 pounds, although some can weigh more than that. A handful of our testers said that some of the fire pits were so heavy, they needed an extra set of hands to just put it together. Keep this in mind before you buy.
Questions You Might Ask
Do smokeless fire pits really produce no smoke?
No. Smokeless fire pits can be misleading because when you have any fire, there will be smoke. The difference between a smokeless fire pit and a regular one is simply that there will be less. This is due to the design of the ventilation. When using a smokeless fire pit, you should be able to see less smoke, smell less smoke, and your hair and clothes shouldn’t smell like it after the fact.
Where is the best place to put my wood-burning fire pit?
According to McCoy, wood-burning fire pits should be placed at least 10 feet from your house and other structures. You should also allow for 20 feet of overhead clearance to avoid burning tree branches. “Additionally, different areas have different regulations, so be sure to check your local laws and ordinances when choosing where to place your new fire pit,” he says. “Regardless, you should never place your fire pit under a covered patio and always on even ground.”
Make sure to verify where you can safely place your wood-burning fire pit before you buy. More often than not, brands advise not putting a wood-burning fire pit on a deck made of wood, or any flammable materials. You can buy pads and matts to put underneath your wood-burning fire pit for added safety, but make sure it’s compatible with your product before you buy. An accessory that McCoy highly recommends getting is a mesh screen, which keeps sparks and embers contained and helps prevent accidents.
Is there any maintenance for wood-burning fire pits?
Yes. McCoy told us that the biggest mistake he sees people making with wood-burning fire pits is not knowing that they require routine maintenance due to the ash produced in burning.
“Because gas fire pits are so popular and require less maintenance (due to the absence of ash), many consumers assume the same when it comes to wood-burning fire pits. However, that’s far from the truth,” he says. “Instead, you need to clean these regularly by removing the ash after each fire (and once the ashes are completely cool). You should also take out any large pieces of wood that remain after a fire.” If you’re not down to do this dirty work, a wood-burning fire pit may not be worth the investment.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Rachel Center, a product reviews home writer for Real Simple. We researched the best wood-burning fire pits and tested 18 of the most popular options with real world testers, evaluating them on setup, heating performance, design, smoke control, and value. We also sought the advice of Gary McCoy, Lowe’s Store Manager serving the Charlotte, North Carolina market.
What Is Real Simple Selects?
Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible.
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