We are going to explore the wonderful world of fire pits and fire bowls! In this article, we will look at the best fire pits and bowls available today. We will then also explore the differences between a fire pit and a fire bowl and look at the pros and cons of each.
There is something about fire that appeals to our primeval genetic makeup. In history, a fire has meant warmth and security. It has protected us from wild beasts and cold nights. It bought light to the dark and dispelled evil spirits. Even today, light a fire and people naturally gather around it. Even if the weather is scorching hot, a fire makes people group together and chat. It becomes the focal hub of any social gathering.
There are two main options when looking to build a fire into our modern outside living space. You can choose either a fire bowl or a fire pit.
A fire pit is a metal, brick or stone enclosure that is used to burn wood.
A fire bowl is similar but uses natural or propane gas.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. We will investigate further later in the article. But first, let us look at the top five fire bowls and fire pits available today. We have tried to make a list that has something for everyone. The models selected here are the best of the best products from across the whole range available.
The Top Five Fabulous Fire Bowls and Fire Pits
We have reviewed each of these models and listed a brief description and discuss their pros and cons.
#1. Our Overall Top Pick
This amazing fire bowl also doubles up as a table! The wide edge to the large sturdy bowl lets you rest that plate or glass. The propane-fueled fire in the center of the table gives you light, warmth, and comfort on a chilly night. It lets you enjoy alfresco living all year round. The lava rocks in the middle heat up and glow gently. The bowl comes with a 10 ft long hose and regulator. The burner is a high end 304 stainless steel unit complete with burn pan. It produces up to 45,000 BTU so will keep you warm on the chilly nights. You can even toast marshmallows on the lava rock!
- Easy to install and set up
- Stylish sleek and elegant design
- Lights very easily
- No need to store logs or other fuel and no ash to dispose
- Instant heat and light
- Easy to turn off
- Looks great and stays clean
- No need to store logs or other fuel
- It is pricey (but you are paying for quality, convenience, and style)
- It uses a lot of gas if the flame is turned up high
This traditional design fire pit is bombproof! It is a simple but effective design. The low-profile fire pit is large enough to load it up with lots of logs. The low profile lets the heat radiate and light spill out easily. The actual bowl is made from cast iron. It absorbs the initial heat and helps radiate it in all directions. The hot iron helps added fuel catch and burn easily. This thing is sturdy! Several customers have reported having one for years with no problems. The fire pit is lifted off the ground by an iron base.
- Classic fire pit design
- Elegant low-profile design
- Sturdy construction
- Simple to use
- Lasts years as it has no moving parts and is very well built
- Authentic wood fire look, smell, and warmth
- Ash needs to be cleaned out
- Needs the skill to light it
This is a little different! It is a pedestal fire bowl. This bowl cleverly incorporates the gas bottle enclosure in the pedestal. The steel frame base is cased with fire retardant magnesium composite. This gives a solid and realistic finish. The bowl has stainless steel 30,000 BTU burners covered with a whole heap of lava rock for that realistic look. The weather-sensitive igniter and thermostat are safely enclosed in the base. The increased height of this bowl means it is ideal for people to stand around and chat!
- Clean gas burning fire bowl
- Pedestal design is great for standing around
- Great looking strong design
- Built-in igniter
- Comes with lava rock
- May not be great for sitting around
- May use a lot of gas if turned up full
We all love a multipurpose appliance. This fire bowl also doubles as a table. You can serve a delicious barbeque feast then afterwards light the fire bowl. The 50,000 BTU burner and lava stones produce great heat and light leaving you to chat well into the night. The dark textured finish gives an elegant and timeless look that fits any patio, garden, or veranda.
- Multipurpose uses
- Elegant sturdy design
- Versatile – Great for both small and large spaces
- Huge heat output
- Built in ignition system
- Gas bottle is hidden in the base
- Uses a lot of gas if turned up high
- Table height bowl does not warm legs
We had to include this fantastic masterpiece. Imagine your friends walking into the party only to find the Star Wars Death Star glowing red in the center of the garden. What a talking point! Aside from being unique in design, this is an extraordinarily well-made fire pit. Handcrafted to order; it is made from ¼ inch steel plate.
- Unique design – handcrafted and looks magnificent
- Solid construction
- Traditional wood-burning fire pit
- Made in the USA
- Ash needs to be cleaned out
- You need to be a Star Wars fan to totally appreciate it (but then who doesn’t like Star Wars huh?)
You can see there are lots of different ideas and concepts for fire pits and bowl. But which one is for you? Let us look at the main differences.
Fire bowl vs Fire pit
A fire pit is the original upgrade to the campfire. Whilst campfires are fun, it is not practical to have one the middle of a beautiful lawn or patio. They tend to leave a great big black fire scar. The fire pit is the natural evolution of the stone circle campfire.
The fire pit lifts the fire off the ground and contains the fire and ash. It also gives a better base to build the fire on. The pit itself also retains and radiates heat spreading the warmth more evenly. The fire pit lifts the fire off the ground. The light and warmth from the fire spread out further. This creates a comforting warm light envelope around the people sitting around it.
Fire pits do need cleaning out afterwards. They also need to be regularly fed with fuel. The fuel needs to be stored. It is surprising how much timber a well-fed fire pit can burn in just one night. You need storage space for that fuel. The fuel needs to be dry and well-seasoned. It also needs to be the right type of wood. The wrong wood or wet wood causes pos, spits and sparks. These are fire hazards, dangerous to people and cause a mess around the pit.
Fire pits also need lighting. This needs dry kindling, fuel, and a little practice. It also takes time to get the fire going properly. They are not so good for that impromptu party.
Fire bowls perform the same function but at greater convenience. There is no need to store fuel. Lighting is dead easy. Most bowls have a built-in igniter. The gas is easy to come by and relatively inexpensive. You can turn the bowl on in an instant and have great heat and light. The fire bowls are easily controllable. If you want more heat and light just turn the dial. Extinguishing the bowl is easy by just turning the dial to the off position and letting it cool down.
There is also no ash to clean out and no smoke or smell to annoy neighbors. The fire bowls are also safer as they do not spit hot sparks. They can be safely positioned on wooden decks. You will need to follow manufactures instructions. Some may need a heat shield under them. You can connect some of the bowls to a natural gas supply. This means you do not need to change gas bottles.
The disadvantages of the gas bowl include the additional expense. Most bowls are more expensive than a fire pit. But as with anything, you get what you pay for. You are paying for safety, convenience, and style.
The fire bowl also detracts slightly from the campfire experience. Sometimes nothing beats the feeling of poking a fire with a stick, drinking a beer with your buddies, singing a song, toasting a marshmallow, and staring into the flames.
Personally, I love a good fire pit. I guess it’s a man’s thing. I totally get the pros of the fire bowl. I would love to have one build into the center of our patio area. But then I wouldn’t have the excuse to sit on the old log seat next to the real wood fire, occasionally chuck another log on and prod the fire with a stick.