There is something about sitting around a fire pit with family and friends that takes any evening to another level. It not only gives you warmth but also improves the ambiance of any space. Also, who doesn’t like to spend the evening roasting marshmallows, telling stories, or even singing while the fire burns?
While this may seem like a preserve of those with big outdoor spaces, it is not. You can also enjoy all this with any of the portable fire pits we’ve listed below.
A portable pit is suitable for small backyards, camping, and tailgating. The fire pits come in various sizes and types. Some have wheels, others use wood, propane, or even gel to get the fire up and going. Whichever you choose from our list, your party will keep going long after the sun has gone down.
Short on time? Here’s the rundown of the best portable fire pits:
- Solo Stove Bonfire Portable Fire Pit
- UCO Flatpack Portable Fire Pit Grill
- Campfire Defender Pop-Up Camping Fire Pit
- Outland Firebowl 893 Propane Smokeless Fire Pit
- Bali Outdoors Wood-Burning Fire Pit
- Radiate Portable Campfire Pit
- Bond Aurora Gas Patio Fire Pit
- SuchDeco Ultra Portable Wood Fire Pit
Quick Primer: Types of Portable Fire Pits
A fire is a fire is a fire, right? Wrong. The fuel source for your outdoor fire pit should be a primary consideration, as it will dictate maintenance, cost, and usability. After all, if you get the wrong fire pit, you run the risk of never using it because it doesn’t match your lifestyle. Take notes, class.
Wood-Burning Fire Pits
Wood fire pits use natural biomass (like wood or charcoal) to fuel the fire and produce the most heat of all types. Some people like the crackling sound and the smell of smoke from the wood burn. You will experience a one-with-nature atmosphere with this type.
Irrespective of your reason, you have to deal with lighting the wood, cleaning ash, and the regular purchase of firewood. That is a small price to pay for the delicious meals you will get once you roast or grill your food over this type of fire pit. Because everyone knows smoked food always tastes better.
Propane Gas Fire Pits
Gas pits tend to use clean-burning, energy-efficient propane. They remove the hassle of buying wood and removing ash. However, you have to deal with the purchase of propane gas tanks.
For aesthetics, gas campfires may come with rock pebbles or faux wood to add some visual complexity to the flame.
Food cooked with a gas fire pit is safe to eat. However, it lacks the complex flavor profiles of biomass like wood or charcoal. So stick with the wood-burning fire pit when cooking, unless you do not mind less tasty food.
Gel Fire Pits
They use a special gel that burns clean, without smoke or smell. You can use the gel fire pits indoors and outdoors. Despite this, you may have to try your luck online to buy more gel fuel, as it is not readily available in big-box stores.
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Get rid of the guesswork when purchasing a portable fire pit. Simply go through our hand-picked list of the best pits there are in the market today and get yourself the ideal setup to building a contained fire.
The Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit has an eye-catching minimalist stainless steel construction that can withstand rust and corrosion.
It takes our award of the most efficient wood-burning fire pit on this list because of its patented airflow construction. Vents at the bottom of the fire pit and the Bonfire stand ensure there’s enough oxygen to start a fire and keep it going for hours.
The Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit will not leave your clothes smelling as smoky as other wood-burning pits. This is because the raised base plate and unique vents at the top provide additional fuel to the fire, ensuring all wood particles that would have caused smoke to burn to ash.
Its raised ash pan collects all ash falling from the base plate for ease of maintenance and cleaning. Its elevation also removes the chances of the lower vents getting clogged.
This fire pit stove does not offer as much warmth as others, because heat is pushed upwards instead of outwards. However, it is suitable for roasting some hotdogs and making some s’mores.
The UCO Flatpack Portable Fire Pit gives you the best of both worlds: comforting warmth and a hot meal on the grill.
Getting the party started with this grill and fire pit combo is effortless with less than a one-minute setup. The stainless steel grilling area can pack up to six servings. So, you can barbecue some steak, hotdogs, and roast some potatoes on the same surface.
The steady base ensures you enjoy your evening without worrying about it toppling over and starting a fire. It also keeps the fire away from the ground for additional safety. UCO makes the Flatpack from stainless steel, which means you do not have to deal with rust or any other form of corrosion for years to come.
The UCO Flatpack Grill and Fire Pit can fold to a thickness of 1.5-inches, which fits in a standard backpack without much effort. This is why it is one of the best fire pits for backpackers, hikers, and campers. Between use, you can pack the UCO Flatpack in the canvas carry bag provided.
The Pop-Up fire pit by Campfire Defender uses wood or charcoal for fuel. It is another foldable, lightweight fire pit that you can carry anywhere. There are neither fasteners nor bolts that need tightening, so the setup is quick and convenient.
The Pop-Up comes with a fire mesh on which you can use wood or charcoal. It can carry up to 125 pounds of wood, which keeps the fire going for the entire evening.
Its fire mesh keeps up to 99% of the ash on it, making it easy to clean up. In addition, its stainless steel construction means it does not rust or corrode easily.
Each portable fire pit comes with a heat shield that reflects heat to keep the ground cool and effectively does not leave any scorch marks even on the most sensitive surfaces.
Ember guards made from aluminum go round the mesh to control the heat. They also provide additional safety by keeping the embers from rolling to the ground and causing uncontrollable fires. However, you will have lots of smoke because the ember guards are short.
These safety features make the Pop-Up portable fire pit one of the safest on this list.
Say hello to a warm and smokeless experience with the Outland Firebowl 893 Deluxe Outdoor Gas Fire Pit. This compact gas-fire pit does not need much assembly. It also does not occupy much space and only weighs 23.3 pounds, making it suitable for outdoor trips to the beach, when camping, and tailgating.
Outland makes the Deluxe Firebowl from steel and coats it with enamel for durability. This also provides a cover for additional protection from the elements, further improving the longevity of the pit.
It comes with a stainless steel burner and fasteners that keep rust at bay. The handy carrying strap helps you move your portable fireplace from one point to another with ease.
The Outlander also has a 10-foot hose that keeps your 20-pound propane gas tank out of sight and far from the fire. One turn of the adjustable chrome knob is enough to switch on and off the fire bowl. If the flame gets too big for you, use the adjustable knob to regulate it.
While the 893 Deluxe Firebowl is one of our favorite portable fire pits, we don’t like that you have to buy the carry-on bag and propane gas tank separately.
The multipurpose Bali Outdoor wood-burning pit allows you to enjoy some backyard barbecue while keeping yourself toasty warm.
For comfort while grilling, you can adjust the height of the grill and swivel it 360° in case you want to add wood to the log rack. The circular ring attached to the four legs makes the Bali Outdoor fire pit sturdy on most surfaces. Its large diameter of 32-inches makes it ideal for a larger group than most fire pits.
The triangle log rack design improves ventilation, keeping the fire going for long periods. You will no longer have to look for somewhere to place your drinks or roasting supplies because this wood fire pit comes with an outer ledge around the central fire area.
It comes with a poker, which, apart from adjusting the burning wood, can be used to move the heated grill to avoid burning your hand. However, it does not come with a screen cover or lid to protect the fire pit when not in use.
The Radiate Portable Fire Pit consists of recycled soy wax and paper briquettes in a round metallic tin. The use of recycled material makes it an eco-friendly fire pit. According to Radiate, you can cook some s’mores, as the soy wax and paper briquettes are food-grade safe.
The Radiate is suitable for beginner-campers who do not know how to light a fire quickly and those looking for a product that cares for the environment. It can also be used by those who want a hassle-free camping experience because all you need is a matchstick to get the fire going.
Radiate designed these pits to give out a bright and warm fire that can last up to 3 to 5 hours despite its small 8-inch size. You need to take care when putting off the flame, as the tin gets hot and can cause skin burns.
While you can reuse the Radiate fire pit, it has a limited lifespan.
The Bond Manufacturing Aurora Gas Fire Pit has a beautiful finish due to its brushed steel material. It comes in two colors – black and bronze and uses liquid propane gas for fuel.
You can conveniently carry this lightweight gas pit using its easy-to-lock handle. It features an ignition dial to switch the gas pit on and off and adjust the intensity of the fire. The control panel and the burner are made from stainless steel for durability. It produces a powerful
The 10-foot hose keeps the propane tank out of sight. A tank storage shelf included in the box further hides the propane tank while in and out of use. This gas pit has a powerful heat output of over 50,000 BTU that will offer you plenty of warmth. It is suitable for camping, tailgating, RV travel, and backyard use.
The SuchDeco portable fire pit only weighs 3.8 pounds. Its stainless steel legs collapse to fit in a 15.7-inch bag, making it suitable for campers, backpackers, and hikers. It thus gets the nod for the most compact portable fire pit on our list.
Assembly is dead-simple and does not require any tools. Just spread the legs to the support frame provided, and attach the mesh.
This wood-burning pit comes with a high-heat resistant, strong, and durable 28-inch fire mesh that can hold up to 40 pounds of wood without breaking a sweat. However, you can also buy the 16.5-inch medium-sized mesh that can hold up to 11 pounds of wood. The mesh does not allow debris and ash to filter through, so cleaning up is easy.
Watch out for flying sparks and embers, because of the open construction, though.
Outdoor Fire Pits: Frequently Asked Questions
What does BTU mean?
BTU stands for British Thermal Units. It describes the unit of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In simple terms, the higher the BTU value, the bigger the flame, and the greater the amount of heat generated.
Most fire pits range between 30,000 and 100,000 BTU, with the lower end of the spectrum giving off less heat and warmth than those on the upper side.
Where should I place my portable fire pit?
Always place your portable fire pit on top of heat-resistant material to avoid scorching the surface below. For example, you can put it on a heat-resistant mesh, concrete, or landscaping tile.
Also, stay clear of areas with hanging branches and shrubs that may easily catch fire because of flying sparks or heat from the fire pit. Put wood-burning fire pits in well-ventilated spaces due to the build-up of smoke.
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What material should my fire pit be constructed from?
Stainless steel can withstand rust and corrosion. However, those made from steel and coated with high-temperature paint or enamel still offer some durability.
Should I cook with a gas pit?
Cooking over a gas fire pit is safe. However, keep your burner free from dirt and food droppings to avoid the development of smoke that will affect the taste and smell of your food. While it is safe, food cooked using propane gas does not taste as exciting as that using wood or charcoal.
How long does the propane gas burn before a refill?
A 20-pound propane gas tank with a maximum BTU output will last about 4 to 4.5 hours. If it has a moderate BTU output, it can last up to 9 hours.
How often and how should I clean my portable fire pit?
It depends on what type of fire pit you’re using. Here’s what you need to know:
Wood fire pits need cleaning after every use to avoid the build-up of ash. After use, wait for the ash to cool. It should take about a few hours to a day for cooling to happen. Collect the ash once it cools.
Also, pick any large pieces of wood that remained and properly store them. Brush any remaining ash, dust, and dirt. Store well until the following use.
Gas Fire Pit
If you’re cooking over your fire pit, clean after every use.
Allow the fire bowl and gas burner to cool before handling. Remove any food droppings and wipe any dust off.
Clean the pit with soap and water; leave to dry before storing in a place free from dust. You can place it in a carry bag or cover it with a lid until the following use.
Fire It Up: Parting Words on Backyard Fire Pits
Whether you want to have a party in the wild or your backyard, these incredible portable fire pits will fire up your evenings with a tasty meal while keeping you and your company warm.
Just keep in mind your specific needs, and pick the right fuel and form factor to fit.
Have you used any of the portable fire pits here? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section below.