Should you get a fire pit? Is the propane version better? Should you get a fire pit with a table? Here is what you want to know before you buy one.
What are the Pros?
1. No messy ashes to clean up
Just like cooking in the kitchen, we are more likely to do it if there is less clean up involved, right? Compared to the wood-burning version, propane fire tables take a lot of the work and maintenance out of enjoying a cracking fire on the back deck.
2. Use with or without the fire
Fire pits are great but if the weather is too hot, you may not want to have a fire. In those cases, what good is a fire pit?
That’s what’s so great about the table versions. They are useful anytime – even if you don’t want to have a fire. In my opinion, you get more value for your money because they can be enjoyed more often.
3. They can be moved around
Although you may not plan on (or want to) move your fire pit, for some people this may be a big benefit. Whether the circumstance is a special event, the changing of the seasons or you simply want to re-arrange your backyard, a portable fire pit does offer more flexibility.
4. You can sell it
Why would I say this? You are thinking about buying a fire pit – not selling one. Well, the reason is that over the years I have realized that propane fire pit tables hold their value well. Therefore, if you ever want to or need to sell your backyard dining friend, know that people typically pay good money for even the used models.
5. Some units cost significantly less money
According to Angie’s List, the cost to hire a landscaper to build an outdoor fire pit can cost around $1,400, although some projects can range up to $5,000. You can easily find fire pit tables for under $1000.
What are the Cons?
1. Propane tank refills aren’t free
If you use your fire pit frequently at a high flame setting, you may find yourself replacing/refilling your propane tank many times throughout the year. This cost can add up and may be more than you want to spend.
According to Tropitone.com, a 20 lb propane tank will last approximately 4 to 4 ½ hours at the maximum flame level and approximately 8-9 hours at a moderate gas output.
A simple fix to this situation is to get into the habit of using the low-flame setting. I also have started using the gas for 1-2 hours at a time versus 3-4 hours.
2. Are they warm enough?
What to Look for in a Fire Pit Table:
Compared to larger built-in fire pits, I don’t think the average propane fire pit table gives off as much heat. Don’t get me wrong, they do provide warmth. However, on a cold evening, you may want to bring out a couple of wool blankets too.
- Look for models that have a large table top versus one that is narrow. This makes it much easier to serve food and drinks plus accommodate more people if necessary.
- Some fire pits come with a cover plate so that you can completely conceal the pit itself and use the entire surface as a table. This is also handy if your backyard has lots of trees that drop leaves.
- Round tables and ones with a hexagonal shape tend to fit more people than square versions (without taking up significantly more space on your deck or patio). Rectangular units can also fit more guests.
If you want to get into fire pit dining in your own backyard but you are not sure what to get, here are some suggestions that I have gathered from my own experience….