Whether you want to keep warm in your garden, spruce up your patio or you’re looking for a more authentic way to cook your dinner, an outdoor fire pit could fit the bill.
Gaining popularity as we all spend more time at home, fire pits are super versatile and can add some glamour to your garden. But choosing the right type, size and material before investing is essential.
Use our expert advice to help you choose the best type and brand, discover interesting fire pit ideas and even learn how to make your own.
Alternatively, head straight to our guide on using your fire pit.
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Types of fire pits
There’s no 'one size fits all' when it comes to fire pits, so picking the right type can take time. We run through the pros and cons of some of the most popular types:
Fire pit table
This does exactly what it says on the tin. It's designed with a fire pit in the centre of a table where you can place drinks and food – great for keeping your guests warm while you're socialising outdoors.
The extra space between the pit and the edge also provides a little more safety – children can’t get too close – but you still need to be careful never to leave it untended. If you’re keeping under an umbrella or covering, you’ll need to check there’s enough ventilation and that it’s high enough so the flame won’t catch.
You can get a variety of designs, including coffee tables, dining tables and high-top tables; they’re almost always powered by gas or electric, but you can get wood-burning ones, too. We list brands to buy in our garden furniture buying guide.
- Functional and decorative
- Great if you’re short on space
- Lots of designs available
- Typically you won't be able to cook on it
- More expensive
- If it emits smoke, you may not want to sit too close
Brick fire pit
Often homemade and permanent, brick fire pits are structures built from the floor up using fire-safe bricks such as refractory brick for the inner walls and surrounded by a more decorative brick. You can’t use normal bricks for the inner wall, because they will crack under the heat. You’ll also need to ensure you have a solid concrete base.
Make sure you leave it to set for about a week before lighting your first fire.
- Cheaper if you’re handy with DIY
- You can match your brick to other décor in your garden
- Can be used as a grill
- More time building the fire pit
- Not portable
- Less maintenance
- Will emit smoke
Silhouette fire pits
Normally made of steel, this style of fire pit features intricate designs that create a picture silhouette lit by the flames behind them. You can choose from a variety of sizes, shapes and designs.
- They make a statement
- You can personalise your fire pit
- Will give off lots of heat
- No ledge/table to rest drinks on or sit around
- Will emit smoke
Portable or camping fire pit
Ideal if you like to go camping or you don’t want the fire pit to be a permanent fixture in your garden. Portable fire pits should be lightweight, and preferably have wheels and/or a carry case to make it easy to manoeuvre and store.
A portable fire pit will typically be small- to medium-sized and might come with a grill to cook on. Always try to use a safety screen to prevent getting burnt by flying sparks.
- Easy to move and store
- Great for smaller spaces
- Handy for camping trips
- Less attractive
Washing-machine fire pit
These fire pits are made using a recycled washing-machine drum – great if you want to get creative and save some money. All you need to do is remove the drum from the machine, along with any plastic parts, then stake it safely into the ground. You can add legs if you want it higher off the ground.
- Cheap alternative
- Recycling old materials
- Easy to make
- Less attractive
- The metal can get very hot
- Can damage the ground underneath if not on legs
- Will begin to rust over time
Kadai fire pit
Kadai is an Indian word for a thick, circular and deep cooking pot, and traditional Kadai fire pits or bowls have been used for hundreds of years to provide warmth and cook food.
Made of iron, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used as a permanent or portable pit. To keep yours in good condition, you should rub it with oil after every other use.
- Individual designs
- You can use for cooking
- Lots of cooking accessories available
- More maintenance
- Can be expensive
- Will create smoke
Gas fire pit
Built with convenience and aesthetics in mind, gas fire pits are normally impressively designed around pebbles, faux wood or glass.
The flames are powered through gas that you can easily switch on and off. You can get portable models, however most gas fire pits tend to be permanent –and they can be expensive.
You’ll also have the added expense of buying the gas and you’ll need to make sure it’s topped up before entertaining.
- Easy to use
- No ash to clear
- Might not be portable
- Less authentic
Tabletop fire pit
Built to sit directly on an existing surface, a tabletop fire pit is great if you're looking for something small and portable.
Most are powered with bio-ethanol, which means it won’t create smoke and should be easy to switch on and off. It should also have some type of safety screen or glass surrounding it.
If you’re sitting under an umbrella or covering, you’ll need to check there’s enough ventilation and it’s high enough so the flame won’t catch.
- Easy to move and store
- No ash to clear
- Will need to be refilled
- Won’t give off as much heat as other pits
BBQ fire pit
A BBQ fire pit is a great multifunctional tool, in that you can use it for flame-grill cooking as well as warmth (perfect if you're short on space). It makes an interesting centrepiece for any garden event, and if you opt for a larger than average pit, it can accommodate food for big parties.
These fire pits are usually log-fuelled, and you can even burn certain wood chips to flavour your food. However, it's worth bearing in mind that they can produce a lot of smoke from the meat or oil drippings, so they need to be cleaned frequently.
- Decorative and attractive
- Lots of designs to choose from
- Some models can be awkward to cook on
- Most do not come with solid BBQ lids
- Can give off lots of smoke and require a lot of cleaning
If you fancy having a homemade pizza while you relax around your fire pit, here's thebest pizza ovens.
Which size of fire pit is best?
If you’re buying a fire pit from a shop, then the dimensions will be predetermined, and most bands offer varying sizes (small, medium, large); however, there’s no one size fits all. The size of your fire pit depends largely on the type you choose: a portable or tabletop design will most likely be your smallest option, while fire-pit dining tables and gas fire pits are usually bigger.
If you’re building a brick fire pit yourself then a 90cm-wide fire pit should be big enough for smaller gatherings, while a 1.8 metre wide one (including the surrounding walls) will be large enough for six to eight people.
The height will often depend on whether you want to rest things on a table, but if you want to feel the warmth from your pit, you shouldn’t go much higher than 50cm from the ground.
Generally speaking, the larger the pit, the more heat it will give off, although other factors can change this, including what materials it's made of and the fuel you use to power it.
Are you renovating your garden? If so, how about adding a hot tub? Here's our hot tub buying guide.
What material is best for a fire pit?
- Pros:Corrosion-resistant and durable, lightweight, easy to maintain
- Cons:Can be expensive
- Pros: Great for radiating heat, lightweight
- Cons:Low- to medium-maintenance, expensive
- Pros:Sturdy, extremely durable, budget-friendly
- Cons: Very heavy
Where to buy a fire pit
Generalist retailers and dedicated garden shops both offer a wide range of fire pits. To make sure you're buying a fire pit that's well built and safe to use, only shop with trusted sellers online or in store.
Ideally, you'd get to see some fire pits in store before buying, but if this isn’t possible, find out as much information about it as possible before investing.
For more details on shopping online safely and arranging refunds for faulty equipment, see our online shopping advice.
Cheap fire pits
The cheapest fire pits are typically made of cast iron or steel and prices start at around £30. You can find cheap fire pits from online retailers including Argos, Amazon and the Range.
Some large supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl and Asda have started stocking them, too.
Fortunately, if you're looking to save money, some of the more affordable materials are durable , so you won’t need to keep replacing it each year.
Do remember that the more basic options won’t come with safety extras such as lids or screens, so you might need to spend a little more on accessories.
Or, if you’re handy with DIY, you could try making your own. Washing-drum and brick fire pits are both budget-friendly – and it gives you a chance to get creative. Keep scrolling for our tops tips on building a homemade fire pit.
Popular fire pits
We don't currently test fire pits, but at the time of writing, Homebase, Amazon, Aldi and The Range are some of the most searched-for retailers for fire pits. Below is a selection of different types and styles from those picks.
Amazon Basics Portable Folding Fire Pit, 66cm
- Price: £40.99
- Type: Portable fire pit
- Size: H41.9cm X W66.8cm
This log-fuelled compact fire pit is comprised of a steel bowl and comes with many accessories, such as a fire safety screen, carry bag and fire tool.
It can be set up without tools, and comes in at the cheaper end for most fire pits at just over £40. Plus, it's portable, which is handy if you're going camping or you just like to move your fire pit around the garden.
Homebase Texas Black Painted Steel Stripe Fire Basket
- Price: £50
- Type: Portable fire basket
- Size: H45cm x W43cm
This budget-friendly, powder-coated steel fire basket from Homebase looks a little different to most models on the market.
Painted black and designed to burn wood, it will feel super-authentic in your garden; however, it does emit smoke, so you'll need to be careful of embers.
Aldi Geometric Firepit
- Price: £79.99
- Available from:Aldi
- Type: Portable BBQ fire pit
- Size: H42.5cm (without fire mesh) X W61cm
This artsy centrepiece is part of Aldi's garden shop range. It features a modern chrome-plated geometric design and stone-effect finish.
This BBQ fire pit also comes with a removable grate and fire guard for cooking, and Aldi say it's light, portable, and simple to assemble.
The Range Industrial Fire Pit
- Price: £89.99
- Available from:The Range
- Type: Portable fire pit
- Size: H30cm X W50cm. 60cm diameter
This low-standing, steel fire pit will provide 360 degrees of wood-burning fire. It has three legs, as well as handles, so it can easily be manoeuvred around the garden and you can cook food over it if you want.
The steel will oxidise naturally over time, so it shouldn't need much maintenance.
John Lewis La Hacienda Westcott Fire Pit
- Available from: John Lewis
- Type:Kadai fire pit
- Size: H23.5cm x D60cm
This steel bowl kadai-style fire pit from John Lewis features a 'contemporary, minimalist bowl design', and is made from steel which will oxidise over time to give it a more rustic look.
John Lewis also claim that this wood-burning fire pit is easy to assemble with a sturdy base.
Making your own fire pit: top tips
If you’re handy and would prefer to make your own fire pit, here are some top tips:
- Build it at least 3 metres away from building structures, trees and fences.
- Make sure there isn’t anything hanging directly above it.
- Ensure you have a stable base for the pit walls, so they don’t crack as the ground moves over time.
- Make sure you use fire-safe bricks.
- Make a hole in the middle of the base the pit will sit on and fill it with gravel to help drain rain water; then cover the entire base area with gravel.
- Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies.
- Don't use stones that have been submerged in water, as they can explode with the heat of the fire.
- Don’t make your pit too small or too big. Too small and the fire won’t get started; too big and it can get out of control. The average size is 0.9-1.2 metres wide.
- Leave small air gaps in the inner wall to feed the fire.
- Leave your pit to set for at least seven days before lighting your first fire.
Lawsons gives a step-by-step guide on how to build your own fire pit. Or watch this video from Wickeson how to make your own fire pit.
Alternatives to fire pits
If you want something to keep you warm while relaxing in your garden but don’t fancy a fire pit, here are some other outdoor heating options to try.
Chimineas are front-loading, freestanding fireplaces with a round bottom and a vertical chimney. Typically they're made of clay, cast iron or steel and come in a variety of sizes – opt for a model that you can cook on, too.
Chimineas are normally smaller in width compared with fire pits, but much taller. The surrounding walls offer more safety because they can contain the fire, while also retaining heat and funnelling the smoke upwards rather than outwards, which a fire pit does.
However most fire pits will give you a full 360-degree view and allow you to make a larger fire.
Patio heaters are powered by gas or electric and come in all shapes and sizes. You can also find heaters for a wide range of budgets.
If safety is a priority, a patio heater should give you much more peace of mind. They usually come with grills and screens to shield the heat and will automatically switch off if they overheat, as well as turning the gas off if the flame goes out. Plus, there will be no ash and embers to worry about.
You’ll also have instant heat, with some even offering temperature control.
A patio heater won’t give the same experience as a fire pit or a chiminea, though, and you won’t be able to cook on it, either.
See ourpatio heater buying guidefor more information on how to choose the best types, sizes and retailers to buy from.
Are outdoor heaters bad for the environment?
No outdoor heater is ‘good’ for the environment. Unfortunately, wrapping yourself up in a blanket or throwing on an extra jumper is the only real eco-friendly way to stay warm in your garden.
Gas patio heaters are one of the worst in terms of energy efficiency and the amount of CO2 emissions they emit. They are also pretty pricey.
Fire pits and chimineas aren’t great either. In fact, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), while UK air quality has improved significantly over the past few decades, the burning of solid fuels (such as coal and wood) in our homes is the largest contributor of harmful particulate-matter (PM) emissions.
This is because when wood is burned, it releases harmful pollutants, such as small particles known as PM2.5. These tiny particles can be easily inhaled and can enter the bloodstream.
Wet logs and house coal emit higher levels of PM so if you still want to invest in a fire pit, always burn dry wood.
Is a wood-burning stove bad for the environment, too?Our guide covers everything you need to know about stoves and pollution.
How we selected prices and retailers
We've chosen these retailers and fire pits based on popular UK search terms, availability and what the retailers told us were popular. Prices correct as of 18 May 2022 and obtained from manufacturer's own website where possible; otherwise, obtained from third-party retailers listed on Google Shopping.
What is the best type of fire pit to get? ›
- Best Outdoor: Sunnydaze Crossweave Outdoor Firepit.
- Best Tabletop: Terra Flame Arto Deluxe S'mores Roaster.
- Best Steel: Amazon Basics Steel Lattice Firepit.
- Best Patio: Bali Outdoors Gas Firepit.
- Best Portable: Solo Stove Ranger.
- Best Adjustable: Bali Outdoors Wood Burning Firepit.
Dense woods like hickory and oak generate the most Btus. Because they can produce a fire larger than a gas burner, wood pits are usually the best choice for the most heat. To some, wood fires smell as good as they look, but to others, the smoke and particulates they emit go beyond nuisance to health hazard.What type of fire pit lasts longest? ›
While stainless steel burners and components are likely to last a lifetime, brass burners can survive even longer than that! Though these products are built to last and designed specifically for outdoor use, there are still some extra steps you can take to ensure you get the most out of your fire pit.Is steel or cast iron better for a fire pit? ›
Cast iron is sometimes seen as the superior choice for fire pits due to its heat retaining properties and durability, allowing you to create a lot more heat by burning either wood or coal. As cast iron is a thicker and denser metal, it takes longer to heat up than steel but holds the heat for longer.What is a good size fire pit for backyard? ›
The best size for a firepit is one that allows you to have a strong enough fire while allowing everyone to be close enough for conversation. A good rule of thumb is to have an inside diameter of 30 inches.What is the best material for an outdoor fire pit? ›
Best Fire Pit Materials
The steel material makes the fire pit lightweight, making it easy to pick up and move. Cast Iron: For a classic but rustic choice, opt for a cast-iron fire pit. It is sturdy and heavy, giving you peace of mind knowing that it won't be easily knocked over.
Depth. Fire pits are generally either shallow or deep. Although some people may prefer the look of a shallow bowl, Jackson says a deeper bowl is safer, will hold the fire better, and will protect your fire from the wind.Which is better wood or propane fire pit? ›
You can get more heat from wood because it burns hotter than both propane and natural gas. This also means that outdoor cooking is easier to accomplish with wood burning applications than gas ones. There is nothing quite like the crackling sounds and rustic smells of a natural cedar burning fire place.What is a good BTU for outdoor fire pit? ›
A BTU of between 40,000 and 150,000 BTUs is ideal for a fire pit. 40,000 BTUs is best for most small patios or decks. If you have a med-large patio or deck then you should choose between 60,0000 and 100,000 BTUs. A 150,00-BTU fire pit will work the best on a large patio or deck.What is the safest fire pit? ›
That said, generally, the best option for wood burning fire pits are going to be steel fire pits that keep the fire raised off the ground, as these are the safest and easiest to maintain of any wood fire pit.
How many years does a fire pit last? ›
With proper care and maintenance, fire pits will last for years. Their lifespan also depends on a few other factors. One of the most important factors is the choice of material. If you are looking for something that will last you a lifetime, then stainless steel fire pits are the ideal choice for you.Should fire pits have a drainage hole? ›
In-ground and metal fire pits need a drainage hole for water to drain out. If you have an open and in-ground fire pit in your backyard, you must have drainage for your fire pit. Otherwise, water will pool inside your fire pit causing it to rust. It can severely damage your fire pit burner making it difficult to light.How do I keep my fire pit from rusting? ›
Keep it empty, clean, and dry when not in use and cover it or take it indoors to protect it from rust-producing moisture. Consider using sand and/or lava rock in the fire pit's bowl as a barrier to protect surfaces from metal-weakening and paint-destroying direct flame.Does cast iron fire pit rust? ›
Generally speaking, yes all fire pits will rust given enough exposure to the elements and time. Even copper and cast iron fire pits will start to show degradation over time. However, stainless steel fire pits, and fire pit rings (which are made from galvanized steel), will not show signs of rust for a long time.What do you put under a fire pit? ›
What do you put in the bottom of a fire pit? You'll want to start with a layer of sand at the bottom of the pit, and then top the sand with gravel, lava rocks, fire pit glass, paving stones or even bricks for your fire pit. Alternatively, you can simply use dirt.How far from a house should a fire pit be? ›
Place your fire pit at a safe distance (10-25 feet) from any flammable structures or surfaces. This includes your house, trees, shed, vehicle, neighbors' property, and wood deck, among other things. Keep your fire pit away from overhanging branches. A 21-foot clearance is standard for most municipalities.When should I buy a fire pit? ›
The best time of year to find fire pits on sale is in the Spring months of March through May, as stores add new items related to outdoor living in the warmer months of the year, and in the Fall in late September, October, and November, during the transition to cold winter weather.What wood should you not burn in a fire pit? ›
Pine, fir, and spruce: cone-bearing trees make for a beautiful sight in the forest, but their wood shouldn't make up the bulk of your firewood pile, especially for indoor fires. Beneath their bark, conifers have a sticky, protective substance called pitch or resin that you won't find in trees like oak or maple.Should you put sand in the bottom of a fire pit? ›
It is recommended to put sand at the bottom of a fire pit. Sand absorbs the heat and distributes it equally throughout the whole base of the pit. If there's no sand, then the heat may become more concentrated in one area of the base.What do you put under a fire pit on grass? ›
Heat shields are another good option if a patio slab doesn't work. Heat shields can be used on your grass, wooden decks, concrete surfaces, and many other surfaces. Heat shields are portable and easy to assemble. You just place one under the fire pit on a flat surface, and light your fire without worry.
Should a fire pit be in the ground? ›
In-ground or above-ground, make sure your fire pit is level. Place the fire pit at least 10 feet from trees, shrubbery, furniture, fences, the house, etc. Under no circumstances use gasoline, lighter fluid or other accelerants to get a fire started. Make sure everyone understands: no horseplay around the fire pit.Are fire pits a good investment? ›
According to a survey of over 6,000 Realtors, a 10-foot in diameter natural stone, gas fire pit will yield on average 67% ROI. Costs range widely depending on the type of fire pit and whether it's permanent or mobile, but if you pour $6,000 into the project, you'll get $4,000 back.Is it okay to roast marshmallows over a propane fire pit? ›
Yes, you can roast marshmallows over a propane fire pit. It's no secret, propane, or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), is a popular cooking fuel commonly used in barbeque grills.How long does a propane tank last for fire pit? ›
For the Fire Pit, a 20# propane tank will last approximately 4 to 4 ½ hours at a continuous burn at the maximum output. The tank will last approximately 8-9 hours at a moderate gas output. For the Fire Table, a 20# propane tank will last approximately 4 to 4 ½ hours at a continuous burn at the maximum output.Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from a propane fire pit? ›
Propane Fireplace Safety
A traditional propane fireplace should always be vented outside. Failure to properly vent a fireplace causes the carbon monoxide to enter the home instead of outside and can result in carbon monoxide poisoning and death in a matter of minutes.
While you need a fire pit with a heat output of 50000 – 60000 BTU to warm up a larger area. The pit with 70000 BTU (or above) is considered the most powerful that effectively work to heat up the area quickly, but they are a bit hard to use.What is the difference between 30000 and 50000 BTU? ›
Generally, 30,000 BTUs will warm a radius of 5 to 8 feet, 50,000 BTUs about 8 to 10 feet, and so on. Electric heat is typically measured in watts, but you can convert it to BTUs by multiplying it by 3.41 (so a 5,000-watt heater would put out approximately 17,050 BTUs).Does higher BTU use more gas? ›
Natural gas and LP are sold by the BTU so the more BTU's a burner uses per hour the more it will cost to burn the appliance.Is it OK to leave fire pit burning overnight? ›
Several reasons a fire pit should never be left unattended, including overnight. In every jurisdiction within the United States, it is illegal to leave a recreational fire unattended. Even a tiny gust of wind can quickly spread hot ashes or embers over a significant distance.What can you burn in a fire pit that doesn't smoke? ›
Don't burn anything other than your seasoned wood
If you want to reduce fire pit smoke then don't burn anything other than your seasoned hardwood! Don't throw empty packets, newspapers, cardboard boxes, or anything else on there.
Can you leave a fire pit out in the rain? ›
Conclusion. Propane fire pits that are designed for outdoor use are able to come into contact with water without being damaged. However, long periods of exposure to rain and water can cause buildup in the burner, damaging it and rendering it useless.How often should I clean my fire pit? ›
- Remove Debris. Before and after each use, carefully remove any debris like twigs and dead leaves.
- Remove Exterior Dirt. A solution of warm soapy water and a sponge can be used to wipe down the exterior of the fire pit if it becomes discolored from soot or is dusty. ...
- Yearly Maintenance.
The short answer to this question is yes. The durability of your fire pit ultimately varies by manufacturer. You will want to make sure the burner and structure of the gas fire pit table uses the best technology and materials, such as concrete and steel.What do you put under a fire pit on a concrete patio? ›
To prevent concrete from being damaged under your fire pit, you can use a pit mat, a fire ring, or a heat shield. The good news is concrete won't catch fire, like a wooden deck might. Concrete is 100% non-flammable.How tall should a fire pit be? ›
A good rule of thumb is to make an above-ground fire pit 12-14 inches tall. This is a few inches shorter than standard patio furniture seat height. If you want to be able to sit on the edge of the pit itself go a bit higher, 18-20 inches will be comfortable.Are metal fire pits good? ›
Steel fire pits are also quite popular, and with good reason. They're weather resistant, lightweight, durable and relatively inexpensive. They may not be as sturdy as cast iron, but they can offer a pleasing aesthetic and are quite low maintenance.Should I oil my firepit? ›
Oil your Fire Pit Regularly! You should oil your pit after each burn and around once a week, especially in the rainy season when the elements are on high attack. This will help to reduce the rust built up on your fire pit and keep it looking fabulous and shiny.How much value does a fire pit add? ›
While fire pits may enhance your own home experience, attract potential buyers, or make you the talk of the community barbeque, their value can also have added monetary benefits. According to Jessica Yonker of HGTV Gardens, incorporating a fire pit into your outdoor living space may add 15-40% to your home's value.Can you burn a fire in a rusty fire pit? ›
No, not at all. Rust is a natural part of the ageing process and will add a unique beauty to your fire pit. We don't treat the metal we use to make our fire pits as any treatment would simply burn off. However, the steel is at least 3mm thick so can withstand years of outdoor use.Is a 30 inch fire pit big enough? ›
The optimal size for a fire pit is between 36 and 44 inches inside diameter. That will create enough room for a healthy fire but still keep gatherers close enough to chat.
Which is better gas or wood burning fire pit? ›
Gas fire pits are much safer as compared to wood fire pits. They will burn clean without the need of feeding wood or any other material to keep up the fire. Unlike a wood fire pit, there won't be any flying fire sparks or unpredictable fire flames.What is the safest fire pit? ›
That said, generally, the best option for wood burning fire pits are going to be steel fire pits that keep the fire raised off the ground, as these are the safest and easiest to maintain of any wood fire pit.What should I look for in a fire pit table? ›
- Resistant to weather and rust.
- Durable, lightweight.
- Plenty of finish options.
Fire pits are an open bowl without a chimney which allows you to burn larger pieces of wood and have larger fires with a 360 degree view. Chimineas originate from Mexico and have an enclosed fire bowl with a chiminea on top to take the smoke away and have a smaller opening to see the fire.Can you roast marshmallows on a propane fire pit? ›
While gas fire pits are mostly used for esthetics, you can use them to roast marshmallows if the mood for some s'mores strikes you. Honestly, they're no different from a gas grill, and they're completely safe. You can roast marshmallows on a propane fire pit as well as a natural gas fire pit.Are outdoor fire pits worth it? ›
Investing in a fixed or portable fire pit is a great idea. Not only do they create a focal point for your outdoor space, but they also keep you warm, double as a grill, and keep mosquitoes away. Realtors say they also add value to your home, so buying a fire pit is a good choice on many levels.Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from an outdoor fire pit? ›
Fire pits should never be used in an enclosed space. If not properly ventilated, a fire pit will cause a buildup of toxic smoke and harmful gases, like carbon monoxide. Always use a fire pit in an open space with plenty of air flow.