Best fire pit to buy in 2021?

Best fire pit to buy in 2021? ...

The days are getting shorter and cooler, and one of the easiest ways to extend your time outside during the fall and winter months is to set up a fire pit. From a stone fire pit to chiminea, whether you want to heat up your outdoor space with wood or propane.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the array of choices, we narrowed our list of recommendations to real wood burning fire pits. After all, when it comes to ease of use and versatility, nothing beats a wood fire pit -- you can use it as stoke or for cooking food, including grilling. A wood fire is also a great way to roast marshmallows for gooey, delicious s'mores.

Some of the best fire pits are portable, so you don't need to invest in a permanent one in your yard. Major retailers like Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowe's carry them, as well as direct from fire pit manufacturers.

Each transportable outdoor fireplace is unique in its size, weight, and price. You'll find inexpensive $60 models or high-performance pits that cost as much as $350. You may even spend $1,500 or more on a fancy propane fire pit. You may also want to consider using cast iron cookware to make your dinner over the embers in your backyard fire pit rather than in the kitchen.

Read more: 4 reasons you should use a cast-iron skillet to grill burgers:

The models on this list are all established outdoor brands and are either bestsellers, highly rated, or worthy challengers for the best fire pit. We looked at each backyard fire pit to determine their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the quality of the tools that come with them, whether it's a cooking grate or simply if it was merely sandpaper poker. Ready to gather around the bonfire? Let us help you choose the best wood fire pit for your backyard or patio. We'll be updating this list periodically.

Best fire pit overall

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Our favorite fire pit on this list is made by Tiki, a company that began with the familiar Tiko bamboo torch over 60 years ago. Tiki now has a fire pit that's large, strong, and attractive. This pit is almost $300 more expensive than its budget rivals, but its ease of use, versatility, and superior style make it worth the investment.

The pit, made of steel and stained-wood, doesn't just look good. The Tiki Brand Fire Pit features an airflow system that recycles hot smoke back into the fire chamber. It started to ignite in about five minutes and cured in 15 minutes.

It also produced significantly less smoke than the other fire pits we tested, especially after its logs melted, usually about the 15 minute mark. Only the Solo Stove Ranger burned wood with less smoke emission, its fuel burning fiercely in five minutes. The logs at the Tiki Fire Pit burned efficiently, lasting hours.

Because of its wide (16 inches in diameter) mouth, it's easier to share the fire with several people. The Solo Stove Ranger is smaller: Its metal fire ring is 10 inches long. All surfaces of the Tiki fire pit, including its metal lip, are calding hot after the fire is lit. It also takes time to cool after the flames have died down.

The removable ash tray on the Tiki Brand pit is very helpful. It makes for a quick clean up. While it may not be ideal for hot summer nights, the pit does generate a lot of heat, which is excellent in the fall and winter. This fire pit, which weighs 45 pounds, is also heavy. Think twice before positioning it, and seek help if you need it.

$350 on

Best smokeless fire pits in the world.

Brian Bennett/CNET/Brian Bennett (CNet/ Brian Bryan Bennett)/ABI Bennett

Solo Stove fire pits have gained a loyal following in recent years, and the company's newest product, the Solo stove Yukon, is its biggest and best yet. With a top side that measures 27 inches across and ear 23.5 inches in diameter, the Yukon is big enough to hold full-size firewood logs. Despite the Yukon's large footprint, its stainless-steel body has a sleek appearance.

The Yukon shares the same advanced airflow system as other Solo Stove products. According to Solo Stove, these vents help provide a constant supply of oxygen to the fire. In our experience, the Yukon provides performance comparable to its smaller cousin, The Solo Stove Ranger, but on a larger scale.

In just five minutes, the Yukon's fire is fully igniting. Once they caught, they burned for hours. This pit was also efficient, consistently using all of our test firewood logs. There was no solid debris to speak of at the end of the night, merely a few small bits of charcoal and ash. It produces a lot less smoke than the Solo Pit Ranger fire pits we've tested here.

You can also purchase the Yukon with a rain cover ($60) and sling ($70) for extra cash or as part of 'a bundle. Because the pit is 38 pounds, we don't recommend moving it often on your patio or in your yard. Children (and adults) must be careful in the Yukon, as they did with other high-performance fire pits. In addition to the intense heat generated by the fire itself, the Yukon's steel surface heats to burning temperatures quickly.

Solo Stove, a $470 store, is now offering $475 for $490.

Best durable fire pits for cooking

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To say the Breeo X Series 24 is built to withstand a beating is an understatement. The X Series is constructed from a combination of corten (weathering) steel and 304 stainless steel. The X Series lacks a rain cover or weatherproof enclosure due to this. After six months of exposure to the elements, the outer wall of the fire pit develops a natural patina that protects it from corrosion.

The X Series also features an advanced airflow system designed to facilitate secondary fuel burn, comparable to the smokeless fire pits of Solo Stove. While not as easy to start as Solo Stove pits, the X Series definitely stays lit once you get the fire going, and when it's done properly, it takes five minutes and only requires smaller logs and fuel at first. It produces plenty of heat as it burns away at full temperature, but its secondary burn does not produce much smoke.

The stainless steel sear plate on the X Series is also nice. It measures 29.5 inches and forms a band around the outer edge of the fire pit. The plate is hot enough to make burgers, chicken, and other savory dishes, as well as to heat pots and pans.

You'll want to consider a couple of accessories as well. Breeo's Outpost cooking attachment, a $200 accessory that provides reversible grilling surfaces, is the first item to be introduced. Breeo also sells a $140 stainless steel lid for the X Series. When not in use, it's designed to protect the pit from excess moisture.

One last note: Be sure to think about where you want to deploy this pit. The X Series 24 weighs 78 pounds and is 33 pounds heavier than the second-highest pit in this group, the Tiki Fire Pit. I recommend having a friend or two assist you move it where it needs to go in your yard or patio.

$579 at Breeo at the Breo Breao.

Best portable fire pit for camping

David Carnoy/CNET David Cannon/David Caroo

The FirePit, manufactured by Brooklyn-based BioLite, weighs under 20 pounds and is designed for portability. It's 27 by 13 by 15.8 inches, making it a great patio tool. There's more wood than you'd imagine, with room for up to four cordwood logs inside. It can be used as a standard fire pit or merely as an outdoor grill, and it's been upgraded in 2021 with an enamel coating for easier cleaning and recharging. It can also be used as a patio heater.

In fire pit mode, you lower the fuel rack to the bottom of the pit. As a free standing grill, to cook over hot wood coals or charcoal briquettes if you prefer, raise the rack to its highest position. BioLite includes a grill grate that sits over everything in the package. In less than five minutes, the grill lit up and was ready to grill in less that 10 minutes.

The FirePit has a couple of distinct features, one being its patented airflow technology. A motorized fan pumps air to the fire box. You can also control it via Bluetooth on a phone using an iOS or Android app. A mesh body allows you to see flames through the FirePit from any angle.

In the new 2021 version, battery life has increased by about 20%, with up to 30 hours at the low setting, 14 hours on medium and seven hours in high. The airflow technology also aids in the creation of an almost smoke-free fire, making it a perfect patio heater. The FirePit's legs fold up when you want to bring the grill on the go, and the pit also comes with a handy rain cover. A removable ash tray makes cleaning up quick.

Overall, this is a wonderful little fire pit for someone who doesn't want (or can'' not have) 'a permanent pit always taking up patio space'.

BioLite has a $250 donation limit.

Best fire pit value in the world

Brian Bennett/CNET Brian Brown/Brian Bennett

Garden Treasures (Style Selections)'s fire pit proves you don't need to spend big bucks to enjoy a backyard campfire. This wood burning pit is nice and wide (29.5 inches in diameter), despite its low price. It also has a mesh lid to keep sparks at bay.

However, the fire pit lacks an advanced airflow system, which causes a lot of smoke when lit. And since the pit isn't stainless steel, leaving it out in the elements will engender rust. That said, we were able to start a self-sustaining fire in about five minutes. Its ignition time is comparable to those of premium fire pits like the Solo Stove Ranger and Tiki Brand Fire Pit.

Those products burn their fuel more efficiently, leaving less unburned firewood and ash to clear up in the morning. Still, the Garden Treasures wood burning pit does get the job done on a tight budget.

$77 on ebay for $79.

Those which we tested were among the others that we looked at.

Pop-Up Fire Pit. The Pop-Up Pit is the most portable fire pit idea in this roundup. Its commutable design allows you to quickly assemble and disassemble it. It also uses a heat shield to keep the ground below cool. The pit also has a large (2-foot-square) burning surface for your fire. The Pop-Up Pit is rust-resistant because of its steel frame. Because the pit is so big and has such low walls, it creates a lot of smoke.

Solo Stove Ranger is a stove ranger designed for stoves that have multiple stove speeds. The Solo Stove Ranger is slim, cylindrical, compact, and made of stainless steel. At first glance, it appears to be a straightforward appliance. The same sophisticated airflow system that its larger sibling, the Solo Stove Yukon, has tucked away in this pit. The technology is designed to allow the fire in the pit to be hotter and use more wood fuel.

We can confirm that the Ranger delivers on its promises. It starts quickly, with its logs in flame in five minutes, and it burns for hours. The fires we started in the Ranger burned with incredible ferocity. The flames in the pit rolled into an impressive rolling vortex. Despite the conflagration, the Ranger produced very little smoke.

The Ranger has a few drawbacks, however. Due to its small size, it cannot accommodate standard 15-inch firewood logs. It's also not ideal for large groups or families. More than two people roasting marshmallows at once quickly becomes a crowd.

Kingso Outdoor Fire Pit (22-inch) Though it's a bestseller on Amazon, we don't recommend the Kingso Outdoor Fire Pit. Its small size (22 inches in diameter) makes it feel cramped. We had a lot of difficulty starting fires and keeping them lit in this pit, because airflow in the small fire pit unit is poor. It doesn't come with a protective cover either.

Hampton Bay Windgate 40-inch-diameter round steel wood-burning fire pit with 40 inches of diameter Hampton bay windgate wood burning fire chamber. The Hampton Bay Windgate is by far the largest fire pit in this group. It has a massive 40-inch diameter fire bowl, big enough for big groups to gather around. Because the pit weighs in at a considerable 60 pounds and is constructed from heavy-duty steel, setting it up where you want it takes hefty effort. Unfortunately, the Windgate steel fire pit suffers from poor ventilation. In 15 to 20 minutes, fires that started in the pit would have died out. That makes it difficult to recommend this wood burning pit model.

How we evaluated them was unclear.

To test each fire pit, we used the same fuel, Simple Simon Premium Hardwood purchased from a local Lowe's. Three split log lengths of approximately 15 inches each were selected for a consistent amount. We then stacked the logs so that at least one part of each was touching the other.

To start each pit, we used Diamond Strike-a-Fire fire starters that were readily available at our neighborhood Kroger supermarket. One of these starter matches should be all that's needed to start a fire pit' s fire. We then measured how long it took to start a fully sustained fire.

In five to ten minutes, a good fire pit will fully combustible. No matter how well you've stacked your wood, a poorly ventilated pit will take longer to dry or even flicker out after 15 minutes. Additionally, we noted how much smoke escaped each pit. A fire pit should generate a lot of flame and relatively little smoke. A good fire pit will burn fuel efficiently, leaving little solid material to sit on after the fire is over.

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