Historically, fire pits have been used exclusively for facilitating a wood-burning fire. But today, there are also gas fire pit models available. Utilizing natural gas or propane, these fire pits allow users to easily start and manage clean-burning fires.
If you’re in the market for a new fire pit, you should consider a gas version. But before you can make this decision, you need to understand all the pros and cons associated with gas fire pits.
The Pros of Gas Fire Pits
These are some of the most prominent advantages of gas fire pits over traditional ones:
1. Convenient starting. If you have experience starting wood fires, you understand that it’s sometimes surprisingly difficult. If your wood isn’t properly seasoned, if there’s a strong wind, or if there are other complicating variables preventing you from getting a strong start, you might run into issues as you try to get your fire going. But with a gas fire pit, starting a fire is simple: usually, all you have to do is push a button.
2. Clean burning. Natural gas and propane are both clean burning, producing very little smoke and very little pollution. If you don’t like the feeling of smoke burning your eyes, or if you want to produce as little pollution as possible, gas fire pits should be especially attractive to you.
3. Precise controls. Wood fires can be a bit unpredictable. Certain pieces of wood will produce more smoke than others, and it’s not always easy to gauge the appropriate amount of what you need. On top of that, the strength of the flames can ebb and flow, interfering with cooking and the overall experience. But with a gas fire pit, you’ll have precise controls. You can turn the heat up or down at your leisure, and cease the flames when you’re ready to quit.
4. Available options. If you have specific preferences for your fire pit, you’ll be pleased to know that gas fire pits come in many shapes and sizes. You can get something ornate or something minimalistic. You can get something big or something small. You can choose propane or natural gas. The options are practically limitless, so most people can find something that interests them.
5. Ease of fuel acquisition. If you live in a heavily wooded area, you might have natural access to ample firewood. Otherwise, procuring that firewood can be challenging. Conversely, you can buy propane almost anywhere in the United States, and if you have a natural gas hookup already, you’ll have a steady, reliable supply of natural gas whenever you want it.
6. Cost effectiveness. In a direct comparison, propane and gas are typically cheaper sources of fuel than wood. If you plan on using this fire pit for a long time, this could make it pay for itself.
The Cons of Gas Fire Pits
There are some drawbacks to consider as well.
7. Initial costs. Gas fire pits might be less expensive in the long run, but they tend to be more expensive upfront. The reasoning for this should be obvious; these are more complicated machines with more precise controls.
8. Low portability. These types of fire pits also tend to be bigger and bulkier than their wood-burning counterparts. If portability is a high priority for you, you might consider a smaller, more conventional fire pit.
9. Lack of smokiness. Clean burning is an advantage for most people in most situations, but it can also be a drawback. Cooking food over a wood fire gives that food a rich, smoky flavor – and some people actively like the smell of campfire smoke. If you switch to a gas fire pit, you’ll be eliminating these possibilities – and potentially compromising the overall cookout experience.
10. Dependency on fuel. Natural gas and propane must be refined before being consumed, but wood is an entirely natural fuel type. With a gas fire pit, it’s conceivable that supply disruptions could interfere with your ability to start a fire and cook food. But a wood fire pit can never be rendered inoperable this way.
11. Lower heat output. Generally, gas fire pits have lower heat output. In some situations, higher heat output is preferable. If you have use cases that demand high heat, a gas fire pit may not be the best option.
Is a gas fire pit the right fit for your outdoor area? That depends on your budget, your reason for getting a fire pit, your fuel preferences, and your personal disposition. Fortunately, there are a multitude of traditional and gas fire pits to choose from, so no matter what your preferences are, there should be ample options that suit you.