wood burning outdoor fire pit

Designing Your Fire Pit: Wood-burning vs. Gas Fire Pits

A fire pit can make a great addition to your outdoor space whether your goal is to create a place for friends and family to gather, a conversational element or an element of heat and warmth for chilly nights. When designing your outdoor fire pit, one of the biggest decisions you will need go make is whether to go with a wood-burning fire pit or a gas fire pit. In an effort to help make your decision easier, we have provided a quick run-down of each.

Wood-burning Fire Pits

Wood burning fire pits are great for the outdoors. They offer an authentic campfire experience - perfect to sit around conversing with family and friends while feeding the fire and roasting marshmallows.  
  • Advantages of a wood-burning fire pit:

    • Price. A wood-burning fire pit is relatively inexpensive when compared to gas or propane, as you do not have to run a gas line, buy a burner or pay up front cost for any of your combustible materials.
    • Experience. Wood-burning fire pits offer a more authentic experience. There is really no replacement for a wood-burning fire pit if you are into camping and the outdoors. The smell of burning wood, the heat of the fire, the roasting of marshmallows, hot dogs and other random treats and the general thrill of playing with fire is something you cannot achieve with a gas fire pit.
  • Disadvantages of a wood-burning fire pit:

    • No off button. A wood-burning fire takes time to burn out and it should not be left unattended for fear of sparks and flying embers. This means your fires will need to be better planned and thought through than a gas fire. 
    • Clean-up required. Burning wood creates waste, so you will have to clean up the ashes and debris left behind.

Gas or Propane Fire Pits

Gas fire pits offer a luxurious campfire experience. They are the easy, no-fuss solution for the outdoor fire experience. 
  • Advantages of a natural gas fire pit:

    • Easy Start. Gas fire pits require little to no planning ahead. As long as you have a match (or lighter) and key for the gas valve, you have an instant fire. You can even purchase an electronic start or automated feature that will allow you to control the fire with the touch of a button.
    • A variety of options for burning. With gas burning fire pits, you are able to burn an assortment of different mediums and materials to achieve your desired aesthetic. For a more traditional looking fire use gas logs. For a more modern look and feel go with something like fire glass, ceramic fire balls, lava rock or a fire safe stone. 
    • Easy shut-off. Easy start also means easy shut-off. When you are done hanging out by the fire, simply turn the gas key to the off position or hit the off switch and walk off. There is no need to worry about burning embers and other debris that could cause an additional, unwanted fire.
    • Little to no cleanup. No ashes, no mess, no cleanup. 
  • Disadvantages of a natural gas fire-pit.

    • Price. Relative to a wood burning fire pit, the gas alternative can be costly. Installing a gas fire pits will require a licensed plumber to run the gas line from your meter to your desired location as well as the purchase of a burner and gas logs (or other material). 
    • Heat. As compared to a wood burning fire pit, the gas burning fire pit will not put out as much heat. In southern states like Texas, I am not sure if that is a big deal, but for those in cooler climates, this factor is probably a bit more important.

As you can see, both wood-burning and gas fire pits have their advantages and there is not one size fits all for choosing one option over the other. You will have decide for yourself which option you prefer based how you plan to use your outdoor fire pit.

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