A fire pit turns a backyard into a garden: an actual social space where you and your friends or family can sit and enjoy each other’s company all day long- way after the sunny afternoons have become the cool, brisk evenings and nights.
So you’ve been scouring the garden stores and the internet for the very best deals on electric fire pits, but you’ve been having real difficulty finding one that isn’t powered by gas or wood. Why is that?
Wait…electric fire pits are a thing, right?
This is a popular misconception, but the answer is no- there are actually no fire pit-style electric heaters available on the market for home use.
Don’t worry, we thought they were a thing too. Don’t they sound like they are?
This garden party example of the Mandela Effect has us shaken. If electric fire pits don’t exist, then how do you stop your guests from leaving when the sun goes down at your next cocktail party?
How do you stop your hot date from shivering as you lie on the deck, staring at the stars?
We take a look at the mystery behind why there are no electric fire pits, and compare some great alternatives to really bring your garden to life.
So bad news; there’s no such thing as an electric fire pit- but you shouldn’t give up on your fire pit dream! Some wood or gas-fuelled fire pits are actually really great, and well worth the hassle of keeping them stocked up.
This propane-fuelled number has it all; high-quality build, simple push ignition such as on a gas stove- and it looks absolutely incredible. Bag this one and you’re sure to be the absolute don of the neighbourhood nightlife.
It is a bit more expensive than you’d expect from most fire pits, but you really are paying for style here.
It’s also a fair bit bigger than other ones available on the market- which could take up space in your garden, or, could be a massive boon for you and your massive group of buddies.
It also has a massive heat output, a whopping 50,000 BTUs, so no matter how cold it gets out there you can be sure all of your guests will still be plenty comfortable. Perhaps one of our favourite fire pits!
This is a more classic-designed fire pit for burning wood, shaped like a big round bowl.
The bowl stands solidly upon a slatted metal structure that allows oxygen to flow naturally throughout the pit so that the fire burns good and hot. It also features a grill-like base within the bowl for ash to slough through for easy disposal.
Part of this pit’s visual appeal comes from its strong copper finish, which also allows it to resist rust from being left out in the weather.
If you don’t mind a little bluing over time, then you won’t have to worry about the pit getting rained on every single time the sky clouds over.
This is a good, strong look for a fire pit, and a traditional design.
Another very stylish, table-like fire pit. This one basically functions as a a flat table with a set-in pit, above a sturdy base.cabinet for housing a gas canister.
Handsome blue fire glass is included as part of the display- and the table portion also features a removable cover which allows it to function as an actual table when the pit isn’t in use and keeps it clear of dirt and fallen leaves.
The BALI is a bit smaller than the other fire pits on our list, but it’s also one of the cheaper ones- and even if electric fire pits are just a fantasy like El Dorado or Margot Robbie, then this one looks like it could play the part.
All the hardware required for maintenance and adjustment is included.
This is another sturdy, traditional bowl-shaped pit. Traditional is the word as well: wood-burning, cast iron, and all that comes with it- including that unbeatable smell, crackle and pop of a good, classic wood fire.
Cast iron is also an excellent material for fire pits as they radiate so much heat - but unlike a copper pit, iron is very susceptible to the elements, and ultimately, rust.
This pit is only 19lbs however, so when you’re all done with your backyard social, the bowl has cooled down (AND YOU’RE SURE!), it’s easy to empty and store away before the rain gets to it.
You’ve probably seen this model around a fair bit if you’ve been looking at fire pits for a while. They’re actually very popular, and with good reason - they have a very crisp, modern design.
Even though they also use wood as fuel, the shape means that they’re actually much better for smoke - no more will you be constantly shifting your chair to stop the smoke from stinging your eyes and stinking up your clothes.
These pits are small, safe, and portable; and have been well-designed to work in a variety of conditions. This may be your choice if you’re looking to make a (controlled) fire on the go.
There is also a propane-fuelled model available for a bit more that is definitely worth looking into.
As you’ve seen, fire pits come in all manner of weird shapes and sizes- some will suit your garden or outdoor space better than others.depending on the size of your space.
You also need to consider just how many people you plan to fit around your fire pit before you decide on one.
Smaller pits generally give off less heat, but too big and hot a pit, and you might not leave yourself enough room to safely cram chairs around it.
This is also true if you plan to purchase a pit which doubles as a table when not in use.
Fire pits can come in a range of materials, although the most popular are stainless steel, cast iron, and stone.
You need to consider the purpose of a fire pit in your back garden before you make your purchase.
Stone pits are elegant and classic, but they are extremely heavy so you’ll want a placement position where they can become a permanent fixture.
Cast iron is lightweight but rusts, so it will need to be well stored away when not in use so that the metal doesn’t oxidise.
Stainless steel acts as the best of both worlds, as it is lightweight and more rust-resistant.
The fuel you choose will completely determine your fire pit experience. Many people prefer wood as it is the more genuine, full ‘fire’ experience; replete with all the crackling noises, smell, and generally being pretty to look at.
Collecting or buying and storing wood, then maintaining a fire for many hours, is usually the hassle that puts many people off.
Charcoal is used for cooking as it gives a much more even, lasting heat, but this is more common for barbecues.
Gas is the most convenient fire pit solution, but gas is expensive and only becoming moreso- if a firepit is something you plan to use all summer, you’ll find yourself zipping back and forth to hardware stores and running yourself out of pocket.
Sadly no, there are no commercially-available electric fire pits.
You’ll have to settle for a fuel-powered fire pit with a live fire if you’re looking for that heated outdoor experience once it turns chilly- but as we hope we have illustrated, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing!
There are many stylish and convenient fuel-powered fire pits on the market- some of them even start with an electric ignition, just like how a fantasy electric fire pit might work!
We believe that a fuel-powered fire pit works even better than any electric fire would.
While the idea for an electric fire pit seems plausible, in reality they would likely not be very effective.
The heat produced by a genuine fire is on a completely different level of efficiency and quality than what is produced by the coils of a conventional electric heater.
Plus, a fire pit is suitable for outdoor use because of the simplicity of what is involved. It’s just the domestication of a controlled fire after all: man’s earliest invention.
An electric heater is much more vulnerable to the elements, especially water- and if anything goes wrong anywhere from the outlet to the appliance itself and an electric heater ends up causing an electrical fire, then you have a real problem on your hands.
You can’t just use water or sand to put it out.
Plus, think of the bills!
Depending on the design of your fire pit, they may be suitable for cooking. Many are even designed with that purpose in mind - if your fire pit is equipped for cooking, then by all means attempt a few tasty campfire recipes!
Potatoes or chestnuts in foil, even meat, fish, vegetables, if your pit sports a grill! If you have a more simple fire pit, then they may only be good for simple snacks, like marshmallows - although these are a classic for a reason.
If people are drinking around your fire pit, then make sure someone responsible is around to care for it- and always drink responsibly around the fire.
You don’t get a free pass to act careless just because of a little alcohol in your system- the ramifications are just the same.
Your first concern when placing a fire pit is choosing somewhere safe. The last thing you want is for the fire to spread. Your fire pit should be positioned stably one a flat surface at least 3 meters away from any other structures.
Avoid placing it near any overhanging branches: not only could a loose spark or ember cause a fire, but the heat will eventually cause damage to the tree by drying it out.
Also, consider purchasing a heat mat to place your fire pit on to protect the floor beneath it, especially if you are placing it on a wooden decking. Even if the pit itself does not cause a fire, the heat will likely still leave scorch marks.
Some manufacturers recommend putting sand at the bottom of the fire pit to protect the fire pit, while others don’t.
Carefully read the instructions provided with your fire pit to understand whether sand is suitable for your fire pit so you don’t cause damage to your fire pit, or even accidentally cause a fire.
Please note that if you do use sand in your fire pit, then you will be unable to separate the wood ash from the sand later on, if you wish to use the ash as a fertilizer in your garden.
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