We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›
Nothing fights the short days and cold nights better than a toasty blaze from a propane fire pit. These convenient devices can provide warmth, brighten up the ambiance of a backyard patio, or act as a gathering point for crisp end-of-the-year outdoor get-togethers. Propane fire pits require less labor than traditional fire pits. There’s no wood to gather, no kindling to light, no real need to worry about tending to the fire. Simply hook up a gas tank, ignite the fire while it’s low, and set the intensity to your preferred level. You don’t get that wood smell, which can be lovely, but you also don’t have the level of clean-up required with an ash pan or half-burned wood. Propane is the way to go if you want to turn a fire off and on rather than tend to it. Whatever your needs—ambiance or heat—if you have the desire, let propane light your fire. These are the best propane fire pits of 2023.
How we chose the best propane fire pits
We compared spec, prices, reviews, and customer satisfaction for dozens of models of propane fire pits, weighing different use scenarios against one another. Sizes, shapes, and intended area for installation were weighed against versatility, efficiency, and ease of use. Additional safety features or unique capabilities were considered strong bonuses. Eventually, we correlated all of our favorite models into different categories, with special attention paid to our favorite overall model, as well as those that give a lot of bang for the buck (best value) and the cheapest model we can recommend (best budget).
While some of these propane fire pits are better-loved than others, your aesthetic preferences, the space in which you plan to use the fire pit, and the specific situations in which you want to use your fire pit should help you decide which of our recommendations best fits your needs. If you’re looking for wood-burning fire pits, we also have you covered. We’ve done extensive research on the best smokeless fire pits, the best portable fire pits, and the best outdoor fire pits, which together include wood-burning and gas options.
The best propane fire pits: Reviews & Choice
Before you can warm up your hands over a nice toasty fire, you need to pick the right model for your space an your lifestyle. Be sure to check out all of the options before deciding which one is worth your money. While most of these models are intended to be placed on outdoor patios, some are portable and can be taken beachside or on a camping trip—though not a nature trek. Most of them are designed to be more for ambiance and light than pure heat, but do watch out for the maximum BTUs (British Thermal Units) of each model. BTUs are a measurement of heat, so if you’re looking for a fire pit that will bring the warmth you expect, look for the highest numbers. Just make sure you keep an extra propane canister in the storage shed or outdoor storage box.
Best overall: Bali Outdoors Propane Fire Pit
- Weight: 78.5 pounds
- Height: 24 inches
- Material: Alloy Steel, Stainless Steel, Ceramic
- Structure: Table
- Maximum BTUs: 60,000
- Attractive, understated design
- Table style adds more useability
- Multiple shapes and sizes available
- Good-looking rectangular flame zone
- Competitive price
- Build quality of table frame is not quite as study as more expensive models
- Ignition isn’t always consistent
- Takes upwards of an hour or two to assemble
Bali Outdoors offers a wide variety of propane fire pit shapes and sizes, all offering some of the same features: most hide the propane tank within the body of the fire pit, creating a more attractive patio piece. Some feature table tops around the flame source and covers, meaning they are functional pieces even when they are not lit. And the price of these items is extremely competitive, not far above budget and small portable fire pits.
While the whole line of Bali Outdoors fire pits is good, we most strongly recommend the 24”x24”x48” 60,000 BTU fire pit table. The blue glass fire rocks are very attractive, assembly is relatively simple, and the table looks as fashionable as options three times its price. The downside is that the steel of the table itself is a bit lighter and less sturdy than more expensive fire pits. It may be in your best interest to tie the table down to move it to a safe location in the event of a big storm to avoid damage.
However, there aren’t many more attractive, effective, and inexpensive options that will make you happier to sit and bask in the glow of the flames than the Bali Outdoors line. Our recommended table is perfect in front of an outdoor couch or a pair of chairs. Keep in mind that the glass flame guard you may see in some pictures is an optional (but recommended, for aesthetics more than anything) accessory. Scoring high in quality of flame, aesthetics, ease of use, and value, the Bali Outdoors Propane Fire Pit line, especially the 24” x 24” x 48” table, is our best overall propane fire pit.
Best portable: Bond Manufacturing Aurora Portable Steel Propane Gas Fire Pit
- Weight: 18 pounds
- Height: 14.65 inches
- Material: Stainless steel / metal
- Structure: Non-collapsible, locking lid
- Maximum BTUs: 54,000
- Quick, easy set-up
- Locking lid acts as a carrying handle
- Very light for a propane fire pit
- No assembly required
- Auto-ignition feature works well
- Separate propane tank adds weight as space
- Somewhat awkward shape to fit amongst a lot of luggage
- Small fire compared to non-portable
For some of us, propane is so wonderful that we want it every which way. Heck, we may even want to grill with it. But we certainly want it on the go if we have a smaller, lighter fire pit that can be considered portable. That’s where the Bond Manufacturing Aurora Portable Steel Propane Gas Fire Pit comes in. The gas burns clean, and stones are used for both aesthetics and to help contain the flames. You can get a consistent 50,000 BTUs, with a maximum of 54,000. The set-up is really easy on the Aurora, as the all-in-one-piece pit has a locking lid that makes it easy to carry and keep its lava rocks contained. Your propane tank will likely be the more awkward and heavy item to join you at the beach or campsite.
However, that 20-pound tank is going to more than double your load, making this portable fire pit a bit less portable. Of course, if the portability is just setting up at different spots in and around your yard, it’s not that big a deal. But you certainly can’t go trekking with this fire pit, and if you want to go camping or to the beach, you’d best have a van or flatbed truck to help you haul it.
However, the price and quality of this unit, among those that could be deemed portable, is second to none. In fact, the small size and utilitarian (rather than aesthetic) design are the only things that keep the Aurora from being a contender for best overall. Instead, it’s the best portable propane fire pit of 2023.
Best for camping: UKIAH Tailgator X Portable Gas Fire Pit
- Weight: 22.6 pounds
- Height: 17.52 inches
- Material: Alloy steel
- Structure: Non-collapsible, magnetic lid
- Maximum BTUs: 48,000
- Extremely durable
- Magnetic lid is useful and convenient
- Flame is easy to control
- Boxy shape packs extremely well into a car
- Low BTU output
- Industrial aesthetic is not for everyone
Another portable propane fire pit, the UKIAH Tailgator X Portable Gas Fire Pit is built for camping. The design is the first clue; when the magnetic lid is on, the Tailgator becomes a solid cube that is far, far easier to pack in a trunk, truck flatbed, or behind the back seats of an SUV than any other propane fire pit we found. While your 20-pound propane tank may be a bit more unwieldy, the Tailgator, with its built-in handles and sturdy but not overwhelming 22.6-pound weight, is a breeze to pop into and out of a vehicle. It’s also a very durable design, built to withstand some battering from wind, keep dirt and debris out of the rock area, and its steel alloy frame is easy to clean with a cloth (later, of course, when it’s unplugged from propane and cool).
The trade-off is a weaker flame than other models. The Tailgator only produces 48,000 BTUs, on the lower end of propane fire pits, so you may need to huddle a little closer to it than other, stronger models. This does result in less fuel use over time, however. Another possible drawback is that the boxy metal design is very “built Ford tough,” almost military in its look, which may not fit the cozy and/or natural vibe you’re looking for from a fire. Other more traditional designs may fit your decor better when used on the patio or backyard than the Tailgator.
If you can look past the weaker heat and the industrial design, the Tailgator offers a lot to love, especially if you’re going to be taking it somewhere in the back of your vehicle. It also can take a beating from the elements. For these reasons, it’s the best propane gas pit for camping.
Best modern: COSIEST Outdoor Propane Fire Pit Table
- Weight: 50 pounds
- Height: 11.8 inches
- Material: Faux stone
- Structure: Round base
- Maximum BTUs: 40,000
- Very aesthetically pleasing
- Other options with similarly eye-catching designs
- Easy to move (though heavy)
- Good customer service reputation
- Propane tank cover table sold separately
- Low heat output
- Low profile needs similarly low-set seating
For a lot of people, the look of a fire pit is more important than the heat. It’s supposed to fit the design of an outdoor space, give a certain feeling when viewed, and generally add a touch of class to a poolside area or deck. That’s what COSIEST offers with its line of fire pits, our favorite of which is a sculpture-like, low-set round design. The off-white faux stone is extremely attractive, and the modern styling of the concentric rings of the table gives it a high-class look that would fit in next to the swimming area of a Hollywood Hills mansion. There are other options too: a more contemporary hexagonal design or more classic rectangular ones.
The main drawback of COSIEST’s fire pits is the need for accessories to really make the whole look work as best it can. A propane tank cannot fit inside the fire pit itself, so you may want to get a table tank cover accessory (though the hose will still be exposed). You also might want to purchase the glass guard for the flames to really make the look pop. The glass not only protects hands and objects from coming in contact with flames but creates an extra twinkling light effect that spreads out and improves ambiance. This is also the kind of fire pit that may look better with fire glass as its fill item rather than lava rocks, so you’ll need to source those separately.
The second drawback is the weaker flame and low profile of the table. This isn’t necessarily a big problem with how you want to use your fire pit. If you’re more about light than heat, the 40,000 BTUs are plenty. However, this fire pit will look strange and small next to furniture with higher-set seats. Make sure you have couches or chairs that dip a bit lower or choose a taller design.
The accessories drive the price up, making the COSIEST line a bit more expensive overall. However, if you care about modern styling more than pure heat power, the COSIEST Outdoor Propane Fire Pit Table is the best modern propane fire pit.
Best steel: Cuisinart COH-600 Chimenea Propane Fire Pit
- Weight: 45.5 pounds
- Height: 48 inches
- Material: Steel
- Structure: Circular pit with directional hood
- Maximum BTUs: 40,000
- Sturdy and attractive
- Directional hood allows you to put heat where you want it
- Easy to assemble
- Can get 9 hours off a 20-pound propane tank
- Low BTU
- Design may block eye line if placed in the middle of furniture
You may not expect a fire pit from Cuisinart, a brand better known for food processors, but here we are in the modern, diversified business landscape. Not only is there a Cuisinart propane fire pit, but it’s also really good. Solidly and attractively constructed, the Cuisinart Chimenea Propane Fire Pit has a unique design that shields heat except for about 120 degrees of opening, letting you get much more out of the relatively low 40,000 BTUs than you expect (as long as you’re near the opening). While you do have to put it together yourself, the construction is quite easy—as long as you follow the instructions—and you’ll be able to do it quickly. A nice side of the low BTUs is low fuel use compared to stronger fire pits; you can get 9 hours out of a 20-pound tank.
On the negative side, the high height of this pit with the hood (4 feet) means it could easily be in your eye line if you place it amongst furniture. The hood isn’t optional or removable; it’s part of the design, so you have to be sure you want this kind of fire pit before you buy it. If you plan to arrange your patio furniture in a semi-circle around this fire pit, it’s less of an issue.
The Chimenea is not portable. It’s quite heavy and large. Part of that is there’s a compartment to hide your 20-pound propane tank, which increases the overall size but is also a nice feature, so there’s not an unattractive tank lying around. With its few drawbacks and many nice features, the Cuisinart Chimenea Propane Fire Pit is the best steel propane fire pit as long as your space works for its design.
Best value: Camp Chef Ponderosa Fire Pit
- Weight: 47.5 pounds
- Height: 15.1 inches
- Material: Alloy steel
- Structure: Circular with lid
- Maximum BTUs: 64,000
- Really strong heat
- Sturdy construction
- Technically portable
- Reliable starter
- Heavy for a portable fire pit
- Profile is quite low for non-camping use
Our best-value propane fire pit dang near took best overall, so its relatively low price makes it a great value. The Camp Chef Ponderosa Fire Pit can pump out a whopping 64,000 BTUs, which means big, heat, great for warming you while camping. The shape and size of the Ponderosa is excellent for portability, even though it’s a bit heavy if you’re going to be taking it to a campsite or the beach regularly. It’s quite a low-rising fire pit, which means on a patio, you’re going to want to pair it with similarly low-rise furniture. The heat, which is wonderful, does tend to burn through fuel quickly.
Perhaps its aesthetic is the Ponderosa’s biggest weakness. It has a very “campfire” vibe to its shape and look, rather than a stylish piece of furniture. If you’re going for a rustic vibe in your backyard, that may be a plus. If you’re looking for something slicker, the value of the Ponderosa might not be worth it, and you may want to go with a table design.
Overall, the Ponderosa is a strong candidate for best overall propane fire pit, but its camping aesthetic and low position makes it a little less—but only a little—ideal than our top model. Its competitive price, however, means it’s the best-value propane fire pit on the market.
Best budget: Barton Propane Outdoor Gas Fire Pit Table
- Weight: 81.57 pounds
- Height: 25 inches
- Material: Alloy steel
- Structure: Table
- Maximum BTUs: 46,000
- Versatile styling that fits with most patios
- Houses the propane tank within the table
- Low price
- Weaker heat than other tables
- No cover for heating area to convert into a full table
If you’re in the market for a table-style propane fire pit and are looking to not spend much money, the Barton Propane Outdoor Gas Fire Pit Table might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a weaker heater than our top table from Bali Outdoors and doesn’t feature as many options, but it’s a great starter model, considering you can usually get it for under $200.
Like most other table models, the Barton Table hides the 20-pound propane tank inside, meaning there’s no unsightly tank to spoil the vibe. Instead of lava rocks, this table uses fire glass, an aesthetic that many prefer. Of course, if you’re more of a lava rocks person, you can buy those separately and replace the glass with them. A wind/fire guard is available separately, but Barton doesn’t seem to offer a cover for the heating element, meaning, unlike the Bali Outdoors model, you can’t convert this fire pit into a regular table when it’s not in use. The Bali also produces 14,000 more BTUs, meaning the heat travels much further, giving you more arrangement options for furniture, but Barton’s 46,000 BTUs do the job for a standard four-sided arrangement.
While the retail price isn’t particularly “budget” award-worthy, this Barton model is almost always on sale, and as of writing was only $170. At that price, it’s a great starter fire pit for a patio or an additional accent fire pit if you’re looking to expand your seating arrangements. The nice look, standard features, and great price make the Barton Propane Outdoor Gas Fire Pit Table the best budget propane fire pit.
What to consider when choosing a propane fire pit
Once you’ve decided that you want to go propane, there are only a few other questions you need to ask yourself before choosing a fire pit. The first is perhaps the most important: Do you want a smaller, portable fire pit, or do you want your fire pit to essentially be a piece of outdoor furniture. If you choose the former, you’ll likely end up with a small, circular, all-flame fire pit. These more resemble camping fire pits aesthetically, even though they are using propane gas instead of wood. If you want a stationary fire pit or fire pit table, you’ll want to consider the aesthetic that your outdoor space features. Rustic? Modern? Casual? There are some fire pits that, for all their benefits, may look out of place with the decor you’ve already chosen. Finally, is your fire pit more for aesthetics, or are you really looking for a strong heat source for warming yourself and your guests up outside? If it’s the latter, really pay attention to the BTU (British Thermal Unit) heat measurement that each fire pit can output. The higher the BTUs, the toastier you’ll feel.
Q: How do I make my propane fire pit flame bigger?
It’s going to be all about pressure (which makes the gas shoot out quickly and to higher heights) rather than pure fuel. The hose should be properly placed without any objects on top of it and without loops or sharp turns. I would not recommend trying any aftermarket modifications to your propane fire pit or hose yourself. It’s too easy to create a defect or damage that can result in your fire pit becoming unsafe. If you aren’t getting what you believe to be an adequate flame, contact the manufacturer and see if there’s possibly something wrong with your fire pit or have any modifications installed by a professional.
Q: How long does a 20-pound propane tank last on a fire pit?
At maximum output, you should get 4 hours of flame from a 20-pound tank. At moderate output, double that. Fire tables are usually designed to run at maximum output.
Q: Should a propane fire pit be high or low pressure?
Propane fire pits should be at a maximum of 11” WC, which means 11 inches of water column. This is the pressure that an 11-inch high column of water would exert. This converts to around 0.5 PSI (pounds per square inch), the method of measuring air pressure in tires. This is a higher pressure than natural gas.
Q: What temperature is a propane fire pit?
The hottest part of the fire can reach 1500 degrees Fahrenheit or around 815 degrees Celsius. The BTUs of a propane fire pit (the heat that the flames radiate) are anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 depending on the size of the fire pit.
Q: Do propane fire pits use a lot of propane?
Yes. If you don’t keep your flame modest, you can find yourself going through a ton of gas. You may want to keep a spare tank or two on hand at any given time (safely and securely stored, of course).
Q: Are propane fire pits unhealthy?
An outdoor propane fire pit is not inherently unhealthy. Of course, you don’t want to breathe in pure propane gas, that could be fatal. And you never want to use a propane fire pit indoors, as incidental gasses such as carbon monoxide that can do damage or worse could build up without ventilation. But a properly ventilated space (such as an outdoor patio) with a properly-use propane fire pit should pose no health risk.
Q: How much ventilation does a propane fire pit need?
You need at least 20 square inches of ventilation for a propane fire pit. Any commercial propane fire pit will have proper ventilation built-in. Only use your propane fire pit outside.
Q: What size propane tank do I need for a gas fire pit?
The vast majority of propane fire pits are designed to be used with a 20-pound tank.
Q: How many years is a propane tank good for?
An American-made and certified propane tank is considered fine for use up to 12 years after it is made. In Canada, the limit is 10 years. Recertified tanks may be as low as five years. There should be markings on your tank to let you know when it was manufactured or last certified.
Final thoughts on the best propane fire pits
A fire pit can really be the final piece that pulls a backyard together. It gives a patio a focal point, a spot around which family and friends can gather to chat, eat, or relax. And when the sun goes down, the fire produced can give an incredible ambiance that really is unmatched by electrical lighting. Plus, you’ll warm the area in a way that lets you minimize the use of heavier clothing, even on chillier nights. Ghost stories, reminiscing, or telling jokes become enhanced. There’s a certain magic to fire-lit nights and a ton of convenience and control that comes with choosing propane over wood fires. Any of these fire pits can bring that magic home because they are the best propane fire pits available right now.
Why trust us
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.