An outdoor fire pit is a great way to elevate your home. You can gather around it in colder months while still enjoying your outdoor space. With an outdoor fire pit, you can roast marshmallows for s’mores with the kids. You can even just enjoy the atmosphere of it while you are outside grilling on the BBQ. Of course, there are many different options to consider when looking at an outdoor fireplace. What fuel type do you use? Do you get propane? Gas lines ran from the house? Do you need a rectangular fire pit, square fire pit, or something rounder like a fire bowl? Are you looking for something made out of stainless steel? A cast iron fire pit? Or something else? Keep in mind, you don’t need to be building a new home with the help of an architect or a hard working home builder in order to consider backyard fire pit options. A backyard remodel can be done even in your existing home. Of course, we are here to help. We can talk about different types and features of your fire pit table just like if we were an interior designer offering home decor and interior design tips.
Read this article, and we will help answer all of the questions that you might have and much more.
Here Is a List of All of the Topics and Questions That Will Be Covered Within This Article:
- What Are The Different Types of Fireplace Options For an Outdoor Living Space? – We go into the basics of outdoor fireplaces and the different main options you can expect to see.
- Are Wood Burning Fire Pit Options Common? – Here, we briefly explore wood fire pits and how common they are to see in modern backyards.
- Is Propane or Natural Gas Better To Use For An Outdoor Gas Fireplaces or Modern Fire Pit With Tank Holder? – What type of fuel you use can make a big difference in the fireplace you choose. If you go with gas fire pits, this is an important section for you.
- What Are The Common Features of a Modern Fire Pit, Fire Pit Table, or Fire Bowl? – To show what is out there, we list some of the common features you might find with these units.
- What Brands of Outdoor Fireplaces Are Worth Looking At? – Brand can be important if you want something of a higher quality. Here we talk about why you should avoid generic brands.
- Can You Use a Modern Fire Pit Indoors or on an Enclosed Patio? – The dangers of fire pits when used indoors or for patios that are enclosed is talked about here.
- For Indoor Use or on Enclosed Patios, Are Wood or Gas Fireplaces a Good Choice? – For any kind of indoor or enclosed space use, we talk about the downsides of using both wood and gas fireplace options.
- Why Are Electric Fireplaces Better for Indoor Use or Enclosed Patios? – Benefits of electric fireplaces will be detailed in this section for you.
- What Electric Fireplace Types Are There For Indoor Use or Enclosed Patios? – If you are considering purchasing an electric fireplace, we explain some of the common types you may find.
- Which Electric Fireplace Brand Can Realistically Simulate a Real Flame? – For one of the best electric fireplaces on the market, we talk all about MagikFlame fireplaces.
What Are The Different Types of Fireplace Options For an Outdoor Living Space?
There are many types of fireplace options for your outdoor area. Fire pits are the most common type and have a variety of features associated with them. They are often made out of many types of materials. This can be a concrete fire pit. A fire pit that is cast iron. A stone fire pit. A solid steel unit. A round fire pit like a fire pit bowl. You can even get them in carbon steel.
Keep in mind that material will definitely change the look and feel of the pit. A cast iron unit will be heavy duty with a strong durability. A concrete one might lend itself to a more minimalist look, blending into the surrounding concrete. A steel fire pit has a more industrial look and might be more weather-resistant. Some might have a beautiful antique patina look, while others look clean and new.
There are even more unique fire pit designs like a solo stove. These have a stainless steel burner with a cast iron looking cylinder around it. Also, there are smaller versions as well. You can find little tabletop fireplaces for indoor or outdoor use. Typically these would go on a coffee table or side table around your patio furniture.
Of course, any kind of fire pit will be safer with some kind of fire ring. A fire ring helps contain the flames and adds stability to the pit or table.
Are Wood Burning Fire Pit Options Common?
These days, wood burning options aren’t nearly as commonly used in backyards due to safety issues. However, they are still available. With wood options, it is a good idea to use something like a a spark screen. A spark screen helps protect the flame from sparking off of the burning wood and singing nearby people or starting a fire. Keep in mind that with wood burning fire pits, you want to keep them away from an outdoor patio or anything else that can start a potentially tragic fire.
Is Natural Gas Better To Use For Modern Fire Pit With Tank Holder?
Propane is known to usually burn cleaner and be a little bit more efficient. Of course, with propane, you will have to change the propane tank in the tank holder of your propane fire pit. This can make a propane fire pit a bit of an extra chore. On the other side, a natural style gas fire pit table means you never have to change the tanks. These hook up to gas lines ran from the house. This allows you to enjoy your fire pit without the need to ever change the tanks. You don’t get this luxury with a gas fire pit table that runs on propane.
Whether you get a propane gas fire pit, a propane fire pit table, or something with natural gas from your home, it really just comes down to preference. Decide for yourself if you prefer something cleaner and cheaper, or if you prefer something you don’t have to change frequently.
What Are The Common Features of a Modern Fire Pit, Fire Pit Table, or Fire Bowl?
Common features include things like a fire glass or lava rock arrangement. These sit in the bowl or on the bed of the table for gas fire pits. Utilizing lava rock means you will have a more natural rock color. Using glass means you can have bright, glowing colors for a modern look.
Some gas fireplaces have an electronic ignition. This means you don’t have to actually light the gas yourself. Having one makes it safer and more convenient.
There are also tons of other safety and aesthetic features available depending on the brand and model you choose to go with.
What Brands of Outdoor Fireplaces Are Worth Looking At?
Like most important products, you don’t want to pick generic brands. Instead, go with trusted brands that have a history of offering quality products. Look around on Wayfair and see what brands are the highest rated. On Wayfair, you can find plenty of brand names. Keep in mind, some brand names aren’t available. Like Plodes for example.
Can You Use a Modern Fire Pit Indoors?
You don’t ever want to use a fire pit as an enclosed patio heater or indoors. This can be very dangerous. Not only is there a high chance of a fire starting, but the emissions that are released with these fire pits need plenty of ventilation. Keep fire pit installation to wide open areas that are exposed to the sky for optimal use.
For Indoor Use or on Enclosed Patios, Are Wood or Gas Fireplaces a Good Choice?
You really should think twice if you are considering wood or gas fireplaces for either indoor use or on an enclosed patio. First, here are the normal wood fireplace types:
- Open Hearth – The traditional fireplace design. This is an open space to build a fire, sitting under a chimney.
- Enclosed – These are the same as open hearths, but the front is completely enclosed behind glass doors. A setup like this typically increases efficiency and makes it a little more safe.
- Enclosed Insert – This is a conversion kit that allows you to turn an open hearth into an enclosed type.
- Wood Stove – You will really only see these in log cabins and other rural dwellings. These are old stoves that burn wood inside of them. They radiate heat to keep a home warm. You can also cook on them.
Consider these following downsides that come with wood fireplaces:
- Fire Safety – Soot buildup and exposed flames make traditional wood fireplaces one of the leading causes of a house fire. Unfortunately, using a wood fireplace is a big risk to your home. Having one may increase your homeowner’s insurance payments as well.
- Harmful Emissions – Smoke and carbon monoxide are two very serious harmful emissions that can fill your home. Although a lot of this escapes through the chimney, a surprising amount disperses throughout your home. Both are toxic to breath.
- Hassle To Use – Using wood fireplaces ends up almost becoming a part time job. Cleaning it, building fires, watching fires, and more ends up being a lot of work.
- Heat Loss Problem – There is no getting around the fact that a lot of heat is lost through the ventilation of a wood fireplace. You have to leave the flue open, therefore heat will always manage to escape. Quite a bit of wood needs to be burned to make up for this large heat loss.
- Smell – If you aren’t ready for the strong odor of smoke to fill your home, you need to avoid wood fireplaces. Unfortunately, it is just part of using them. As wood burns, the smoky smell gets around your home. It finds itself in your furniture, your curtains, and your carpets. It can also make your clothes and hair smell like smoke before you leave your home.
- Stains – Staining is a serious concern. It won’t usually happen fast, but over a year or two, you will see your walls and furniture yellow. This can sometimes be impossible to clean. Furniture needs to be reupholstered and walls need to be repainted.
- TV Damage – Mounting a kind of TV directly above your wood fireplace is a big taboo. As heat and smoke rises, it fills the internal components of your TV and ruins them.
- Wood Storage – Adequate space for wood storage is definitely needed. Unless you want to buy more wood several times per week, you will be using a significant amount of space around your home to store wood.
- Expensive To Build – The cost is pretty high for a new wood fireplace due to it being such a big construction project. Unfortunately, the high cost really just isn’t worth it when you consider all of the other disadvantages to using one.
Of course, gas fireplaces are a slightly better choice. They typically come in two common varieties:
- Direct Vented – Uses a gas that requires ventilation.
- Ventless Gas Fireplace– Makes use of a gas that doesn’t need venting.
Unfortunately, gas fireplaces have some pretty bad downsides as well:
- Flame Is Exposed – While soot buildup isn’t a huge issue, an exposed flame still is. As long as fire is present, there is an increased fire safety risk.
- Carbon Monoxide – There isn’t much smoke produced by gas fireplaces, but carbon monoxide can still be abundant. This is due to an incomplete burn of the gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly.
- Ugly Flame Color – The flame color with gas fireplaces never seems to be quite right. When they have natural colors, they are dull compared to real fireplaces. The vibrant blue flames look very strange and out of place. Many owners get sick of the blue flames quite quickly.
- Weak Flame – On top of the color, the flames are just weak and general. They are just a simple stream of fire, much like a Bunsen burner. Gas logs sometimes help break up the flame, but it still lacks a natural flicker.
- Costly Installation – You can expect to hire a professional to install these. This is even more costly if gas lines and ventilation are required as well.
Why Are Electric Fireplaces Better for Indoor Use or Enclosed Patios?
If you truly want the best option for indoor use or for an enclosed patio, you need to go with electric fireplace options. With electric fireplaces, you get these benefits:
- No Added Fire Risk – One of the best things about electric fireplaces is that it doesn’t add to the chance of a house fire like wood fireplaces and gas fireplaces do.
- No Harmful Emissions – Smoke and carbon monoxide are two things you don’t have to worry about with electric fireplaces. They only emit clean, warm air.
- No Staining or Smells – With the lack of smoke, you also are free from the staining and smells that come with the smoke.
- Easy Use – Unlike a wood fireplace, or even some types of gas fireplaces, using electric fireplaces is easy. Turn the fireplace on. Change the temperature setting if needed. That’s it.
- Easy Installing – Installation couldn’t be any simpler for electric fireplaces. You can do it yourself in most cases. Choose a spot and set it down. After it is in place, plug it into a standard 120 volt outlet.
- Any Room – You aren’t limited to just your main room. You can use it for your outdoor patio, your home office, or even your bedroom.
- TV Safe – Unlike wood and some gas fireplaces, it is absolutely safe to mount a TV above electric fireplaces. No smoke will damage the internals. All of the heat is blown out and into the room rather than rising directly up.
- Heat Efficiency – Between the infrared quartz heating coils and lack of ventilation, electric fireplaces are incredibly energy efficient.
- Zone Heating – Even for extremely large homes, electric fireplaces can warm them with a zone heating strategy. This allows you to keep your home warm in zones, keeping your heating bill low even for a large home.
- Remote Control – Electric fireplaces almost always come with some kind of remote way to control the fireplace. This can be a standard remote control or an app for a smartphone or tablet. These allow you to control every feature of your electric fireplace from afar.
- Flame Effect Ambiance – If you are smart and invest in a high end electric fireplace, you can expect fire effects that genuinely look like the real thing. High end electric fireplaces offer the same atmosphere and ambiance as a traditional wood fireplace, without all of the disadvantages they come with.
What Electric Fireplace Types Are There For Indoor Use?
There is no shortage of electric fireplace types. They come in a variety of types, shapes, and styles. Here are the most common types for many different situations:
- Flat Wall Mantel Package – If you want an electric fireplace that looks the most like an open hearth style fireplace, this is what you will want to go with. These are installed on the floor and up against a flat wall.
- Corner Fireplace – If you prefer your electric fireplace in the corner of the room, install one of these corner fireplaces. They function the same as the flat wall units. They are just shaped differently to fit into a corner.
- TV Stand Fireplace – This is a fireplace inside of a TV stand. Be careful with these. Sometimes the fireplace itself is weaker due to limited space.
- Corner TV Stand Fireplace – These are just the corner version of the TV stand fireplace. Of course, they have all of the same issues with them.
- Wall Mount Fireplace – Instead of the floor, these can be mounted onto the wall or in a wall recession for a cool modern look.
- Electric Insert – These convert wood or gas fireplaces into electric fireplaces.
- Freestanding Fireplace Heater – These are cheap portable heating devices. Avoid these if you are serious about an electric fireplace.
- Electric Stove – An electric version of the wood stove. These are really only used with extremely rural aesthetic decor.
Which Electric Fireplace Brand Can Realistically Simulate a Real Flame?
You really can’t go wrong with MagikFlame electric fireplaces for both indoor use or on enclosed patios. MagikFlame fireplaces are built with quality and have the most realistic flame effects. Here are all of the features you can enjoy with any MagikFlame electric fireplace:
- Ultra-realistic Fire Effects – The fire effects of MagikFlame fireplaces are like no other. Flames that look completely real are 3D projected onto a physical log set that sits within the fireplace. There are 30 astounding types of flames you can select between with your MagikFlame fireplace. This allows you to choose the perfect mood.
- Crackling Log Sounds – Visuals are great, but to complete the atmosphere, you need audio as well. With the added crackling log sounds, MagikFlame fireplaces truly look and feel as if you are sitting in front of the real thing. If you want to add even more relaxing sounds, you can also play nature sounds that come with it.
- 5,200 BTU Heater – This high BTU heater is powerful enough to warm a home of up to 1,000 square feet. Despite the high BTU output, the infrared heater uses the minimal amount of energy needed to heat the area. Homes larger than 1,000 square feet can further benefit from zone heating strategies.
- Smartphone App – You don’t need to use a boring remote control with your MagikFlame fireplace. Instead, you can enjoy the smartphone app that is both easy and intuitive to use. Large buttons allow you to control the fire effects, audio effects, thermostat, and more.
If you want to learn more about MagikFlame fireplaces, here is an assortment of helpful resources for you to use:
- MagikFlame Basic Story: A great primer on how MagikFlame got its start.
- MagikFlame Reviews: Testimonials from existing MagikFlame customers.
- Best Electric Fireplace 2021: Additional information about electric fireplaces in general and how they work.
- How MagikFlame Is Made: A solid breakdown of all of the care that goes into MagikFlame products.
- Payment Plan and Financing: Helpful financing plans and options.
- MagikFlame Full Warranty – A full warranty so you know you are completely protected.