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Fire Pit vs. Fireplace: Which Is the Best Fire Solution for Your Outdoor Space?

Fire Pit vs. Fireplace: Which Is the Best Fire Solution for Your Outdoor Space?

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Moments spent around a fire are worth savoring, so why not enjoy these moments from the comfort of your backyard? Installing an outdoor fire pit or fireplace can help make warm and lasting memories. There are various outdoor fire pits and fireplace designs that you can invest in for your home. Choosing the right outdoor fire solution for your home can help you create many more memorable moments and memories.

Here are some outdoor fire pit and fireplace structures and their pros and cons to help you choose the best outdoor fire solution for your home. 

What Is an Outdoor Fire Pit? 

An outdoor fire pit is a wood, brick or metal structure built into the ground for creating and containing fires. People install fire pits in their backyards to provide warmth, ambiance and space for family and guests to sit together, enjoy a meal, tell stories and have fun. Think about sitting around a beach or camp bonfire and recreating that experience in the comfort of your home with your outdoor fire pit. 

Outdoor fire pits are versatile and whether you want to create a rustic or elegant feel to your backyard, you can build a fire pit to complement your home, space and aesthetics. Outdoor fire pits are different from outdoor fireplaces. Fire pits are meant for big open spaces in your yard, while you can build a fireplace into a wall on your patio or a brick or stone structure. 

Types of Outdoor Fire Pits 

When choosing an outdoor fire pit, consider the space of your yard, how often you plan on using it and whether you want a wood or gas burning fire pit. It is also essential to consider safety standards, your county laws and regulations for installing an outdoor fire pit. Types of outdoor fire pits include: 

Wood Burning Fire Pit

A wood fire pit is an excellent choice if you are looking for a rustic fire pit or fireplace experience. Wood fire pits are either built into the ground or can be portable, temporary installations. Wood-burning fire pits are great if you live in a wooded area and have plenty of wood at your disposal. They are also cheaper to install than gas fire pits. However, wood-burning fire pits create a lot of smoke and ash and lighting wood can be time-consuming. 

Propane Burning Fire Pit

Propane fire pits are among the most versatile and convenient fire pit options, and they produce less smoke, making them easy to clean and maintain. Propane-burning fire pits require connecting a gas line to a built-in fire pit, but portable propane tanks exist for those without a gas line. The flames from a propane fire pit can provide an elegant and unique feel to your home.

Natural Gas Burning Fire Pit

Unlike propane fire pits, natural gas fire pits require a permanent connection to a natural gas line and installing a permeant natural gas line can be expensive. Natural gas fire pits are either sunken into the ground or built slightly raised from the ground. While natural gas-burning fire pits are not easy to move, they are more convenient and more accessible to maintain than propane gas fire pits.

Questions? Call (717) 766-2167

What Is an Outdoor Fireplace?

An outdoor fireplace is often built into a patio wall and is excellent for smaller groups of people. Outdoor fireplaces are an appealing aesthetic and come in various styles and designs to compliment the décor of your patio. People build fireplaces to add warmth and ambiance to a small space. Fireplaces may be more expensive to install than fire pits and create less smoke. Fireplaces are a great addition if you want to create a sophisticated look and feel in your backyard and can help create an intimate setting for friends and family. 

Fireplaces vary in style, design and fuel types, and you need to consider the space of your patio and yard and if you plan on using your fireplace for warmth, cooking or both. 

Types of Outdoor Fireplaces

Outdoor fireplaces come in many styles, designs, shapes and sizes and can coordinate with the exterior design of your home. You can build your outdoor fireplace into the wall of your patio or make a stand-alone fireplace structure from materials like brick, stone, cast iron or concrete. You can be as creative as you like when building your fireplace and create the perfect setting for entraining your guests. Wood and traditional gas fireplaces are popular choices, and deciding which one is best for you depends on your budget, space and personal preferences. 

Wood-Burning Fireplace

The look and smell of burning wood in your fireplace can provide a natural ambiance to your outdoor area and is perfect for those who enjoy earthy aromas and the crackle of wood burning. Wood-burning fireplaces are often easier to design and cheaper than gas fireplaces. Wood fireplaces also create more smoke and ash and require more maintenance.

Gas-Burning Fireplace

Gas-burning fireplaces can be a more convenient fireplace option and create less smoke and ash than wood-burning fireplaces. Propane and natural gas are two of the most common gas fireplaces. Propane fireplaces, like propane fire pits, require a propane gas tank or gas line and are an eco-friendly fuel type if you have concerns about gas affecting the air quality in a smaller space. 

Natural gas fireplaces offer an endless supply of natural gas and are cheaper than propane fireplaces. They can be a safer option in a gas leak, as natural gas is lighter and evaporates into the air more quickly than propane. However, propane fireplaces can get much warmer than natural gas fireplaces as propane contains more energy than natural gas. 

Gel Fuel Fireplace

If you are looking for a fireplace that produces less smoke and is convenient for more minor, confined spaces on your patio, then a gel fuel fireplace is a great choice. Gel fuel fireplaces are versatile and portable and use an alcohol-based gel that provides a smokeless fire pit. Gel fuel fireplaces come in various creative designs and can be cheaper to build than gas fireplaces. Using a special alcohol-based gel, you can easily ignite a fire on a gel fuel fireplace. 

Fire Pits vs. Fireplaces

Installing a fire pit or fireplace is a big decision, so you want to pick the best fire solution for your outdoor space, budget and personal preferences. Here are some pros and cons of fire pits and fireplaces to help you weigh your options. 

Pros of Outdoor Fire Pits

Consider the following advantages you'll gain from installing an outdoor fire pit:

  • You'll get a bigger space for entertaining friends and family.
  • Fire pits can enhance the appearance of your garden, adding rustic or modern touches to your backyard decor.
  • Portable outdoor fire pits are fast and easy to install, and you can move them around as your needs change.
  • Fire pits are an affordable outdoor fire option.

Cons of Outdoor Fire Pits

Keep these outdoor fire pit cons in mind as you think about your options:

  • Fire pits can be easy to miss, increasing the risk of children and pets falling into the fire.
  • You may need a big yard, as smoke from fire pits can overwhelm small confined areas. 
  • You risk burns, excess smoke inhalation and uncontrolled fires if you don't follow proper safety procedures for your backyard pit fire. 
  • Fire pits may require extra maintenance in wet weather to prevent water damage and debris build-up. 

Pros of Outdoor Fireplaces

An outdoor fireplace might be the perfect choice for your backyard for the following reasons:

  • Fireplace structures can heat outdoor dining areas for entertaining guests.
  • An elegant fireplace structure may increase your property value
  • You can use your fireplace as a cooking and heating source, saving fuel and money.
  • Fireplace structures are compactable, providing more space for patio furniture. 
  • Fireplaces chimneys move smoke into the air instead of filling your outdoor space. 

Cons of Outdoor Fireplaces

However, you should consider these cons before committing to an outdoor fireplace:

  • Fireplace structures are more expensive to install, requiring more building materials and finishes. 
  • Fireplace structures may provide less heat as they are often enclosed.
  • Fireplaces may not spread heat through a space as efficiently as a fire pit can.
  • You may have to adhere to specific space, location and foundation requirements for installing a fireplace.

Contact Keystone's Fireplace and Stove for All Your Outdoor Fire Pit and Fireplace Needs. 

Keystone's Fireplace and Stove is passionate about helping you create the perfect outdoor space with a custom fireplace or fire pit. We offer safe and professional outdoor gas or wood fireplace installations, makeovers and maintenance. Our technicians are trained and certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and will provide you with quality fire pit and fireplace services. Contact us for a free estimate on your outdoor fire pit or fireplace.

Contact Keystone's Fireplace and Stove for All Your Outdoor Fire Pit and Fireplace Needs.

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