Fire pit tables - modern heating furniture
Regardless of whether you have a narrow brownstone rooftop deck, private balcony or a spacious terrace overlooking a vineyard, most people want to optimize their outdoor space. The maxim "less is more" holds true when planning patio furniture organization, shade positioning, foot traffic, etc. Fire pit tables are ideal dual purpose furnishings - providing warmth and surface space when a DIY solution is not a realistic option. These contemporary fire features are often made of state-of-the-art composite materials that mimic the look of stone, marble or concrete while possessing greater strength and heat-resistance. Other wooden versions may have rich teak construction for a warmer look and feel. Some stores carry tiled or metallic fire tables. Corten steel is a popular fire pit table metal, due to its high tensile strength (68-78 KSI) and industrial aesthetic appeal. Most fire tables also have tempered glass windscreens to help protect the flame and prevent inadvertent accidents by stray hands. Colored glass beads or faux charcoal are often spread around burners.
There are many sizes, shapes, heights, finishes and colors of firepit tables that can be used as cocktail, bar or even dining tables with or without the flame ignited. Large rectangular coffee table style fire features with wide surface areas are common but small square or round versions are preferred when there is less room and the availability of floor space is scarce. Tall bar height or counter height fire pit tables are growing in popularity in urban environments and create an intimate experience. These new items are bound to gain notice as small space living becomes more predominant. If you shop around online, you can even find convertible designs with lids that allow you to cover the flame area when it’s not lit - creating a spacious tabletop for year round use.
Tabletop firepits with a variety of fuel options
In addition to a wide range of designs, fire pit tables use a number of fuel types to generate their flames. Bio-ethanol is a clean-burning eco-friendly fuel that is low-odor, smokeless and produces no toxic fumes. It does require the burner to be refilled periodically and tends to generate less heat than natural gas or liquid propane versions. Plumbed natural gas is extremely low cost once you have a connection to a main line, which may require a licensed contractor if an extension needs to be added to reach the fire table. Propane tanks are relatively inexpensive and the supply is readily available at many retail locations. They do, however, tend to be a bit unsightly when uncovered and the hoses may be a challenge to obscure. All three options are smokeless, which is a big plus in windy areas.
Although they are less popular, there are wood-burning fire pit tables as well. While wood is relatively inexpensive and plentiful, it generates smoke which can easily ruin a pleasant evening outside. If you don’t mind a little smoke, some wood fire tables integrate a grill in their design - providing a convenient open flame cooking area. A wood fire enhances grilled food with a smokey flavor that is unmatched by gas-generated flames. However, this type of fire pit table requires a lot of maintenance and cleaning supplies for ash and embers. Be sure to have hardware and tools handy to help stoke the flames and keep the fire burning.
Portable fires for outdoor and, sometimes, indoor settings
Gas-fueled or ethanol fire tables can be placed in most outdoor spaces with some ventilation. The flames are well-controlled, unlike more unpredictable wood-burning fires, so they can be used on hardwood decks, balconies and patios alongside a corner sofa or dining seating. Propane and natural gas versions are only limited by the space and configuration of gas lines or tanks, while bio-ethanol tables can go virtually anywhere - even indoors.
If your backyard or garden is nondescript, a fire pit table is the perfect piece of outdoor furniture to add. It’s a natural focal point around which you can group Adirondack chairs, a bench or any lounging seat. Dancing flames are inviting, provide lighting and create a festive atmosphere for any party. On a cold night, the glow and warmth of a fire pit table installation can create an intimate setting for two. Share a blanket to cover your shoulders as you toast the moment and eat your favorite cheese with a flickering flame. Or, gather a few lawn chairs around one on a chilly afternoon for an impromptu picnic.
- Fire Pit & Outdoor Fireplace Buying Guide
- Fire Pit Table Buying Guide – Transform Your Patio
- Types of Fuel for Fire Pits - Pros & Cons
Frequently Asked Questions - Fire Pit Tables
Can you use a fire pit table indoors?
Some fire pit tables use natural gas, others liquid propane and some bio-ethanol. A few can even be customized to use any of the three. Only fire tables that burn bio-ethanol should be used inside. Unlike plumbed natural gas or propane, bio-ethanol produces no toxic fumes, such as carbon monoxide, that require ventilation. So, it doesn’t need a flue or chimney through which the fumes can escape.
Bio-ethanol does not generate as much heat as gas but it produces a pleasing flame and lacks the strong odor of propane.
What are fire table safety tips?