Gas vs. Wood Fire Pit Comparison: Which One is Right for You?
Are you debating between a gas vs. wood fire pit for your outdoor space? Don't worry, you're not alone! Fire pits have become a popular addition to any outdoor patio or backyard, but deciding between a gas fire pit or wood burning fire pit can be a tough choice.
In this article, we'll explore the primary differences between the two options and help you weigh the key factors to consider before deciding.
So let's dive into the gas vs. wood fire pit debate and find the perfect fit for your outdoor areas!
Quick Preview: Gas fire pits are cleaner and more convenient than wood-burning fire pits, but they come with a higher price tag.
Fundamental Difference Between a Gas and Wood Burning Fire Pit
Fuel Source: The most apparent difference between a gas and wood burning fire pit is the fuel source. A gas fire pit is fueled by liquid propane or natural gas fuel, while wood burning fire pits use traditional wood sticks and logs.
Operational Mechanism: Gas fire pits are ignited with a switch or knob that controls the gas flow, making them easy to operate. A wood fire pit requires more work to get started, including the need to physically build and maintain the fire.
Appearance and Design Options: Wood burning and gas fire pits offer unique designs that suit different preferences. Wood fire pits offer a rustic and traditional feel, while gas fire pits lean towards a modern and sleek appearance. Consider these factors carefully when choosing the perfect fit for your outdoor design scheme.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fire Pit
- Space and Location: Consider how much space you have for a fire pit and where it will be located. Gas fire pits require access to a natural gas line or a propane tank, while a wood fire pit is more flexible in terms of location. Keep in mind that wood fire pits should be placed where the smoke won't bother your neighbors.
- Intended Use: Think about how you will use your fire pit. If you’re looking for more heat, or the ability to cook over the fire, wood is generally a better choice. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a commercial fire pit, you’ll want to go with gas since it has many of the safety requirements that must be met to pass an inspection.
- Budget: A decent wood fire pit can cost around $300 to $1,000, while gas fire pits have a much higher price tag, ranging from $800 to $3,000+. You'll also need to factor in ongoing costs - dry firewood (typically $14 per pack) or the cost of propane/natural gas ($12 per 1000 cubic feet).
- Local Laws, Regulations, and Restrictions: Check with your local fire department and homeowners association to ensure fire pits are allowed in your outdoor area. Some municipalities may have restrictions on the type of fuel (wood or gas) and where you can place a fire pit. Smoke from wood fire pits can also be a nuisance to neighbors, so it's important to research local regulations before making your final decision.
Pros and Cons of Gas Fire Pits
Convenience and Ease of Use: Gas fire pits are extremely easy to operate and require little maintenance. With a push-button ignition system, you don't need to worry about finding matches or lighters. Read more about how to start a fire in a fire pit.
Low Maintenance: With a gas fire pit, there are no ashes to clean up or wood to replenish, making it a low-maintenance option.
Smoke-Free Operation: Because there is no combusting of wood, gas fire pits don’t produce smoke or that distinct smell of a campfire, but they are more eco-friendly.
Installation Cost and Complexity: Gas fire pits require a gas line or propane tank to be installed. If you use propane, it should cost nothing because it's simple to hook up a propane tank. If you use natural gas, a professional installation could cost $20 per foot of gas line needed.
Cooking Limitations: While some gas fire pits offer limited cooking capabilities, they generally don't provide the same level of versatility as wood burning pits.
Pros and Cons of Wood Burning Fire Pits
Traditional Ambiance: Wood burning fire pits create a cozy, warm, traditional atmosphere and smell that many people love.
Greater Heat Output: Wood fire pits can produce more than 100K BTU, making them great for keeping warm on chilly nights.
Cooking Capabilities: Wood burning pits offer a wide range of cooking capabilities, including roasting marshmallows and cooking meals over an open flame.
Fire-Building Skills and Maintenance: Building a successful fire takes some skill, and it requires more ongoing maintenance than gas fire pits to keep it lit. You will also need to purchase more fire pit accessories for everything to run smoothly.
Smoke and Environmental Impact: Burning wood is a fire hazard and produces more smoke, which can be a drawback for some people. Additionally, the fumes contribute to air pollution and can harm the environment.
Gas vs. Wood Fire Pit Aesthetic Appeal and Customizations
Design Styles and Materials: Gas fire pits and wood fire pits offer a variety of design styles and materials to choose from, such as stone, metal, and concrete. Most of our gas-fueled fire pits are Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete, while wood fire pits are made from metals like steel.
Portable vs. Built-in Outdoor Fire Pits: Both gas and wood fire pits can be built-in or portable, depending on design and materials. Some are light enough to move around easily, while others may require more effort to relocate.
Integration with Surrounding Landscape or Patio: Investing in a fire pit can be an excellent way to elevate the look and feel of your outdoor space. Both gas and wood fire pits can be designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing patio or landscape, adding visual interest and value.
Installation, Maintenance, and Durability
Ease of Installation: A wood fire pit will generally be more accessible than a gas fire pit, as they don't require professional installation of gas lines.
DIY-Ability: Building a wood fire pit is a popular DIY project that can be completed without professional help.
Professional Installation Requirements: Gas fire pits require professional installation of natural gas lines to ensure safety and proper functionality.
Maintenance Needs and Procedures: Both fire pit types require maintenance to keep them functioning correctly, but a gas fire pit tends to be lower maintenance.
Durability and Longevity of Materials: Both fire pits can be made from sturdy, long-lasting materials, but the type of material used will determine its lifespan.
Environmental Impact and Sustainability
Emissions and Air Quality Concerns: Burning wood in an outdoor fire pit produces smoke that can contribute to air pollution, affecting both the environment and human health. On the other hand, gas fire pits have fewer emissions, making them a better option for those concerned about air quality.
Sustainable Fuel Options: If you choose a wood fire pit, consider using sustainable fuel options such as recycled wood pallets, fallen branches, or other dry wood options which are less harmful to the environment than cutting down trees.
Energy Efficiency: Gas fire pits are more energy-efficient than wood burning fires, as they use less fuel to produce the same heat. But natural gas is not a renewable resource while wood is a renewable resource.
Impact on Local Ecosystems and Wildlife: Both wood and gas fire pits can affect local ecosystems and wildlife. Wood fire pits can disrupt the natural ecosystem by depleting natural resources, while gas fire pits can contribute to climate change through carbon emissions.
Costs, Return on Investment, and Resale Value
Initial Install Costs: Wood-burning fire pits typically do not cost anything to install in your backyard. If you go for a natural gas fire pit, it will require a licensed professional, costing around $15 to $25 per foot of gas line used.
Potential Impact on Property Value: A wood-burning fire pit is great for casual backyard gatherings and can certainly add a touch of ambiance to your outdoor space; however, this type of fire pit typically does not increase property value. On the other hand, gas fire pits are seen as both luxurious and functional, and they may even increase the resale value of your home by a considerable amount.
Attractiveness to Potential Buyers: A professionally installed gas fire pit can be an attractive feature for potential home buyers, as it offers an inviting area to gather with friends and family. Wood fire pits may also be attractive to some buyers, though they are typically seen as a less luxurious option than gas.
As a premier retailer for fire pits, we suggest consumers purchase a gas fire pit for the longevity, design, and convenience. Many of our customers who have followed our recommendations couldn't be happier at how its transformed their outdoor space.
Read their reviews!
It’s worth noting that many wood fire pits are nowhere near the same in terms of quality as our gas fire pits. That being said, we do provide customers with solid wood burning options like ohio flame and fire pit art.
Ultimately, the final decision comes down to your preference and individual needs. Consider the available space, intended use, local regulations, environmental impact, and costs before deciding.
With careful consideration, you can choose a fire pit that will provide warmth, coziness, and joy to your outdoor living space!
Gas and Wood Fire Pits Frequently Asked Questions
Which fire pit is better, gas or wood?
The answer is dependent on your preference and needs, but wood fire pits offer a more traditional ambiance. In contrast, gas fire pits are typically more convenient with an instant fire.
What are the cons of a gas fire pit?
The main con of a gas fire pit is the higher upfront cost associated with installation and the need to use a natural gas line or propane tank. You also will be more prone to have gas leaks in the future.
Do gas fire pits keep you warm?
Yes, gas fire pits produce intense heat, with some models producing up to 200,000 BTU. However, wood fire pits have the potential to create more heat, as you can always add more wood to the flames.
Is a gas fire pit worth it?
That depends on your needs and preferences. Gas fire pits have higher upfront costs, but they can increase the value of your property and require less maintenance. Additionally, they are more energy-efficient than wood fire pits and emit fewer atmospheric pollutants. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.