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What are the Pros and Cons of a Propane Fire Pit?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers

A propane fire pit is just one of various types available, and consumers should weigh its pros and cons before deciding to buy it. One of its most advantageous details is the fact that it lights quickly, with the turn of a knob. There is no ash to clean up after the fire, either, making this type of fire pit ideal for those who wish to keep their patio free of fire debris. Unfortunately, the fire that it produces is usually not ideal for roasting, and the propane tank needs to be refilled occasionally. Finally, the fire ring on a propane fire pit often needs to be cleaned and covered up so that the product can work well while looking natural.

Homeowners without much time to sit and stoke a fire with wood will likely enjoy the ease of use that a propane fire pit provides. With the turn of a knob, the gas ring turns on, creating a fast, contained fire in any yard. Another bonus is that it does not tend to leave a mess behind like a wood fire pit often does, as there is no ash, smoke, or embers from a propane-produced fire. While these benefits are similar to those of a natural gas fire pit, this product does not require a gas line in order to work, since it runs off propane instead. Thus, a propane fire pit is particularly ideal for homeowners who already have a patio with no gas line, as keeping propane in the tank is usually easier than hiring someone to put in a route for natural gas.

A propane fire pit.
A propane fire pit.

Those looking to roast or cook food on the fire pit may be disappointed to find that this kind of product is not suitable for that. This is because the propane does not usually result in the same wood-fired taste that other types of fire can offer, and even tends to give the food a strange taste. While this disadvantage might not bother those who plan to use their barbecue to cook rather than their fire pit, they may be inconvenienced by the requirement to keep the propane tank filled. It is typically easy to take the tank out of the fire pit when necessary, but lugging into a store that can fill it may be difficult for some.

Artificial logs may be used with a propane fire pit.
Artificial logs may be used with a propane fire pit.

Clogged fire rings can cause the propane fire pit to stop working, which means that this important part should be kept clean. Another disadvantage of the fire ring is the fact that it needs to be covered in order for the pit to look natural. Most propane fire pits on the market accomplish this by placing decorative rocks or artificial logs over it, but these need to stay in place to maintain the natural ambiance.

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Discussion Comments


@Animandel - I disagree that food cooked over gas has a better taste. I think the taste is very close, and I wouldn't use this as a way of measuring whether to go with a gas or propane fire pit. But if cooking is a primary concern then go with a wood fire pit -- no contest.


@Animandel - Another good thing about gas fire pits compared to propane fire pits is that the gas is a safer fuel than propane. Since gas is lighter it is more likely to float away and not cause an explosion if you have a leak. Propane is heavy and tends to collect lower to the ground. And we all know what happens when a flame gets to close to any type of explosive fuel in the air.

I'm not saying I would choose a gas fire pit over a propane one, but this is something to consider before you make a decision.


@Feryll -I guess it goes without saying that a natural gas fire pit is more like a propane fire pit than a wood fire pit is like either one of these first two. As the article mentions, if you plan to cook on your fire pit you should know that food cooked over a natural gas or a propane fire pit is going to taste a bit different than food cooked over a wood fire pit.

However, in my opinion, if you are planning to use the fire pit for cooking then go with natural gas instead of propane. The natural gas leaves less of an artificial flavor. As the article says, the easy lighting of the gas and propane make them more attractive than wood for many people. This is definitely the case for me.


So what is the difference between a natural gas fire pit and a propane fire pit? Are they basically the same?

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    • A propane fire pit.
      By: Harris Shiffman
      A propane fire pit.
    • Artificial logs may be used with a propane fire pit.
      By: GummyBear
      Artificial logs may be used with a propane fire pit.