What is a Fire Pit for Wood Deck?
A fire pit for a wood deck is essentially a fire pit like any other except that it is designed to prevent the radiant heat from the flame from damaging the wood on your deck. One of the main uses for these types of fire pits is actually for decks that are made out of plastic to prevent the deck from melting. For wood decks, this type of fire pit will prevent scorching and keep the wood looking like new.
Who Needs a Fire Pit for Wood Deck?
If you have a wood deck or a deck made out of any other material which is weaker and you want to enjoy the warmth and tranquility of a fire, then you need a fire pit. Of course, because the materials of your deck in question are either flammable themselves or have a low melting point, you need to make sure that the fire pit is specifically designed to protect your deck from the radiant heat the fire might otherwise generate.
What Makes a Good Fire Pit for Wood Deck?
The answer to this question will depend heavily on what use you want out of your fire pit. If all you want is a fire pit to generate radiant heat, then you will not necessarily need the same kind of fire pit as one that would be used for light cooking – note, this is not meant to imply that a fire pit should be used for grilling. On top of that, the fuel source will also affect this answer – especially if the fire pit in question burns wood, in which case it will also require a fire pit pad.
How Do You Find the Best Fire Pit for Wood Deck?
Figuring out which fire pit for wood decks is the best can be a difficult and confusing task. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best fire pit for a wood deck, highlighting what each one does best – we even include our 2 best picks for fire pit pads for wood-burning fire pits. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best fire pit for a wood deck to suit your needs.
Best Fire Pits for Wood Deck in 2019
|Propane||L 44" x W 32" x H 23"||96|
|Christopher Knight Home||Propane||L 32" x W 32" x H 24"||155|
|Real Flame||Natural Gas||L 36" x W 36" x H 15.5"||152|
|Catalina Creations||Wood||L 29.5" x W 29.5" x H 19.7"||60|
|Sunnydaze||Wood||L 42" x W 42" x H 23"||35|
1. Outland Living Propane Fire Pit Model 401 – Best Fire Pit for Wood Deck
Though not the most recent company on our list, Outland Living is very nearly so only having been around for less than a decade. That said, Outland Living does at least specialize in fire pits and fire tables, so you know that the company makes it a point to put all of their focus and energy in appealing to this niche market by manufacturing some of the best products within it. This has further paid off with the Series 401.
By far one of the more impressive qualities about this fire pit is that every component and section is made of high-quality materials.
This will be a consistent point across the board for our list of the best fire pit for wood deck specifically because each source will provide its own benefits and drawbacks. For the Outland Lining Series 401, propane is the fuel source and this makes it both extremely convenient as well as versatile. This fuel source will allow you to potentially use the Outland Living Series 401 for light cooking while offering an easy way to refuel it as well as a simple hookup – especially compared to some other fuel sources.
Outland Fire Table Igniter Inspection
2. Christopher Knight Home Crawford Outdoor – Best Propane Fire Pit Table for Wood Deck
Christopher Knight Home may be the officially licensed dealer of the Crawford Outdoor fire pit, but the two are actually distinct, though symbiotic, entities. That said, both organizations have some of the oldest histories on our list providing them plenty of opportunities to figure what works for the fire pit market. That said, it should be noted that neither the manufacturer nor the dealer specializes in fire pits or fire tables, though they still produce a high-quality product.
There are some fire pit for a wood deck that are fairly easy to manage, and then there is the Christopher Knight Home Crawford Outdoor fire pit. This convenience begins at square one as this is actually one of the few fire pits for a wood deck that we saw which requires no assembly. Even some simpler fire pits require at least a modicum of assembly. Finally, as a propane burning fire pit, the Christopher Knight Home Crawford Outdoor is easy to both hook up as well as refuel without having to worry about either a mess or professional install.
Though this is not the only fire pit for a wood deck on our list to use propane as a fuel source, it is arguably one of the best to do so.
3. Real Flame T9620NG-GLG Baltic – Best Natural Gas Fire Pit for Wood Deck
Out of all of the manufacturers of a fire pit that we reviewed, Real Flame is the oldest and most storied. In fact, this company was founded explicitly to provide a fire accelerant for both indoor and outdoor fire pits or fireplaces. From those humble origins, the company expanded to making products that utilize their original gel fuel and have kept their laser-sharp focus on this market exclusively. This specialization allows them to provide just what you need without anything that you do not.
One of the best and also a potentially difficult qualities of the Real Flame T9620NG-GLG is that it is the only fire pit for a wood deck that we reviewed which is fueled by natural gas.
That said, you will need to hire a professional to install a natural gas line to the Real Flame T9620NG-GLG, increasing the total cost of the already most expensive fire pit that we reviewed.
Though it may require a professional installation, the savings and quality of fuel provided by natural gas are not the only benefits of having the Real Flame T9620NG-GLG. For instance, this fire pit for wood deck actually gets hotter than any other we reviewed by putting out 50000 BTU – though it should be understood that this does not necessarily translate to the greatest amount of radiant heat.
4. Catalina Creations Cast Iron Fire Pit – Best Metal Fire Pit for Wood Deck
Catalina Creations is a unique company on our list in that it is not actually its own corporation. Instead, Catalina Creations is actually a brand owned by the wholesale distributor Asia Direct, Inc. On top of that, the brand itself is only a little more than a year old. However, this brand does at least specialize in manufacturing fire pit for wood deck exclusively as well as accessories for that market. Even better, this is the ideal fire pit for a wood deck to keep you warm.
One of the best things about the Catalina Creations fire pit is that it is one of the few wood burning fire pit that we reviewed. While this does come with a few caveats, a wood burning fire pit will provide the most radiant heat compared to other fuel sources. On top of that, using wood as a fuel source will also give off that nice smokey smell if you are interested in that quality. Finally, using wood as a fuel can potentially be the least expensive fuel source if you are willing to find and chop it yourself.
While using wood as a fuel source will ultimately allow the Catalina Creations to inherently generate more radiant heat than any other fuel source we reviewed, the Catalina Creations goes a step further by using a material which only enhances that quality: cast iron.
5. Sunnydaze 42 Inch Fire Pit – Best Budget Fire Pit for Wood Deck
Sunnydaze is another product line on our list that is not actually its own company but is instead a specialized brand made by a larger manufacturer. However, it is not part of a true wholesaler company like some of the others that we reviewed and is instead one brand among many belonging to Serenity Health and Home Decor, a distributor of many different types of products. This means that the company does not specialize in fire pits or fire tables, though they have been around for 2 decades, so they likely understand what makes a good product.
The Sunnydaze is another fire pit that relies on wood as a fuel source. This means that you can expect this fire pit to put out more radiant heat than those products which use either propane or natural gas. This also allows you to keep overhead costs down by potentially collecting and preparing the wood you will burn yourself rather than having to purchase it. That said, you will need to also purchase a fire pit pad to prevent the wood burning Sunnydaze from scorching your wood deck.
Beyond using a fairly convenient fuel source, the Sunnydaze has another advantage over the other products that we reviewed. It is the least expensive fire pit on our list. That said, the low price of this fire pit does not necessarily mean that you should expect a poor quality product. For instance, this is the largest fire pit that we reviewed. On top of that, the Sunnydaze is also the lightest product on our list. This makes the Sunnydaze best for 3 different categories – though it may not last as long if you do not regularly maintain it.
Sunnydaze 42 inch Fire Pit Assembling
Best Fire Pit Pads in February, 2019
|Infinite Heat Solutions|
|Aluminum+Carbon Filler||12" x 12" - 36" x 36"||15|
|Northland Online||Aluminum+Steel||L 26" x W 26" x H 4"||21|
1. Infinite Heat Solutions Deck Protect – Best Performing Fire Pit Pad for Wood Deck
Like some of the other products on our list, Infinite Heat Solutions is not actually a company in its own right and is instead a brand owned by a specialized manufacturer. While this can drive the price of the product up a bit, it does at least provide you with the comfort of knowing the product was made by a specialist who understands what makes its niche good and what qualities to avoid. This focus has allowed Infinite Heat Solutions to ensure that their fire pit pad for wood deck performs better than most – in fact, it is the editor’s choice best-performing fire pit pad for a wood deck that we saw.
How DeckProtect Works
While this fire pit pad is not rated to handle weight being placed directly on top of it and is just a hair under other products in terms of its maximum heat capacity, it still offers a specific benefit that we feel is more important: durability. Since you are already paying for a fire pit, you do not want to have to shell out too much more for the corresponding fire pit pad.
DeckProtect fits Wood, Composite and Concrete Deck
2. Northland Online Deck Defender – Best Budget Fire Pit Pad for Wood Deck
As the name implies, Northland Online is a company that makes use of the only online business model. This benefits you in that the company is able to avoid paying for expensive overhead costs and can then transfer those savings to you. This is precisely what Northland Online does, as this the least expensive fire pit pad for a wood deck that we reviewed. Though, it should be noted that Northland Online does not specialize in fire pit pads or even fire pit related products.
Whenever you are looking for a fire pit pad, you need to make sure that the product is rated to be able to handle your fire pit. Thankfully, the Northland Online fire pit pad offers the best ratings for some of the most important categories relevant to this market.
Best Fire Pit for Wooden Deck – Buyer’s Guide
The sheer number of materials used for fire pits for wood decks can be a bit daunting as they all have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. On top of that, the different materials used will often be applied either to specific parts of the fire pit or for a particular purpose as opposed to an entire component. The issue becomes even trickier when you throw fire pit pads into the mix as the materials used for those products may be the same as for the fire pit itself, but they are usually intended to serve entirely different functions. As such, this is by far one of the most, if not the most, important consideration to make when choosing a fire pit for a wood deck.
While technically resin can be made out of plant materials, the most common type of resin used for outdoor products is actually made out of a synthetic polymer called polyethylene. This material is a bit tricky to gauge when used with a fire pit largely because, if exposed to direct flame or high heat, it will not be able to withstand the stress of the temperatures. In fact, polyethylene resin has the lowest melting point out of any other material reviewed. As such, if you purchase a fire pit that includes resin as part of its material composition, then you will need to make sure that there are one or more insulating layers of material between the resin and the flame or that the flame is produced in such a way that it does not generate a great deal of radiant heat.
Steel is a fairly common material used for fire pits for a number of reasons. For one, this material has a fairly high melting point and it is also one of the stronger materials used for fire pits. This has led to steel being used for both the body, the frame, and even the burner for certain kind of fire pits. Even better, this material is actually one of the lighter materials used for fire pits. That said, steel has a major issue when it comes to liquids and is more prone to rust or corrosion when exposed to the elements than any other material reviewed. This is especially troublesome when the body is made of steel.
Concrete may not necessarily be the most common material used for fire pits, but that is not due to its effectiveness. Instead, concrete is a lesser used material for fire pits primarily because it is exceedingly heavy. That said, this may be one of the best materials to use for a fire pit because it is such a bad transducer of heat. As such, concrete fire pits will remain cooler to the touch under hotter temperatures and will generally scorch before they catch fire – and will never melt under normal conditions. The one instance when concrete is not ideal is if you have a fire pit for radiant heat purposes as concrete will retain heat better than most materials.
Cast iron could easily be considered the ideal material to be used for most purposes when it comes to fire pits. That is not to suggest that cast iron is without its limitations, but it is definitely one of the better materials for all applicable uses of a fire pit. For instance, if you want a fire pit for the purpose of generating radiant heat, there is no other material that can even come close to comparing. Cast iron will absorb heat from the flame similarly to concrete, but once it reaches a conductive capacity, it will then radiate that heat outwards – and will continue to do so for up to an hour after the fire has gone out, depending on the temperature of the flame.
Depending on the fire pit, aluminum can actually serve a couple functions, but it should be stated that it is generally not used for the body. Instead, aluminum is far more likely to be found as the material used for a fire pit frame as it is incredibly strong, resists the environmental stresses of water better than most, and also serves as an excellent heat sink. In fact, not only is this a fairly common material used for the frames of a fire pit, it is also one of the most common materials used for a fire pit pad used to protect wood decks from wood burning fire pits.
As we can see, there is not going to be a single fire pit for a wood deck that satisfies all people – especially considering the subtle but numerous differences between the products. If you are looking for a fire pit that is clean, easy, and versatile, you are unlikely to need the same kind of fire pit that someone who is simply looking for a basic product that will throw off plenty of radiant heat is.
For those of you in the former camp, we recommend the Outland Living fire pit. While it is not strictly the most powerful in terms of heat, 35000 BTUs is certainly hot enough for most situations. When you also consider that this fire pit is made of quality products from top to bottom and features an 8” glass countertop rim, it offers great versatility at a comparably reasonable price.
Of course, if you were looking for a fire pit for a wood deck to actually throw off enough heat to keep you warm, you will need to look at one that burns wood. For this case, we recommend the Catalina Creations. While it may be a bit undersized compared to some of the other products on our list, the fact that its basin is made of cast iron means that there are few fire pits which can compare to its radiant heat capabilities – just be sure to get a fire pit pad since it burns wood.