Gas vs Wood Burning Fire pits: Which is Best for You?

If you’re looking to add some extra warmth and ambiance to your backyard, a fire pit is the perfect solution! There are two main types of fire pits: wood-burning and gas. We’ll compare the two types and help you decide which is the best option for you.

There are several factors to consider when deciding between gas and wood burning fire pits. We’ll talk about ease of use, maintenance, safety, heat output, ambiance, and cost.

Let’s get into it…

Ease of use

If you want a fire pit that’s easy to operate, you should probably consider gas. We’ll talk about some different types of gas fire pits later, but the most common type hooks up to a propane tank. It’s the same kind of tank you’d use for a propane grill. And just like a grill, gas fire pits have a built-in igniter. So using a propane tank is as easy turning on the gas and hitting the igniter.

Wood burning fire pits are a bit more difficult to light. If you’ve ever started a fire before, you know what I’m talking about. There are products on the market that can help get a wood fire started faster. I usually use fatwood to help get the fire started. Keep in mind that even after you get the fire started, you’ll need to keep adding wood to maintain a hot fire.

There’s also the cleanup to consider. A gas fire pit leaves nothing to clean. A wood burning fire pit leaves ash behind that needs tt be cleaned out periodically. That can be a messy job.


A big benefit of gas fire pits is that they don’t put off smoke. Traditional wood fire pits, on the other hand, can put off a lot of smoke. Using the right type of logs (seasoned or kiln dried hardwood) will result in less smoke than softer species like pine. But you’ll still end up getting ‘smoked out’ if the breeze blows your way.

There is a smokeless (or low smoke) type of wood burning fire pit that has become very popular. The smokeless wood fire pits use a process called secondary combustion to vaporize any smoke before it leaves the pit. It sounds crazy, but the design is fairly simple. Brands like Breeo and Solo Stoves produce some high quality smokeless wood burning fire pits. This is my favorite type of fire pit, and we’ll talk about these more later.

Heat output

Another factor to consider is how much heat you want from your fire pit. Gas fire pits will put off a certain amount of BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour, depending on the model. Look at the item description for BTU output. The size of the fire pit plays a role in how much heat it puts off. A smaller fire pit will put off less heat than a larger one. A lot of the larger gas pits put off about 50,000 BTU’s.

As for wood burning fire pits, it really depends on the size and amount of wood you add. The type of wood also plays a factor. Hardwood (oak, ash, hickory) will burn longer, while softwoods (like pine) will burn hot, but burn out faster.

In my experience, a wood burning fire pit puts off more heat than a comparably sized gas fire pit.

A benefit of gas is that it can produce a lot of heat very quickly. And you can control the amount of heat by simply turning up or down the gas. Wood burning fire pits take longer to heat up.

Wood burning is our preference for keeping you and your guests warm, but a big enough gas pit should do the job too.

Location of fire pit

Because a wood burning fire pit gets very hot on the outside, there are places (such as a wooden or composite deck) where you shouldn’t use one. Gas fire pits typically are designed to be used on decks, but definitely check the manufacturers instructions.


Gas fire pits generally cost more than similar sized wood burning fire pits. A basic small wood burning fire pit can cost as little as $40. Even the low-end gas fire pits will start around $150. Usually the larger sized pits cost more. Gas fire pits also have decorative stone options that can increase the price.

Then there’s the cost fuel, whether it be gas or logs. A propane gas fire pit will usually require a tank be purchased, and then filled as needed. If you go with wood, you’ll need to buy logs, either a small bundle or in bulk. If you have a place to store it, it’s much cheaper to buy in bulk (a half cord or more) compared to buying a small bundle at your local supermarket. The even cheaper option is to split down trees on your own property if you have any.


Both gas and wood burning fire pits have the potential to be dangerous if not used properly. If you have a gas fire pit, check regularly to ensure there are no leaks. If you burn wood, make sure the fire is burned out before leaving for the night and use a spark screen to prevent embers from leaving the fire pit.

One thing to keep in mind with wood burning fire pits is that they can get very hot on the outside. So if you have small children or pets, you’ll need to be careful they don’t get too close and get burned.

Other considerations:


Wood burning fire pits have more of ‘campfire’ feel. The smell of the wood burning and the sound of the crackling flames create a more natural atmosphere.

Gas fire pits come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Some are small and circular, some of the size of an end table, and others are built into a table. Gas pits can be equipped with glass or lava rocks that help give them a pretty cool look. These rocks can be purchased separately and are available in different colors and sizes.


Cooking over a fire pit can be a lot of fun. If fire pit cooking interests you, then you’ll probably be better off with a wood burning pit. You’ll have a bigger flame with wood burning pits, and some will even come with a cooking grate.

Smokeless fire pit are perfect for cooking. Brands like Breeo and Solo Stove make cooking accessories like the Breeo Outpost (our new favorite method of cooking!). The Outpost is an adjustable grate that can be cooked on directly, or you can place pots or pans on top. You can even attach a rotisserie for next-level cooking.


If you live in a neighborhood with houses close together, the smoke from a wood burning fire pit can bother neighbors. Consider a smokeless wood burning fire pit if you really want to burn wood, but don’t want to annoy your neighbors. Or choose gas and your neighbors won’t notice a thing.

Types of Gas Fire pits

There are two main types of gas fire pits. The first type is fueled by liquid propane (LP). These types of fire pits are very popular because they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use. You can purchase a small tank, or have a large tank installed. Many of these fire pits use the same propane tank you would use with a gas grill (like a Weber).

The second type of gas fire pit is fueled by natural gas (NG). These require a connection to your home’s natural gas line. NG fire pits are less popular because of the installation cost and complexity. If you’re interested in an NG fire pit, reach out to a professional to get a quote for installation.

Smokeless Wood Burning Fire Pits

As we talked about before, smokeless wood burning fire pits use a process called secondary combustion to vaporize any smoke before it leaves the pit. This is my favorite type of fire pit because there’s very little (if any) smoke. That means you won’t make enemies out of your neighbors and you won’t wake up the next morning smelling like smoke. These are also perfect fire pits for cooking over.

Cooking over a Breeo smokeless fire pit

Smokeless fire pits also tend to be higher-quality. Breeo (which is made in the U.S.A.) and Solo Stove (an American based company) use 304 stainless steel for their fire pits. It’s a type of steel that will last a long long time without rusting. Most of the fire pits you see for $100 or less will only last a few seasons. Because of the higher quality, smokeless fire pits tend to cost more. I think it’s worth it.

Wrapping up

To recap what we’ve talked about so far:

  • Gas fire pits are easier to operate, produce less smoke, but cost a bit more. You can also add custom ambiance to gas pits by adding colored stones.
  • Wood burning fire pits take longer to get started and require you to constantly feed the fire. They also put off smoke, which can be a turnoff. However, wood burning fire pits are cheaper than gas options.
  • The third option is smokeless fire pits. These have the same lighting requirement as regular wood, but they produce very little or no smoke. They’re also great to cook on. Smokeless pits tend to cost around the same price as quality gas pits.

The Verdict: Personally, I enjoy lighting a real fire, but don’t like a ton of smoke. So my favorite fire pit is a the Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless fire pit. But gas is great too, and a basic wood burning pit is a budget friendly option.

If you have any questions, please let us know. We’re happy to help!

Happy fires!

Frequently asked fire pit questions:

Which is better for the environment, gas or wood fire pits?

Gas burns cleaner than wood. A wood burning fire pit will release up to 28x more emissions into the atmosphere.

Can I use a gas fire pit on a wooden deck?

You can typically use a gas fire pit on a wooden deck. However, it’s important to check the manufacturer’s instructions first. Gas fire pits can get very hot, so you don’t want to damage your deck..

What’s the best type of wood to use in a fire pit?

The best type of wood to use in a fire pit is hardwood. Hardwoods burn slower and produce less smoke than softwoods. Some good options include oak, hickory, and maple. Avoid using pine or cedar, as these woods can produce a lot of smoke.

What’s the best place to get propane for a propane fire pit?

Many grocery stores will sell propane tanks, which you can easily exchange when yours is empty. There are also delivery services such as Cynch which will pick up empty tanks and drop off new ones on your doorstep.

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