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Tell ghost stories this fall around our pick of the best fire pits

The best fire pits have features like grates to cook on, smokeless and odorless burns, and are portable. With this in mind, ZDNET found the top options, so you and your friends can gather around a fire and make memories telling ghost stories this Halloween.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Taylor Clemons
Hampton Bay Piedmont Fire Pit | Best fire pit overall
Hampton Bay Piedmont Fire Pit
Hampton Bay Piedmont Fire Pit
Best fire pit overall
View now View at Amazon
SINGLYFIRE 22-inch Fire Pit | Best budget fire pit
SINGLYFIRE 22-inch Fire Pit
SINGLYFIRE 22-inch Fire Pit
Best budget fire pit
View now View at Amazon
Solo Stove Bonfire Pit | Best smokeless fire pit
Solo Stove Bonfire Pit
Solo Stove Bonfire Pit
Best smokeless fire pit
View now View at Amazon
Colsen Tabletop Fire Pit | Best compact fire pit
Colsen Tabletop Fire Pit
Colsen Tabletop Fire Pit
Best compact fire pit
View now View at Walmart
Hampton Bay Crossridge Gas Fire Pit | Best tabletop fire pit
Hampton Bay Crossridge Gas Fire Pit
Hampton Bay Crossridge Gas Fire Pit
Best tabletop fire pit
View now View at Home Depot

There's nothing like sitting around a fire pit with friends and family. Whether it's a good old-fashioned wood-burning fire pit that you had to scavenge wood for or a fancier fire pit with glass rocks and a smokeless flame to create the perfect ambience, fire pits are a great addition to any backyard or gathering.

We've rounded up the best fire pit options that are smokeless, have a tabletop, double as a grill, and more.

Pros & Cons
  • Easy to assemble
  • It comes with adjustable cooking grate
  • Inexpensive
  • It needs a cover, or else it's prone to rust
More Details

Features: Cooking grate | 29.33 x 19.21 in. | 22 pounds 

The Hampton Bay Piedmont Fire Pit is the quintessential round steel fire pit, which is why it's our best overall option. It's compact enough at 22 lbs, 29.33 inches wide, and 19.21 inches tall to fit in any backyard and even comes with an adjustable cooking grate that allows you to cook burgers or veggies over the fire.

The basin is one foot deep, so you can stack up a good amount of wood to burn. A mesh spark cover, fire poker, and wood grate are included; however, you'll still need to buy a fire pit cover since it is still prone to rust if exposed to the elements.

Pros & Cons
  • Screen and poker included
  • Least costly option
  • A mesh screen, fire poker, and wood grate included
  • Complaints of legs being wobbly
More Details

Features: 11 pounds | Fire poker and mesh screen | 22 x 20 in. 

An even more budget-friendly option than our overall pick is the SINGLYFIRE 22-inch Fire Pit at just $45.99. It also comes with a spark screen and fire poker, but you'll have to purchase a cover separately to protect it, especially if you plan to store it outdoors.

A built-in log grate at the bottom of the basin makes it easy to stack wood and clean it out after a fire. Also, it's only 11 lbs, which is great for taking it with you on camping trips. However, it's on the smaller side at 22-inches, so it's probably best for a two-three person bonfire.

Pros & Cons
  • Produces less smoke
  • Lightweight
  • It doesn't give off that bonfire smoke smell
  • It doesn't come with a spark screen; you have to purchase it separately
  • It doesn't emanate as much heat, so not ideal for colder nights
More Details

Features: Carrying case | 19.5 x 14 in. | 20 pounds

If you're a fan of fire pits but hate smelling like them afterwards, the Solo Stove Bonfire Pit is an excellent smokeless and odorless option. What's great about this fire pit is that it still uses wood but doesn't give off as much smoke since its bottom vent holes allow oxygen to feed the fire from below while channeling oxygen up between the walls of the stove and back into the fire.

The tiny particles that would have been smoke are burned up by the top vents, creating a more complete burn, meaning no more half-burned logs. Plus, it's only 20 lbs and comes with a carrying case so that you can bring your smokeless fire to your family's next backyard hangout.

Pros & Cons
  • Can burn a fire anywhere you are
  • Smokeless and odorless flame
  • It lasts less than an hour
  • More for ambience than for heat
More Details

Features: 5 x 3.5 in. | Concrete body | Flame lasts 40-50 min

Not everyone has the luxury of a big backyard to sit and enjoy a fire in. City dwellers that only have a balcony as their outdoor space will appreciate the Colsen Tabletop Fire Pit for its compact size that still gives off the ambience of a real flame fire.

Made from concrete, it's fueled by rubbing alcohol for indoor and outdoor use and is smokeless and odorless. Just be sure you're only using 70-91% or greater isopropyl alcohol as fuel. It'll give you a flame for about 40-50 minutes.

Pros & Cons
  • Adjustable flame
  • Tabletop design
  • It comes with lava rocks and a mesh screen
  • Some issues with automatic start -- if this happens, use a lighter and light by hand
  • It doesn't emanate a lot of heat
More Details

Features: Heats up to 40 square feet | Natural lava rocks | 30 x 25 in. 

The Hampton Bay Crossridge Gas Fire Pit not only produces a smokeless flame, but it doubles as a place to put your glass of wine as you're relaxing by the fire. It uses propane to heat up to 40 square feet to give off heat without the smoke or odor of a wood-burning pit.

You can adjust the flame to make it larger or smaller, and its natural slate tabletop makes it an easy place to set up your s'more station. This fire pit comes with the natural lava rocks used to house the fire and a mesh spark screen.

What is the best fire pit?

In our opinion, the best fire pit is the Hampton Bay Piedmont Fire Pit since it's a classic fire pit design that also comes with a crate to grill on.

However, if you're looking for a smokeless option, the Solo Stove Bonfire Pit is an excellent choice and is probably our second-favorite fire pit on this list. But if price, fuel type, and dimensions mean more to you, here is a breakdown of each of our picks. 

Fire Pit


Fuel Type

Dimensions (W x H)

Hampton Bay Piedmont Fire Pit



29.33 x 19.21 in. 




22 x 20 in. 

Solo Stove Bonfire Pit



19.5 x 14 in. 

Colsen Tabletop Fire Pit


Rubbing alcohol

5 x 3.5 in.

Hampton Bay Crossridge Gas Fire Pit



30 x 25 in. 

Which fire pit is right for you?

When shopping for a new fire pit, you should consider what type of fuel it will use as well as price, how large the fire pit is, and whether or not it is capable of producing a smokeless flame. Many budget-friendly fire pits use wood as their primary fuel source, which is perfect for bonfires that are easy on the wallet, but not so great for anyone who wants a smokeless flame. More high-end and compact models use liquid propane gas (like your outdoor grill) or plain rubbing alcohol. 

These types of fire pits are great for anyone who can't easily access firewood as a fuel source as well as anyone who needs a smokeless flame: for densely populated neighborhoods or anyone looking for a more eco-friendly fire pit.

Buy this fire pit...

If you need...

Hampton Bay Piedmont fire pit

A well-rounded and decorative fire pit for your yard or patio


A budget-friendly fire pit for your outdoor entertaining spaces

Solo Stove bonfire pit

A smokeless fire pit for residential neighborhoods

Colsen tabletop fire pit

A compact fire pit for smaller spaces

Hampton Bay Crossridge fire pit

A fire pit that can double as a table when not in use

How did we choose these fire pits?

We know there are a lot of fire pits to choose from, so we combed through popular sites reading reviews and noting the top-rated fire pits for different categories/needs. We considered price, size, and known and trusted brand names when making our final picks. 

Is a gas or wood fire pit better?

It really depends on what you're looking for in a fire pit regarding whether wood-burning or gas-burning is better. Wood-burning fire pits give off more heat than propane or natural gas since they burn hotter. However, they also come with that bonfire smell that can stink up your clothes and hair, sometimes for days.

Gas fire pits are smokeless and odorless, so they are perfect if you just need an ambient setting without the heat and cleanup of a wood-burning pit.

What accessories do you need for a fire pit?

Depending on whether your fire pit is wood-burning or gas-burning, you'll need to buy wood or gas to fuel the fire. A starter log is a great way to get the fire going quickly if it's a wood-burning fire pit. Also, it's probably good to get a fire pit mat if it's wood-burning since the embers and ash can ruin your grass.

Although most fire pits come with them, mesh spark covers, and fire pokers are also handy for wood-burning pits.

And, no matter what kind of fire pit you have, it's always good to get a waterproof fire pit cover so that it won't rust from the weather. They sell covers in all kinds of shapes and sizes, so you'll be able to find one for your fire pit.

Are there alternative fire pits to consider?

Here are a few other worthy options to look into: 

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