If you’re short on time and just want to know what the best portable propane fire pit is, then we recommend the Outland Firebowl 870 Premium Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit with Cover & Carry Kit as the best one.
For fire pits, wood, charcoal, and gas are the fuel types you will commonly come across. Wood gives you the closest match to a real campfire, but propane gas burns cleaner and is more convenient. Portable propane pits are less of a hassle for your outdoor adventure. In this article, we’ve helped you to identify the best portable propane fire pit for the great outdoors.
In this article, we’re going to be reviewing the following portable propane fire pits:
- Heininger 5995 58,000 BTU Portable Propane Outdoor Fire Pit
- Outland Firebowl 870 Premium Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit with Cover & Carry Kit, 19-Inch Diameter 58,000 BTU Auto-Ignition
- Fire Sense Sporty Campfire Portable 15 Inch Gas Steel Fire Pit | Mocha Finish | 60,000 BTU Output | Uses 20 Pound Propane Tank | Removable Lid with Clamps, Regulator, 5 Foot Hose, and Lava Rock
- Bond Manufacturing 67836 54,000 BTU Aurora Camping, Backyard, Tailgating, Hunting, and Patio. Locking Lid & Carry Handle Portable Steel Propane Gas Fire Pit Outdoor Firebowl, 18.5″, Bronze
- Camp Chef Redwood Portable Propane Fire Pit
Considerations for Portable Propane Fire Pits
How Propane Fire Pits Work
You will need a liquid propane tank for gas fire pits. A connector hose for connecting the tank should come with the pit. If you are at home, it is possible to connect the fire pit to your home’s gas line. The pit will have knobs to turn it on and off. Some let you control the height of the flames. You must read the instructions for using a propane tank and fire pit if this is your first time. Handle your propane tank with care to prevent fire damage.
The burner can emit over 50,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units). This is enough heat to create a cozy atmosphere for you at home underneath your hardtop gazebo. A portable propane fire pit allows you to take it with you on your next camping or road trip. Regardless of where you are using your unit, turn it off before going to bed for safety reasons. Close the valve on the propane tank to turn the pit off completely.
Rules & Regs
If you plan on firing up the pit at a forest, national, or state park, know the laws. Usually, you can find signs in these places that tell you what you can or can’t do. Otherwise, find the website or phone number of the public area to find out. Some places like California issue campfire permits. Check with your state first to see if they have these types of requirements. If you are on a managed developed campground, ask management for permission, first.
What to Look For
Style & Shape
Although there are some lighter color pits, most are black or copper-colored. Find a color that complements your home or patio. Also, pay attention to the cut-out patterns too. If you’re camping or chilling in the gazebo at night, the light coming through this cut out can add to the ambiance.
You will find portable propane pits in the round, square, and rectangular shapes. From an artistic point of view, the round shape goes well with a patio deck with curves. If the patio has straight lines, a square shape might be a better compliment. The rectangle-shaped pits are used a lot when there are more people to entertain. This one’s good for about 12 people. Consider the weight because if it’s too heavy for you, we can’t call it portable.
Size & Weight
You want something light enough to carry and not break your back. After all, it’s supposed to be portable. On average, they weigh between 14-25 pounds. This should be enough to lift into your vehicle. Don’t forget that the standard propane tank is 20 pounds. The 18-inch fire pits are small and good for a few people in a group.
Handles & Carrying Case
Most portable fire pits will come with a handle or carrying case. A carrying case will protect the unit from cosmetic damages. You’ll find some that have the locking lid as a handle. We prefer the case as a handle or a strap that surrounds the pit with its lid on.
Reading the instructions for safe handling of your propane tank and fire pit. Also, look for the CSA mark of approval on your fire pit. The mark means it got tested and met North American standards requirements.
Propane Fire Pit Pros
Fast Electric Start
You don’t need to ignite it with a match or lighter. No logs are required. With the touch of a button or turn of the dial, the heat cometh with no smoke.
Easy Heat Control
Control the heat and get it to your comfort zone by adjusting the dial notch by notch.
Propane is more affordable and Eco Friendly.
Propane gas is a lower budget fuel source compared to wood.
Since there is no wood, smoke, or ashes to deal with, propane is more eco-friendly than the other fuel types.
Propane Fire Pit Cons
Not Like Real Fire
They come close to the real thing but come up short here. There’s nothing quite like the feel and look of real wood or charcoal fire.
Well, at least the propane pit is safer for the right hardtop gazebo.
Can I Cook on It?
Although some roast hot dogs and marshmallows, you should not cook on the pit. It is for heating purposes. If you were to try and cook steak and ribs, you will exacerbate the fire. The drippings from the food would fall into the fire pit and you will have a mess to clean too.
About Lava Rocks
Most propane fire pits will come with lava rocks. These rocks are the medium for even heat distribution. Some rocks may need ‘curing’ to get the best out of them. You cure them by setting up your firepit, turning it on high, and allow it to ‘cook’ the rocks for about 10 minutes. You must keep a good safe distance during this time because sometimes the rocks may crack and pop a little. After 10 minutes, you’re done with that. Go back to your low setting or whatever your desired heat level is.
Portable Propane Fire Pit Reviews
The Heininger portable propane fire pit is lightweight and easy to carry. It weighs 22 pounds and has a nice flame shape cut out.
Assembly is rather easy. You will take the pit out of the box and pour the lava rocks inside. The instructions tell you which order to have your rocks and there are 4 bags of them. You will put the smaller rocks in first. Then, go up in size until the largest rocks are on top. This pit does not have an electric fire starter, so you have to ignite the fire with a long lighter or toss a match.
The flames are good enough to keep people warm and you control it by turning the dial. It takes about 15 minutes for your pile of rocks to heat up and produce a reasonable flame size, so be patient.
Turn your propane tank on slowly or you will trip the tank’s regulator. If you trip it, it will reduce the flow and your pit won’t get enough heat or flame. Your standard 20-pound tank should last about 7 or 8 hours on the low setting.
- Lights quickly
- Easy to assemble
- Heat good enough for a group of 6 people
- 10-foot long hose to connect with propane tank
- No lid, case, or straps (sold separately)
- No electric start (auto-ignition) that ignites the fire
Outland Firebowl 870 Premium Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit with Cover & Carry Kit, 19-Inch Diameter 58,000 BTU Auto-Ignition
Weighing 24.5 pounds, the Outland 870 model is lightweight and easy to carry. It’s sturdy enough to last a long time. There is not much of an assembly. Take it out of the box and place the rocks inside to get started.
The great thing about the Outland 870 is that it has an auto-ignition system instead of using long wand lighters. We have found some people experience issues with auto-ignition working. Read the instructions on how to operate everything and you should be fine.
To be clear, there is no case to put the unit in, but there is a strap and a lid to cover the bowl for easy carry.
The heat is great and can support a group of 6 to 8 people.
- Easy to carry (includes lid and straps)
- 10-foot hose for connecting with propane tank
- No case
Fire Sense Sporty Campfire Portable 15 Inch Gas Steel Fire Pit | Mocha Finish | 60,000 BTU Output | Uses 20 Pound Propane Tank | Removable Lid with Clamps, Regulator, 5 Foot Hose, and Lava Rock
The Fire Sense fire pit is about 17 pounds and 15 inches tall so, it’s pretty lightweight and compact. It’s folding legs and locking lid with a handle make it easy to carry. We recommend you keep the box. The box has a cut out at the top where the handle sticks out. You should use the box as a transport carrying case.
We’ve found that it puts out a lot of heat for its size and the product emits about 60,000 BTU. There is enough heat for a small circle of people and it will run about 8 to 10 hours on a 20 pound propane tank.
The product is built well for the money. It has a bronze color and diamond pattern cutouts all around. Yet, the hose connecting the propane tank to the unit is too short at 5 feet.
- Folding legs
- The locking lid functions as a handle as well
- The box can function as a carrying case
- Auto-ignition system
- Short 5-foot hose
Bond Manufacturing 67836 54,000 BTU Aurora Camping, Backyard, Tailgating, Hunting and Patio. Locking Lid & Carry Handle Portable Steel Propane Gas Fire Pit Outdoor Firebowl, 18.5″, Bronze
18 pounds, 18 inches wide, and about 15 inches high qualify for portability. This Bond fire pit has a locking lid with a handle for easy transport. One issue with the locking lid is that it may rotate the other direction while carrying. When this happens, it will open, your unit will fall, and your rocks will spill out. Oops.
This unit has a nice bronze color with a lot of diamond shape cutouts that you’ll find visually pleasing. There is an option for black as well.
It emits enough heat for a small group of 4 to 6 people. The auto-ignition is a little tricky and you may find it inconsistent. We recommend you have a long lighter just in case you can’t get it to start. Keep your face away from it when you start it because it could surprisingly let out a large flame.
- Good build for the money
- Locking Lid
- 10 feet hose
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- The auto-ignition doesn’t function well
- We think it should come with more lava rocks
The Camp Chef is our big boy in this article, weighing 33 pounds and is about 21 inches high. This one comes with a carrying case for easy transport. Assembly is easy but, you may experience some difficulty installing the upper ring. The problem is trying to fit it properly into the unit. That ring does remain cool though once you have your fire going. Installing this is optional.
It puts out a lot of heat for a small group of 4 to 6 people.
The pit comes with 4 metal roasting sticks for marshmallows and hot dogs. The sticks can get quite hot, so be careful how you use them.
For aesthetics, the designs have tree cutouts around the bowl. The hose is 5 feet which is short for our taste. We really like a 10-foot hose keeping the propane tank away from the fire pit.
- Comes with carrying case
- Built-in ignition
- The heaviest one in this article, but still easy to carry
- Some assembly issues with the top ring
- Short hose (5-feet)
- No lid
The Winner Goes To:
The Outland Firebowl 870 is our number one pick. Compared to the other’s pros and cons, we find a good balance here. The weight is in the middle of the other fire pits and it gives us a good sense of durability along with its functions. Its made of high-quality steel. The heat is satisfactory. There are few problems with this unit. The auto-ignition functions well.
For backup, always have a lighter for any auto-ignition fire pit. Two of the products above had locking lids with one of those having issues with it staying locked. The Outland 870 has a strap that holds the lid down and functions as a handle. There is an option to buy a case separately, but carrying it is easy with what’s included.