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If you’ve ever looked into ways to warm up your backyard, odds are you have heard about fire pits. Of the fuels available, propane comes with several advantages, but then there’s the tank to account for. Hidden tanks mean better looks—and safer, too!, which is never a bad thing. We’ll cover why propane is a great fuel choice and how to select the best propane fire pit with a hidden tank for your yard or patio.
For Safety and Looks, Go with a Propane Fire Pit with a Hidden Tank
For the many among us who like a nice, warm fire, fire pits offer the convenience of starting (and stopping) a blaze with less time and effort. If yours burns wood, your ashes are contained, and you don’t have to worry about fire rings, for example. Propane, however, comes with a few perks you might like.
- Odorless. No matter how long you sit by the fire, you won’t be carrying a week’s worth of smoke smell in your clothes.
- Efficient. Fire pits typically feature a knob you can use to regulate your flame. Getting too hot? Turn it down a notch or two, and you will be burning only as much fuel as you actually need.
- Safe. A great many propane fire pits come with a one-step ignition system. Press a button, and voila! You got yourself a fire. Putting it out is wonderfully simple too, all you do is turn the regulating knob to the ‘off’ position and you’re done.
- Portable. A wood fire pit needs space to hold enough fuel for a decently sized fire. Propane ones, on the other hand, need only a burner and a given amount of glass or lava rocks. For this reason, some of them are so small they can easily come along to any and all outdoor escapades you might have in mind. Same can be said about your fuel: pick up the tank, and take it with you.
- Smokeless. Sit wherever you want without fear of your cozy fire quite literally smoking you out of your seat with every turn of the wind. This, incidentally, makes a propane fire pit much more likely to be allowed when burn bans (restrictions on burning) are issued. It all depends on the region and the type of ban—and it never hurts to ask your local office prior to starting your fire pit—, but your chances are overall better, especially if the fire pit in question is CSA certified.
BTUs, What? Please explain!
This is a term you will hear often when shopping for this kind of product, so it doesn’t hurt to cover it briefly. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and it is equivalent to the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1°F. It is currently the standard unit for measuring heat output of items such as heaters, fire pits, home radiators, towel warmers and more.
This unit is used as a point of reference for getting enough heat into an area such as your living room, or your entire home. In this case, the calculations it requires may be complex, and include a number of factors such as walls (where and how thick), windows (amount, location, height), ceiling (how high and what is above), and more. Open spaces are a different matter, though; the one thing you might want to consider is how cold it gets in your region.
Propane Tank Out of Sight—and Out of the Way!
A fire pit small enough to come along with you will also be too small to hold your propane tank; that’s a trade off any outdoors enthusiast will be okay with. If said fire pit is intended for the backyard, however—and mobility is, therefore, not an issue—, it is far easier to find something whose size will allow it to keep the propane tank within. Not only is that better for aesthetics, it is also safer: zero worry about children of pets accidentally knocking the tank over or tripping over the hose. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of options that tick this box in particular, and also look great while keeping you warm. Honestly, looks are still the main driver for a propane fire pit with a hidden tank! The rest are nice bonuses.
1. Legacy Heating CDF-WMGB28-WK
It’s a fire pit, it’s a table, it’s a fire pit table! The main advantage is, of course, that you have a bit of space to set down your drinks and smaller items, but there’s also the texture on the sides, made to resemble that of wicker and rattan, which makes it an even better fit for your outdoors space. The body and the burner are made in steel, and it is covered with a black powdercoated finish. This one measures 28″ on each size, it’s 24″ tall, and it comes with a lid to cover the top so you can use the whole thing as a table when you don’t need it to keep you warm.
- Optimal use of space, besides the outer edge, thanks to the lid for the top.
- Powdercoated finish boosts the unit’s resistance to the elements.
- Generally praised for being easy enough to put together.
- Door hinge can be a bit off; in this case, door might require a little bit more force to stay shut.
2. Best Choice Products 35×35-inch Propane Fire Pit Table
As this one is lower and therefore closer to the ground, it might be a little more uncomfortable to set your drinks down and pick them back up—if it weren’t for the side table, which stands at a more accessible height, and it is also where your propane tank sits. Made in magnesium oxide, it is available in two finishes, distressed brown and dark gray, the latter making it look closer to an actual concrete fire it without it weighing as much as the real thing would.
Worth noting that the cover for the main fire pit is included with purchase, although there is none for the side table.
- Available in different colors, which makes it easier to find a fit for a specific decorating theme.
- Cover for the main unit is included, which eliminates the need to find it separately; only the side table would need one.
- Paint is reportedly too easy to peel off; unit should be kept covered or in storage when not in use.
3. BAIDE Home Round Natural Stone Top
This one won’t provide you with space for your smaller items (something that is probably easy enough to remedy), but it makes up for it in at least two ways: one is its looks, which should bring an appealing accent to any space, and the second is that its design enables you and your guests to place yourselves a little closer to the fire, should the wind be chillier than average.
‘Variety’ might very well be this one’s middle name. In addition, it offers several bundles to select during purchase, for pairing the fire pit off with items such as a glass wind cover (which can never hurt), or different types of glass pieces to spruce up the flame to your tastes.
- Nice variety of packages available, including a few with glass for those who find them a better sight than lava rocks.
- Round shape makes it easier for one person to roll it to a new location.
- Visible controls, which is not to everyone’s taste.
4. SNAN RY43-0001
You may remember we had mentioned how propane fire pits have a better chance of dodging burn bans, especially if they come with special certification. If this appeals to you, then this table has bonus points from the start, as it comes CSA certified. Made in stainless steel, its finish helps further prevent rust, aside from enhancing its looks.
This one stands out in a variety of ways: instead of the standard lava rocks, it comes with blue glass rocks, which are widely considered to provide a better-looking flame. Furthermore, its feet are adjustable, which allows the table to adapt to ground that is not perfectly horizontal. The ignition system is one-button, which requires AAA batteries.
- Thanks to wind guard, flame will be preserved from stronger breezes, and there is also less worry about drinks or items getting too close to (or into) the fire.
- With lid on, surface space provided is well beyond that offered by most competitors.
- Better for uneven ground than many other fire pits, thanks to adjustable feet.
- Cover is included.
- Tank compartment could make better use of its space, per some customers.
5. Christopher Knight Home Wellington Iron Fire Pit
If all you want is something to warm you up while keeping your tank hidden, then this option might be worth considering: it is a single piece, which means no assembly required— set it down where you need it, plug your tank in, set the lava rocks, and you’re good to go!
Made entirely in iron, it comes with a dark gray finish, and a panel on one side comes off so you can place your propane tank in or take it out. It also comes with a cover, which should be used as often as possible to help prevent decay.
- No assembly required.
- No need to wait for separate boxes, as it is a single piece.
- Strikingly heavier than fire pits made of materials other than iron.
- More vulnerable to the elements, as the finish is mostly intended for aesthetic purposes and thus provides little protection.
The Cozy Pick: SNAN RY43-0001
Keeping the propane tank out of sight and out of reach may be the main goal, but there is nothing wrong with scoring some additional perks, and this one offers more of those than most options out there. Not only does it offer space for your smaller items, it also provides a barrier to keep them from accidentally slipping into the fire, while preserving said fire from the wind. Its footing can be adjusted if the ground is not so even, and when the cover for the middle section is applied you have a perfectly functional table. Overall, it is a pretty solid choice—and the cover it includes, fire glass, and CSA certification don’t hurt, either.