The cost of modern gas or propane fire pits is variable and can range for several reasons. Therefore it’s essential to consider a number of factors when comparing different brands and models, particularly when it comes to the quality and longevity and warranties of the product. This can depend on the materials used to construct the appliance, such as the type of concrete or metal used for the container and the burner components.
Factors to consider when purchasing a fire pit:
Materials: The type and quality of materials used in the manufacturing of a fire pit can significantly impact its cost. Fire pits can be made from a variety of materials such as concrete (either UHPC or GFRC), brass, steel, cast iron, aluminum, copper, or even brick. Higher-quality materials or intricate designs may contribute to a higher price.
Labour: On the surface it may appear less expensive to build the fire pit from stone or pavers but the cost of labour depends on the complexity of the build and the material itself also adds up.
Size and Design: Logically, larger fire pits or those with more intricate designs may cost more due to the increased material requirements and the complexity of manufacturing. Additionally, custom or artisanal designs can command higher prices.
(Solus Decor Hemi 26” vs Hemi 48” firebowl)
Brand: Established brands with a reputation for quality may price their fire pits higher. The brand’s reputation, warranty, and customer service can be factors in the pricing. Some brands, like Solus Decor manufacture their products in North America, while less expensive brands are made overseas primarily in China.
Warranties: Lessor brands have lessor warranties (often 1-2 years). This is indicative of materials that should not really be considered for an outdoor fire pit which needs to withstand varying climates such as freeze-thaw cycles, rain and extreme temperature variances.
Features and Accessories: Modern gas fire pits and fire tables can come with various features such as all weather covers, glass windshields, metal or wood table tops and drinks rings, cooking grates, spark screens and lids. There are also generally options for different fire pit toppings, such as lava rock, fire stones, fire glass or fire logs. The inclusion of these features can contribute to a higher price due to greater functionality, safety and aesthetic appeal.
(Solus Decor Ipe Hardwood Tabletop and our Metal Drinks Ring)
Fuel Type: The type of fuel a fire pit uses can affect its cost. Modern gas fire pits, for example, might be more expensive than wood-burning ones due to the added complexity of the gas components and certification.
Certification: To certify modern gas fire pits as an appliance is expensive in not money but time. Certification requires ongoing testing of burners and active testing of the burners before it leaves the facility. However, this is not the case with an off the shelf burner installation.
Ease of Installation: Wood fire pits don’t require any installation, so they are generally favoured when clients don’t want their fire pit to be a permanent piece of garden furniture. Whereas gas fire pits do require professional installation, and the complexity of installation can influence the overall cost.
Location and Regulations: Local building codes and regulations may impact the design and construction of a fire pit. Modern gas fire pits or fire tables ( LPG or NG ) are designed to comply with specific regulations and this costs more. Certification as an appliance (not just the burner) is becoming more and more a requirement of individual states and provinces. As an example Massachusetts requires approval by the local council prior to the installation of permanent fire pits.
Heat Output: Higher quality modern fire pits are designed and calibrated for maximum heat and output. For example, many fire pits lose heat to the bottom of the firepit due to heat sink and poor design. This is often indicated by a fire pit’s inability to be put on a wood deck or combustible surface. However, Solus Decor designs its burners to project heat up and out, allowing the bowl to remain cold, meaning no heat is lost to the bottom. You can place Solus fire pits directly on wood decks or any other surface. Although higher quality fire pits tend to have a high heat output, there is a point where too much heat can pose a problem. An average furnace to heat a home is between 80- 100,000 btus. Reputable companies would not produce a product with a 200,000 or 300,000 btu burner, as it is a ridiculous amount of heat. Burners like this exist but are totally impractical not to mention dangerous, they are for bravado, not for brains. Not to mention that the propane or gas bill that would accompany this burner would be astronomical.
To conclude, when comparing fire pits it is crucial to consider your specific needs, preferences, and budget. For instance, what are your expectations for the longevity of the product and the quality of its finish? How do you expect it to look 5, 10, or 15 years from now? It is critical to understand what features are essential for your use, and balance those against your budget to find the best value for your requirements.