Fire Pit Table Reviews

What should you be looking for when shopping for a Fire Pit Table

1: How is it made and is it good quality

2: Does it fit my space and offer the features I am looking for.

3: Does it fit in my budget.

If you shop with these 3 items in mind you should be be able to find the perfect fire pit table, so lets take a closer look.

Quality:

How is the shopper going to determine the quality of the products they are shopping for? If they are not an engineer how will they know what GFRC, BTU, 304, and powder coating is? They will know if the have read this article and do a little research! The quality of materials used to build fire pit tables varies greatly and at times it is tricky to tell junk from good products without seeing it in person. Here is a little guide for standard materials used

Stainless steel. This is a common metal used for making burners and other components which need to be made from a better material however not all stainless steel is the same there are different grades of stainless and some are better then others. 304 stainless is the most common high quality stainless which most high end BBQ's and kitchen appliances are made from. 316 stainless is commonly refereed to as marine grade and is the highest quality stainless commonly found form steel suppliers. Find more info about stainless here http://www.aerodynealloys.com/products/stainless/properties.php

If the fire pit your looking at does not mention what grade of stainless it is using then you can assume it is a lesser grade like 201 or a China special which has enough nickle in it to make it the right color but rusts almost immediately. If it does not say 304 or 316 you know right away they are cutting corners to make it cheaper. And if the burner is not stainless steel you can assume it will rust out in a few years just like that BBQ for $399 from Home Depot...

Aluminum. The metal is common in patio furniture and is a good material for outdoors because it doesn't rust it oxides but with a protective paint like powder coating it can last a very long time, unless you are near the ocean.

Powder coat. Powder coating is a painting process which is applied in a powder and then backed in an oven which creates a hard surface that is tougher then convention paint see more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powder_coating

GFRC. Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete is a good material for outside but it is heavy and most of the time porous and will stain easily from food and drink spills.

Steel. Mild steel, plane steel, A36, cold rolled and hot rolled are all the kind that rusts and I wouldn't recommend buying any patio furniture made from steel unless it was going to be in the middle of the desert with very low moisture everywhere else it will rust and leave rust marks on tile wood and other flooring surfaces. Even after powder coating eventually it will start to rust if you are by the ocean it happens instantly and if you are in Nevada it might take a few years. Bottom line steel is cheaper then aluminum and much cheaper then stainless and that is why many fire pit tables are made from plain steel.

 

USA made? Some products say "crafted in the USA" which leads me to think that less then 50% is "made in USA" the FTC doesn't seem to even recognize Crafted in the USA here is what they say about made in USA http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus03-complying-made-usa-standard

 

Features

What features do you want in your fire pit table? Some of the common things to think about are

What does the fire look like? Does it come with fire pit glass, lava or logs? Most gas fire pits come with lava and charge you more for fire pit glass or other better looking media. 

What do you want to do with your fire pit table? Do you want to put your feet up on it or do you want to sit at it and eat formally?

The height of the table top will determine how easy it is to use it in the way you want. 17" is the best height for putting your feet up 22"-24" is better for informal eating but is really too high to but your feet on unless you have tall seating and 29"-30" tall is the standard for formal dining.

How much heat will you get from the fire pit? BTU's are a metric which is commonly used to rate the heat output, but can be misleading because they are very hard to actually determine. 40,000 to 60,000 thousand is normal any more then that and it better be a big fire pit...

Below this COOKE Fire Pit Table that has 100,000 BTU fire

oriflamme fire pit

 

Fire Pit Table Reviews

Ok here it is the facts about different Fire pit tables.

COOKE fire pit tables

First Cooke has 2 different lines a COOKE designer line and the So Cal consumer line and both are made in California.

The COOKE line is mostly for architects, designers and the affluent consumer. The standard table base comes in 304 stainless steel but is available in marine grade 316 stainless and then the finish options are endless but copper plating and powder coating in various colors are most common. These bases have the ultimate in corrosion resistance and are well suited for beach front installations. The tops are mostly made from solid granite which is also very durable next to the ocean. (Shown above and below). The burners are made for 304 stainless steel and the fuel can be propane, natural gas, bio ethanol, wood or what ever you want but Propane and Natural gas are the most common.

outdoor fire pit

The So Cal line is sold online and in retail stores and is at a lower price point for the more average shopper. The bases are made from aluminum and then powder coated so they are very durable and wont rust but they are not as durable as stainless steel and are not recommended for ocean front use.

Both the COOKE and So Cal collections have

 

  • High quality 304 stainless steel burner
  • High quality 304 stainless steel pan
  • High quality 304 stainless steel fire pit pan cover which allows full use of the table top when the fire pit is in use.
  • High quality stainless steel non whistling flex line with brass fittings
  • Brass fittings on all connections
  • Fire pit glass is included
  • Accesses door for easy removal and to hide a propane tank
  • 25 year warranty on burners
  • optional solid granite tops
  • optional glass wind screen
  • optional cloth cover

 

 

shop here http://www.socalfirepits.com/

propane fire pit

OW Lee Fire pit Tables

I will be the first to say OW Lee has been making fire pit tables for a long time they were one of the first and continue to be a top seller across the country. They are in most patio furniture stores and can be found online form many different stores.

The bases of OW tables are made from galvanized mild steel and wrought iron. Both are steel that could rust and leave rust marks on flooring surfaces if the paint is compromised and it is in a damp climate. The tops are mostly porcelain tile which are glued together and have a 2 year warranty, they do have some cast aluminum tops which would be very durable.

propane fire pit tables

 

American Fyre Designs

Formally known as DBG (designs by Gary) is another long time manufacture of fire pit tables now owned by the RH Peterson company who manufactures the majority of components in the USA.

The Bases and tops are made from GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete) and will not rust but they are heavy and cumbersome so once the table is in place do not plan on moving it easily which could be a good thing if you plan on putting it in a windy area. GFRC is very porous and prone to staining from food spills so I would recommend getting the granite inserts like the one shown below. They are a great product and allow for shapes and details that too difficult to achieve with metal. Shop here

propane fire pit tables southern california

Something to consider when shopping for a Fire Pit Table

If it is propane where is the tank and what type of tank is used? Some table manufactures offer low tables that hide a horizontal propane tank, you might think this is better then having a hose coming out the bottom. Also consider where you live and if a special tank is going to be difficult to refill because you live in a dense city and there are not many gas stations that refill propane tanks. Many urban places have tank exchanges for normal BBQ tanks instead of tank filling, so a fire pit table that takes a normal BBQ tank might be easier for you.

Changing the propane tank or refueling a fire pit table can be an important feature to think about when shopping, some look to be more difficult then others since they require you have to lift out the burner to change the tank this would be tricky when the burner is hot, if you run out of gas during a party you have to wait for it to cool down before swapping the tank. Most fire pit tables have some kind of door for changing the tank but it is worth asking about when shopping.

propane firepit

fire pit tables reviews

 

Restoration Hardware

These tables are made from fiber cast concrete and they say "like natural stone fiber cast concrete will develop a patina when left outdoors" I would have to say that is a nice way of putting it. Although they do have a stainless steel pan and burner but they are made overseas and the grade of stainless is not listed.

Since the tank doesn't fit under the table it has to have a hose running to it. This means you have to walk over an exposed hose and they tank sits next to your seating and requires buying an additional cover to hide it.

The glass wind screen looks good in the picture but it is 4 loose peaces of glass that sit in slots in the top so if you ever take it off you have holes in the top. here is their product description. http://images.restorationhardware.com/content/catalog/tearsheets/Fire_Propane.pdf

socal fire pits

 

Brown Jordan Fire pits

The fire pits are not really fire pit tables but more of just a fire pit since the top doesn't really overhang the base allowing for foot room and they are too low for comfortable table use. The fire pits that brown Jordan sells are very similar to the fire pits that Restoration Hardware sells, the country of origin is not listed and they are similar in style and material.

The base and top of the fire pits are made from FRC (fiber reinforced concrete) similar to GFRC but the type of fiber is not specified and although they say Limited life time warranty it goes on to say it doesn't really cover anything "Chips and scratches are not covered by warranty. Natural variation in color, texture and porosity may occur with FRC products and are considered inherent and valued qualities of the material. Non-structural hairline cracks are possible and shall not be considered a manufacturing defect." They do have a 2 year warranty on their stainless steel components. Click here to read more

The burner is an Eco Smart ethanol burner which requires pouring in liquid ethanol and lighting it. These burners are great for indoor use but in my opinion they are not as well suited for outdoor use since they do not put off that much heat (around 15,000 BTU) and they can fill with water during even light rain and they do not appear to have a cover. Also refueling during a party if you run out would be tricky since the fire pit would be hot and you have to pour liquid in it from above click here to see video;. Flame adjustment is done by sliding the lid over the fire pit opening with a special tool which is also tricky compared to simply turning a knob.

Price is also a factor since they seem to be expensive considering the materials. The below Flow is $4290

restoration hardware firepit

 

Tropitone Fire pit tables

fire pit table

Tropitone has a large fire pit collection which seems to have all kinds of sizes and optional powder coat colors. The tables are made from powder coated aluminum and the burner and pan are made from stainless steel. The burner is rated at 90,000 BTU's which for the size seems very high. The table tops and bases are made from cast aluminum or welded together aluminum tubes and sheet. They have been making outdoor furniture since 1954 and are a leader in the commercial market so the quality of the base and top are of commercial standards so they will last a long time in residential outdoor living conditions.

 

fire table

 

OK that is it for now I will continue to write more about fire pit tables so come back soon!