There is nothing quite like an outdoor fire table to add ambiance and sophistication to an outdoor space. Not only beautiful to look at, they add plenty of functionality as well. Patio fire features are perfect for spaces small and large, and can be incorporated into every kind of style, including modern, contemporary, traditional, and especially rustic. They help create unforgettable moments, such as romantic dinners under the stars, or curling up with a good book and a blanket on your outdoor sofa. During the summertime, they help you enjoy the beauty of the outdoors after the sun goes down. When the temperature goes down in the wintertime, they can help keep your guests warm and comfortable.
If this is your first time shopping for a fire table, there are important factors to take into consideration. Safety is important when it comes to all things fire related. Therefore it is important to carefully consider placement and your surroundings. It’s also very important to take note of any specific instructions provided by the manufacturer, as they will give you the most important safety information. Clearance height should be taken note of if you have a deck, umbrella, canopy, etc.
Propane vs. Natural Gas
Most manufacturers will have both propane and natural gas options available for their products. One is not better than the other, it all depends on your needs. Some customers prefer natural gas because they can run a line underneath the ground and come up directly where the table is located. That way there is no visible gas line running on the ground from the propane tank to the fire table.
If you must use a propane tank, look for models that offer a propane tank cover/end table. These are perfect for keeping the tank hidden away but also function as an end table for setting down food and drinks. If you really hate seeing that propane hose on the ground, an outdoor rug is a good option for covering it up. You will still see a bump where the hose is, but it will be much less noticeable. Dining height fire tables can offer the convenience of storing the tank inside.
Shape: Square, Rectangular or Round?
Trying to decide what shape is best for you? Some shapes work better than others depending on how you use your space. A square or round table is great for conversation areas where people can gather around and enjoy each other’s company. A rectangular table works well in large open spaces, so they are perfect for parties where guests are more spread out. If you already have outdoor wicker furniture such as a sofa set, either table would work well depending on your configuration. Smaller sets would benefit from a square or round, while larger ones look great with large rectangular fire tables.
Height: Dining or Chat?
Can’t decide between dining and chat height? Dining height is great if you eat outdoors regularly or enjoy those romantic dinners under the stars. Being able to use your new fire table for dining is a wonderful convenience. If your space is more conversational, chat height would work better. Like a coffee table in your living room, a chat height table offers plenty of functionality and convenience when sitting around with a group of friends enjoying snacks and drinks. A simple joy of having a chat height fire table is the ability to sit back and put your feet up.
BTU strength (British Thermal Units) is important to consider because it has a direct correlation with the amount of heat and flame size created. For most fire tables, anything above 50,000 BTU’s will work well. This will create a flame height of 6” to 10” and will be felt 3 to 5 feet away in cold windy weather. If you plan to use fire glass or other types of media on top of the burner, these will diffuse the flow of gas. Therefore the larger the media, the more BTU’s.
The burner is the most critical piece of equipment because if it does not work, your fire table would just be an oversized paperweight. It’s important to look for burners that are safety tested and use high quality stainless steel. Safety tests ensure the burner will do its job cleanly and is safe to operate. High grade stainless steel will ensure a long life and help minimize rusting. Recessed burners are a smart option for windy areas where the flame could use a little extra protection around it. Another option for this scenario are glass wind guards made from tempered glass. Like the stainless steel, glass wind guards are reflective and add to the overall effect of the flames.
The more reliable the ignition system, the longer you’ll be enjoying your new fire table. This is the reason many people prefer a match light ignition system over an electronic ignition system (EIS). EIS offers the convenience of a quick and easy ignition but the electronic mechanism can break down, making your fire table useless until it can be replaced by the manufacturer. With a match light ignition system if the gas can flow, the fire can be ignited.
Decorative fire glass, as well as rocks and logs are a personal preference but there are some key points to remember. Glass beads allow a better flow of gas compared to shattered fire glass pieces. Glass beads are very reflective and add a lot to the look of the fire, making it more dramatic. For rustic settings, rock and log media add to the look of the space.
A key valve is a common feature for natural gas fire pits because the fuel source needs to be controlled. But they work well for both types because they allow the owner to take more safety precautions. When the key valve is removed, only the person holding the key can adjust the fuel again. This is perfect when you have mischievous kids who might be tempted to play with the fire controls.