These Are the Best Fire Pits to Use for Outdoor Cooking

Grill burgers, toast marshmallows, or simply bask in the warm glow of these top-rated picks.

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Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit
Photo: Courtesy of Breeo

There's a lot to love about a fire pit. They give off warmth, create a cozy ambience, and can even be used to toast marshmallows or grill entire meals—assuming you have the right model, that is. If you're in the market for a fire pit and interested in something dual purpose (aesthetic and functional), an actual cooking surface is a must. "A pit that's designed with outdoor cooking in mind will come with adjustable fire grates, or even a griddle-style cooking surface," Matthew Eads, cookbook author, gourmet griller, and founder of the blog Grillseeker, says. Adjustable cooking grates allow you to cook food at various heights above the fire, thus controlling the temperature.

If you're used to cooking on a grill, know that cooking over a fire pit is slightly different and comes with its own nuances and challenges. "With a grill, you have the ability to create multiple zones of heat, and when you close the lid you create what is essentially an oven," Eads says. "With a fire pit, multiple zones are harder to achieve so cooking surface heat is controlled by proximity to the fire, making an adjustable height grate very important." Since a fire pit doesn't have a lid, Eads recommends using a cast iron Dutch oven for cooking large cuts of meat or when baking biscuits, cobbler, and the like. If you're new to cooking over a fire pit, he recommends starting with inexpensive foods (like hot dogs) to hone your skills.

One more thing to remember: Fire pits get quite hot. Setting them on non-combustible surfaces like concrete are ideal, but if you're planning to put one on your wooden deck you'll want to look into heat liners and pay close attention to product specifications to ensure you'll be able to use it safely.

Top Picks

Best Smokeless

Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit
Courtesy of Breeo

Love cooking over an open flame but not so into dealing with a ton of smoke? Enter the Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit, a trendsetter far as smokeless fire pits are concerned. The company claims their fire pits burn their own smoke using X Airflow technology and double-wall convection, meaning that you can focus on grilling without getting smoke in your eyes. This model can cook enough food for three to seven people, and an optional SearPlate rim allows you to cook directly on the fire pit. We'd recommend also picking up their adjustable Outpost grill, which can also be stuck into the ground and used over campfires.

Shop Now: Breeo X Series 24 Smokeless Fire Pit, $579,

Best Multitasker

Signstek 32-inch Steel Fire Pit
Courtesy of Amazon

Cook up a storm over this fire pit that's outfitted with two grills and a rotating fork. There's even a small cookware rack that you can hang utensils (like long tongs and basting brushes) from. If you're cooking for a crowd, you can grill burger patties, chicken wings, kebabs, and more—all at the same time. It's made of alloy steel and iron, coated with a high temperature-resistant paint that prevents rusting and makes it easier to clean. (Some assembly is required.)

Shop Now: Signstek 32-inch Steel Fire Pit, $138.99,

Best with Attached Grate

Bali Outdoors Wood Burning Fire Pit
Courtesy of Amazon

The attached cooking grate on this fire pit measures 18.7 inches across and can swivel 360 degrees, be moved up and down, and can also be taken apart. Since cooking over a fire pit means you inherently have less temperature control than you would when cooking on a grill, these features help you take back some of that control. A circular steel ring attached to four legs lends extra stability to this fire pit.

Shop Now: Bali Outdoors Wood Burning Fire Pit, $167.99,

Best Splurge

Arteflame Classic 40 Grill with Low Round Base
Courtesy of Arteflame

If you've got money to "burn" or are super into cooking over and sitting around a fire pit, this high-end option excels in form and function. Elevate your outdoor cooking setup with this sleek grill that heats from the center out. Simply build a wood or charcoal fire in the center to heat up the cooktop. The grill is designed so that the surfaces closest to the center are the hottest, with the temperature decreasing as you approach the outer edges, allowing you to cook foods at various temperatures simultaneously. And when you're not grilling, the Arteflame is a beautiful fire bowl to gather around.

Shop Now: Arteflame Classic 40'' Grill with Low Round Base, $2,095,

Best Adjustable Height

Barebones Cowboy Fire Pit Grill
Courtesy of Barebones

Portable enough for camping trips, while also sturdy enough for regular backyard cookouts, the Barebones Cowboy Fire Pit Grill is simple and straightforward. Made of just three parts (a grill, a pole, and a grate), it's a cooking and entertaining hub all in one. The pole allows you to easily adjust the height of the cooking grate and therefore control the temperature of whatever you're cooking. The manufacturer notes that this fire pit is not meant to be stored outside for long periods of time; extended exposure to moisture may cause rust and other premature wear and tear.

Shop Now: Barebones Cowboy Fire Pit Grill, $349,

Best Concrete

Gray Wharden Concrete Wood Burning Outdoor Fire Pit
Courtesy of Wayfair

For a modern accent to your outdoor living space, check out this fire pit with a concrete base. It comes with a poker, a mesh screen to protect you from stray sparks, and a removable stainless steel rack. When you're not grilling up a feast, enjoy the classic stone look and calming vibes of an open fire. One important note: This fire pit cannot be placed on a wooden deck.

Shop Now: Gray Wharden Concrete Wood Burning Outdoor Fire Pit, $169.99,

Best Budget

Bonnlo 32 inch Outdoor Fire Pit with Cooking Grill
Courtesy of Amazon

Last but certainly not least, this under-$100 pick is great for gathering around and roasting everything from marshmallows to steaks. It comes with a protective cover, which keeps ashes and sparks from flying out, plus holes in the bottom for air flow and to allow water to escape. It also comes with a poker to lift the screen off or set it over the fire pit. It's big enough for four to eight people to sit around and warm up on a chilly night.

Shop Now: Bonnlo 32'' Outdoor Fire Pit with Cooking Grill, $98.99,

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