Fire has always been an important part of the human experience.
There is something about gazing into a fire that brings a part of us alive. It’s fascinating. Mesmerizing. And it brings us together.
In our modern world, we’re not using fire for survival but for entertainment. We want fires to be social. We want to share that experience with our friends and families.
So…we increasingly turn to backyard fire pits! And what’s not to love?!?
We can have a fire whenever we want, in the comfort of our own home. We can invite people over and share wine, beer, conversation, and great times.
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Unique Fire Pits
Now that fire pits are so common, there is definitely a group of people that want their fire pits to be a bit less common. (I generally fit into the group that wants things to be “less common”, so count me in!)
It’s more important that the fire pit fits the style and decor of the house, a quirky personality piece, or a favorite theme/hobby/movie. Hint: I’ll describe a Star Wars fire pit shortly!
But how do you find a unique fire pit?
There are some more unique options available commercially, and we’ll explore those in a minute. But you can also create and build your own if you prefer. If you go this route, obviously your only limitations are your creativity and budget.
There are a few things to consider when choosing the ideal fire pit for you. It’s important to decide on the type of fuel first.
Types of Fire Pits
There are several different types of fire pit, and each comes with its own different costs, benefits, and limitations. Let’s take a look at the most common kinds:
Wood Burning Fire Pits
These fire pits are built to burn wood logs to recreate the smell and sound of a “real” fire. Because it is. It gives this warm campfire feeling and many pits in this category are built lightweight and/or with removable wheels for portability.
Not all, of course, but many. This is about as authentic as a fire can be…it’s really a fire.
Propane Fire Pits
Propane is one of the more popular options. They have no ash, no sparks, no dirt, no kindling, just the clear smell and warmth of the fire.
You don’t need wood or even a match to start the fire, all you have to do is flip the switch on and you’ll get pretty close to the same feel as the wood burning fire pit gives.
These are almost the same as the propane fire pits, but they are directly connected to your home’s source of natural gas, where propane fire pits are connected to a tank. Natural gas gives the same feeling as the propane variety, but their sources of energy differ.
Finally, I’m bringing in a unique option! These fire pits are the ones built with a chimney ventilation and a (usually) round opening in front to refuel. I’ve seen most of this type in the Southwest USA and Mexico.
I’ve really only seen wood-fueled chimeneas, but I feel like they deserve their own category.
The reason for the chimney is that it pulls away the smoke and sends it upwards, though it does reduce the heat spread a bit. You have to position yourself somewhat in front of the front opening to receive the warmth of the fire.
Chimeneas are a great option for tighter spaces, or if you want your fire pit to be in a corner of your backyard. If sitting all around the fire isn’t an option anyway, this is a good way to control the smoke and heat direction of your fire pit.
I’ve used one on a back porch for years – the ash is mostly controlled and the smoke goes straight up once things are warmed up. So, it avoids the strange outward smoke randomly following you everywhere you go, as can sometimes happen with a campfire.
See a host of options here.
Build Your Own
If you’re going to build your own fire pit, here are a couple resources to help get you on the right track.
When it comes to fire, this Inept Homeowner defers to the pros. But, if you’re more advanced than me (which isn’t hard!), Lowes has video guides on square, round, and in-ground fire pits.
And DiyNetwork has a step-by-step guide on building a round pit.
Now, if you want to get creative and add your own touches, you’ll have to stray from their advice. My only comment is this: you are creating a place to put fire. PLEASE ensure you know what you’re doing before you go down this path!
Some Unique Fire Pits
Of course, I wanted to pick out some of my favorite unique or custom designs. Let’s explore some of the fun ones I’ve found on amazon.
College Fire Pit
This product is definitely one of our top recommendations. When it comes to the production of fire pits, Patina has made a name for themselves.
These fire pits are inspired by the cool nights and warm days of the California central coast. And, of course, our almost universal love for the college we attended (or root for!)
As of this writing, they offer designs for about 40 different colleges and universities.
The Patina company has been a leader in their industry for the past ten years, so you know the quality is going to be solid. As to how they cut the logos and school names out of steel, the company relied on computer numeric control CNC to make the product and to fix the logo and text on the product.
So, the design is precise! The images on amazon look Photoshopped to me, so if you order one I would expect it will look slightly different than the picture. Which, to me, is a good thing since the images look a bit unnatural.
It’s solidly constructed and it is meant to serve for you a very long time. The fire pit is constructed from the finest heavy-duty steel material and is fitted with a cover, grill, handle, as well as a grated lid.
This brand is very popular not only among alumni, it’s also great for anyone that follow college sports! It is perfect for various kinds of outdoor gatherings, home tailgates, football parties, etc.
During the winter season, family members and friends can gather around the fire pit and keep themselves warm. This means that it can be used for heating as well. Many people have found it useful for decoration as well as camping.
One cool thing, the pit is portable. This means that you can easily take it with you everywhere you go and features strongly built legs designed to withstand fairly rough use.
With portability in mind, the dimensions are listed at 30” diameter and 16” high.
It features a safety ring which can be used as a footrest or you can use it as a handle (when it’s not hot!!!). The handle makes it easy for you to move the pit around. The legs do not wobble. They are solid.
Furthermore, it comes with some accessories. You get a spark screen to limit errant sparks. A Pit poker to ensure that the fire is always stoked. And a BBQ grill to grill your favorite tailgating meals.
It also comes with a free cover. This is important as it will rust if left out in the rain and snow! You may want that look, but if you don’t, be sure to use the cover.
It comes with a five-year warranty against rust through and burn through. In other words, not against rust, but against rust through … no holes.
This is one of the best custom fire pits you can buy, and it is not surprising that it is rated very high.
You can find it here.
Death Star Fire Pit
Well, unlike the patina, this one’s a whole different ballgame. This is customizing on a totally different level. Talk about a custom designed fire pit and this is what you’re talking about.
If you’re a die-hard fan, then this star wars death star fire pit is for you. This custom made fire pit comes in a reconstructed form or shape of the death star, handmade of steel and is absolutely a conversation piece for your yard.
There are actually 2 versions of this one that I found.
One is 30” diameter and can be found here. Its price point is quite a bit lower than the other choice, but there is also less detail in the destruction from Luke and the rest of the rebel x-wing squadron.
As of this writing, it has 3 reviews (2 off-the-charts) and one one-star that I don’t trust. That reciew talks about the images in the listing, not the actual product. So…that’s kind-of meaningless.
It’s really hard to use the star ratings with products like this, as there aren’t thousands and thousands of buyers for a unique item such as this. At least the other two look like they’ve actually used it.
Here’s the other choice. It is a 36” diameter, handmade in one of three color choices, and definitely, has a lot more detail.
It’s also a custom build, so it will take a bit of time to get to you. No two-day delivery on this one! More detail and a bigger fire pit do mean this one has a bit of a higher price point than the other one.
Either way you go, this is a great choice!
Fire Pit Art Third Rock Fire Pit
A work of art doesn’t necessarily mean it has to do with a paint and brush. This fire pit is definitely a work of art… with a bit of humor.
Made from thick carbon steel, this fire pit is one way to watch the world go up in flames – it is a replica of the earth and you can watch the world burn.
The interior of the globe also has an interesting color plate, and a drainage port at the bottom to ensure that you never have stagnant water. Clever. This is a really handy feature that will enable the fire pit to last longer without rusting.
It features iron oxide finishing, as well as patina on the outside, and the interior is coated with paint to also help prevent rusting.
It features a spark guard, as well as stone ground base, and measures 40” high (with the base) and 36” in diameter for the globe.
You will definitely make a statement with this choice in fire pit!
As is the case with all these custom designs, if you want a log rack, you will need to get one separately. We talk a little bit about fire pit accessories here. Just scroll towards the bottom of the page to find accessories.
Vineyard Wine Barrel Rustic Propane Fire Table
For our wine-loving friends, this awesome propane table is really unique and different. Take half a wine barrel and turn it into a fire pit, and you get the idea. This fire pit rates over four stars and is one of the best so far and cannot be ignored.
Finally a fire pit that will not be messy and will suit your patio, or even your backyard, in the most stylish way.
This is just a beautiful sight to behold. It uses a 20-lb standard tank, although it doesn’t come with it and must be purchased separately.
It also gives out 50,000 BTU which provides you with warmth and a very beautiful glow on cool evenings. It has a slate or table top frame and a base with a wood barrel style.
This one is a little closer to a traditional look than a death star, but still unique in a fantastic way.
Wow, who knew that fire pits had so many custom design options?!?
Fire has been with us for a lot longer than any of us have been alive. It’s probably not going anywhere. And this is a fantastic opportunity to tap into one of those unconscious parts of ourselves at the same time as adding to our home decor!
We’ve talked about custom and rather unique items here, but if you want to explore a bit more of the standard options you can check out our fire pits 101 article here.
Whatever style you choose to match your decor, a fire pit will bring together your friends and loved ones in just the right way.