Ethanol Fire Pits Vs. Gas and Wood Fire Pits: Pros and Cons You Need to Know

Ethanol fire pit Are you looking for the perfect outdoor fire pit to add to your backyard? This can be a tricky decision! Generally, there are three options to choose from: wood fire pits, gas fire pits, and ethanol fire pits. But, which type of fire pit is the best option?   In this article, we’re taking a look at the pros and cons of each type of fire pit to help you decide which option is best for you.

Wood Fire Pits

Wood Fire Pit Wood burning fire pits are one of the most traditional fire pits; the smell of firewood burning makes them nostalgic in nature. For a long time, they have been a backyard staple. The dancing flame, aesthetic, and simplicity have been their redeeming features, but there are pros and cons to having a wood fire pit.

The Pros of Wood Fire Pits

When it comes to the pros of wood-burning fireplaces, there are plenty that you could focus on. There are many reasons why individuals choose wood fire pits instead of other alternatives.

Feels like a Traditional Campfire

One of the biggest reasons that wood-burning fire pits are chosen is that they evoke that campfire feel. Gathering around a campfire is one of the oldest social gathering points. Whether it’s the smell of burning wood, the crackling and pops of the fire or the warmth of the dancing flame, it brings back those nostalgic feelings.

 Good Source of Heat

Wood burning fire pits are a great source of heat. On average, the burn time is approximately 3-4 hours, depending on how many logs you add in. Wood burning fires are fantastic ways to stay warm and have a great ambient feel all year round.

The Cons of Wood Fire Pits

With all that being said, wood burning fire pits do have a number of cons. Although heavily nostalgic, times are changing, and wood burning fire pits do begin to show their age.

Safety Concerns

As lovely as wood burning fire pits are, they do pose a big safety concern. Open fires are an issue because they can cause burns. The ash and embers of a wood fire cannot be left unattended, even after the initial fire is out, as the embers can reignite Wood fire pits retain their heat even once the flame dies, which increases the chances of burns if you are moving certain components like a metal cover. Aside from burns, there is also the potential for injury with firewood. Whether you cut it yourself or buy it pre-cut, splinters and cuts can be common.

 Smoke & Sparks

As much as we love the crack and pop of the fire, sparks and embers have been known to potentially start other fires without warning. Wood fire pits also have harmful emissions. They are associated with the emissions of toxic compounds such as nitrogen oxides and chlorinated dioxins, which are harmful to the environment. Smoke inhalation is another con of wood fire pits since the wood burns and releases harmful compounds into the air.  Inhaling this smoke for an extended period of time is not good for your health. Health Canada advises caution since smoke inhalation can irritate an individual’s eyes and throat.

Gas Fire Pits

Gas Fire pit One of the more common choices for fire pits, especially in the more modern times, is gas fire pits. Gas fire pits can come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and run on natural gas or propane. Gas is not only a beautiful choice but also has the versatility that is desired by many.

The Pros of Gas Fire Pits

Gas fire pits boast a variety of pros. From cleaner burning when compared to traditional pits to the ease of ignition, or even their indoor/outdoor versatility, there are plenty of reasons why gas fire pits can be a fantastic option for specific individuals.

Easy to Light

One of the best features of gas fire pits is the instant gratification you get from lighting them with a flick of a switch. Since gas fire pits have a line of gas running to them, they can easily be lit day or night, sunshine or rain.

Relatively Clean Burning

Unlike their wood-burning cousin, gas fire pits are more efficient. Gas burns more cleanly and has fewer emissions into the atmosphere. When compared against wood, natural gas produces 99% fewer emissions than a wood fire pit.

The Cons of Gas Fire Pits

Now gas fire pits can be a great option, but there are a couple of pitfalls that need consideration. Although gas fire pits boast some flexibility in design, there are other cons like the production of heat, expenses, and installation.

 Produce Less Heat

Gas fire pits can run on two types of fuel: natural gas or liquid propane. Both types provide a similar amount of heat, but gas fire pits do tend to have a lower BTU output rating which means they don’t produce as much heat. It is also worth noting that a natural gas fire pit will use more gas than a propane fire pit to achieve the same amount of heat.

 More Expensive

There is more of a costly price tag when installing a gas fire pit since it has a lengthy installation process and requires professional involvement. Another factor with gas fire pits is that you will need to pay for maintenance. The burner and fixtures, such as valves and pipes, need to be regularly inspected to ensure safety and efficiency.

 Difficult Installation

Gas fire pits require professional installation since gas lines need to be implemented, and an electrical connection will also have to be installed. A licensed professional will be required to ensure that the connection, ventilation and gas supply are all installed correctly.

Ethanol Fire Pits

Ethanol fire pit Finally, we have reached ethanol fire pits. Ethanol fireplaces have been increasing in popularity for a number of reasons over the years. Whether it’s the benefit of the ecosmart fire or their portability, ethanol fire pits are a wonderful alternative to other similar products.

 The Pros of Ethanol Fire Pits

The pros of an ethanol fire pit can be a lengthy list, so we have simplified it down to these key points in the summary below. Since it can be customized in many different shapes, sizes, and finishes, there are many benefits to having an ethanol fire pit.


One of the most prevalent benefits of an ethanol fire pit is that they are one of the most environmentally friendly solutions. Ethanol is a renewable resource and it’s created from plant by-products. These by-products come from the harvesting of crops like sugarcane, corn and even grapes.

Low Maintenance

Another redeeming feature of ethanol fire pits is that they are extremely low maintenance. Since most ethanol fire pits are made of stainless steel and don’t have any big moving parts, their cleaning and maintenance are minimal when compared to other fire pits like gas or wood.

 No Venting Required

When ethanol fire pits are lit, bioethanol fuel doesn’t emit any smoke or harmful toxins. This being said, ethanol fire pits do not require any costly ventilation systems to be implemented into your home. You can leave the chimney, vent and flue in the past.


As demonstrated in the elements above, ethanol fire pits are a great affordable option. Aside from being wonderfully low-maintenance, they are also one of the simpler installations and do not require professional installation. One of the only costs associated with ethanol fire pits is the purchase of fuel, but biofuel is very affordable and lasts a while as well!

The Cons of Ethanol Fire Pits

The purpose you want your fire pit to serve will heavily dictate whether an ethanol fire pit is the right option for you.

Not a Primary Source of Heat

Ethanol fire pits are not meant to be a primary source of heat. Instead, they are more meant to supplement it. You would need to have a massive ethanol burner in order to heat a room adequately. The BTU output of ethanol burners is on the lower end, which means that they have low heat radiation. It is best to just use ethanol burners as a supplemental source of heat and enjoyment.

Why Ethanol Fire Pits Are the Best Option

When compared to their other fire pit alternatives, ethanol fire pits take the cake by far. The combination of being low maintenance, versatile, stylish, affordable, and eco-friendly make ethanol fire pits a great choice with few disadvantages.

How to Create Your Own Ethanol Fire Pit

Having a gorgeous-looking ethanol fireplace isn’t as hard as many people think! You can create your own bio-ethanol fireplace with just a few simple steps. All you need is an ethanol burner and non-flammable materials. To get started, you will first need to narrow down the type of burner that suits your project. Burners can come in various sizes and styles, so finding one that fits your vision will be a key factor in choosing the right burner and style for you. Once you have your design in mind and have picked your burner, all that is left to do is contact Bio Flame to order yours today! We have a great selection of ethanol burners to choose from to build your perfect ethanol fire pit.
July 16, 2021