Fire Table Vs Fire Pit (Which is better for your deck?)

Two popular options for enjoying a fire on your deck are either a table or pit. They both have many similarities but also distinct differences.

Both fire tables and fire pits provide a safe way to enjoy the beauty and warmth of a fire on your deck. The most significant difference is appearance. Fire Tables are designed to be a decorative furniture piece on your deck. A fire pit is not designed for appearance but a safe bowl to enjoy a fire with. Fire tables are also taller, evaluating the height of the fire, making it more accessible for warmth and viewing pleasure.  

That may be a little too simplified.

And that is why I will go through a more thorough comparison.

After reading this, you will hopefully know which one will be best for you and your deck.

But before comparing Fire Table vs Firepit, let’s define what each is.


Defining Fire Table and Pit?

What is a Fire Table?

A fire table is a raised firepit designed to function as a table on a deck or patioOpens in a new tab..

Giving you the advantage of having a table for drinks on your deck and a fire feature to enhance the ambience of your outdoor space.

Fire Tables are often designed to match or complement the rest of your patio furniture. Such as wicker or metal chairs.Opens in a new tab. Helping the fire table to blend into the overall theme of the deck.

Instead of an eyesore when not lit.

Designed as a table, they are functional and attractive. Adding to the usability of your deck or patio, with or without the fire. With a dual function.

Fire tables featuring a glass wind guard allow you to enjoy a glass of wine while sitting around the fire. With a ready table around the fire to set your drink.

What is a Fire pit?

A fire pit is a ground or deck-level fire feature. There are many design options, but many are a simple metal bowl containing a fire.

A built-in fire pit on your deck or patio has countless designs and non-combustible material options. But they are often built from stones arrange to contain the fire, protect the surrounding material while adding to the aesthetics of your outdoor living space.

The biggest difference between a fire pit and a fire table is height and function.

A fire pit is ground level or as with a portable fire pit, raised a few inches from the deck to prevent damage and create cooling under the bowl.

A fire pit will be at your feet, a fire table at your knees.

Functionally, a fire pit serves one purpose.


A Fire table, on the other hand, is both a fire feature and a table.

Choosing between a Fire table and Fire Pit for Your Deck

A few helpful questions to help you decide between a fire table and pit.

  • Heat or ambiance?
  • Fuel source?
  • Size?
  • Safely?
  • Budget?

Let’s start with comparing heat output.

Fire Table Vs Fire Pit Heat Output

Before comparing exact models, let’s grab a few references of heat.

Heating is measure in BTUs.

“BTU: the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at a specified temperature.”

Merriam-WebsterOpens in a new tab.

Now that is very scientific. A little easier definition to understand is.

“We find that around 1 BTU has the heat of a single candle.”

Star Fire DirectOpens in a new tab.

So how many candles of heat is one fire Table?

Propane Fire ProductBTU PRODUCED

Out Land Living sells the above fire tables and fire pits to keep comparison easier. Outland Living is also one of the largest sellers of Fire Features for decks, making them an excellent reference point.

Kind of like Trex for composite. A brand we all recognize and often equate with the product.

Of the larger market, most fire tables will produce between 40 000 BTU and 150 000 BTU. But much more common is around the 50 000 mark.

Partly because this is the equivalent of a medium-size campfire. Comfortable to gather around, enjoy its warmth without being uncomfortably hot.

Most propane patio heaters will produce 46 000 BTU. Which is on the low end than a fire table or pit, but a heat shield directing the heat down will warm you more with less energy.

But because of their design, most fire pits will produce more heat than a fire table.

Meaning, if you are looking for heat. A fire pit or patio heater will be a better option.

If ambience, the raised fire of a fire table will add more to the atmosphere of your deck.

But if you enjoy large dancing flames, the extra BTU of a fire pit will increase the size of the fire. Giving you more fire to enjoy even if it’s lower.

Fire Table Vs Pit, Fuel Source

The most common fuel sources for a fire table are propane or natural gas. Both allow you to control the fire size and heat output easily. Making BTU output easier.

Not as common are wood fire tables. Primarily because of the proximity of a fire table to the deck furniture. The sparks and lower control of fire size make it less than ideal.

Gel fire is another fuel option, but the mess often makes it less convenient to use than a gas fire table. General gel fire produces less heat than other fuels.

Fire Pits are similar to tables for fuel, except that wood is much more common. The height of a fire pit works better for building a wood tepee.

One of the best wood fire pits is solo stovesOpens in a new tab. which contain the fire better on a deck than an open bowl. They also have better airflow and burning.

Size Comparison of Fire Tables and Pits

Fire tables designed as a piece of furniture are generally larger than fire pits, with the table extending past and around the fire bowl.

Fire ProductDimensions
STANDARD FIRE PITL 19″ x W 19″ x H 11″
MEGA FIRE PITL 24″ x W 24″ x H 13″
YALETOWN FIRE TABLEL 30″ x W 30″ x H 24.1″
ROBSON FIRE TABLEL 36″ x W 36″ x H 24.5″

The bowl or the actual fire surface area is often smaller than a fire pit. Reduced to fit in the centre of the table.

Fire ProductWeight

Not surprisingly, portable fire bowls with their smaller size are also lighter. Making moving them more manageable.

Which is great for packing them up to prevent damage from the elements. Or to make room on the deck for other activities.

Where a larger table like the Granville will require two sets of hands to move. Luckily you can order a cover with them, for you don’t need to pack it up.  

Are Fire Tables Safer Than Fire Pits on a Deck?

Fire is fire. And if you play with fire, you’re going to get burnt.

Meaning that you never want to leave a fire unattended on your deck if small children are running or crawling around. They may not intend to but tripping beside a fire could have serious consequences.

One advantage of a fire table over a fire pit is its table design.

The fire raised two feet. Children or animals crawling on the deck are less likely to touch the hot bowl at furniture height.

The table around the fire also doubles as a safety permitter. Not enough to stop curious hands but an added microsecond for you to react.

Preventing burns.

Fire tables being raised higher off the decking are less likely to melt composite decking. Especially a quality table with a built in burn pan.

Price Difference Between a Fire Table and Pit

Ah, money. Everything comes back to money.

The same is true with fire pit and tables.

Of course, brand and designs will impact pricing, but a fire table will generally cost more than a fire pit.

How much more?

A fire table can easily be twice as much as a fire pit.

Keep in mind with many fire tables. You are getting 2 in 1.

“A table + fire pit.”

But there are many fire tables or raised fire pitsOpens in a new tab. where this is not the case. It may have a nice rim for setting your glass on while sitting around a lower burning fire, but it is not a full table.

Unlike the Grandville, which you can buy a glass lid making it a full table when not lit.

But in short, if the budget is tight, but you still would enjoy a fire feature on your deck, a simple portable fire pit may be the best solution. Very affordable but still with a good level of heat output. With a good flame size.

But if your deck and budget are big enough, a fire table is an excellent addition to a deck. Personally, I like the look and size of the Grandville. The wicker finish matching many patio sets. The size matching a coffee table in your living room. Except with a beautiful fire.

The Yaletown is right in the middle, both size and price. Its square size makes it ideal for smaller groups to gather around.

“stunning square fire table is the perfect combination of functionality and stylish design”

Outland Living

The glass top is both functional and beautiful. Easy to clean and just looks good. Again, like those beautiful glass coffee tables in your living room but outside and with a fire.

Did I mention fire? Such a beautiful addition to a deck.

But these are only three of many fire pits and tables available to enhance your deck. Shop around and do your research to make sure you buy the best one for your deck.

Enjoy your deck and fire feature.

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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