Build Or Buy: Should You Build Or Buy A Fire Pit?
A fire pit can be a great focal point in a backyard. It allows for a gathering space where you can sit with family and friends and watch the flames while you roast marshmallows and talk about your lives. We love nothing better than a good fire, but it can be hard to decide whether you want to construct your own fire or buy one ready-made. There are a million tutorials online that promise that building a fire pit will be as easy as pie, but of course, there are plenty of things advertised online that aren't nearly so simple in real life.
Here are the three tests we apply to decide whether to build or buy a fire pit:
A fire pit is all about safety. No matter how used to a fire we are, it's still important to respect it. A fire pit, whether built or bought, offers containment for the fire and an easy way to control the flames. Building a fire pit yourself does permit a surprising amount of control over the fire, so long as you build it properly. You'll have to dig deeper than you think you need and line it with the right stones so that they don't explode when heated. The risk of a dug fire pit is that someone could trip and fall in.
A purchased fire pit will also contain your campfire, but in a more elevated setting. Made of durable metal, a good-quality fire pit will allow you top safety to enjoy your fire through a grate. Be sure the fire pit is sturdy so that it doesn't risk tipping over if someone bumps it.
You should also consider your local by-laws concerning fire pits, whether built or bought. Some communities have outright banned the use of open fire pits due to forest fire risks.
Building a fire pit yourself is often dirt cheap, if not free. All you really need is a shovel and a bunch of stones. However, it can also get quite costly if you decide to create a stone patio and use firebrick, but overall, this is the cheap way to go.
A readily made fire pit of any quality will often cost you a couple hundred dollars, or more if it has a built-in cooking surface. That being said, the extra cost will mean that your fire pit will be more portable, easier to clean and generally a bit safer.
Cooking over an open flame is a great experience, and a wonderful way to imbue your food with a wonderful, smoky flavor. However, cooking over a built fire pit can be a bit of a nightmare. Apart from hot dogs and marshmallows on a stick, cooking over an open flame requires a cooking grill, a carefully sized pit, and lots of cleaning. You'll also be straining your knees squatting down to tend the food over and over.
If you buy a fire pit made for cooking, like a Buc ee's fire pit, you'll have an elevated surface on which to cook, an easy way to clean the pit and a good cooking grill already installed and ready to go.