Home Improvements

What Are The Different Types Of Outdoor Fireplaces

When building an outdoor fireplace, you can choose different materials for the construction. However, you should also consider which type of fireplace would you have – wood-burning, gas, electric, or any other. Discuss it with your masonry contractor before the beginning of the process so you can design and location of your outdoor fireplace accordingly.

Types Of Outdoor Fireplaces

Wood-Burning Fireplace

A wood-burning fireplace is the oldest and most timeless option on this list. The natural atmosphere created by wood crackling and a roaring fire is unmatched.

A wood-burning fireplace can be made custom-made from scratch for the best designs, but if you want to save money, consider having a pre-made outdoor wood-burning fireplace.

Advantages Of A Wood-Burning Outdoor Fireplace

  • Natural wood burning and crackling of wood create a perfect outdoorsy experience.
  • Installation costs less than gas or electric fireplace.
  • Cheaper to run than a gas or electric fireplace. If you’re in a rural area, you may even find free wood for burning in the fireplace. You can also purchase wood in bulk and save money.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces can be easily converted to natural gas.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces increase the value of your property.
  • They are preferred outdoors.

Disadvantages Of A Wood-Burning Fireplace

The natural effect provided by a wood-burning fireplace has some disadvantages as well.

  • Burning firewood creates smoke and by-products of burning wood. This means you will need to clean and maintain the fireplace more often. Keep in mind that wood-burning fireplaces create soot and creosote that must be cleaned regularly. If enough soot or creosote builds up on the fireplace and chimney, it can catch fire.
  • You will need to store seasoned firewood and put it in the fireplace once the existing wood has burned.
  • Starting a fire is not instant. You need to wait for the wood to start burning and giving warmth. Similarly, you need to be careful when putting out a fire. You may need to spray water or baking soda on the fire and the embers to completely extinguish the fire.
  • The efficiency of a wood-burning fireplace is only 10%. The efficiency shows how well it can convert the fuel (wood) into heat.
  • It’s unsafe to leave a wood-burning fireplace unattended. Sometimes, the embers can start a fire.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces create more smoke and if they are not designed well enough and located in the correct area in your backyard, they may become a headache.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces are not preferred by people living in suburbs and cities. If you get a wood-burning fireplace, you may receive complaints from your neighbors.

Natural Gas Outdoor Fireplace

Gas fireplaces have their demand due to the ease of use and low maintenance. Although the natural ambiance provided by a wood-burning fireplace is unmatched, many homeowners hesitate to have a wood-burning outdoor fireplace due to the maintenance it requires and the wait time for the wood to start burning.

With a gas fireplace, you can light a fire without the wait time. Open the gas valve and start the fire for instant warmth. You can also add decorative logs inside a gas fireplace for giving it the appearance of a wood-burning fireplace.

Moreover, gas fireplaces are more efficient and require less maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces, but they still require some maintenance.

Advantages Of Using A Gas Outdoor Fireplace

  • You can light fire instantly by opening a valve or pressing a button.
  • No need to cut or buy and store wood or put wood into the fireplace.
  • Gas fireplaces are 60-90 percent more efficient than wood-burning fireplaces.
  • You will notice less smoke with a gas fireplace because the gas burns more cleanly than wood.
  • A gas fireplace produces much less smoke and soot than a wood-burning fireplace. There will be no ashes to deal with and no sparks to be wary of. So, you can get away with cleaning your gas outdoor fireplace once a month with an annual inspection.
  • You can use realistic-looking logs for the appearance of a wood-burning fireplace.
  • You have more freedom in choosing a location for your gas outdoor fireplace because it doesn’t produce actual combustion so you don’t need any sort of clearance for the installation of a gas fireplace.
  • Gas fireplaces are more eco-friendly and use less energy to warm your yard.

Disadvantages Of A Gas Outdoor Fireplace

  • A gas fireplace is more expensive to install than a wood-burning fireplace. You will need to have a gas pipe connection and if it’s not in the location where you want the fireplace, the installation cost may increase.
  • The running cost of a gas fireplace is higher as well than burning wood.

Electric Outdoor Fireplace

These fireplaces require an electric connection for producing heat.

Advantages Of An Electric Fireplace

  • They provide clean heating without any smoke produced by wood-burning or natural gas combustion.
  • Used by homeowners who live in an area that doesn’t become too cold.
  • People with skin allergies may prefer electric fireplaces.
  • They are the least expensive to install.
  • Electric fireplaces don’t require maintenance because there is nothing burning in the fireplace. Wood produces the most mess while gas fireplaces require less cleaning. However, an electric fireplace even less maintenance than a gas fireplace.
  • You don’t need to install a chimney with this type of outdoor fireplace. This means you can get more modern outdoor fireplace designs if you choose an electric fireplace for your outdoor area.
  • You can also choose a portable electric fireplace.

Disadvantages Of An Electric Outdoor Fireplace

  • Electricity is poor at converting to heat. This means your electric fireplace may not produce the warmth that a gas or wood-burning fireplace can.
  • Moreover, if you require more heat, you will need to use more electricity. This can increase the cost of running the electric fireplace. Compared to gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces are an inefficient method of heating.
  • They are not long-lasting because the heating elements in electric fireplaces can burn out and will require a replacement often.

How Long Do Outdoor Fireplaces Last?

The longevity of an outdoor fireplace depends on two factors. The materials used in the construction of the outdoor fireplace and the type of fireplace (wood-burning, gas, electric).

If you build a wood-burning or gas fireplace made of heat-resistant bricks, stone, or concrete, you may not have to worry about its installation again because they are usually life-long.

However, if you have an electric fireplace of the same materials, you may still need to replace the heating elements. These heating elements are responsible for creating the heat and they wear out frequently. So, you will need to replace the heating elements of your fireplace often.

if you’re building patio, you should buy materials for the patio and outdoor fireplace together and hire a patio contractor Long Island for both jobs to save money.

Portable fireplaces are available in the three common types: wood-burning, natural gas, and electric as well. They make it easier for you to change the location of the fireplace as you change the sitting area in your yard or move it with you if you move to another home, but they are not life-long and may need a replacement in 10 years or so.


Other than choosing the designs and materials for your outdoor fireplace, considering the type is also critical. Among wood-burning, natural gas, and electric fireplace, natural gas fireplaces are considered the best because they require less upkeep and provide instant fire for warmth. However, wood-burning fireplaces are also good for your outdoors. If you’re confused, ask outdoor fireplace builders Long Island for suggestions.

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