Back to Blog

What’s The Difference And Which One Should You Get This Summer?

Is there anything more heartwarming than a summer night with friends?

Not for the 57% of Canadians who say that summer is their favourite season. Some of the best times of our lives involve s’mores, smiles, and evening stars. Nothing beats a cosy night around the fire.

But what’s the difference between an outdoor fireplace and a firepit? How should you choose between each investment?

Read on to find the answers to all your burning questions.

What’s the Main Difference?

An outdoor fireplace looks and functions very similarly to an indoor fireplace. Three walls or a chiminea contain the flames, and a chimney leads smoke up and away from the patio area. Most fireplace-owners arrange outdoor furniture so guests can face the fireplace or enjoy a nearby seating area.

An outdoor firepit closely resembles a campfire, with stone, concrete, or iron walls containing the flame. Unlike a fireplace, there is no chimney, so smoke flows naturally into the air. Firepits can be circular, square, or rectangular, and most people arrange outdoor seating so that guests may sit around the fire, facing each other.

Is the Experience Different with Each?

Fireplaces offer a more elegant, reserved experience. Outdoor fireplaces are a feature that can enhance your existing patio space and provide ambient light in the evening.

Firepits offer a more social atmosphere and interactive experience. Generally, outdoor furniture surrounds the firepit, so everyone can see and converse with each other, rather than all facing toward the fireplace.

Things to Consider before Choosing

Adding a fireplace or firepit to your home is a big decision. Before rushing into your outdoor designs, it’s important to consider the specific details of each fire feature option.


Both features provide warmth and ambient lighting to an outdoor space, but outdoor fireplaces have different functions than firepits. Fire pits can more comfortably accommodate large groups and allow you to interact with the fire. Outdoor fireplaces are more reserved, creating an intimate environment perfect for small gatherings.


A pre-built modular outdoor fireplace ranges between $2,000 and $8,400. However, if you want to create a custom outdoor fireplace, you can expect to spend anywhere from $9,000 to $24,000. Size, material, and any special features will affect the price of your fireplace.

Firepits tend to be a more affordable option than fireplaces. The average cost of a firepit ranges between $1500 and $5000. Of course, size, fuel source, and other firepit options can impact this cost, and it’s possible to pay more than $6,000 or more for a firepit.


Outdoor fireplaces can use gas, propane, electric, or wood-burning fuel. Fireplaces tend to produce more heat because the fire warms the stones like an oven. They are also more protected from the wind, offering a consistent heat flow.

Read More: What Wood Makes the Best Firewood?

Like fireplaces, firepits can use various fuel sources; they are often wood-burning or propane-fueled. People can usually huddle closer to firepit than a fireplace, but overall, firepits are less warm. Most heat from a firepit escapes into the air, and wind can easily stir the flames.

To learn more about our gas fireplaces, click here!


Fireplaces can be more efficient if you have limited outdoor space. Typically, a fireplace or chiminea is set off to the side of the patio area, leaving plenty of room for people to move around the rest of the space. An outdoor fireplace will bring a classic, elegant aesthetic to your patio.

Firepits are restricted as far as size and design. Firepits need more space to keep the flame lit, but their design is more convenient for hosting people around the fire. A firepit will bring a more casual, authentic vibe to your patio.

Check out our gallery for inspirational fireplace designs!

Which One Is Safer?

In any situation involving fire, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Neither a fireplace nor a firepit is a completely fool-proof addition. Both have the potential to cause injury or property damage.

However, fireplaces are almost always a safer option. You can build fireplaces closer to your home because they have chimneys to conceal the flames and redirect the smoke.

Read More: Gas Fireplaces Ideas for Ottawa Summers

Many people place seating around their firepit. This creates a nice, interactive vibe but also presents a safety hazard. People may be more likely to trip into the fire or accidentally catch the open flames on their clothing.

Firepit Pros and Cons

Either outdoor feature can add value and enhance your home, but you should weigh the pros and cons before making your final decision. When it comes to owning a firepit, these are the pros:

  • Draws attention as a focal feature
  • Encourages social interaction
  • Allows for roasting and cooking
  • Better for warm climates
  • More affordable than a fireplace

Of course, firepits also present some cons:

  • Takes up more patio space
  • May blow smoke into faces
  • Open flames are more likely to cause injuries
  • Must be built further away from the home

Outdoor Fireplace Pros and Cons

A fireplace is still an excellent option if you don’t feel like a firepit will suit your needs. With an outdoor fireplace you can enjoy these pros:

  • Adds elegance as patio décor
  • Takes up less outdoor space
  • Leads smoke away from guests
  • Safer than a firepit
  • Offers more warmth in cold climates
  • Can be built closer to home

However, you’ll have to accept these cons:

  • Not ideal for roasting or cooking
  • May distract from social interaction
  • Requires cleaning inside the chimney
  • Might be more expensive than a firepit

How Do You Plan to Use it?

Amid all the special features of firepits and fireplaces, the real question is this: how do you plan to use it? Although both options can provide light, heat, and a cosy aesthetic, they offer different experiences.

A firepit may be the better choice if you want to spend time interacting with the fire. Firepits offer an immersive experience and allow you and your guests to sit around the fire on all sides. They are also more convenient for cooking and roasting foods, like hot dogs and marshmallows.

An outdoor fireplace will better suit your needs if you’re more interested in a more ambient experience with less fuss. Outdoor fireplaces don’t demand as much attention to safety or blow smoke and heat into people’s faces. An outdoor fireplace may be better for entertaining classy parties.

The Takeaway

Generally, a firepit is a more affordable, rustic, and interactive option, while an outdoor fireplace offers elegance, warmth, and safety. In the end, either feature will add value to your home, beautify your space, and bring your family and guests closer together!

Warm your heart and your home this season with a fireplace from The Burning Log. We offer the best wood, gas, and electric fireplace selection in Ottawa!

Have more questions about the perfect fireplace for you? Click here to get in touch!

Read More: Which is More Energy-Efficient – A Gas or Electric Fireplace?