When it comes to creating the perfect outdoor ambiance with a fire pit, your decision to build or buy hinges on a combination of personal preferences, budget considerations, diy abilities and more.

If you are asking yourself, should I build a fire pit or buy one, the questions and tips in this article can help you make a clear decision that you feel good about!

a homemade fire pit with a child standing near it

*I get a commission every time you purchase a product through my affiliate link below. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Dilemma: Build a Fire Pit or Buy a Fire Pit?

You know you want to make great memories around a fire pit, but now another question arises: should you build one from scratch or purchase a pre-made fire pit?

Both options have their pros and cons, so there are various factors before making your decision.

Building Your Own Fire PitBuying a Fire Pit
Pros– Customization: You can design it to suit your preferences– Convenience: Ready-made fire pits are easy to install and require little effort.
– Cost Savings: Building your own fire pit can be more affordable than purchasing a pre-made one.– Variety: Wide range of sizes, styles, and materials are available to choose from.
– Sense of Accomplishment: Nothing feels better than making a vision into a reality– Warranty: Most purchased fire pits come with warranties for added peace of mind.
-Portability: Some purchased pits are light enough to take camping or tailgating
-Fuel Options: With a store-bought pit, you can choose a gas pit or one that burns pellets.
Cons– Time and Effort: Building a fire pit can be time-consuming and requires hard labor.– Limited Customization: Pre-made fire pits may not perfectly match your vision.
– Tools: You may need specific skills and tools for construction.– Cost: Some high-quality fire pits can be expensive.
-Stationary: Once you have built your fire pit, it is staying put in that location.-Not as Rustic: There is no way to get that classic, rustic fire pit look with a purchased fire pit.

Factors to Consider

diy fire pit with chairs sitting around it

To help make your decision, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

Local Regulations

Before you get too far into the diy fire pit process, make sure that your local area allows you to build a fire pit on your property.

This is an easy question to answer, but one you don’t want to overlook!

How Long Will You Live There?

a diy fire pit with wooden chairs surrounding it

Building a fire pit is a lot of work and a money investment, and another thing to consider when thinking about building a fire pit yourself is how long you plan on owning the property.

If you have no plans on moving any time soon, then that isn’t an issue.

But, even if moving might be on the horizon for you, this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, either, as a nice fire pit area in the backyard could grab the attention of potential buyers.

However, if you are planning on selling your property within a few years and want to build a fire pit anyway, be sure that you are prepared to take the extra time and money to do the job right.

Make sure the ground is compact and level underneath as nothing looks worse than a fire pit that has shifted. That definitely won’t look good to future buyers.

Your Fire Pit Budget

a beautiful stone fire pit overlooking the desert

When it comes to deciding whether to build a diy fire pit or buy a fire pit, your budget will be a significant factor.

Building your own fire pit can offer cost savings compared to buying a pre-made one because by purchasing the necessary materials yourself, you have greater control over the overall expenses.

However, it is important to be realistic and not assume that a diy fire pit will automatically cost less. Materials add up quickly and you need to have a good idea about what your expectations are.

You could build a cheaper fire pit with retaining wall block or stones you found yourself. This would be a money saver.

But, when you start getting into nicer stone, metal liners, renting equipment, fire brick, and landscaping around your fire pit area, this could be more expensive than buying one premade.

Before you make a decision, either draw out the fire pit you plan to build, or find a picture of it online and do a cost estimate. Be sure to factor in everything from the stone to the mortar.

With a purchased fire pit, there won’t be any surprises on cost, but be sure that if you are going the diy fire pit route, you aren’t in for sticker shock.

Where You Will Use Your Fire Pit

a diy fire pit with seating surrounding it

Before deciding whether to build or buy a fire pit, really think about the available space in your outdoor area.

Consider the dimensions of the space where you want to place the fire pit and ensure that there is enough room for safety clearance around it, at least 10′ from any structure or overhang.

If you build a fire pit, will you want to commit that space long-term to your fire pit area and give it up for other uses?

Also, are you someone who likes to camp or tailgate? If so, would you like the option of having a more portable fire pit that you can use in your backyard, but also take along with you?

Fire Pit Fuel Options

a diy fire pit with lawn chairs by it

Another question to ask yourself when wondering if you should build a fire pit is what you have available for fuel.

Most diy fire pits burn wood only.

If you have easy access to firewood and a good place to store it, this will be no problem for you.

But, if firewood is something you have a hard time getting ahold of, or if you have nowhere to store it, this could be an issue.

If you purchase a fire pit, you have the choice of propane, which is easy to get and store. And, many fire pits can burn wood pellets in addition to wood, which can even be ordered online and are clean to store indoors in a closet, if needed.

the Look of Your Fire Pit

Some people love the look of a rustic, stone fire pit while others are drawn to the sharp look of a stainless steel pit.

Whatever look you are drawn to will help make your decision of if you should build a fire pit.

If the rustic look is what you’re after, nothing replaces a diy, stone fire pit.

However, there are also now propane options like this one that look fairly realistic that will also give you the same kind of look without the hassle of building a fire pit or messing with firewood.

And if you are leaning toward a purchased fire pit, the options seem unlimited.

There are steel pits that are black matte or shiny stainless steel.

You can also choose a fire pit cauldron or a cowboy fire pit that comes with grill grates to cook on.

Ultimately, one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself when asking yourself, should I build a diy fire pit, is what kind of look are you drawn to.

Can You Haul Materials for Your DIY Fire Pit

a stone fire pit with a metal bucket full of kindling inside

When considering building a fire pit, something to consider is if you have access to materials to build your diy fire pit, and also if you have a way to get it all to your home.

Of course this depends on what you are building your pit out of and whether or not your are using mortar or building a dry laid fire pit, but regardless, the materials needed to build a fire pit are big and heavy.

Do you have access to everything you will need, and do you have a way to get it to your property?

If you don’t have a truck, do you have a friend that does, or will the store you buy it from deliver?

These are all good questions to ask yourself before making a decision.

Can You Do the Work to Build A Fire Pit

people enjoying a stone fire pit

Finally, a question you need to ask yourself, is can you actually do the work necessary?

When asking yourself, should I build a fire pit, this question is vital.

All of the materials needed for a diy fire pit and heavy. Leveling an area with a shovel may be needed, and even ground compaction, depending on the pit you want to build.

If you want wet laid stone in your fire pit, mixing it in a wheelbarrow is intense work.

Be realistic with yourself about whether or not you are prepared to build a fire pit yourself, or how much help you have available for the project.

Ultimately, the choice between building your own fire pit and buying one depends on your preferences, budget, DIY skills, and the level of customization you desire.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Can fire pits get wet?
Should a fire pit smoke?

Cat is a nature lover who wants to help you make the most of your family and friend time in the great outdoors by offering helpful tips about fire pits, backyard activities, and camping. Learn more about Cat here.