Last updated: August 11, 2021

You want to bring a campfire atmosphere directly to your garden? You long for a cosy atmosphere on long summer nights or cool winter evenings? Do you want to combine barbecue and a cosy atmosphere? If so, the purchase of a fire bowl will be particularly worthwhile for you. In our fire bowl test 2021 we present the latest and most aesthetic models and show you the advantages and disadvantages of fire bowls made of metal and non-metal. We also provide you with important tips and tricks on suitable fuels and fire bowl care, as well as safety instructions and popular designs.




The most important facts

  • With a fire bowl, you can bring a campfire atmosphere directly to your garden or terrace. Fire bowls provide a cosy atmosphere and pleasant warmth on cool summer evenings.
  • Many fire bowls can also be used as a barbecue. Feel like a child again and prepare sausages and other dishes on the open fire.
  • Fire bowls are available in different materials. A distinction is made between fire bowls made of metal (iron, steel, stainless steel, cast iron) and non-metal (clay, ceramic, terracotta).

Fire Bowl: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a fire bowl

What is a fire bowl?

A fire bowl allows you to start a campfire easily, safely and in a controlled manner in your garden or on a patio. This creates a cosy atmosphere on summer evenings as well as a pleasant source of heat later in the day.

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Fire bowls create a cosy atmosphere and generate pleasant warmth on cool summer evenings. (Image source: unsplash.com / David von Diemar)

Simply place logs or coal in the usually round device with feet and light it. The fire bowl does not receive an air supply from below, as is the case with a fireplace, for example - so there is hardly any danger from flying wood debris. A fire bowl is usually used as a visual highlight in the garden and as a source of light and heat. It can also be used for barbecuing and cooking. Food such as sausages or bread sticks can be perfectly grilled over an open fire.

Where are fire bowls allowed?

From a purely legal point of view, there are no precise restrictions on fire bowls. However, you should choose a place that is as sheltered from the wind as possible to avoid flying sparks. The use of fire bowls on balconies or terraces is only recommended if they are not made of wood or easily inflammable materials. In general, when setting up the bowl, you should choose a surface that is very heat-resistant. The development of smoke is difficult to prevent. Therefore, the fireplace should be placed as far away from neighbours as possible so as not to disturb them.

Which fuels are suitable for a fire bowl?

The choice of fuel plays an important role, because not every fuel is suitable for every fire bowl. The reason: When burning, different high temperatures are generated, which the fire bowl has to withstand. The material of your fire bowl is therefore decisive. In addition, the intended use of your fire bowl is also a deciding factor for the right fuel. If you only want to use the fire to create a cosy atmosphere, a different fuel is suitable than for using the fire bowl as a barbecue.

Basically, three different materials are suitable for lighting a fire bowl: wood, charcoal and ethanol.

You should usewood as fuel if you want to create warmth and a cosy atmosphere. The long logs create a real campfire atmosphere.

https://www.grilltiger.de/brennholz-test/ However, it is important that your fire bowl is made of metal, otherwise it could be damaged by the intense heat. If you want to use your fire bowl as a barbecue, you should definitely use charcoal. Charcoal has the advantage that, unlike logs, it does not form flames and only glows. The high temperatures are perfect for barbecuing. https://www.grilltiger.de/holzkohle-test/ Again, your fire bowl should be made of metal because of the heat. If your fire bowl is not made of metal but of clay or ceramic, wood and coal are not suitable as fuel. In this case, you should use ethanol, which burns at low temperatures. It is also the safest fuel.

Fuel Area of application Material of the fire bowl
Wood The high flames create a cosy atmosphere and pleasant warmth Steel, stainless steel, iron, cast iron
Charcoal Suitable for barbecuing Steel, stainless steel, iron, cast iron
Ethanol Generates low temperatures and creates a cosy atmosphere Clay, ceramic, terracotta

What does a fire bowl cost?

The price range for fire bowls is wide, but the price depends greatly on the material, size, accessories and quality. When deciding how much money you want to spend on a fire bowl, you should also consider its intended use. If you want to use it not only for cosy hours but also for barbecuing, you have to expect higher prices. Here you can find a rough price overview:
Price range Diameter Range of use
Up to 120 euros Up to 55 cm Fire bowls that provide a cosy atmosphere in the garden
120 to 200 euros 55 to 80 cm Fire bowls that can also be used as barbecues
200 to 600 euros From 100 cm In this price range, you will find high-quality stainless steel fire bowls with various accessories

What alternatives are there to fire bowls?

The fire basket

This alternative can be recognised by its high side walls, which are usually made of metal. This has the disadvantage that pieces of wood and ash can fall out on the side. This makes the fire basket quite awkward to handle. However, the fire basket impresses with its appearance and design and is a real eye-catcher.

https://www.grilltiger.de/feuerkorb-test/

Homemade fire bowl

In principle, many objects are suitable for use as fire bowls. For example, clay pots or metal vessels are often used. For safety and environmental reasons, however, we do not recommend them. The material strength and heat resistance of alternative fire bowls are often misjudged and this can quickly lead to accidents.

Decision: What types of fire bowls are there and which is the right one for you?

Fire bowls differ primarily in terms of their material. There are therefore two types of fire bowls:

  • Fire bowls made of metal (steel, stainless steel, cast iron)
  • Fire bowls made of non-metals (ceramic, terracotta, clay)

What distinguishes metal fire bowls and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Fire bowls made of metal are convincing due to their heat resistance and are therefore suitable for logs and coal, which creates a great atmosphere on the one hand and is also suitable for barbecuing on the other. Metal fire bowls are usually made of steel, stainless steel, iron or cast iron.

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Fire bowls made of metal are more heat-resistant and are therefore also suitable for barbecuing. (Image source: unsplash.com / Josh Campbell)

In addition, metal fire bowls are weather-resistant and can also spend the winter outdoors. However, this weather resistance and robustness comes at a price and makes these fire bowls more expensive than those made of non-metals. We would also like to point out that some metals like steel tend to rust. This does not happen with models made of stainless steel.

Advantages
  • Heat-resistant
  • Weatherproof
  • Inexpensive
  • Many uses
  • Stability
Disadvantages
  • Expensive
  • Partially susceptible to rust
  • High weight

What distinguishes fire bowls made of non-metals and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

If you want to use your fire bowl as a visual eye-catcher in the garden, you can choose a model made of clay, ceramic or terracotta. These are often very decoratively designed and stand out beautifully. However, they are not very heat-resistant and must not be operated with charcoal. Ethanol is suitable as fuel. In contrast to fire bowls made of metal, those made of stone should never be left outside in winter. They are very susceptible to moisture, which can cause cracks and fissures when re-lit. This can also happen in severe frost.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Very decorative
Disadvantages
  • Not heat-resistant
  • Not weatherproof
  • Few uses

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate fire bowls

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many different fire bowls. The criteria you can use to compare the fire bowls with each other include:

  • Size
  • Design
  • Safety
  • Accessories

Size

The size of the fire bowl should be chosen to suit your requirements. If you want to use it for barbecuing, the diameter should be at least 70 cm. If the fire bowl only serves to enhance the appearance of your garden, a more manageable bowl with a diameter of 55 cm is also sufficient. The price also depends on the size. Fire bowls are available in many different diameters and heights. However, don't just choose the largest model, but the one that best meets your requirements.

Design

A fire bowl clearly serves more than just the purpose of providing warmth. It can also enhance the appearance of your garden or terrace and create a completely different atmosphere. The design therefore plays a very important role and should be taken into account when buying. The material is not unimportant: fire bowls made of clay or ceramic are often more visually appealing than metal fire bowls.

Safety

If an open fire is lit in the garden or near the house, safety is the top priority. Flames can quickly get out of control and cause terrible damage. The fire bowl must have a stable, robust and straight stand. It should also be equipped with a spark arrester. This is a close-meshed mesh that catches flying sparks. As already mentioned, the use of the right fuel is also crucial, depending on the material of the fire bowl. For stone fire bowls, only ethanol may be used for ignition.

Accessories

Extras also play a role in the purchase decision . Accessories are often available for the fire bowl. In addition to the aforementioned spark protection, there are other extras such as grill grates, windbreaks, height-adjustable feet and cooking utensils. https://www.grilltiger.de/grillzange-test/ If you also want to use your fire bowl as a barbecue, these extras can be very practical.

Trivia: Interesting facts about fire bowls

How often can I use my fire bowl?

Even if there is no legal objection, you should not use your fire bowl too excessively. Especially if there is a lot of smoke, you can cause a nuisance to your neighbours.

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With a fire bowl, you can bring the campfire atmosphere directly to your terrace. (Image source: unsplash.com / Karly)

So talk to your neighbours about it to avoid trouble. Especially in the vicinity of hospitals, children's and senior citizens' facilities, smoke should of course be avoided completely.

Can I use my fire bowl when it is wet?

We advise against this. Your fire bowl should always be completely dry before you use it. Otherwise, cracks and fissures can quickly appear, especially in clay fire bowls.

How do I care for my fire bowl?

To prolong the life of your fire bowl and prevent rust, it should be cleaned regularly. This includes always removing the ashes immediately after use and then wiping out the fire bowl with a kitchen towel. There are also special metal cleaners that you can use. With clay fire bowls, it is very important that they are never exposed to frost and rain and that they are stored in a dry place during the winter.

Where can I dispose of the ashes?

The compost in the garden is the best place to dispose of the ashes - only when cold, of course. If you don't have this option, simply dispose of them in the residual waste bin.

Why is my fire bowl smoking?

It's not because of your fire bowl, but because of the fuel you use. If the wood is damp, for example, smoke will be produced. The wrong fuel, such as paper or plastic, can also lead to heavy smoke.

Image source: pixabay.com / NickyPe

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