How to Use a Fire Pit Table & What Kind of Fuel

Fire pit tables are a useful addition to any patio or garden and can be used year round.

In the fall and winter months, fire pits are warm places to gather around, and in summer they are useful for roasting marshmallows. Fire pits run on different types of fuel, but the usage instructions for all of them are basically the same. With the proper care and attention, a fire pit table will provide many years of outdoor enjoyment. .

Identify an outdoor location that is a minimum of 3 feet from the house, trees, shrubs or patio furniture. Do not place the fire pit table on a deck or in other flammable areas.

Load the fire pit with the proper type of fuel, which is either charcoal, gas or wood. Spread the charcoal out in a single layer and stack the wood in two rows, with the top row perpendicular to the bottom row. If the pit is gas-powered, check the gas level and refill it if needed. If your gas pit uses glass beads, insert the amount indicated on the jar and spread them out evenly on the bottom.

Strike a match and place it in the center of the wood pile. If you have a gas fire pit, turn on the gas valve located either on the table or on a underlying propane tank. Push the igniter switch on the gas-powered model to light the flame. Glass beads are used in gas-powered pits, so push the igniter switch to heat them up.

Place a fire pit screen over the top of the fuel to prevent sparks from flying out and creating a fire. A domed screen is typically supplied with a fire pit table, but can also be purchased separately.

Add additional wood logs as needed for wood burning pits and stoke them periodically with a fire poker to keep the pit burning.

Allow the embers to die completely before you leave the area -- you can speed this process by pouring 1 to 2 cups of water on them. Scoop out the ashes with a fire pit shovel the following day once they cool down. Dispose of the ashes in a compost area or the trash.

Place a vinyl cover over the fire pit table until you are ready to use it again.

Things You Will Need

  • Wood or propane tank
  • Match
  • Fire pit screen
  • Water
  • Fire poker
  • Fire pit shovel
  • Fire pit cover


  • Pine, mesquite, hickory and red cedar are some of the best woods to burn in a fire pit table.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher nearby when using a fire pit table.


  • Never burn pressure treated lumber in a wood fire pit table since it contains chemicals that are toxic if inhaled.
  • Never use gas or lighter fluid to start fires in a fire pit table.

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.