Propane Fire Pits Rock

Here's why:

There are few things that spice up a backyard quite like an open fire. If you don't have a fire pit in your backyard, you need one. They're perfect for just about anything: Parties, quiet time by yourself, a family night in or for the more adventurous, even cooking.

If you don't have a fire pit at your house, get one. You won't know what you're missing until you have one. But don't waste your time with one of those wood burning ones, instead go for the Hank Hill (Kind of the Hill) and say "Hello" to Propane.

Yes, you can actually buy outdoor propane fire pits instead of the traditional firewood types. And the benefits are humongous. So let's get right too it:

1. No Smoke

Newcastle Propane Fire PitCredit: Amazon.comFirewood smoke is like your childhood: We remember the good times. Sure it's easy to sit back and talk about how great wood smells as it's burning and crackling, but when push comes to shove and you're actually sitting near a wood fire you'll suddenly realize how miserable it actually is.

For starters, every morsel of your being will smell like wood smoke until you take an industrial strength shower. That goes for skin, hair, clothes, shoes, wallet, eye balls and everything else. Not only is the smell pretty darned strong, but it can actually cause sinus and breathing problems, particularly for those with allergies or asthma.

Not to mention that smoke will ALWAYS follow you. You can' get away from it. There's an old saying, "Smoke follows beauty," but I'm doubtful simply because it follows me, too.

2. Propane Fire Pits Burn Cleaner

I'm not here to start a huge debate on global warming and carbon footprints, but I will say that if those are important to you, skipping over propane in favor of wood is crazy. Propane burns so much cleaner that it's not even a real contest between the two. So save the earth, the environment and the ozone and go with a propane fire pit.

If that sort of thing isn't your fancy, consider this: Because propane burns cleaner you won't have to deal with all the charred marks along the pit, nor will you have to worry about all the embers and soot. Clean up is a breeze because it's not really even necessary.

And at the end of the day you won't have a huge pile of ashes you'll need to dispose of. Win.

3. Propane is Easier To Store & Find

Uniflame Propane Fire PitCredit: Amazon.comIf you're lucky enough to live out in the woods then you probably won't have a problem feeding your wood fire, but for the rest of us seeking enough firewood to keep the fire going is a little trickier. Unlike propane - which is available at pretty much any service station - wood is a little tougher to come by, unless you plan on tearing your neighbors' trees down in an emergency.

And let's not forget about storing the stuff. With wood you've got to keep it dry. Then there's the possibility that critters will make the pile their home. I can't count how many times I've been stung by wasps and hornets that have made nests in my firewood piles. Propane, on the other hand, stores in nice 5 gallon bottles that go pretty much anywhere. If the bottle gets wet? No problem.

4. Propane Fire Pits Burn More Economically

If you're more interested in the bottom line than anything else I've said, then you'll find this particularly awesome. If you were to add up the operating costs of wood fire pits versus propane ones, propane would win every time. Of course that is assuming you don't have an infinite supply of free firewood, but even if you do you'll always be out dragging wood around. Just saying.

But seriously, because propane burns so efficiently, a five gallon bottle lasts a very long time. In the time it takes to drain the bottle, you would have put dozens of logs on the fire over and over again. Add all of that up and a propane fire pit is a slam dunk over wood.

5. They're Easier To Cook On

Camp Chef Outdoor Propane Fire PitCredit: AmazonI know quite a few folks who cook with their fire pits - both wood and propane. I've even dabbled in it myself and can tell you that I'll take the worst propane fire pit over the best wood one when it comes time to making dinner.

For starters, propane fire pits produce an even heat. That's pretty darned important when it comes to cooking. Wood fire temperatures ebb and flow as more logs are added or the flames shift to a different spot. Not to mention that you've got to build up a decent coal bed before you can even think about making meals on a wood fire pit.

You also won't get the embers in your food with propane. Nor will your food have those unsightly (and nasty) blacked charred marks.

Still Not Convinced?

Here are a few more reasons to set your sights on propane:

You can buy a propane fire pit kit and build your own fire pit. These kits range from the basics (tubing, valves and burners) for those who want to build their own custom pit, to the "all-in-a-box" kits that provide everything you'll need for some backyard fun. And if you're really into the DIY scene, you can simply buy propane fire pit parts separately and go wild with the customization.

Take it with you if you want. A portable propane fire pit is easy to move around and won't leave black marks in your car (because it burns cleaner).

They are cheap. You can find economy ones for well under $100, and some incredibly sophisticated ones in the $200 to $300 range. You can find these at pretty much any home improvement store (like Home Depot or Lowe's) or, better yet, at Amazon, which seems to have the lowest prices in the world on everything.

What Do You Think?

I'd love to hear where you stand on the wood vs propane fire pit debate, just leave a comment in the form below.