Since time immemorial, people have turned to fire, not only for cooking and sterilizing but as a source of warmth and a venue around which they could congregate. You would think this would change over time but in the 21st-century people are still gathering around fire, hence the invention of table top fire bowls.
If you are looking to make your living room, dining room, patio, or porch cozy and inviting, without the hassle of having to burn wood, then a small tabletop fire bowl may just be what you are looking for. Gather around a fire with your loved ones and enjoy each other’s company as the flame flickers away in the dark.
Tabletop fire bowls not only provide a great ambiance but are also the perfect aesthetic addition to your space. A small tabletop fire bowl creates a beautiful and welcoming environment where you, your family, and your friends can gather around, chat, and get lost in each other’s presence.
For this reason, we have taken it upon ourselves to review six of the best table top fire bowls available on the market right now to assist you in selecting a bowl that best suits your unique needs.
- 1 What is a Table Top Fire Bowl Used For?
- 2 How Do Fire Bowls Work?
- 3 6 Best Table Top Fire Bowls
- 3.1 Bio-Ethanol Fire Bowls
- 3.2 Gel Fuel Fire Bowls
- 3.3 Propane Fire Bowls
- 4 In Summary
What is a Table Top Fire Bowl Used For?
Before we proceed, we find it prudent to go into a little more detail in describing exactly what a table top fire pit will do for you, which may further reveal why this is a great addition to your home or any other space for that matter.
- Entertainment: As mentioned, table fire bowls are a great source of fun. You can sit around them and have conversations, roast marshmallows, play board games, play cards, and much more. Table top fire bowls are convenient and fun in more than one way, which is why they are becoming a popular home accessory.
- Energy Saving: Table top fire pits may be a bit pricy, but they can pay off in the long run where your energy bill is concerned. Think of all the times you will find yourself huddled around the fire bowl instead of the computer, T.V, video games, etc. Furthermore, with a fire bowl burning, most of the lights in your space will be off. This may seem negligible, but these little savings could add up to significant amounts over time.
- Warmth: Even during the summer months, depending on where you live, the weather can still get a little chilly. The larger table top fire pits can provide just enough heat to ensure that you and your loved ones can enjoy the outdoors a little longer than you normally would have.
- Year-Round Enjoyment: It’s easy to assume that table fire bowls only come in handy during the cooler seasons, but as you can already tell from our discussion so far, this is a perennial accessory that serves a myriad of purposes, making it relevant no matter the season.
How Do Fire Bowls Work?
Table fire bowls are vessels that have the capacity to house a fuel source that sustains a small flame. Table top fire bowls are typically made of stone, steel, glass, concrete, ceramic, or synthetic materials. Tabletop fire bowls are fueled by three primary sources; Bio-Ethanol, Get Fuel, and Propane. Fire pits that use wood are generally not for table top use, but rather set on or in the ground.
We will be discussing the table top options in further detail in the next section, but let us briefly describe these fuel sources:
- Bio-Ethanol burns clean because it is a mixture of alcohol and a plant-based fuel
- Gel Fuel doesn’t burn as hot as the other two fuel sources; it is similar to what you would find under a chafing dish at a buffet
- Propane, on the other hand, is a similar fuel source to the ones you find on those hibachi gas-powered grills.
Now, without further ado, let’s have a look at our selection of the 6 of the best fire pit bowls currently available on the market.
6 Best Table Top Fire Bowls
You may have figured this out by now, but indoor fire bowls have evolved from traditional fire pits. Therefore, the basic idea is hardly a new one. The only difference is that, now, the options available for creating that warm and ambient environment brought about by an open flame are less hectic, more portable, and can be enjoyed just about anywhere.
The options for table fire bowls are numerous and to make things a little easier for you, as well as to bring out a clear distinction between the products, we have grouped our recommendations by fuel type as seen below.
Bio-Ethanol Fire Bowls
Fireplaces that use this kind of fuel are fairly new. They add to the wide array of fireplaces in the market and are, therefore, a welcome variation. Fire pit bowls that use this kind of fuel come in a variety of setups and designs. These fireplaces are creative, beautiful, and environmentally friendly.
Bio-ethanol fire bowls were introduced to the market roughly in 2005 and they provide several advantages over traditional fireplace options. However, like everything else, there are factors that you have to consider before choosing this fuel source. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of Bio-ethanol as a source of fuel.
Colsen Tabletop Bio-Ethanol Rubbing Alcohol Fireplace
This small tabletop fire bowl is fueled by smokeless and odorless rubbing alcohol. It is also portable, weighing only 5 pounds, and can be easily moved from location to location. The Colsen Tabletop Fireplace can be used both indoors and outdoors, but no matter where you are this table top fire bowl will make it the place to be.
The Colsen Tabletop Fireplace is light and, like all bio-ethanol fireplaces, leaves no mess for you to clean up. The flame is expected to burn for at least 40 minutes but can last up to 50 minutes depending on the weather.
Note, however, that you should never pour the fuel on the open flame or into the bowl while the fireplace is still hot; wait until the fireplace is cool to the touch before refueling.
The Colsen Tabletop Fireplace is also environmentally friendly; the rubbing alcohol does not produce harmful emissions and does not emit any annoying/irritating odors, so it is absolutely safe for use even in closed spaces.
Bio-ethanol consumes very little oxygen when it burns but it still does consumes some. So, if you are going to be using this fire bowl for hours-on-end in an enclosed space, we advise that you open a window for the circulation for fresh air.
Regal Flame Veranda Ventless Indoor Outdoor Tabletop Fire Bowl
The Regal Flame Veranda Fire Bowl is another small table top fire bowl that is easily portable, weighing only 2 pounds. This contemporary fireplace comes fitted with two safety glass panels that appear to be holding a floating flame when ignited.
This indoor fire bowl, like most bio-ethanol fireplaces, does not have/need a vent and requires no installation. The fire bowl puts out up to 4,000 BTUs of heat from a flame that rises anywhere between 6 and 10 inches high. The estimated burn time for the Regal Flame Veranda Fire Bowl is between 1 and 2 hours depending on the weather and environment.
You also have the option of customizing this fire bowl with Regal pebbles or flame logs to make it even more aesthetically appealing. As you may have already guessed from our discussion above, this fire bowl is also environmentally friendly which means that it produces no harmful emissions and you will not be cleaning up any ash, soot, or melted wax after use.
Gel Fuel Fire Bowls
Gel-fueled fireplaces provide homeowners with a heating option that doesn’t require venting, electricity, or a gas hookup to function. This also means that fire appliances that use this kind of fuel can be moved easily from location to location.
Gel fuel is typically stored in 13-ounce cans that can provide you with a burn time of between 2 to 3 hours. Depending on the kind of fireplace you are working with, you may also have to use more than one can at a go. The fuel produces between 3,000 and 9,000 BTUs of heat and each 13 oz. can costs as low as $3, making gel a cost-effective fuel source.
All gel fuels are made from an isopropyl alcohol mixture and some will contain organic materials that will regularly hiss and pop when ignited, just like wood does in a fire. Gel fuel fire bowls have been noted to warm even large rooms, making them practically convenient even in the colder seasons. However, they shouldn’t be relied upon as a primary heating source.
Further, gel fuel is ash, smoke, and soot-free, which makes this fuel source not only environmentally friendly but guarantees that there is no clean up necessary after use.
Terra Flame OD-TT-WAV-BGE-03N Fire Bowl
The TerraFlame Wave Fire Bowl is a gel-fueled fire bowl that is a perfect addition to your home, giving your space a calm serene ambiance. This small table top fire bowl is made of hand-cast concrete that is a great piece of décor indoors and also blends well with the natural surroundings of the outdoors.
This fire bowl comes with 3 complimentary 13 oz. canisters of clean-burning and odorless gel fuel from TerraFlame. One canister of gel burns a 7-inch flame that produces an average of 3000 BTUs of heat for up to 3 hours.
This fire pit bowl also comes in 6 distinct styles all unique to the needs of your home. These styles include the Geo Fire Bowl, Stone Fire Bowl, Wave Fire Bowl, Wave Fire Bowl II, Zen Fire Bowl, and the Zen Fire Bowl (Pewter).
All variations come with beach pebbles sourced from Mexican rivers; the pebbles bring out a beautiful contrast with the bowl itself and appear to be holding the flame up when ignited.
Anywhere Fireplace Oasis Table Top Gel Fuel Fireplace
As the name suggests, the Anywhere Fireplace Oasis Fireplace is a portable fire bowl that weighs only 13 pounds and can, therefore, be easily moved from location to location. You can use this compact table top fire bowl both indoors and outdoors, on a table, on the ground, around a pool, on the lawn; Anywhere!
No matter where you choose to use this table fire bowl, it will undoubtedly be the center of attention and contribute to the ambiance and appeal of the space. The Anywhere Fireplace Oasis Fireplace is also exceptionally easy to use; simply place the gel from the gel canister in the designated area in the middle of the bowl and then ignite.
To add to its allure, the fire bowl comes with decorative river stones. You can, however, forgo the river stones and go for seashells, colorful fire glass, etc., depending on your taste and style. Just make sure the decorative material you choose is non-flammable and heat-resistant.
Propane Fire Bowls
Propane fireplaces are typically fueled by tanks that are directly attached to the burner using a rubber pipe similar to what you will find on a gas grill tank or gas-power barbeque. Propane-fueled fire bowls may not be as flexible as their gel and bio-ethanol counterparts but are, nonetheless, portable and can be relocated at will.
In comparison to wood, propane has a cleaner burn, emitting much less soot and pollution even though it is a fossil fuel. Further, in comparison to gel and bio-ethanol, propane has a much higher BTU and can, therefore, be used as a primary source of heat. The cost of propane can vary from location to location and the time of the year.
In terms of safety, propane and wood are generally in the same ballpark, except for the fact that you don’t need to split propane before use and the cleanup will definitely be minimal.
Outland Firebowl 870 Premium Outdoor Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit
The Outland Firebowl Gas Fire Pit comes in a compact steel package. There are five different variations to this propane fire bowl. These are the Standard Fire Bowl, Deluxe Fire Bowl, Premium Fire Bowl, Mega Fire Bowl, and the Cypress Fire Bowl. Each package comes with a carry kit and an automatic push-igniter, which makes it a lot easier to transport as well as turn on once you have gotten the hang of it.
The fire bowl is made from high-quality, durable, steel and produces about 58,000 BTUs of heat, which means it can be used as a primary source of heat; this is a lot of firepower in a very tiny package. The steel exterior is further coated with an enamel coating, which not only adds to its beauty but also ensures longevity and guarantees that the bowl can withstand the effects of time and adverse weather conditions.
This propane fire bowl is also CSA approved for use in areas with burn bans unless otherwise advised. This means that you can use it in your backyard or even carry the bowl when you go camping. If you are looking for a portable propane table top fire bowl that conveys both elegance and functionality, then the Outland Firebowl Fire Pit is just what you are looking for.
Bond 7-in W 40,000-BTU Black Portable Tabletop Steel Liquid Propane Firebowl
This propane fire bowl is a gorgeous and stylish appliance that will transform any space you choose to use it. The Bond 7-in W 40,000 is easy to set up and operate; all you have to do is insert the gas hose leading to your propane tank through the umbrella hole in your table and you are ready to go.
This 23-pound table top fire bowl has a beautiful steel construction and is decorated with lava glass that further adds to its appeal. The table top fire pit also comes with 4 glass shields to protect your flame from heavy winds when in use in the outdoors.
Additionally, unlike the other fire bowls on our list, this fire bowl comes with a built-in control that allows you to regulate the size of the flame. The heat output of this fire pit can be as high as 40,000 BTUs and can, therefore, be used as a primary source of heat.
Using and maintaining a tabletop fire bowl, regardless of which fuel it uses, is easy as long as you are exercising proper safety and caution. Remember, you are still dealing with fire here and you still need to be careful in your usage. Always position your fire bowl away from flammable objects, keep away from children and pets, regularly check for leaks, and extinguish the fire when you are done enjoying your flame.
Table top fire bowls undoubtedly add a sense of style and luxury to both indoor and outdoor settings and also provide the perfect ambiance for you and your loved ones to huddle together, bond, and depending on the size of the fire bowl, even keep warm on those chilly nights.