I've seen metal rings for fire pits advertised for around 100 dollars on various sites, more or less, and I was wondering what the advantages of having one are? I think one is heat distribution to avoid direct heating of the surrounding rock/concrete, but is there another purpose? Do people successfully DIY their own or is it not worth trying?

Edit: An example of the ring I was talking about

2 Answers 2


(edit Most barrels...) won't last very long as fire pits. I know this from burning trash when I was a kid. By the time the barrel was full it was falling apart. I never counted, but I would expect it to work well for about 10-20 burns and maybe 50-60 burns before its paper thin and falling apart.

Edit: The thickness of the metal is what matters. 18 gauge drums are what I find to be the industry standard; 18 gauge won't last very long in my opinion. A thicker drum would last longer. I personally own a fire pit object that is very thin, which probably would not last more than 10 burns. So it goes to show that any ol' manufacturer may not necessarily make a decent product.

I have seen barrels converted to wood stoves. I have seen some of them fall apart and I have seen some stand for decades. This is due (primarily) to the thickness of the steel.

Edit2: Product reviews are probably important when you can't get the actual specifications. Amazon has reviews for the example product that you linked... 3.5 stars is not so hot.

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  • So the metal rings they sell have a much longer life to them? If so, I guess that would be true because they are galvanized steel.
    – saigafreak
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 18:09
  • @saigafreak I'm not sure what product you are looking at exactly, but galvanized means zinc coated, which is not ok to burn. Galvanized steel releases poisonous gas at 392 °F (200 °C). Wood burns between 500 °F and 1100 °F. So that would be bad. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 18:14
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    @saigafreak I honestly wouldn't expect a company to care about the quality of a fire ring (from what I've seen), it all depends on the thickness of the steel. I have seen several barrels converted into wood stoves. Just look for something thick if you want it to last. Most barrels are 18 guage (= 1.2mm)... but thicker ones are out there. I have also seen thin fire rings and fire pit-like objects (one was given to me; I hate to knock a gift, but it's actually kind of garbage). Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 18:25
  • I used a 55 gallon drum for a fire pit, lasted a couple seasons before it was literally falling apart. Once the paint burns off, it starts rusting away to nothing. They make metal fire pits which last a bit longer. Agreed that its mostly the thickness of the steel. Any steel around a fire bit is going to rust.
    – rpmerf
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 18:39

"what (are) the advantages of having one..." "to avoid direct heating of the surrounding rock/concrete"

Yes, the advantage is to reduce direct conductive and radiant heat transfer to the surrounding material. Heating clay bricks, rocks, stones, concrete, decorative bricks/pavers, etc. will cause them to crack and crumble. Sometimes immediately, sometimes over a period of time. Sometimes explosively and dangerously, due to moisture in the stone/clay/concrete (unless you use special refractory brick).

I agree with other comments and posts, a DIY job is fine but thicker steel/iron is the key to good performance. I would say 12 gauge would be minimum thickness.

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