Fire Bowls – Why Should You Be Mindful in Operating Them?

When the weather turns cooler, our thoughts gravitate towards gathering around the glow of a cozy fire. Whether you are looking to extend the hours you spend on your backyard patio or a way to feel some warmth to your outdoor space, there are a few things to consider regarding a tabletop fire bowl.

The perception is that they are safer than the traditional wood fire pits or chimneys. However, many hospitals have seen their share of incidents arising from tabletop fire pits that have generated serious burns. 

Most of these accidents have occurred while people have been re-fuelling the fire pits. People have not been exercising as much caution as they should have been, and most of these injuries were preventable. 

We will also review some of the most popular brands including:

Fire Pit Bowl

The difference between a fire pit and bowl is nominal. Yet, because of the dangers, the differences are important enough to categorize separately. A pit is generally a ring with an area above ground or built into the ground. A fire bowl is portable and looks like a metal bowl with legs containing a fire pit.

The benefit of a fire pit bowl is that you can move it around as needed. They can be easily stored in garages or sheds as opposed to leaving them outdoors when not in use. 

Fire Pit Insert Bowl

If your fire pit is a permanent feature in your backyard, you will need a fire pit liner. However, if your pit is made of fine bricks, you will not require an insert. Fire bricks can withstand intense heat and make the best choice for permanent fire pits.

Tabletop Fire Bowl

There are ways to enjoy a tabletop fire bowl that are completely safe and prevent you from injuring yourself. Take special care when operating them as there is still fire involved. This is not an apparatus that you can afford to be lax in.

Tip #1: It is Not Safer Than a Regular Fire Pit

This is the number one mistake people make when operating a tabletop fire bowl. They feel that its small size and short flame make it safer than a regular fire pit. However, this is further from the truth. 

Do not lower your guard when it comes to these fire pits. They are just as dangerous as the full-sized ones. Also, watch both pets and children. These fire pits are off the ground and are close to their height. A curious hand or wagging tail can easily become ensnared in the flames.

Tip #2: Plan an Exit Strategy

These types of fire pits often sit close to the home, and people tend to gather closely around them. If a projection of fuel erupts from your fuel source, pathways to an exit can be blocked. Many people can suffer burns. 

People’s perceptions of the real risks these fire pits pose are underestimated. This can create a slower response time to danger, especially if there are alcohol, medications, drugs, or mobility issues at play. 

To keep everyone safe, place the fire pit away from the house so if any projections or flares, nothing will catch fire. Have people evenly spaced- not crowded – around the fire for their own safety and treat this fire pit just like it was a full-sized one. 

Tip #3: Explosions are a Possibility

Tabletop fire pits often use highly flammable fuels like ethanol and butane. Ensure that you read the operation instructions regarding the proper method for re-fueling properly to avoid accidents. Explosions can occur when people are attempting to re-light the fire. There is a possibility that there still are fumes or low flames that can ignite during refueling. 

This can cause a re-fuelling container to catch on fire instantaneously. If it does, the container will combust. The person holding on to the container could react in surprise by throwing it. This will cause people around the fire pit to be inadvertently sprayed with fuel. 

Avoid re-fuelling if you are smoking marijuana or cigarettes because this could potentially cause an explosion as well. 

Tip #4: Enjoy the Fire Pit Responsibly

It is a bad idea to do drugs or drink alcohol around any fire. It impedes your decision-making and slows your reaction time. Most people can’t foresee a dangerous situation or its consequences while intoxicated. 

Tip #5: In the Event of a Serious Accident, Call 9-1-1

If someone is seriously injured or even burned, call 9-1-1. In the event of a burn, avoid putting butter, oil, lemons, or vinegar on the burn. The best treatment is generally cold water for burns. Avoid soaking the area. Just allow water to run over it.

The reason for using water is that it will not trap the heat inside the skin, causing it to blister, but it will cause some relief. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask a professional before attempting anything. 

While in some countries there is a push to ban tabletop fire pits, most people just need to learn how to handle them responsibly. With further education, people will begin to give the device the respect it deserves, and it will dispel common misnomers. 

Our Recommendations

Best Overall: Regal Flame Ventless Tabletop Fire Pit

Fire Bowl

This tabletop fire pit is vent-free and portable. It operates on a bioethanol furnace and can be used inside/outside. The flame is nicely viewable from 360°, and it operates like a double-sided fireplace. 


  • Eco-friendly burner insert
  • Produces 4,000 BTU, which will warm a 400 square foot room.
  • Contains a real flame
  • No ash to clean
  • Flames last for one to two hours


  • Fuel spills easily
  • Can go through fuel quickly

Best Runner Up: VIzayo Tabletop Fire Pit

Fire Bowl

This fire pit has a two to three-hour burn time with gel fuel, making it longer lasting than its competitors. It will burn for one hour with bio-ethanol fuel or by using isopropyl alcohol 70% or 91%.

It sits beautifully on any tabletop and provides a nice centerpiece. It can also be used indoors or outdoors. 


  • Snuffer contains a longer handle for improved safety
  • Waterproof cover keeps it free from the elements
  • Easy to maintain


  • May crack

Fire Bowl Café

If you want to turn a tabletop fire pit into a culinary delight, consider going to a fire bowl café. This cuisine allows you to create your own stir fry experience by selecting your own ingredients. They are then wok-tossed and served over noodles or rice. 


How do you make a fire bowl?

A DIY fire bowl can be done by following these simple instructions:

Purchase some marine silicone, small rocks, metal mesh, 4 pieces of glass, gel fuel, and a square planter with a bit of a lip.

To make a class box, run a bead of silicone along the edges of the glass. Then put them together to form a box. To two sides together first and hold them in place until dry. Position the glass so the final side is easier to silicone. Run another bead of silicone to put the last glass in place.

Run a final bead of silicone along the bottom edge of the glass box. Flip over the box and put the silicone edge on the top of the planter. Make sure there is enough of an edge in the middle for the mesh to rest on it.

Create the pit by cutting the mesh to fit inside. The mesh’s sole purpose is to support the rocks which hide the fuel underneath. Once the mesh is cut, everything is complete. Now, all you need to do is build the fire. 

Use an opened can of gel fuel and put it in the center of the pit. Rest your mesh on the platers inside the edge. Put down rocks to hide the mesh. Make sure there is no moisture on the rocks, or an explosion could ensue. Then, light the fire and enjoy.

Note: there are fire pit rocks available that work better than ordinary rocks. They are safer as well. 

Fire bowls and fire pits are incredible sources of warmth when the weather dips and make a great addition to any outdoor space. They are portable and add a lot of ambiance. However, this type of fire feature does pose a health concern if not attended to properly. Always make sure when in use that you treat it like an actual fire to avoid injury and property damage. This will keep the experience more enjoyable, and less painful. 

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