With all the stories on the outdoor lifestyle (emphasis on style) this time of year, perhaps you've noticed a hot new trend: fire columns. These outdoor heat- and atmosphere-providers are generally propane powered, and their tall, slim profile sets them apart from fire bowls and pits.
While low fire bowls and pits often have a bit of a wild, primal look and feel to them, the elongated fire columns are more elegant and restrained. They're less campfire and more statement fire—a decorative piece that also provides warmth.
Most fire columns are fueled by propane, with the burn time per tank ranging from two to 33 hours, depending on the size of the tank and how high the flame is. Most are ignited by simply pressing a button, though a couple require lighting. You're not going to get the magical popping and sparking of a wood fire (or that glorious smell), but you're also not going to have to deal with chopping wood, convincing it to catch fire, washing the smoke odor out of your clothes, and doing whatever one is supposed to do with ashes.
Some fire columns are petite enough—only nine inches high in one case—to use on a table top. Most are around 30 inches tall, meaning the flames would be at approximately at chair-seat level, allowing the heat to rise nicely to face level. Other than the last option on this list, fire columns seem perfectly suited to seating areas, although they are also a good height for hand-warming purposes.
Check out these stylish fire columns below:
Pipestone 29" LP Fire Column, Target, $199.99
This handpainted steel fire column includes lava rocks and a push-button ignition and has received 4.5 stars from 69 reviews. There's also a 20-inch version available for half the price.
RTS 30" Polyresin Propane Fire Column, Wayfair, $257.99
This column is pleasingly rounded, and, unlike the model above, the controls are hidden behind the same door that conceals the propane tank. It is made of polyresin and magnesium oxide, comes with lava rocks, is available in a darker shade.
Uniflame 29" Endless Summer LP Outdoor Fireplace, Amazon, $80.29
Here's a more formal option, complete with black fire glass to enhance the flames. The seller is not completely clear on what this column is made out of ("slate finish with faux stone construction"), but one reviewer describes it as "some kind of faux-wood plastic." It has received an average of four stars from 152 reviewers.
Real Flame 36" Board Form Propane Fire Column , Target, $299.99
This faux-wood fire column is made of cast concrete and comes with fire glass, a match-light ignition, and a vinyl cover. At 36 inches high, this is one of the taller models on this list.
Blomus 9" Ceramic Gel Fire Column, Wayfair, $59.99
This matte ceramic and stainless steel column is sleek and sophisticated. One advantage of this option is that it only weighs two pounds, whereas some of the concrete and steel options weigh up to 70 pounds. The gel canister it holds burns for three hours, and it cannot be used indoors.
Red Ember Kona Mini Propane Fire Column, Amazon, $185.92
Although this is called a "mini" fire column, at 29 inches it's not much smaller than the other models on this list. Its "antique bronze weatherproof finish" is lustrous and inviting.
Sedona 32" Fiber-Concrete Propane Fire Column , Home Depot, $259.00
If you're going for a more rustic, earthy look, this cast and painted column is for you. It comes with red lava rocks and a PVC cover.
RTS 30" Propane Fire Column, Amazon, $442.67
This copper-colored, hobnailed number has a serious presence (it weighs 70 pounds!), like something out of Game of Thrones. It is made of oxidized magnesium and filled with lava rocks and has a push-button ignition.
Real Flames 25" Fire Column, Target, $449.00
If you have a bit of a modern farmhouse vibe going on, this charming fire column is for you. It's made of fiber concrete and steel, and comes with lava rocks and a vinyl cover.
South Hampton 34"-51" Wood Gel Fire Column, Wayfair, $309.99-$399.99
Finally, these teak and stainless beauties are kind of like a fire column crossed with a tiki torch. At over four feet high, the larger option is genuinely tall; these are also the only columns on the list that can be used indoors.