There’s no doubt that a fire table on your porch or patio will lend intimacy to the space, and be a central gathering place for family and friends. Their cheerful warmth draws folks close, and fosters communication and connection. Fire tables are growing in popularity, which means you have plenty to choose from. But you’ll want a quality piece of furniture that functions just as well in summer’s heat as winter’s chill, and will last season after season. If you’re thinking about turning up the heat on your back deck or front porth, here are three things to think about when choosing a fire table.

Push Button Ignition

Decorative glass rocks reflect flames for a stunning look. Outland Living

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A fire table lends a fabulous aesthetic to an outdoor living space, but you may want one that does more than simply look awesome. If you plan on entertaining around the fire table, look for one with plenty of tabletop space. Those flames are stunning, but you’ll want a little room so cold drinks don’t get warmed by the fire. And being able to spread out a board game or a deck of cards will double your enjoyment of a fire table.

Hand Woven

This product stops flames from being blown out by gusts, keeping them tall and beautiful in all weather conditions. U-MAX

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While many fire tables are fueled with a propane tank hidden inside the table structure, there are lots of great natural gas choices that will hook up to your home gas line. A natural gas table is convenient, and over time fuel costs are much lower. But you’ll lose the ability to move the table from place to place. Think about how and where you want to enjoy your fire table before deciding.

Metal Top

This piece of outdoor furniture features brushed steel sides for durability with a natural rattan look. TACKLIFE

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A well-fitted, smartly designed, attractive cover is a key consideration. It converts a fire table to a standard coffee or end table during warmer weather; even during cold seasons, a sturdy cover increases a fire table’s utility.