Fans on either side will claim theirs is the best. From subjective reasoning to practical rationale you're either in the club, or you're out. Even the backyard favourite, the BBQ, isn't immune to the heat of the debate. But which is best for an outdoor fireplace?
For romance one might argue that the crackle and hiss of wood burning slowly to embers sets a better mood, but try lighting a fire to the sound of "you're doing it wrong" and suddenly flicking on the gas igniter seems like the more hassle-free option.
Cost tips its cap to wood on this one. A gas fireplace can cost an additional $4,995 for a natural gas, plumbed in supply. Ongoing costs for gas are pretty steady but for wood burning you can forage local resources for some free fuel if needed or fork out for some special timber.
What does that look like? Well, our humble Manuka will set you back around $180 per metre cubed (you can get yours from firewoodnz), but does kick out a fair amount of heat (check out this chart) and good old fashioned Macrocarpa is $100 but kicks out around 2/3rds of the heat that Manuka does. Gas doesn't have this issue and according to Genesis Energy will cost you around 5.63 cents per kWh, which is very comparable to the cost of a woodburning fire. On pure cost (including a gas unit, installation and running costs) wood burning would just win this round.
Convenience this one is a hands down win for gas. With no lighting process to go through, minimal ongoing maintenance, plumbed in fuel and no ash to sweep away gas is certainly the choice for those looking for low-maintenance and easy fireplace ownership.
Location may dictate which type of outdoor fireplace you go for. If you're in an urban area, or in a region with heavy fire bans then a gas fireplace will produce less smoke and will be less of a fire risk. However, it's always worth investigating with your local authorities around the exact requirements in complying with the ban as most of the time it's OK to use an outdoor fireplace even when a ban is in place. If you're at all unsure please feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to assist if we can
Cooking is not possible on a gas outdoor fireplace (the fat drips down onto the gas unit) so if you want to amaze your guests by grilling appetisers on the open fire while they warm up on an evening then wood burning is the only way to go. Handily every Trendz Outdoors wood-burning fireplace comes with a stainless steel cooking grill as standard perfect for outdoor entertaining.
So with no clearly defined good or bad type of fireplace the only real conclusion is that no matter which fireplace you go with you'll be the winner regardless!