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Ethanol Fire Pit VS Gas Fire Pit

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The quick growth in global energy demand is motivating continuous research for alternative, eco-friendly and renewable fuels like ethanol. Since gas and propane are the main sources our clients choose for their outdoor fuel fire pits, we found it useful to discuss bioethanol as an alternative fuel for fire pits. So, let’s decide ethanol fire pit vs gas fire pit.

What is Ethanol?

BIOETHANOL can be received from biomass by the chemical breakdown of raw materials such as corn, sugarcane, lignocellulose, sugar beets and other organics. Utilizing renewable resources for manufacturing burning elements is an important next step in reducing the negative impact of other types of fuels on nature.

What is an Ethanol Burner?

From the first look, an ethanol burner presents itself like a stainless steel container in different forms (round, square, or rectangular). It is hollow inside so you have a “vessel” into which to pour ethanol. Depending on its volume you can understand for how long it will burn, and how often you need to refill the burner. The ethanol burns up inside the vessel producing heat, and only insignificant amounts of steam and carbon dioxide. The flame is clean, stable with a combination of blue/red color with flickering yellow edges to it.

Ethanol or gas burner

Gas and propane are the common fuels people use today for lighting fire pits. These fuel sources require plumbing in one fashion or another. You may be considering ethanol burners because of their ease of use or their benefit to replace other fuels: for example, ethanol doesn’t produce a lot of harmful toxins, just an insignificant amount that’s not dangerous for nature and human beings. With a DreamCast Design ethanol fire pit you can install an Ethanol Stainless steel burner in minutes and start to enjoy your firepits. No professional installer required.

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How Do Ethanol Fire Pits Work?

As far as ethanol is a safe fuel, we highly recommend you to use it only for purposes to light your fire pit. When you get a fire pit installed at your place, make sure the burner sits tightly in the concrete rim or support plate.

Fire Pit Ethanol

Follow these steps to light your fire pit

-check there are no materials inside the burner, packing papers or manuals;

-open the ethanol bottle and pour biofuel inside of the burner (check the the volume of the vessel (in litres) to see how much ethanol it requires); 

-ignite the fire pit using a barbeque lighter, but be careful not to stay close to the fire. In 10-15 minutes the flame will stabilize and become more straight. 

NOTE: Bioethanol is safe for outside or indoor use. Even if the wind blows the flame, you don’t need to worry that some dangerous substance still can come out. Unused fuel evaporates like alchohol. 

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Benefits of Having an Ethanol Fire Pit

Not needing to change propane tanks? No need for expensive plumbing? Taking care of environment? In comparison with other fuels, ethanol offers many significant benefits: 

Environmentally Conscious

Bioethanol is a low-carbon fuel, made from natural renewable resources (as we mentioned before it’s usually corn, sugarcane, wheat, and sugar beet). That makes ethanol burners an eco-friendly energy source.

Easy To Install

Usually, the ethanol burner is packed separately and together with the unit. You’ll get a lighting rod, lighter and funnel – all you need to light the fire pit. To install it correctly, make sure to put it in a concrete surround (for DreamCast products it’s approximately 1″ concrete rim inside the unit) that give you enough clearances about 4″ from the top. 

NOTE: When installing the burner, check the overhead clearance – 60″ minimum to combustible materials.

Simple To Use

every time you need to light your burner, just fill up the plate with ethanol and light it using a bbq lighter. Additionally, a glass barrier can be installed as an additional safety feature and/or a windscreen. Do you think something is missing? Add more style with a fire topping! Exclusive fireglass, river stones, log sets, and beads will add an elegant look to ethanol fire pits. Just make sure to not put them inside of the vessel, only on top. Let’s continue to find out Ethanol Fire Pit VS Gas Fire Pit win.

Produce Significant Heat

(from 15k BTU to 47k BTU)

Bio ethanol burners are the perfect secondary source to enjoy. As for outdoor fire pits, you’ll feel the heat if you sit close to the unit. In this case, we have to mention that in comparison with natural gas or propane, bioethanol is less energy efficient. 

Amount of heat for different types of fuels


Natural Gas/Propane


48” burner

110K – 150K BTU

33.5K BTU

60” burner

150K – 210K BTU


72” burner 

210K – 250K BTU

47.4K BTU

13” round



NOTE: Though bioethanol has lower energy degree than gas or propane, this means that you need to burn more bioethanol in order to get the same amount of energy.

Remote Control Feature is Available

remote control for fireplace

With modern technologies being rapidly developed, we’re proud to announce that an ethanol fire pit can be managed remotely. It means that you can adjust the height of the flame or choose a sleep mode by using a keychain remote. These models will require electricity to be hardwired into the vessel.


Undoubtedly a great feature, especially for people who prefer to change things frequently. While a gas line sticks out only from one chosen spot, ethanol fire pits can be placed in various locations. It’s easy to change the place if you want a different layout. It’s only a matter of carrying concrete since the concrete unit by itself is  heavy.

How Long Does an Ethanol Burner Last?

An average burner can burn approximately for 5-6 hours. Once again, it depends on dimensions and volume of the vessel. Obviously, for natural gas, there is no time limit to run your unit as the gas is plumbed in. For other types of fuel, we compared propane VS bioethanol, and how long each fuel burns to give you 50K BTU of heat. 


Propane tank (20 lbs)

BioEthanol (20 lbs)

50K BTU burner

8-9 hours

5-6 hours

Caution: To refill the burner once it runs out of fuel, we advise you to wait for an hour to ensure the vessel is cool and no remnants of flame are left. DreamCast ethanol fire pits come with a lid to extinguish the air supply. Once the flame is completely out you’ll be able to pour bioethanol safely inside the vessel and light it again. Look more useful video on our YouTube channel.

How To Take Care Of Your Ethanol Burner

When we speak about ethanol burner duration, we need to take into account that these terms are applicable if you use the unit specifically for its purpose. Also, always keep the surface and area around the burner clean and tidy. For all burners that are compatible with our concrete surround, the manufacturer provides a 5-year warranty. However, try to follow these simple rules of ethanol fire pits maintenance:

  • Use a soft tissue or a damp piece of cloth when cleaning your burner. Don’t scrub it with metal to remove stains. If you get a stain that is hard to remove, make sure to use an appropriate cleaning spray; 
  • Empty the plate when the burner is not in use for a long time. Ethanol can slowly evaporate when the burner is open (especially during the hot summer). In this case, it’s better to empty the plate if you’re going on a long trip.  
  • Clean stains as soon as it gets on the surface. Use above mentioned methods to avoid scratches or damage. 

To see that BioEthanol burns clean let’s look at products of combustion: 

Natural Gas

Carbon monoxide (colourless, odourless and extremely toxic), Aldehydes, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Sulphur oxides, Unburnt hydrocarbons, Nitrogen oxides, Particulates, Carbon dioxide and water vapour


Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide (especially dangerous when there is not enough ventilation), soot


Carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and carbon dioxide together with low oxygen concentration. Soot


Carbon dioxide, and small quantities of carbon monoxide and soot

With that being shown, we can see that bioethanol produces less dangerous elements into the air than other fuels and why bioethanol is safe to use indoors. 

All DreamCast firepits are available in an ethanol version. 

Ethanol Fire Pit VS Gas Fire Pit

Get In Touch

Still have questions about winterizing your fire pit? Give us a call at 1-888-616-4939, and one of our team will be happy to help!

If you’re not ready to make any decisions right now, why not take a look at our product gallery for more inspiration, or follow us on Instagram to keep up with the latest trends and promotions. 

Thanks for reading! We hope this has been helpful.

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