An outdoor lounge area with tall trees and a lake in the background, two wooden lounge chairs, and a large, concrete gas fire pit with rolled lava stones.

Anatomy of a Gas Fire Pit

Learn the how the components of a gas fire pit work together & what options are available to ignite and control the fire

Last Updated: November 15, 2023

There are many varieties of gas fire pits available, and while some may seem more complicated to operate than others, they are all made up of the same basic components.

These components include an enclosure, a burner and pan, burning media, an ignition system, and a way to control the gas and fire.

Read below to find out how the individual components work and the different options available for each one.



Media is placed on top of the burner and takes the place of traditional wood logs. It includes lava rock, fire glass, ceramic log sets, fireballs and firestones. Media helps to distribute the gas and create a natural flame pattern.


The burner sits under the media and is used to burn gas. Burners come in an array of shapes and materials. If you’re looking for a specific flame presentation and level of warmth, you’ll want to research different types of burners and the amount of gas they can burn at once (BTU’s).


The pan sits directly under the burner and media, separating them from the open cavity below. Pans come in many shapes and sizes, and either sit on the top of the fire pit or are recessed into the fire pit.

Common Pan Shapes


The enclosure is the body of the fire pit. Enclosures come in various shapes (round, square, rectangular, etc.) and heights (chat height, bar height, dining height, etc.).

Connectors and Fittings

Connectors and fittings are small parts inside the base of the fire pit that are used to route gas to the burner. These pieces can include things like a connector hose with fittings, a gas regulator, valve, and orifice. The connector hose is a small flexible pipe that attaches the gas valve to the burner.


Built-in vents allow for air flow and water drainage. They prevent excess gas and heat from building up inside the enclosure and provide the fresh air necessary for the ignition system to function properly.


Key Valve

A shut off valve is usually mounted on the base of a gas fire pit and is used to control the gas flow to the burner. Some fire pits come with a removable key, which activates the valve, turning the gas on or off.

Control Knob

A control knob opens and closes the gas valve, turning the gas on or off and the push button igniter creates a spark to ignite the gas, lighting the fire.

Remotes & Switches

Just like a TV remote, a fire pit remote allows you to turn the fire on and off without having to get up to do it manually. Most remotes are on/off only, but some do allow you to change the flame height. You can also have a gas fire pit wired to a simple wall switch in your outdoor room, enabling you to turn the fire pit on and off with ease. Remotes and switches are available with automatic ignition fire pits.



A match-lit ignition is just that, lit with a match. You manually turn on the valve to release a flow of gas and use a match to start the fire. This is the simplest and most affordable ignition type available.


A push-button generates a spark to light the gas and start the fire. You push the button, turn on the gas valve letting the fuel flow out, and the spark ignites the fire.

wrench icon Pro Tip:

Some push-button ignitions use a safety pilot system. A safety pilot system will reignite the fire or shut the gas off completely if the flame ever goes out. Safety pilot ignitions are safety rated, making them the most affordable way to be very safe when lighting a gas fire pit.

Automatic Ignition

An automatic ignition operates by pressing a button or flipping a switch to turn the fire pit on and off. It uses a valve system that typically requires an electrical connection and can be controlled with a remote or wall switch. It’s the safest and most user-friendly option available and is also the most expensive.

Read our comprehensive guide to ignition systems here, so you can confidently choose the best option for your project.


Glass Wind Guard

A glass wind guard sits around the media and burner, protecting the flame and allowing the fire pit to stay lit on blustery days.

Wind guards are not required but are a very practical addition if you live in a windy area.

Protective Covers

Protective covers are used to keep fire pits safe when they’re not in use. They protect against unnecessary damage from tough weather conditions and help to prevent rust and deterioration from occurring.

Materials range from weather-proof vinyl to stainless steel and can cover just the burner component or the entire fire pit.


Have any questions about gas fire pits? We'd love to help! Call our NFI certified experts at (800) 919-1904 today.


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