A close-up view of a grill lighter holding a flame to a match-lit stainless steel burner with amber-colored fire gems.

Which Ignition Type Is Best For Me?

Discover the different types of ignitions, how they operate, and which one is right for your project!

Last Updated: August 4, 2021

If you're installing a fire pit, one of the most important decisions you'll make is how you want to light it.

Whether you prefer the reliability of a standard match-lit ignition or want the convenience of a remote-operated, electronic system, there's an ignition type available to fit your project.

It can be overwhelming to learn all the differences among the various ignition systems.

We've broken down each ignition type and how they operate to help you discover your options and choose the system that works best for your fire feature!


The most straightforward way to light your fire pit is with a standard match-lit ignition system.

Ideal for quick and easy backyard DIY projects, match-lit ignitions are budget-friendly and don't have any moving parts, making them simple to install and virtually maintenance-free.  

Most match-lit ignition system kits include a fire pit pan with a burner, a flexible gas line, a gas shutoff valve, and an air mixer valve for Liquid Propane configurations.  

To operate a match-lit ignition, you'll open the valve on your fuel supply, hold a lighter or matchstick over the burner, and slowly turn the gas valve on. 

You can then adjust your flame height by turning the key valve. 

wrench icon Pro Tip:

Match-lit ignition systems are only recommended for residential applications.


If you like the idea of lighting your fire pit with the touch of a button but don't have access to a power supply in your outdoor space, a push-button spark ignition system is a great solution. 

Similar to firing up a grill, push-button ignitions are operated with a battery-powered ignitor probe placed in the pan base close to the burner and a button module mounted on the fire pit. When you push the button, the probe sends a spark to the burner for ignition. 

Even though push-button spark ignition systems don't require any electricity, you'll need to make sure you have a solid earth connection for the grounding wire of the spark ignitor.  

Image without a name

This is an example of a properly-installed, push-button ignition system with a flame-sensing component on top of the burner.

wrench icon Pro Tip:

Push-button spark ignition systems still require you to manually light your fire pit, so they are only recommended for residential settings.


Flame-sensing kits continuously monitor the flame in your fire pit using an automatic sensor, providing an extra layer of protection against dangerous gas leaks or gas cloud buildups.  

You'll light your fire pit with a control knob and ignitor button, just like a spark ignition system. If the flame-sensing kit doesn't detect the presence of a flame, the fuel supply automatically closes to prevent gas leaks.  

Available in both Natural Gas and Liquid Propane configurations, flame sensing kits are manufactured in a "plug-and-play" design, making installation quick and simple

wrench icon Pro Tip:

Flame-sensing kits operate with spark ignition systems, but all electronic ignition systems have flame-sensing components. Flame-sensing kits boost safety in both commercial and residential spaces.


Ideal for commercial applications, like hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment venues, electronic ignitions provide the highest level of safety.

You can install a power line and route it to your fire pit or purchase a battery-operated system. Either way, you'll have the ability to operate your fire pit from somewhere private and prevent guests from tampering with the control settings.

All electronic ignition fire pits contain a flame-sensing pilot feature that activates when the fire pit is in use. If the flame goes out, the system automatically shuts down to prevent gas leaks.  

Electronic ignition systems operate with an on/off wall switch or a remote control. Some systems even have the ability to pair with your smartphone via Bluetooth, making your outdoor space even more user-friendly.  

wrench icon Pro Tip:

An electronic ignition system is the best option for commercial spaces, because you can control the fire from somewhere private. The flame-sensing feature also adds an extra layer of safety in residential settings.


If you decide to go with an electronic ignition system, it's important to make sure you have one that stands up to the elements.

The All-Weather Electronic Ignition System (AWEIS), a brand name from Fire by Design, and the Smart Weather Electronic Ignition System (SWEIS) by The Outdoor Plus are designed to keep your fire pit burning during all types of weather conditions, even heavy rains and winds.  

Both systems rely on a pilot light and have a self-monitoring feature that senses if the fire pit is extinguished, attempts to relight it, and shuts off the fuel supply if a gas leak is detected.  

The AWEIS and SWEIS will require a supply of electricity that runs to your fire pit, and both ignition models are compatible with various control systems, including wall switches, remote controls, and smart devices.  

wrench icon Pro Tip:

The AWEIS/SWEIS is ideal for any outdoor application, especially commercial venues, because of its weather-rivaling design, self-monitoring feature, and compatibility with various control systems.


HPC's Electronic Ignition (EI) System monitors the flame status, internal temperatures, voltages, and other important safety parameters of your fire pit.

If the flame blows out, the system shuts off gas flow, then automatically attempts to restart your fire pit.  

The pilot flame area in the system is surrounded and protected by a metal "blow-out" box to help prevent flame loss.

Similarly, if the system detects internal temperatures are too high, an auto-shutoff function prevents your fire pit from overheating.  

HPC's EI System can operate with a wall switch and remote control, or you can use Bluetooth to control the fire pit with your smart device.  

Image without a name

HPC's EI System includes a metal blow-out box to prevent flame loss. The box sits right on top of the burner pan.

wrench icon Pro Tip:

HPC’s EI System monitors the fire feature’s important safety parameters for you, which is great for commercial settings. The ability to use your smartphone to control the system makes it equally as convenient for residential spaces.


The Direct Spark Ignition System from The Outdoor GreatRoom is an automatic safety ignition system with a flame-sensing function and automatic gas valve. A control module sparks the ignitor, opens the valve, and lights the fire pit.  

The gas valve and module are enclosed in a waterproof case to protect them from the elements. If windy weather conditions extinguish the flame, the system attempts to reignite your fire pit.

If it's unsuccessful, the fire pit enters safety shut-down mode to prevent gas leaks or buildup.  

The Direct Spark Ignition System includes an on/off wall switch, but you can upgrade to a remote control or use Bluetooth to connect your smart device to the fire pit for more convenience.

Plus, you have the option to add a 30 or 60-minute timer switch, so you can enjoy the ambiance without monitoring the fire.  

Image without a name

The Outdoor GreatRoom's Direct Spark Ignition System is enclosed in a waterproof case that protects it from harsh elements.

wrench icon Pro Tip:

Features like a timer switch, an automatic gas valve, and a waterproof case housing the system’s crucial components make the Direct Spark Ignition safe and convenient for both commercial and residential spaces.


If you have any questions about ignition types or which one is right for your project, we'd love to help! Call our team of NFI-certified experts at 800.919.1904 today!


There are so many great fire pit designs to choose from. That's why we've narrowed down our top 5 gas fire pits of 2021 to help you find your ideal look and fit.  

If you're building your own fire pit, then a gas burner kit is the simple solution you've been looking for. Check out our favorite burner kits of 2021!  

If you want to build a gas fire pit but aren't sure where to start, read through this guide to learn how to complete your custom DIY project!