A fire pit cover can be either a solid material, such as hard plastic or metal, or it may be a flexible cover which fits over the entire stand-alone fire pit. Hard covers are great for keeping rain and pests out of your fire pit, but a full cover offers better protection against the elements. Many people use both types, while others simply use the bag-like cloth or vinyl fire pit cover.
A hard fire pit cover, usually made from metal or hard plastic, fits over the top of the fire pit, or acts as a cap over the chimney exhaust of pot-bellied stove fire pits. Most fire pit spark screens are made using metal, and while they offer no protection from the elements, they are the most common type of cover used. A hard cover could also be a shell or case the the fire pit fits into, but these are not common, and mostly used only for small, portable fire pits, providing handles or wheel to make transporting the fire pit easier.
Cloth, Vinyl, and Canvas
To protect your garden fire pit from the effects of the elements, there are cloth, vinyl and canvas covers available that enclose every part of the fire pit except the bottom of the base. Using a full cover prevent the paint from fading, and protects the fire pit from moisture, which could cause it to deteriorate faster. These types of covers may be a generic type, or they may made specifically for a particular style of model of fire pit.
Generic covers for a backyard fire pit are usually simply sack-like shrouds that slip down over the fire pit. Some models have zippers or snaps to offer more adjustability and a better seal. Generic covers are available at most hardware stores, and are usually the most economical type of fire pit cover you will find. In most cases, a generic cover will provide all of the protection your fire pit will need, but it may not be visually appealing when it is in place.
Custom Fire Pit Covers
A custom fire pit cover is one that is manufactured to fit a specific type of model. Most major brands of fire pits have custom covers available, or you can make your own by cutting and stitching the pieces together yourself. The advantage of making a fire pit cover yourself is that it can be made to precisely fit the various integrated components, such as a grilling area that was added on after the purchase.
Do I Need a Fire Pit Cover?
If you want to protect the finish of a fire pit, it is best to protect it when you are not using it. If you have a gas fire pit, using a fire pit cover will protect the parts from decay and corrosion, so the the fire pit will work more reliably for a long period of time. It is not absolutely necessary for any fire pit to have a cover, but not having one means you will have to re-paint or replace your fire pit more often than otherwise.