Propane fire pits are popular for good reasons—from their affordability and safety to their all-year reliability. If you’re planning to install your own, it’s important to think about which media type you’ll use. Without the right media, heat won’t be evenly distributed, flames will look fake and your setup will be unsafe.  Let’s cover two of the most popular propane fire pit media options—lava rock and fire glass.

Lava Rock Vs. Fire Glass

No matter which one you ultimately pick, the good news is that both options perform in extreme heat. That said, there are a few key considerations when choosing. 


Lava Rock Appearance

Lava rock is naturally made from hardened, cool-over magma. It’s porous—meaning it has spaces or holes throughout—but that’s the only real consistency rock to rock. Even within a single group, each one will vary to some degree in size, shape and color. So if you’re a perfectionist or can’t stand for things to be out of sync, this option is not for you. Color choices include subtle, earthy, non-reflective variants of blacks, reds and browns. 

Fire Glass Appearance 

This tempered glass—meaning it’s exceptionally safe and tough—is made by a number of different companies. Fire glass comes in a variety of colors, cuts and sizes, so for propane fire pit customization, it definitely has the edge over lava rock. Colors include more natural options like blacks and browns or more extravagant ones like blues, greens and reds. No matter which you opt for, fire glass will always have a smooth feel and reflective finish. 

Durability and Cost

Lava Rock Durability and Cost

Lava rock has a typical lifetime of 1-2 years (depending on how often it’s used) with no real maintenance needed otherwise. Compared to a propane fire pit that uses fire glass, you’ll have to do much more regular replacements. So even though lava rock may initially be a bit more cost-friendly than fire glass, expenses will add up over time. 

Fire Glass Durability and Cost

Since fire glass is expertly manufactured, there is no predetermined lifetime, with years and years of use all but guaranteed. Even more so than lava rock, it’s incredibly resilient to both damage and color warping. As long as it’s used as intended, there’s no risk of any damage or hazards. The only byproduct you’ll occasionally have to clean up is some soot. And while it typically costs a bit more than lava rock, it’s well worth the investment for your propane fire pit’s long-term use. 

Heat Radiance 

Both lava rock and fire glass help transfer heat from the propane fire pit to the area around it, but it’s not a close fight. Fire glass radiates heat about 3-4 times more efficiently than lava rock. 

The Winner: Fire Glass

While both are viable options, it’s easy to see why fire glass comes out on top. For help getting your propane fire pit expertly set up, My Propane Butler offers everything from installation services to a steady propane supply. We can hand deliver propane tanks right to your home, even connect them to your propane fire pit for you, on a schedule that makes sense for you. Learn more about our propane fire pit services or contact us directly.