The UniFlame WAD820SP outdoor fireplace is a very cozy and attractive fire pit. It's highly-rated by its owners, easy to assemble, and the manufacturer provides excellent customer service.
It's the perfect addition to a patio setting on a cool evening with family or friends. While not large, it can burn up to four logs at a time, creating a toasty medium-sized fire that'll keep you warm without having to keep your distance. The mesh screen provides relative safety from sparks, and the decorative rim stops you from getting dangerously close to the fire.
The marble, slate and copper tile decoration not only looks great when a fire is burning, but also makes this an attractive piece of outdoor furniture when not in use. The fireplace is built to last, with an iron base, and steel bowl that is coated in porcelain to protect it from rust and make it easier to clean.
The main drawback with this fireplace is that it's only moderately sized. If you want a blazing bonfire, you'll need something bigger.
Ambiance & Functionality Of UniFlame WAD820SP Slate & Marble Fireplace
This is a gorgeous wood-burning fireplace. Its central feature is its decorative rim of slate and marble tiles, which looks even better in real life than it does in the photos, and matches nicely with most outdoor patio settings. The stone decoration is inlaid with copper accents that beautifully complement the glow of the fire and add to its overall ambiance. Don't be surprised if you receive plenty of compliments from your friends.
The whole unit is only three feet wide with the bowl itself just shy of two feet across, which is big enough to create a lovely toasty fire, without being too big for a cozy conversational gathering. You'll be able to enjoy the warmth and beauty of the fire, as well as each other's company.
From the photos, you may be tempted to think you can put snack foods or wine on the table surface, but it's more decorative than functional. Since it's only a few inches wide and right next to the fire, anything you put on it will be close to the flames, and will get hot.
You probably won't want to put food on it (other than a hot drink), and it will be uncomfortable or dangerous to rest your feet on. Think of it more like the hearth of a fire: it's an attractively disguised safety feature, creating a safety buffer around the actual fire.
On the topic of safety, the WAD820SP also comes with a spark guard. This is a mesh dome that you place over the fire bowl when in use, to reduce the risk of sparks escaping the bowl. This is a standard safety feature on many fire bowls and its inclusion in this model makes it safe to sit close to the fire.
Since it sits right over the fire, you'll need a tool (e.g. tongs) and fireproof gloves to place and remove it. Some sparks may still occasionally make it through the mesh. To minimize the risk of this, you should only burn seasoned hardwood, since other types of wood (softwood, scrap wood, etc) are more likely to spark.
Assembly & Customer Service
The WAD820SP fireplace is very easy to assemble, taking only 15-20 minutes and not requiring any special tools or skills. The assembly instructions are clearly written and simple to follow. The manufacturing quality is precise and all parts fit together easily.
All the screws, nuts and washers are included. There are 16 nuts to attach the legs (4 per leg), which you can tighten with the included M8 flat wrench (it's basic, but fine for getting the job done, although if you prefer to use your own wrench, M8 is about the same size as 5/16 or 13mm). There are also two screws that attach the handle to the spark guard, for which you'll need a #2 Phillips Head screw driver (no screw driver is included).
If any part of your package is damaged or missing, call the Blue Rhino service desk on (800) 762-1142 (UniFlame is a Blue Rhino brand). By all reports, their customer service department is excellent and will happily send replacement parts. Occasionally, there may be just a screw or nut missing.
This isn't very common, and is just one of those things that occasionally happens when buying any self-assembled product. You can call Blue Rhino to have them send a replacement, but if you don't want to wait for postage, just make a quick trip to your local hardware store (nuts and screws only cost a few cents each).
The product comes with a 1-year limited warranty that all parts are free of defects in material and workmanship, provided they've been assembled and operated according to instructions. Keep your receipt, because proof of purchase is required. Under the warranty, defective parts are replaced free of charge. Full warranty details are included in the UniFlame WAD820SP owner's manual.
Construction Quality & Durability
The WAD820SP is well constructed, with a sturdy wrought-iron base. The legs have rubber pads on the feet, so that you won't damage any stonework you put it on. The fire bowl is made from steel, and coated with black porcelain to increase its durability to heat and corrosion.
The fire grate that the burning logs rest on is heavy steel. The only noticeably weak part of the construction is the spark screen, which a lighter-weight (basically a mesh in a light frame), making it easy to handle, but less durable.
Like most fire bowls, it is designed for moderately-sized fires with 3-4 logs, rather than blazing infernos. If you build a larger fire than recommended, it will get too hot, and may cause damage the unit, such as warping the spark guard, burning paint from the spark guard, or causing the decorative tiles to detach.
Maintenance is simple. The bowl can be lifted out of the frame, making it easy to tip out the ashes. To protect it from the elements, you may want to get a cover (such as the Veranda Round Fire Pit Cover), or move it to a sheltered area when not in use. Periodic cleaning will keep the unit in good condition. Generally you'll just need regular dishwashing detergent, although if you have a build-up of creosote you may want to use a chimney cleaner.
- Very attractive, and will nicely complement your outdoor furniture and decor.
- Sturdy, durable construction.
- Easy assembly.
- Easy to clean.
- Excellent customer service. Hopefully you won't need it, but it's good to know anyway.
- Given the attractiveness of the table surface, it would be wonderful if the fire pit could double as an outdoor table when not in use. All it would require is a flat circular cover for the bowl opening, with the same stone & copper style of decoration. Unfortunately, the unit doesn't come with one. This isn't a big deal, since it would make the unit more expensive, but it does seem like a lost opportunity.
- This is an awkwardly shaped item to ship, and some people have received it with the box beaten up and parts damaged or missing. If this happens, call customer support on (800) 762-1142 to get replacement parts.
- Not suitable for large fires. If you want a blazing bonfire, you'll need something bigger.
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