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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- Durable 304 stainless steel construction
- Efficient burn requires more wood than some fire pits
- Options for multiple price points and preferences
- Portable enough to join the family camping trip
- Unique design reduces smoke substantially
- Less ash to clean up than traditional fire pits
Jump to: Full Review
- Choose between corten steel & stainless steel
- Heavier than its competitors
- Corten steel develops handsome patina
- Patent-pending X Airflow technology supports stronger fire
- Outpost accessory available for open-fire cooking
- Sear plate can be used to cook while you enjoy fire
- 100% USA manufactured
Jump to: Full Review
After a long week, there is nothing more relaxing than enjoying some fresh air, while hanging out around a fire. Unfortunately, the smoke from the fire ruins some of that fresh air, so you may constantly feel the need to move your chair around the fire, away from the changing path of the smoke. This is the problem with traditional fire pits, but innovative designs featured as part of modern smokeless pits largely solve this problem.
One of the newer trends in fire pits is going smokeless. Now, to some that may be hard to envision because when we burn something, there is always going to be smoke involved. Every campfire makes smoke, and depending upon the fuel you are burning with, it can make a lot of smoke. And yes, campfires can be fun to sit around, cook on, and be warmed by them. But inevitably, there will be a blast of smoke at some point, which isn’t going to be very pleasant to your nose, your lungs, or your eyes.
No matter where you sit on one side of a campfire or a regular fire pit, smoke is going to be a problem. That’s why most people just equate smoke with fire, and there aren’t two ways about it. But, there are such things as smokeless fire pits, and the reason they work is because of how dynamically they burn.
Do Smokeless Fire Pits Get Hot?
Of Course, some people question if smokeless fire pits really get that hot. Perhaps this is just because they assume that fire without smoke can’t really be that hot, or perhaps it is because of the double-wall construction. Smokeless fire pits feature two walls that air flows through, before flowing out the top heated, which creates secondary combustion that re-burns the remaining smoke. It is interesting to understand how smokeless fire pits work, but some people assume the double-wall construction blocks heat from escaping.
In reality, the opposite is most likely true. Smokeless fire pits actually work best when they are hottest, because an efficient fire reduces smoke, and heats the air creating the secondary combustion that results in a cleaner burn. As a result, smokeless fire pits may actually be hotter than standard fire pits.
Our Favorite Fire Pits
The innovative design of these smokeless fire pits provides a much more authentic experience than a gas fire pit. While there are some cheaper brands making wood pellet fire pits, too, there is something more rustic and grounding about using traditional dry wood fuel. The benefits of smokeless fire pits are clear, and our favorite brands include Breeo and Solo Stove.
If you are looking for a more compact design, perhaps to use as a small patio fire pit, or even as a portable fire pit you can clean and stow in your car, then we recommend consideringSolo Stove. In particular, you might check out the Solo Stove Ranger or Bonfire.
However, if you are interested in a larger fire pit, or one that can be used for outdoor cooking, then we strongly recommend that you consider a Breeo fire pit. Breeo got its start making the Breeo Double Flame, but has since transitioned to the Breeo X Series, which you can custom order. The X Series is available in 3 different sizes, in stainless steel or corten steel, and with or without a sear plate. Additionally, Breeo offers cooking attachments such as the Breeo Outpost and cast-iron kettle for those interested in a truly outdoors cooking experience.
Beyond the optionality mentioned above, Breeo fire pits are made with a thicker gauge material, and the brand anticipates that you might be able to use their products for decades without significant degradation. This is the major reason that Breeo pits are so much heavier than Solo Stove pits. The benefit to Solo Stove, of course, is that it makes their fire pits much more portable.
A Better Backyard Fire Pit
A smokeless fire pit gets its claim to fame because of its advanced design that increases oxygen flow at the base of a fire and creates secondary combustion at the top of the fire. Sure, there are propane fire pits that avoid smoke, but propane fire pits don’t provide a very authentic experience.
Smokeless Fire Pit Design
Dried seasoned wood burns faster and hotter, and conversely gives off less smoke. There is very little moisture content within the wood, and less moisture produces less smoke. Putting green wood on a campfire will cause massive amounts of smoke. That’s because green wood is full of water and resists burning. It just isn’t a very efficient fuel source.
You can also build your fire in a manner that creates efficiency. Stacking logs in a manner that creates space, and allows for airflow, can actually reduce smoke. Think of it this way: If a slight wind comes up, giving the fire more oxygen, it will burn hotter still, which means more efficiency, and give off even less smoke. In essence, the hotter a fire gets, the more efficient it becomes, and the less smoke it will produce. Oxygen creates a hotter and more efficient fire, so when you stack logs by leaving space for oxygen, it helps to reduce smoke.
Oxygen Is The Key
The easiest way to make a fire more efficient, under any circumstance, is to increase the airflow. Airflow carries oxygen, and the more airflow there is, the more efficient a fire will burn. This is the technology used in smokeless fire pits. In virtually every design, airflow to the fire is maximized, generally through small little vent holes at the bottom of the pit. As the fire burns, heat rises and draws even more air into the vents, causing the fire to burn hotter and become more efficient. This is known as passive airflow because the fire itself is pulling in more air the hotter it gets.
In the case of smokeless fire pits, oxygen is introduced at the base of the fire and at the top of the fire. As previously noted, the heated air that is re-introduced at the top of the fire actually burns off excess smoke. For this reason, it is important to keep the logs below that top row of vent holes, but in any case, enhancing oxygen flow is the key to reducing smoke.
Double Wall Construction
The efficient burn starts with the design, and a double-walled construction is a key component of the design that enables a more complete burn. The main vent holes feed the fire directly from the bottom of the fire pit. The oxygen flowing to the base of the fire provides fuel for the fire to burn hotter, and that intense heat then warms the air traveling through the double walls.
Interestingly, different brands use different systems to feed oxygen to the base of the fire. Breeo uses raised crossbars with vent holes. The raised bar enables air to flow above ash, which settles below the crossbar on the base of the fire pit. Solo Stove, on the other hand, has a fire plate with vent holes that allow ash to fall away from the fire down into an ash pan. At the same time, oxygen flows up through the vent holes. When considering what the best smokeless fire pit is, this is something to take into consideration.
The heated air that flows up through the double walls then flows out air holes at the top of the burn chamber. It is important that any logs in the burn chamber are lower than these vent holes, because the heated air mixes with smoke generated by the fire, and secondary combustion occurs. This re-burn then results in minimal smoke escaping the fire pit. Getting a double burn like this also increases the overall temperature of the fire, which is exactly what a double-walled design is meant to do.
Does Fuel Source Matter?
Some woods will naturally create more smoke, either because they have too much moisture, or because they have other natural properties that result in smoke. Some smokeless fire pits, such as those designed by Blue Sky are actually designed to work with wood pellets.
Still, wood logs provide a more authentic experience, so when we think of wood fire pits, we think of those designed for wood logs, rather than wood pellets. The one exception that makes sense, in our opinion, is to use wood pellets with extremely portable fire pits, like the smallest fire pits that Blue Sky makes. In these instances, you can take your fire pit with you in the car, perhaps to the beach or mountains, and then grab out a bag of wood pellets when you are ready to get the fire started. Easy Peasy.
How Hot Do Smokeless Fire Pits Get?
Some smokeless fire pits may reach nearly 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, and at that temperature range, there shouldn’t be much smoke because the efficiency of smokeless pits increases as the heat of the fire increases. You won’t have to worry about getting smoke blown in your face, like a traditional fire pit, and there won’t be billows of smoke to bother the neighbors. That’s one of the reasons why smokeless fire pits are so popular in suburban backyards.
In fact, smokeless pits get so hot, that you should make sure you put a heat shield between the pit and any surfaces which might be damaged or catch fire. If you happen to have a wood deck, use pavers or heat-resistant tiles under the pit to prevent any issues. And to this end, always be vigilant near your fire, and keep it a safe distance from any structures such as your home.
Smokeless Fire Pit Options
The idea of a completely smoke-free fire pit might be a bit of a misnomer, but there are still fantastic smokeless fire pit options that will eliminate nearly all smoke. While there are a few newcomers like Burly Fire Pits, most researched buyers usually compare Solo Stove vs Breeo and decide between the two.
While both brands use stainless steel, Solo Stove makes more of a lightweight fire pit that is easy to move around. All of their models are great for a backyard bonfire, but most people choosing a fire pit for their backyard will compare the Solo Stove Bonfire vs Yukon, as the Solo Stove Ranger is just too small. The Ranger is best used by nomads that spend one weekend at the beach, and the next weekend in the mountains. The most popular Solo Stove is the Bonfire, while the newest and largest model is the Yukon. Still, as Solo Stove’s largest fire pit, it actually would fit inside Breeo’s largest fire pit.
For a variety of reasons, we recommend that most people check out a Breeo fire pit review and start and end their search there. Breeo makes a rugged outdoor fire pit that is built to last decades. The Breeo X Series is made in three different sizes, and while the smallest size may technically be portable, Breeo fire pits are made with a thicker gauge material is that is heavy. While Solo Stove’s largest fire pit, the Yukon, weighs 40 lbs. at 27 inches in diameter, the largest Breeo X Series weighs as much as 115 lbs at nearly 35 inches in diameter.
The extra weight may make the Breeo less portable, but it also says something about the quality. This is just one of the reasons that Breeo makes our favorite wood-burning fire pit, regardless of whether you are comparing it to traditional steel fire pits or modern smokeless pits.
Breeo has also made a name for itself because it is the leader in open-fire cooking. The only other fire pit we would recommend cooking with is an Arteflame fire pit, but an Arteflame is expensive, and it’s not smokeless. Still, Breeo fire pits are made to work with the Breeo Outpost, which is a leading cooking grate that slides right into a purpose-built port on the X Series, but that can be used with traditional campfires by driving the Anchorpoint post into the ground.
Are Smokeless Fire Pits Worth It?
When asking if smokeless fire pits get hot, the answer is that smokeless fire pits are designed to get extremely hot. They must get hot be to be completely smokeless. However, this also makes them a more enjoyable place to warm up as you sit back, relax and enjoy the ambiance, especially on a crisp fall or spring evening. Heck, if you follow outdoor enthusiasts, you will start to see pictures of people using smokeless fire pits while surrounded by beautiful, white snow. You’ll get plenty of heat to warm your fingers or toes, for cooking hot dogs on a stick, making shish-ka-bobs, or even roasting s’mores.
A good hot fire makes for a good place to hang out with friends or a loved one, to have interesting conversations, reflect on the day’s adventures, or just to dwell in the beauty that is the fire, and fire pit as well. But the best part is that it is smokeless, and that means less hassle, fewer worries, and more time to enjoy the perfect backyard fire experience.
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