Everything You Need to Know About Solo Stove (2023)
Solo Stove fire pits are very popular for their good looks, but do they actually work? Solo Stoves are nearly smokeless, and radiate warm heat. As far as backyard fire pits go, there are few options as high-quality as Solo Stove.
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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- Durable stainless steel
- Needs to be covered if left outside
- Radiates heat
- Low smoke technology
Jump to: Full Review
If you're looking for a quality smokeless fire pit, Solo Stove is one of the best brands on the market. Their double-walled construction allows air to be heated before it flows out the vent holes at the top, resulting in secondary combustion that burns off smoke.
Combined with an ash pan that allows ash to fall away from the fire before burning, theSolo Stove team has created a nearly "smokeless" fire pit experience. Still, you may have questions, and we are here to help.
Does Solo Stove Generate Smoke?
A Solo Stove fire pit may produce a little smoke, but significantly less than a traditional fire pit. The amount of smoke generated by your fire pit partially depends on how you use it. For instance, using paper and cardboard to start your fire will create a lot of smoke.
How much wood you burn at any time will also impact the smoke levels. The more heat, the better, the hotter the fire burns, and the more efficiently it will burn off any smoke. At the same time, you don't need to overload the metal bucket (called a burn chamber), as the air holes at the top of the burn chamber enable the secondary burn.
Smokeless fire pits work by burning the fuel in a way that does not produce smoke. This is usually done by having two fire pit walls, with air heating between the two walls before flowing out of the top. This causes the fire to burn more efficiently and eliminates most smoke.
Smokeless Fire Pits Are More "Near-Smokeless"
Solo Stoves are built to take the smokeless experience even further. There is an ash pan at the base of the Solo Stove Bonfire and other fire pits. The ash pan sits below a grate with holes that allow the ash to fall away from the fire, and airflow to hit the bottom of the flame.
When embers burn leftover ash, it tends to produce smoke. And the airflow provides oxygen in a manner that creates a more efficient burn, which also reduces the amount of smoke that comes off of most fires from a Solo Stove.
Does Solo Stove Burn Wood Faster?
Since Solo Stove Fire pits are designed for efficiency, you will find that your fire pit burns wood faster than a regular fire. This is just one of the reasons you may want to give some consideration to what type of wood you use.
Hardwood usually burns more slowly than softwood, so you will burn more wood than you would otherwise if you choose to go with softwood. Oak, hickory, and birch are all examples of hardwoods that are very popular.
This will impact how fast your wood burns, but it will also impact the amount of smoke that your fire generates and the temperature your fire reaches. Not all wood is created equal.
Hardwoods burn at high temperatures and burn longer than softwoods, so choosing a kiln-dried or seasoned hardwood is the best choice for your fire pits.
The new Solo Stove 2.0 fire pits feature a removable ash pan, which makes the fire pit easier to clean up. The wood burns efficiently, so there are no logs left behind, and then you can pick up the ash pan and easily dump it out.
Does Solo Stove Smell?
A Solo Stove will still create a pleasant campfire aroma, but the smell of smoke will be less overpowering than it might be sitting around an open campfire. The amount of smoke and smell produced by a Solo Stove will vary depending on the type of firestarters and wood that you burn, among other factors.
Hickory is a pleasant wood for a contained fire because it gives off a mild aroma that still smells rustic and earthy. Mesquite woods work great too, but mesquite wood might provide a slightly more distinct aroma. Incidentally, hickory and mesquite woods are also great for cooking.
Solo Stoves aren't designed for cooking, aside for the occasional hot dogs and s'more. If you plan to do a decent amount of outdoor cooking with your fire pit, you might check out a Breeo instead. Still, the Bonfire size is perfect for most people, and most aren't really interested in cooking.
While hickory and mesquite woods are great for your grill, or if you just want a pleasant aroma from your open fire, you could also mix things up a bit with fruitwoods (think apple and cherry woods), which provide a slightly sweet aroma.
Does Solo Stove Radiate Heat?
Solo Stove fire pits will provide radiant heat as long as you properly manage the logs on the fire. The amount of heat depends on a variety of factors, including the maturity of the embers, the type of wood that you are using, and even the weather conditions. Hot embers put off as much heat as anything, so managing a constant fire that develops scorching hot embers is part of the puzzle for creating a hot fire.
Regardless, you should have no problem staying warm as you sit around the fire. Also be considerate of which fire pit you choose, and how many people are gathered around the fire. If you try to circle a Ranger (the smallest product) with 10 people, you will obviously have to sit further from the fire, and it will be a smaller flame at that.
The Yukon is the largest product and will work best for keeping a gathering of people nice and warm. The Bonfire is in between but closer in size to the Ranger than the Yukon.
Some worry that the double-wall construction may insulate heat output, but remember that the air between the walls is also heated. You would be mistaken if you thought the outer walls might stay cool. Metal is an efficient conductor of heat, so even with the double-walled construction, you should stay warm deep into the night.
How Many People Can Sit Around a Solo Stove Bonfire?
The Solo Stove Bonfire is big enough for 5 to 8 people to circle the fire in reasonable comfort while still staying warm. The Bonfire size is still portable enough that one person could carry it down to the beach and prop up their feet near the flames.
On the other hand, the Bonfire is efficient enough that much larger groups could gather around the fire, using it as a centerpiece for their activities. Solo Stove's Bonfire is the brand's original product and has been around for a few years. It's been used in just about every way you can imagine and puts off as much heat as any smokeless fire pit of a similar size.
Does Solo Stove Burn Grass?
Solo Stove offers a stand that will help protect ground surfaces from the intense heat emitted from the unit, but the grass could still get scorched. We are talking about a contained fire, after all.
While the stand accessory will help protect decks and other surfaces from getting burn marks, you should still be careful where and how you use your Solo Stove. The fire ring on the top of the unit should contain the sparks; the available spark screen is even more effective than the built-in fire ring.
Still, some people may not want to use the spark screen, and we understand that. We recommend avoiding dry areas that might be susceptible to sparks catching flame. Safety is important as with any controlled fire, and common sense goes a long way.
Can You Burn Anything In A Solo Stove?
You can burn wood in a Solo Stove fire pit, but you should not burn any type of plastic, paper, or other garbage. Doing so may release toxic fumes that can be harmful to your health. Also, be sure only to burn wood that has been properly seasoned and is dry. Wet wood will produce more smoke than dry wood.
Solo Stove does an amazing job of burning wood cleanly and efficiently, but there are still a few things you can do to reduce the amount of smoke produced. First, make sure you have plenty of airflow by keeping the vents open. Second, don't overload the fire pit with too much wood at once. And third, use dry, seasoned wood for the best results.
How Long Does Solo Stove Take To Cool Down?
Use common sense and caution, but a Solo Stove will generally cool down within an hour of the fire going out. If the fire is still burning, it could take some time to cool down. Consider waiting at least two hours before touching the stove or moving it for safety's sake. Ensure that it is completely cool before handling, and especially before moving it around.
Solo Stove also offers a lid that may help snuff out any oxygen, but the lid should not be used when the fire is still burning hot. The lid is intended to be used once the flames have died down and no fire remains. Still, embers can stay hot for quite a while, but as they diminish, the lid may help reduce some of that remaining oxygen flow.
Does Solo Stove Keep Mosquitos Away?
Solo Stove's products will not repel mosquitos on their own. Mosquitos may not like smoke, but remember that the Solo Stove Bonfire and other fire pits are designed to eliminate as much smoke as possible.
If mosquitos are a concern, we recommend that you consider other alternatives to repel the pesky bugs away.
Repelling Mosquitos Away
There are a few ways to keep mosquitos away from your backyard when using a Solo Stove. One is to use a bug spray that contains DEET, which will mask your scent and keep the bugs at bay. Another is to light a citronella candle or incense near the Solo Stove, as the smell of citronella is known to repel mosquitos.
Finally, you can try using a mosquito repellent lantern like the Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent Lantern. This lantern uses a heat-activated mat to release allethrin, a synthetic copy of a naturally occurring repellent found in chrysanthemum flowers.
When used as directed, the Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent Lantern will create a 15-foot zone of protection, making it perfect for use around your Solo Stove.
No matter what method you choose, be sure to take precautions against mosquito bites when using your Solo Stove. Nothing ruins a good time like being itchy and covered in welts.
Does Solo Stove Have an App?
No, Solo Stove doesn't have an app. While the technology built into Solo Stove fire pits is impressive, it is "dumb" technology in the sense that there are no computer chips or electronics involved.
Some modern backyard equipment, like electric grills and smokers made by Traeger, do have apps that need to be downloaded, that is one thing you don't have to worry about with these fire pits. No app install is necessary!
Don't discount the technology built into these products, though. Having your own fire pit that radiates heat output with little to no smoke is impressive. Chill around the fire with family and friends and enjoy the warmth provided by beautiful flames.
Should You Get A Solo Stove For Your Backyard?
Solo Stoves are extremely popular because the secondary burn reduces the smoke that the fire pit gives off. The Solo Stove Bonfire is big enough for most backyards. The Bonfire is intended to be portable, but it is big enough to be together with family and friends while you are roasting marshmallows.
The Solo Stove Yukon is much larger than the smaller Bonfire. For perspective, the Yukon weighs nearly twice as much as the Bonfire, which means it is less portable. While the Bonfire works great for small to average size yards, the Solo Stove Yukon is an excellent choice if you have a larger yard or entertain many guests.
The smallest Solo Stove fire pit is the Ranger, which is slightly smaller than even the Bonfire. The smaller size makes the Ranger very portable, and it is also small enough to sit on your deck or in a tighter patio or garden area.
The Solo Stove Ranger won't fit logs as large as those that might fit in the Bonfire or Yukon. Some may find it harder to find small logs to fit inside your Ranger unless you buy logs online.
Solo Stoves are great fire pits that put off more heat than you might expect. There are other factors to consider, such as whether you plan to cook on your fire pit, but there are not many products that you will find are better for your backyard experience.
We would also add that the new Solo Stove Mesa is a great starter fire pit if you aren't ready for a full size fire pit. The Mesa is designed to sit on a tabletop, rather than on the ground, so it works exceptionally well for small patios. Regardless, there is a Solo Stove for every situation.
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