backyard basics Solo Stove Mesa Review The Smoke-Free Tabletop Fire (2023)
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Solo Stove Mesa Review: The Smoke-Free Tabletop Fire (2023)

Solo Stove built a strong reputation with camp stoves and smokeless fire pits, but they aren't stopping there. Now, they are introducing the brand's first tabletop fire pit.

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Solo Stove Mesa Fire Pit Review

Solo Stove built a strong reputation with camp stoves and smokeless fire pits, but they aren't stopping there. They might just take over your entire backyard. After smoke-free fire pits,

Solo Stove introduced a grill and premium pizza oven. Now, they are introducing the brand's first tabletop fire pit. Our Solo Stove Mesa review highlights why great things come in small packages.

Solo Stove Mesa Review

The Solo Stove Mesa is a tabletop fire pit that utilizes the same smoke-free design and technology as the brand's larger fire pits. We love the Solo Stove Mesa because it complements your other Solo Stove products. It is an excellent product that comes in multiple colors.

The introduction of the Solo Stove Mesa doesn't represent an either-or situation. For one, the Mesa is the most portable smokeless fire pit on the planet, so you can easily move it from a picnic table to a side table. Just don't move it while the fire is burning. ♨️

The other thing to remember is that you can use the smaller Mesa in conjunction with one of the larger fire pits. This is especially true if you have a larger group. Use the Solo Stove Bonfire fire pit as the centerpiece, and then add the Mesa on a side table or two for additional lighting and warmth. It's the perfect combination.


The Smoke-Free Tabletop Fire Pit

The Solo Stove Mesa isn't the first tabletop fire pit on the market. Still, it is the first wood-burning fire pit with smokeless technology that is intended for a tabletop. It's a small nuance but an important one.

A wood-burning fire pit provides a level of authenticity you can't get with a gas burner or alcohol burner. Whether you use natural gas or propane, the experience isn't the same. Still, wood traditionally produces a lot of smoke.

The last thing that you want is smoke blowing into your face from a miniaturized fire pit sitting on the table in front of you. Fortunately, the Solo Stove Mesa is a portable fire pit that produces very little smoke compared to traditional wood alternatives. In fact, the Mesa offers a nearly smoke-free experience when properly used.

Smokeless Technology

The smokeless technology works by pulling air into the bottom of the fire pit. The fire pit is designed with double walls so that rising hot air is pulled upward between the burn chamber and the outer wall. The heated air then flows out upper vent holes, where a secondary burn occurs.

The heated air mixes with any rising smoke and burns it away. It's the first time that a company has built such an innovative design into a compact, tabletop product.

Minimal Smoke

You might be wondering if Solo Stove fire pits are actually smoke-free. The reality is that this depends on a variety of factors, including your fuel source and chosen fire starter. Solo Stove fire pits produce much less smoke when used properly than other fire pits.

In our experience, Solo Stove may produce a little smoke as you get the fire going. To reduce or eliminate smoke, use twigs and bark instead of colored newspaper or cardboard as kindling. Some people use fire starter logs, but these will produce more smoke, even if they do burn longer.

To produce as little smoke as possible, use real wood or hardwood pellets. Avoid chemical soaked fire starters. Then as the fire pit heats up, smoke will be eliminated.


Very Little Ash

The key to eliminating smoke is starting a hot fire. As the flame starts to roll, Solo Stoves become more efficient than most other fire pits.

Why? Oxygen is pulled into the base of the burn chamber, which acts as fuel for the fire.

The efficient burn results in two main results. The first is what we've already covered, that smoke is eliminated. The second benefit is that very little ash is left behind. The downside here is that Solo Stoves tend to burn through wood faster than other fire pits, but the tradeoff is well worth it.

Cleaning out fire pits can be a pain. This is a major reason that

Solo Stove introduced a removable ash pan on the larger fire pits. Still, most Solo Stove alternatives will leave chunks of charred wood and piles of ash behind after the fire is gone. Solo Stove will leave some ash behind, but it will be much less and much easier to clean up. The Mesa is no exception.

Fusion of Campfire Stove and Smokeless Fire Pit

Solo Stove initially made a series of camp stoves before they made its first smokeless fire pits. From Day 1, each of Solo Stove's products were designed with quality and innovation. This is one reason that the Solo Stove camp stove had a cult-like following.

The beauty of the Solo Stove camp stove is that you don't need to carry heavy fuel with you when you go backpacking. You can simply collect dry twigs, and add them to the burn chamber. Once the fire gets going, you can boil water in under 10 minutes.

The Solo Stove Mesa is more similar in size to the largest camp stove than it is to the smallest fire pit. Still, the Mesa features the same technology as its larger fire pits sibling.

The difference between the Solo Stove Mesa and the similarly-sized camp stove is that the camp stove is intended for cooking. Also, you can use pellets with the Mesa; the camp stoves are not designed to work with pellets.

Perfect For Car Camping

The Solo Stove Ranger was previously the brand's smallest fire pit. The Ranger is small enough that you can put it in the trunk and take camping. Still, if your car is packed with other supplies, it might be hard to fit the Solo Stove Ranger, much less the Solo Stove Bonfire.

The Solo Stove Mesa is small enough that you will almost always have room to bring it along. This makes the Mesa perfect for car camping. The Mesa won't generate as much heat as the Ranger or Bonfire fire pit, but it is still worth bringing the next time you visit the national parks.

The Mesa will generate some heat for the person sitting closest to it, but it will also produce light and work for roasting hot dogs and smores.

After all, hot dogs and smores are synonymous with car camping. The Mesa makes setting up a fire far easier than it has ever been.


What Does The Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit Burn?

The Mesa is Solo Stove's tabletop fire pit that will burn wood or wood pellets. Burning wood will provide the most authentic experience, but finding wood small enough to fit in the Mesa burn chamber will require some forethought.

You can get the fire started with small twigs or earth-friendly fire starters. The all-natural fire starters tend to work best and will help kickstart an efficient fire. The trick is then determining what wood you might add to the fire starter.

You can purchase small-cut firewood online, such as logs cut down for a pizza oven, but using pellets might be the easiest route for the Mesa. Wood pellets are easily portable, can be stored in a closed container, and will create a nice fire.

Solo Stove Backyard Products

Solo Stove started with camp stoves, but the rest of the product portfolio is worth discussing. The smokeless fire pits are why Solo Stove is a household name, and the Solo Stove Pi pizza oven is just as impressive.

Solo Stove Fire Pits

Before Solo Stove introduced the Mesa, they offered three models of fire pits.

The Solo Stove Bonfire is the most popular fire pit, as it is perfectly sized for your backyard. The Bonfire is a lightweight fire pit most frequently seen in sleek stainless steel. Most Solo Stoves come with a fire pit stand, which makes it possible to use the units on various surfaces.

The fire pit stand shields heat-sensitive surfaces. Since the Bonfire is so easy to move from place to place, you can use it on a deck one night and in the middle of the yard the next night.

One quick common sense clarification: Don't move any fire pit, including Solo Stoves, when the unit is hot. The Bonfire is movable, but move the unit when it is cool.

The Solo Stove Ranger is smaller than the Bonfire, providing even more versatility. On the other hand, the Solo Stove Yukon is the granddaddy of Solo Stove fire pits. It is still much lighter than most competitor units around the same size. Still, the Yukon's size makes it more awkward to move around, or much less put in your car for a weekend trip.

Solo Stove Pi Pizza oven

There is always a unique innovation when Solo Stove rolls out a new product. Some brands roll out a carbon copy of the industry leader. Solo Stove instead reimagines what a product should be. This was no different when Solo Stove rolled out its pizza oven.

The Solo Stove Pi Pizza Oven isn't as portable as Ooni pizza ovens. Still, the Pi represents one of the best backyard pizza ovens that money can buy.

The Solo Stove Pi is designed with a signature airflow system and demi-dome construction. The demi-dome construction allows for convection cooking, which results in a more evenly cooked pizza.

Alternative Tabletop Fire Pits

Solo Stove isn't the first brand to develop a tabletop fire pit or fire feature. It is just the first brand to roll out a smoke-free tabletop fire pit. This is no small differentiator, but it is worth comparing the Mesa to some of the top alternatives to understand the differences.


TerrraFlame vs. Solo Stove Mesa

TerraFlame is likely the best-known brand making tabletop fire features. One thing to know from the start is that TerraFlame products don't use real wood or pellets as a fuel source like the Mesa. Instead, TerraFlame utilizes a unique gel fuel that is smoke-free and produces nontoxic flames.

The S'mores by Terraflame might be the most compact tabletop fire you will find. A StoneCast fire bowl wraps the gel fuel can. The bamboo lid doubles as a tray on which you can place graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows.

TerraFlame also makes several fire bowls, most of which can be used indoors or outdoors because it produces no smoke and is non-toxic. The fire bowls are a much less rustic and authentic experience than the Mesa offers. Still, some people may opt for Terraflame if they don't want to deal with wood-burning fire pits.

City Bonfire vs. Solo Stove Mesa

The City Bonfires sits on the other end of the spectrum as small, cheap, and disposable. The Solo Stove Mesa and Terraflame products are more permanent additions to your outdoor decor. On the other hand, the City Bonfires are sold in bundles like 5 packs, and each unit can be disposed of after it is burnt out.

While a City Bonfire is called a portable fire pit, it looks and acts more like a candle on which you can roast s'mores. The units are very small, measuring only 4 inches by 2 inches. Still, they are safe to use, easy to extinguish, and environmentally friendly.

The City Bonfire is intended for outdoor use only and will burn from 3 to 5 hours. While the City Bonfire received thousands of 5-star reviews, we prefer the more authentic feel that the Solo Stove Mesa provides. The Solo Stove Mesa is unequivocally not a candle.

Are Tabletop Fire Pits Worth It?

Tabletop fire pits work well in smaller settings or when you don't need a full-size bonfire. They are also generally cheaper than full-size fire pits. For these reasons, tabletop firepits are worth it. Our favorite tabletop firepit is the Solo Stove Mesa.

Do Tabletop Fire Pits Give Off Heat?

Tabletop fire pits give off sufficient heat. These smaller fire pits may not generate heat that radiates away from the table, but a tabletop fire pit will still work well for a small group. It will work perfectly on a side table between a couple of lounging chairs.

For a large group of people, a bigger fire pit will be necessary to generate sufficient heat. We recommend buying a full-sized smokeless fire pit, such as those made by Solo Stove and Breeo.

Are Tabletop Fire Pits Safe?

Tabletop fire pits are safe when you follow the instructions and best practices. Keep flammable items away from the fire, and ensure the fire is out of reach from children. Most tabletop fire pits should only be used outside, though some fire basins with non-toxic flames may be used inside.

Indoor fire basins utilize a gel fuel that does not produce smoke or toxic flames. Still, fire is always dangerous, and you should only use it under the manufacturer’s guidelines. You should also ensure extra mindfulness and practical precautions. Don’t put the fire near flammable materials; keep a fire extinguisher nearby.


Is Solo Stove Mesa Worth It?

The Solo Stove Mesa is worth it because it combines the compact size of Solo Stove’s original camp stoves with smokeless fire pit technology. The Mesa is the most portable wood-burning fire pit available anywhere on the market. Plus, the Solo Stove Mesa is available in multiple colors.

The Best Tabletop Fire Pit

Based on our review, the Solo Stove Mesa is the best tabletop fire pit because it is a rustic wood-burning fire pit. Most tabletop fire pits rely on gel fuel, which is convenient and nontoxic, but gel fuel isn’t very authentic. The Solo Stove Mesa also features smokeless technology.

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