The Solo Stove is a wood-burning fire pit that produces very little smoke thanks to its patented design and strategically placed vent holes.
Smokeless fire pits may sound like an oxymoron, but they're growing in popularity as well as availability.
The Solo Stove company has designed a smokeless fire pit that not only lives up to its claim of clean-burning but is beautiful to look at and can host a blazing fire in as little as about five minutes.
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How the Solo Stove Works
One of the first things that you'll notice about the Solo Stove, besides the sleek stainless steel, is the pattern of holes along the bottom and the interior of the burn chamber. While they do give these fire pits an interesting look, they carry a significant function. It's their signature 360° Airflow Design™ which features a double-wall structure that promotes excellent airflow.
Air gets pulled in through the bottom vent holes and serves two purposes. Some of the air fuels the fire right at the base while some of the air rises as it's heated within the double walls. The vent holes around the top allow the rising hot air and preheated oxygen to fuel the flame, giving us a secondary burn that is truly mesmerizing to watch.
The fire ring helps keep the fire centered and even, creating somewhat of a vortex of flame and heat above the pit.
The outside of your Stove will get VERY hot during use. Anything or anyone that brushes against the outside will get burned in the process. It's important to warn your guests who may not be familiar with this type of fire feature of its danger before someone tries to warm their feet, melting their shoes to the side of your fire pit. We've seen many reports of melted shoes, chairs, burned articles of loose clothing, not to mention burned skin.
If you're concerned that verbal warnings might not be enough protection, many people use various types of "surrounds" to create a barrier between the stove and its users. This could be anything from placing your stove inside a second more open-design firepit with a table to building something more permanent built with landscape stones.
There are 3 different sizes of Solo Stove fire pits and naturally, each stove's portability is in direct proportion to its size.
The mid-sized option is the Solo Stove Bonfire. This stove is a little bigger and heavier. Weighing in at 20 pounds, however, it also comes with a handy carrying case making this still a great option for camping and other options.
The Solo Stove Yukon, the largest fire pit has not been created for portability. It's significantly larger than the previous two units, and at 38 pounds it's just not meant to be moved around a whole lot. This is the backyard firepit.
Solo Stove Smoke Free Fire Pit FAQs
How do you clean the Solo Stove?
The success of these fire pits depends on the ability of air to circulate through all the vent holes the way it was designed. For that reason, it is very important to clean out the interior of your stove between each use; typically the next morning following a burn.
Can you use a Solo Stove on a deck?
While this backyard fire pit does get very hot to the touch as a fire burns, the Solo Stove stand raises up the firepit to allow cooler air to flow underneath making it safe to use on a wood or Trex deck.
Is Solo Stove really smokeless?
We have had one fire that was a little smokey and all the other fires were smokeless. Here's what we learned: When we used a softer variety of firewood that wasn't fully seasoned, the fire tended to smoke more. However, when we followed Solo Stove's recommendations for building a hotter fire with less smoke, and we used hard, dry, seasoned wood, our bonfires were smokeless every single time.
What's the best type of wood to burn?
We have found that hard woods like maple, oak, birch, and most fruit trees are the best for burning in our Solo Stove. The Yukon is a big fire pit and can go through a lot of firewood in one night. But it will easily consume twice as many splits of a softer variety of wood.
It's also important to only use well seasoned, dry wood. We got a rick and a half of cherry wood last summer that has been seasoning on our Woodhaven wood rack all through the winter. I love that it has a short cover that keeps the top rows of wood nice and dry and ready for our next bonfire.
Can You Cook on a Solo Stove?
Solo Stove has recently added cooking systems to their product line-up which allow you to cook over your fire pit using a cast iron griddle, grill, or wok elevated on top of a hub.
Of course, if you're strictly using your fire pit with no add-ons, roasting hot dogs, campfire pies, and marshmallows are always delicious over a wood fire so long as you wait for the fire to die down a bit first. Secondary burn is no time to attempt roasting a marshmallow. It will instantly incinerate before even reaching the flames. Ask me how I know.
In addition to the cooking hubs, there is also a Solo Stove Grill for those who enjoy cooking with charcoal. We currently have ours in our outdoor kitchen and love breaking it out for grilling hamburgers whenever we can.
Solo Stove Sizes
Solo Stove Yukon
304 Stainless Steel
8-10 Logs up to 22" long
Read our Solo Stove Yukon review here.
Solo Stove Bonfire
304 Stainless Steel
4-6 Logs up to 16" long
Read our Solo Stove Bonfire review here.
Solo Stove Ranger
304 Stainless Steel
4-6 log splits up to 12" long
Are the Solo Stove Accessories Worth the Price?
When they announced the new handle last summer, I'll admit my first reaction was "we don't need that." But Melissa had already jumped on the bandwagon and ordered one right away. Honestly? I'm so glad she did. For such a simple little tool, it makes clean up and moving the stove SO much easier. You may not need it, but you'll be really glad if you add it to your collection, especially if you have a Yukon.
Full transparency? We don't have the lid...yet. But I can think of a few reasons why it would be nice to have it. With the lid, your Stove can function as a table when not in use burning an actual fire. Also, at the end of the evening when your fire has died down to only hot embers and you're ready to head in for the night but there's a chance of rain? No problem. Just set the lid on your Solo Stove and go to bed.
We got the spark shield as part of the Yukon Backyard Bundle. Admittedly, we don't use it for every bonfire, but when we're burning wood that is particularly prone to crackling and popping, we're always glad we have it to cut down on the sparks and save our furniture cushions.
We just built our paver patio last fall and did all the work by ourselves. For that reason, we are especially protective because we literally put our own blood, sweat, and tears into its creation. The last thing we wanted to do was burn a ring into our nice new patio. We were thrilled to learn that the fire pit stand makes it safe for the Solo Stove to burn on our patio as well as any wood or Trex decking. The Stand came as part of our Yukon Backyard Bundle, but I know they occasionally give away a free stand with the purchase of a stove for a limited time.
Solo Stoves are made out of 304 Stainless Steel so the outside of the fire pit will stand up to the elements quite well. However, I have seen other users report rusting on the inside and for that reason, we wanted to have the shelter to protect our investment. The shelter was included in our Yukon Backyard bundle.
The roasting sticks are pretty pricey, I admit. And at first, I was pretty dead-set against ever spending that kind of money on sticks for roasting marshmallows. But they went on sale one day and we decided to go ahead and splurge on a set. When we opened them up for the first time we realized, "OH! That's why they're so expensive!" This is by far the nicest set of roasting sticks I've ever seen or owned. They will also likely be the last set of roasting sticks I'll ever own because they will probably outlive me, they are that high of quality.
Fire Pit Tools
After seeing how great the roasting sticks turned out, we decided that the tools would probably be a worthwhile buy as well. And just like all the other Solo Stove products we've received, these are of top quality, not to mention critical tools to have when starting fires and adding a continuous supply of wood into the bonfire.
We don't yet have our hands on this new accessory that recently hit the market, but we look forward to testing this out as soon as we can. Designed to redirect the heat out rather than up, this added tool may just have you sitting around the fire in colder temps than you used to.
For those who would like to cook dinner over their Solo Stove, the cooking hubs can include a cast iron grill, griddle, or wok to fit whatever size stove you might have. We just picked up some cooking hubs for our new Solo Stove Bonfire pit and haven't had a chance to test ours out yet, but will be sure to update this page as soon as we do to let you know how it went!
Is a Solo Stove Worth It?
Quite honestly, our Yukon is the best fire pit we've ever owned. We loved it so much that we recently added the Solo Stove Bonfire to our collection.
Several years ago, we made the switch from a wood-burning permanent fire pit to a propane variety because my wife couldn't stand ending the day reeking of smoke.
Yes, that one was easy to just flip on with a switch and it didn't force us to take a shower before climbing in bed, but it was also really lacking in ambiance. The flame was quite small, sometimes barely visible. It hardly put out any heat to warm the people gathered around it.
So when we first learned about Solo Stove at the HPBA Expo last year we were intrigued by the boast of a smoke free flame. So much so apparently, that my wife decided to surprise me with one for Christmas.
When we finally lit it up for the first time (after the intense winter weather had passed), we knew to expect a lot less smoke than our old wood-burning pit we'd given to the neighbors years ago. But I don't think we were prepared for the truly stunning fires that we would be enjoying.
Visually stunning? Yes.
Worth it? Heck yes.