Fire pits are one of the best backyard upgrades, permitting more time outdoors throughout the year (they’re especially good for socially-distanced hangouts). Luckily, fire pits are also getting better as numerous brands solve the biggest problem: smoke. Thanks to clever airflow systems, the best smokeless fire pits allow for more relaxing bonfires under the stars — and they burn hotter too.
Despite their name, even the best smokeless fire pits aren’t actually “smokeless.” But they do eliminate most eye-watering fumes, meaning no one has to shuffle around the fire pit. Plus, everyone’s clothes are less likely to smell like a campfire the next morning, and any nearby neighbors are sure to be grateful.
More from Rolling Stone
How Do the Best Smokeless Fire Pits Work?
The science behind most smokeless fire pits is pretty ingenious. Instead of a simple fire-retardant tub, the best smokeless fire pits usually feature an insulated dual-wall construction with vents on the top and bottom of the pit. Once the fuel is lit, the heat between the two walls rises out of the top vents and creates suction. This draws in extra oxygen through the intakes on the bottom, inducing the so-called secondary combustion of molecules that create smoke.
While it eliminates most of the fire’s smoke, this secondary combustion system also produces more heat than you get with normal fires. And because smoke reduction is accomplished by the fire pit itself, you can use regular firewood, charcoal or wood pellets. (Wood pellets are usually the best because they burn hotter and make clean-up a bit easier.)
What Are the Best Smokeless Fire Pits?
Although they haven’t been around too long, there are quite a few decent smokeless fire pits out there to choose from. Here’s how to find the best smokeless fire pits for your backyard or camping trip.
Size: The best smokeless fire pits are fairly uniform in size with diameters around two feet. There are a couple of exceptions, but this is a good size in general. You can use standard firewood, but most pits are compact enough to be moved or placed in small patios.
Weight: Smokeless fire pits typically weigh between 20 and 50 pounds. We’re partial to lighter models because you can move them around the yard and more easily take them on camping trips or, say, to the beach.
Cleaning: Another upside with the high heat of smokeless fire pits is easier cleanup. Still, some models make it easier than others: look out for ash pans, as these greatly reduce clean-up time.
Looks: Chances are your new fire pit will be in the backyard for most of the year, so it’s good to think about aesthetics. The best smokeless fire pits are sleek and attractive, elevating the vibe of your patio instead of hindering it.
Features: Be on the lookout for added features and accessories such as spark screens, stands and grill grates. These can be very handy, especially if you plan on cooking over your smokeless fire pit.
1. Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
Solo Stove’s firepits have always been among the best, and they just got even better with the release of the 2.0 models. The new Solo Stove fire pits — which include the mini Ranger 2.0, the medium-sized Bonfire 2.0, and the large Yukon 2.0 — build on the brand’s sleek, portable design with a few key upgrades. The most important of these is a brand new removable ash pan that makes cleanup much faster and easier than before (no more lifting and shaking your whole fire pit to get out the ash).
The brand’s excellent smokeless airflow system is still included, as is the signature stainless steel build. We tested the Bonfire 2.0 model, and were thoroughly impressed by the whole experience. The fire pit is very lightweight (20 pounds) despite its ample size (19.5-inch diameter, 14-inch height), and an included carrying bag makes the fire pit easier to transport and keeps any ashy messes from happening in the back of your car. Using the Solo Stove was a wonderfully smoke-free affair, and the new ash pan was a massive upgrade that makes the Bonfire 2.0 our top pick.
2. Tiki Brand Fire Pit
With a virtually smoke-free experience, good looks and easy clean-up, this Tiki Brand fire pit is the best smokeless fire pit on the market. Perhaps its best feature is a handsome design, combining a weatherproof slatted steel exterior and sturdy angled legs to keep the pit above the ground. Unlike more utilitarian picks, the Tiki fire pit stylishly complements patio furniture and other outdoor decor.
For fuel, the Tiki can use standard firewood, but it burns hotter and more smoothly with Tiki’s own wood pellets. When you’re done enjoying the fire, you’ll find an ash pan on the bottom that slides out for easy cleaning.
3. Blue Sky Outdoor Living Fire Pit
warmest fire pit
This Blue Sky Outdoor Living fire pit does one very important thing very well: heat. The steel frame, which boasts a two-foot space for fuel, puts out plenty of warmth for larger gatherings. It burns best with wood pellets, although normal firewood works great too. We’re also big fans of the Blue Sky’s ash pan, which sits under the pit. To access the ash pan, lift up the whole fire pit and slide the pan out to be emptied and cleaned.
Aesthetically, the Blue Sky fire pit is simple and rustic. Plus, because the whole thing sits on its edges (instead of legs), the pit can be securely stuck in the sand for beach bonfires. It is on the heavier side, though, at 55 pounds.
4. Biolite FirePit+
best portable fire pit
Another great portable option is the FirePit+ from Biolite (read our full review here). The whole thing weighs just 20 pounds and features collapsible legs, as well as carrying handles, making for easy transportation and setup anywhere. It also comes with a grill grate — perfect for campground meals, upgraded picnics and hibachi-style grilling.
However, the Biolite reduces smoke differently than most low smoke fire pits. Instead of the typical airflow setup, the FirePit+ uses a battery-powered fan and air jets to inject oxygen (the fan is rechargeable and lasts up to 30 hours on one charge). This highly effective fan-injection system permits a mesh body that, besides looking cool, allows heat to radiate directly from the fire onto chilly bystanders.
5. Breeo X Series Smokeless Fire Pit
best looking fire pit
Constructed using heavy-duty corten steel, this Breeo X Series fire pit looks great out of the box and even better after it’s been weathered. That’s right: you can leave this fire pit exposed outside without a worry. Still, if you want to move it around the yard, the fire pit’s 47-pound weight makes that doable. The Breeo’s fire-making capabilities are also just as good as its looks. An effective dual-wall airflow system eliminates most of the smoke while upping the heat output, ensuring comfortable, toasty bonfires.
Best of Rolling Stone