Best Smokeless Fire Pit – is it worth it to get one?
Posted On August 26, 2021
Last Updated on November 2, 2021
Humans have enjoyed the simple pleasure of sitting around a warm crackling campfire for millenia. It’s warm and cozy and immediately brings a sense of fun and adventure. Nothing gets in the way of those happy feelings like smoke in your eyes. Or you clothes and hair smelling like smoke! If you love fires but hate the smoke, then a smokeless fire pit is for you!
Smokeless fire pits are an innovation that lets you enjoy your own backyard fires or campfires without worrying about the smoke. They work by capturing the smoke from burning wood in a double-walled structure which then reburns it so that less smoke escapes into the air. This innovative design is not foolproof when it comes to preventing all smoke or pollution, but they do decrease these factors dramatically.
There are pros and cons to a smokeless fire pit. This post will talk about the good and bad to help you decide if getting one is right for you. We’ll talk about the most popular ones on the market and how to get the best smokeless fire pit for you.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
Do smokeless fire pits actually work?
Smokeless fire pits are not completely smokeless, but the good news is that they reduce the amount of smoke created significantly and burn more efficiently making the wood last longer.
If you’re looking to minimize smoke exposure while still enjoying a crackling campfire or backyard bonfire, then smokeless fire pits are a good solution.
Smokeless fire pits work by capturing the smoke from burning wood in a double-walled structure which then reburns it so that less smoke escapes into the air.
This innovative design is not foolproof when it comes to preventing all pollution or flames, but they do decrease these factors dramatically compared to normal campfires.
One note – it’s really helpful for all campfires to use dry wood, but this is especially important in a smokeless fire pit. the drier the wood, the cleaner and more efficiently it will burn.
Can I use a smokeless fire pit during a burn ban?
Sometimes. It depends on the type of burn ban in place.
Generally speaking, if there is a burn ban on campfires this will include a smokeless fire pit, because it is still burning wood with an open flame. If the burn ban allows fires in designated campfire rings, then it may be ok to use a smokeless fire pit.
It’s very important to know the rules about burning wherever you are, whether that’s camping or in your backyard. These regulations are in place to protect air quality as well as prevent wildfire. It is your responsibility to understand the laws currently in place in your local area before starting any type of fire.
Can you use a smokeless fire pit on a deck?
If you’re going to use a the fire pit on a flammable surface such as a deck, the manufacturers recommends purchasing a fire proof pad to put under it. You can also put something metal or rock underneath it that you make yourself, or put it on a patio instead.
I also recommend getting the spark screen if you’re going to use it on a deck (this prevents sparks from flying out of the fire pit).
Is it worth it to get a smokeless fire pit?
It depends a bit on what you are going to use it for and where. The bottom line is I would recommend a smokeless fire pit to anyone who likes to have a more controlled and efficient fire and if you have room to take it camping. For backyard use, I think it’s worth it if you want to have a real wood fire in your yard with minimal smoke (although I personally prefer a propane fire for use in my yard).
There are lots of benefits to a smokeless fire pit and some downsides which include:
Pros of a smokeless fire pit
You can light the fire quickly and it produces heat fast
Easier to get the fire started
Wind is less of an issue in starting the fire, because you are building it within the walls of the fire pit
You don’t smell like smoke (this is especially awesome for backyard use)
You don’t breathe as much smoke
Burns more cleanly and thoroughly
Wood lasts longer
Lots of heat is generated on the top
You can roast hot dogs and marshmellows over it
Cons of a smokeless fire pit
Expensive compared to using the fire pit at a campground or a traditional backyard fire pit.
Does not produce heat around the sides of the fire, like a traditional campfire does
Depending on the brand, you may not be able to cook over it (or you may need to purchase additional accessories)
Bulky for storage and transport
Some brands cannot get wet
Fire pit needs to be fully burned out and cold to move
Accessories can add up
You cannot build the fire higher than the rim of the fire pit, the fire must be fully contained inside the fire pit in order to remain smokeless
More important to have dry wood
Best Smokeless fire pit
There are a wide variety of products on the market, I choose the five best to highlight in more detail here, along with their benefits and features.
The five things that are most important to consider when buying a smokeless fire pit are:
Can it get wet? This is important because if your fire pit needs to be keep dry and covered, make sure you are up for that maintenance task. If not, get one that is built to live outside all the time
Does it have an ash tray? This is another ease of use element – does it have a tray to empty for removing the ash or do you tip out the entire fire pit?
Weight – this is an important factor for portability – if you’re going to take it places it’s important, but if you are using primarily in one spot in your backyard, it’s not as important.
Cooking – can you cook on it? If you’re using it mostly for ambiance, this doesn’t matter. However, if you want to do some fire cooking you’ll want a smokeless fire pit that accommodates that. All of these models work great for roasting marshmellows or hot dogs. None of them are ideal for things that cook directly in the fire (such as Dutch ovens). We are talking here about grilling over an open fire.
Highlights – what’s best about that particular smokeless fire pit option.
For simplicity, I excluded a couple of best selling options (Blue Sky and Innostage)because they are designed to be used primarily with wood pellets, and we are focusing on traditional fire wood for this article.
Solo Stove Bonfire
No (they sell a separare grill kit)
Overall best – portable and feels like a campfire (unless you want to grill)
One of the most overwhelming parts of picking out the best smokeless fire pit is deciding what size to get.
If you’re looking for a full size campfire (if you’re interested in a little one, see more on that below) then I recommend the Solo Stove Bonfire (or another that’s the same size). At 19.5 inches, it’s the one that’s closest in size to a traditional campfire.
If you have the space, either in your backyard or in your vehicle if you’re taking it on the road, then get a bigger one.
If space is an issue, then go with a smaller one!
Mini smokeless fire pits
Although it doesn’t create a full sized campfire, I’m a big fan of the mini campstove size fires, like the Solo Stove Lite. They are less expensive and great to use to roast a quick marshmellow or create some ambience. You can put almost anything in it to burn, and it will make a fire with just a few twigs. They also take up about the same amount of space as a campstove, super convienient and great when space is tight!
They are also really fun for kids, who can easily gather sticks and pinecones and keep the fire going. This mini stove fire was started and maintained by an 8 year old and a 10 year old with a few sticks and pinecones. It also makes perfect roasted marshmellows!
I wanted to wrap this up by offering another solution for smokeless fire pits, a propane fire pit! Propane fire pits are different because they do NOT burn wood and therefore are completely smoke free. They burn propane from a propane bottle.
A propane fire is worth considering because you can often use a propane fire during a burn ban. This is not always the case, make sure to check locally to find out what types of open flames are and are not allowed.
Another benefit of the propane fire is that you don’t need wood. You can also just turn it on and off, no need to wait for wood to burn down. It puts out quite a lot of heat, but isn’t really an option for cooking. If you’re mainly looking for the ambiance of a fire, this is a great option to consider.
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years and I still spend lots of time there every year. I've been a tour guide for many years in both Alaska and Washington and am a field editor for the Milepost. I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!
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