The 5 Best Smokeless Fire Pits of 2023


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May 21, 2023

The 5 Best Smokeless Fire Pits of 2023

Our most versatile pick, Breeo X Series 24, now comes in a more portable

Our most versatile pick, Breeo X Series 24, now comes in a more portable version, the Y Series. We think most people are still better off with the sturdier X Series, though.

Few things are as pleasurable as a toasty fire in the backyard on a chilly evening.

But if you find that the accompanying smoke dampens the pleasure, or if your neighbors live close by and prefer to keep their bedroom windows open to catch the cool air, you might consider using a so-called smokeless fire pit, which eliminates some (but not all) of your fire's smoke and most of the ash.

We spent four months testing nine fire pits in Hawaii and California. In the end we chose two as our top picks: the Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 for most people and small backyards, and the Tiki Fire Pit for people with larger yards or those who enjoy the more patio-inspired looks of the Tiki model.

Although we did choose two favorites, note that in our testing nearly all the smokeless-pit designs worked more or less the same: They each have two walls (kind of like an insulated thermos bottle), and they leverage the difference in air temperature between those walls to create extra airflow through holes in the walls of the firepit. That extra oxygen creates a secondary combustion of the fire's off gassing, molecules which usually create smoke if they aren't burned. What distinguishes fire pits from one another is largely their looks, how easy they are to clean, and, to some extent, the available accessories.

As a result, finding the right fire pit for you is a matter of personal choice, depending on your needs. We have picks that are lightweight and easy to move around, aesthetically unobtrusive for a patio, great for cooking over, sturdily built at a bargain price, and the type you might expect to own for a lifetime.

I have worked for Wirecutter for six years in various capacities, writing about everything from backpacks to luggage to road-trip gear to camping tents. I currently live on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, and spend a large amount of time at the beach working on our beach gear guide and our guide to camp cooking gear. Years ago, I tested a half ton of charcoal for a Wirecutter guide, comparing burn rates and cooking temperatures. I have been playing with fire at Wirecutter for a long time.

These models are for anyone who has a little outdoor space and wants a simple fire pit that reduces the amount of smoke it produces. Although most of our picks are movable for one or two people, ideally you should have some kind of dedicated brick or concrete patio space situated a safe distance from your house and other flammable objects (sheds, trellises, and the like). We’ve also included one pick that can effectively replace an outdoor grill with a little patience, a bit of practice, and some accessories.

The simple form and stainless steel finish may be exactly the minimalist effect you want—or it may look more like a dryer drum to you. But the light weight of the Bonfire 2.0 makes it a pit that you can drag out to use and then hide away when it cools off.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $325.

Get this if: You want a lightweight fire pit that's small and light enough to move easily from storage (say, in a garage or under a cover) out onto a patio.

Why it's great: The Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 is simple and so light—it's half the weight of our other picks. It's also small enough that we had no trouble hiding it behind patio furniture or in the garage when it wasn't in use. Like all the fire pits we tested, the Bonfire is easy to load with wood and to light—though due to the smaller pit diameter, you have to stack standard-size logs carefully to make them fit. Is it truly "smokeless"? No, not really. But then, none of the pits we tested are. However, once it gets burning, the Bonfire does eat up a lot of the extra smoke; by our admittedly rudimentary estimation, the fire pit reduces smoke by about 70% to 80%. (We compared a fire in the Bonfire with an open wood fire by burning them side by side, using wood from the same source.) One perhaps unforeseen consequence of the smoke-reducing afterburn effect is that all that gas redirection seems to project the heat of the fire straight into the air, cutting down on a lot of the radiant heat you might expect to feel when sitting near a regular fire pit. Also, the thinner-gauge metal of the Bonfire appears to hold and radiate less heat than that of the heavier models we tested. However, all the stove's metal sides get very hot to the touch. Solo Stove also offers a smaller size (the Ranger 2.0, which is 15 inches in diameter) and a larger size (the Yukon 2.0, which is 27 inches in diameter) and sells a grill grate accessory kit (we haven't tested it yet).

The current (2.0) models of the Bonfire, Ranger, and Yukon come with a removable ash pan and grate, as well as a stand for added wind flow and heat separation from the floor or ground. This updated design fixed the one obvious flaw of earlier models—you had to turn the stove over to dump out the ash—making the entire unit much easier to clean and hose down after a fire. One nice thing about all smokeless fire pits: They leave behind very little ash compared to a regular fire. Still, there's some clean-up required, and the new versions costs $20 more than the old versions.

One of our testers lives in a high fire-risk area in Southern California—where flying embers are not ideal—so she also tested the Solo Stove Bonfire Shield, a stainless-steel two-piece spark screen that sits on the rim of the fire pit. It's not a cheap accessory: around $160 for the Bonfire size (medium). But like the fire pit, it's well made, and she found it nice to have a spark screen that fits just right. It comes with two tools that help you remove the lid to add more wood while the fire is going. If you live in a high fire-risk area or just prefer to avoid any errant pops and sparks while sitting nearby, it's a great accessory. (You can easily store it upside down inside the fire pit when neither are in use.)

Flaws but not dealbreakers: As with any fire pit, you shouldn't leave a Solo Stove model out in the rain without a cover; the rain will mix with the ash and form corrosive agents. Solo Stove makes a fabric cover and a metal cover, though a metal lid from a 20-gallon trash can will also do the trick.

Weight: 23.3 poundsPit opening: 17.5 inchesHeight: 14 inchesMaterial: grade 304 stainless steelWarranty: limited lifetime

Avoiding the industrial look of most smokeless fire pits, the Tiki has a gentler backyard aesthetic. Though the ashtray is somewhat flimsy, it is simple to remove and clean.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $395.

Get this if: You want a classic-looking, easy-to-clean fire pit that will blend in on your patio and is sturdy with a good-looking, wide rim.

Why it's great: This model feels almost as if someone placed a heavier skin around a Solo Stove Bonfire with excellent results. Although the Tiki Fire Pit is one pit you’ll probably want to leave in place once you set it up, its more classic patio looks don't stand out as aggressively as the designs of our other picks. The Tiki has a simple-to-withdraw ash-collection plate, which makes cleaning the pit after use fairly easy. Smokeless fire pits, because of their "reburning" effect (which recycles the smoke and particles through the fire pit), tend to produce a very fine and easy-to-clean ash without much debris, but in contrast to the Tiki, many of the pits we tested require turning over and dumping out to clean. Tiki also sells wood-pellet packs as fuel or starter bags, and they’re easy to use, but you don't need them to start a fire. The Tiki Fire Pit also comes with a cover that fits nicely over the entire pit when it's not in use.

Tiki sells a stainless-steel spark screen kit, the Tiki Patio Fire Pit Screen and Poker, for its fire pit. Our tester in Southern California lives in a high fire-risk area, where keeping sparks and embers contained is essential; she tested this kit along with the Solo Stove screen. The Tiki screen comes with a poker-style tool that you can use to remove the screen when it's hot and to rearrange logs (the tool also has a handy bottle opener on the handle end). The screen does make the stove's opening a little smaller, but she didn't have any problems reaching in to tend the fire. We also like that you can remove the lid and hang it off the rim while you add more logs.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Our only complaint so far is that the Tiki, like all smokeless pits, doesn't radiate as much heat as you might like on a cool evening.

Weight: 45 poundsPit opening: 17.5 inchesHeight: 18.75 inchesMaterial: stainless and powder-coated steelWarranty: two-year limited

While the Breeo is a fine standalone fire pit, its multiple accessories make it very customizable for anyone who loves to cook over an open fire.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $579.

Get this if: You want a fire pit that, with some accessories, will replace your grill or smoke pit.

Why it's great: None of the fire pits we tested can so fully replace a barbecue grill or cooker as the Breeo X Series 24, especially when it's loaded with optional accessories such as a wide SearPlate rim (which adds $120 to the base price), a post and grill plate (which you can also drive into the ground over an open fire, if you like), or a kettle hook for a cast-iron pot. There are few things you can't cook on the Breeo once you’ve made the commitment. That said, it truly demands a commitment, both in price and time. Open-fire cooking isn't for everyone—it's not as easy or convenient as using a gas or charcoal grill—but some people enjoy the challenge and the subsequent woody flavors.

The wide SearPlate is perhaps the easiest option, and once the pit is fully heated up, it works like any hot griddle or iron pan for cooking red meat or blistering large vegetables. One Wirecutter staffer has used a slightly smaller version of the Breeo (it comes in three sizes) for just over a year as her only outdoor cooking device with great success: "I love my Breeo," said Wirecutter's Annam Swanson. "We were originally looking for a basic fire pit for backyard hangs with friends. We wanted two special features, the combination of which only this one could provide: a low-smoke design so that we wouldn't bug our neighbors or smoke up the house when opening our back door, and an option for grilling or cooking, because we like to eat when we entertain. The searing rim and grill rack accessory—which is portable, and which we have used on its own while camping—have completely replaced our smoky, annoying-to-clean charcoal grill."

The Breeo comes in two finishes: Corten steel (pictured), which I think patinas nicely, or, for $170 more, a stainless steel option (more like the Solo Stove Bonfire). The X Series 24 is the middle size; the smallest Breeo has an opening about of 19 inches in diameter, and the largest model's opening measures 30 inches across. (Breeo sells a spark screen for the X Series 24.)

We’ve also tested the Breeo Y Series stove. From a cooking and design perspective, the two Breeo lines are largely identical. The Y Series is more portable than the X Series: It comes with collapsible handles and spring loaded feet, which you can set at two height levels. If you see yourself potentially bringing a stove to a remote location for fire and cooking—while truck camping, for instance—then the Y Series is a fine choice. But you’re looking for a backyard fire pit, we think you’ll prefer the sturdiness of the slightly more expensive X Series.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Cleaning ash from either Breeo Series (the X or the Y) is fairly arduous. As opposed to our other picks, which all have an ash tray or basin of some sort, the Breeo design requires you to shovel out ash from the pit itself. This process is made even more awkward by the vent channels along the floor of the firepit, which block a small shovel's path.

If you treat your fire pit like a cook pit, it’ll end up looking like a grill—grease-stained and blackened by char. Even if that's not a concern, you may still want to stock up on good grease-cutting soap and several boxes of steel wool.

Weight: 74 pounds (with SearPlate)Pit opening: 23.5 inchesHeight: 14.75 inchesMaterial: Corten or stainless steelWarranty: limited lifetime; also, Breeo will replace any fire pit that rusts through or burns through within five years of purchase

If you don't mind The Peak's stealth-bomber looks, the price is irresistible for a sturdy and well-made smokeless fire pit.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $230.

Get this if: You want a heavy-build fire pit with a bargain price.

Why it's great: The weight and solid construction of Blue Sky's The Peak Smokeless Patio Fire Pit make it a bargain. There's not much more to it than that. If you want the heavy weight and tough construction of a high-end smokeless pit for a lower price, this is the pick for you. The Peak also has a wider diameter than most fire pits we tested, so you can more easily stack standard logs, without having to set them up like a pyramid. The bold laser-cut branding along the lower edge is eye-catching, for better or worse. The whole thing looks like a piece that fell off a stealth bomber or an alien aircraft—if that's to your taste, you’ll enjoy this fire pit. (Blue Sky makes a spark screen for The Peak.)

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The ash-collection tray, which has three L-brackets that require twisting and releasing, isn't especially easy to use.

Weight: 46 poundsPit opening: 18.75 inchesHeight: 16 inchesMaterial: powder-coated steelWarranty: three-year limited (PDF)

The two-piece construction and wood-handle details separate this pit from the rest, but so does the jaw-dropping price.

Get this if: You want the highest-quality fire pit—one you can buy for life—and don't mind spending a lot to get it.

Why it's great: The Burly Scout Fire Pit is the only pit we tested that comes in two pieces—an outer cylinder and an insert that nests inside—which removes two of the hassles that you might expect with smokeless fire pits: cleaning and moving. Of all the pits we tested, it's the most obviously well built, and it's equally over-engineered. Are you potentially overpaying for a "Made in the USA" stamp, sturdy wooden handles, high-quality steel, and hand welding? Probably. But if you want to know you’re buying the absolute best construction with a handsome look that none of the other pits we tested can mimic, this fire pit is your only choice. (As of January 2023, Burly no longer makes the Scout in the stainless-steel finish we originally tested; now it comes only in carbon steel with a matte-black finish. The company does produce a slightly larger pit in the same design, called the Gather, in both finishes. Both the Gather and the Scout have corresponding lids available.)

Flaws but not dealbreakers: For this price, which crosses the line into investment rather than run-of-the-mill purchase, we’d rather see a lifetime warranty than the paltry two-year limited coverage that Burly provides. Although the build quality of the Scout doesn't worry us, a fire pit built for a lifetime should come with a corresponding guarantee.

Weight: 43 poundsPit opening: 17 inchesHeight: 17 inchesMaterial: matte-black carbon steel or grade 304 stainless steel (only in larger size)Warranty: two-year limited

If the Tiki model is unavailable: Consider the Cuisinart Cleanburn Fire Pit, which looks somewhat similar to the Tiki model—maybe even a touch more refined. However, unlike our other picks, the Cuisinart fire pit is a hassle to clean. The main body unscrews from an ash pan (similar to the Blue Sky model's design), but the rounded basket design and the peculiar weight of the fire pit itself make this process unwieldy.

There simply aren't that many well-reviewed smokeless fire pit options available. We gathered a list of possible candidates and tested models in the deserts of Southern California and on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Five of the six models we initially tested made the cut as recommendations. (Since then, we’ve tested three more fire pits, none of which became picks.)

Why? We initially thought that there might be a measurable performance difference among smokeless fire pit designs: the most smoke eliminated through the secondary combustion. But after several months of testing, we discovered that all the pits worked more or less the same. How well your pit performs is much more affected by your choice of wood, how wet or green that wood is, how much wood you burn at once, and the wind conditions outside than it is by the pit design itself.

At a certain point, choosing a fire pit comes down to your personal taste, how and where you want to use it, and your budget.

How well your pit performs is much more affected by your choice of wood, how wet that wood is, and the wind conditions outside than it is by the pit design itself.

When looking for a fire pit, consider size and weight first. Examine the space you have outdoors and make sure it's a safe distance away from your house. Ideally, these pits should be situated on a concrete slab, sand, or bricks; although smokeless fire pits reduce the number of embers and sparks over time, they are still open fires. A larger fire pit accommodates more people, but smaller fire pits are easier to store and move around. However, in our testing we found that the heavier a pit is, the more heat it appears to radiate, which is important because the smokeless afterburning effect of these designs seems to drive the natural heat of a fire upward and away from the people gathered around it.

Biolite FirePit+: Unlike other smokeless fire pit designs, which employ the heat transfer and airflow through their double-wall designs to create secondary combustion, the Biolite FirePit+ uses an electric fan to force air into the pile of wood. It works, extremely efficiently, and the fire pit is especially lightweight. However, the device as a whole feels poorly built, of weak materials—especially the mesh grill enclosure, which is made of thin pressed metal that, in our experience, has been prone to rust and brittle spots after exposure to high heat. We’ve already encountered some wear on our testing unit, after only a few uses. For the current price, we’re not convinced this pit is worth the investment.

Inno Stage Smokeless Fire Pit: The Inno is made of two metal pieces, which stack when you’re using it. It's a simple design and certainly keeps the cost low. But the overall lower quality of the metal and small size of the fire pit keep this from being a pick.

We’re currently testing the Compañero 30″ by HotSpot for backyard cooking. Though it isn't a smokeless fire pit, its buy-it-for-life construction and handsome looks make it an intriguing option.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

Kit Dillon

Kit Dillon is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He was previously an app developer, oil derrick inspector, public-radio archivist, and sandwich shop owner. He has written for Popular Science, The Awl, and the New York Observer, among others. When called on, he can still make a mean sandwich.

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