Solo Stove fire pits are wildly popular because they are advertised to start easier and produce a smokeless fire. That takes the biggest complaints out of having a campfire in the backyard. We bought a Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 fire pit to test those claims and see if it’s worth buying. If you don’t want to read any further, the quick answer is yes, go buy one.
Pros and Cons
- Clean, nearly smokeless fire
- Lots of available accessories
- Lightweight to put away
- Burns wood quickly
- Cost adds up with accessories
- Retail price of $399.99 (check price) – They’re always on sale, so make sure to check.
- Diameter of 19.5 inches
- Height of 12 inches
- Weight of 23.3 lbs
- Made out of stainless steel
- Lifetime warranty from manufacturing defects
Is it Smokeless?
The main thing that makes Solo Stove fire pits so popular is that they are advertised to be smokeless. The way it works is has double-walled construction. Picture an inner metal tube and an outer metal tube that are concentric (ones centered in the other). There are holes at the bottom of the outer tube that draw in air. In addition to holes in the bottom of the fire pit, there are holes at the top of the inner tube.
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As air is pulled in at the bottom, it gets heated up on the way to the top of the inner tube, so it can burn more efficiently. This gives a more efficient combustion, in other words, no smoke.
Does it Work?
It does work as a smokeless fire pit, but we’ll caveat that a little. You need the fire to be going for a little bit, and you need wood that doesn’t have much moisture, like kiln dried firewood. Even if you don’t have ideal conditions though, it still produces much less smoke than a traditional fire pit.
What’s New for the Bonfire 2.0?
The biggest complaint with the original Solo Stove fire pit (the Bonfire 1.0) is that it didn’t have a removable ash pan. That meant that you had to pick the fire pit up and tip the whole thing over in the trash to clean out the ash.
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The fire pit 2.0 has a removable ash pan to fix that. Now you just pick up an ash pan inside the fire pit to get rid of the ashes. It’s a much easier process.
What we Like About it
Beyond the smokeless design and general good looks of the Bonfire, here are some other things that we like about it.
If you don’t have a dedicated outdoor living space for a fire pit, the Solo Stove makes a lot of sense. You can take it out for a bonfire, and then when you’re done, it can be easily stored. We’d recommend the Stand accessory for it if it doesn’t have a permanent home, because it will keep the surface underneath it cool whenever you use it.
Accessories Take it to the Next Level
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Like the Stand that we mentioned above, all of the available accessories for the Solo Stove are what make it a game changer. We created a whole guide just on the accessories, and Solo Stove is continuously listening to feedback and adding more.
Want to have your Solo Stove be a permanent fixture with a little table that also keeps kids and pets safe (more on that later)? Let me introduce you to the Surround. Worried about letting the fire burn out when your done with it? The Lid takes care of that. You want the heat to deflect down at your feet to keep you warmer? They’ve got you covered.
Basically anything that you could want a fire pit to do, they make an accessory for it. They transform it from just a cool fire pit into something much more.
What we don’t Like About it
There really are very few things that we don’t like about the Solo Stove Bonfire. Any of the cons are being pretty nitpicky.
Wood Burns Quickly
As a byproduct of having a roaring fire and an efficient burn, this thing eats through firewood. Make sure to have a good stack of firewood when you’re planning your evening, so it doesn’t have to end early.
Accessories are Addicting
Like we mentioned above, you’re going to want to buy accessories. Maybe your self control is better, but we bought the bare minimum to start with and now it seems like we’re ordering a new Solo Stove accessory every other week. We’d recommend planning ahead and buying one of their bundles to get a little bit of a discount on it.
Tips and Tricks
There are a few things that we’ve learned along the way that will save you time if you’re looking to buy one.
What Size Solo Stove Fire Pit Should I Buy?
Whether you just have a little balcony or host bonfires for the neighborhood, Solo Stove has you covered. Here are the different size options from smallest to largest and who they are best suited for.
- Solo Stove Mesa – A tiny, tabletop fire pit perfect for balcony ambience and some marshmallows. We did a whole review on the Mesa, and are happy with it.
- Solo Stove Ranger – Good for a 2 – 4 people (4 might be a little crowded), or if you plan on taking it camping.
- Solo Stove Bonfire – Good for 4 – 6 people, and Solo Stove’s best seller.
- Solo Stove Yukon – If you need the biggest they make, go for this one.
We chose the Bonfire to test because it’s the perfect size for a family. The Ranger is too small for a family and the Yukon is too big. Keep in mind when picking the right size pit that the bigger it is, the more firewood you need to keep it going. The Yukon can really rip through some wood.
How Do You Setup a Solo Stove Fire Pit?
There is almost no setup with a Solo Stove. The only things you need to keep in mind are the position of the ring on top and of the base plate. They aren’t necessarily packaged the way they should be used.
The trim ring at the top of the fire pit should be pointing upwards. There are many pictures on the internet of them upside down. Pointing up is the correct placement according to Solo Stove.
The second thing is the base plate that sits on the ash tray has a mound shape to it. The mound should be pointing upwards. Another way to describe it is the tabs shown in the picture above that are below my finger should point downwards. We confirmed this with Solo Stove.
How Do You Keep Kids Safe?
Solo Stove makes two accessories that we’d recommend if you have kids and pets. The first is the Surround (check price), which we mentioned above. It makes a physical barrier around the fire pit, which will help keep kids and pets away. Plus, it’s nice to have a little table for drinks and food.
The second is the Shield (check price), which is a screen that goes over the fire pit. It’s nice because it helps keep any sparks or embers inside the fire pit. They did a great job designing it, so it has a removable top and notches on it to rest roasting sticks.
Beyond accessories, getting kiln-dried wood helps minimize the amount of popping that your fire will do. If you’re burning wood that hasn’t been properly seasoned or dried, the higher moisture content can cause it to pop.
How Do You Start a Fire in the Solo Stove?
While Solo Stove sells four starters, the way we start fire in the Bonfire is with a charcoal chimney. For those not familiar, it’s a round tube that you put charcoal in the top, and newspaper in the bottom. You light the newspaper and wait a little, and then the charcoal inside of it will be hot. Then, just safely dump it on some wood inside your fire pit.
While it looks intimidating if you’ve never used it, it’s really easy. You can start a chimney on a non-flammable surface like a rock, or do what we do, and light it on your charcoal grill nearby.
If you’re looking for a fire pit or are on the fence about getting a Solo Stove, we’d recommend getting one. They work great, as advertised. Plus, Solo Stove offers so many accessories that will make your fire pit even more fun, useful, and versatile.