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Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the Solo Stove bonfire.
If you’ve been following my blog, you might have seen a few posts recently mentioning this unique fire pit.
You might even be considering buying one, but want to make sure it’s not going to be a waste of money. You work hard for your money, and while this bonfire pit sounds great…is it really worth the investment?
It really depends on whether you’re going to use it or not.
If you love bonfires and want to spend all of your summer evenings sitting under the starts, chatting over a crackling fire, it could be a sound investment.
But if you’re just looking for something to fill up your yard, and probably won’t use it much, I would suggest buying a nice birdbath or planting some petunias instead.
In all seriousness…
While there are much more expensive fire pits out there, this baby isn’t exactly cheap, either. So I wanted to lay it all out for you in this post. What are the pros and cons of the Solo Stove bonfire? And is it really smokeless?
Let’s start there.
Is the Solo Stove Bonfire Really Smokeless?
Solo Stove is known for their unique bonfire design that maximizes airflow and the burning process for a more complete burn with little to no smoke.
Per their instructions, the key is to keep the stack of logs below the secondary air vents. So as long as you can refrain from overfilling it, then yes, it truly smokeless — or nearly smokeless.
Here is a video that explains how it works, and then we’ll go over the pros and cons of this bonfire pit as well answers to some of the questions I’ve received from readers.
Let’s Talk About the Solo Stove Pros…
Here is a list of all the good things about the Solo Stove bonfire.
1. It’s smokeless.
Or, at least, as smoke-free as a bonfire can get. You might have a little smoke when lighting it. And again, avoid overfilling the fire pit, or you could end up with yet more smoke.
We made that mistake once, shortly after getting our bonfire. We had some longer sticks and boards that needed to be burned, and obviously didn’t pay much attention to the instructions on the box. Oops! Lesson learned.
2. It’s portable.
While we probably won’t bring our fire pit camping (mainly because we rarely go camping), at 19.5 inches wide and 20 pounds, it would be small enough to take along. Plus, it comes with a carrying case, so all you need to do is clean out the ashes and it’s good to go.
3. It’s log friendly.
Log fires just have that certain ambiance… Love the idea of sitting around a wood burning fire? The Solo Stove bonfire is log friendly, so you will still get that log fire experience.
4. It’s durable.
This unique bonfire pit is made of stainless steel, which is supposed to be more durable than other materials.
You will notice that after the first burn, it will no longer look brand new. That is to be expected when you burn wood inside it at such high temperatures; however, it does not affect the quality at all.
5. They offer a lifetime guarantee.
If anything happens to your fire pit that’s caused by manufacturing defects, they will replace it free of charge. And if it gets damaged due to normal wear or misuse, they will either make repair suggestions or provide a one-time replacement at 50% off.
To quote Solo Stove:
We warranty each and every Solo Stove product to be free of manufacturing defects, and we will replace with a new product, at our option, any Solo Stove product that is deemed defective. Solo Stove does not warrant its products against normal wear or misuse. If your Solo Stove product was damaged due to misuse, our customer service team can analyze the damage and may be able to suggest options for the customer to remedy. If your Solo Stove product is unable to be repaired after misuse, we will extend a one-time courtesy offer, allowing you the option to purchase a new Solo Stove product for 50% off of our MSRP price listed on the website, excluding web specials.
…and Now for the Cons
There are a few things that might be considered disadvantages to the Solo Stove bonfire fire pit.
1. You can roast, but can’t “cook” over it.
Unfortunately, you can’t cook a pot of beans or boil potatoes over it. While Solo Stove does make products you can cook food on, the bonfire wasn’t designed that way. You could potentially buy a grate like this one, or simply stick with food that you can roast on sticks.
2. There may be some discoloration.
Again, it will no longer look nice and shiny and brand new after the first burn, which is to be expected when you burn wood inside it at such high temperatures. But it does not affect the quality at all.
If you notice any burn marks on your bonfire, Bar Keepers Friend has been recommended for cleaning it up (although I haven’t used it personally).
3. You can’t leave it uncovered outside.
With an appropriate weather cover, you can store your bonfire pit outside. However, if left exposed to the elements for too long, it’s susceptible to rust and discoloration.
1. Does the Solo Stove bonfire burn through more wood than a standard fire ring?
In my experience, it doesn’t seem to burn through wood faster. In fact, the fire burns slightly longer in the Solo Stove, perhaps due to the secondary air vents.
2. Can you use the bonfire under a loggia or in a garage with the door open?
According to Solo Stove’s instruction manual: “Do not use Solo Stove Bonfire under any overhead or near any unprotected combustible constructions.”
3. Have you noticed a lot of embers coming from the fire pit?
While there are some embers with the Solo Stove, I haven’t noticed an excessive amount. However, I just did a quick search, and it looks like they make a bonfire shield (included in this bundle) to help keep them contained and protect your patio furniture.
4. Does the Solo Stove give off substantial heat?
We have found that it gives off quite a bit of heat, plenty for a family to keep warm, and I’ve even found myself having to back away from it a little. We have had as many as five people around it at one time, and there was plenty of heat to keep everyone warm.
5. Does the outside of the fire pit get hot?
The outside of the bonfire gets very hot, and I would not put anything decorative (decals or magnets) on the outside of it. And as with any type of bonfire, make sure to keep children at a safe distance away.
6. If placed on top of pavers, will the Solo Stove bonfire damage them?
We have used our fire pit on top of pavers and had no issues with damage. However, if you would rather play it safe, they do sell this stand that helps with airflow, so the Solo Stove bonfire can be placed on more sensitive surfaces.
My husband is the one who introduced me to this unique fire pit, and we decided to make the purchase because it has great reviews on Amazon. My #1 favorite thing is that you don’t have that strong, lingering bonfire smell on your clothes after using it.
The Solo Stove bonfire pit is nearly smokeless, as long as you use it correctly, and there are a number of pros — which outnumber the cons — when it comes to purchasing it, as long as you will actually use it.
This unique fire pit might not be for everyone, but from our experience, the investment really was worth it.