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The Solo Stove Bonfire Review

The Solo Stove Bonfire is a versatile, mid-range, smokeless fire pit delivering portability and solid performance both in the backyard and at the campsite.

Image of a Solo Stove Bonfire smokeless fire pit for review

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By John Herwick  | July 2022

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Solo Stove Bonfire

Price as tested: $249.99 for Solo Stove Bonfire + Stand Bundle

Diameter: 19.5 inches

Height: 14 inches (17.5 in. with Solo Stove Stand)

Weight: 20 lbs. (21.75 lbs. with Solo Stove Stand)

Likes: enhanced portability due to low weight; very deck friendly

Dislikes: tend to dent easily; no removable ash pan Update: 8/1/22 Solo Stove has added a removable ash pan and base plate to the Bonfire (and all other Solo Stove fire pits) as part of their 2.0 upgrade


Smokeless fire pits have become wildly popular due to their combination of form, heat performance, and smoke-reducing design. Over the last seven years, Solo Stove has emerged as a leader in this corner of the wood-burning fire pit market with its mid-range Bonfire smokeless fire pit.  

With previous experience owning and using the Solo Stove Yukon and Ranger, I found the Bonfire similarly high-performing, well-built, and easy to use.

For those familiar with Solo Stove fire pits, the “fit and finish” of the Bonfire is virtually identical, with size and weight being the only fundamental differences.

Like other models in their line, the 304 stainless steel and seam welds on Solo Stove’s Bonfire fire pit are smooth and polished. All edges are rounded and free of anything that could make general handling, lifting, and carrying uncomfortable (i.e., burrs, sharp edges, jagged edges, etc.).

Cheaper fire pits with less strict quality controls often have one or more of these issues.

Also, like other Solo Stove models, you will have to take some care to protect against dents on the sides, which can be challenging to fix, especially in locations toward the Bonfire’s bottom near the exterior vent holes’ upper edge and along welded seams.

What stands out is how well the Bonfire fits into that “sweet spot” between Solo Stove’s smallest and largest fire pit models.

With the portability of a less-bulky, lower-weight fire pit with the heat output of many larger fire pit models, the Bonfire is an ideal choice.

Especially for those on the fence still deciding which Solo Stove size to go with.

Below, I’ll describe my experience with the Solo Stove Bonfire to help you decide if it might be the right fire pit for your needs.



Bonfire Build Quality/Durability

As a leading smokeless fire pit manufacturer, Solo Stove has continued to maintain the quality of its smokeless fire pits as they’ve grown in popularity and the Bonfire model is no exception.

For comparison, we’ve been heavily using a Yukon model, the previous 30-inch version, for over two years. The Solo Stove Bonfire plus Stand we tested has the same solid welds, lift-friendly edges, and tight “fit and finish.”

Image of a solo stove bonfire smokeless fire pit's exterior vent holes

Like all Solo Stove fire pits, the Bonfire has that high-shine stainless steel finish. This will likely be the first thing you notice out of the box.

You may even regret adding some wood and lighting a fire in it because it looks so good.  

You will see some gold/purple discoloration after your first fire, particularly toward the top of the Bonfire’s outer wall, but this is normal and common across the Solo Stove line.

The color change is a reaction to metal exposure to high-heat conditions and can not be removed.

Because of its high shine, you’ll also get some basic soot discoloration that’s noticeable as well, but this can be removed with a little Bartender’s Friend or Weiman’s Stainless Steel Cleaner, a soft well-used cloth, and some elbow grease.

The difference is clear after cleanup and worth the effort if maintaining the Bonfire’s shine is important to you.

One other item we should mention is related to rust. There were complaints years ago about Solo Stove fire pits rusting excessively. We’ve been running our Solo Stove Yukon through its paces for the last two years in all types of conditions.

Through rain, snow, humidity, etc., it’s held up surprisingly well. There is some rust, but it’s exclusively on the interior of the fire pit on the inside bottom, and sides.

The exterior has continued to resist rust no matter what we’ve thrown at it.

Stainless steel loses its corrosion resistance over time when exposed to direct flame and high temperatures. That can’t be avoided. Further exposure to damp conditions, though, will speed it up.

We expect the current Bonfire to perform as well as our Yukon has in the rust department.

Covering a Bonfire while stored outdoors or moving it inside while not in use will help slow rusting.

We bought the Solo Stove Bonfire Fire + Stand bundle with a nylon carrying case.

While water resistant, I’m not sure if the carrying case is a great option for regular outdoor storage. Look at the Bonfire Shelter for a cover more suited to long-term outdoor use.  

Also, check out my article on taking care of a Solo Stove left out in the rain for more.

Bonfire Set-up/Ease of Use

As far as wood-burning fire pits go, the Solo Stove Bonfire is about as easy as it comes to set up. With three main components, the fire pit itself, the Stand, and the Flame Ring, “assembly” takes less than a minute, faster with a bit of help.

Just a little about the Solo Stove Stand and flame ring before moving on. 

The “Stand” is a circular ring that acts as a barrier between the fire pit and the surface on which the fire pit will sit.

It allows airflow and standoff from the ground to reduce fire risk and radiant heat damage to decking, asphalt, concrete, etc.

The flame ring, on the other hand, rests on the top edge of the fire pit and helps the Bonfire’s secondary burn process work more efficiently. The secondary burn process is what burns off the majority of the Bonfire’s smoke.

Once you know where you are going to put a Bonfire, the Stand can be placed to mark the spot where the fire pit will get. The fire pit itself is placed and centered directly on top of the Stand.

The Bonfire and the Stand are not attached – the fire pit simply rests on the Stand. Once the Bonfire is in place, the Flame Ring is positioned on the upper edge of the fire pit’s opening.

At this point, the fire itself can be built. Once a backyard fire starts, Solo Stoves tend to go through wood quickly due to the efficient way they channel air where it’s needed most.

A Solo Stove Bonfire will quickly burn through 4-6 pieces of well-seasoned hardwood firewood from a 12-inch log split in quarters. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the wood species.

One other thing, keep your firewood splits 16 inches or shorter to ensure they fit nicely inside the diameter of the Bonfire (19.5 inches).  

Bottom line, stock up on firewood if you decide to go with a Bonfire or any Solo Stove.

Bonfire Weight/Portability

At 20 pounds and with a 19.5-inch diameter, the Solo Stove Bonfire easily fits into the portable fire pit category. Most will be able to move it both short and long distances without assistance.

I do recommend having someone give you a hand carrying it short distances when positioning it on top of the Solo Stove Stand. It will be easier to center the Bonfire on the Stand and ensure your fingers are out of the way when setting it down.

I recommend carrying the Bonfire sideways over short distances (5-50 ft.)  See the image below.

When packing the Bonfire away in your vehicle for a road trip, its base footprint is just over four sq ft (4.15 sq ft, to be exact). Not too bad, considering the heat and grilling benefits you’ll get once at your destination.

Plus, you can get some space back by placing some items for the trip inside the fire pit if it’s clean, or you don’t mind the items in question getting a little dirty.

While not as portable as Solo Stove’s smaller Ranger model, the Bonfire is still pretty easy to handle, and you’ll get a bigger, hotter fire to boot.

Key Features of the Solo Stove Bonfire

As mentioned before, the Bonfire’s features are not unique compared to other Solo Stoves except for their scale. Unlike other wood-burning fire pits, most of the features below help produce a more efficient burn and, as a result, less smoke. 

As with other fire pit brands in the same space, Solo Stove has its version of the smokeless fire concept (known as TLUD or top-lift updraft gasification in scientific circles), which the brand calls its 360° Signature Airflow Technology.” See the image in the “Double Walled Construction” section below for more.

Just some of the features below have a role in Solo Stove’s smoke-reducing airflow design, but all are critical to the overall fire pit performance, and safety.

Exterior Vent Holes  

As a wood fire burns, it naturally pulls in air, and as a result, oxygen, that the fire needs as part of the combustion process.

Solo Stoves aid this process with vent holes positioned near the bottom outside edge of the fire pit. A newly started fire begins to draw in air through these holes where it is channeled in two directions, one to the base of the burn chamber and one through the fire pit’s double wall.  

These vent holes both help feed the fire, making it burn more efficiently, and providing air for the first step in the secondary burn process.

Vented Burn Chamber

The Solo Stove Bonfire’s burn chamber (where you build your wood fire), at the inside bottom of the fire pit, has a slightly conical shape and is vented for airflow. This is the airflow coming in through the exterior vent holes.

This vented burn chamber does three things basically; it provides physical support for the fire, airflow that feeds the fire from underneath, and holes for ash to fall through that wind up in the fire pit’s ash pan.

Double-Wall Construction

All smokeless fire pits use double-wall construction, and Solo Stoves are no exception. The Solo Stove Bonfire has both an internal wall and an external wall that provides the bulk of the fire pit’s structure.

Between these two walls is a gap through which hot air passes on its way to the interior vent holes at the inside top of the fire pit. This is a portion of the air that is drawn in through the exterior vent holes.  

While traveling up through these double walls, the air is heated before it exits near the top of the fire.

GIF image of Solo Stove's airflow process
Solo Stove’s 360° Signature Airflow Technology

Image Credit: Solo Stove

This is the second step in the secondary burn process.

Interior Vent Holes

The heated air traveling through the Bonfire’s double-walls exits through the interior vent holes, where it is directed to the top of the burning fire. These vent holes put focused air (and oxygen) exactly where the fire pit needs it for burning off smoke before it escapes.

Image of a Solo Stove Bonfire with arrows showing interior inlet holes
The Solo Stove Bonfire’s interior vent holes

Once the fire is going strong, has a nice coalbed, and is burning hot enough, you will begin to see secondary burn in full effect; you’ll know it when you see flame coming from the interior vent holes (see the image below).

This is the third and final step in the secondary burn process.

Flame Ring 

The Bonfire’s flame ring is the icing on the cake. The flame ring sits on top of the fire pit at the opening and helps move air (and smoke trying to escape) to the center of the fire pit where the fire is hottest.

This is a differentiator for Solo Stove as they were the first on the scene with this feature, with others mimicking its design in their fire pit models.

Ash Pan

Not a part of the secondary burn process, but an essential component nonetheless is the Bonfire’s ash pan. This is where a large portion of the fire pit’s ash goes during a fire. All Solo Stoves use a fixed ash pan, much to the dismay of many.

That said, it’s not a big deal to clean it out by flipping the unit over onto a tarp and wrapping it on the bottom a few times. The rest of the cooled ash can be vacuumed out via ShopVac or similar.

Stand

Probably the most necessary and asked-about accessories related to the Solo Stove Bonfire, or any Solo Stove for that matter, is the Stand.

The Stand is the platform for your Solo Stove to sit on to protect sensitive surfaces on your property (i.e., asphalt driveways, wood or composite decking, etc.),  

This platform gives your fire pit some standoff from the surface and allows air to flow underneath to keep things from heating up, melting, catching fire, etc.

Radiant heat will do a number of many of the surfaces mentioned, and the Stand, included with Fire Pit + Stand bundles and higher, can save you a lot of time and trouble. Use it!

Bonfire Likes

  • The Solo Stove Bonfire’s manageable size and weight make it a versatile option for those on the fence; big enough to respectably heat a backyard gathering but light enough to take on the road
  • The Bonfire (as well as the rest of the Solo Stove line) is among the most deck-friendly (and surface-friendly in general) wood-burning fire pits on the market;  I still recommend still using a fire pit heat shield if you use it on decking, especially the composite type (Trex, Timbertech, etc.); with that said Solo Stove themselves has images on their site showing their fire pits being used on decks without any protection
  • General quality, craftsmanship, fit and finish, etc., are consistent with our initial Solo Stove experience over two years ago with the now-retired 30-inch Yukon.
  • Specific to their whole product line – Solo Stove has been very aggressive in its pricing, discount strategies, etc., offering almost endless opportunities to pick up the Bonfire + Stand bundle at a discount; we paid about $250 plus tax (minus the Hero discount – thank you Solo Stove!) for the Bonfire used for this review

Bonfire Dislikes

  • Solo Stoves still dent very easily, especially when compared to a competitor like Breeo – with that said, it’s an acceptable tradeoff for the Bonfire’s lighter weight, portability, etc.;  BTW, these dents can be fixed to some extent depending on the location of the dent
  • No removable ash pan; for users unable to turn the unit over, emptying ash effectively could be a challenge; see the update in the green box next —->

On August 1st, 2022, Solo Stove released a 2.0 version of every smokeless fire pit in their line, including the Solo Stove Bonfire. What does that mean? Everything looks the same, but now there is a removable base plate (the vented conical surface your fire sits on) and underneath is a removable ash pan. See the video below or take a look at Solo Stove.

UPDATE: 8/1/22 Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0, now with removable ash pan! UPDATE: 8/1/22 | Video Credit: Solo Stove

Comparison Table

Smokeless Fire PitShapeDiameter/LengthHeightWeight
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0Circular19.5-inch diameter17.5 inches*20 lbs.
Breeo X Series Circular22.1-inch diameter14.75 inches47 lbs.
Tiki Brand Fire Pit Rectangular21.5-inch length16.7 inches41 lbs.
BioLite FirePit+Rectangular27-inch length15.8 inches19.8 lbs.
Blue Sky PeakCircular21.6-inch diameter16 inches35.3 lbs.
*Height when placed on Solo Stove Stand

The Bonfire’s Competition

For a time, Solo Stove (and their main competitor Breeo) had little serious competition in the smokeless fire pit space. However, that dynamic has changed dramatically over the last 2-3 years.

Some familiar names (ex. Tiki, Bond, and Duraflame) and many new ones have jumped into the fire pit arena recently, producing their own smokeless models in an attempt to take on the big dogs, i.e. Solo Stove and Breeo.

Image of a Breeo smokeless fire pit on gravel
Breeo X Series 19 Smokeless Fire pit in stainless steel | Image Credit: Breeo

Solo Stove’s primary rival, Breeo, has built a reputation for very solid (heavy), well-made fire pits and has been rapidly growing (and consolidating) its product line lately. They’ve been a leader in over-the-fire grilling as well, pulling the rest of the fire pit market in that direction, some kicking and screaming.

Image of a Breeo smokeless fire pit being used for grilling
Breeo corten steel smokeless fire pit with grilling accessories | Image Credit: Breeo

Their X Series, which are Solo Stove’s closest competitors, come in three sizes as well but are available with either a corten or stainless steel finishes. About two years ago, the X Series replaced Breeo’s long-standing Double Flame line.

Breeo’s X Series 19 is their answer to the Bonfire. Like the rest of their line, the X Series 19 is significantly heavier (and less portable) than the competition, but with that extra weight comes additional durability. In my view, that’s a tradeoff that Breeo embraces willingly.  

Both the Bonfire and the X Series 19 perform well in the heat and smoke reduction areas (when used correctly), but the Breeo just seems naturally hotter under the same conditions (wood type and seasoning, a fire built the same way, etc.)

That’s a little subjective and non-scientific, I know, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Anyway, if you don’t plan on moving your fire pit around too much and you want a (very) hot fire in a tight (but heavy) package, the Breeo X Series 19 might be the way to go.

Tiki Brand’s fire pit entry into the Solo Stove Bonfire’s size range is its new 21.5-inch rectangular smokeless fire pit. Tiki’s other smokeless fire pit, their first, is a little larger and heavier but was the first real competition Solo Stove and Breeo had in the smokeless fire pit arena and still is, in my opinion.

Tiki’s 21.5-inch model, like the Breeo, is heavy, weighing in at 41.5 lbs. With that said, it is a very compact fire pit, at 14 inches wide and just over 16.5 inches tall. 

Taking their cues from Breeo; Tiki is not trying to make lightweight fire pits. I own the original Tiki, and it’s a tank. Sure, you can move it across the yard a few times a year, but that’s about it, at least for me.

Their 21.5-inch model, though, while heavy (41 lbs.), is a very packable option if you are looking for something to take on the road but don’t mind trading a little weight for durability.   Built-in legs to provide standoff on sensitive surfaces and a removable ash pan round out a pretty complete package.

Image of a tiki brand portable smokeless fire pit
Tiki Portable Smokeless Fire Pit | Image Credit: Tiki Brand

BioLite’s FirePit+ is its entry in this size range. It’s shaped much like Tiki 21.5 in that it’s rectangular; however, it’s about six inches longer and about 21 lbs. lighter. BioLites are built for portability; the area of focus for practically all of their products is the camping/hiking market.

With the lighter weight, though, I’ve found you need a softer touch with this fire pit when moving it around. They’re well made, and unlike some of the other models mentioned, the tradeoff for portability is durability.

Image of a BioLite FirePit+ on a driveway
Backyard Toasty’s very own Biolite FirePit+

Blue Sky’s Peak smokeless fire pit does a good job of balancing weight and durability. With a 21.6-inch diameter, weighing in at just over 35 lbs., it’s slightly larger than the Bonfire sizewise. For that matter, it’s larger than most of the others and about 15 lbs. heavier than the Bonfire.

Images of a Blue Sky Peak smokeless fire pit
Blue Sky Peak Smokeless Fire Pit | Image(s) Credit: Blue Sky Outdoor Living

Blue Sky has been in the smokeless fire pit space for a while but continues to innovate and expand its product line.

One feature, unique among smokeless fire pits, is the Peak’s removable ash pan. With its higher weight, not having to turn it over to empty ash is going to be a plus for a lot of potential owners.  

One other feature, the integrated handles as the exterior base make moving the fire pit when hot much easier and safer. When I say “moving” I mean sliding it a few inches here and there, not picking it up.

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