Solo Stove Bonfire
Price as tested: $249.99 for
Diameter: 19.5 inches
Height: 14 inches (17.5 in. with
Weight: 20 lbs. (21.75 lbs. with
Likes: enhanced portability due to low weight; very deck friendly
Dislikes: tend to dent easily;
no removable ash pan Update: 8/1/22
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
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
Like other models in their line, the 304 stainless steel and seam welds on
Cheaper fire pits with less strict quality controls often have one or more of these issues.
Also, like other
What stands out is how well the Bonfire fits into that “sweet spot” between
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
Below, I’ll describe my experience with the
Bonfire Build Quality/Durability
As a leading
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.”
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
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
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
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.
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
At 20 pounds and with a 19.5-inch diameter, the
I do recommend having someone give you a hand carrying it short distances when positioning it on top of the
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
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,
Just some of the features below have a role in
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
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.
All smokeless fire pits use double-wall construction, and Solo Stoves are no exception. The
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Probably the most necessary and asked-about accessories related to the
The Stand is the platform for your
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!
Solo StoveBonfire’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 Stoveline) 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 Stovethemselves 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 Stoveexperience over two years ago with the now-retired 30-inch Yukon.
- Specific to their whole product line –
Solo Stovehas 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
- 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||Shape||Diameter/Length||Height||Weight|
|Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0||Circular||19.5-inch diameter||17.5 inches*||20 lbs.|
|Breeo X Series||Circular||22.1-inch diameter||14.75 inches||47 lbs.|
|Tiki Brand Fire Pit||Rectangular||21.5-inch length||16.7 inches||41 lbs.|
|BioLite FirePit+||Rectangular||27-inch length||15.8 inches||19.8 lbs.|
|Blue Sky Peak||Circular||21.6-inch diameter||16 inches||35.3 lbs.|
The Bonfire’s Competition
For a time,
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’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.
Their X Series, which are
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
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.
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.
Blue Sky’s Peak
Blue Sky has been in the
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.