Easy to transport
Creates a smokeless fire
Burns firewood quickly
Ashes are difficult to remove
Difficult to put out
There are several portable wood-burning fire pit options out there, but Solo Stove is unique because of its trademark design, called Signature 360° Airflow Design. It features a double-wall structure riddled with holes. The fire pit draws in air from the bottom of the unit and feeds the heated oxygen to the top. This creates what Solo Stove calls “secondary burn,” and the result is threefold: 1) An efficient burn that starts the fire more quickly and makes it easy to maintain; 2) a mesmerizing flame pattern; and 3) a smokeless fire.
Solo Stove sells several different fire pit models, but the mid-size Bonfire is their best-selling smokeless portable fire pit. It’s the perfect melding of portability and functionality, boasting half the weight of the Yukon (the largest option) and nearly twice the capacity of the Ranger (the smallest model). We also like that the Bonfire fits standard 16-inch logs, so you don’t have to buy special wood to use it.
The Bonfire is not as large as some other fire pits we have tested, but it’s still large enough to produce a fantastic fire. After we got the kindling started, we were able to cram three logs into the unit at once. That produced the most amount of heat, but we recommend keeping it a little bit smaller—about two logs at a time. Any logs that rise above the secondary air vents at the top can create smoke, so adding too much at once isn’t a good idea.
About the Solo Stove Bonfire
- Dimensions: 14.4 in. x 19.5 in. x 19.5 in. (H x W x D)
- Diameter: 19.5 in.
- Weight: 20 lbs. (9.07 kg)
- Materials: Stainless steel
- Features: Stainless steel stand, nylon carrying case; additional accessories and bundles available for purchase separately
- Fuel Type: Wood logs up to 16 inches long
What we like about the Solo Stove Bonfire
The fire starts quickly
During our tests, the Solo Stove had a flame going fast. The perforated, double-wall design of the Bonfire allows air to circulate around the fire, much like a fan in a convection oven. This gets air underneath the fire starter and kindling, helping the fire catch quickly without the assistance of bellows.
During our tests, the Bonfire was ready to add large firewood in about 10 minutes, compared to the 15 to 30 minutes it took other wood-fired fire pits we tested.
It is smokeless
The Solo Stove’s fire ring is the key to its smokeless fire. The fire pit’s design brings preheated oxygen up to the top of the fire pit through the Bonfire’s double walls. This creates a “secondary burn” at the top of the burn chamber to create a hotter, more beautiful-looking fire. Meanwhile, the flame ring burns off smoke as it directs the secondary burn towards the inside of the Solo Stove.
During our tests, the Bonfire did produce a little smoke when it was getting started. Our guess is the oxygen wasn’t hot enough inside the unit to produce that secondary burn. Once the ember bed was complete, though, the unit was as smokeless as it gets for a fire.
Keep in mind that the Solo Stove is only smokeless when used properly. When we loaded it up with more wood than would fit in the unit, the upper logs sticking out the top did produce smoke. It also doesn’t perform well with wet wood, which smoked and smoldered no matter how low it was inside the unit during our tests.
Lesson learned: Always burn dry wood!
It’s lightweight and easy to transport and store
The Bonfire isn’t Solo Stove’s smallest fire pit, but it is still small and lightweight enough to transport. The fire pit has a diameter of 19 inches, and it weighs about 20 pounds. This is not that much heavier than the Ranger’s 15 pounds (Solo Stove’s smallest model).
It is easy for one person to carry the Bonfire short distances, especially when packed into the carrying case and carried by the handle. The small profile also makes it easy to store in a garage or shed, and the stand packs neatly inside the unit when not in use.
The stand protects the ground below the fire pit
If you’re planning to use the Bonfire on grass, stained concrete, or on a deck, we recommend picking up the bundle that comes with the stand. The stand elevates the fire pit above the ground so it won’t scorch the earth beneath it.
We love that the stand doesn’t affect the unit’s portability, either. Simply place the stand where you want it and set the Bonfire on top. When the fire pit is cool, the stand stores conveniently inside the unit.
It looks good doing it
The Bonfire uses Solo Stove’s Signature 360° Airflow Design to help the fire start quickly and burn hot. As a bonus, this design also creates gorgeous flames. When the fire pit is packed with an appropriate amount of firewood, all you see is the sleek, stainless steel exterior and a tower of mesmerizing flames rising from the top.
What we don’t like about the Solo Stove Bonfire
It burns through firewood quickly
While we love how quickly the Bonfire gets started burning, this same Signature 360° Airflow Design also burns wood more quickly than the average fire pit. The three logs that fit inside the fire pit provided enough flames for about 45 minutes. Comparatively, the same amount of wood in other fire pits we tested lasted from 60 to 75 minutes.
There’s no removable ash pan
Some of the wood-burning fire pits we tested had a removable ash pan or a sliding door that made it simple to remove the ashes. Unfortunately, Solo Stove doesn’t have this feature, so you have to turn the unit upside down to clean it out.
If you have an ash vacuum, you can save yourself some trouble cleaning out the fire pit this way.
It is worth noting that, during testing, the Bonfire did produce fewer ashes than other fire pits we’ve tested. The fire pit’s design pushes hot air over the wood as it burns, creating minimal ash. The ash that does remain is very fine.
It’s not easy to cook over
Some fire pit grills are easier to cook over than others. When it comes to the Bonfire, it’s great for marshmallows or hot dogs on a stick, but not ideal for cooking.
While Solo Stove finally announced a grill accessory bundle (something customers had been asking about for years), it does require some expertise to use it. The Bonfire simply burns too hot to be an ideal candidate for fire pit cooking.
Solo Stove does sell a grill that’s specifically designed for cooking. We love the grill, but unfortunately it’s not recommended for use as a stand-alone fire pit. This means you can’t get a two-for-one with Solo Stove.
You have to wait for the fire to go out naturally
Solo Stoves are designed to burn wood until it turns into fine ash, which is great for clean-up. Unfortunately, it’s not great if you want to end your fire pit session early. The fire pit doesn’t have any vents that can cut off the air flow and extinguish the fire before the wood is fully combusted. You can’t pour water over the Solo Stove, either, because the water will clog the system when it combines with the fine ash. This means you need to wait for the fire to go out naturally.
Solo Stove does sell a shield that keeps sparks and embers inside, which is handy if you have to temporarily walk away while it’s burning.
Solo Stove also sells a lid, but recommends waiting to cap it until the fire has burned down and there are no flames present.
It stays hot long after it burns out
This isn’t necessarily a negative, but it is worth keeping in mind.
When you think of portable fire pits, you think about packing them up with you when the campfire goes out. During our tests, the Bonfire remained hot to the touch for about an hour after the last ember was extinguished.
You’ll want to keep this timeframe in mind if you’re planning an on-the-go fire pit session.
Solo Stove boasts 100% guaranteed returns and a lifetime warranty that assures your Solo Stove will be free of any manufacturing defects. This warranty doesn’t protect against damage due to misuse or normal wear and tear, but Solo Stove does offer 2-, 3-, and 5-year accident protection through Extend. If its customer service team analyzes the damage and determines it was due to misuse, Solo Stove will extend a one-time courtesy offer, allowing you the option to purchase a new Solo Stove product for 50% off of the MSRP price listed on the website (excluding web specials).
Should you buy the Solo Stove Bonfire?
Yes, if you love gathering outside in small groups
All in all, we love the Solo Stove Bonfire. It requires zero installation, so it is ready to use right out of the box. The design is not only gorgeous to look at, but it also makes building and maintaining a campfire easier than ever. Add in that it’s light enough to be portable and smokeless when used properly, and you may never want to use a camping fire pit again!
The Bonfire is Solo Stove’s medium-size model. It doesn’t radiate heat much further than a 2-foot distance from the fire pit, so it’s ideal for groups up to about eight people.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a larger fire pit that creates more heat and can warm up to 16 people, Solo Stove’s larger Yukon may be a good fit. Just keep in mind that it weighs nearly twice as much as the Bonfire, so it’s not as portable, and it will also require more fuel to keep the fire going.
You can buy the Bonfire on its own, or pick up one of Solo Stove’s bundles. The Backyard Bundle comes with the stand, shield, and shelter while the Ultimate Bundle adds in fire pit tools and roasting sticks. At the very least, we recommend the bundle that comes with the stand if you’re planning to use it on grass, a patio, or a deck.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef, food writer, and amateur gardener. She is currently writing a cookbook that aims to teach home cooks how to write without a recipe.
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