How Do Smokeless Fire Pits Work?

charcoal gray smokeless fire pit on the patio of a luxury backyard home with a brown bench in the background

When planning your backyard living environment a fire pit is one of the most common and desired features.  They add an entire part of the day back into your outdoor living. Without a fire pit you might find yourself back indoors when the sun goes down.  But add a fire pit?  And you can keep going outdoors for hours.  What if you don’t have gas, and you don’t want to introduce propane to your backyard fire pit?  You want to burn wood, but don’t want the smoky mess created by most fire pits?  This is where the smokeless fire pit comes into play.  But how do smokeless fire pits work anyway?

What Is A Smokeless Fire Pit?

First, let’s look at what the smoke in a fire pit is.  Much like the black smoke coming out of an 18 wheeler exhaust, smoke is unburned fuel.  In the traditional wood fire pit, there’s primary combustion, and the rising heat draws away much of the combustible gasses.  This creates smoke and will make you and everyone around you smell like smoke.  

How Do Smokeless Fire Pits Work?

So how do smokeless fire pits work?  The smokeless fire pit creatively uses air flow to add a secondary combustion process.  By allowing fresh air to be sucked into the flames at the top of the fire pit using Venturi action, the gasses can combust. 

solo stove gif showing how do smokeless fire pits work using simple air flow

The process of primary combustion creates an oxygen depleted environment, which is why the combustible gasses simply rise off with the heat. To make fire, you need heat, oxygen, and fuel.  The smoke rising off of your fire has heat and fuel.  By adding the oxygen, your smokeless fire pit completes the combustion process, putting off far less smoke than your traditional fire pit.  

It really is shocking, when you watch one of these fire pits burn.  At first glance you’d think it was burning natural gas the way the flame rises, but there’s virtually no smoke.  Not only do smokeless fire pits have the secondary combustion process, which truly is their key to success, they also have a primary. 

large stainless steel fire pit showing how do smokeless fire pits work with 4 friends in the background

Their primary combustion process is far more efficient than virtually any other fire pit. This is because they have so much air flow to the lowest section of the fire, the flames are never starved for oxygen.  The height of the fire pit is designed to allow the heat generated by the flame to be contained and provide the needed temperature to give the secondary combustion process what it needs to be successful.  

Who Makes Smokeless Fire Pits?

One of the companies most famous in this space is Solo Stove.  They provide an easy to operate and assemble fire pit system with numerous options.  They have cooking attachments to allow your fire pit to easily convert to a grill, as well as small tabletop units, pizza ovens. 

However, we wouldn’t suggest using their pizza oven as the Ooni is a far better option.  There are also some other companies which have entered the space to compete with solo stove, which use the same air flow concept.  There really is a smokeless fire pit for just about anyone at this point.  

4 Best Smokeless Fire Pits

Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 with Stand, Smokeless Fire Pit | Wood Burning Fireplaces w/Removable Ash Pan, Portable Outdoor…
EAST OAK Fire Pit Smokeless 21” for Outside Patio, 304 Stainless Steel Wood Burning Fireplaces, Portable Outdoor…
TIKI Brand Smokeless 24.75 in. Patio Fire Pit, Wood Burning Outdoor Fire Pit – Includes Wood Pack, Modern Design with…
COOZOOM 19 Inch Large Smokeless Fire Pit with Stand Portable Stainless Steel Bonfire Pit Outdoor Wood Burning Firepit…
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 with Stand, Smokeless Fire Pit | Wood Burning Fireplaces w/Removable Ash Pan, Portable Outdoor...
EAST OAK Fire Pit Smokeless 21'' for Outside Patio, 304 Stainless Steel Wood Burning Fireplaces, Portable Outdoor...
TIKI Brand Smokeless 24.75 in. Patio Fire Pit, Wood Burning Outdoor Fire Pit - Includes Wood Pack, Modern Design with...
COOZOOM 19 Inch Large Smokeless Fire Pit with Stand Portable Stainless Steel Bonfire Pit Outdoor Wood Burning Firepit...
$344.99
$269.99
$322.88
$179.99
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 with Stand, Smokeless Fire Pit | Wood Burning Fireplaces w/Removable Ash Pan, Portable Outdoor…
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 with Stand, Smokeless Fire Pit | Wood Burning Fireplaces w/Removable Ash Pan, Portable Outdoor...
$344.99
EAST OAK Fire Pit Smokeless 21” for Outside Patio, 304 Stainless Steel Wood Burning Fireplaces, Portable Outdoor…
EAST OAK Fire Pit Smokeless 21'' for Outside Patio, 304 Stainless Steel Wood Burning Fireplaces, Portable Outdoor...
$269.99
TIKI Brand Smokeless 24.75 in. Patio Fire Pit, Wood Burning Outdoor Fire Pit – Includes Wood Pack, Modern Design with…
TIKI Brand Smokeless 24.75 in. Patio Fire Pit, Wood Burning Outdoor Fire Pit - Includes Wood Pack, Modern Design with...
$322.88
COOZOOM 19 Inch Large Smokeless Fire Pit with Stand Portable Stainless Steel Bonfire Pit Outdoor Wood Burning Firepit…
COOZOOM 19 Inch Large Smokeless Fire Pit with Stand Portable Stainless Steel Bonfire Pit Outdoor Wood Burning Firepit...
$179.99

How Do Smokeless Fire Pits Work Summary

Hopefully now you are comfortable about how do smokeless fire pits work.  They are not a gimmick, they do actually work. Once you experience a smokeless fire pit, you will likely never want to return to burning wood the old fashioned way. We also wrote this article about how to build a smokeless fire pit if you enjoy DIY projects.