How Do Smokeless Fire Pits Work? The Technology Explained

You’ve probably heard of smokeless fire pits. Maybe you even own one. They have become very popular in recent years, but not a lot of people understand how they work. In this article we’ll take a closer look at how smokeless fire pits reduce smoke and explore some of the different technologies that are used.

Why it’s good to know how your smokeless fire pit works

We’ve heard from a lot of people who bought smokeless fire pits from top brands like Solo Stove or Breeo, and were still experiencing smokey fires. In fact, we’ve been there ourselves. It’s embarrassing when you hype up the wonders of your smokeless fire pit only to have everyone disappear in a cloud of black smoke.

Most of the time, the excess smoke can be attributed to user error. Two common mistakes we see are 1) overfilling the fire pit or 2) not feeding the fire enough. There’s not a ‘right way’ of using a smokeless pit, but there are definitely some wrong ways. Understanding how the fire pit works will help you avoid those wrong ways.

How does a smokeless fire pit work?

Most fire pits on the market today use similar technology centered around double-wall construction. You can’t see it, but there are actually two layers to the outside of most fire pits.

a diagram showing how a smokeless fire pit works

Here’s how it works:

1) As the fire burns, the walls (both layers) become very hot.

2) Fresh air is pulled from outside the fire pit through holes around the bottom of the pit. The location of the air intakes holes varies between different models/

3) The fresh air is pulled up through the small space between the double-walls. The air is heated as it passed through.

4) The heated air is forced over the top of the fire and burns off any smoke before it can escape through the top of the pit.

The last step is the magic known as secondary combustion. It sounds fancy, but it’s really pretty simple.

Different smokeless technologies

Although the general concept is similar, different manufacturers use slightly different designs to reduce smoke. Let’s look at a few of the big names in the business: Solo Stove and Breeo.

Solo Stove 360 Degree Signature Airflow Technology

Solo Stove uses what they call 360 Degree Signature Airflow Technology. In basic terms, that that means air is pulled into the fire pit through the visible holes on the outside and distributed to different areas. Some of the air goes to the the fire itself, ensuring a hot and efficient burn. The rest of the air travels through the double-wall and then is forced over the top of the fire, burning off any smoke.

Breeo X Airflow

Breeo uses “X Airflow” to essentially do the same thing. The air intake locations differs slightly with the Breeo. Looking at the outside of the pit, you can’t actually see the holes where the air is pulled in. And there are actually two separate locations.

The bottom of a breeo smokeless fire pit
A Breeo has holes to fuel the fire and double walls to heat air

The fire is fed with air that pulls through a series of holes in an “X” shape (hence the name) on the bottom of the pit. The air that is used for secondary combustion is pulled from the bottom of the double-walls. The space between the double-walls (image below) is about 3/4″.

The space between the double-walls pulls in fresh air

We’ve used both Solo Stove and Breeo extensively and haven’t noticed a major difference in effectiveness. There are other brands that have slight nuances in design, but everyone is essentially doing the same thing.

Keeping your fire pit smokeless

Now that you understand how the technology works, let’s talk about a few of the mistakes many people make.

One common mistake is overfilling the fire to the point where logs are burning above the rim of the fire pit. As you now know, hot oxygen is forced over the top of the fire pit. If the fire is burning above where the hot oxygen is distributed, the smoke from the top of the fire will escape before it can get burned off. The obvious solution is to not stack logs above the rim of the pit.

A second mistake is not feeding enough logs into your fire. Having a tiny fire in a big fire pit usually leads to the walls of the fire pit not getting hot enough. If the walls aren’t hot, then the air passing through the walls doesn’t get heated to the point where it can burn off smoke. The solution here is simple: keep adding logs to keep your fire burning hot.

You also want to make sure to use good logs that are seasoned or kiln-dried.

For more on this topic, check out our 5 tips to reducing smoke in your fire pit.

Wrapping up

We hope this article helped you understand a little bit more about how smokeless fire pits work. As you can see, the technology is actually pretty simple. The key to reducing smoke is ensuring a hot and efficient burn.

Please contact us if you have any questions or tips of your own. And as always, thanks for reading!

Do smokeless fire pits repel insects, such as mosquitoes?

While they can be effective at reducing the annoyance of smoke, they do not necessarily repel mosquitoes. In fact, the warmth of fire pits can actually attract insect. See our article on fire pit mosquito tips.

Related Posts