I Tested All of the Solo Stoves, and the New Bonfire 2.0 Is Better Than I Expected
The new Solo Stove Bonfire has a feature that sets it apart from all the others.
One of the best anchors for any backyard living space is a great looking fire pit. Few things bring us together like relaxing fireside, gazing into the flames, sharing food, drink, and time with family and friends. Unfortunately, wood smoke has a sneaky way of tarnishing the good times by burning our eyes, causing allergies to flare up, and infusing our clothes with its rank smell. But we are fortunate to live in the age of portable smokeless fire pits, and Solo Stove makes some of the best.
Since 2016, Solo Stove has led the industry in manufacturing durable, portable smokeless fire pits. I’ve had the privilege to review them in the past, with excellent results. In fact, we named the brand’s flagship model—the Solo Stove Bonfire—the best overall smokeless fire pit earlier this year.
Unknown to us at the time, the Bonfire was in the midst of a redesign at the time that would make the award-winning fire pit even better. When I was presented the opportunity to test the newly released Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit 2.0, I jumped on it.
What is the Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit 2.0?
The Solo Stove Fire Pit 2.0 is a smokeless wood-burning fire pit that is ideally sized for groups of three to five people. Similar to the original Bonfire, this double-wall fire pit is constructed of durable stainless steel. It measures 19.5 inches in diameter and 14 inches high and weighs about 22 pounds. The kit comes with the fire pit body, stand, ash pan, fire base, flame ring, and a heavy duty carry bag—all for $299.99.
Using the included stainless steel stand (which was sold separately on the previous model) you can set up the Bonfire 2.0 outdoors on most level surfaces, including heat-sensitive surfaces like wood decking or grass. It requires only 6 feet of distance from walls, fences or other vertical surfaces, and at least 15 feet of overhead clearance. The burn chamber is large enough to handle firewood logs up to 16 inches long.
Like the original, the Bonfire 2.0’s dual wall design is the key to delivering a nearly 100 percent smokeless fireside experience. Air intake holes surround the bottom of the outer wall, and air vent holes ring the top of the inner wall. As the fire burns, air between the walls heats and expands upward, drawing fresh air in at the base. As the super heated, oxygen rich air exits the vent holes, it ignites any smoke particles on contact. The design creates a stunning visual effect as bright flames flow from the vent holes, doubling the fire’s overall brightness and movement.
Like its predecessor, the new design efficiently burns nearly all of the firewood down to fine ash. The major point of separation between the 2.0 and the original is the new removable fire base and ash pan that make clean up immensely easier without disrupting the all-important airflow design. Emptying leftover ash from the original meant turning it over and shaking it until all of the ash came out. It was difficult to clean up without scattering ash, and there was always some left inside. Emptying the 2.0 on the other hand is as simple as removing the fire base, then lifting out and dumping the ash pan.
What I like about the Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit 2.0
I was completely sold on the original Bonfire, so my biggest concern was that any upgrades might take away from the functionality of the design or somehow make older Bonfire accessories obsolete. The first thing I really like about the Bonfire 2.0 is that it retains the same look, feel, and smokeless burning capability as the original. It is just as portable, similarly priced, and works with all of the original Bonfire accessories.
Then I was pleasantly surprised with the new removable ash pan. I’ve seen other fire pits with drawer-like configurations that pull out from the side of the unit. They feel clunky, slide around when you transport the pit, or take away from the clean visual lines. Not so with this one. You just reach inside and lift it out. Sure your hands get a little dirty (you could wear gloves after all). But I am a big fan of the simple design and grab-and-go convenience.
What I don’t like about the Fire Pit 2.0
Anyone accustomed to old fashioned campfires – a circle of rocks with the fire at ground level in the middle – will recognize subtle differences using the Bonfire 2.0. It encloses the firewood and lower portion of the flames, as do all smokeless fire pits. It burns up more firewood faster than conventional campfires because the burn chamber is always saturated with oxygen-rich air. Also, because the fire is elevated and sheltered, more of the heat rises straight up instead of warming those seated nearby (the available heat deflector, sold separately, redirects heat to the side). I didn’t consider these characteristics to be deal breakers.
Is the Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit 2.0 worth buying?
The Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 improves on the original model with precisely zero negative impacts from the redesign. It’s an outstanding smokeless fire pit that is built for a lifetime of dependable use. At just $299.99, it is value-priced among competing brands with similar quality construction and functionality (Breeo X19 starts at $349, while Cast Master Elite Bon 2000 starts at $319). It looks great. It’s easy to use and easy to transport. For anyone who is thinking about buying a smokeless fire pit, the Bonfire 2.0 would make an excellent choice that is absolutely worth it.