How Do Smokeless Fire Pits Work?


Spending quality time with friends and family while sharing food and telling stories during leisure time is something to cherish. If that is done in the outdoor living area in front of a fire pit is absolutely amazing. You get to hear the sound of crackling wood and its burning smell makes the atmosphere feel like a campfire.  But using a traditional fire pit can make this wonderful experience very uncomfortable with all the smoke coming out of it. That is why you wish to have a smokeless fire pit to get rid of all the bad experiences and enjoy your moments beautifully.

The name itself gives the indication that the fire pit is smokeless but it is not 100% smokeless. The firewood in these pits is burnt so efficiently that it produces very little smoke. Typically, these fire pits are made of stainless steel or another type of metal and are unique in design. This means the body doesn’t readily burn and produces much less heat than a traditional one. These smokeless fire pits are much safer and available in many places. In this article, we’ll discover the working process of smokeless fire pits, their types, and other related information to clarify how they actually serve the purpose.

Key Takeaways

  • The design of the smokeless fire pit helps it to create less smoke, where the walls get heated up to provide the heat without creating much smoke.
  • There are many different types of smokeless fire pits that work in similar ways and some are eco-friendly as well.
  • They come in different sizes to fit the location of where you want it in your backyard and that can help you determine which one to buy.
  • There are some key advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider when buying a smokeless fire pit so it can fit what you need it for.
  • You can even make your own smokeless fire pit with the help of the necessary building materials and the guide included to make one!
  • Even though it creates less smoke, there are some precautions and safety tips that you should know when having a smokeless fire pit in your backyard.

How Does a Smokeless Fire Pit Work?

How does a smokeless fire pit work

The design is the key to a perfect smokeless fire pit. Since it produces less smoke, the fire pits use double walls and secondary combustion preventing heat from escaping. The firewood is burnt and kept hot so that the pit can get as hot as possible. Only three elements are required to burn hot: oxygen, heat, and fuel (that is firewood).

Below are the details on the process of how a smokeless fire pit works:

  • The two walls in a smokeless fire pit are used to create heat and oxygen, which are two of the three elements a fire needs to burn hot. There are vent holes in both of the walls, where the holes are in the bottom of the outer wall and near the top of the inner wall.
  • When a fire is lit in the pit, the air in between the walls is heated up. The airflow system works as follows: Oxygen and smoke are drawn in from the bottom of the vent holes on the outer wall, and the air heats up and goes through the top vent holes of the inner wall. The unburned fuels, such as smoke, ash, embers, and debris, in the pushed-out air, are pushed back in the flame which will be burned again from consumption.
  • The smoke that rises up within the walls already has heat and fuel. So, when oxygen is added to it the combustion process for a smokeless fire pit is complete which puts off very little smoke. To achieve a perfect smokeless fire pit, an adequate amount of oxygen, ample heat, and quality fuel are required. Thankfully, the modern design achieves the proper combustion with enough oxygen and smoke going through the airflow system. This process creates enough heat for you to enjoy the emission smoke-free. And to add to all of this, the fire pits operate safely.

Different Types of Smokeless Fire Pits That You Need to Know

Different types of smokeless fire pits that you need to know

Yes, there are! Different companies make different types of smokeless fire pits. It also depends on the model on which the smokeless fire pits may burn either of the following, wood, log, charcoal, or pellets.

There are several types of smokeless fire pits:

  • Wood-burning smokeless fire pits. The fuel source for these is wood and is more traditional making the experience feel more natural. They do produce more smoke and ash.
  • Gas-powered smokeless fire pits. Propane or natural gas is the fuel source for these fire pits. Not only they are cleaner but more efficient than wood-burning ones. Ash in gas-powered smokeless fire pits is very less which means the byproducts of the smoke are also way less than wood and charcoal.
  • Built-in smokeless fire pits. These are designed to be built permanently outdoors in spaces like a backyard, patio, or deck. The smokeless fire pits are more enduring.
  • Portable smokeless fire pits. These fire pits can be transported easily which is ideal during outdoor activities such as picnics, camping, game days, etc.
  • Eco-friendly smokeless fire pits. Usually fueled by ethanol, these fire pits are very environmentally friendly and also produce a lot less smoke and ash.

Including all these, there are many fire pits that can burn multiple fuels. But you also have to look into the clean-up process. Only one specific fuel will be easier than others. It will be beneficial for you if you can follow the recommended type by the specific manufacturers.

Does A Smokeless Fire Pit Come in Different Sizes?

Does a smokeless fire pit come in different sizes

Yes, there are different sizes of smokeless fire pits. The usual range of smokeless fire pit is between 14 to 20 inches in diameter. This size fire pit usually serves 2-4 people. Portable designs measure around 13.5 inches. There are larger models too which go up to 30 inches. Some manufacturer does offer a custom-built option where you can order according to your required size.

All the different sizes will have different advantages even in the case of smoke and fire. Different manufacturers will design their smokeless fire pits in different styles all for the benefit of the users. Nevertheless, the functionality is basically all the same.

Which Size Smokeless Fire Pit Is Best Fit to Buy?

Which size smokeless fire pit is best fit to buy

This totally depends on the space that you have to use a smokeless fire pit. Usually, a smokeless fire pit is built or placed in your outdoor living area. You also have to consider the type of fuel you want to use as there are different options available. Compatibility and efficiency are one of the keys to buying a smokeless fire pit.

In addition to all these, you need to know how frequently you’re going to use the fire pit. A different manufactured smokeless fire pit offers approximate usage time.

Sometimes it can be considered for gatherings too. For smaller groups of people sized ones will be good enough, and for larger groups the bigger size works fine.

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Advantages of A Smokeless Fire Pit

Now, with all the basic and detailed information that has been said above about a smokeless fire pit, let’s look into the advantages of it.

  • Produce very little to no smoke. It is very easy to say that smokeless fire pits produce very less to no smoke which is better for health. Like the traditional ones, these pits do not spread across the neighborhood and affect the body.
  • Efficient in using fuel. These fire pits are more efficient meaning less fuel is used. Smokeless fire pits consume a lot less wood, or charcoal than the traditional fire pits.
  • Very easy to use. You can fire up smokeless fire pits much more easily due to improved ventilation than the traditional ones. Gas-powered smokeless fire pits can be turned on with just the press of a button.
  • Less smell of smoke. One of the major factors is less smell of smoke on clothes, body, and furniture while using smokeless fire pits. The odor of smoke is sort of tough to wash away which is usually caused by traditional fire pits.
  • Easy to clean. With modern design, the smokeless fire pits that are manufactured are very easy to clean and take less time to remove the ashes.
  • Available in a portable size. Compact in design, smaller in size, and light in weight makes it very easy to take the fire pits.
  • Selfmade smokeless fire pit. Considering the costings of the manufactured ones, a DIY smokeless fire pit is less costly.
  • Safe to use. These fire pits ensure the fire in the middle remains in one place.
  • Easy to cook food. It is much easier to cook food for your gatherings. Also quicker and safer than the traditional ones.

Disadvantages of A Smokeless Fire Pit

Where there are advantages, there are disadvantages as well. In the case of smokeless fire pits, the disadvantages are less compared to the advantages but it is worth mentioning.

  • High-priced: compared to traditional fire pits. The smokeless fire pits are more expensive as they come in different sizes and types. The prices also vary depending on the material used to build them and the manufacturing brand.
  • Radiates less heat: due to the airflow system of the smokeless fire pit. It is more effective and burns its own smoke in addition to fresh oxygen from outside air, the fire pit sends less heat to the surroundings. Even though these pits burn firewood hotter than traditional ones, they will not keep you warm or provide more heat.
  • Less effective in repelling insects: There is one minor disadvantage these pits have since it’s smokeless.
  • Not good for the environment: Yes, even though it’s smokeless, any kind of fire pit is never good for the environment.

You Can DIY A Smokeless Fire Pit

You can DIY a smokeless fire pit

Yes, this is true! A stationary smokeless fire pit is easier to build than a portable one. Following the proper steps, you can make your desired smokeless fire pit.

Gather the essential tools and materials for this project of making a DIY smokeless fire pit to avoid further disturbance.

Tools and Materials

  1. Steel stock tank ring
  2. Crushed stone
  3. Pavers
  4. A drilling machine
  5. A hole saw
  6. A sanding bit
  7. Crushed fireproof stones

Here are the steps to build a smokeless fire pit

  1. The steel tank ring should be hollow otherwise it will not be effective to build the fire pit.
  2. Use the hole saw on the drilling machine to drill on the ring.
  3. A sanding bit will be used to smoothen the holes so that there are no sharp edges.
  4. Place the steel tank ring with crushed stones around it. There should be a minimum gap between the steel ring and the stones for the air supply. The stones at the bottom layer should have gaps with proper intervals so that oxygen, hot air, or even smoke can pass through them. To be more specific you can keep a gap of one stone where the gaps will be opposite of each other. There should be four gaps in total.
  5. The pavers will be placed on top of the stones with a gap in between and not touching the steel ring.
  6. Fill the bottom of the fire pit with crushed stone and spread it. This helps more oxygen to feed the fire when lit. River stones and pea gravels should not be used as it has too much moisture and can explode with a fire is lit.
  7. Take note: Nothing should be close to the fire pit, which can easily catch fire.

Building a smokeless fire pit on your own is much more budget-friendly than manufactured ones.

Safety Precautions on Using Smokeless Fire Pits

Since it’s a fire pit that means safety precautions should be maintained for using it.

  • Objects nearby should be kept away from the smokeless fire pits.
  • There should not be anything hanging directly above the smokeless fire pits. This is because the fire that burns is very hot and can directly catch fire on the objects above.
  • Smokeless fire pits should not be under any ceiling or roof structure as there still is smoke that is being produced with heat.


1. Does a smokeless fire pit really work?

Smokeless fire pits do work. Though they are not completely smokeless, the amount of smoke is reduced due to efficiency in burning which makes the fuel last longer.

2. Are fire pits easy to maintain?

Yes, they are. As the smokeless fire pits don’t produce much ashes they can be cleaned easily and maintained properly.

3. Can I use a smokeless fire pit indoors?

Most of the smokeless fire pits are made outdoors but eco-friendly fire pits (using ethanol) are increasing in popularity and are also available indoors.

4. What is a smokeless fire pit called?

Due to the science in design for the smokeless fire pits, they are also known as Catalytic Fire Pits.

5. Can a smokeless fire pit be square?

There are few manufacturers who are making innovative designs for smokeless fire pits and are available in square shapes.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, smokeless fire pits are much safer to use than traditional ones and are available in different sizes. There are more benefits than drawbacks to using a smokeless fire pit, like it is very easy to fire up, a lot less to almost no smoke coming out, it is eco-friendlier, burns a lot for improved ventilation while using very less fuel, easy to clean to remove the ashes, portable ones are also available, and can also be easily self-made. Smokeless fire pits are high-priced due to being manufactured by different brands using different materials. In the end, with all the safety precautions taken you’ll never wish to return to the old fire pits anymore.

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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.

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