Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Fire Pits

Monday March 25, 2024

We tested each fire pit while primarily camping and hanging out in the backyard. We focused on making sure to monitor each pit's heat output on a variety of different occasions. We also made sure to note how each pit did with smoke management under different circumstances such as weather and fuel type. During all of our testing, we highlighted standout features and things we either loved most or aspects of each pit we were not particularly a fan of.

Heat Output

We know how important a fire pit with good heat is to the overall experience around the fire. We evaluated how well each fire pit was emitting heat, this meant using infrared thermometers to measure the Fahrenheit temperature of each pit. We also measured how well each pit disbursed its heat three hundred and sixty degrees around. By finding its heat distribution characteristics we could better understand how each pit performs in a variety of conditions. We also made sure to emphasize how long each pit can burn under identical conditions. Using timers, equal parts wood, and starter we logged how long each fire burned. This helped us identify the efficiency of each fire pit's burn.

fire pit - measuring heat output side by side.
Measuring Heat Output side by side.
Credit: Kenji Mowrey

Smoke Management

A fire pit that utilizes oxygen effectively can make or break your experience. To understand smoke management better, we looked at each pit's intake system and the overall ability to reduce smoke. Some pits are designed to be smokeless where a secondary combustion is used to burn extremely hot, effectively burning the particles before smoke can appear. A simple but effective test is igniting each pit side by side with controlled variables such as wood amount and weather conditions all done together. By analyzing each pit together we can make assessments based on the various stages of each pit's burn. This involves ignition, peak burn, and extinguishing to see how well the design of each pit does at all stages.

fire pit - a side-by-side showing how effective smokeless pits are compared to...
A side-by-side showing how effective smokeless pits are compared to the traditional style pit on the far right.
Credit: Kenji Mowrey


Having a fire pit with the ability to transport easily to the campsite, backyard, or beach is greatly appreciated. We tested each pit's portability through independent weight testing along with measuring dimensions. We also tested by assessing how easily they were able to be lifted and carried. We also put them into different cars to see how common vehicle spaces work with each pit.

fire pit - independent weight measurements help us understand portability...
Independent weight measurements help us understand portability characteristics.
Credit: Kenji Mowrey

Ease of Cleaning

Clean-up is an underrated quality in fire pits. Being able to easily access an ash pan and dispose of ash quickly makes life easier. We tested the ease of cleaning by testing the amount of time it took to effectively clean each pit. We also evaluated how easily each pit's different components can be accessed for cleaning. Lastly, we made sure to include whether each pit required a tool or a special process to clean.

fire pit - solo stove bonfire 2.0 has a simple and easy-to-access ash pan...
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 has a simple and easy-to-access ash pan located under the base plate.
Credit: Kenji Mowrey

Ease of Assembly

The uncertainty of opening a package and wondering whether or not special assembly is required can be daunting. We took time to find out how easily each package can be opened from box to finished product. While straightforward, we measured how long each pit took to assemble as well as if any specialized tools were needed to assemble.

fire pit - the outland living mega is a great example of an easy-to-assemble...
The Outland Living Mega is a great example of an easy-to-assemble pit right out of the box. Simply unpackage the rocks and connect it to propane and you're ready to go.
Credit: Kenji Mowrey