Is The Solo Stove Worth The Money? My Review After 2 Burns
I built a deck this summer off the back of my house. We soon realized that having a fire ring suitable to put on a deck would really enhance the experience. A friend of mine told me to check out a Solo Stove. I had never heard of one of them, so he showed me a quick video on YouTube and it really caught my attention.
They are designed to be a smokeless fire pit that is portable and will last a long time. It's made from stainless steel, and feature a double wall airflow system that burns the smoke. I joined a Facebook group to learn more about the stove before I spent it, because one of the first things I noticed was the price. They are not cheap. Depending on which model you get, it can easily be over $500 for the Yukon (biggest model). I had my eye on the Bonfire model, which is priced at $284.99. It's still a big purchase at that price.
After thinking about it for a couple of weeks, I decided to pull the trigger and buy the Bonfire with a stand for it. I had been watching posts on the Facebook group, and it was finally obvious to me that it would not get too hot to be on my deck. Of course Solo Stove isn't going to make that claim for liability, but I felt comfortable enough to make the purchase. Here's a tip too if you do purchase, ask in an online group for a coupon code and you can save 10%.
It came about a week later. I have to be honest with you. I had buyer's remorse shortly after purchasing and waiting for it's arrival. It's a lot of money for a little fire pit. It really couldn't be that cool, could it? I pulled it out of the box and was impressed with the quality from the beginning. There wasn't a scratch on the thing.
Next was the first burn. Setting this up takes 10 seconds, as all you need to do is set it on the stand (if you bought one), flip the top ring over and light a fire. If you know how to build a campfire then this is really easy for you. If not, learn how to start a campfire. It turns out many people don't know how to do this and think you can just light a log.
I used a little bit of kindling and paper and lit it up. This thing took off like a rocket afterburner. I'm obviously exaggerating, but it's the fastest I've ever seen a fire light using just paper and wood.
As it burned I could see around the holes at the top that they were ashing up a little. There was more smoke than I expected too. I started to worry a little that this wasn't going to truly be a smokeless fire ring, but I continued to feed it dry wood anyway. Within about 10 minutes the smoke just disappeared. Once the Bonfire got going warm enough it started burning the smoke above the ring like advertised. The flames danced around and gave off plenty of light for the rest of the evening.
Another thing to know about the Bonfire is that it burns wood fast. They recommend hardwoods that are dry and seasoned. We burned about 3 bundles of wood in about 4 hours. The nice thing about it is when you are done with the fire and quit putting wood on, it doesn't take long for that wood to burn off and leave you with ashes in the bottom of your pit. Even when the fire was going at it's hottest the deck stayed very cool underneath.
So to answer the question, yes it is worth the money. It does everything as advertised. Some of the reviews I saw warned people about the stainless steel changing color and rusting. Yes it changed color after the first burn, but it is not rust. It's a nice patina, and it still looks great. I enjoyed it so much the first time that I ended up cutting a truckload of wood the next day so I can burn all fall.