Big Fire, Little Smoke: BioLite Fire Pit Review

Toasty perks of an outdoor fire pit without the smoke

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4.7

BioLite FirePit

BioLite FirePit

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

What We Like
  • Portable and lightweight

  • Less smoke than other fire pits

  • Versatile fan makes fire control easier

  • Bluetooth access for app control

  • Doubles as a grill

What We Don't Like
  • Fire starting is not foolproof

  • Set up is somewhat involved

  • Unuseable if it is not charged

Bottom Line

This wood-and-charcoal fire pit is perfect for cold nights outside or grilling on the go. It’s not as completely smokeless, but it produces significantly less smoke than most fire pits.

4.7

BioLite FirePit

BioLite FirePit

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

We purchased the BioLite Fire Pit Review so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.

If you are rethinking your outdoor space for winter get-togethers, a fire pit or outdoor warmer might be just the thing. Cleveland, Ohio, is hardly an outdoor hangout spot with this city getting frigid in the dead of winter. I need a fire pit that works quickly, powerfully, seamlessly, and easy to operate. The BioLite FirePit initially impressed me with its fusion of old-school fire pit and new-school Bluetooth fan technology. It has a mesh exterior for 360-degree views of the fire and foldable legs for portability for camping trips or Lake Erie beach nights. But built-in technology doesn’t always mean a better product. Read on to see how the BioLite FirePit fared.

BioLite FirePit

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

Like most fire pits, this one requires a bit of stoking and assistance to get the flames started. It fits up to four standard firewood logs, although it’s best to start with kindling. After a failed first attempt with just wood that didn’t catch, I used a mix of small, dry twigs as kindling and a fire-starter stick to help the fire catch.

My first successful BioLite Fire Pit fire lasted one hour and kept me warm on a dreary and cold 35 F day.

Once the fire started, I slowly built up the fan speed to add air to the fire. It’s nice to have this built-in air supply. Often at other fire pits when we’re camping, I find myself blowing as hard as I can to get oxygen to the flames so it will catch and stay. Another perk is this fire pit is aesthetically pleasing to look at. It’s fun to watch the flames through the mesh exterior; it almost looks like a floating fire.

BioLite FirePit

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

It was simple to use the BioLite app via Bluetooth to control the fan speed. I toggled between high and low with just a tap. I didn’t technically need the app to get airflow going, as the air-jet power pack has buttons on the side for fan control. The power pack lasts up to 24 hours on one charge. When not in use, I could use it to charge devices like my phone. Unfortunately, if your power pack is dead, you can't use the firepit at all. This isn’t a big deal unless you plan to use the pit on a multi-day camping trip away from electricity. Even then, you can try a solar-panel charger.

With the fan blowing and my fire started, my first successful BioLite Fire Pit fire lasted one hour and kept me warm on a dreary and cold 35 F day. It could’ve lasted longer, but I sped up the fans to extinguish the fire more quickly so I could head inside for dinner. Unlike a traditional campfire, you can’t pour water on the pit. You need to wait until the flames go out on their own—although the process is accelerated with the highest-power fan level.

BioLite FirePit

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

Cleaning the fire pit is relatively simple. I slid out the bottom flap, caught the remnants in a fire-proof basin, and extinguished them with water. When the pit cooled down, I wiped it clean with paper towels and water, then threw on the included rain cover and kept it outside. If I wanted to, I could easily carry the 20-pound portable device into the garage for safekeeping if there is a big storm or snowfall. I keep it outside, so it’s ready for quick use this winter. I plan to rely heavily on the included grill grates for hibachi-style cooking during the spring and summer cookout season.

Frequently Asked Questions

What surfaces are best for this fire pit?

BioLite recommends placing the pit on gravel, packed dirt, concrete, or a fire-proof mat. They recommend avoiding areas like a wooden deck. I used it on a fire-proof mat atop our patio pavers and on my concrete driveway; it works well in both level locations.

Is first-time set up hard?

Setup is not technically hard; it takes about 30 minutes, which means you should account for setup time before you light your first fire. I was cautious with the setup, followed BioLite’s video, and read all of the included instructions.  

How long does the airflow powerpack take to charge?

It takes about two hours for the airflow power pack to go from dead to fully charged. 

Is it hard to build a fire?

Like any campfire, it’s best to start small, with kindling and small pieces before adding larger, standard-campfire logs of roughly 16 inches or less. I needed a small fire-starter stick to get mine going. 

Can you use the firepit without the powerpack?

BioLite recommends against using the firepit without the power pack. The jets from the powerpack are key for smokeless fires.

Is this firepit actually smokeless?

I had a bit of smoke when I first used the fire pit because I used cardboard as kindling. The fire wouldn’t catch, and I remembered from my Girl Scout days that cardboard was a reliable starter. When I only used wood and a small fire-starter stick, I experienced very little smoke. It’s not necessarily smoke-free, but it is pretty close. 

BioLite FirePit

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

Is it easy to switch to grill mode?

Definitely. The grill grate slides easily in on top of the fire pit, making it easy to clean. This fire pit is portable, which means the grill grate isn’t huge. You could fit about four large burgers on the grill at once.

What fuel should you use?

BioLite recommends wood for the fire and charcoal for grilling. Good fuel includes dry firewood, dry branches, dry sticks, kindling, and charcoal. Bad fuel that can lead to smoke includes wet wood, greenwood, sappy wood, moss, and bark. It can fit standard 16-inch firewood.

BioLite FirePit versus Aoxun 32'' Outdoor Wood Burning Fire Pit

The BioLite Fire Pit is one of the top fire pits, but it’s not the only option for staying warm through the winter. Another highly reviewed fire pit, the Aoxun 32'' Outdoor Wood Burning Fire Pit, gives this fire pit a run for its money. I’ve used both. My mom uses the Aoxun 32'' Outdoor Wood Burning Fire Pit and loves its sleek look, top grilling attachment, and portability. It was easy to carry it in and out of the garage like the BioLite.

BioLite has the advantage because of its built-in fans. We must continuously stoke the Aoxun fire to keep it going. It’s nice to sit back and control the BioLite fire from my phone. We had a lot of smoke using the Aoxun fire pit, which is not surprising given it works like most other firepits. It doesn’t have smoke-reducing BioLite fans. The Aoxun fire pit will save you about $50; it’s about $140 compared to the BioLite's price tag of $190.

Final Verdict

Buy this fire pit!

If you’re on the hunt for a portable and powerful fire pit that gets the job done—with little smoke—the BioLite FirePit is calling your name. It is not perfect, but it’s the easiest fire pit I’ve used to date.

Specs

  • Product Name FirePit
  • Product Brand BioLite
  • SKU 8 53290 0045 8
  • Price $249.95
  • Weight 19.8 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 27 x 13 x 15.8 in.
  • What's Included Fire pit, handles, rain cover, jetpack, grill grate
  • Warranty Limited 1-year warranty