Looking for tips about how to build a smokeless fire pit? 

We get it; having a fire pit to enjoy some warmth and spruce up your outdoors is one thing. However, enduring bouts of smoke coming your way every second and having to move your seat around the fire pit all night long is the one thing many don’t count on. 

The good news is that you do not have to suffer such a fate. Instead, you can set your cozy chair at a favorite spot and don’t have to shift around running away from the smoke. That’s where a smokeless fire pit comes in handy. 

Fortunately, you also don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and endless hours on the internet searching for a commercialized fire pit. Instead, you can build one that meets your specifications and personal preferences. 

Let us show you how! 

How Do Smokeless Fire Pits Work?

The commercial smokeless fire pits you see might have hit the market a few years back. But smokeless fires are not a new phenomenon. In fact, the use of smokeless fire pits dates way back to the 1600s. It was used in hunting herds of Bison by the Dakota people during America’s colonial era. Since then, smokeless fire pits have evolved into different designs, including DIY ones. 

While smokeless fire pits still use firewood, they burn without producing any smoke compared to their counterparts. So, how do they do this? 

A smokeless fire pit has two combustion systems, the outer combustion system, and the inner combustion system. There is usually a gap between these two that allows air in the fire pit to flow uninterrupted. 

Second, the inner and lower compartments have holes at the top and lower parts of each consecutively. These holes ensure air circulation is more efficient so that the fuel can burn completely. 

With these systems in place, once you light the fire and the fuel and air burn, the efficient burn and constant airflow reduce the smoke levels to almost nothing. Additionally, the continuous airflow ensures the temperature from the fire pit is regulated.

smokeless fire pit


How To Build a Smokeless Fire Pit

Out With The Old

Do you have an existing fire pit that has gone to waste? The good news is you can repurpose and build it into a smokeless fire pit instead of building a new one. 

For this, you will need:

  1. Marker 
  2. Tapeline 
  3. Shovel
  4. Driller
  5. Gravel or sand
  6. Concrete sheet
  7. Stones or bricks 
  8. Fire ring or stock tank ring 

Once you have gathered all the necessary tools, you can proceed to build your smokeless fire pit using these simple steps:

  1. Using your tapeline, make measurements of the fire pit. Make measurements for two areas, the inner and outer compartments. Ensure that you leave a gap of 3 to 4-inches between the two chambers. It would be best to use the marker to mark the areas you choose for the pit’s compartments. 
  2. Place the fire ring in the inner compartment. Using the marker, make regular intervals around the ring where you will drill. These are the places where you will make the air holes. 
  3. Drill holes around the fire ring using the markings you made earlier as a guide. This ensures the airflow is efficient and equal. 
  4. Since you cannot use a dirty fire pit, clean it up using your shovel. Remove all the older debris and relics and weep the area clean. 
  5. Fix the fire ring and pour the sand or gravel into the fire pit. 
  6. Then, place the bricks on stones for the outer compartment. Don’t forget to leave some spacing of 3 to 4 inches for airflow. 
  7. Once you are done, place the concrete sheet on top, covering the space between the fire ring and the bricks. This ensures that it captures the heat inside for more efficiency and longer burning. 

The Dakota System 

The Dakota fire pit is named after the Dakota people, a native American tribe. As mentioned earlier, the smokeless fire pit can be traced back to their ancestors. 

The Dakota fire pit is quite common, especially among campers, thanks to its smoke-free design and high burning for maximum heat output. For this, you will need:

  1. A shovel 
  2. Spade (even a small-sized one)
  3. Stick (ensure it is strong) 
  4. Marker 

Building the Dakota fire pit is pretty easy. When you have gathered all you need and chosen your preferred spot, follow the below steps:

  1. Mark the area you want to dig your fire pit, in whatever shape you prefer. The aim of marking is to ensure you dig at the right spot. 
  2. Start digging a home in the chosen spot using the spade. Regardless of the size of the fire pit, it is best to keep in mind that bigger holes give you bigger space for burning firewood. They are also best for concealing the fire from wild animals and unnecessary attention, especially if you live close to wild animals. 
  3. Remember that a smokeless fire pit must have two compartments? So, make a marking of the second or outer hole away from the inner one you have already dug. This will provide the internal compartment with oxygen for burning the fuel efficiently. It needs to be at least one foot away from the inner pit.
  4. Once you have dug the second hole, dig a tunnel to connect the two. You will need the shovel and the long stick you gathered for this. 
  5. Once you are done, your fire pit is ready for use. Fill it with stocks, kindler, firewood, or logs, and light it.  
smokeless fire pit


The Solo Stove System

Yes, you can build a solo stove, as long as you have the necessary tools and the energy to see the process through. To make this, you will need:

  1. A marker 
  2. A tape 
  3. Small stainless steel pot (12-quart)
  4. Big stainless steel pot with a lid (20-quart)
  5. Stell cutter 
  6. Drill
  7. Sandpaper 

With all the needed items in hand, you start making your solo stove fire stove using the below steps:

  1. Start by drilling holes on the bottom and the side panel of the small pot. When you are done, remove the handles from it. 
  2. Pick the big pot and place the tape at least one inch from the bottom. Then, drill holes around it in line with the tape. Ensure the holes are equally spaced for better airflow. 
  3. Using the sandpaper, sand the drilled holes in both pots. This helps smoothen the holes. Leaving them as they are is a recipe for disaster as they are sharp and can lead to cuts. 
  4. Place the small pot in the middle of the big pot’s lid. Using your marker, mark that spot and cut it. You will use it in holding the small pot above the bottom of the big one once you insert it. Remember to use the sandpaper on the lid once you cut it to smoothen the edges. 
  5. The fire pit is now ready for use. So add your fuel and start basking in the heat. 

No more struggling with questions of how to build a smokeless fire pit. You can easily build a smokeless fire pit in your backyard with the above tips. One of the options is to repurpose an old one or use any old pots of different sizes you are not using. The bottom line is, if you are looking for a way to enjoy a fire without any smoke, you don’t have to buy an expensive smokeless fire pit. You can build one! 

FAQ

How Do You Make a Fire Pit Smokeless?

If you already have an existing fire pit, you can easily make it smokeless by adding a second and outer compartment to the existing one. One way to go about this is to add the second pit a few feet away from your fire pit. You can then connect the two with a tunnel. The second option would be to construct a second fire compartment on the existing fire pit. Drill holes through both chambers and ensure there is a gap of at least four feet between both compartments. 

What Makes a Smokeless Fire Pit Smokeless?

Smokeless fire pits do not produce any smoke, thanks to the double walls and holes in each of the walls. The holes help in allowing air to flow freely in and out of the fire pit. In addition, the gap between the two compartments allows for the smoke from the fire pit and the oxygen flowing to mix, leading to a re-burn. Because of this re-burn, referred to as secondary combustion, the smoke disappears, ensuring the fire pit doesn’t produce any smoke. 

Can You Build Around a Smokeless Fire Pit?

Yes, you can certainly build a smokeless fire pit. However, going the DIY way leaves you with at least three options for building a fire pit. You can build the Dakota smokeless fire pit, make one using two pots of different sizes or dig a second outer wall from your existing fire pit. 

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