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Why Is My Solo Stove Smoking? 3 Simple Fixes

Learn exactly why your Solo Stove is smoking and three easy fixes to keep this “smokeless” fire pit from making smoke.

Let’s Go!

a solo stove fire burning with no smoke

The Solo Stove is designed to be a smokeless fire pit, and the design and science behind these evolutionary products certainly backs that up, but why do they sometimes smoke if they aren’t supposed to?

What are you supposed to do if your Solo Stove is not giving you a Smoke-Free Fire?

The Solo Stove can smoke for any of the following reasons:

  1. There is too much wood in the Stove, blocking the upper air vents.
  2. The wood you are using is damp.
  3. There is too much ash in the bottom, preventing airflow from the lower air vents.

Understanding how the Solo Stove works to create smokeless fires is key to preventing your Solo Stove from smoking during use.

So let’s look at what commonly causes the Solo Stove to smoke and how to prevent it.

Thinking about buying a new Solo Stove Fire Pit or Camp Stove? 

Make sure to check out our Ultimate Comparison Guide to Solo Stoves first!

 

How Does The Solo Stove Work?

While no fire-pit is 100% smokeless, the Solo Stove certainly comes close with a revolutionary concept in their patented 360 Air Flow Design integrated into each Stove.

The Solo Stove is unique in its design as instead of feeding the fire with oxygen from around the fire, it is designed to draw the oxygen in from the bottom of the Stove and create an ‘oxygen updraft’ that fuels the fire straight upward.

the secondary burn of solo stove upper vents

Using secondary burn vents located on the top of the Solo Stove, super-heated oxygen is drawn up around the inside of the Stove and fed through the vents to the burning fire.

Starting the Solo Stove fire with twigs and kindling will start to draw air up through the base of the fire pit.

As you add more fuel to it, the heat increases, forcing oxygen to be drawn through the flames and upwards, creating a virtually smoke-free experience.

It all comes down to keeping a free flow of oxygen to dry fuel to burn.

You know how we put wood chips in a smoker box or close the vents down really low in a charcoal smoker to smolder our smoking wood and create smoke when smoking foods like pork butt and ribs?

a smoker box
LESS oxygen = MORE Smoke

Well, that’s because we are RESTRICTING oxygen to the wood, creating smoke on purpose to flavor our food.

For our Solo Stove, we need to just the opposite, so let’s dive into how.

 

How to Make Smoked Pig Shots
How to Make Smoked Pig Shots

What Are The Best Woods To Use In A Solo Stove?

Solo Stove themselves recommend using dry hardwoods such as hickory, oak, maple, and birch as they burn longer and hotter in the fire pit.

logs in a solo stove lighting using the clock face method

They also produce less ash due to the patented 360 Air Flow design and are less likely to clog the air vents, plus it makes for easier cleaning.

Now, let’s look at three of the possible reasons your Solo Stove could be smoking.

 

 

Your Solo Stove Is Smoking Because The Wood Is Wet

Using wet wood in any fire pit will create a lot of smoke, and the same is true if you use wet wood in the Solo Stove.

Also, if you are using other kindling materials like newspaper or cardboard and other waste, this can cause the Solo Stove to smoke as well.

Make sure to stick with dry kindling, Solo Stove brand fire starters, chunk wood, and then larger logs, in that order, to start the fire and to to ensure a proper smokeless burn.

We have also previously covered at length the best types of wood to use in your Solo Stove.

twigs, wood chunks, and logs to use in a solo stove

 

Your Solo Stove Is Smoking Because The Lower Air Vent Is Blocked

The Solo Stove relies on the lower air vent being clear to ensure proper airflow, and this gives the Stoves the smokeless flame and heat they are known for.

If this vent is blocked, it will restrict the oxygen flow to the fire from below as well as from the secondary burn vents, which will create smoke.

The vent can become blocked if there is too much wood or you haven’t cleaned the Stove in a while and there is a buildup of ash.

ash blocking the bottom vents of a solo stove

When the ash builds up on the bottom of the Stove, it blocks the airflow, so to avoid this, always empty out the ash when cleaning your Solo Stove before use.

You can simply turn the Stove upside down and, if need be, use a good brush to remove any stubborn debris.

 

Your Solo Stove Smokes Because The Upper Air Vents Are Blocked

Many people believe that adding as much fuel as you can will give you a good burn.

While this may be true for other fire pits, the Solo Stove is designed to be super-efficient while using a minimal amount of fuel.

If you stack too many wood logs in the Stove, they can block the secondary burn vents at the top of the Stove, and when these vents are blocked, the lack of oxygen going to the wood will cause the fire to smoke.

wood positioned below the upper vents a solo stove

To prevent this, make sure you don’t fill the combustion chamber above that ring of vents.

 

If Your Solo Stove Is Smoking, Check The Fire Ring

The fire ring on the solo Stove sits on top and is designed to keep the fire centered and even during burning.

If the fire ring is not there or is still sitting upside down as it does during storage, the fire is not going to burn evenly, and this will possibly cause your Solo Stove to smoke.

The fire ring ‘shepherds’ the flame during burning and helps to maintain the oxygen flow from both the bottom and secondary burn vents.

So before you light your Solo Stove, make sure the fire ring is installed and sitting correctly.

 

To Prevent Your Solo Stove From Smoking, Start Slowly

To give your Solo Stove the best start and to build a great fire, start with small twigs or chunk wood laid out on the bottom and allow that to build before throwing in bigger logs.

a small smoke free fire burning at the bottom of a solo stove

We have previously covered in depth how to properly light a Solo Stove fire.

While the Solo Stove Yukon can accommodate logs up to 16″, don’t start with logs this size.

The initial heat from the fire won’t be hot enough to burn these efficiently.

It’s much better to start with a smaller fire and then, as it grows, add more fuel – and remember to keep the fuel level below the secondary burn vents.

 

Mixing The Fire Up In Your Solo Stove Should Reduce Smoking

Another option to consider is if your Solo Stove is smoking once the fire is burning down, you may need to mix the fire a bit to uncover the lower vents that have now been covered with new ash, release oxygen, and bring some unburned fuel to the fire.

mixing up the firewood with fire pit tongs in a solo stove

Be safe when you do this and use proper fire pit tools such as fire and heat resistant gloves and fire pit tongs

.

Moving the coals and burning embers around can release oxygen and improve airflow and reduce any smoke coming from the fire.

 

Final Thoughts

There are a few reasons why your Solo Stove could be smoking, but if you follow the steps above, you can quickly and easily identify the problem and fix it with a minimum of fuss and bother.

Remember to be safe when using any kind of fire pit and follow the Solo Stove recommendations for placement and fuel to ensure you have a truly smokeless fire pit experience!

 

More Solo Stove Resources from Mad Backyard

 

Must Read Solo Stove How-To’s

 

Other Common Solo Stove Questions Answered

 

Other Resources

https://www.reddit.com/r/CampingGear/comments/glv10k/solo_stove_lots_of_black_smoke/

https://blog.solostove.com/how-to-build-a-smoke-free-fire/

https://blog.solostove.com/5-tips-for-a-smokeless-fire/

 

 

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