top of page

A More Energy Efficient…Fire Pit? Yep.

When we moved in, our back patio had a built-in fire pit. Cool, right? Wellll, not really. You see, it was one of those HUGE concrete block ones that scream "bonfire!" - i.e., one that required a crap-ton of wood (it was almost 4' wide), released an even crappier-ton of smoke every-which-way, was positioned on the edge of the patio, risking sparks on dry grass in the summer not to mention making seating super awkward…check out part of the original listing photo below to see what I mean:

We had exactly one fire in it last year, and it was awkward and annoying...and impossible to comfortably do fun things like roast marshmallows and the like. And it was SO not eco-friendly. While we didn't procure any wood for our one and only fire in it (we used scraps of dry firewood the seller had left behind), burning wood in itself is not an environmentally friendly process, so the lesser one can tread on the planet, the better.

So with that, I sold the 'bricks' of the firepit on Craigslist for $40 to a neighbor doing some hardscaping back in early spring, then researched, pondered, and researched more on ideas of what to do. Replace it? Ignore it? Hmm. I wanted something to serve as a backup cooking source in emergencies, not just a source for campfire nights, and with that, the smaller dome-top pits you often see at the big-box stores' garden centers, well those were not going to work.

Then I noticed the increasing popularity of the smokeless fire pits, which really perked up my ears. Not only are they lightweight (ours is 25 lbs, so I can easily pick it up and move it), many have grill tops as well as weather covers, they take both wood AND wood pellets, and while they may at first sight seem kinda cutesy and "mini", they actually seriously put out the heat. The one we got, the HeatMaxx 22", was under $200 and the heat can be felt up to 8 feet away! Here's how smokeless fire pits work:

"Unlike traditional wood-burning fire pits, smokeless variants are designed to maximize heat output while minimizing fuel consumption. The improved airflow and combustion process allow smokeless fire pits to produce larger flames with less fuel. This means you can enjoy a cozy and warm ambiance while using fewer resources. Additionally, the cleaner burning achieved by these fire pits leads to reduced emissions, contributing to better air quality and a more eco-friendly outdoor experience." ~ an explainer from All Things Backyard

What I like is that you can have open flames if you want, or let them die back into charcoals so you can pop on the grill and cook things like veggies, brats, etc. And a bun can be heated up in like 30 seconds (trust me, any more than that it's charred beyond recognition, lol...). My husband had helped our nextdoor neighbor cut down a completely dead lilac tree the other day, and so rather than it go into her yard waste bin, he cut it up into firewood for this, which was awesome. These don't take regular 'logs', more like short stubbies and branches, so it's really easy to collect dried scraps for it if you don't have wood chips. Plus if we were road tripping campers, this could come with us. We're not, but it's good for folks who do that kind of stuff too. Most importantly though is the efficiency - it reminds me a LOT of the recirculating technology used in the BlazeKing wood stove we bought for our farmhouse. If it ain't efficient? It ain't coming home with us, y'all.

Here's what it looks like and came with:

Again, this isn't something we're using regularly, but it serves a great purpose AND I don't have to come outside and see FIRE PIT! screaming at me and have to design my back patio around it. Maybe not a big deal to some, but when you have a limited patio size and would rather focus on features like an eating area and lots of plants (not to mention I've got a retractable clothesline and a 250 gallon rain tank as well), you want flexibility in your setup. This is a big thumbs up for me.

All brought to you by a blogger who doesn't talk about products to get a commission and who thinks "influencers" are creepy AF. :)


bottom of page