Following its initial launch via Kickstarter, Biolite’s smokeless portable firepit has been a popular product for many years.
In 2022, the Biolite FirePit was replaced with the upgraded FirePit Plus (or FirePit+), which has a similar design to the original, but has longer battery life, and a more heat-resistant enamel coating than the first version.
Biolite is one of our favorite brands for innovative portable power and lighting gear for camping, the backyard, and general everyday adventures.
As well as empowering adventurers and people who choose to spend time off-grid, part of Biolite’s mission is to help solve bigger-picture off-grid cooking, heat and light challenges for off-grid communities by designing and distributing accessible and affordable energy systems in developing countries.
We’ve reviewed a wide range of Biolite products over the years, including their excellent headlamps for running (and other uses), and one of our favorite portable camping lanterns, the Biolite Alpenglow (which you can read more about in our Biolite Alpenglow review).
More BioLite product reviews: BioLite HeadLamp 425 Review / BioLite Lantern Review / BioLite HeadLamp 750 Review / BioLite HeadLamp 200 Review / BioLite HeadLamp 200 Review / BioLite AlpenGlow Mini Review.
Biolite FirePit Plus – Key Features
The main reason you may be interested in this portable fire pit is that it has a key differentiating feature over regular wood-burning firepits and campfires in that it is (virtually) smokeless.
How is this a smokeless firepit?
Firepits like this, that burn hot enough, give off less smoke than others. They basically burn the particulate matter that campfires give off, before it escapes the fire (i.e. it burns up the smoke).
So you can use this firepit to burn wood and create that outdoor backyard or camping fire pit vibe, with minimal smoke in your face, hair and eyes.
I cannot tell you in words how nice this is, especially if, like me, you have sensitive eyes that sting at the first sign of smoke.
Biolite uses a patented air circulation technology to achieve this, which it does through a combination of a rechargeable battery-powered fan and air-jets that feed the air along the length of the firepit, and a body design that encourages outward radiation of heat.
For more information on smokeless firepits, you may also be interested to read my review of the Solo Stove Bonfire firepit.
This firepit can be used with either wood or charcoal. You burn wood when using it as a firepit, and charcoal if you want to use it like a BBQ grill to cook food on.
Assuming you use regular-sized firewood logs (like you can buy at a hardware store or cut yourself to a similar size), it can hold up to four of these at a time.
Design and appearance
The first thing you notice about the Biolite FirePit+ is that it is designed to be easily portable.
Weighing in at just under 20lb (excluding wood), it’s pretty light, and carrying it is made easy with the included side handles. The rectangular shape also helps make it very portable.
For carrying longer distances, as well as storage, you can choose to buy a carrying case, which can also help with storing and carrying accessories such as the grill and USB charging cable.
When in use, you can see the flames from all around the firepit, by virtue of what Biolite calls its X-Ray Mesh, which is a perforated metal body.
I suspect this also helps with the ventilation of the fire itself, although this is not how you control the flames – you do that using the orange battery pack, which mounts on the side.
It’s worth noting that while the FirePit Plus has improved enamel coating compared to the original FirePit, it is not designed to be left outdoors when not in use, especially if you’re somewhere it is going to get wet with rain, snow or dew, so you need to store it in a garage or shed when it’s not in use.
Biolite fire pit battery and fan
A key feature of this device is that you have a battery-powered fan that helps you determine how high you want the flames.
By dialing it up, it will change the amount of airflow to the 51 internal air-jets, which push oxygen to the burn zone.
On one charge, the battery will last up to 30 hours – assuming you use it on the low fan setting.
As you dial up the intensity, the battery gets consumed quicker – but with an estimated 7 hours battery life assuming you use just the ‘High’ setting, this is plenty for most people, assuming you have a means of charging the battery up before your next planned use.
Plus, it’s worth noting that Biolite recommends you use Low for the best flames and ambiance, and Low or Medium is best for cooking (depending on what you’re cooking up).
There’s also a ‘MAX’ mode, which is best for getting the fire going initially, but you should dial it down once the fire is up and running, to prolong your battery life and have a more enjoyable chilling/cooking experience.
Speaking of charging the battery, it uses a regular USB cable, which you can plug into any suitable power supply, whether that’s a portable power station, your car or RV, or at home using a wall outlet.
Hopefully, in a future version, it will be available with a faster USB-C port, like other electronics are transitioning to.
Lastly, in case you are familiar with Biolite’s Campstove 2+, it is worth noting that, like the Campstove 2+, this battery-powered fire pit can also be used to charge gadgets such as your phone!
Controlling the fire pit with Biolite’s app
You can easily control the fan flame settings directly on the firepit’s battery pack, where it clearly shows you the battery and fan speed levels.
However, you can also control and monitor it using the free app, via Bluetooth.
The app will also tell you how much time and charge is left on the battery.
Other key features of the Biolite FirePit include:
- Weight: 19.8lb (around 9kg)
- Dimensions: 27 x 13 x 15.8 inches
- Fold-out legs (legs fold back in for storage and portage).
How to use this portable fire pit
Set up is simple, just find a suitable location, fold out the legs and load the firepit up with firewood.
If the battery is disconnected, mount it on the side where it clips into place, and turn it on.
Then, start the fire as you would with a regular campfire. I drop a firestarter block in and use a stove lighter or drop in a match to get it going.
Turn the fan on to get the flames going.
Allow up to 10 minutes for it to heat up and for the flames to spread over the width of your fire logs – here’s where the smokeless burn really gets going.
To clean the firepit after use, you need to wait until it has burned through the logs. Once you’re left with coals and ask, you can use the pull-out sliding ash tray to drop them out the bottom, ready for you to dispose of them somewhere safe.
Hot coals and ash can re-ignite so you need to appropriately soak and bury them, depending on what’s appropriate for where you are.
We put them in an empty flowerpot and soak them so they’re fully extinguished.
Cooking on the Biolite FirePit’s included grill
To cook on your FirePit Plus, first you adjust the wood tray by moving it up to a higher level, before filling it with charcoal (instead of wood).
Using charcoal will help the firepit generate heat, without the flame that you get when burning firewood.
The included grill tray provides a ‘Hibachi-style’ grill, which has raised bars at the side, making it easy to rest kebab skewers across the firepit. You can also grill whatever you like directly on the grill tray. Favorites here include hunks of sweetcorn.
Alternatively, you can also just skewer some marshmallows or hotdogs and toast them over the wood flame.
Whatever you’re cooking on it, it’s great that this firepit allows you to cook and have a campfire when out in nature, without creating a fire in the ground or leaving any trace of your campfire when you leave your campsite.
For ideas and a checklist for gearing up your own outdoor cooking setup, head over to our camp kitchen guide.
Our experience using the Biolite FirePit +
First impressions of this firepit were great. It’s easy to set up, with the two side handles being all the assembly you need – well, that and clipping on the battery pack to the side.
As mentioned above, it’s easy to get the fire going with some firewood logs and a fire-starting block. Once you’ve lit it using a lighter or match, then turn the fan on to level 2 (‘medium’) to help fan the flames.
We haven’t felt the need to turn the fan up above the medium setting. For the most mellow, campfire-style flames, it’s best to use the low or medium fan, so that’s what we do!
Because the burn is so efficient, the logs last a long time. We can enjoy several hours around this firepit with just the four logs, and no replenishment needed.
If you use it on a higher fan setting, it will burn more intensively, in which case it will likely go through wood a lot quicker, too.
Although you can control it with the app, we haven’t really used it because it’s so easy to just push the buttons on the battery pack, and you don’t need to change the fan levels very often, if at all, when using the firepit.
Biolite FirePit vs Solo Stove Bonfire
Compared to the Solo Stove Bonfire, the Biolite FirePit+ is a lot lighter and more portable thanks to the weight, shape and handles, yet the shape means it can still accommodate up to 4 typical firewood-sized logs, comfortably.
The Biolite FirePit’s perforated metal sides allow heat to come out to warm people sitting on opposite sides – in our experience, this is more effective than the Bonfire, for smaller groups of 4-6 people.
I also like how high off the ground the Biolite FirePit sits, keeping the heat and flames well above the ground and closer to you if you’re sitting on a camp chair.
The FirePit is less expensive, at $300 compared to the Bonfire’s $400.
That being said, some will prefer the stainless steel and round firepit aesthetic of the larger Bonfire, especially if portability is less of a priority.
Cost and where to buy
The FirePit+ has replaced the original and is now the only available Biolite Firepit.
The Firepit+ costs $299.95, and it’s worth visiting the Biolite website as they sell all the accessories you may need and also periodically offer discounts and promotions you may be able to take advantage of.
What about the accessories?
In addition to the firepit itself, you can buy various accessories for your Firepit Plus, including a carry bag, a protective ‘FireMat’ for the ground, ‘FirePoker’ to stoke those flames, a griddle for cooking on, a grill lid, and the ‘Prep & Grill Toolkit’.
We have the carry bag, but the poker could also be very helpful – although you may already have one at home or in the garage that will do the job.
If you do feel that you would need some accessories to go with the firepit, it’s worth knowing that you can get a 10% discount on the combined firepit, poker, carrying bag and protective FireMat in a pre-created bundle on Biolite’s website.
You can also buy a cooking accessories bundle (also with a discount compared to buying items individually), which includes the grill lid, griddle pan and cooking tool kit (consisting of a knife, spatula and tongs).
I have my eye on the cooking bundle as these accessories would increase our options and variety of meals we can cook on the fire pit, and they’d make great additions to our outdoor camp kitchen setup.