Love backyard cookouts and campfires but hate the overwhelming amount of smoke? Then you’re in the right place!
Using inexpensive items and your DIY skills, you’ll be able to enjoy your invaluable family time while keeping the smoke to a minimum. We’ll guide you through the step-by-step process to create your very own smokeless fire pit in no time! And if you want more ideas that will better fit your backyard, you can check out 4 other smokeless fire pit ideas with simple designs down below.
Table of Contents
- Stainless Steel Stock Pots Smokeless Fire Pit
- Battery Method Smokeless Fire Pit
- Steel Drum Smokeless Fire Pit
- Dakota Fire Hole
- How do I make my outdoor fire pit smokeless?
- What makes a fire pit smokeless?
- What do you put under a smokeless fire pit?
- Do smokeless fire pits burn faster?
Why Do Traditional Fire Pits Make More Smoke?
Excessive smoke forms when there is a lack of airflow in the design of the grill or fire pit which leads to not having enough oxygen to fully combust the fuel (usually dry wood or charcoal) used to heat the grill, causing incomplete combustion and producing carbon monoxide, soot, and carbon dioxide thus the buildup of smoke.
How to Build a DIY Smokeless Fire Pit
Steel Stock Ring (also known as Fire Ring)
¼ to ¾ inch Drill Bit
Black Spray Paint (High Heat Resistant)
Bricks or Pavers for the sides
Gravel (for the bottom)
Step By Step:
Here’s a video of youtuber “AverageDad” that we found that can help you visualize the DIY build.
For a quick summary of the video above, we’ve broken down the entire process into these simple steps for you to follow:
- With your steel stock tank ring, drill holes roughly 1 to 3 inches from the upper edge of the ring with your step drill bit. Work your way around the rim of the tank ring with roughly 2 inches of space between each hole.
- Wear protective eye protection when drilling the tank as it may send metal shavings flying.
- You can also sand the holes down to remove rough metal edges using an angle grinder. If you don’t plan to move your fire pit, then you can skip this step.
2. To add a unique look to your fire pit, you can use high-heat spray paint to cover the stock ring. Shake the can and hold it 12-16 inches away from the metal using smooth and even strokes.
- You can make multiple coats to get an opaque look on your ring. Wait at least 1 hour between each coat.
3. Stack a layer of pavers or bricks in a circle around the stock tank ring leaving a gap of 1-2 inches between the outside of the tank rink and the interior of the layer. Remember to keep that gap as you build your way up as the smoke will flow through the air holes in the tank ring into this gap. Repeat the process until you complete a single row on the ground around the tank ring.
4. At the bottom of the circle, remove 3 pavers in equal directions. This will complete the air circulation in your pit which lets cold oxygen enter the gap that you made between the tank ring and the pavers.
5. Stack the pavers until they reach the top of the ring. Layer the next row of pavers in the center of each stone so it will be on top of the seam between the two stones below it making the two stones meet evenly in the middle of the 3 pavers you removed.
6. Once you’re on the top of the tank ring, confirm the gap between the ring and the pavers are still intact. Cover the opening at the top using wider pavers, covering the gap and creating the opening to burn fires with less smoke.
- You can also use the same pavers to cover the top row using fewer stones. This will make the bricks sit closer to the tank ring and give your fire pit a bit of a tighter look on top.
7. Fill the bottom of the fire pit with gravel, spreading it out to make it even. The gravel will give your wood room to breathe to feed your fire with plenty of oxygen.
Want to see other DIY smokeless fire pit designs?
Here are 4 cleverly-designed fire pits to try in your backyard hangout spot.
1. Stainless Steel Stock Pots Smokeless Fire Pit
Want to have a portable fire pit that will not eat up space? Or something you can bring on your next camping trip? Then you got to try this DIY steel stock pot smokeless firepit. With only two stock pots, one larger and one smaller, you’ll be able to roast marshmallows in your portable smokeless pit in no time.
(Image by: Wayfair)
2. Battery-Powered Leaf Blower Smokeless Fire Pit
You need to keep fanning the flames from time to time to keep the fire burning, but with this Battery-powered Leaf Blower smokeless fire pit, you can just relax as you chill with your friends and family. Just follow this step-by-step process so you can keep the fire and the fun going.
(Image by: Brittany Goldwin)
3. Steel Drum Smokeless Fire Pit
The smoke from fire pits is caused by oxygen not circulating enough. Once you understand the engineering behind it, you’ll be able to create one yourself. This steel drum smokeless fire pit is cheap and easy to make and will be a great addition to your backyard.
(Image By: Bradley Ford)
4. Dakota Fire Hole Smokeless Fire Pit
Some of us do not have the time and resource for DIY projects but loves the traditional campfire experience. By building a Dakota Fire Hole, you can have a simple fire pit for cold nights with just a shovel.
(Image by: Art of Manliness and Ted Slampyak)
Tips To Reduce Smoke
Of course, smokeless pits are not entirely smokeless if you’re burning wood as a medium. It produces less smoke because of its construction which allows the fire to burn hotter and more efficiently. If you want to reduce smoke further, here are some tips to remember:
- Wet wood or charcoal: If the fuel is too damp or not appropriately dried before burning, it will release more smoke as it burns.
- Incomplete combustion: If the fuel is not burning completely, it will release smoke and unburnt hydrocarbons which can be harmful.
- Overloading the grill: Piling too much wood or charcoal on the grill can also cause excessive smoke, as it can suffocate the fire.
- Using low-quality fuel: Using low-quality wood or charcoal treated with chemicals or paints can release harmful smoke when burned.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make my outdoor fire pit smokeless?
The best way to create a smokeless fire pit is to have complete combustion. It is achieved by introducing a secondary combustion stage to the fire pit by having a convection cavity for hot air to pass through that feeds into the upper part of the pit. This makes the fire burn hotter enabling it to burn gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane to burn.
What makes a fire pit smokeless?
A smokeless fire pit works by trapping the smoke inside the double walls structured inside which burns so fewer smoke escapes. The inner and outer walls of the fire pit create two combustion systems: inner combustion and outer combustion. This creates secondary combustion that burns the smoke inside and makes the fire burn hotter.
What do you put under a smokeless fire pit?
Ideally, you should put your fire pit on sand, bricks, or concrete slabs. Make sure to place it at a safe distance from your house as even though the number of embers and sparks is reduced, it is still an open fire.
Do smokeless fire pits burn faster?
Due to the constant stream of air feeding the fire, smokeless fire pit burns quickly. The good news is that, due to the wood burning hotter and completely, there will be less ash to clean.
Time to Enjoy!
From burn barrels to secondary burns, we hope you learned a lot from reading this article. By understanding these factors that contribute to excessive smoke and taking measures to address them, you can reduce the amount of smoke produced when staying outdoors.
Time to bring out the lighter fluids and enjoy a perfect smokeless weekend with your family.