Review: the Breeo X Series smokeless fire pit is (finally) a better fire pit
If clouds of smoke are preventing you from enjoying backyard cookouts, Breeo has you covered.
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Let’s take a minute to appreciate the first cave person to stack up a pile of logs, create fire with their bare hands, and roast up a delicious wooly mammoth steak. That brave soul is the ancestral source of cookouts, tailgating, and campsite debauchery. Let’s also not forget that for the following several thousands of years, most people were basically content to roast hot dogs over the same smokey nonsense as everyone before them without bothering to find a better way. I, for one, am glad that brands like Breeo and Solo Stove have created fire pits that take the sting out of backyard pyromania.
Breeo markets its fire pits as smokeless––that’s a big promise. The products better be able to back it up, because they’re definitely on the high end of backyard accessories. Instead of costing $50 to $100 like the traditional fire pits at my local hardware store, the smallest Breeo available, the X19, set me back more than $700 after tax. To be fair, I threw in a stainless steel lid ($100) and Outpost grilling kit ($140), and didn’t have time to wait for a sale. After making that kind of investment, my expectations were sky-high.
Fire pits aren’t exactly rocket science to set up, but Breeo does a great job of packing everything in a way that makes it quick and easy. The pit itself is fairly heavy (54 pounds as tested, or 47 pounds without the sear plate), but has no moving parts. All I had to do was install the handle on the stainless steel cover and familiarize myself with the grill attachments. Corten steel fire pits come with instructions on how to season the surface to get that trendy orange patina in a hurry, but I opted to let mine age naturally. Of course, Breeo included plenty of stickers to decorate my beer fridge with. My grilling accessories came with a soft case that keeps them clean and makes them easy to carry.
The smokeless design is centered around channeling cool air through the fire to increase its temperature, burning off smoke before it escapes and making a direct assault on your eyes. There are vents in the base of the barrel, and the two-walled design flows air upward toward the rim, where it is released for a secondary burn.
Keep in mind that these fire pits get very hot, and the air channels underneath the barrel occasionally let flames lick the ground underneath the fire pit. I put mine in my yard, which meant I needed to get the grill off the flammable grass and onto a safer surface. I happened to have a few round pavers that were the perfect size, so I leveled off a piece of ground and laid it into the turf. You can achieve the same results with sand, gravel, or flagstone––just make sure whatever material you use is level and stable enough to support the heavy fire pit.
How we tested the Breeo X Series 19 smokeless fire pit
The whole selling proposition behind this style of fire pits is that they burn wood without producing a bunch of smoke. I feed my X19 with a variety of fuel including well-dried split logs, relatively green whole logs, dry kindling, green twigs, and paper. Not only does it consume everything I have, but it also lights easier than any fire I’ve ever made. I notice some smoke on startup and when I burn very green wood, but the rest of the time the Breeo lives up to the hype. Interestingly, all the heat gets directed upward, so the Breeo doesn’t warm a seating area like a traditional fire pit would. That’s great during the hot summer months, but I wonder how much time I’ll want to spend next to it once the snow piles up.
Durability is another priority for me since I’m not interested in moving my fire pit into the garage after every use or wrestling with protective covers. As of writing, my Breeo has been in the yard for more than two months. It’s been through heavy rainstorms, relatively high winds, and even a smattering of hail. The steel is thick and heavy, so wind and falling branches are no factor. The stainless steel on the legs, sear plate, and lid show no signs of wear. The corten barrel is starting to develop small rust spots as intended, but the blued finish is actually lasting much longer than I expected. You must have to really earn that bright orange patina.
Around the time I bought my Breeo, I started renovating my house. Being without a kitchen left me with two options: pay to eat out every meal or cook like a caveman in my yard. Being the miser that I am, I decided that a fire pit I could cook on would pay itself off in a hurry. I primarily stuck to the usual suspects––brats, burgers, and steaks––but the Breeo also did an admirable job of roasting potatoes, peppers, and Brussels sprouts. Larger veggies are perfect for cooking alongside meat on the grate itself, and I had lots of success using a tin foil pan for smaller vegetables. The flavor was fantastic, and cleanup was a breeze. I think our ancestors were onto something.
What we like about the Breeo X Series 19 smokeless fire pit
Above all else, I won’t tolerate a piece of gear that can’t do what I bought it to do. The Breeo X19 kills it in this regard, and I’ve never had so much as a twinge of buyer’s remorse in spite of the price. The smokeless claim isn’t a gimmick; it’s refreshingly genuine. I spent more time sitting next to this fire pit in one summer than I did in the past five years with my last one, largely because I never got smoked out.
This fire pit is also incredibly well-built. The stainless and corten steel portions are holding up as well as advertised. I have total confidence heading into the cooler months that I can leave the X19 in the snow for winter s’mores parties without losing it to rust in the spring.
As an added bonus, all the X Series fire pits are fantastic for grilling. Wood-fired meat is always my favorite, and the grilling kit from Breeo makes it easy to turn a fire pit into an outdoor kitchen. I’m also surprised by how cool the attachments stay. I’m usually able to raise and lower the grill grate on the metal stake without gloves, even when flames are jumping out of the barrel. That’s partially due to the overall design, but I’m guessing the sear plate channels heat into an extra tight column. This vertical heat dissipation isn’t the best for warming up on a chilly night, but it’s awfully good at grilling steaks to perfection.
What we don’t like about the Breeo X Series 19 smokeless fire pit
As much as I love my Breeo, there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of. First, it’s not the kind of thing you’ll casually toss in the car for a weekend of camping. The X19 is Breeo’s smallest fire pit, and it’s right around 50 pounds with or without the sear plate. I appreciate that heft because it adds durability, and I don’t have to worry about it getting knocked over by a guest who’s had one too many frosty brews, but it does render the fire pit fairly stationary.
While the steel itself is basically maintenance-free, ash does accumulate in the bottom and clog the lower air channels. I keep a little car vacuum in the garage to clean it out every so often. A shop vac or small trowel would work, too. It’s an extra step but not something I’m bothered by.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this design is incredibly efficient. I find myself going through wood two or three times faster than I’d experience with a traditional campfire. The Breeo burns hot and clean, and it’s extremely tolerant of greenwood. Just stock up a few extra logs before you kick off a backyard cookout.
My Breeo makes me regret every summer night I needlessly wasted burning my eyes and constantly dragging my chair around to stay upwind of my traditional fire pit. It’s remarkable how clean it burns, and there’s no need for fancy induction systems or battery packs to keep air flowing. Another advantage of burning so efficiently is the ability to chew through greenwood. At one point, I had a lot of downed limbs to clear out of my yard, and the Breeo burned them to ash in no time. Drinking beer by the fire was a hell of a lot more fun than driving truckloads of sticks to the city’s recycling center, too.
The cooking accessories have held up incredibly well and add another dimension to the fire pit that I can’t get enough of. I still rely on my smoker for things like briskets and roasts, but the Breeo does a great job of grilling up brats, burgers, and veggies (if you eat such things). The sear plate does constrict the opening by a few inches, but I think it’s a worthwhile tradeoff for the additional cooking surface.
The Breeo X19 gets two greasy thumbs up from me. Now, if only I could burn off these s’mores so easily…
One of the advantages of a smaller fire pit like this is that it’s easy to load up and take camping or tailgating. I know that logs aren’t as easy to pack as a bag of briquettes or a propane tank, but this thing beats other grills by a mile in terms of flavor, and it’s way more fun to use.
Be sure to check out the rules at your destination; many campsites and parks require people to use local firewood, and open flames aren’t always permitted. The X Series fire pits throw off a lot of heat and can even spit flame through the bottom vents, so make sure to set yours up on a hard, non-flammable surface.
FAQs about the Breeo X Series 19 smokeless fire pit
More questions? Here’s Task & Purpose’s additional brief.
Q. How much does the Breeo X Series 19 cost?
A. The X Series fire pits start at $349. That’s for a corten steel version of the 19-inch fire pit. The 24-inch X Series starts at $579 and the 30-inch version starts at $1,149. Accessories are available for each size and can be purchased separately.
Q. Is it really smokeless?
A. Technically no wood fire is completely smokeless, but Breeo did a damn good job of minimizing it. I notice a little on startup (mostly from the paper), and a few puffs when I use wood that’s still a little green. Other than that, I haven’t had any significant smoke come out of my Breeo.
Q. Does the metal rust?
A. That’s a major concern since fire pits live outside and most of them rust out in one summer. Breeo uses two types of steel for the X Series: stainless and corten. The stainless steel is thick and high-quality, so I haven’t seen a spec of corrosion after a full summer of use, including days of heavy rain. Corten steel does turn orange with surface rust, which actually serves as a protective layer and provides a rustic look that some people prefer.
My Breeo has seen a summer of heavy rain and is only starting to develop orange spots along the bottom of the corten barrel. The stainless portions are no worse for wear.
Q. Can I cook on the X Series?
A. You can, and should! Breeo offers cooking accessories including a grill, which is awesome for backyard cookouts. You can also order your fire pit with Breeo’s sear plate that allows you to cook on a flat, griddle-like surface. Bacon and eggs, anyone?
Q. Which size should I get?
A. It’s tempting to go as big as you can afford, but even the smallest fire pit is surprisingly effective. This style of fire pit is also extremely efficient, meaning that you’ll blow through firewood much quicker than you normally would.
Breeo recommends the X19 for up to five people, the X24 for three to seven people, and the X30 for eight to 12 people.
Q. How does Breeo compare to Solo Stove?
A. I haven’t used a Solo Stove myself, but I have friends who are very happy with theirs. Both companies make solid options that are huge improvements over a traditional fire pit.
From what I’ve read, Breeo fire pits are a little more heavy-duty. That makes them harder to transport if you want to take your fire pit camping, but it also makes them more durable. I leave mine out year-round, so it’s important that my fire pit can handle rain, snow, and extreme temperatures.
Q. Where are Breeo fire pits made?
A. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, baby.
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Scott Murdock is a Marine Corps veteran and contributor to Task & Purpose. He’s selflessly committed himself to experiencing the best gear, gadgets, stories, and alcoholic beverages in the service of you, the reader.