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Nights out under the stars are always made better by an outdoor fire pit, but if you don’t have the space for a large fire pit in your yard or on your patio, a tabletop fire pit is a worthy substitute.
Solo Stove’s new Mesa tabletop fire pit with stand is so small that it sits right on a small table, terrace or balcony, making it potentially the perfect fire pit for anyone with an apartment, small yard or even just a patio table. The convenience makes it appealing even if you do have plenty of room for a larger fire pit — you can have all of the coziness or roast a few marshmallows without having to build a big fire.
Solo Stove’s Mesa tabletop fire pit is fairly new and doesn’t have many reviews on Amazon yet, but the brand sent me one of the stainless steel models to test out for this story. I have one of the company’s full-size fire pits, the Ranger 2.0, so I was able to easily compare the two products.
Unlike most tabletop fire pits, which often run on alcohol fuel, the Solo Stove uses wood or pellets and is essentially a smaller version of one of the brand’s larger fire pits. The Mesa tabletop fire pit is about 7 inches tall and weighs 1.4 pounds, so it can be easily moved, and it comes with a carrying case for camping trips. Though it’s small, Solo Stove says the Mesa gives off serious heat and offers the same smokeless flames as the brand’s full-size pit. I was eager to find out for myself how hot it would get.
Testing Solo Stove’s Tabletop Fire Pit
The Solo Stove Mesa tabletop fire pit can be purchased on Solo Stove’s website for $120 or Amazon for $105. While there are a handful of colors available in a heat-resistant ceramic coating at Solo Stove’s website (priced at $130) that will begin shipping Nov. 4, Amazon only had stainless steel as of this writing — and that’s what I tested. A Solo Stove representative told Simplemost that the colorful options will eventually be available on Amazon as well.
The Mesa uses either wood or pellets, so if you’re wanting to burn wood, you obviously need the pieces to be very small. You can either order some special mini firewood from Solo Stove when you order your fire pit, or chop some yourself before it arrives. The company’s mini firewood pieces measure 1 inch wide by 5 inches long, so use that as a reference for cutting your own out of hardwood.
The Mesa is a tiny clone of Solo Stove’s larger fire pits. It looks almost identical and is, I must admit, attractive and perhaps even adorable to behold.
There is no set up — the fire pit is basically ready to go right out of the box. Place the Mesa where you want it outside (Solo Stove notes that it should not be used under a canopy, umbrella or gazebo), put a fire starter inside and light it, then either put wood in or the pellet adapter followed by some pellets. The Mesa does not come with starter, so I used brown packaging paper, but struggled for about 10 minutes to get it to light. You may want to add Solo Stove’s starters (which I did not test) to your cart if you purchase the Mesa.
Once I got the Mesa lit, it really started going. Since I didn’t have small wood, I used pellets, and it was easy to simply add more when the flames began to die down to make it kick up again. The Mesa gets quite hot, and the flames were much taller than I expected, so you probably won’t want to move it once it’s lit. However, it doesn’t get too hot to safely add pellets or wood.
I roasted a marshmallow over the flame, and while it took a bit longer than it does on a larger fire, it worked perfectly and made for an excellent s’more.
What surprised me most about the Mesa is how big the flames got. I didn’t expect such a warm, large fire from such a small package but was thrilled with the results. (It’s also easy to see why they recommend against using it under a patio umbrella or gazebo.) You’re obviously not going to get the amount of warmth from the Mesa as you would from the full-size fire pit, but you can easily feel the heat if you’re sitting nearby and can warm your hands nicely.
I also enjoyed that the Mesa’s fires burn pretty quickly, simply due to its small capacity for wood or pellets, so you don’t have to sit around forever waiting for the fire to go out after you’re ready to go inside. There was also no trace of smoke during my test of the Mesa, so in my experience, it lived up to the smokeless claims made by Solo Stove about its fire pits.
The Verdict: A Great Option for Small Spaces
Overall, the Mesa is cheaper than a larger Solo Stove fire pit and perfect for small spaces, but I’d recommend it even for people who do have room for a large fire but sometimes just want a bit of outdoor coziness without all the hassle. The Solo Stove Mesa tabletop fire pit made a great centerpiece for some afternoon wine-drinking on a chilly fall day, but if I wanted to sit around a fire with a group of friends for the evening, looking at the stars, a larger pit would be better.
To me, the biggest downside is that it does not come with the starter, pellets or wood in the box, and because it’s so small, finding or chopping small enough wood might be a bit of a struggle if you’re not prepared.
I also found the Mesa to be much more difficult to light than the larger Solo Stove fire pit, but given that I didn’t have any of the brand’s recommended starters on hand, I might have simply been missing a piece of the puzzle. Once I got it lit, however, I had no issues with the Mesa’s flame going out as I fed it with pellets.
Other Tabletop Fire Pits
This Roundfire Concrete Tabletop Fire Pit, for example, is about a 1/2 inch shorter and 1 1/2 inches smaller in circumference than the Solo Stove Mesa. It’s priced at $100 normally, but was on sale for $42.49 as of this writing, making it an even more budget-friendly pick.
The Roundfire pit uses alcohol fuel, including bioethanol, isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) and gel fuel. With nearly 800 reviews, it has a strong rating from Amazon users of 4.7 stars out of 5, with customers saying it is easy to use, well-made and can be used indoors, though some reviewers complained that it set off their smoke detectors.
For something a bit bigger, this Colsen Tabletop Rubbing Alcohol Fireplace can be used indoors or outdoors. Priced at $149, this chic, longer fireplace is light and easy to transport and fits pretty much anywhere, including on a desk, side table or at the dining table. The flame lasts for 40-50 minutes, depending on room temperature and climate, according to Colsen.
Customers at Amazon have said it has a nice flame, gives off little heat and is easy to use.