chiminea

8 Best Chimineas to Keep You Warm on a Cool Summer’s Evening (2021 Review)

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In this guide we’ll take a look at the best chimineas for the UK market.
I’ve compared design, size, safety and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What is the Best Chiminea?

In a rush? Here's my top choice...

Deuba Gardebruk Chiminea

Excellent heat source and practical BBQ!

This Deuba Cast Iron Chiminea stands at an impressive 112 cm tall and is made of incredibly strong cast iron. It is very sturdy and can function both as a heat source and a BBQ. The included grilling rack has wooden handles for safety.

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Everything I Recommend

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
  • Extra-large cast iron chiminea
  • 112 cm tall
  • Removable grill rack
  • Large, stylish chiminea
  • Built-in spark guard
  • Perfect for logs or charcoal
  • Stylish, well-built chiminea
  • Easy to remove grill
  • Lightweight, easy to manoeuvre
  • Modern, stylish chiminea
  • 125 cm tall
  • Wood store underneath
  • Red mottled clay
  • Handmade using traditional methods
  • Includes rain lid
  • 150 cm tall
  • Built-in log store
  • Sturdy and robust design
  • Handmade clay chiminea
  • Authentic, traditional design
  • Includes sturdy base
  • Propane gas fire pit
  • Can conceal 9 kg canister
  • Attractive and stylish design

More Detailed Chiminea Reviews

Deuba Gardebruk Chiminea

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Extra-large cast iron chiminea
  • 112 cm tall
  • Removable grill rack
OUR RATING
100
PRICE
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Deuba Gardebruk Chiminea Review

For anyone looking for a large outdoor heat source, this Deuba Gardebruk Chiminea stands at 112 cm tall and has a wide body that can burn a substantial fire.

Whilst chimineas are often made from a range of different metals, this particular model is constructed entirely of cast iron; it not only distributes the heat evenly, but also results in a very sturdy structure overall.

It’s a wood burner that can fit several large logs inside, and also comes with a removable grill rack meaning that food can be cooked inside too. This makes it easier to spontaneously grill a couple of burgers or sausages without having to haul the entire BBQ out.

However, cooking on the chiminea isn’t an exact science: there’s no way to alter the height of the grill, so food can end up charred if the flames are too high.

Putting it together takes between 30 minutes to an hour, and is relatively straight forward to do, although the instructions aren’t very detailed. Getting all of the holes to line up during assembly can be difficult, but this can be helped by not fully tightening the screws until everything is together.

Once assembled, the chiminea weighs 28 kg so it’s best to put together in situ; it’s possible to move around with the help of two people, but easiest left in place. There’s also no cover included, so if it’s going to be left outside over winter it might be worth buying one separately.

Pros

  • Heat is distributed evenly thanks to cast iron construction
  • Removable grill means that food can be cooked in the chiminea
  • Suitable for medium-to-large size patios and gardens
  • Very stable in strong winds

Cons

  • Assembly instructions are only in the form of brief diagrams with no written instructions
  • When cooking food on the grill, it's not possible to alter the height of the grill to control cooking speed
  • Requires two people to move it around the garden due to its heavy weight and large size

Kingfisher BBQ Time Chiminea

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Large, stylish chiminea
  • Built-in spark guard
  • Perfect for logs or charcoal
OUR RATING
98
PRICE
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Kingfisher BBQ Time Chiminea Review

This Kingfisher BBQ Time Chiminea is a modern take on the traditional design; with a rectangular, black powder-coated steel construction, it’s quite different to round-bellied models.

Measuring 109 cm tall, the fire stands approximately 30 cm off the ground making it a good height for sitting around on the patio. Given that there are mesh walls on all sides, it also gives out direct heat from the fire through 360° so it can be placed in the middle of a group.

The log burner can be used as a BBQ as well, coming with a chrome-plated grill that can be positioned near the top of the chiminea to cook food on. There’s enough space on the grill to cook for approximately six people, which makes it a quick and viable option instead of getting out the main BBQ.

Overall, it measures 63.5 cm wide by 50 cm deep making it one of the best chimineas for small to medium patios. Thanks to its rectangular design, it can be moved into a corner when not in use.

It isn’t too difficult to move either, weighing just under 18 kg, so can be moved about, including in and out of storage, when necessary.

The powder-coated steel is likely to be more prone to rusting than cast iron would be, so it’s necessary to make sure the BBQ is stored well and kept relatively dry. There is a protective paint option that can be purchased separately which seems to work well to deter rust.

Pros

  • Compact design can fit into the corner of small/medium patios when not in use
  • Mesh sides allow heat to be felt all the way round the chiminea through 360°
  • Can be assembled quickly in between 15 - 45 minutes
  • Cooking area is large enough to serve 6 people

Cons

  • The steel may rust if it is not appropriately looked after (some customers choose to have it sprayed with rust-resistant paint)
  • Can dent easily and may require dents to be bashed out during assembly

Oxford Barbecues X-Large Steel Chiminea

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Stylish, well-built chiminea
  • Easy to remove grill
  • Lightweight, easy to manoeuvre
OUR RATING
96
PRICE
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Oxford Barbecues X-Large Steel Chiminea Review

Steel chimineas can be a lot more affordable than cast-iron ones, and this Oxford Barbecues X-Large Steel Chiminea is no exception. It’s a large size, at 50 cm in diameter, standing at 134 cm tall, yet a fraction of the price that a cast iron model would be.

There’s a big chrome-plated cooking grill included, suitable for cooking for several people if you choose to BBQ with it. Otherwise, it’s large enough to burn big logs to create a warming fire.

Assembly is relatively straight forward, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. However, some pieces may need some persuasion to fit correctly. Also, it does state, even in the manual, that rusting is likely, but this is why steel products are cheaper than cast iron.

No protective cover is included, although this chiminea only weighs 8.7 kg so isn’t difficult to move from storage to the patio. This is another benefit of having a steel chiminea, because they’re much lighter to move around.

The tall chimney is positioned at a good height to keep stop smoke from engulfing guests when sitting out on the patio, and there is a mesh guard to protect from any jumping sparks.

Overall, this is one of the best chimineas on a budget, especially if you are looking for a large size. However, there are a few downsides as well. As mentioned, it is a little prone to rusting, and the overall finish isn’t of the highest quality. The paint may start to peel after a few uses, and some pieces can require bending in order to get them to fit in the first place.

Pros

  • Elegant and tall design that looks good in the corner of medium to large gardens
  • Grill is easy to position to quickly turn into BBQ
  • Tall chimney keeps smoke away from those sitting around the fire
  • Light enough to easily move in and out of storage

Cons

  • Paint may peel after a few uses
  • Steel construction does not retain heat in the same way as cast iron
  • Some of the pieces may need to be reshaped before they will align properly during assembly
  • Door latch does not always stay closed well

La Hacienda Circo Steel Chiminea

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Modern, stylish chiminea
  • 125 cm tall
  • Wood store underneath
OUR RATING
93
PRICE
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La Hacienda Circo Steel Chiminea Review

At first glance, the modern, futuristic design of this La Hacienda Circo Steel Chiminea may not even look like a chiminea. It’s characterised by a cone-shaped exterior, matt finish, and minimalistic appearance.

It’s one of the best chimineas to consider if you’re looking for something contemporary, but it’s also a good choice for small gardens. With a footprint of 36 x 36 cm, it takes up the least space of the models on this list. It also has a log-store underneath the fire, so they don’t need to take up space elsewhere.

Unlike a lot of chimineas, it isn’t possible to BBQ on this one; no grill comes included and it’s therefore intended as a heat source only. It works well to emit warmth in small areas, but may be a little petite for larger patios.

I say that because not only is it relatively small overall, but the burning area is also smaller than that of most chimineas. At 125 cm tall, the top of the chimney may only just be parallel with the tops of people’s heads when they’re sitting down.

Overall, this is a good choice for smaller spaces, and it also offers something a little different due to its unique appearance. The built-in log store saves on space as well, but as always with a steel chiminea it’s going to be more prone to rusting than a cast-iron model would be.

Pros

  • Smallest footprint makes it a good option for small gardens
  • Built-in log store means fuel can be stored nearby without taking up any extra space
  • Contemporary appearance is aesthetically unique
  • Lightweight and compact makes it east to move around

Cons

  • Relatively small opening means not as much heat emitted as larger fires
  • Chimney top is parallel with tops of heads when sitting
  • No mesh guard so need to be careful to avoid jumping sparks

La Hacienda Clay Chiminea

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Red mottled clay
  • Handmade using traditional methods
  • Includes rain lid
OUR RATING
90
PRICE
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La Hacienda Clay Chiminea Review

One of the most traditional-styles featured here, this La Hacienda Clay Chiminea has a classic shape with a red mottled finish. Each chiminea is handmade by artisans, constructed from clay in a traditional Mexican style, and hand painted.

It stands on a steel base which positions the fire at eye level when seated, helping to spread the heat, and it also retains warmth well.

In general, there’s a bit more preparation required with a clay chiminea than some other styles, and you need to start with gradual fires so as not to shock the clay. Therefore, it’s not the lowest maintenance option; however, this chiminea should stand up well against the elements in the long run.

There’s no grill option, so it doesn’t combine as a BBQ, but it does emit a lot of warmth as a heat source. There’s also a rain lid included, to stop water from coming down the chimney, although there’s no spark guard.

The overall footprint is 36 x 36 cm which is the same as the La Hacienda Circo Chiminea; this makes it another good option for fitting in a smaller space, as well as being one of the best chimineas if you’re looking for something authentic.

One of the main things to be aware of with this chiminea is how important it is to follow the preparation instructions carefully. Ensuring that the clay is cured will make it less likely to crack from heat.

Pros

  • Clay retains heat well so chiminea is good for spreading warmth
  • Produces a lot of heat so capable of warming medium-size areas
  • Fits securely into the included stand without feeling wobbly
  • Small footprint makes it suitable for smaller patios
  • Withstands UK weather well

Cons

  • Clay needs to be cured to prevent cracking unlike cast iron or steel chimineas

La Hacienda Manoa Chiminea

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • 150 cm tall
  • Built-in log store
  • Sturdy and robust design
OUR RATING
89
PRICE
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La Hacienda Manoa Chiminea Review

The La Hacienda Manoa Chiminea shares similarities with the contemporary-looking La Hacienda Circo Chiminea, although it’s a bit more decorative and a little less futuristic.

It’s still a ‘modern-look’ chiminea, with a streamlined appearance, made from black powder-coated steel, but it has a squared-off design and ornamental laser-cut detailing on the front.

The footprint is just 36 x 36 cm, so it’s another versatile choice. It doesn’t take up too much space but is still relatively tall at 150 cm so won’t get lost in a larger area.

Whilst the overall aesthetic is minimal, it’s also practical, with a space for wood storage underneath the fire section.

As a steel unit, it needs to be looked after to avoid rust and damage; the protective paint can be scuffed easily which will make it less well protected against the elements. Although a cover doesn’t come included, finding a way to keep this Manoa Chiminea out of the wind and rain is a good idea.

Pros

  • Built-in log store saves space and keeps the patio tidy
  • Contemporary look with decorative elements suits a lot of different gardens
  • Light enough to move easily in and out of storage
  • Can be assembled in just a few minutes

Cons

  • Painted coating can become scuffed if chiminea is knocked
  • Steel may rust if it has too much exposure to moisture

La Hacienda Clay Chiminea Barbecue

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Handmade clay chiminea
  • Authentic, traditional design
  • Includes sturdy base
OUR RATING
86
PRICE
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La Hacienda Clay Chiminea Barbecue Review

From the number of times they’ve featured on this list, it’s pretty obvious that La Hacienda are an experienced company when it comes to making chimineas.

Their Clay Chiminea Barbecue is one of the best chimineas for people who want something with traditional looks that can also be used as a BBQ.

Whilst a lot of classically shaped clay chimineas don’t have the capacity for a grill to be fitted, this particular model does. It divides in the middle, meaning it can be used with or without the chimney section, creating enough space to host a BBQ grill when the chimney is off.

The decision needs to be made before lighting the fire though, as the top section will be too hot to remove once it’s been lit.

At 36 cm in diameter, this chiminea has a relatively small footprint, and that means that the grilling area isn’t particularly big either. However, it’s still sufficient for cooking a few burgers and sausages at a time.

It’s a better choice for smaller patios and spaces than larger ones, because it’s relatively short at just 75 cm high. The fire opening is positioned approximately 30 cm off the ground, which is quite low.

As with all clay chimineas, it needs to be carefully cured according to the instructions in order to avoid cracks appearing. There’s also mention in the instructions of sealing it against wet weather, so it’s not the most low-maintenance option.

Pros

  • No assembly required - simply place the chiminea onto the included stand
  • Compact design is particularly suitable for small gardens
  • Gives off a lot of heat for the small size
  • Well designed to allow for a grill to be used on a traditional-looking chiminea

Cons

  • Needs to be cured to prevent cracking, unlike cast iron or steel chimineas
  • BBQ area is small with only enough space for approximately 4 burgers
  • Top section simply rests on bottom section, without fitting into any grooves or being secured with latches, therefore could be easily knocked off
  • May be too small for larger patios as only measures 75 cm tall

Callow Retail Slate Effect Gas Fire Pit Chiminea

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Propane gas fire pit
  • Can conceal 9 kg canister
  • Attractive and stylish design
OUR RATING
84
PRICE
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Callow Retail Slate Effect Gas Fire Pit Chiminea Review

More of a firepit than a traditional chiminea, this Callow Retail Slate Effect Fire Pit might make you consider a different type of heat source for the garden.

If the traditional chimineas featured here haven’t sparked your interest, a fire pit could be the way to go. They’re not dissimilar to chimineas, creating a warming atmosphere and increasing the amount of time you can spend outside on the patio, but the visible flame is more of an aesthetic feature in itself.

The bowl sits on top of a column which has been designed to look like slate brickwork, and the column is large enough to conceal a 5 kg propane gas canister that powers the flame. There are a couple of benefits of using gas over wood fuel: you don’t have to keep refuelling the fire, and the flame doesn’t spark or spit.

Weighing 34 kg, this will be more of a permanent feature on the patio than one which is frequently moved around, and it comes with a PVC vinyl cover to keep it protected. Even so, it’s still possible to move into storage when necessary, with the help of two people.

The dimensions are 53 x 53 cm, and it’s 74 cm tall, so it’s large enough to act as a centrepiece, especially with flames flickering on the top, and gives off heat around 360°.

Pros

  • Good size and height for sitting around
  • Construction is sturdy and doesn't wobble or move
  • Heat and flame size easy to control using gas knobs
  • Included cover is thick and protects the fire pit well
  • Lava rocks included which help distribute the heat evenly

Cons

  • Gas needs to be purchased separately
  • Extra lava rocks may be required to optimise on heat distribution

Things to Know Before Buying a Chiminea

Chimineas have become more and more popular over the last few years, especially here in the UK. It’s not hard to see why, given that they are both attractive and functional.

They make wonderful centrepieces for decking and patio areas, helping spread warmth throughout the year. Plus, some models will even allow you to grill in them!

Chimineas come in a wide range of styles, and some may be more suited to certain gardens than others. The following information will help you understand a bit more about the different designs available, and choose which will make the best chiminea for your garden.

Chimineas tend to be made from either clay, cast iron, or steel. Here’s a little more information about each material:

Clay

Clay chimineas are the ones you think of when you think ‘classic chiminea’ – they’re the most traditional.

They make good heaters; the clay shell retains heat well, making it an excellent source of warmth even after the fire dies. Clay models don’t tend to get as hot on the outside as metal chimineas, which is good to bear in mind if you have small children or pets.

In a clay chiminea you can burn: wood, paper and dry garden waste. You must not burn coal or charcoal in a clay chiminea – it burns too hot and will cause the clay to crack.

Whilst most traditional clay chimineas don’t have the option to place a grill inside and cook food, there are certain models that do. Clay chimineas that divide into two sections can be used as BBQs. In these instances, the chimney is removed leaving a circular base. A grill can then be rested on top of this base.

Your best bet, when looking for a clay chiminea, is to go for a well-known brand who make artisan, handmade models. This is the way to ensure you get an authentic, high-quality product and not a cheap, batch-produced imitation. The latter will be more likely to cause disappointment.

Curing a Clay Chiminea

It’s important to properly cure a clay chiminea before lighting any big fires. This can take patience but is worth doing to protect the clay from cracking.

To cure a clay chiminea, first fill it 3/4 full with sand. This helps the heat to spread evenly. Use kindling and paper to create a small fire on top of the sand and allow it to burn itself out after approximately 5 minutes. Let everything cool down naturally. Then, clear out any ash and repeat this process approximately six times, allowing everything to completely cool before lighting the next fire. This process may take the best part of a day.

Clay chimineas are great if: you want something that will be safe around children and pets, you are looking for something traditional and decorative, and you primarily want to use it as a heat source.

A clay chiminea may not be right for you if: you want to burn coal, you don’t have a place to store it in winter (frost can cause clay to crack), or if you want something that’s easy to move around.

Cast Iron

Cast iron chimineas have an amazing ability for retaining heat and can help keep you warm outside. They’re especially good if you have a larger area to keep warm.

Cast iron chimineas can be quite large which is great news for using them as a heat source. The bigger the chiminea, the more fuel you can use to create a more intense fire. A lot of cast iron chimineas have the option for grilling food.

In a cast iron chiminea you can burn: wood, charcoal, paper, coal, etc. They can withstand higher temperatures than clay models so you’re not limited on fuel type.

Cast iron chimineas are great if: you want to use your chiminea regularly as a grill, you want to heat a large area, and you want to burn coal.

A cast iron chiminea may not be right for you if: you want to move it around a lot (these models are HEAVY), you don’t want to do any maintenance (they may rust and require you to buff off the rust and treat them with paint before winter), or you don’t want to buy a separate protective cover.

Steel

Steel chimineas offer the most variation when it comes to shape and size.

They can often be highly decorative, with laser-cut designs, and can take on a much more modern appearance than clay or cast iron models.

Steel is a lot lighter than both cast iron and clay, so you may opt for steel if you want a lot of flexibility in terms of chiminea placement.

The biggest disadvantage of a steel chiminea is its heat retention. They don’t hold heat very well and you’ll most likely need to use more fuel to maintain heat compared to clay or cast iron burners. Steel models are only really suitable for small patios. However, many steel models double up as a BBQ and are very effective at grilling food.

In a steel chiminea you can burn: generally you can burn all types of fuel in a steel chiminea; however, it may be best to avoid burning coal as it may get too hot.

Steel chimineas are great if: you want to move the chiminea around a lot, you don’t want to do any maintenance, you want to grill on it regularly.

A steel chiminea may not be right for you if: you’re trying to heat a medium-large patio, you want to burn the least fuel possible, you want a traditional design.

Chimineas are available in a range of sizes. Height, diameter, and weight are all important considerations.

Generally speaking, large chimineas will be between 120 – 150 cm tall. Clay chimineas of this size tend to be big overall, with large mouths and the ability to produce a lot of heat. However, not all tall chimineas have space for large fires. Some more modern designs are tall because they have longer chimneys, or space for a log store underneath.

The height of the chiminea’s mouth is also worth bearing in mind; some chimineas have a mouth that is lower to the ground than others. A lower mouth may mean that the heat is felt more on your legs than on your body when sitting down outside.

Diameter will dictate how large of a fire can be made inside the chiminea. It will also determine the size of the grilling area if the chiminea doubles as a BBQ grill. Whilst most chimineas are at least 40 cm in diameter, you may want something larger if cooking for lots of people on the grill is a priority.

Finally, it’s important to be aware that not all chimineas are light enough to move around easily. Whilst some steel models can be carried by one person, the majority of clay and cast iron chimineas will require at least two. If you want to frequently move your chiminea around the garden, or in and out of storage, keep an eye on the weight of the chimineas you’re looking at.

Chimineas are available in a range of designs, so it really comes down to personal preference.

Traditional clay chimineas look great in most gardens, regardless of the style of garden or furniture. They’re versatile enough to fit in with both a modern or classic aesthetic. As mentioned, you’ll need enough space to store a clay chiminea over winter, so if you don’t have much room in your outbuildings, you may need to consider a different design.

Cast iron chimineas can still look quite traditional, at least in shape. They often maintain the same form as the original clay chimineas. In general, this traditional shape, combined with their cast iron construction, creates a slightly more modern ‘industrial’ effect. This may suit gardens that already have industrial design features.

Steel chimineas tend to look a lot more modern. They can have sleek, minimalist designs and may not resemble traditional chimineas. They are suitable for small patios and, depending on their design, can be some of best chimineas to sit around at social gatherings. This is because some steel chimineas have mesh sides which allow heat to be felt through 360°, around all sides of the chiminea.

Chiminea FAQs

This depends on the type of chiminea. Coal burns extremely hot, so isn’t suitable for clay chimineas. Cast iron and steel chimineas can often use any fuel source, including charcoal and coal, but you should burn these fuels carefully. Thin steel can still warp if it gets too hot, so it may be best to avoid burning coal.

If safety is your priority, a chiminea is a good option. They keeps the flames more enclosed than a firepit, and often have a spark guard. Generally speaking they are safer for families with kids and pets, as they don’t have an open flame.

Chimineas offer more of a rustic look than fire pits, but fire pits can be better for socialising around. They can be accessed from all sides, and give off heat on all sides, making them useful for parties and gatherings.

For smaller gardens, chimineas are a great option. With their contained flames, there’s much less concern about hot ash and sparks than with a fire pit.

It is recommended to put sand, pea gravel or lava rock in the bottom of your chiminea.

This is regardless of whether it’s made from clay, cast iron or steel. These materials help evenly spread the heat which can help prevent damage to the chiminea. They can also help the chiminea retain heat for longer.

Sources
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