Chimineas are a great way to add warmth to any outdoor space – learn about different materials and their pros and cons to find the best chiminea for your backyard!
Chiminea Buying Guide
What is a chiminea?
A chiminea is a freestanding fireplace with a wide body and a tall neck used as a smoke vent or chimney.
Traditionally, there is a single mouth opening but some newer styles have a 360 degree opening or multiple openings. A single mouth opening is generally safer (less area for sparks to get out) and warmer (since the heat only has one opening to escape from).
Why buy a chiminea?
There are many styles of outdoor fireplaces – like chimineas, firepits or firebowls, and even traditional outdoor fireplaces. Unlike a firepit or firebowl, a chiminea has a long neck that vents smoke up and away from your eyes.
Where should I keep my chiminea?
It’s important that you place your chiminea on a level, flameproof surface away from any flammable materials. Rocks, sand, concrete, or stone pavers are good examples of surfaces for your chiminea.
What size chiminea should I buy?
Outside of regular dimensions like length, height, and width, you should also consider firebox size when shopping for a chiminea – that’s the size of the area where you’ll actually be burning wood. A small firebox means that you’ll need to cut your wood smaller or order specially-sized wood to properly fit in your chiminea.
What’s the best material for a chiminea?
Chimineas can be found in many materials from clay and terra cotta to different types of metal. Each material has its pros and cons, and you should consider the following questions before reviewing the different materials and styles available:
- What is my climate like? Does it rain and snow?
- Will I keep my chiminea outside year-round?
When you review different materials for chimineas, focus on a material that will last where you live. A clay chiminea might be a bad choice for a low-maintenance outdoor fireplace if you live in an area with harsh winters, but would be fine in a dry, warm climate (along with careful maintenance and care) while a cast aluminum chiminea would perform just fine in a cold region.
Types of Chimineas
- Cast Aluminum Chimineas
- Cast Iron Chimineas
- Clay & Terra Cotta Chimineas
- Copper Chimineas
- Steel Chimineas
Learn more about different chiminea materials to find the best chiminea for your home.
Cast Aluminum Chimineas
Cast aluminum chimineas are the best option for a low-maintenance, long-lasting chiminea. While the price tag is on the higher side, cast aluminum chimineas don’t warp, crack, rust or corrode over time and only occasionally need paint. They’re lighter than their cast iron cousins, but still strong since they’re often made in the same molds as cast iron chimineas.
- Will not rust or corrode
- Will not crack or warp
- Lightweight compared to cast iron
- Can be more expensive than other materials
Shop cast aluminum chimineas
Prairie cast aluminum wood burning chiminea
Western basket weave cast aluminum chiminea
Venetian cast aluminum wood burning chiminea
Cast Iron Chimineas
Cast iron is one of the more traditional materials for chimineas. They can be very heavy which can make them difficult to move, but also much less likely to blow over in a strong wind. Although they need less maintenance than materials like clay, terra cotta, or copper – cast iron chimineas should be painted regularly to keep rust from forming.
- Do not have to be stored during cold or rain (but should be covered)
- Heavy in weight – won’t blow over
- Can rust and stain surfaces
- Should be painted every few years to prevent rust
- Heavy in weight – difficult to move
Shop cast iron chimineas
Cast iron wood burning chiminea
Garden cast iron wood burning chiminea
Grape cast iron wood burning chiminea
Clay or Terra Cotta Chimineas
Clay or terra cotta chimineas can be great for light use – using them to house candles instead of a lighting a fire is a great way to keep them in shape and prevent shattering from high heat while still providing a warm glow. Clay chimineas need to be babied with regular maintenance like applying sealant, storing or covering during inclement weather, and repairing any cracks.
- Traditional, old-world look and design
- Requires regular maintenance to prevent cracks
- Should be stored during cold or rain
- Must be dried completely before use
- More easily broken than metal chimineas
Copper chimineas can create a warm glow, but the material is expensive and will require maintenance over time.
- Will weather to a greenish tint and patina over time
- More expensive material
- Not recommended for heavy use
- Will likely require maintenance around pop rivets or screws
They are many different types of steel that can be used for chimineas, but weathering steel (also known by its trademark COR-TEN) is most frequently used for outdoor or landscaping applications. Weathering steel resists corrosion, but is not rust-proof. It naturally forms a layer of rust or patina when exposed to outdoor conditions.
Cheaper stainless steel or sheet metal chimineas can be found for low price points, but won’t last long.
- Weathering steel will last years or decades, depending on the atmospheric conditions
- Weathering steel will eventually form a layer or rust or patina – great for a rustic look and feel
- Weathering steel can stain pavers or patio surface as it rusts
- Weathering steel will eventually form a layer or rust or patina – won’t stay black or grey if you want a modern look
Shop steel chimineas
Rustic steel wood burning chiminea
COR-TEN steel obelisk chiminea
Prism hand-welded steel chiminea