Chimineas make both a stylish and practical addition to your outdoor space. The cosy look of a roaring fire in a portable iron fireplace is hard to beat, and the heat it produces can extend your summer evenings and entice you into the garden in the cooler months.
As well as providing light and warmth, many chimineas also include a grill to enable them to be used for BBQ-style cooking, as well as other campfire activities such as toasting marshmallows. There are multiple ways in which a chiminea can enhance your garden and encourage you to spend more time outside.
Chimineas are usually made from clay, cast iron or aluminium, and feature a grated bulb-shaped base in which to burn logs, and a flue to allow the smoke to escape. As kindling and wood are the only ongoing costs, chimineas are cheap to run after the initial purchase. Bear in mind that you will need to cover a metal chiminea to protect it from rust.
Last update on 2021-02-10 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
If you’re looking for the perfect chiminea for your outdoor space, we hope you’ll find this list of 5 of the best garden chimineas on the market helpful. We’ve rated them based on factors such as their size, durability, the heat produced, and value for money. Say goodbye to shivering, and hello to cosy evenings in front of the (outdoor) fire.
Our best chiminea is extra large and throws out a lot of heat, whilst still being affordable
Cost: Price not available
First up on our list is this Extra Large Chiminea from Oxford Barbecues. When they say it’s extra-large, they’re not kidding – this 3-legged design measures in at an impressive 134cm high and 48cm wide.
The size of this chiminea is one of its best features, as it means you won’t have to spend so much time chopping up firewood into smaller pieces. It’s also capable of producing a lot of heat when filled with fuel, so it’s perfect for garden parties and events where you want to keep everyone warm.
If you’re hosting a gathering, it will also interest you to know that this chiminea includes a chrome-plated grill, to enable it to be used for BBQ-style cooking. Other features include a log grate and a rain lid for the flue.
The chiminea is made from steel and is finished with heat-resistant bronze paint. Unfortunately, the paint is prone to peeling with use, although this doesn’t affect the function of the chiminea, only the aesthetic. It’s also worth noting that self-assembly is required (as it is with most of these designs), but the instructions provided for this aren’t particularly clear.
Overall though, considering the size and durability of this model, that it offers the option to use it for cooking, and the very reasonable price, we really do believe this is the best garden chiminea on the UK market at the moment.
- Durable – made from steel.
- Finished in a heat-resistant paint with attractive bronze detailing.
- Larger than average size means more heat, and less wood-cutting.
- Includes chrome-plated grill for BBQ cooking.
- Also includes log grate and rain lid on flue.
- Requires some self-assembly, and assembly instructions aren’t the best.
- Bronze paintwork is prone to peeling.
A small chiminea, perfect for patios, and our top choice for value
If you’re looking for something a bit more compact, check out this Squat Steel Chiminea by La Hacienda. It looks exceptionally small in the box, but when assembled, measures a respectable 72cm high and 36cm wide (it does require some self-assembly, but this isn’t too difficult).
Don’t be fooled by its small size though – this chiminea throws out a lot of heat, and will easily keep a small space warm. It doesn’t produce as much heat as the Oxford, but for a patio or terrace, it will work just fine. The smaller size can also be an advantage aesthetically, as it takes up less of your garden – larger models can often appear to dominate a small space.
The compact size makes it easy to move around your garden and bring into a shed for storage and protection from the elements. It features a sturdy 3-legged design and is made from durable steel, with a painted pewter finish and cast iron legs.
Also included with this chiminea is a rain lid for the flue, a log grate, and a safety tool to allow you to manage the fire from a distance. Although there’s no grill for cooking, the quality of this affordable patio heater, as well as the pleasing aesthetic and amount of extras, all come together to make this our best value for money pick.
- Made from durable steel with cast iron legs.
- Attractive pewter-effect painted finish.
- The smaller size is great for patios and terraces.
- Compact and light enough to easily move around the garden.
- Includes rain lid, log grate, mesh guard and safety tool.
- Produces less heat than larger models.
- Can’t be used as a BBQ.
A 2-in-1 chiminea and BBQ, with a large area for firewood
Cost: Price not available
This LBBQ Log Burner by Kingfisher is slightly larger than the La Hacienda, although still one of the squattest designs on our list, at 109cm high, 63.5cm wide, and 50cm deep. It has 4 legs to keep it stable, instead of the typical 3, and is generally a more boxy design than most.
The square shape is one of the best things about this chiminea though, as it has mesh grating on all 4 sides. This makes it easier to burn wood, as there is a good supply of oxygen, and also allows for 360° heating. It’s perfect for parties, as you can set it in the middle of a group, and let everyone benefit from the warmth.
It has a fixed rain cover at the top of the flue, and a removable ashtray, for easy cleaning. It also includes a chromed grill tray and wooden cooking tool, to allow you to use it as a BBQ. As with the others, it does require some self-assembly, but this mostly involves slotting parts together, and shouldn’t take you more than 10 – 15 minutes.
It has to be said that the steel used in the construction of this one is not the thickest or sturdiest. We would recommend treating it with a protective stove spray, and covering it when not in use, to protect it from rust (this advice applies to all chimineas).
It’s also not the most affordable option on our list – but we think the large fire area, ability to cook and 360° heating more than justifies the slightly higher price tag.
- Made from steel with a heat-resistant powder coating.
- Suitable for use with medium-sized logs, wood and charcoal.
- Can also be used as a BBQ – includes a grill tray and cooking tool.
- Removable ashtray for easy cleaning.
- Mesh on all 4 sides allows for 360° heating.
- Not the most affordable option.
- Prone to rusting, unless treated with an additional protective spray.
Our priciest chiminea is decorative, has adjustable vents, and can be used with a variety of fuel types
Cost: Price not available
Next up is this Chiminea/Grill combo from Castmaster. It’s made from durable cast iron, and is a mid-range option in terms of size, measuring in at 115cm high and 50cm wide. It’s arguably the most stylish model on our list, with a decorative pattern carved into the metal.
Other notable features include an adjustable air-flow on the flue to control the rate of burning, and an adjustable vent below the body of the chiminea. There’s also a permanent rain cowl fitted to the flue to protect it from the elements.
Inside is a removable grill to enable BBQ-style cooking, and 2 retrievable sections, to allow you to remove ash easily. It’s suitable for use with wood, charcoal, coal and smokeless fuel, offering you full versatility.
These extra features do come at a price though, as this is our most expensive option – although it’s still by no means over-priced, considering what you get for your money.
- Durable and robust cast iron construction.
- Removable grill for BBQ-style cooking.
- Suitable for use with wood, charcoal, coal or smokeless fuel.
- Adjustable air-flow allows you to control the burn rate.
- Fitted cover is available to purchase separately.
- Self-assembly required, and it is a little fiddly.
- Our most expensive option.
An ultra-affordable option – although the quality is not as good as others
Cost: Price not available
Finishing off our selection of the best chimineas is this Garden Fire Pit from Home Hut. At 129cm high and 39cm wide, it’s one of the largest options here – and most importantly, it’s the lowest priced.
It’s made from steel, but it must be said that it doesn’t feel the best quality – the metal feels flimsy, and there are reports of the pre-drilled holes not lining up properly, affecting the ability to assemble and close the door, as well as the metal being bent out of shape.
It’s lacking in many of the user-friendly features common to similar designs, such a grill for BBQ cooking, or a removable tray for easy disposal of ash. It’s also prone to rusting after only limited use – although it is true that most chimineas will succumb to rust eventually.
If, however, you’re looking for a great value chiminea to add to your garden, and the finish and additional features aren’t too important to you, this patio fire pit functions just fine, and really cannot be beaten on price.
- Made from steel.
- Easy to assemble.
- Our most affordable option.
- Not the best quality of construction.
- No BBQ grill or removable ashtray.
- Prone to rusting quickly.
What To Put In A Chiminea
You have several options for fuel to put in your chiminea. The traditional path is to use wood kindling such as sticks and twigs, combined with scrunched up newspaper, to light the fire. You can then add dry logs as fuel to keep the fire burning.
Alternatively, you can purchase specific chiminea logs made from recycled sawdust and use firelighters to set them alight. Easy light fire logs are similar and consist of recycled wood particles held together with wax. The advantage of these options is that they’re easy to use, burn well, and produce very little smoke.
How To Light A Chiminea
Before lighting your chiminea, make sure it is in a stable position on a flat, non-combustible surface, such as stone, and away from any flammable materials. Do not place it directly on wooden decking. If your chiminea has a flue lid, remove it now.
Line the base of the chiminea with gravel or lava stones, to protect it from the heat. Layer scrunched up paper on top and build a pyramid of wood kindling over it (you could also use firelighters and a chiminea log, as mentioned above).
Light the paper in your chiminea using a lighter with a handle, to keep your hand away from the flames. Keep adding kindling, and once this is burning well, you can start to gradually add logs, to increase the size of the fire. Use a poker to safely move the wood and embers around – adding oxygen to the fire.
For the first few times you use your chiminea, you should stick to adding 2-3 logs only, to keep the fire small, and then allow it to burn out. This will serve to season your chiminea and help cure its protective paint. After the first 10 or so uses, you can start to add more logs and build bigger and longer fires.
Be very careful when lighting a chiminea, and do not allow children near it. Once lit, the metal body of the chiminea will get hot quickly – make sure not to touch it, and always supervise children and animals around it. Allow the fire to burn out naturally, and refrain from trying to extinguish it yourself.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.