What Is a Chiminea

You may have heard friends and acquaintances talking about how much they love using their chiminea on a warm spring night in the garden. However, you may not be entirely sure what these products can do or what they are.

So, what is a chiminea anyway?

A chiminea is essentially a free-standing fireplace that you’ll use outdoors (sometimes at any time of the year). Today, there are products available in a wide range of shapes, styles, and sizes. From the clay chiminea to cast iron chimineas, you can find solutions that will perfectly replace your basic fire pit.

Sounds interesting, right?

Here’s what you need to know if you’re keen to get involved with the chiminea trend.

Defining the Chiminea

These days it’s easy enough to find cast iron chiminea products that match other fire pit products and similar accessories in your garden. However, traditionally, chimineas were made from clay and designed to look very similar to old-style chimney or fireplaces for the outdoors.

Chimineas look a little like a vase, with a large bowl centre where you can place wood and other heating material. As a fire pit, your chiminea can help warm up patios and garden spaces in various weather conditions. However, a chiminea design is more effective than a fireplace when wind or rain would otherwise harm your flame.

You can use the bottom of a chiminea for cooking or even give the product pride of place in your garden to make space look more appealing. Another positive thing about chimineas is that the chiminea stack helps to carry smoke upwards and away from your face, so you don’t have to worry about excessive fumes during the wood-burning experience.

The History of the Chiminea

Traditional chimineas were clay products that burned charcoal and wood without excessive smoke. The opening on the side of the chiminea would be the firepit area, where you would place your fuel and food you wanted to cook. The chiminea construction today is very similar to the potbelly stove design from years past.

Compared to a standard fire pit, a chiminea can offer a more controlled experience. It is especially true if you’re equipped with the right accessories, such as pea gravel for the bowl, a variety of fuels to use, and some helpful kindling.

A chiminea was more likely for heating a home or cooking food outside in the gardens in the past. Today, these products are more of a fashion statement. They can add character and warmth to your patio or backyard. Plus, with a chiminea, you have access to a source of heat no matter the weather.

The Different Types of Chimineas

Often, the type of chiminea you invest in for your patio or garden will depend on what you plan on using these pieces. If you want a way to keep warm on your hardwood patio when you’re relaxing with friends at night, a cast iron chiminea might be a suitable type for you. Alternatively, the traditional clay chiminea offers safety and versatility during chiminea cooking sessions.

You can sometimes find unparalleled cooking accessories for the bowl of the chiminea so you can cook a variety of food options without having to risk an insufficient level of cooking. Common types of chiminea include:

Cast Iron

Ideal for cooking with high temperatures, these heavy products look great and are sturdy. However, they can be hard to move around if you want to rearrange furniture pieces. The base of a cast iron chiminea can stay hot for a long time, and it’s suitable for heating with pieces of wood, charcoal, and more. The downside to this type is that iron can rust over time.


A steel chiminea is often recommended as the right one for people who like to cook outside. You can find special pots and other products for the chiminea bowl, which helps you take full advantage of the bottom of the chiminea for cooking. Steel chimineas aren’t as efficient if you want to reduce the amount of fuel to burn.


One of the most traditional products for various items involving outdoor fires, clay is the go-to choice for many people. Not only does a clay chiminea look great for design purposes, but it’s also great for generating a hotter flame with various kinds of woods and other fuels. You can only use wood with this kind of chiminea because clay cannot stand the higher heats of metal products.

What Is the Purpose of a Chiminea?

Clay chimineas and cast iron chimineas look fabulous in a garden environment. If you want to spend more time outside without relying on a fire bowl or fire pits that are often exposed to the elements, chimineas are an excellent investment. All kinds of chiminea products allow you to create and manage fire for extended periods in almost any weather.

The idea behind a chiminea is to ensure that you can use your patio or outdoor environment for your conversations with loved ones during any time of the year.

You can often find chimineas offered as alternatives to fire pits in patio stores and outdoor garden shops. Aside from giving you a source of heat, the fires you can create in clay or cast iron chimineas can also offer an excellent cooking experience. If you’ve always wanted to practice making jacket potatoes on an open flame, this is one of the best ways to do it.

There are a broad menu of great items you can cook outside your home with the right chimineas, particularly if you have suitable pots and accessories for the flames. Do make sure that you find the correct position for everything on your patio before you begin using these products, however.

What’s more, chimineas have a great aesthetic appeal!

What Is the Difference Between a Fire Pit and a Chiminea?

There are some similarities between fire pits and chimineas. Both products can help you get the most out of your outdoor space by offering easy access to fire for heat. A chiminea or a pit can be an excellent solution for those who want outdoor fireplaces to enjoy throughout the year. However, the design and material of these products are often different.

It’s common for a fire bowl or pit to use metal as its primary material, whereas clay chimineas are often the most popular design. The base and shape of a pit are a little different, too. With a pit, you get a wide bowl that can hold a lot of burning material at once. When you use a chiminea, the shape allows you to add fuel to the centre one bit at a time to create too much smoke.

A chiminea is also designed to protect the flames within from exposure to the elements. It is crucial when you want to use your heat source throughout the year. Most people consider chimineas to be safer and more versatile than an open fire pit. However, both will look great in your garden.

What To Look For Before You Buy

Like spending time in the great outdoors becomes more popular, its homeowners become more common to add chiminea or outside heat solution to their homes. When you’re picking your new outdoor investment, make sure you carefully think about the overall shape, design, and chiminea materials.

Remember, although a clay chiminea looks more traditional and preserves heat well, it cannot withstand the higher temperatures of metal products.

• Size: How many people will be using this product, and how much heat do you want to create for everyone?

• Purpose: Are you using this product for heating only, or do you plan to cook various foods and meals with it too?

• Practicality: How easy will it be to use and maintain this product? Can you ensure that you keep your family safe when using it?

• Design: A chiminea should look good, so you enjoy showing it off. There are many different design options available today.

It’s also worth making sure you have a secure place where you can place your chiminea when it’s in use. The best space should be somewhere that allows you and your loved ones to sit nearby without getting too close. Directing the chiminea away from the wind should reduce the amount of excess smoke created when you’re burning the fuels within.

You may also want to consider whether your product is going to be protected from the rain or other elements that might cause damage over time when you’re choosing a position for it. If you can’t keep your chiminea protected outside, you may need to look for somewhere you can store it between uses.

Firing It Up

What is a chiminea? It is an excellent addition to your home to add aesthetic value and keep you warm and comfortable. Now that you know what a chiminea is, you will be able to decide whether you would prefer one over a fire pit. Consider your needs and lifestyle before making a purchase, but we are sure you won’t be disappointed once you commit.

Did you like this article? Do you already have your chiminea and would like to add some valuable tips based on your experience? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comment box below!

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