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Buying a chiminea?

Updated on November 22, 2014

Chiminea Buying Guide

The idea behind this article is to help you find out the very basic information you will need to know about the various chimineas available on the market before diving in and making an uninformed purchase.

We will name the different types of chiminea available on the market, whilst also providing a short description behind the manufacture and build quality of each chiminea variant and the different sizes that are available to choose from.

Hopefully, this will help you to make a more informed purchase before investing your money, thus giving you the best possible chance of buying a chiminea that is right for both you and your garden.

We go into detail and describe the pros and cons behind the various chimineas, including cast iron chimineas and clay chimineas.

Chimineas

The Perfect Garden Accessory

With Spring upon us and the Summer on it's way, now is probably the best time of year to purchase a chiminea.

Within this article, we will provide a few hints and tips as to which type of chiminea would be better suited to you, your lifestyle and your garden, ensuring you make the right choice when the time comes to make your purchase.

A chiminea - much like a fireplace in your living room - can and probably should become a focal feature to your garden, especially within the seating area of your garden. Not only because a chiminea provides immense warmth, but also because there are some highly stylish looking cast iron chimineas, whilst also giving the option of a traditional style to suit a traditional style garden.

Flames from an open fire always seem to provide a therapeutic calmness and with the added benefit of generating plenty of warmth, the ability to burn and dispose of old garden waste and or paper, whilst also providing a great additional benefit to cook/BBQ food.

So go on, enhance your Spring/Summer garden experience, buy a chiminea!

Buy a Chiminea - Here we provide a selection of recommended chimineas

Using the information provided in this buying guide, you should now have enough knowledge about the basics of chimineas to make an informed purchase of the much sought after garden accessory - the much loved, chiminea.

Cast Iron Chimineas
Cast Iron Chimineas

Cast Iron Chimineas

Cast iron chimineas are just that - chimineas made from cast iron

Cast iron chimineas are almost defintely the top selling type of chiminea available on the market today.

The reason behind the cast iron chiminea success is probably due to the nature of cast iron and the ability to easily manufacture beautiful patterns and at different sizes and shapes.

There really are some beautiful chimineas out there, with patterns such as grape vines, celtic bands and many other patterns to choose from.

With such options available, you can rest assured that you will be able to find a cast iron chiminea that appeals to you aesthetically, whilst allowing the chiminea to merge within your gardens surroundings.

One of the major benefits to purchasing and owning a cast iron chiminea (or any other chiminea manufactured from metal) is the additional heat exposure provided by the chiminea body itself.

Clay chimineas tend to release the generated heat via the opening at the front or through the chimney flue itself - generally used as a BBQ style cooking apliance (when a grill is employed).

Whereas with a metal based chiminea, the metal acts as a heat conductor, therefore, it generates/releases much more heat than a clay chiminea. Because a cast iron chiminea generates quite substantially more heat than a clay chiminea, this may be more suited towards someone with a larger garden or patio seating area - allowing more people to remain warm as the evening gets cooler.

Due to the additional heat exposure provided by a cast iron chiminea, it may not be a suitable choice of chiminea for your needs.

Maybe your garden/patio area is on the small side or slightly restricted? In which case, this leads us nicely onto the next type of chiminea in this buying guide - the clay chiminea...

Chimineas available on Ebay - Looking to buy a chiminea?

Get involved with an auction or 2 on Ebay in order to find and buy a chiminea at price that suits your budget perfectly.

Clay Chimineas
Clay Chimineas

Clay Chimineas

Originating from mexico - the clay chiminea

Did you know that the clay chiminea originated from Mexico, hundreds if not thousands of years ago?

It was originally used as a heating appliance for families on colder evenings, and it then evolved into also being used as a cooking appliance. This was achieved by creating a detachable flue top and adding a metal grill for placing various foods on, acting very similar to a BBQ.

Usually a clay chiminea is found/manufactured to be quite substantially smaller than it's cast iron alternative, and with good reason.

The clay chiminea is mostly suited to those with smaller gardens or patio areas. Areas that would otherwise be much too small to cater for a cast iron chiminea and the heat expsoure within a small area.

Clay chimineas tend to give of the majority of their heat directly from the front opening/fuel loading door itself, or the flue (as mentioned earlier - this can be used similar to a BBQ).

A (major?) flaw in clay chimineas

If you decide to purchase a clay chiminea, it is well worth bearing in mind just how important purchasing a chiminea cover is going to be.

Inevitably, when the clay chiminea is exposed to high temperatures, the clay tends to crack. When these cracks are then are exposed to cold, wet and then freezing cold weather, the water will expand as it freezes. This causes the frozen water to shatter/break the clay chiminea into various pieces as the ice expands.

Buying a chiminea - but which type? - Will you buy a clay chiminea or cast iron chiminea?

chiminea vote
chiminea vote

With the 2 types of chiminea compared within this article, which chiminea would you pick when it comes to buying one?

A cast iron chiminea for it's ability to generate and provide a great deal of heat - probably not ideal for the smaller garden, but is much more durable and generally has a longer life? Or do you opt for the classic looking, the original, clay chiminea?

Vote now:

Cast Iron Chiminea V.S Clay Chiminea - which is best?

See results

Are you thinking about buying a chiminea, but would like a little bit of advice before buying?

Do you have any questions about which chiminea would be best for you?

If so, please do feel free to ask your questions below. I will strive to answer every single one of them.

If you would just like to leave a comment on this article, please do feel free. I would very much appreciate any and all comments.

Questions and/or comments? - Thanks for stopping by...

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    • profile image

      Katee A 2 years ago

      Our family enjoyed a large clay chiminea for years. We had it for over 12 years. It broke yesterday. Our lawn maintenance guy had moved it to blow leaves and when moving it around it toppled over and hit a rock and broke. It had a unique design and I have begun to look today to see if I can find another one that we will like. The design had the look of a lion head with it's mane swirling around the opening. I have seen similar designs on European antique fireplace mantels.

      I had never seen a cast iron chiminea before beginning my search for a replacement. I agree that it would give off more heat. That is one thing I did like about the clay one; while it did get hot and the outer surface got hot, it was not as hot as a metal one would have been. With children, youth, pets and a smaller area for enjoying it, I am considering replacing the one broken with another clay chiminea. We used a clay flower pot saucer to cover the top of the chiminea when not in use and to prevent rainwater from going down the flu. We live in the south, planting zone 7, so while we do have some freezing temperatures, the cold weather does not last too long and we did prevent water from entering into the chiminea so we did not have issues with freezing causing cracks.

      Have you ever had problems with rusting or corrosion on an iron chiminea? I have also seen aluminum chiminea. I wonder about the durability of aluminum ones. Have you had any experience with them?

    • profile image

      kiki 2 years ago

      Aloha!

      I'll be moving to southern Oregon and wondered if these are better for lighting a 40'dia round earth bag home than a regular wood-burning stove. Can these be used indoors? I've seen pics of them used inside tepees.

    • profile image

      JD 3 years ago

      Who makes the chiminea in the first picture with the swing out grill insert?

    • seemly profile image
      Author

      Chris 3 years ago from UK

      @paulahite: Amazing! many thanks for sharing my lens. I'm chuffed to bits, thank you so much! =D

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      Very nice lens. I shared it on our G+ page today. Come and check it out!

      https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/10593843672309975630...

    • seemly profile image
      Author

      Chris 4 years ago from UK

      @anonymous: No problem at all Ann-Marie. I hope you are please with your chiminea, whichever one you choose. Enjoy!

    • seemly profile image
      Author

      Chris 4 years ago from UK

      @anonymous: The bigger chimney/flue does not necessarily mean the smoke escapes easier, it's more for aesthetics than anything else.

      It's key to remember that you should never put enough fuel into a chiminea so that flames escape from the front of the chiminea (through the door) or out of the top through the the flue. This can cause damage from over exposure of heat to areas of the chiminea where it is not supposed to be.

      In most cases, the taller the flue, the larger than diameter of the chiminea itself = more heat. These types of chiminea are ideal for slightly bigger patios/gardens. If you have a smaller patio, then go for the smaller sized chiminea(s).

      Personally, I would always go with cast iron and I would always buy the larger versions. But that's just my preference over the years.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hello ! Hopefully you'll see and be able to reply to my 'reply comment' after your comments about the pros and cons with a 360 degree chiminea ? I'm in a hurry to buy one you see ! Do I get a standard small one or a tall one if as I've asked, it's more efficient at taking the smoke away ? We do have a big garden so space isn't an issue. Many thanks from Anne-Marie

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @seemly: Very interesting and very valid points which have now made me question getting a 360 degree chiminea which was my first choice.

      My question also is whether the height of the chimney /flue is important and if taller ones do a better job ?

    • seemly profile image
      Author

      Chris 5 years ago from UK

      @anonymous: I don't think escaping smoke is the 'issue', I think it's more the dispersing of heat effectively and fuel burning efficiency.

      With a standard front facing door/opening chiminea, the iron surround of the chiminea provides heat effectively, whilst also keeping fuel burning efficient by not providing as much oxygen to the fire (saving you money).

      Comparing this to an open/360 degree chiminea, which is exposed to more oxygen, making fuel usage less efficient. Also, because the 360 chimineas are less protected from wind, you risk difficulty lighting/keeping lit.

      Not to mention that the 360 open chimineas would be impossible to safely and consistently contain flames within the 'constraints' of the grilled casing, making it very dangerous from a young child's point of view.

      I hope this helps.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What are the pros and cons of a 360 degree Chiminea verses one that opens in the front. Does the 360 degree version have problems with smoke drifting onto those sitting around it? Thanks!

    • missyjanette profile image

      missyjanette 6 years ago

      nice!

    • seemly profile image
      Author

      Chris 6 years ago from UK

      @kathysart: Hey Kathysart, many thanks for stopping by! I think a clay chiminea would be an ideal addition to your patio, especially with the spring/summer months imminent. Pre-season, you might still be able to get at a discounted price too, but be quick! =)

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      For 20 years I heated my house with wood heat. When winter came and there was snow on the ground I remember opening my eyes in the morning HOPING there were still coals left. Now I no longer live where is snows so no longer have to worry about it, but I would like a cute little clay one for my patio~! Angel blessed.

    • seemly profile image
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      Chris 6 years ago from UK

      @Franksterk: Awesome! I just got blessed! =)

      Thanks for stopping by Frankster, it means a great deal.

      Kudos to you for all the charitable work you do for cats with FIV. I am surprised you do not have a website up and running to promote awareness of the disease, as I have never heard of it until reading your bio!

      Wishing you all the best with your work.

      Chris

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      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      Excellent lens. I've always wondered about the difference between a cast iron chiminea vs a clay one. Your lens gave good advice. Thanks. Blessed with bear hugs, Frankster

    • seemly profile image
      Author

      Chris 6 years ago from UK

      @intermarks: Hi Intermarks, I am really please you found the article helpful, as this was my aim.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, much appreciated! =)

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 6 years ago

      Very helpful and detail information. I would prefer the cast iron chiminea than clay chiminea mainly on the durability and it performance. .

    • seemly profile image
      Author

      Chris 6 years ago from UK

      @Anime-e: Hey Anime-e, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to both read my lens and leave a comment!

      I agree, chimineas are great for keeping you warm on chilly evenings.

      For those of you that are thinking about buying a chiminea and you would prefer one that generates the most heat, a cast iron chiminea is pretty much the best investment you could make.

    • Anime-e profile image

      Anime-e 6 years ago

      I believe that these chiminea`s really keep you warm when you need it, and that is what I enjoy the most about them!

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