Chiminea Wars – Getting Down and Dirty With the Facts

We had an epic time over Xmas and New Year, and we spent plenty of time outdoors enjoying the crisp fresh air, warmed to our very cockles by our lovely big chiminea. Now all the festive kerfuffle is over and done with, our thoughts are turning to spring. We’ve done some research to find out the questions people ask most frequently about chims, and we’re going to answer a few of the best for you. Here goes.

What chiminea to buy?

What chiminea is best? If you’re wondering which type of chiminea will suit your circumstances you’re not alone. There’s a huge choice of styles, materials, designs and colours, each with its own set of advantages. Sometimes it’s a mere matter of looks. Other times it’s more about the practicalities of the kit, things like size, the amuont of heat you get and how far it radiates, how frequently you think you’ll use it and the type of fuel you’d prefer to use.

I want a chiminea – What to look for?

What should you look for when buying a chiminea? You usually get what you pay for, and really cheap chimineas are often fairly poor quality, made from brittle clay that’ll crack in no time at the smallest provocation. Very cheap is usually a false economy unless you want to test-drive the whole chim thing for as little outlay as possible and buy a good quality one if it turns out you’re a big chim fan. Having said all that, there’s also no need to spend a king’s ransom. Allow yourself £70 – £150 and you will have a splendid range to choose from, all beautifully made with quality at their heart.

What size chiminea do I need?

It depends on the size of the space you want to keep cosy. Bear in mind chimineas get very hot indeed. It isn’t about the size of the fire, though. Far from it. Exactly like a wood burning stove, a chiminea does its best work through being heated up. A small fire will steadily heat the entire body of your chim, which has a much bigger surface area than the fire itself and radiates all that lovely heat out into the space surrounding it. You can also get flat-back versions that stand against a garden wall for convenience and extra safety.

Chiminea or patio heater?

A patio heater is a radiant heating appliance. It generates heat outdoors via a burner on top of a tall post, which burns liquid petroleum gas, propane or butane to send a hot flame up against a perforated metal screen, which in turn radiates the heat outwards. The thing is, patio heaters are tall and slim, and heat naturally rises, so while they’re fairly efficient they can leave you chilly from the knees downwards!

Chiminea versus fire pits and fire bowls

A fire pit, also called a fire hole, can be anything from a basic hole in the ground to an elaborate gas burning structure made from either stone, brick or metal. But they all have one thing in common – they’re designed to prevent fire from spreading. They can be permanent or temporary, and can run on wood or coal or gas. Firebowls are similar to pits. We sell a collection of fire pits and bowls in steel or cast iron, plus brilliant versions that form an integral part of a patio table and come with smart matching patio chairs, like this.  Some fire pits and bowls have safety lids, others are open to the air, so if you have small children running around a chiminea might be a safer option thanks to its closed body.

Chiminea versus BBQ

A barbecue has one function: to cook food. They’re a great piece of kit, whether it’s a simple foil tray from your local garage or an all-singing monster of a US-style BBQ, more like a commercial cooker designed for the outdoors. But you can also cook food on most chims as well as using them for heating purposes, which makes them much more of a multi-purpose buy. If you want to cook and stay warm, they’re perfect.

Chiminea versus pizza oven

Did you know you can cook pizza very effectively on some chimineas? You either do it via a grill placed on top of the chimney part or inside the body itself. A pizza oven cooks perfect pizza and plenty more, and of course it radiates plenty of lovely heat naturally thanks to its cast iron or steel body. But it isn’t always the best idea to keep a pizza oven outdoors all year round, not least because food hygiene is so important, especially when cooking meat. And it’s much more of a cooker than a heater.

Always happy to help

If you have any questions whatsoever about chimineas, fire pits, fire bowls or anything else that we sell, feel free to get in touch and we’ll go through things together, so you can make a really good decision.