Chimineas not only look eye-catching but allow you to stay outside for longer, snuggled in a cosy glow. A wood-fired chiminea is a must-have in any modern garden. Neatly contained, these compact burners will fit into any seating area, creating a favourite go-to spot for a quiet after-dinner coffee or an eye-catching focal point for gatherings with family and friends.
There are all sorts of fabulously sleek designs on the market this year, so they’re also an affordable way to update your outside space. Available in a host of new finishes and materials, these modern models look good even when not lit, so you get plenty of impact for your outlay too. There’s a chiminea out there waiting to warm up your time spent outside, so treat your garden now!
What kind of chiminea do you want?
The very latest designs are sleek, streamlined, and a far cry from the earthy, rustic numbers of yesteryear. Looking good all year round, they add instant height, shape and structure to any patio, deck or garden, regardless of its size, and form a welcoming focal point no one can resist gathering around.
Originally 17th-century Spanish outdoor ovens, chimineas kick out a substantial amount of heat while keeping the burning fuel safely contained. Flames can be viewed through a large opening or mesh door, while pesky sparks and smoke are swiftly guided up through the tall chimney, well away from those gazing on. And if you have children or pets, then they’re arguably a safer alternative to low, open firepits, particularly in a tight space.
While many chimineas have a front opening, some manufacturers have reacted to the current trend of arranging garden furniture lounge-style with models offering a 360-degree view of the flames through a mesh panel. These give a little more ambient light too. The drawback is that these designs don’t retain the heat or draw the smoke up through the flue quite as effectively. So if you want maximum heat and minimum smoke in your seating area, a full-bodied design may be a better option for you. Other options incorporate laser-cut panels that create distinctive patterns when viewed against the warm, seductive glow from within.
The best chimineas 2022
La Hacienda Bennito Clay Chiminea
New classic The La Hacienda Bennito Clay Chiminea has all the charm of a traditional chiminea but is undeniably up to date. We love the cute rain lid too!
Garden Steel Chiminea
Timeless design With a wide belly, this burner will throw out plenty of heat. It comes with a poker and a handy rain lid to keep your chiminea dry.
La Hacienda Contemporary Steel Chiminea
Sturdy and stable The striking lines of this dramatic steel burner are set off by a matt black finish. The large fire opening enables everyone to be mesmerised by the dancing flames, while the tall chimney, complete with a rain cap that guides smoke and sparks safely up, up and away from the seating area. The splayed trio of legs form a supportive, broad base for extra peace of mind.
Honeycomb Chiminea With Wood Store
High style A firebox that's positioned higher makes the fire more of a focal point, and this 1.5m high model will efficiently whisk smoke away from your seating area. The hexagon design is bang on trend for this season.
Outdoor Chiminea Box
Simply Scandi Made from 1.5mm thick Corten steel with a crisp square opening, cut on the angle, this angular design couldn't be more stylish. Arriving in a pre-rusted state, the rich finish will only get better with age, developing its own unique markings.
Havana Decorative Stove
Versatile stunner Not just easy on the eye, this elegant teardrop design is a nifty stove too! You can cook up a tasty feast on its flat top, all while gazing at the front panel's beautiful laser-cut pattern that glows when the fire is lit. Made from sturdy raw steel with a neat footprint and slender shape, it's a good choice for a compact patio.
Abura Metal Chiminea
Modern chic The striking geodesic shape of this dramatic steel burner is set off by a matt finish. The large fire opening enables everyone to be mesmerised by the dancing flames. The golden base gives it a sophisticated touch.
Brookridge Steel Wood Burning Chiminea
Steel burner This chiminea will no doubt be an eye-catching statement piece in your garden. It is tall with a wide belly to burn wood for a lovely large fire.
Heta Tipi 96 Outdoor Modern Chiminea
Uniquely modern This fireplace looks like it could come straight from an art gallery. With a sharp silhouette and rust colour, it is both rustic and modern.
Hoole Ember Style
Contemporary & rustic A delicious blend of old and new, this gorgeous chiminea is handmade with seductive contemporary curves. It works particularly well with low-level seating as the fire sits low within the burner.
Esschert Design Terrace Heater Round Metal
Cosy darkness Enjoy the warmth of an open fire in your garden all year round with this sleek chiminea. The tall round fire bowl would look great on a terrace or in your outdoor space.
What to consider when buying a chiminea
Shape and size
There are curvy designs in modern shades, as well as contemporary cocoon shapes and sharp cones and pyramids, as well as uber-simple columns, so it’s easy to choose a silhouette to suit your plot. Do think about the scale too, as designs range from 70cm up to a lofty 1.5m high, and there’s a huge variation in the size of footprint available. Freestanding monoliths tend to have a smaller base and are perfect for sitting in a corner or as a central focal point in front of a wall, while those with prominent legs or a separate steel stand tend to occupy more floor space and are great for commanding a central position.
It’s important that the burner is positioned well away from any trees or overhanging branches, and seating, so find one that fits into the space you have available. It’s also worth looking at the size of the firebox’s opening, as this will limit the maximum length and quantity of logs that can be burnt at any one time. And think carefully about the height you want the flames to be – if you have a low-slung garden sofa, a chiminea with the fire grate positioned closer to its base may be better.
With a price range from £60 to over £1,000, it’s worth knowing what to look for. Sheet metal designs vary in the thickness and quality of the materials and construction techniques used. Nicola Adams from Morley Stove Company suggests looking for welded joints as these are stronger and longer-lasting than flat-packed designs that are bolted together, plus you don’t have the hassle of self-assembly.
Many products come with rain lids or caps, which are well worth having. Place them on top of the smokestack when not in use to stop debris and rain from falling into the chimney, damaging and weakening the firebox. Fitted rain covers are also handy, especially if you intend to leave a clay or metal burner outside year-round. Look for breathable or vented designs to prevent mould and mildew.
Fired clay or terracotta is the traditional material for a chiminea and it still looks great in a modern garden. Pretty good at radiating heat, inexpensive and tactile, it can be left to naturally weather, be glazed or hand-painted and sealed. The downside is that clay is fragile and, if left unsealed, porous – meaning that it can be prone to cracking in colder climates, rendering the burner useless. It is also trickier to maintain a hot, constant heat with a clay product and you have to be careful not to overload it with logs as this can also lead to the clay cracking.
Cast iron is a popular alternative. Made from molten iron poured into moulds, these chimineas can sometimes be cast in a single piece but are more often made in two or more sections, requiring assembly. Super-efficient at radiating heat, cast iron chimineas do get very hot, but they’re capable of burning both wood and charcoal, unlike other materials. They are heavy to move and store and can be costly – particularly with larger designs – although other metals are often introduced to reduce both weight and cost.
You’ll find chimineas made of newer materials, such as Corten steel and raw steel too. With industrial overtones, they will upgrade any garden in an instant. Corten steel (sometimes referred to as weathering steel) has a rich rusted surface that develops and changes over time when exposed to the elements without weakening the metal. Raw steel is often finished in heat-resistant paint, but this does need repainting and sealing annually to prevent rust. Both materials are relatively lightweight and pliable, making these suitable for complex and contemporary shapes.
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