Chimineas have been a garden staple for many years now, but the traditional Mexican, clay, models are now being joined by a host of modern designs with innovative extras, like grills that you can also cook on.
How we tested
We judged these models on how easy it was to set and light a fire in them, how impressive the heat output was when the fire was roaring and how well the chiminea retained that heat throughout the evening.
In terms of design, we were looking for models that would add some personality to the patio, but also provide a good view of the inferno raging inside, while keeping the fire safely stowed and any smoke directed away from gathered guests.
Away from the fire and heat, we looked at how heavy each model was, how easy it was to move around the garden and if it was a hassle to clean the next morning.
Finally, the fireplace’s stability was also something we considered, as the last thing you need is to have your evening spoiled by constantly worrying about the chiminea being knocked over.
The best chimineas for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Blumfeldt flame locker fireplace: £229.99, Blumfeldt.co.uk
- Best for heat output – Ivyline henley fireplace: £499.99, Ivylinegb.co.uk
- Best for modern design – MADE abura metal chiminea: £79, Made.com
- Best for the uninitiated – La Hacienda medium steel chiminea: £50, Argos.co.uk
- Best for the balcony – La Hacienda steel squat chiminea: £99.99, Garden4less.co.uk
- Best modern clay chiminea – Gardeco magda mexican chimenea: £240, Firepit.co.uk
- Best traditional chiminea – Charles Bentley natural clay chiminea: £100, Wilko.com
- Best for stability – Blumfeldt westeros: £199.99, Blumfeldt.co.uk
- Best for lawns – Blumfeldt mandala: £199.99, Blumfeldt.co.uk
Blumfeldt flame locker fireplace
This decorative firepit with an artificially rusted surface is nice to look at even when there isn’t a fire roaring and it works well as a centrepiece or for creating a cosy oasis in any area of the garden. Behind the doors, you have a large fire basket on which to arrange your logs or charcoal and get the fire going – plus, the doors can then be closed to frame the flickering flames, and keep everybody safe.
We got a good view of the flames through the fine mesh windows, which also kept the ash in the fire rather than sending out clouds of it every time there was some wind. The fire itself was very efficient with the solid steel sheet construction, retaining the heat effectively throughout the evening.
It’s a heavy piece at 25kg, but can be placed anywhere with two people, but this weight also made it stable and the removable ash pan made for an easy clean up.
Ivyline henley fireplace
Best: For heat output
This iron model with a rust finish has an eye-catching design with a huge firebox that meant we could feed the fire with larger logs from the woodpile – we could just enjoy the excellent heat output, without having to worry about continually maintaining the fire. Speaking of the woodpile, the Henley has a convenient (and big) log storage underneath the firebox so you won’t have to travel far for your fuel.
Finally, the Henley adds to its versatility with a two-in-one grill that allows you to turn any gathering into an instant cookout. At 19kg, it’s one of the heavier chimineas in the round-up, but with two pairs of hands, it’s still very portable.
MADE abura metal chiminea
Best: For modern design
An industrial-inspired steel model with a two-sided opening that, not only made it easy to prepare and start the fire, but meant that you could gather around on either side and still have a view of the roaring flames. Having said that, it’s a very nice product to look at even when there’s no fire in it with its sleek and stylish matte black and brass finish, which is designed to weather with age. At just 9.85kg, it’s very portable and very easy to clean.
La Hacienda medium steel chiminea
Best: For the uninitiated
If you’re not sure whether a chiminea is exactly right for your outdoor space, this steel model is a good starting point as it’s not so big that it will dominate an area, is reasonably priced and manages to pump out an impressive amount of heat for anyone sat around to enjoy thanks to the open 360-degree mesh grate. Very lightweight at just 5.2kg and easy cleaning adds to the usability of the product.
La Hacienda steel squat chiminea
Best: For the balcony
If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space then this compact steel fire has a very small footprint, but is still able to produce some real warmth and it’s easy to get a nice blaze going with a lot of heat being thrown out – even when the flames start to die down. The chiminea comes with a handy poker that makes it easy to turn the logs inside and the guard keeps little fingers out and any ash in. It was easy to empty, lightweight to move and the pewter finish gives the product some real aesthetic appeal.
Gardeco magda mexican chimenea
Best: Modern clay chiminea
The reason many people like traditional chimineas is that the clay they are made from absorbs the heat from the fire, and acts as a radiator long after the flames have started to die down. This chiminea, made in Mexico in a rustic dark grey colour, is made from clay but its modernist tubular design sets it apart from the norm.
The Magda offers lots of space to arrange your wood and get some air circulating to get a fire going easily and, unsurprisingly, the clay walls retained and radiated the heat so there was a constant output. The large opening also made cleaning out the ash with a shovel very easy and once it has cooled it can be moved around without a problem.
Charles Bentley natural clay chiminea
Best: Traditional chiminea
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional then this large clay model has a workable opening and large chimney, which work in combination to get the fire going and the heat building quickly. Clay chimineas can only be used with wood as charcoal burns too hot and can lead to shattering.
This model has a nice deep fire base that you can really load up with a good supply of kindling and split logs. It ticks all the traditional design boxes too; with it’s Terracotta finish and Aztec patterning and it’s also supplied with a stand, so you won’t have to worry about it scorching grass or patios.
Best: Chiminea for stability
The tall cone design of this product means that you get a large chamber that is incredibly fire-friendly and emits heat uniformly in all directions. One of the concerns with taller chimineas is that they are more easily toppled, but we had no concerns with the Westeros thanks to its thick, steel sheet construction and flat, solid base that kept everything grounded. The stability is even more guaranteed when you stock the built-in wood store with split logs.
Best: Chiminea for lawns
Considering the size of this chiminea, it has minimal contact with the ground which means that even when the fire is going you won’t have to worry about it searing the ground beneath it, especially if it’s on a lawn.
The size of the basket allows you to stoke up a large fire and there is also good direct heat and an all-around view thanks to its fine mesh grating that encircles the basket. Efficient and well-designed with lots of air circulation to keep the fire going, it’s16.5kg, so is on the bulky side, but if you’re looking for a chiminea that will stay in situ over the summer this is a good option.
The verdict: Chimineas
A chiminea is a great way to extend your time in an outside space long into the evening, but it also needs to add some personality to your patio and the Blumfeldt flame locker fireplace really does this well with its combination of eye-catching design, usability and excellent heat output.
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