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Which would you choose? A fire pit or a chiminea? The answer to this question is really up to the individual, but there are some factors that you should consider when making your decision.
The chiminea has been around for centuries and it is a traditional way to stay warm during the cold winter months. It is a great replacement for an old fireplace or wood stove that you may have in your home.
In this post, we will compare the benefits of both fire pits and chimineas so that you can make an informed decision about which one would be best for your home.
What Is A Chiminea?
Both the word chimenea and its English cognate, chimney, derive from the Spanish term chimney.
Chimineas (or chimeneas) are built to stand alone as ovenlike structures with a front opening for loading fuel into the circular base section. A vertical stack is attached to the top of this vertical structure, allowing smoke to escape upward.
Chimineas are typically more costly than fire pits. If cost isn’t a concern for you, then chimineas can be an excellent long-term investment.
They’re often made of cast iron, clay, stone, or metal and have beautiful designs on them that make them look like works of art in your backyard. Also, they will last forever if properly cared for!
A chiminea is fueled by firewood. However, unlike a fireplace, it isn’t suggested to use pressurized wood in a chiminea.
Depending on the sort of chimenea you choose to buy, will determine the fuel you will be able to burn. You can only burn dry wood in a fired clay model. Cast iron and cast iron/steel combinations you can burn charcoal, coal, and wood in.
Chimineas comes in different shape and sizes including:
- Cast Iron Chiminea
- Mexican Chiminea
- Terracotta Clay Chiminea
- Ceramic Chiminea
- Iron Chiminea
- Stainless Steel Chiminea
- Copper Chiminea
Top 3 Chimineas
1. BALI OUTDOORS Outdoor Fireplace Wooden Fire Pit, Chimenea
The Bali Outdoors Round Wire Mesh Chimenea Fire Pit is a great addition to any patio or deck. The fire pit comes with a cover and an adjustable spark screen.
It is easy to assemble and clean. You can use it for both wood and artificial logs, as well as the included lava rocks, which are also easy to clean after use.
The mesh design allows you to see the flames while keeping your face protected from sparks.
2. Wood Burning Small Clay Chimenea
This clay and metal chimenea is a warming addition to your home’s patio décor, but also makes a great gift to give to family and friends who enjoy outdoor fireplaces.
This wood-burning small clay chimenea provides a rustic accent for any outdoor space. Within this clay vessel, you can use wood as fuel for the flame.
The top of the chimenea features an opening that allows smoke to escape when using wood as fuel. The bottom of the chimenea is open so that air can flow through it when using wood or charcoal as fuel.
3. Deckmate Sonora Outdoor Chimenea Fireplace
The Outdoor Chimenea Fireplace is a designer embossed cast iron construction and high temperature paint finish that will add a touch of elegance to your patio or garden.
The full 360 degree view of fire with a fine wire mesh spark screen makes this fireplace an ideal choice for entertaining.
A log grate and fire tool are included to help you get the best results from your chimenea fireplace.
What Is A Fire Pit?
A fire pit is a specially designed bowl or hole that can be used to burn wood in order to create heat and/or provide light.
There are many different types of fire pits but they all have the same purpose which is to allow you to sit around them with friends or family members.
The word “fire pit” is actually used to describe two separate kinds of outdoor heat sources.
One kind of fire pit is either made of concrete or a fire pit ring and is in a hole in the ground that you build a fire inside, and another type is an aboveground metal bowl with a stand that you can make a fire in.
Fire Pits comes in different shape and sizes including:
- Propane Fire Pit
- Gas Fire Pit
- Copper Fire Pit
- Steel Fire Pit
Top 3 Fire Pits
1. Sunnydaze Crossweave Outdoor Fire Pit – 36 Inch Large Bonfire
The 36 inch outdoor fire pit is the perfect size for a bonfire on the patio, yard, or garden. This large fire pit is 16 inches tall without a spark screen and has a 31 inch inner diameter.
The Outdoor Fire Pit – 36 Inch Large Bonfire will provide you with many hours of enjoyment around your home. Our 36 inch outdoor fire pit is made from heavy-duty steel that is rust resistant and durable to ensure years of use.
The Outdoor Fire Pit – 36 Inch Large Bonfire comes with a spark screen so you can enjoy the warmth of the flames.
2. Multifunctional Fire Pit Table 32in Square Metal Firepit
The Yaheetech Fire Pit Table is a multifunctional table with a fire pit in the center. It’s a sturdy design with a special pattern ideal for warmth, BBQ and cooling drinks, and food in patio/garden/yard.
Overall Dimension (with Lid): 31.97 x 31 x 19.7’’ (LxWxH); Overall Dimension (without Lid): 31.97 x 31 x 14.37’’ (LxWxH)
3. TIKI Brand 25 Inch Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit
The Tiki Brand 25 inch Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit is the best fire pit overall. Constructed with 16-gauge stainless steel and durable weatherproof powder-coated, this low smoke fire pit can last a lifetime.
The Tiki Brand 25 inch Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit is the best rated by CNET March 2021 for its durability and low smoke output.
The Tiki Brand 25 inch Stainless Steel Low Smoke Fire Pit comes with a spark screen, poker, and cover as well as a lifetime warranty for your peace of mind!
Chiminea vs Fire Pit: Comparison Table
There is so much to choose from when it comes to finding a chiminea or fire pit, but hopefully, you will find our comparison table beneficial in deciding which one suits your needs best.
Chiminea vs Fire Pit
|Price||$150 – $600||$50 – $200|
|Safety||Hot To The Touch||Open Flames|
|Appeal||Visually Appealing||Rustic Appeal|
|Ease Of Use||Relatively Easy To Use||Extremely Easy To Use|
|Cleaning||Hard To Clean||Easy To Clean|
|Storage||Very Heavy||Easy To Move|
|Heat||Small Area||Large Area|
|Light||Less Light||More Light|
Chiminea vs Fire Pit: Which Gives More Heat?
A fire pit offers much more heat than a chiminea due to its open design allowing heat to be distributed 360 degrees.
As a result, everyone seated near it will benefit from its warmth. This is a significant benefit if you have large gatherings of family or friends.
Another advantage of a fire pit for heat is that you can add as much fuel as you want—assuming you use wood or coal as your fuel of choice. As a result, if you require more heat, simply increase the size of the fire.
Keep in mind, however, that larger fires can quickly become out of hand.
A chiminea, on the other hand, does not provide all-around heat because it is only open on one side. Only those who are seated close to the opening will benefit from significant heat.
Because of the limited air supply, a chiminea will take longer to heat up.
Chiminea vs Fire Pit: Which One is Safer?
A chiminea is considerably safer than a standard fire pit when it comes to safety.
A well-designed stack of the chiminea directs flames up and away from you and your guests, giving a far more controlled burn than a fire pit may offer.
This allows you and your guests to relax and enjoy your evening instead of getting concerned about shooting sparks and flames possibly going out of control.
Furthermore, the chiminea’s fire bowl and stack were designed to keep the smoke away from those who sat around it.
As air enters the front of the chiminea, it is drawn upwards and out through the stack, creating a draft that draws the smoke up and out as well.
Fire pits, while popular for outdoor gatherings, have a number of disadvantages and annoyances, including:
Chiminea vs Fire Pit: Easiest To Manage?
After you’ve built a little fire in a chiminea, you can sit back and relax. A chiminea may burn for hours with just one or two small logs in the fire bowl when compared to fire pits that need either a big fire and constant attention.
The design of the chiminea was originally designed for the purpose of baking bread, which is why it has such a long-burning style.
When it comes to enjoying a night with your friends and family without spending too much time tending the fire, this is an unrivaled option.
The chiminea’s bowl and stack are built to provide a natural draft. The front of the bowl receives air and is carried up the stack and out the top.
This natural draught will keep your fire burning without you having to worry about it. You can spend less time tending your fire and more time with family and friends, truly enjoying your evening.
Chiminea vs Fire Pit: Which Offers More Light?
A fire pit will give you much more light than a chiminea due to the design and the flames being enclosed. The open design of a fire pit means that much more light is able to escape providing more light in your surroundings.
The flames in a fire pit are also more likely to be easier on the eyes than those coming from chiminea. Chimineas have a close design which means that it’s much harder for you to see what is happening inside.
Chimineas may provide heat but they don’t offer enough light making them subpar compared to fire pits.
Chiminea vs Fire Pit: Ease of Use & Maintenance
There are many reasons why people choose to purchase a chiminea over a fire pit. Before making this decision, however, it’s important they understand the differences in ease of use and maintenance between these two outdoor heat sources.
The first difference worth noting between the two options is how easy each one would be to set up or move around depending on where you want them located or what activities you plan on using your outdoor space for at any given time throughout the year.
Fire pits tend to weigh anywhere from 20-50 pounds while most chimineas usually have a weight range between 30-80 pounds.
This can be important to consider if you have stairs or steep inclines on the path you want to transport your heating source, either in or out of your home, as it will affect how difficult this task is going to be.
When it comes to maintenance, chimineas offer a clear advantage.
For example, the fire pit below features an extra heavy-duty stand that is made of steel.
As you can see in the photo, this particular model is definitely sturdy enough to handle long hours in bad weather without any issues, but it will require regular maintenance with soap and water when it’s not in use just like all other metals tend to do when left out exposed to the elements.
A chiminea on the other hand is typically constructed using clay or cast iron so it requires no additional upkeep aside from giving it a light dusting with a dry cloth every so often if there’s debris present on top of it or around where it’s set up at.
Although it’s not required, you can also give the exterior of your chiminea a quick coat of oil for better corrosion resistance if desired.
Either way, this simple task is nothing compared to having to constantly wipe down the metal frame and cooking grate on a fire pit so most people find that their outdoor heat source stays cleaner and lasts longer with less maintenance when they choose a chiminea over a fire pit.
Chiminea vs Fire Pit: Placement
Fire pits, regardless of their design, have fewer options when it comes to where they can be placed. With flames that can lick up and out and sparks that can float around freely, you must keep them far away from anything flammable.
Chimineas can be used in a wide range of settings, including indoors if you opt for a gas-burning model.
A simple installation of terracotta tiles on your patio or porch will provide a fire-safe base for the chiminea, and keeping it a few feet away from any objects or walls will help to ensure that the heat does not pose a fire hazard.
Unlike fire pits, a simple spark screen installed on the top of the chiminea stack will prevent sparks from causing problems while not blocking the fire.
This simplifies chiminea maintenance while also ensuring safety, making it a much more appealing option for most fireplace enthusiasts.
Can I roast marshmallows in a chiminea?
Yes, you definitely can roast marshmallows in a chiminea. You can even roast hot dogs or other types of meat over the fire.
Make sure to have a stick long enough to reach all the way across the fire while being able to support your food.
Should you put sand in a chiminea?
Yes, you must fill the chiminea with sand until it reaches about three-quarters of the way up the mouth.
For the first few fires, while heating during the curing process, this ensures that the flames of the fire do not directly touch the clay.
This is critical because you do not want any sparks or direct flames to come in contact with the clay for at least an hour after heating.
If you are using charcoal, I recommend building a small mound of charcoals about three feet wide and two feet tall; this should be enclosed on all sides but one (the side opposite the door) which should face away from prevailing winds.
The idea here is that oxygen needs to flow through the pile freely so that there is enough heat build-up within the pile to cure the outside layer of your chiminea.
Can Chimineas explode?
Yes, A chiminea can explode if the fire is too big for the chiminea to handle.
If you are using a chiminea, you need to make sure that the fire is small enough for it to handle. The general rule of thumb is once the fire reaches half the size of the top vent or flue opening stop adding wood.
Never use gasoline or other accelerants to start your chiminea as they can build up vapors that will explode when exposed to heat.
Why did my chiminea crack?
Cracks in a chiminea are the result of thermal stress, specifically because the clay or metal has expanded and contracted at different rates.
The other reason could be that the fire inside your chiminea is too big or the logs has damaged your chiminea when dropping it in.
The best option for you is dependent on many factors, including your living situation and the size of your property.
A chiminea offers an elegant solution to outdoor heating needs, but if you live in a small apartment with limited space or want more control over how much heat is generated then choosing a chiminea may be better suited for you.
We hope that our article has helped narrow down this decision-making process by providing information about these two different types of products so that you can confidently purchase one today!