Using a chiminea is a great opportunity to get outdoors and do things the old fashioned way.
These convenient outdoor appliances have been used for centuries and are thought to have originated in Mexico where they were used for both cooking and heat.
Now, they are a common feature in gardens around the world but if you’re looking to buy one, you’ll probably be wondering what is the best cast iron chiminea?
Cast iron is a great material for heated appliances as it is incredibly resistant and durable. However, manufacturers are aware of this and as such, your choice might be a little dizzying. In this guide, we will be looking at 7 of the best cast iron chimineas to help you make a more informed choice.
Latest update: April 2021
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The Top 7 Cast Iron Chimineas
If you’ve been scouring the market for a new cast iron chiminea, we know how many you have probably looked at. While you may be eager to get your hands on one and start enjoying the benefits, it is important that you take the time to compare your favourite products. Take a look at our reviews to get a detailed insight into our favourites.
OUR TOP PICK
The Panama is one of the best selling chimineas on Amazon at the moment and this is hardly surprising when you consider everything it has to offer. While there is a smaller version of this, the Squat, which we will look at later, this one is ideal for medium to large seating areas and stands at 72cm in height.
This chiminea can be used on a terrace or balcony just as easily as it can on a decked area giving it great versatility. It is also very lightweight and so can be easily moved from place to place, should you require it. But don’t let this lightweight design fool you into thinking that this is of lesser quality. The Panama from LA HACIENDA is one of the most durable chimineas we have looked at. This is down to the highly resilient material which has been powder coated with a pewter effect.
Now, when we say that this is a cast iron chiminea, we aren’t being 100% accurate because it is the legs that are made from cast iron. The rest of the chiminea is made from steel but this design gives it the best of both worlds. The treated steel element offers excellent durability and is light while the cast iron legs provide perfect stability. This is an important safety feature that is often overlooked in some of the lesser quality products on the market.
Looking at the Blumfeld Titus, your first thought is what an attractive piece this is. It comes with a beautiful antique appearance that oddly fits into even the most modern gardens. In terms of price, this is a mid-range chiminea and yet comes with a lot of features that some of the more expensive items lack.
For example, the durability of this chiminea is far superior to some of the models that are a couple of hundred pounds more. This is an incredibly well-built piece of equipment which could lead you to think that it is worth more than its price. This is largely thanks to the 2.5mm cast iron structure that, while heavy, is incredibly sturdy. Of course, it is fire resistant but it will also resist rust and so is suitable for use in all types of weather. Although, with that in mind, we would always recommend covering it when not in use.
You’re also getting a lot of other handy features for the price, which again, shows how great value for money this chiminea is. Just take a look at the accessories that compliment the fireplace. There is a poker for managing the fire as well as a safety grate to prevent sparks from flying out and causing injury or damage. This is a feature that is seen on most modern chimineas but not all; if there isn’t a cover like this, it isn’t worth investing.
It would also be a crime not to point out the obvious aesthetic advantage of this chiminea. Unlike many other pieces, this one has a 360º view of the fire. When you and your family are sitting around this beautiful fireplace, everyone will benefit from additional warmth and a visual display.
BEST FOR A LARGE GARDEN
There are a lot of chimineas that have a rustic design but this one boasts something that falls more into the industrial category. This is a popular design trend both indoor and in the garden so we love that this chiminea can complement this kind of decor.
It’s quite a tall piece at 115cm and has a very noticeable presence so it is ideal for larger seating areas. However, unlike some of its competitors, it has the advantage of being impressively lightweight at just 15kg. If you want to move it around the garden then this isn’t going to be back-breaking work.
One thing that does stand out as an unfortunate link to the lightweight design of the TekTake is that it is nothing like as durable as some of the other chimineas in this price range. The piece may be made from cast iron but at some points this is as thin as 1mm which means this isn’t a product that is going to last forever. That being said, it’s a decent price so even if you only get a few years out of it, you’ve got your money’s worth.
While there is the downside of reduced durability, the TekTake does benefit from some impressive features. For example, the ventilation regulator is perfect for maintaining a healthy and safe fire and the spark cover gives additional safety. But one of the best things about this one is that it features a lockable door. This is not something that features on any of the other products we explored and is perfect if you have children at home.
Cast iron can sometimes look a little in your face, especially when it is used to craft a large chiminea. However, what some may consider to be a design flaw has been perfectly addressed and the result is a stone-effect cast iron chiminea that stands at 89cm tall; perfect for any garden. What’s more, the extremely durable build quality of the Scotrade means that this will be a chiminea that will stand the test of time with very little effort.
The cast iron has been treated with a high temperature paint so its appearance won’t deteriorate over time. This isn’t something that is seen on all chimineas so this is certainly a feature that puts this one at the top of its game.
Some chimineas will specify that a certain type of fuel needs to be used. Just look at the Esschert that we review below which can only be used with wood. While a wood fire is great, it is always good to have options and the Scotrade allows for both wood and coal burning.
There are some chimineas that will absolutely put a big hole in your wallet. If you are looking for something that is a little more budget friendly, then this is a great option. Furthermore, you are still getting everything you would expect and the durability and stability of this product perfectly rivals that of some models, like the Blooma, that cost upwards of £550.
If you’re in the market for a traditional looking chiminea with a modern twist then there aren’t many others that achieve this quite as well as the Esschert. It boasts the normal chiminea design but is crafted from a sleek black metal that would look very well placed in a newly landscaped garden with modern features. It would serve superbly well as a centerpiece in a green space with very little else.
The esschert chiminea is a very heavy piece of equipment so it is difficult to move around. There are a lot of these products that are incredibly lightweight so you aren’t limited to where you can use them. While its weight could be considered a downside, it is also important to think about the stability that this brings.
While there are a lot of things that stand this chiminea in good stead, there are some things that let it down. It comes with a rain lid, but that is about as far as it goes in terms of accessories, so if you are looking for something to give you a complete ‘starter kit’ for a chiminea, this might not be the best option. We’ve seen a lot of these products that come with grill grates for cooking, pokers and even a n on-board log store, but you won’t get that here. That being said, since this is such a well made piece, it would definitely be worth purchasing some high quality accessories and considering this an investment for your garden. Owing to the incredible durability, this is something that will stay with you for many years and this makes the high price seem much more reasonable.
When we compare the Blooma chiminea to some of the other more expensive products on our list, you may feel a little disappointed in terms of durability. Now, while we aren’t saying that this is a product that will fall apart when you first use it, it certainly isn’t as strong as the Esschert, for example. But this isn’t through a lack of design quality, instead it relates to the fact that this is much more of a decorative piece.
The higher cost of this chiminea is down to the modern and unique design that is far from typical in terms of your average chiminea. However, this comes at the compromise of using a steel alloy in place of cast iron which simply cannot have the same durability. Of course, you are going to get many years of use out of this chiminea and if you’re looking for an interesting focal point, we would absolutely recommend this one. If you want to make the most out of the equipment, it is imperative that you store it correctly and invest in a cover for when it isn’t in use.
Steel alloy is by no means a weak material and it will easily withstand the high temperatures of your fire. However, the manufacturer recommends that the pain may start to peel away once temperatures soar above 800ºc. But then, when you consider that your typical wood fire burns at around 600ºc, you realise that this is more than adequate. What’s more, this chiminea is beautifully easy to assemble, and with fast shipping, typically the next working day, you can be enjoying your piece much more quickly.
Not all cast iron chimineas need to be made from 100% cast iron, this can make them very heavy. However, by installing cast iron legs on a steel body, you benefit from excellent stability on a product that is lightweight and easy to move from place to place. That is precisely what has been achieved with LA HACIENDA Squat. If you like the previous LA HACIENDA chimenea that we looked at but want something a little less garish, then this is the perfect option.
It has many of the same features but lacks the height of the original model making it much more suited to smaller gardens. It has a 1-litre capacity, which yes, is very small compared to some of the other models on this list but if you’re short on room in the garden, products like this allow you to get in on the action without compromising your limited space.
Much like the Panama, the Squat boasts a powder coated body that is incredibly resistant. This durability is one of the things that makes this such a popular brand. What’s more, it can be used on all surfaces with very little to no damage. Of course, we would always urge you to use a fire mat but if for some reason, you can’t, this is one of the safer choices.
You’re getting a good amount of accessories making this an ideal chiminea for those who are just getting started with this type of outdoor heating. There is a poker and a safety cover, as well as a grill grate and log store. You’re essentially equipped with everything you need aside from the fuel.
Something to think about
An indispensable item of barbecuing kit is the grill mat. These sit on top of the grill grid and protect your food from the flames. It’s a way of avoiding too much charring and it makes it much easier to cook smaller pieces of food or ingredients that tend to break up (no more mushrooms dropping through the bars or fish flaking away).
They’re reusable and non-stick (no Teflon), make barbecuing healthier and you get the grill marks without the burning!
What’s Important When Buying A Cast Iron Chiminea?
When you’re shopping for a chiminea, there is a chance that you will be spending a substantial amount of money. For this reason, you want to make sure that you are getting the best value and a product that will perform as you expect. To ensure this, it is essential that you take the time to look at certain features.
One of the most important things to think about when choosing your new cast iron chiminea is how durable it is. The last thing that you want is to purchase a product only to find that it is disintegrating after one use.
If you purchase a complete cast iron chiminea then you can feel confident that this highly resistant metal will stand up to pretty much anything. It can often be left outdoors in harsher conditions without much damage and will be very unlikely to sustain damage from the fire. But this depends on the thickness.
In some cases, as we have seen with one of the products above, the manufacturer may use very thin cast iron sheets to make the piece. While this might be OK for minimal use, if you are going to be lighting a lot of fires, you will need to ensure that the material is up for the challenge. Choosing something with a bit more thickness will increase its robustness.
When we looked at some of our top picks, we noticed that a couple of products came with a steel body and cast iron legs. One of the biggest benefits of this design is that the stability of the chimnea is vastly improved. With the weight of the cast iron legs, the product has much greater integrity and will be far more difficult to push over. It certainly won’t topple when the wind picks up.
You may also wish to consider the surface that the chiminea will be placed on. If you are using it on a lawned area then you are going to need significantly more stability than if you were using it on a very smooth concrete patio, for example.
Where fire is concerned, the most important thing will always be safety. There are some chimineas that come with very little, if any safety equipment and these should be avoided. At the most basic level, you will need to have a cover for the opening as this will prevent sparks from flying off and causing damage to the surrounding area or injury to you and your guests.
But safety concerns may also be related to stability which we have just discussed. If you have children or pets, there is a very real risk that they may accidentally knock into the chiminea and push it over. Even if there is not currently a fire burning, the weight of some of these products would be enough to cause a serious injury should it land on someone.
If this will be your first chiminea, you will likely want to have everything you need to get started. Many products come with a grate for cooking as well as a poker for managing the fire. This is the very least you would expect and allows you to make the most of this piece of equipment.
However, you might also want to look for a chiminea that comes with a rain cover; the top of the piece is typically open but once rain gets in, it can be very difficult to empty and this will affect your ability to successfully light a fire.
Furthermore, some chimineas will come with a mini log store at the bottom. This is great if you will be using it for long hours and need to keep putting more wood on to keep the fire going. That being said, you should never leave your wood out when the weather is wet as wet wood is much more difficult to burn and it will give off a lot of smoke.
Now that summer is on the way, many people are going to want to get out into their gardens and make the most of the nice weather. However, when night falls, things can still get a little chilly but a chiminea is a great way to produce warmth and give your garden a welcoming ambiance.
Frequently asked questions
Are Cast Iron Chimineas better than clay?
Well, that depends! Cast iron does have some advantages though: they don’t crack like clay ones do; they last much longer (up to 25 years); and they require less maintenance than clay chimineas do (you only need to season them once every few months).
Are Chimineas better than fire pits?
Both chimineas and fire pits have their pros and cons, but if you are looking for a great way to stay warm this winter, consider getting a chiminea. They provide heat that is contained in one area without the risk of sparks or embers flying out onto your property.
Check out our camping fire pits blog for ideas.