How Hot Does a Chiminea Get?

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how hot does a chiminea get pin

In testing, a clay chiminea radiates heat of 36° celsius at a range of 2 metres.

How hot a chiminea gets depends on these factors:

The distance a chiminea radiates heat is from 1 to 4 metres from the chiminea. 

Metal chimineas are best for heat production and while a small clay chim may only warm a few people relatively close to it, the larger cast iron chimineas can radiate a great amount of heat over a larger area. Cast iron is the best type of metal chiminea for heat because of the weight and thickness of the metal.

TIP – Cast iron chimineas are the best type of chiminea for heat production. However, they also take the longest to cool down.

**Figures taken from heat study of outdoor heaters by Burke’s Backyard

Outdoor air Temperatures

The surrounding air temperature will always affect the heat output of your chiminea.

Here in Scotland, our small metal chiminea in Autumn (outdoor air temp of around 9°- 12° celsius) could easily keep a group of 8 people within 2.5 meters distance comfortably warm all evening.

However, the same small, metal chiminea used in air temperatures around 1°- 3° celsius could only keep 2 people warm standing about 1 metre away for about an hour. 

In other words, we were pretty cold… but then there was snow on the ground.

If you are looking to purchase a chiminea as a garden heat source a large or extra-large metal chiminea is the best option. 

How much heat does a chiminea produce?

small metal chiminea

In practical terms, a small clay chiminea on a very cold day will only warm a few people very close to it.

A large or extra-large metal chiminea on a mild day can easily warm groups of 1-10 people within a 4 metre radius. 

You might be interested in this article about XL chimineas with max heat output.

Are Clay Chimineas Good for heat production?

clay chiminea cracked bottom

A cheap, clay chiminea may not be the best solution for maximum heat output. It’s easy to get carried away and try to get the fire too hot – this will likely crack a cheap, clay chim.

Clay chimineas are also limited to burning only wood. This limits how hot the fire can get. Metal chimineas can burn coal or charcoal and this produces much hotter longer-lasting fire. 

The reasons why clay chimineas are not best for heat output are:

  • Limited size of fire
  • Limited to wood
  • Clay does not radiate heat as well as metal
gardeco heat resistant clay

The good news is that clay chiminea has come a long way in recent years and the development of higher heat resistant clay materials means there are much better options for clay chims. 

Here’s a few examples of Clay chimineas with high heat resistance from Gardeco:

Chimineas versus Firepits for Heat Output

Firepits can produce more heat than chimineas due to their potential size and 360  degrees output. However, the heat immediately escapes upwards into the atmosphere and if you don’t keep adding lots of wood, your hot fire will be short-lived.

Chimineas are a much more efficient way to produce heat outdoors. They use much less fuel and can radiate heat for much longer. 

There are some chimineas designed to have a 360 degrees opening and these will perform as a hybrid of a firepit and a chiminea in terms of heat output for an outdoor heater option.

The 360 chimineas are a great option if you can’t decide between a fireplace and a chiminea and the small steel variety can be found in stock everywhere.

What is the Best Chiminea for Heat Output?

If you are looking to purchase a chiminea for the main purpose of an outdoor heater, then look to a large (or extra-large) cast iron chiminea.

These types of chimineas are designed to withstand high heat levels using either wood, coal or charcoal.  They are large enough to emanate a tremendous amount of heat over a long period of time.

The other advantage of this type of chiminea is they have a larger fire bowl and can use charcoal making it much easier to cook with. A quality chiminea of this type will be more expensive, but well worth it!

In Summary

How hot a chiminea gets depends on these factors:

  • size of chiminea
  • construction material
  • surrounding air temperature
  • size of the fire
  • fuel
  • how close you are to the chiminea

The chiminea is an excellent choice for an outdoor heating solution. they look wonderful and offer a garden space real atmosphere in addition to providing a safer option than a firepit.

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