There are four types of chiminea that are readily available in the UK – clay, cast iron, steel and chimalin afc chimineas.
|Types of Chiminea||PROS||CONS|
|Clay||Traditional authentic design, charming, less expensive||Requires seasoning, prone to cracking, can only burn wood, need sand in bottom, can’t leave out in winter, less heat than cast iron|
|Cast Iron||Hot, long lasting, can use any fuel, can be restored to full health, great for cooking||Heavy to move, rust prevention needed, can be expensive|
|Steel||Cheap, less maintenance, lighter, choice of fuel (incl charcoal), good for beginners, lots of contemporary designs||Not as hot as cast iron, less environmentally friendly than other types, shorter lifespan than cast iron|
|Chimalin AFC Clay||Charm of clay without the risk of cracking, good for cooking, can use any fuel type, large||Expensive, heavy|
Clay chimineas are the traditional type of chiminea that are made of terracotta, ceramic or another type of clay. They are readily available, usually cheap and cheerful, and require no assembly.
They are the classic choice for those who want that authentic, traditional feel to their garden. They do require seasoning (or curing) when you first use them. This just means burning a few small fires to help finish sealing the inside of your chiminea.
For more info on how to season your chiminea check out this article.
To this day clay chimineas are extremely popular. Just remember you will need to put sand (or other insulating material in the fire bowl) to protect the bottom from cracking.
Cast Iron Chimineas
The big daddy of chimineas, cast iron chimineas are tough, strong, and incredibly long-lasting.
When you do eventually see them being taken over by rust, they are restorable to their former glory with a few pounds spent and a bit of elbow grease.
They are superb to cook on and the larger models are the best as far as radiating heat is concerned as the cast iron heats up and emits heat even long after the fire goes out. You can use all types of fuel in these.
To read more about cast iron chimineas check out this article.
Steel chimineas are a good option for beginners as they usually are cheaper than other types of chiminea and don’t need seasoned when you first use them.
They are light and therefore cheaper to get shipped to you. It’s also easier to find them in stock for this reason.
Steel chimineas usually come flat packed but are relatively easy to put together. They are far less durable than cast iron chimineas and cheaper, thinner varieties may only last a few seasons.
Steel is commonly the material of choice for contemporary chimineas and there are some wonderful designs and shapes that can make an excellent focal point in your contemporary garden.
Chimalin AFC Chimineas
I chose to put these chimineas in a whole type of their own, although classed as clay chimineas they have really different qualities because of the technology that’s gone into making their special type of clay.
Unlike traditional clay chimineas they don’t require seasoning and you can make much larger fires in these as they are super resilient. You can also use coal or charcoal which makes them a cool option for cooking.
They are quite expensive, but a worthwhile investment as these bad boys will last for years to come.
Other Subcategories of Chiminea
Within these 4 different types of chiminea there are other distinct groups that you can consider:
For information on all the best places in the UK you can buy chimineas, check out my chiminea directory.
With a round-up of the different types of chiminea available and their pros and cons, I hope this article has helped you differentiate between them and decide which one might be best for you and your family.
For more information check out the chiminea wiki page.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Happy chimineaing!