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7 Best Cast Iron Chimineas 2022 Buyers’ Guide

Cast iron chimineas are beautiful and effective ways to heat your patios and outdoor spaces. Their rustic, and traditional appeal has meant that they have never really gone out of fashion but, thankfully, fashion has caught up with them in recent years.

We’re exploring some of the more up to date chiminea designs for your garden, and how to make the most of them. In this article, I want to share some important safety tips about using chimineas, and what to look for when buying them.  

More importantly we’ve scoured the internet for our favourites, from crisp modern chimineas to the best traditional chimineas. But whatever you’re looking for we’ve got the best cast iron chimineas you can buy online right here.

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Cast Iron Chimineas Ratings Chart

Product


Our Rating

Price

1. Charmate 50x96cm Cast Iron Chiminea Griller

Charmate Cast Iron Chiminea Griller
Top Rated Best Cast Iron Chiminea in Australia

2. Esschert Design Small Cast Iron Terrace Heater

Esschert Design Cast Iron Terrace Heater
Best Value Cast Iron Chiminea in Australia

3. Maldonado Black Cast Iron Chiminea

Maldonado Cast Iron Chiminea
Premium Choice Cast Iron Chiminea in Australia

4. Esschert Design Medium Cast Iron Terra Heater

Esschert Design Cast Iron Terra Heater

5. Charmate Modern Cast Iron Chimenea

Charmate Cast Iron Chimenea

6. JUMBUCK Cast Iron Chimenea

JUMBUCK Iron Chimenea

7. Zella Cast Iron Chiminea with Raincover

Zella Cast Iron Chiminea

Cast Iron Chimineas Buyers' Guide

What is a Cast Iron Chiminea?

Cast iron chimineas are fairly simple outdoor heaters, using solid fuels to create a sustainable heat source

Cast iron chimineas are fairly simple outdoor heaters, using solid fuels to create a sustainable heat source that doesn’t require too much attention. They burn more efficiently than fire pits or grills and radiate heat like no other garden heater.

To learn more about fire pits, see our buying guides on fire pits and portable fire pits to see which would best suit your needs. 

The traditional ceramic chimineas originated in Mexico as a multipurpose appliance for cooking, baking, and heating. Over the centuries, they have evolved and now come in all sorts of materials, but fundamentally, their basic fire bowl and chimney designs have lasted the test of time. 

What to Look For When Buying a Cast Iron Chiminea

There is no more traditional way to heat your patio than a cast iron chiminea. While studies indicate that copper and aluminium heat up faster, and retain heat longer than iron, the manufacturing process of cast iron chimineas means that they are thicker walled.

Thanks to this higher mass, there is more material to retain, and therefore cope with, higher temperatures.

Cast iron chiminea for cooking as well as heat

Modern chimineas are set up for cooking as well as simply heating, and it can be a great way to heat your patio, and save money on BBQ fuel. When looking for the best chimineas for cooking, you’ll find plenty of accessories, but make sure they have a gap between any grill trays, and the chimney itself. 

Blocking a chiminea’s chimney causes smoke to build up in the chamber, so always leave a gap between the chimney and any pans, grills, or BBQ trays above.

As a basic guide to cooking with a chiminea, consider how long it takes to fry an egg on the stove – usually about two minutes, right? A chiminea at full heat can fry an egg in around twenty seconds, so it’s not a cooking tool for the fainthearted! 

How to assess the durability of cast iron chiminea

Cast iron should really be around 2-4mm thick. Most manufacturers don’t give the thickness on their listings, but choose a decent brand, or a chiminea that looks sturdy – it sounds simple, but sometimes, that’s because it is!

Thin cast iron is fine for occasional use, and can be left outdoors in summer without sustaining any real damage, but should be stored indoors for winter and any particularly changeable weather.

Thicker walled burners are the best cast iron chimineas and are more durable and typically more resistant to rust, and fluctuating temperatures.

Stability is important when buying a cast iron chiminea

While we talk about this later as an important safety concern, stability is essential with chimineas. They have no off switch, so make sure you’re looking for chimineas with stable legs that won’t tip if knocked.

Ideally, you want cast iron legs as well as a cast iron body on your chiminea, as this added weight at the base can help prevent tipping. 

How to Use Cast Iron Chimineas

Best fuels for chimineas though are cured hardwood kindling and smoke-free coals

There’s a reason chimineas have always been made out of cast iron, stone and ceramics, and it’s because they don’t waste heat. The design of chimineas means that they are essentially miniature furnaces, forcing heat upwards, so it’s important to retain some of that heat in the body of the heater itself.

If you over-fuel a chiminea, all you’re doing is creating a furnace, which will create huge amounts of heat, and force it upwards – wasting your fuel.

To make the most of your chiminea you need to keep it on a constant medium burn. Ideally, this means an occasional flicker of flame from the chimney, and a limited amount of smoke.

In part, choosing the best fuel for your chiminea is key, but equally, keeping a watchful eye on your traditional patio heater is important to get the most out of this type of patio heater.

Choosing the Best Fuel for Chimineas

Chimineas can burn anything and everything, and their ability to churn through dry materials makes them appealing to all types of gardeners who are looking for fast ways to burn garden waste (this might sound extreme, but ash from garden waste makes a great compost additive and is a great way to help out spring bulbs too). 

The best fuels for chimineas though are cured hardwood kindling and smoke-free coals. Kindling is easy to burn, and sets alight relatively quickly, but can burn too fast if left to its own devices in a chiminea, so it’s sensible to use a mix of kindling and coals to slow the burning.

Once your fire is started, you can add anything you like provided it doesn’t produce too much smoke (so no wet materials, no plastics, and no uncured softwoods).

How to Light a Chiminea

Chimineas take much of the work out of lighting for you. Like any traditional fireplace, their chimneys draw oxygen up as the heat rises, making it quick to start your fire.

To get an even burn, place a sheet of newspaper over the cover for a few minutes. This slows the lighting down, so all your coals and timbers take on the heat and begin burning evenly.

If you don’t use your chiminea often, it’s a good idea to line the base of your chiminea with sand, pumice or lava stone before lighting a fire.

Cast iron can rust if left outdoors unused, and by lining the base before a fire with heat-protective materials like sand, you can protect any rusted metal at the base of the chiminea from cracking under the heat above.

How to season a cast iron chiminea

Cast iron chimineas are safe to use without seasoning. Seasoning cast iron was a traditional way to prepare pots and pans for cooking, and to extend their life – usually done by coating pans in vegetable oils and heating them gently.

Curing a chiminea is more straightforward, and while it’s not 100% necessary, it is worth doing once or twice a year if you don’t use your chiminea very often.

Seasoning a chiminea is a much more straightforward process. Simply light a small fire using balls of paper before your first use. The smoke and gentle heat will help the iron adapt to this kind of heating (remember the last time it was heated was during forging, so this can prevent cracking and buckling in more intense fires).

Cast Iron Chiminea Safety Guide

Cast Iron Chiminea Reviews

Cast iron chimineas can get exceptionally hot, so there are some important precautions you should use when lighting, stoking and adding fuel to your chiminea.

Always wear heat proof gloves, or use the tools provided with your chiminea to open and close the cover while adding fuel to an already burning fire.

It’s also crucial to find a safe place for your chiminea. Unlike gas or electric heaters, traditional flame burning heaters don’t have anti-tip functions or oxygen sensors built-in. These are basic heaters and rely entirely on the user for proper set-up. 

  • Make sure your chiminea is at least two metres away from dry plants, shrubs and grasses.
  • Never use a chiminea on a wooden patio without protective matting.
  • Always make sure your chiminea is in a well-ventilated environment, and avoid using it in areas with a covered roof. Smoke can build up under verandas and covered patios even outdoors.
  • Never touch your chiminea, and keep pets and children away from it at all times when in use. Iron gets extremely hot and will burn to the touch.

Cast Iron Chiminea Reviews

1. Charmate 50x96cm Cast Iron Chiminea Griller

Charmate 50x96cm Cast Iron Chiminea Griller

Source: catch.com.au

Cast iron chimineas don’t need to look old fashioned. Charmate’s chiminea griller is a BBQ and chiminea in 1, with a full-sized grill tray, ideal for cooking out in summer, or warming up in winter.

The cast iron legs are weighty and set at the same width as the body, so it’s really tip-resistant, as well as being easy to use and multi-functional.

But, if you made me pick one thing about this outstanding chiminea that sets it apart, it’s its looks. It’s an exceptionally beautiful chiminea, with sleek lines, and a crisp fuel opening that would look just as perfect in a country cottage garden as it would in a modern Sydney estate.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Thick-walled
  • Very stable legs
  • Easy to clean
  • No need to cure
  • Doubles up as a BBQ grill
  • Sleek modern design

Cons

  • Short chimney (smoke can gather at face level)

2. Esschert Design Small Cast Iron Terrace Heater

Esschert Design Small Cast Iron Terrace Heater

Source: amazon.com.au

I love these short stumpy chimineas. They’ve got a charm that the traditional chimineas just don’t quite have somehow. Yes, the point of the chimney itself is to direct smoke away from the patio, but when something looks as good as the miniature chimineas you’ve just got to love them.

This weighty, durable chiminea by Esschert is a gorgeous burner, with a built-in grill to prevent the bottom from burning out, and a sturdy wide chimney that makes sure smoke is never building up above.

Sadly, this chiminea doesn’t come with any accessories, but it’s fine to use with standard BBQ grills as long as you prop them away from the hole so there is space for smoke to escape.

If you’re looking for a chiminea that’s durable, traditional but has a modern twist, then this is the best cast iron chiminea for you.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Thick-walled
  • Stable legs
  • Easy to clean
  • No need to cure
  • Gorgeous traditional design

Cons

  • Short chimney (smoke can gather at face level)
  • No accessories

3. Maldonado Black Cast Iron Chiminea

Maldonado Black Cast Iron Chiminea

Source: ebay.com.au

99% of chimineas you can buy these days are built out of shaped cast iron rather than forged, and come in two or even three parts. Not so the Maldonado!

The Maldonado chiminea is a single piece of forged iron, and its incredibly weighty body with its bottom-heavy design pins it to the ground with an authority not lost on this chiminea lover.

For anyone wanting that industrial look or the old American style chimineas adapted directly from their Mexican forebears, this is the best chiminea for you.

There’s a grandeur to this patio heater that no amount of fancy tech and smart features could ever replace and it’ll certainly be the talking point of your next garden party.

Pros

  • Thick-walled
  • Easy to clean
  • No need to cure
  • Sleek modern design
  • Beautiful traditional design
  • High quality, forged, manufacturing

Cons

  • Thin legs require perfectly even ground for stability
  • Expensive
  • No accessories

4. Esschert Design Medium Cast Iron Terra Heater

Esschert Design Medium Cast Iron Terra Heater

Source: amazon.com.au

Esschert Design is, as the company name suggests, a design company, specialising in garden products. Their products are inspired by nature and revive many of the practical tools of the past for gardeners to use in their modern-day spaces.

Their design skills come with the subtlety of those spaces where they save you, the consumer, money. Yes, they could have cast this entire thing in forged iron. Yes, they could have made the walls thicker. Yes, they could have added all sorts of accessories. 

But no, they didn’t, because their tall cast iron chiminea isn’t designed as a bells and whistles patio heater, it’s a practical, affordable, beautiful chiminea, because that’s all it needs to be.

At nearly half the price of money cast iron chimineas of the same size, this split design makes it easier to ship, and after a couple of uses, you’ll barely notice the joins. What’s more, it’s just as heat efficient as the single-piece forged chimineas.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Thick-walled
  • No need to cure
  • Clever twist on traditional design

Cons

  • Some minor assembly required

5. Charmate Modern Cast Iron Chimenea

Charmate Modern Cast Iron Chimenea

Source: catch.com.au

Charmate are a dedicated manufacturer of wood-burning stoves, chimineas and fire pits. They know exactly what they’re doing, and exactly what consumers want. This modern chiminea is evidence of that if ever I’ve seen it. 

The sleek lines and arching neck of this bowed chiminea are perfect for a crisp modern space, with all the practicality and comfort that only a chiminea can give.

If I’m completely honest, Charmate’s modern chiminea isn’t really to my taste, but then I prefer traditional tools and traditional accessories in my garden.

Most modern gardeners are searching for accessories like this to set off their spaces, and if you fall into that camp, this would be a really beautiful way to warm up your patio as we head into winter.

Pros

  • Good value
  • Thick-walled
  • Easy to clean
  • Crisp modern design

Cons

  • No accessories
  • Some minor assembly required

6. JUMBUCK Cast Iron Chimenea

JUMBUCK Cast Iron Chimenea

Source: ebay.com.au

When people are looking for chimineas, I find that this is the sort of thing they have in their mind. 360 chimineas are a surprisingly effective way to heat a space and work more like a fire pit with the smoke directed away from the patio.

While 360 chimineas aren’t strictly chimineas in the traditional sense, they are a very useful heater for gardeners who want to look without the dangerously high temperatures.

This 360 chiminea from Jumbuck is also much lighter, so while it’s more susceptible to rust than many other chimineas, it’s far easier to transport around the garden and cools down faster than most traditional cast iron chimineas.

The only thing letting this down, and it’s not a reflection on Jumbuck, but more to do with the generic flaws in 360 chimineas, is its unstable footing. 360 chimineas tend to have weaker feet, with simple welded joints between them and the main body, which can make them susceptible to rocking in high winds.

Pros

  • Comes with fire poker for safely adding to and stoking the fire
  • More even heat than traditional chimineas
  • Lightweight & easy to store

Cons

  • Thin-walled (best stored indoors in wet weather)
  • Unstable legs
  • More expensive than more durable burners

7. Zella Cast Iron Chiminea with Raincover

Zella Cast Iron Chiminea with Raincover

Source: ebay.com.au

It might sound obvious, but iron rusts. I’m astonished that this is one of the only chimineas we’ve found online with a rain cover supplied with the appliance.

It’s a really generous addition from Zella to include a purpose-made rain cover for this chiminea, especially with it being a thin-walled chiminea, therefore more susceptible to rust damage than thick-walled burners.

The 360-degree heat from this burner is easier to regulate than traditional chimineas too, making it a more effective way to heat small patios without overheating the entire area.

Pros

  • Comes with an additional fire poker, and a rain cover to protect it from the elements (important for this style of chiminea).
  • OK, value
  • Simple twist on traditional design

Cons

  • Thin-walled (should be stored indoors in wet weather)

Cast Iron Chiminea Top Picks for 2022

Top Rated Cast Iron Chiminea

Top Rated Best Cast Iron Chiminea in Australia
Charmate 50x96cm Cast Iron Chiminea Griller

Source: catch.com.au

The best cast iron chiminea in 2022 is, hands down, the Charmate Chiminea Griller. Its sleek modern lines reflect the contemporary design of the gardeners who have clearly been involved in its manufacturing, knowing how important space-saving practicality is to contemporary gardeners.

This is a BBQ and heater all rolled up into one clever package, with an integrated table making it all easier still.

All of that design genius should, in theory, cost extra, but from Charmate, it’s affordable, and would make any gardener an incredibly happy bunny if they receive this for their birthday, Christmas, or even just to say “Happy Thursday”. There is literally nothing I can fault this chiminea on.

Best Value Cast Iron Chiminea

Best Value Cast Iron Chiminea in Australia
Esschert Design Small Cast Iron Terrace Heater

Source: amazon.com.au

The best value chiminea on the market in 2022 is the Esschert Design small terrace heater. It’s designed as a miniature patio heater, rather than an all-guns-blazing radiator, so don’t expect hellfire from this chiminea, but it does give off more than enough heat to keep you comfortable.

Really though, the biggest design feature of this chiminea is its space (and money-saving) design that will keep you heated and, hopefully, fed through winter, with quick and simple one-pot meals.

Premium Choice Cast Iron Chiminea

Premium Choice Cast Iron Chiminea in Australia
Maldonado Black Cast Iron Chiminea

Source: ebay.com.au

The Maldonado Chiminea might have slightly flimsy legs, but it makes up for that wobble risk with craftsmanship. The single cast iron body is forged with the chimney attached, so there is pretty much zero chance of this chiminea ever cracking or weathering badly.

For a chiminea with longevity built-in, you wouldn’t find a better heater than this. For gardeners looking for modern manufacturing but traditional design, this is the best cast iron chiminea for you and your garden.

Cast Iron Chiminea FAQs

Do cast iron chimineas rust?

Cast iron chimineas do rust if left outside, but there are rust protecting paints and ways to cure and prolong the life of your chiminea. The most effective way to prevent rust on a chiminea is regular use, and the application of anti-rust sprays once or twice a year.

What types of chimineas produce the most heat?

Cast iron chimineas get hotter than traditional ceramic or clay chimineas, and the difference is distinctly noticeable if you’ve ever been in a space with both burning at once. The cast iron radiates heat much more effectively than clay chimineas.

Should you put a lid on a chiminea?

Never put the lid on your chiminea while it is in use. Placing the lid on your chiminea will cause smoke to remain in the chamber which will spill out onto the patio making it uninhabitable until the smoke clears.

Chiminea lids are designed to prevent too much rainwater from getting in while the appliance is not in use.

Do chimineas produce smoke?

Chimineas are not smokeless burners. They should be used with hardwoods, cured softwoods, and smokeless coals where possible. There are some designs of modern fire pits that can vastly reduce smoke, but never 100%.

The benefit of chimineas is that their smoke is aimed upwards and away from where you sit.

For more garden multi purpose garden decors, see our guides below:

Enjoy Your Evenings in the Garden with the Best Cast Iron Chiminea

If you’re looking for traditional heating, or want a modern take on a classic, the chimineas above are a brilliant mix of design classics and contemporary innovation, so there really is a chiminea for every garden.

We hope you’ve found the best cast iron chiminea for your garden here, but if not, at least you know more than when you started reading!

Thanks for trusting Aussie Green Thumb. We love using our gardens for entertainment here, so we’re always on the lookout for the best ways to heat gardens, and ways to spend longer outdoors in the evening.

Sharing our finds with you is what makes us tick, especially when it comes to classics like the best cast iron chimineas.

Best Cast Iron Chimineas Buyers’ Guide

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