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A quaint terracotta yard decoration might come to mind when you hear the word chiminea, but these uniquely shaped outdoor fireplaces are much more than a decorative accent! Chimineas are ideal for warming up your deck or patio, as their bulbous base gives off a great deal of heat, while the narrow chimney funnels smoke away from people sitting around it.
While these fireplaces are traditionally made of clay, today chimineas come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, including sleek modern forms made from steel, cast iron, and more. Some are even powered by propane or natural gas in lieu of classic wood-burning, making them more versatile and convenient.
Here, the best chimineas to add to your yard.
Best Overall: Foundry Select Arneson Steel Wood Burning Chiminea
This wood-burning chiminea fire pit has an attractive modern design that will look great on any patio, and its large form comes at a reasonable price. The chiminea stands 75 inches tall with a 30-inch base, and it’s crafted from steel with an authentic rust patina for an antique appearance.
The Arneson Chiminea has a large opening that makes it easy to load wood into the belly of the fireplace, and it also helps to draw in the fresh air, moving smoke up the chimney and away from anyone sitting in front of the fire. It comes with a 27-inch wood grate that fits inside the bowl, and the chiminea is safe to use on a wooden deck as long as you put a heat-resistant barrier, such as a patio hearth, down first.
Best Budget: Better Homes and Gardens Cast Iron Chiminea
Large chimineas can get quite expensive, but the Better Homes and Gardens Chiminea is a more affordable option for small spaces. This fireplace is crafted from heavy-duty cast iron with a bronze finish, and it features wire grates around the whole base for a 360-degree view of the fire.
This chiminea is just under 46 inches tall and 23 inches in diameter and one of the mesh panels swings open to allow you to add wood to the interior. The fire pit has a removable lid on top of its chimney, and it even comes with a matching fire poker and nylon cover, which will protect the cast iron construction from getting wet when it’s not in use.
Best for Heat: Bali Outdoors Chiminea
Many people use chimineas as an outdoor heating option, as they’re not as smoky as open fire pits, and in particular, the Bali Outdoors Chiminea is great for gathering around on chilly summer nights. This mid-size chiminea has wire mesh around its whole base, so it casts heat in every direction—and gives everyone a beautiful view of the fire inside.
The Bali Chiminea is extremely durable thanks to its cast iron construction, and it’s 45 inches tall with a removable lid for the chimney. The base of the fireplace has a 22-inch diameter with a two-piece log grate that provides superior airflow for a more consistent burn, and one of the mesh panels slides to the side, allowing you to easily add more fuel. There’s even a drawer in the base that makes ash disposal quick and convenient!
Best Clay: World Menagerie Midgard Azteca Xl Clay Wood Burning Chiminea
There are still plenty of traditional clay chimeneas out there, and one of the best options is the World Menagerie Midgard Azteca Chiminea. The large fireplace is both beautiful and functional, featuring a classic form made from clay with traditional Mexican patterns all around its chimney.
This clay chiminea is just over 49 inches tall and almost 22 inches in diameter, and it includes a matching metal stand that holds it up off the ground. It features a wide opening to accommodate bigger loads, and it comes with a matching clay lid to cover the chimney when it’s not in use. Just keep in mind that this chiminea isn’t recommended for use on a wooden deck, so you’ll want to put it on a stone patio or other non-combustible surface.
Best Copper: Fortunoff Solid Copper Chiminea
True copper chimineas are hard to come by—many products are simply made from steel with a copper finish—and can be expensive, but if you love the look of these metallic fireplaces, one of your best options is the Fortunoff Solid Copper Chiminea. This mid-sized model features a solid copper frame that’s supported by a wrought iron stand, and it does an unbeatable job radiating heat on cold summer nights.
This copper chiminea is fairly compact at just 39 inches tall, and it has a mesh cover that wraps around the base, allowing you to see the fire inside without worrying about stray sparks. The chiminea comes with a metal grate to support wooden logs, as well as a fire poker, and it’s recommended that you buy a cover for it (sold separately) to protect the metal from the elements when not in use.
Best Cast Iron: The Blue Rooster Casita Wood Burning Chiminea
Cast iron is known for its superior heat retention, so once the Blue Rooster Casita Chiminea heats up, it will stay hot, keeping your outdoor living space toasty warm. Because of its large size and metal construction, this chiminea is extremely heavy, weighing more than 260 pounds, and it can be used as both an outdoor fireplace and oven, making it a worthwhile addition to your patio.
This chiminea, which is 48 x 22 x 18 inches, doesn’t have a traditional narrow chimney out the top—instead, there’s a flip-down door over the main fire pit that reveals a spacious cooking area. This upper oven can fit pizzas up to 14 inches, and there’s a chimney out the top for ventilation. The lower firebox can fit full-size logs, and the unit is extremely well-made, as the brand is known for creating products that stand the test of time.
Best Gas: Modfire Gas Fireplace
Chimineas are traditionally used to burn wood, but if you don’t want to be stuck chopping logs, the Modfire Fireplace is a unique gas-powered alternative. This super modern fireplace has an incredibly sleek design inspired by industrial-age smoke stacks, and you can choose whether you want it powered by natural gas or propane.
The Modfire is made from steel and comes in several bright, eye-catching colors, and it stands 48 inches tall with a 22-inch diameter at the base. The gas-powered models of this unique chiminea include a 125,000-BTU burner inside, kicking off an unbeatable amount of heat, and the brand sells a number of accessories for the fireplace, including a base that elevates it off the ground and a cover.
The Foundry Select Arneson Wood Burning Chiminea (view at Wayfair) has a stylish oversized form that will look great in your outdoor space, and it can be used for both ambiance and warmth. For a less expensive option, the Better Homes and Gardens Chiminea (view at Walmart) has a durable cast iron construction and offers 360-degree views of the inner fire, making it a perfect centerpiece for any patio.
What to Look for in a Chiminea
Traditional clay chimineas typically feature a round base with a narrow vertical chimney on top, but today, many chimineas have more modern angular designs. In addition to deciding what shape you prefer from an aesthetic standpoint, you’ll also want to consider the size of the base—small or awkwardly shaped bases may not fit full-size logs, making it harder to fuel your fire.
Chimineas come in a variety of different materials, including traditional terracotta or clay, steel, cast iron, cast aluminum, or even copper. These all materials offer different benefits you’ll want to consider when selecting the right option for your home. For instance, terracotta provides a rustic vibe but is easier to break. Steel is durable and inexpensive but can rust if exposed to the elements, while cast iron is extremely heavy but retains heat well.
Most chimineas are wood-burning, which means you’ll need a steady supply of logs or sticks to keep them lit. However, there are some newer chimineas that run on liquid propane or natural gas—the former is easily bought in tanks at any hardware store, while the latter requires a connection to your home’s natural gas line.
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This article was researched and written by Camryn Rabideau, a product tester and expert on all things home. She's owned an outdoor fireplace herself and knows what to look for when shopping for an outdoor heating source.