The Best Chimineas Include Our Petite Clay Pick for Just $90
They radiate heat—and good vibes.
Published Aug 31, 2022 1:35 AM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
Chimineas have been used for thousands of years, and their traditional design can be traced back to Spain and Mexico. From chimenea, the Spanish for chimney, a chiminea is essentially an outdoor fireplace with a chimney attached. They’re typically instantly recognizable by their gourdlike body with—you guessed it—a vertical chimney on top.
Historically, they were constructed out of clay, and while you’ll still find those types today, we love the sculptural, modern versions made from metals like steel, aluminum, and cast iron. Unlike their cousin, the outdoor firepit, a chiminea is generally more enclosed and makes smaller fires, so they’re ideal for compact patios and backyards.
Whether you’re experiencing chilly nights already or still waiting for temperatures to dip, adding one of the best chimineas to your cart now ensures you’ll be ready for all the cozy vibes come fall—just grab a hot toddy and your favorite blanket.
- Best overall: Terrain Angled Obelisk Chiminea
- Best value: AllModern Trek Steel Wood-Burning Outdoor Chiminea
- Best splurge: Koby Knoll Click Steel Chiminea
- Best for sizable patios: Terrain Planed Obelisk Chiminea
- Best for modern spaces: Drew Seskunas Prism Chiminea
- Best for additional functions: Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit
- Best clay: At Home Handmade Clay Ringo Modern Chimenea
Best Overall: Terrain Angled Obelisk Chiminea
Size: 49-by-17-by-17 inches | Material: Corten steel
What we like:
- Comes fully assembled
- Available in a black or natural rust finish
- Available in a small and large size (we’re referencing the small)
- 15% restocking fee if returned
Why we chose it: This chiminea would win a Miss Congeniality contest.
With so many great designs out there, it was hard to pick an overall favorite, but we think the Angled Obelisk Chiminea from Terrain is a strong contender. What’s not to like? Its modern shape is inspired by the traditional gourd-shaped clay versions, but it’s still versatile enough to fit a variety of backyard styles. It’s also available in two sizes and two finishes for a total of four options to meet your preferences.
We appreciate the thoughtful design as well: The triangular opening mirrors the body of the main compartment, and the vertical chimney stack is taller than other options, giving it an elegant shape, especially with the sheet-metal cap on top. And as modern as the design feels, it wouldn’t be out of place in a more traditional garden either. Our only qualm is that it might be hard to find a lid that can fully cover the triangular opening, in which case you might have to stay outside a little while longer to wait for the fire to burn out. (Perhaps a good excuse to bust out the s’mores kit.)
Size: 49.25-by-14.25-by-14.25 inches | Material: Steel
What we like:
- A handsome option that comes in under $200
- Various accessories included
- Denting is an issue
- May not radiate enough heat for bigger gatherings
Why we chose it: We’re calling this “the little chiminea that can.”
Small but mighty, this chiminea is perfect for compact spaces thanks to its slim profile. An integrated firewood storage spot is built underneath the firepit, eliminating the need for separate storage and further maximizing your patio’s real estate. All the accessories you need come included, too: a poker to help keep the fire going, an ash pan for easy cleanup, two log grates for the top and bottom chambers, and a protective cover (just be sure to let the chiminea cool first). It couldn’t be easier with this all-inclusive package, and at under $200, it’s easily our best value pick.
The chiminea arrives in three separate pieces that are easy enough to assemble, but a word of caution: Some reviewers mentioned issues with denting during shipping, so double-check that yours arrives without any defects.
Best Splurge: Koby Knoll Click Steel Chiminea
Size: 60-by-35.5-by-35.5 inches| Material: Waxed raw steel
What we like:
- The waxed raw steel finish has a lustrous look
- Tallest of all our picks
- The raw steel finish varies in light scratches, spots, and color
Why we chose it: A monolithic option that doubles as a garden sculpture when not in use.
This chiminea has BCE (big chiminea energy) written all over it. Hefty in size (and in price tag, hence our “best splurge” award), it can pass as garden art when you’re not crowding around it for its heat. The waxed raw steel finish also sets it apart from others: The lustrous shine is beautiful and gives the surface a hand-touched effect (like that of a surfboard). The natural variations in light scratches, spots, and color lend the chiminea character and will probably be short-lived as the steel forms a natural rust-colored patina over time. Because it doesn’t come with a cover, that might happen sooner than later compared to our other noncovered picks. If you have a smaller patio (or budget), there’s also a shorter version in black that’s nearly half the price.
Best for Sizable Patios: Terrain Planed Obelisk Chiminea
Size: 59-by-35-by-18.5 inches | Material: Steel
What we like:
- Casters included for easy moving
- Firewood storage underneath the firebox
- $149 delivery fee
- Steel log holder is sold separately
Why we chose it: Good things come in threes: log holder, chiminea, log holder—in that order.
We’re tipping our hats to the Terrain stylist who composed this deeply satisfying photo. Compact chimineas have their place and all, but if you have the space, why not go all out? Enter the Planed Obelisk Chiminea. We love the idea of having two log holders flank both sides of this corten steel chiminea, which is perfect for bigger spaces. Although the storage is sold separately (the medium size is a match for height), it might be worth it if you live in colder climates and go through a lot of firewood. Even if you decide to just go with the chiminea, firewood storage is located underneath the firebox, so you’ll always have a bit of fuel on hand.
Another feature we love is its unique rectangular shape, which is not easy to find. Because of its angles, this option can sit flush next to a wall instead of out in the open—just be sure the wall can withstand heat and isn’t combustible.
Best for Modern Spaces: Drew Seskunas Prism Chiminea
Size: 58.25-by-28-by-24.25 inches | Material: Aluminum
What we like:
- Unique geometric design
- Mesh screen to reduce airflow when extinguishing the fire is included
- Hearth is specifically designed to radiate heat outward
- 2 sizes (and colors) available on 2 different sites
Why we chose it: A geometric chiminea that looks good from every angle.
Even when a chiminea isn’t in use, it should still look good. At least that’s what we think—and designer Drew Seskunas agrees. He shares, “I hate how grills and firepits just take up this ugly space when they’re not in use. Why can’t they be something that gives you pleasure to look at, even if you’re not using them?” We think he accomplished just that with his Prism chiminea. As the most modern option of all our picks, the Prism features a geometric trilateral design that’s not simply for aesthetics. Seskunas explains that the geometry of the pyramidal hearth focuses heat outward while directing smoke upward, so you use your fuel in the most efficient way possible.
While you sometimes have to pay extra for screens (which helps the fire burn out quicker when you’ve reached the end of the night), the Prism includes a mesh screen that completely detaches off the chiminea. We prefer this over chimineas that have a screen attached—less chance of burning our fingers. While we’re recommending the large size here, Seskuna also designed a smaller version (that comes in red) for more intimate gatherings.
Best for Additional Functions: Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit
Size: 14-by-19.5 inches | Material: Stainless steel
What we like:
- Smokeless design functions like a chiminea
- 3 sizes that fit gatherings of all sizes
- Technically, it’s a firepit
- “Smokeless” is dependent on external factors
Why we chose it: A sleek firepit disguised as a chiminea—with added bonuses.
Let’s just get this out of the way: The Solo Stove is not a chiminea per se, but we’re including it here because it achieves the same goal: providing warmth without the excess smoke of a traditional firepit. A smokeless firepit might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s really just a bit of science. This “stove” features a signature 360-degree airflow design that allows hot air to travel through the main chamber and up through the sides of the double walls. This is key because it provides a “secondary burn” that helps eliminate smoke, so you won’t go to bed at night with irritated, teary eyes and the stench of smoke in your hair and clothes.
We also love the wide range of accessories that you can add to your Solo, giving it some additional functions and making it more versatile than all our other picks. Not only does it come in three sizes (we’re recommending the best-selling Bonfire size), but you can attach a cast-iron wok to the top for flame-grilled stir-fries or grab the bundle of pro-grade stainless steel sticks to roast some marshmallows and hot dogs over the open fire.
One thing to note is that even though the Solo Stove is designed to be smokeless, your experience may vary depending on what you burn and how you burn it. Think of it like a hobby—creating the perfect smokeless fire takes some fine-tuning and practice, but you’ll get better at it the more you use it.
Best Clay: At Home Handmade Clay Ringo Modern Chimenea
Size: 39-by-22-by-22 inches | Material: Clay
What we like:
- Traditional clay material
- Budget-friendly option
- Exterior needs to be sealed
- Grate and stand not included
Why we chose it: Like a character in a Ghibli film, this chiminea is full of hand-hewed charm.
Because of its history, we had to add at least one clay chiminea to our list, and this one is a great budget find at less than $100. We especially love its shape as one seamless object instead of two separate components fused together. For an experience similar to those who used chimineas 400 years ago, this pick strikes a match—pun fully intended.
A few things to note with clay chimineas like this one: The exterior is not sealed, but sealing is recommended to keep moisture from seeping into the clay and infringing on your cozy firelit experience. So look for a clear, multisurface, waterproof sealer like Thompson’s. Additionally, you’ll want to purchase a grate to keep the fire elevated and off the interior chamber floor, which is said to be the weakest part of a chiminea.
We Also Like
While they didn’t quite make our list, we also liked this Sunnydaze option and this Wayfair find. In terms of silhouette, the Sunnydaze is similar to our best value pick, except it comes in an already rusted finish. We also like that the Wayfair design has legs to elevate it off the floor, minimizing the risk of any damage to your surface.
How We Chose These Products
Chimineas haven’t drastically evolved from their original design, so we scoured the market for the best modern interpretations that still kept the main components intact (with the exception of the Solo Stove), and all our picks are wood burning. We know that, like homes, patio spaces and backyards also differ in size, so we made sure to offer options both big and small. While we like clay and ceramic, we tended to favor the metal designs a bit more, but we also made sure to keep at least one clay option on the list.
Our Shopping Checklist
A quick Google search and you’ll find that many chimineas still have a round, bulbous shape that, while traditional, isn’t exactly sleek or elegant. We made sure to find modern iterations that would work well in patio styles ranging from country cottage to mid-century modern.
Clay is also the original material of chimineas, but nowadays you can find them in various metal options. We love the look of rusted steel that’s been exposed to the elements (an inevitable fate unless you make sure to protect your chiminea or store it away), as well as the lustrous appearance of black steel.
Working with wood means there’s a degree of variance depending on the type of wood and the state of that wood. (Is it dry or pretreated with fire-enhancing chemicals?) The variability can be understandably intimidating. While there are gas-burning options (we’ve even heard of using gel fuel cans), we exclusively recommended wood-burning chimineas here, as they have more style variety. Plus there’s something comforting and nostalgic about tending to living, breathing fire. Call it the Girl Scout in us.
Weight and Size
Chimineas make a great alternative to firepits, as the latter tend to be heavier or permanently affixed to the ground. Even though they’re tall, many of our picks are lightweight enough to be moved around by one person (seriously, we’ve carried groceries that are heavier).
Q: What’s the difference between a chiminea and a firepit?
A chiminea is essentially a firepit, but a firepit isn’t always a chiminea. The main difference is in a chiminea’s vertical chimney. Seskunas clarifies: “Chimineas burn fuel and emit heat more efficiently than a firepit, and direct smoke up and away as opposed to whichever way the wind is blowing.”
Q: What kind of surface should you put a chiminea on?
Seskuna recommends placing a chiminea on a noncombustible surface—like pavers or grass—to reduce the chance of a rogue ember catching fire. While outdoor lounge spaces are sometimes located under a structure or shaded by a canopy or tree foliage, you need to position a chiminea elsewhere. Covered locations pose a fire risk and prevent the smoke from escaping into open air.
Q: Can I pour water on a chiminea? Can I leave it to burn out? Should I put a lid on it?
While it seems like Girl Scouts 101 to douse a fire with water, it’s actually quite dangerous. “I recommend against it, since it can emit violent bursts of steam and smoke—I know from experience!” Seskunas admits. It’s better to wait for the fire to burn out naturally, and always with someone present until the fire is fully extinguished. A screen (like the one on Seskuna’s Prism) reduces airflow to the fire, allowing it to burn out faster. “This, plus one more beer, normally does the trick,” Seskuna assures. You officially have permission to pop open another cool one.
The Last Word
Chimineas tend to be one of those items that you don’t necessarily need, but once you have it, you’ll wonder why you went through the cooler months without it. They instantly inject style into your patio space, and you’ll level up on your hosting game when friends and family come over. Like every safety video you’ve ever seen, exercise caution when handling fire and always have an extinguisher handy.