If you’re looking for an outdoor fire feature for your backyard, you’re probably pondering over a chiminea vs fire pit. There are many great benefits of having either of these. In this post we’ll go over the pros and cons of adding a fire pit or a chiminea to your outdoor space. .
What is a Chiminea?
The word chiminea comes from the Spanish word for chimney. Chimineas (or chimeneas) are designed to be free-standing oven type structures with an opening in the front. This opening is for loading fuel into the round bottom section. Attached to this is a vertical stack which allows smoke to vent upward.
Chiminea fuel is typically firewood. But unlike a fireplace, it’s not advisable to use pressurized wood in a chiminea. Other fuels such as coal and ethanol can also be used in a chiminea. But it’s very important that you choose the fuel most appropriate for the chiminea you have. Always be sure to read your instruction manual and choose accordingly.
Our Favorite Chiminea
What is a Fire Pit?
A fire pit is exactly what it sounds like – a pit with fire in it. There are two types of fire pits – those that are dug directly into the ground and those that are contained in a bowl or free-standing container.
For the fire pits directly in the ground, it is common to surround the fire with non-combustible material. This prevents the fire from spreading further past the pit.
Fire pits are typically circular or square shaped. Since they are typically dug into the ground, fire pits can be constructed by you. This means you don’t necessarily need to buy a fire pit if you want to build one yourself.
Propane Fire Pits
If a wood burning firepit isn’t your speed, consider an alternative – propane fire pits. There are many propane fire pits on the market today. These give the appearance and ambiance of a fire pit, without the smoke and time needed to tend it. You can pick these up at any big box store.
Our Favorite Fire Pit
Chiminea Vs Fire Pit – A Comparison
Chimineas are typically more expensive. You will typically find chimineas in the $150 – $600 range. This depends on whether it’s clay, cast aluminum, or other material.
Fire pits are relatively more affordable. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Average range fire pits cost anywhere from $70-$150. As with anything, the higher priced models can be a few hundred dollars.
A chiminea will be hot to the touch as it burns, and after the fire is out as well. And since the chiminea isn’t open on all sides, it’s possible that those on the other side won’t know that it’s burning.
Since they are free standing, and often quite tall, they can tip over. You want to be careful with young children and dogs.
Fire pits are typically a more open flame and therefore have different safety concerns. You want to get a screen it you’re concerned about flying ash. Additionally, if your fire pit is raised, you want to avoid any tripping hazards near the fire pit. Safety is the utmost importance with an open fire.
One of the bigger downsides of a firepit is that smoke and ash can blow out of the firepit. This can be bothersome when you’re sitting around it.
It depends on the style, but typically chimineas will have a warm, inviting appeal. Since a chiminea is more closed off, you’ll gather more closely around it.
A fire pit will have a more rustic appeal. However, due to the fact that it is an open fire, it’s visually accessible from any angle. This makes a fire pit better for larger crowds.
EASE OF USE
Chimineas are relatively easy to use. If you purchase a clay chiminea you will need to prepare it for use before lighting any fires. You may also want to place sand or gravel at the bottom of the chiminea as well as bricks to hold up your fire.
After that, as long as the chiminea is in good working order (no cracks or chips), it will only take a few minutes before you’re enjoying a warm fire.
Fire pits are extremely easy to use. There is little prep other than making sure you have the right kindling. You’ll just need to load up on firewood and light it.
Accessories for your fire pit can make it easier to operate and an overall more enjoyable experience.
Chimineas should be emptied of ash in order to keep them burning hotter and cleaner. You can manually remove the ash by scooping it out. This can be tough depending on how big the access is to the belly of the chiminea.
Another approach is to use a leaf blower or something that blows air to disperse the ash up through the chiminea.
Fire pits are much easier to clean than chimineas. This is because they’re usually open pits and it’s easy to remove the ash. If you have a freestanding fire pit you can pick it up and dump the ash wherever you wish.
Chimineas are typically quite heavy. Chiminea owners typically leave their chimineas in place year round. Instead of moving it indoors, you can place a cover on the chiminea to protect it from the elements.
Due to this, if you don’t want to leave a chiminea out year round, you may want to look for a smaller/lighter option or small fire pit.
Freestanding fire pits, depending on the size, are easy to store in a shed or garage. So if removing the item is important to you, then a fire pit is a great option.
If you want a fire pit built in the ground, you’ll want to think about ways to cover it when not in use.
Fire Pit or Chiminea – Which is Better?
After reviewing the above, you’ve likely settled on which one you like more. There is no definitive answer for which is better. But there are some things we can say about one over the other.
FIre pits are great of large gatherings and camp fire activities.
- You can roast marshmallows or hot dogs over a fire pit
- You can build a fire pit yourself using fire rated bricks and gravel.
- Fire pits allow for 360 degree view of the fire so more people can enjoy it.
Chimineas are amazing for cozy gatherings and cooking.
- With most chimineas having one opening to view the fire inside, the crowd gathered around a chiminea is typically smaller.
- While they aren’t known for roasting marshmallows, chimineas can be used for other types of cooking. Some versions allow you to take off the stack and it reveals a grill type cooking surface. Other have oven
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