The best chimeneas to heat up your outdoor space

If you’re dining, entertaining or just chilling out in your favourite spot outdoors, a traditional chiminea can heat things up and keep the festivities going for longer

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No matter whether your garden is a couple of acres or closer to the size of a postage stamp, if you like to spend time outside, the likelihood is that you’ll benefit from a chimenea. These wood-burning clay stoves were once used indoors for heating and cooking, but today they make a wonderful feature for outdoor entertaining or relaxing, serving to keep us warm and even, in the case of some models, work as a barbecue or pizza oven.

When it comes to materials, there are generally three choices. Cast iron isn’t prone to knocks or scratches, and will last for years and years with the right treatment. Steel is still reasonably durable, but is much easier to move by yourself than a heavy cast iron chimenea, if you’re planning on rearranging the garden or patio any time soon. Clay, meanwhile, is the traditional choice, and is a very simple way to give your garden that rustic southwestern feel. Whatever type of chimenea you go for, be sure to invest in a weatherproof cover or model with a rain lid for drizzly days.

A large chimenea will always look very impressive, but may overwhelm a petite patio or diminutive decking area both in size and heat output. If you have a smaller garden and don’t want your guests to swelter, we suggest sizing down, but if you frequently entertain and have a lot of space to play with, a modern oversized chimenea is just the thing for keeping everyone warm after dark, and makes a very striking centerpiece.

1. Gardeco Toledo Extra Large Cast Iron Grapes Chimenea

Unusual design and rock-solid construction give this chimenea our top spot

Specifications
Best for: Cast Iron
Material: Cast Iron
Diameter: 45cm
Reasons to buy
+ Looks good even when not in use + Hinged barbecue grill 
Reasons to avoid
-Can be prone to rusting

Like all good chimeneas, this cast iron model from Gardeco looks the part even when it’s not in use. Its bronze finish and curvy shape is very attractive, and the grape motif adds an unexpected Classical touch, but it’s also very useful when it gets all fired up. Use it to keep warm or to cook al fresco, with its handy swing-out barbecue grill that allows you to check food as it fires. An excellent multi-tasker with a distinguished look. 

2. La Hacienda Malmo

A trend-led statement stove for a modern outdoor space

Specifications
Best for: Modern spaces
Material: Steel
Diameter: 36cm
Reasons to buy
+ Bold modern design + Space for storing logs 
Reasons to avoid
- Have to sit quite close for heat 

Just like the Swedish city after which it’s named, the Malmo is very fashion-forward, with its matte black finish, tall and slender shape and clean lines. The design is bold and uncluttered, with one cutout for your fire and one cubby for storing logs, a very handy feature that few outdoor wood-burning stoves seem to offer. If classic clay isn’t your thing, this is a modern chimenea to suit a modern garden, perfect for Scandi design devotees. 

3. La Hacienda Clay Chimenea BBQ

The classic clay chimenea, with surprising barbecue functionality

Specifications
Best for: Traditional style
Material: Clay
Diameter: 36cm
Reasons to buy
+ Attractive design + Grill for barbecuing included 
Reasons to avoid
- Like all clay chimeneas, it can crack 

This traditional Mexican-style chimenea is a handsome addition to any patio or courtyard and really looks the part for summer get-togethers. Its weathered paintwork and clay construction are authentically rustic, and with its included chrome-plated grill, it doubles as a barbecue to really earn its keep in the warmer months. If you’re after a classic-look chimenea that’s both useful and beautiful, you’ve found it. 

4. George Home Pyramid Chimenea

This three-sided chimenea has an impressive output and impressive looks, to boot

Specifications
Best for: A centrepiece
Material: Steel
Diameter: 82cm
Reasons to buy
+ Heats from three sides  + Cool industrial-looking design 
Reasons to avoid
- May scratch 

Sturdy and modern, this George Home chimenea makes a great industrial-style addition to the garden. It’s our only pick that puts out heat from more than one side, so it’s definitely not one to tuck into a corner — put it in the middle of a patio or sunken garden so that everyone can feel the benefit of the three-sided fire and admire the stylish centrepiece at the same time.

5. Castmaster Outdoor Pizza Oven (Large)

Al fresco chefs will find this combined pizza oven and chiminea a dream to use

Specifications
Best for: Pizza oven
Material: Cast iron
Diameter: 46cm
Reasons to buy
+ Best pick for cooking + Distinctive looks 
Reasons to avoid
- Extremely heavy 

This unusual cast iron stove is part chimenea, part pizza oven, perfect for enthusiastic chefs who like to take their craft outside. Bake or barbecue for your next garden gathering or laid-back family lunch in the upper oven or lower grill, and then use the embers to keep warm when the sun goes down. It’s worth bearing in mind that this oven is incredibly heavy, so get a friend to help you set it up with the promise of a home-cooked pizza! Overall, it’s our most versatile pick for cooking outdoors.