buying your first chiminea

Clay chiminea: How to choose your first chiminea in 2021

Clay chimineas are an affordable way to provide heat, light and ambiance in your home. Learn how to choose the right clay chiminea for your needs.

Choosing your first chiminea is a big decision. So how do you decide? We’ll go over what to look for in a clay chiminea, and give you some helpful tips on the best way to set up your new fire pit.

First is first: 

What do you need from your chiminea?

Clay Chimineas are great for outdoor entertaining and parties, but there are so many to choose from. This guide explains how to find the right one for you at a reasonable price.

Spending garden time is great for family and friends living. Organizing gatherings and cooking for them all is one of the best ways to keep the community around you united and entertained.

Clay chimineas are one of the most used types of bbq grills in modern garden cooking. Clay chimineas utilize charcoal or firewood to heat up and cook your food. Charcoal makes grills so tasty and firewood adds this extra flavor to your vegetables or meats.

bbq on the chiminea

Chimineas come in all shapes and sizes, and vary in cost.

If a clay chiminea is your first wood fire pit, your choice is for a decor and cooking garden appliance. Not only your bbq will taste as heaven but your garden decor will be upgraded as well.

Charcoal-fired chimineas come in small sizes, which are ideal for apartment dwellers or people with small homes. Once you have used your charcoal chiminea grill, you can clean it, and store it away.

One of the most noticeable features when using charcoal is the flavor of the food you cook. To cook with a chiminea, you must buy charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid or just use paper or carton to fire it.

Charcoal is a one use item, and will need to be discarded after each use. Charcoal can be picked up at your local superstore, gas station, or grocery store, and is typically pretty inexpensive. Charcoal must be light and allowed to burn until the charcoal is no longer on fire, but is red embers. The best way to get the pile to burn is by stacking it in a pyramid.

Firewood can also be found on a hardware store and there are several types. Each type has its own flavor and requirements. Usually for cooking, you can use natural firewood that had been dried for a year, meaning it was chopped the previous year, no more, no less or this can be smoking too much and not firing easily.

Now you are thinking about purchasing your first chiminea.

Your gardening time will be so much upgraded with a clay chiminea!

Wood-burning stoves can be so useful when it comes to prepare an outdoor meal for family and friends, but why not to add the decor element to your outdoor coking area?

I put together this article about choosing your chiminea to help you do your choice. As there are many types of clay chiminea and even you want it only for garden decor or maybe you want to cook on it.

So read the following article about How to pick your first chiminea


What is a chiminea?

Chimineas are Mexican-inspired garden ovens used to decorate and to cook.

Clay chimeneas also spelled chiminea (from Spanishchimenea which derive from French cheminée, "chimney"), is a freestanding front-loading fireplace or oven with a bulbous body and usually a vertical smoke vent or chimney.

Chimineas serve as wood stove for patio warmer or just cuddling near a bonfire during fall season evenings.

How do you pick a good chiminea?

If you are buying a chiminea for the first time, you are probably wondering exactly what kind of chiminea you should buy. This chiminea buying guide has the answers you need. These lovely outdoor fireplaces are a lasting delight that many people have added to their homes already. Whether you have chosen to purchase one as an accent to your living space or decide you want a fully functional outdoor fireplace, you will certainly not regret doing so.

When considering what type of chiminea you will need, there are several questions that may run through your mind such as:


• What do I want to do with my chiminea?
• What type of chiminea would suit my needs?
• What kind of design do I want for my chiminea?
• Can my chiminea be used for something other than burning?
• Will my chiminea be inside or outside?
• What will the maintenance be like?
• Would I rather use a wood burner or gas burner?
• Can I keep my chiminea outside all year?
• Will I need a special platform for my chiminea?

These questions may seem complicated, but they all grill down to one decision that you need to make. What material do you want your chiminea to be made of?

Below we have outlined several types of chimineas and their features in order to make your decision as simple as possible.

Because one thing is a bqq, other is about owning and using clay chiminea fireplace

clay chiminea



Chiminea fireplaces are made of several different materials and vary in design from smaller and more basic, to larger, one-time placement styles. The usefulness and life of each chiminea depend heavily on what material it is created from. For example, a clay chiminea would be a great choice for a year-round outdoor decor that matches your existing pottery items. A cast aluminum chiminea fireplace would hold up to both without much effort but it will show signs of rust rapidly.

Cooking on chiminea


Clay chimineas are the oldest construction type. They are made from raw natural clay and crafted from two pieces which are kiln-dried.

These chimineas are heavy, susceptible to wet and cold conditions, and have existed since the mid 17th century according to the Natural Handyman.

firing a chiminea


How much should I spend on a clay chiminea?

An outdoor wooden-fired fireplace will cost anywhere between $1,500 to $20,000. On average, it will run you about $3,000 to have a fireplace built. Pre-made kits and unfinished contractor models usually only run from $1,500 to $9,000. Custom projects typically cost between $8,000 to $20,000 - some even hitting $50,000.

These clay fireplaces are also known as great bbq and pizza oven appliances and cost no more than $400

Clay chimineas fireplaces can have different prices. Depending on what kind of clay or even if clay had been mixed with mortar so it could be harmful to cook on.

A reputable clay chiminea fireplace that is as good on decor than on cooking can be costing beyond 500.

Find some inspiration here on Pinterest

You can find good clay chimineas starting at $400. You will find links below to purchase a clay chiminea on Amazon and on Etsy as well.

chimineas on amazon


What is the safest type of chiminea?

Clay chimineas come with a variety of forms and shapes. As any sort of fireplace, there are important safety measures to consider. More even when this is for fun as kids would eventually be around.

Chimineas are typically safer than fire pits. Thanks to the stack or chimney on the top of a chiminea, flames are directed up and out. Also clay chimineas are more suitable for families with children, being much safer than fire pits. Clay gets warm but not to an extreme as metal fire pits. Metal fire pits can cause more damage to kids since the metal gets too hot, while the clay chimineas will get warm but still not in the same level.

pizza on chiminea

Where to buy a good clay chiminea in the US?

Chimineas are present in American landscape for decades. As they are popular, big garden centers retails have them on their garden decor store sections. Also in big hardware stores. But if you are into an exclusive model that comes with all necessary accessories for cooking, here are these beautiful clay chimineas on Amazon

Also you can find fine clay chimineas on Etsy here

Where to buy a good clay chiminea in Canada?

In Canada is hard to find clay chimineas on the hardware store. Some independent garden centers would have, but not all. Since the mainstream thinking is terracotta collapse during deep temperatures. This applies to clay flower pots for sure, but chimineas had an extra treatment during manufacturing process, so they had a kiln step to harden the clay even more.

One of the most used resources to purchase a chiminea in Canada is on internet. You can find this clay chiminea on Amazon Canada here

Also you can find fine clay chimineas on Etsy here . 

Etsy is an online marketplace that connects sellers with buyers. It is primarily used for selling vintage items, handmade goods, art, and crafts

How to use a chiminea?

To light a chiminea you can use these four materials: coal, firewood, pellets or even charcoal.

Personally, when cooking bbq style food, prefer to use only charcoal. When cooking pizza, I light a layer of charcoal first and add firewood gradually. The flames reach the pizza stone and the clay reaches hight temps. Charcoal is easy to find at your local hardware store and there are brands selling it smokeless or smoke-flavored, which is great when using your chimenea on your gazebo or patio.

Smores on chiminea

Clay chiminea maintenance

Maintenance starts right after opening the box. Let's dive into it.

As any other piece of pottery, garden chimneys need to be prepared to prevent clay to crack. Extreme temperatures are not a good idea on new ceramic pieces, but after following these steps, you will be enjoying your new chiminea for long time. Don't forget, a chiminea can reach temperatures as high as 900F and this creates expansion to clay. Once the chiminea is cold, the pores close again but can keep moisture inside. This moisture can create cracks if not properly taking care of these following steps:

Instructions for lighting your new chiminea

outdoor party

What to use a chiminea for?

Clay chimineas have a variety of uses both indoors and as outdoor fireplaces, including:

  • Baking bread in the traditional manner used centuries ago
  • Baking delicious homemade pizza
  • Use as a social gathering spot for warmth and conversation
  • Focal points for flower beds and rock gardens
  • Corner décors such as shoe holders, magazine holders, and more
  • Pet beds in which you place a simple pet bed in what was meant to be the fire bowl
  • Burning candles as an interesting alternative to wood burning that is safe for inside use
  • Use as the focal point for a concrete or terracotta tiled patio

Barbecuing: An American Tradition

No matter if it is the 4th of July, or just another day in the summer, chances are someone in your area is barbequing. Barbequing on the clay chiminea fire pit has become a standard American tradition for families. The reason as clear as to why, not only does the food that comes from barbequing have a taste that is unmatched by other cooking methods, but barbequing presents a reason for families to gather together. Some on my most memorial experiences happened outdoors at one of my families many get-togethers.

Planning A Barbecue

First, no barbecue would be complete without guests and proper outdoors weather. Plan ahead of time, checking with your potential guests for scheduling conflicts and issues. Finding a date and time that is suitable for everyone should not be to hard as long as you everyone enough advanced notice. Alternatively, be sure to check the weather for that type of year. If you live in a climate that cannot be predicted, then you may want to have a backup plan just incase unusual weather comes. Let'S say an indoors pinata party to keep the kids entertained. You cannot predict things like rain and thunderstorms ahead of time, but you can make sure that you hold you barbecue during the time of year that will be pleasant to your guests. A barbecue in cold weather may hold more negative memories of trying to keep warm rather then good memories of family and friends.

Barbequing has been around since early cavemen figured out that food tasted great after being cooked on an open fire. Perhaps one of the main memories attached to a family chimineas backyard parties is what was on the menu that day. Barbequing opens a whole array of types of foods available. The type of foods you serve should largely depend on your crowd and the event in which you are celebrating. With the wide range of possibilities, you are sure to find at least a few items that will please your crowd.

Make sure that you prepare ahead for your barbeque. 12 to 24 hours before you plan on beginning the party, make sure to thaw, prepare, and marinate the meat you will be cooking. Once you have the meat stored away, soaking up the marinate, then you must start thinking about what types of side dishes you will be having. If you want a completely tradition barbeque, you may want to stick with traditional sizes. Traditional barbeque sides include potatoes and potato salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. Your traditional condiment bar should include pickles, relish, and onions. These foods are typically severed at barbeques because they are easy to prepare and store until the event happens. You may want to cook other items, but any barbecue is complete with just the items listed above.

A themed barbeque may present more opportunities to hold a festive event. With a themed event, you can splurge on the atmosphere and decorations. Matching tablecloths, napkins, and plates can be found at any local store. You can also match your décor to the party. For example, a luau could simply be creative colored utensils, leis, and Tiki torches, all of which are extremely cheap. You can even reuse the Tiki torches later! or why not a Mexican themed party! since chimineas have this Latin American roots, Viva la fiesta!

Your party area should be set up before guest arrive. It only takes a few minutes to get everything ready, but the reaction you get from your arriving guests may make you feel like you were preparing and decorating all day. Depending on the situation, you may or may not want to have the food already cooking on the grill. The smell will surely be inviting if you start cooking ahead!

Can you use a clay chiminea on winter?

Getting your chiminea ready for winter typically doesn’t require that many steps, but if you ignore the preparation, your chiminea will suffer!

Avoiding Moisture

A crucial part of maintaining any chiminea is ensuring that it avoids the moisture and temperature changes that come with snow and winter cold.

For clay chimineas, temperature drops are especially damaging. The sudden switch from warm to freezing cold can cause cracking and breaking, and then the owner (that would be you!) will be out of an outdoor fireplace.

Chiminea Covers

If you have a chiminea, you really should have a cover for it, and use it regularly (once the chiminea is cold enough!)

Since these fireplaces are exclusively used outdoors, it’s important to make sure your chiminea doesn’t get exposed to rain and water. Even a little bit of moisture can weaken the fireplace’s overall structure, giving it a much shorter lifespan than it could have if taken care of.

Here is where the chiminea cover comes in.

Ultimately, owning a chiminea requires some forethought and work. Winterization of a chiminea is not difficult but does require a few steps, and some planning.

We recommend that owners read up on their type of chiminea before winter comes to ensure all of the proper steps are taken.

Remember to invest in quality materials and equipment like a cover, and try to bring the fireplace inside during the winter to avoid moisture and ice.

Find below the most popular chimineas fireplaces on Internet, click on images for details:


Last word

chiminea for cooking


The last thing to remember is to enjoy your chiminea. These lovely outdoor fireplaces are an investment of more than just money and offer to provide many great memories for you and your family. Take advantage of these moments every chance you get and make the most out of your time and your investment.

Thank you for reading our chiminea buying guide. At Sol y Tierra, We wish you the best as you choose a chiminea!

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