Best Clay Chiminea Alternatives: 5 Top Options

If you’re looking for the best clay chiminea you may be out of luck. Most chimineas aren’t made of clay any longer. Thankfully, though, they are made of stronger materials such as iron, aluminum, or steel. Which makes them more consistent and gives them a longer-lasting appeal.

Regardless of what kind of chiminea you’re looking for, or the size of the space you’re working with, some of the best clay chimineas on this list will make your backyard, deck, or patio look stunning.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…

1. The Blue Rooster Dragonfly Chiminea

The Blue Rooster Dragonfly CAST Aluminum Wood Burning Chiminea in Charcoal
  • SOLID CAST ALUMINUM - Means you never have to worry about rust.
  • EFFICIENT DRAFTING - Easy to light, easy to clean, and burns with little or no smoke.
  • LARGE FIRE BOX - Burns full size logs 18-20"+
  • Complete - Mouth Screen, Grilling Insert, Rain Lid, Carry Handles, Neck Spark Screen, Screen/Wood Tool
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY - Your Lifetime

Last update on 2019-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Even though you’re looking for the best clay chiminea this aluminum chiminea is a great replacement. It has a very large firebox when compared to other chimineas and since it’s made of aluminum it can’t rust. This makes it ideal for patios and decks, giving you a little warmth without having to worry about the next rainstorm. 

The handles and lightweight design make it easy to move from place to place when cool and it doesn’t cost much in relation to other chimineas on the market. The mesh door is a nice addition and fits well with the dragonfly design. Paired with the lifetime warranty there isn’t much that’s left to be desired. 

The only real notable downside to this chiminea is that the first time you use it it’ll give off a toxic paint smell. This lasts for a few hours, and if you want to set large logs into this chiminea you may need to cut them in half. We suggest running a test burn with this chiminea if you decide to get this model. 

A test burn lets you firstly burn off that paint smell, and secondly, it helps you see if your log size is too big or small. If you have an issue with this chiminea don’t forget about that lifetime warranty, it could come in handy. If there are any issues you should take advantage of that warranty to ensure you can continue to enjoy your chimenea without having to pay a lot of money for a new one. 

Things We Like:

  • The large firebox can burn more at once
  • Lightweight
  • Lifetime Warranty

Things We Don’t:

  • Toxic paint leaves a smell during the first fire, burns for several hours
  • Well is too narrow to comfortably set large logs in

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


2. The Blue Rooster Grape Style Chiminea 

The Blue Rooster CAST Aluminum Grape Style Wood Burning Chiminea in Charcoal.
  • Designed to be safe for use on your deck or patio.
  • Easy to light, easy to clean, and burns with little or no smoke.
  • The Blue Rooster Chiminea will make your patio your new favorite room.
  • Solid Cast Aluminum means you never have to worry about rust.
  • Built in carry handles for easy deck arrangement. Lifetime Warranty (Your lifetime).

Last update on 2019-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This chiminea has a grapevine and lattice design on it which is quite pretty on top of being safe for both decks and patios. This one doesn’t rust either, and with regular rainstorms, you won’t see a change to your chiminea. The built-in handles make it easy to carry around, helping you move it from your deck to your patio, or wherever else you’d like it to go. It’s also incredibly easy to clean, it’s designed to burn wood and comes in a dark but elegant charcoal color. Do note that you can burn a limited kind of charcoal, but wood is usually used in chimineas.

The only downsides are that the construction of the chiminea can be a little off. Sometimes the top stack is upside down when delivered. Some people believe this is because it is made in China, though there is little evidence that this is true. It also has some issues with the latch, which can be difficult to line up and close. It’s a small and quaint, but large enough to enjoy in any weather. Though we don’t suggest starting it up in the dead of winter, it may be difficult to enjoy. There are plenty of chimineas on the market, but the pros for this chiminea landed it on this list of best clay chimineas.

Things We Like:

  • Designed to be safe on patios and decks
  • No rusting issues
  • Easy to clean

Things We Don’t:

  • Can be delivered with the top stack upside down
  • It is made in China, which can put some people off for quality

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


3. The Blue Rooster Sun Stack Chiminea 

The Blue Rooster CAST Aluminum Sun Stack Wood Burning Chiminea in Charcoal.
  • Solid Cast Aluminum means you never have to worry about rust.
  • Extend your time outdoors with the warmth of a new chiminea. After sunset enjoy the warmth and light from your beautiful chiminea.
  • Efficient drafting means little to no smoke and easy to light and extinguish.
  • The Blue Rooster Chiminea will make your patio your new favorite room.
  • Built in carry handles for easy deck arrangement. Lifetime Warranty (Your lifetime).

Last update on 2019-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This sun based design is a delightful addition to a backyard, it has efficient drafting, which allows you to ignite and put out a fire easily. Made with a mesh door hatch you can get this chiminea with a gold accent, and there aren’t currently any complaints about that accent burning away. Pair that with the fact that it is made of aluminum and therefore doesn’t rust and you’ve got another great option for a chiminea. 

There can be some difficulties with this chiminea though. Firstly this chiminea has a small flaw with the door latch, this can make it easy for wood to roll out if the door comes undone. You shouldn’t leave any chiminea unsupervised, especially not this one. The bottom of the chiminea can also be difficult to clean due to the screws and bolts. Be careful when cleaning this chiminea. Otherwise, this is a quaint little chiminea, it’s not perfect, but it is still a stunning piece that can easily bring together friends and family for any event. 

Things We Like:

  • Little to no smoke
  • Built-in handles
  • No rusting

Things We Don’t:

  • The door can have a faulty latch
  • The bottom of the pit can be difficult to clean

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


4. BALI OUTDOORS Outdoor Fireplace

Sale
BALI OUTDOORS Outdoor Fireplace Wooden Fire Pit, Chimenea, Black
  • PVC Rain cover NOT INCLUDED
  • With round wire mesh screening design enables all direction visibility fire at chiminea
  • Chiminea ideal for use with firewood and artificial logs
  • Sliding door and ash tray enables users to add fuel or remove ash with ease
  • Chiminea firepit features heavy-duty cast iron construction

Last update on 2019-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This chiminea is a little different from the ones we have looked at thus far. The mesh for this one goes all the way around the side of the chiminea with a door in one section of the mesh. This door blends well with the rest of the mesh and gives 360-degree access to the warmth of the flames. This feature alone helps this chiminea make the list of best clay chiminea. The door slides on the side instead of opening outward, making it a more reliable door. On top of this, it has an ashtray that allows for quick and easy cleanup. 

Nothing is perfect though, and this chiminea has some issues with the assembly. It’s a little difficult to put together. This is a consistent flaw with this model, with manufacturing holes that don’t line up and difficulties getting the parts together. Once you get past this imperfection though you’ll have a wonderful chiminea as no other problems have currently been noted with this model. It’s simple, elegant, and great for a large gathering of friends and family.

Things We Like:

  • 360 mesh design gives full fire visibility
  • Can use regular firewood or artificial logs
  • It’s easy to remove the ash

Things We Don’t:

  • Difficult to assemble
  • Made imperfectly, some holes in the construction process do not match up as they should

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


5. Sunnydaze Modern Chiminea

Sunnydaze Modern Chiminea - Steel Outdoor Wood-Burning Fire Pit - Large 5-Foot Black Fireplace - Durable Wood Grate - Quick & Easy Assembly - Perfect for Patio, Deck or Backyard Use
  • SPACE-SAVING SIZE: 19-inch diameter x 22 inches wide x 60 inches tall; weighs 30.6 pounds; Sits 9.5 inches off the ground; Three legs: 12.5 inches long x 2 inches diameter; Wood opening: 18-inch diameter x 30 inches tall; flue: 6.25 inches diameter x 20 inches tall
  • OPEN FIREPIT ACCESS: Allows for easy firewood maneuverability; Made with heavy-duty cold-rolled steel construction
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE: Includes 4mm thick steel 15-inch diameter wood grate with 1.5-inch gaps between the bars
  • WOOD-BURNING: Large 18-inch opening makes it easy to light the fire and clean out ash and debris
  • WARRANTY: Sunnydaze Decor backs its products with a 1-year manufacturer's warranty for worry-free purchasing.

Last update on 2019-11-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This chiminea is perfect for a small space, whether it be a small backyard or pool deck. It has a wide-open mouth and is very easy to assemble. This model also happens to have a year-long warranty, helping give you peace of mind while you enjoy your chiminea. The space-saving design is absolutely perfect for small spaces and turns those small spaces into a warm cozy place to take solace. 

This space-saving chiminea though does have a few downfalls. Firstly there is no door for the pit section of the chiminea, this leaves it open, making it easy for logs and other wood to fall out. Secondly, this chiminea is not made of aluminum, this means that it is very easy for your chiminea to begin to rust. You will need a cover to go over this chiminea for sure if you opt to get this one. You could also bring it into an enclosed area for storage if you’d prefer. Do not start the chiminea in an enclosed area for any reason whatsoever. 

 This can turn a lot of people away from this model, but if you have a proper cover for your chiminea, and you don’t use it in the rain, you shouldn’t have rust issues. Just remember to keep an eye on that open pit and we don’t think you’ll have many issues with this model. 

Things We Like:

  • Saves space
  • Easy to assemble
  • 1-year warranty

Things We Don’t:

  • No door for the pit
  • This unit rusts in time and will need to be kept dry

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


What You Need to Know About Chimineas

Chimineas were originally built in Mexico back when just about everything was made out of clay. Homes and kettles and, yes, even fireplaces were made, and they had to be perfect. The people of Mexico were quickly able to craft the best clay chiminea and distribute them gradually. These chimineas weren’t just for heat though. They had several uses depending on different needs. Some were used for both heat and cooking, some for one or the other, there were even small ones intended just to spread light around the room. 

Chiminea was traditionally created with clay, but today it isn’t easy to find clay chimineas. They’re mostly made of aluminum, some are made of steel, but it is very difficult to find clay chiminea’s which makes finding a traditional chiminea, arguably one of the best clay chimineas, is difficult. 

Traditional Chimineas

Traditional Chimineas, after the two initial parts are carefully crafted they’re allowed to air dry for at least two days. From there the pieces are fired in a kiln or large clay oven. This dries them completely and makes them useable, though afterward, it is common for them to be painted, sometimes called glazed, and then fired in the kiln again to give them color. 

Aluminum chiminea’s are more popular and more common outside of Mexico. They’re created in factories and shipped when ordered. They’re specifically designed to spout smoke up and away from those around the fire, and with an addition of a spark inhibitor, you won’t have to babysit it or worry about additional blazes either. 

You should never, ever use accelerants such as lighter fluid in a chiminea, no matter what its made of. This poses a great risk of explosion, which could very well harm you or your guests. If it doesn’t explode it very well may crack, ruining the chiminea anyway. It’s suggested that you burn hardwood in your chiminea, though some kinds of charcoal are acceptable as well. 

You can add scented oils to your fire, as long as you let it dry on the wood before you light it. You can also use a variety of other fire-starting mediums, but not accelerants. So long as you’re careful you can really enjoy a chiminea, even if it’s not the best clay chiminea from Mexico.

What You Shouldn’t Do

You should never place your chiminea in flammable areas. This means not in a building, near flammable oil, gas, dry grass, or any other flammable material. Chiminea’s should always be placed on sand or a slab of hard material, like concrete. If you do somehow manage to find a clay chiminea use a metal stand to properly protect yourself and your chiminea from damage.

You should know that these little fit pits are incredibly efficient when it comes to their heating ability. They push heat out very well no matter the material they’re made of. This makes them popular for being warm, small, and enjoyable.

You should not leave your chiminea out in the cold during the winter, regardless of if it’s the best clay chiminea or not. This can seriously damage it, especially if you get a lot of snow and cold weather. It’s unwise to leave your chiminea out in any harsh weather whatsoever.

Can You Cook?

If you get a larger pit though, you will be able to grill with it, making it a versatile addition to your yard. There are hundreds of recipes out in the world for different kinds of foods that can be cooked in your chiminea. All you’d need to do is pick one and follow the recipe. The food cooked in a chiminea comes out quite delicious and can really put anyone that you may have to visit in awe.

Most people just cook hotdogs, marshmallows, and other campfire foods in their chiminea’s, full course meals aren’t usually prepared, but can be depending on the recipe. Always take caution when working in and around your chiminea as you could easily get burned. 

When trying to put your chiminea out, you should never spray it with water, let the fire burn down gradually and stop putting wood in it. The water could very easily damage your chiminea from cooling too quickly. The water damage could be devastating if your chiminea isn’t aluminum, so do your best to avoid using water to put your chiminea out when you can. 

Cleaning

When your chiminea is not in use you should clean it out, removing any ashes and debris from the fire you had the last time you used it. When clean and maintained a Chiminea is a great addition to any yard, deck, or patio. It’s a small, quaint, and timely. This rustic addition would be sure to brighten up even the ugliest of backyards

When you clean your chiminea, be sure to be incredibly careful. Sometimes the fixings on the inside, such as screws and bolts, can be damaging if you aren’t careful to work around them. The last thing you want is to receive a cut while trying to clean your chiminea. 

You should not let children or pets around a hot chiminea unsupervised. They could very easily get burned or catch on fire depending on the model you’re working with. Take great care when using your chiminea in the presence of pets and children to avoid any serious injury. 

Upkeep

Chimineas can be wonderful additions to your yard, deck, or patio, but they aren’t without their fair share of work. You need to maintain and care for your chiminea to ensure that you’re going to have many more years to enjoy it with friends and family alike. If you do keep up on the chiminea care, you’ll be able to bring in a wonderful firepit, that could easily make a smaller backyard look much more spacious

Chiminea’s large and small are wonderful additions, but what brands are the most common? Which brands are there in the market period? Some people will pay for brand names because they ensure a specific level of quality, but it’s hard to know what brands are available when you’ve never bought or heard of something before. So what brands of chiminea are there, and which of them would be considered as one of the best clay chimineas?

Best Chiminea Brands

The best clay chiminea is one that’s traditionally built and created in Mexico. This chiminea is difficult to find and can easily break, so many people go with one of the many other options instead such as a cast iron or aluminum chiminea. The best brands of chiminea available are often those built with aluminum, this prevents rust. They should be crafted carefully to ensure the manufacturing holes line up, making the project of assembly much easier. 

Some of our favorite chiminea on the market are the ones made by Blue Rooster. They have a latching door, a large area of coverage, and are usually easy to clean. There are a few small errors with them on occasion but they didn’t make a debut as some of the best clay chiminea’s for no reason. They usually are adorned with wonderful designs, but they also might not be right for you. 

If you’re looking for a smaller or more quaint chiminea, the Blue Rooster models may not be for you, but thankfully there are dozens of chiminea out there on the market, and one is sure to fit your needs. Always remember to keep an eye on your chiminea when in use, even if it never caused you issues before. Even the best brands in the world can be imperfect, so be wise and keep yourself, your friends, and your family safe when operating your chiminea. 

Each one of these chiminea play on different strengths and weaknesses. Making them all unique, this helps you pick the right one for your yard. Are you living in a small space with the need for a small chiminea? Or are you working with a large patio that just needs a little something to pull it together? 

FAQ

Q: Are chimineas safe?

A: Yes, though clay chimineas are safer since they don’t get as hot, as long as you keep your chiminea outside and use it properly on a proper fireproof slab or space and you won’t have any safety issues. 

Q: Does a chiminea need a stand?

A: If your chiminea is clay you should always have a metal stand. If not then it may not need a stand at all since it may already have one. Metal chiminea usually has a stand when you get them, if not as long as they’re on top of a fire-safe surface you should not need one.

Q: Do chimineas smoke?

A: These fireplaces are designed as minimally as possible when it comes to smoke output. Though there is some smoke that does come out, it usually goes up and over the heads of those sitting around the chiminea. 

Q: Can chimineas explode?

A: Yes. Using an accelerator like lighter fluid, or placing your chiminea under an outdoor cover such as an awning can build up pressure and cause your chiminea to explode. Place your chiminea in an open area, on a fire-safe surface, with free access to the sky. There should be no roof over your chiminea while its in use. 

Q: What kind of wood do you burn in a chiminea?

A: You can use any kind of wood in a chiminea and select kinds of charcoal, but it’s best to stick to hardwoods as they burn better than softer woods. 

Q: Can you use a chiminea indoors?

A: No, never bring a chiminea indoors to use. It can very easily explode causing damage to your things and your person. Always keep your chiminea outside when you’re using it, and don’t put it under an outside enclosure.

Q: Do you need to seal a chiminea before use?

A: It is very important to apply a sealer to your clay chiminea before you use it. This helps lengthen the life of the chiminea and lets you get more uses out of it. If your chiminea isn’t clay, you will not need a sealer.

Q: Should I put my lid on my Chiminea?

A: If you have a fire going the answer is absolutely not. If you try to place the lid on your chiminea while you’re burning wood it could very easily crack, especially if its clay.

Q: How do you keep a chiminea burning?

A: The best way is to cure your chiminea, you’ll need to start a small fire in it and keep it going for an hour, then build it into a larger fire which you should keep going for another hour. 

Q: Can chiminea get wet?

A: Chiminea’s get seriously damaged by water, especially if they’re clay or made of a metal other than aluminum. The thaw freeze cycles a solid winter has can ruin them alone, so it’s unwise to let your chiminea get wet. You can purchase covers if you don’t want to move the chiminea.

Q: What’s the purpose of a chiminea?

A: Overall the chiminea is useful in the rain if it’s a sealed clay chiminea or an aluminum chiminea. Thay are overall operated as a firepit regardless of its history.

Q: Can I cook a pizza in my chiminea?

A: If you don’t have a grill in your chiminea, you can make a makeshift one, but yes you can cook a pizza in your chiminea. You should preheat the chiminea for about fifteen minutes, and be sure to cook on a slab or grill of some kind.

Q: Can you put sand inside a chiminea?

A: No, you should never put sand in the pit of your chiminea. You can rest your chiminea on a bed of sand though as this is relatively fireproof but don’t put sand inside your chiminea.

Final Thoughts

Chiminea can be wonderful additions to any yard, deck or patio, especially in the summer and fall. These tiny and quaint fireplaces are not only traditional in Mexico but the best clay chiminea does not necessarily have to be clay. Aluminum and cast iron chiminea are great additions to your home as well, and having one makes sure that your place is the place to be. 

Chimineas have a bright history, full of families sitting around them, cooking and telling stories, regardless of where you’re from a chiminea is a great addition that ties a yard together. 

Either way, there is a chiminea on this list for either of those situations and anything in between. Just remember that you should not have your chiminea inside, and to take good care of it depending on the material that it’s made from. You don’t want to have to replace this wonderful addition to your home anytime soon.