This contemporary outdoor wood burner is an imposing presence on the patio, thanks to its jet-black colourway and its lofty dimensions. At 150cm in height, it demands attention. The Primo is well-crafted from a high quality powder-coated steel and features a handy wood storage compartment at its base.
With summer just around the corner, naturally our minds turn to al fresco entertaining. We’ve got the garden furniture, the barbecue set-up, and the outdoor lighting sorted. But even on the warmest days, our patio space can feel decidedly fresh once the sun goes down. Enter the chiminea, a stylish, functional, and versatile outdoor fireplace that brings warmth and ambience to outside soirées.
These freestanding, portable heaters have design roots in central America, and while many contemporary styles have been given a stark redesign, they all aim to achieve the same result: keeping us toasty warm with a crackling fire while safely directing smoke up and away.
Most modern designs are crafted from a hard-wearing steel and feature a generously-sized and user-friendly opening for fuel. Some boast additional storage, scoring points on both practicality and aesthetics – who doesn’t love the rustic charm of a small log pile? If you’re in the market for a traditional clay crafted chiminea, these classic pot-bellied designs prove surprisingly effective considering they date back to ancient Mexico, where they were used for cooking and heating.
Whether you go traditional, or you plump for an imposing contemporary patio piece, your chiminea will require care and maintenance. Consider how easily accessible the main void of the chiminea is for cleaning, and think about materials, too. Some are best covered when not in use while others are designed to be left out in the elements, with their naturally ageing surface gaining a characterful patina over time.
It’s also worth mentioning that each product will have its own recommendations on the best types of fuel to use, whether that’s wood, coal, or in some cases, smokeless wood briquettes.
How we tested
We tested a range of outdoor heaters on the patio looking for user-friendly design: how easily and quickly we could light a fire, how long the fire lasted, and for each chiminea, the overall heat (and light) output, depending on the size of the product. We tested them in terms of sturdiness and weight, quality of craftsmanship and materials, and whether traditional or contemporary in design, if they would offer a big impact on the style front.
The best chimineas for 2023 are:
- Best chiminea overall – Atkin and Thyme Primo wood-burning chiminea: £249, Atkinandthyme.co.uk
- Best budget-friendly chiminea – La Hacienda Venezuela clay chiminea: £70, Homebase.co.uk
- Best low-maintenance chiminea – Garden Leisure contemporary chiminea: £169.99, Notonthehighstreet.com
- Best traditional chiminea – Gardenco Colima x-large chiminea: £183.99, Robertdyas.co.uk
- Best tear-shaped chiminea – Cuckooland Cooper gold & carbon tear outdoor fireplace: £239.99, cuckooland.co.uk