Nothing sounds quite so cozy as sipping hot chocolate by a roaring fire—and with the popularity of chimineas and firepits, you can do that in your outdoor spaces as well as inside your home. But what exactly is the difference a chiminea and a firepit, and which one might be best for you? Read on for the answers!
What’s the difference between a chiminea and a firepit?
Most people are familiar with firepits—they can be simple spaces on the ground surrounded by stone or some other material, or they can be elaborate set ups with raised custom surroundings made of stone or other materials. Whether simple or high-end, all fire pits have one thing in common—the open space in the middle is where we can light a fire to toast marshmallows over or snuggle up next to.
Chimineas also have a space for a fire, but it is more contained and covered. A chiminea looks like an old-fashioned pot-bellied stove. It has an opening in the front for the fuel, and then a stack or chimney where the smoke is directed up and away. Chimineas can be made from a variety of materials; terra cotta and clay are traditional, but they are also made out of iron, steel, copper, and other metals.
Pros and cons of chimineas and firepits
While part of the decision about whether to choose a chiminea or firepit for your outdoor space is simply a matter of taste, there are some points to consider that can help homeowners make an informed decision.
Look and appeal: While chimineas can be beautiful pieces of outdoor furnishings, it is important to note you will not be able to see and access the fire the same way you will with a firepit. In a firepit the design is typically much more open, so if it’s the sight of a warm and blazing open flame under the night sky that is most appealing to you, you may lean more towards a firepit than a chiminea.
Safety: The very thing that makes firepits more appealing for some might make them less appealing to others, as the open flame of a firepit can be more difficult to safely manage than the contained flame of a chiminea. By their very design, most chimineas will offer greater protection against flying sparks or accidentally getting too close to the fire. Chimineas also direct the smoke upward and away, unlike firepits where the smoke blows in whatever direction the wind takes it.
Upkeep: Both Chimineas and firepits should be properly maintained to ensure they can be enjoyed safely. Ease of upkeep will have a lot to do with the material—for example, a heavy clay or terra cotta chiminea may be prone to cracking more than a simple firepit would. It’s important to understand the particular safety and maintenance requirements of the firepit or chiminea you are installing in your outdoor space.
Cost: This will vary depending on multiple factors including material, design, and fuel source. A simple stone firepit that burns twigs and leaves or a small, simple clay chiminea will clearly cost less than a customized propane firepit or a hand cast copper chiminea. It’s a good idea to know your budget going in to the project so you can find the best fit for your outdoor space—and your wallet.
When dealing with firepits and chimineas it’s important to understand the proper installation, use, and maintenance so the equipment can be used safely. Consult with your trusted landscaping professional today to learn more about installing a firepit or chiminea in your outdoor space.