Chimineas are made from a mix of metals, usually steel and cast iron. The body of a chiminea is often made of steel and the legs are produced using cast iron. Traditionally, chimineas have been made from clay, but clay can crack under the heat. More modern chimineas, made from steel or cast iron, can withstand the extreme temperatures much better.
With metal chimineas you can choose whether to burn wood or coal. Hardwoods are often a good choice as they burn without creating too many sparks. If you are using your chiminea to cook, then charcoal would work well as it spreads heat evenly. Don’t burn rubbish, old cardboard or any wood that has been treated as this can be dangerous. Treated wood may produce toxins when burnt and burning rubbish can result in an out-of-control fire.
Rust is completely natural and to be expected when you own and use a chiminea. It can actually add to the overall look and your chiminea will still be completely safe to use. Rust can be gently brushed off with a wire brush if you want to clean your chiminea.
Fire pits are larger than chimineas. They are usually round and open, taking up more space than a chiminea. You are able to burn larger pieces of wood in a fire pit but the heat is not always distributed evenly. Chimineas, by design, allow smoke to exit upwards and are a concentrated heat source that heat one area very well. Chimineas are good for smaller gardens and groups whereas fire pits are ideal for large areas and big groups of people.
A chiminea can go on a variety of surfaces, including concrete, stone and tiles. You can also buy fire pit pads to place under your chiminea and protect the surface. You should not place your chiminea on decking as it poses a fire risk. This is for both wooden and composite decking.