Chimineas and fire pits have become very popular recently. The chiminea has been in heavy use for the last six years or so. The chiminea can also be termed a patio fireplace, and has morphed into a wide variety of designs and sizes. A chiminea is nothing new in the history of homes. They are fairly similar to pot belly stoves. These have been used for hundreds of years in a variety of locales, shapes, sizes and designs.
Lately, patio fire pits have hit the scene and really become a popular item. A fire pit is more of an open bowl, in a frame stand, similar to bonfire with the boundaries of the bottom and sides with the fire open to the air. Fire pits have very few limitations in terms of design, and you can see them as rustic or sleek and chic. There are patio tables with fire pits in the center, bars with fire pits in the tops, or anything that can be dreamed up. Look at what interests you and what kind of designs appeal to you and then take a look at your fire pit options. Odds are there will be many.
How to Choose: Fire Pit or a Chiminea?
Chiminea: Your chiminea provides a confined space for a fire, the fire resides in the bowl of the chiminea, and the neck is the chimney for your fire. The size of the chiminea bowl will dictate the size of your fire. The average chiminea bowl is about two feet in diameter. The chimney will funnel the smoke out as it narrows. This design makes the heat drive the smoke out the chimney with speed and it will blow out the smoke strongly, sending it higher up in to the air and keeping the area where you are sitting free from smoke, while the chiminea will keep more heat, lending a cozy space near it.
Fire Pit: Size is more variable for the fires in a fire pit. Most bowls for the fire pit are two feet in diameter or bigger, up to about 40 inches or more. Because of this you can build a much bigger fire than you would in your chiminea. The bowl of the fire pit can be filled with fuel. Due to the open and round design of the fire pits, you can enjoy the fire from all sides and even use logs in these.
Which is Best for Me?
Each one has different characteristics, so you will want to think about what you desire in your fire area and what will be around it. Think about the weather influences. Is it windy frequently? If you have more breezes, you will most likely have more use for a chiminea as it protects the fire more. With a chiminea, you can also turn it so it faces away from where the breezes usually come from to reduce smoke and ash flying. This is more problematic with a fire pit.
Some people choose a chiminea as not only a fire and warmth source, but as a decorative and artistic device. Even when you aren’t using it, it adds character and beauty to your area.
Clean up is an issue. Visualize having a pleasant evening, putting the fire out and going to bed. When you head out in the morning you will be seeing the remnants of your evening entertainment. With a fire pit, you see a pit that is full of ashes and looks, well, not quite attractive. Clean up means either you place a cover on it, which is an option, or clean it out right away. With a chiminea, you will need to do little to no clean up the next day due to the smaller size of the fire and the characteristics of the chiminea.
Each option, fire pit or chiminea, is a great thing, full of warmth and enjoyment, but each has different characteristics for safe use and clean up. Think about what you desire for your area. What extra things will you have to do to improve safety with use? What about when you aren’t using it? What will you do with it and how will it look? Will it look like a dirty fire pit, or a graceful artisan built design? Now if you won’t be able to see it the majority of the time, then you really may not care a whole lot about how it looks.