Which Chimenea & What Are The Differences – Clay, Cast Iron or Steel?


This is where those in the market to buy a Chimenea get stumped, and understandably so. Clay, Cast Iron, or Steel?

Hopefully we’ll be able to shed some light onto the matter and make your decision easier.

Clay Chimeneas

Clay chimeneas are rustic, colourful and have beautiful designs and patterns. Consider this, would it fit in with the look of your garden?

Clay chimeneas are the traditional chimenea, this is how they were originally intended to be. With a large mouth and tall chimney to create excellent draw creating clean flames and a quick burn. If you have a keen interest in their history and are sentimental the clay chimenea will bring you closest to its origin.

If you are looking to create the biggest hottest fire you have ever had in your back garden then a clay chim is probably not for you. Building a fire in a clay chimenea, especially brand new one, is a gradual process. You need to temper the fire and build it slowly to avoid premature cracking or breakages.

Surface heat from a clay chimenea is safer to the touch, so if children and/or pet safety is a concern for you, then you may want to get a metal alternative. However, needless to say, we suggest keeping children and pets away from any form of bare flame.

Clay are easy to assemble most often coming as one piece and sometimes as a two piece with a grill that sits on top. There are a few clay chimeneas that come with grills and they are suitable for cooking.

Cast Iron Chimeneas

Cast Iron chims are the best for retaining and giving off heat at high temperatures. Perfect if your primary reason for buying is to keep yourself, friends, family and guests warm in your garden or outdoor space. A cast iron chim will heat bigger areas for longer. And with high temperatures, capacity and size, they are great for cooking.

Cast iron chimeneas are very heavy so this is something to take into consideration. Clay and Steel are a lot lighter and easier to move.

If you have a classic or rustic style garden or outdoor space a cast iron design will fit in nicely.

Unlike any other chimenea it will be fine to burn coal. Cast iron is the only material that can withstand the heat omitted from a coal fire. This, however, does have a negative impact on the environment.

It’s also worth noting, Cast iron chimeneas are generally more prone to rust, so may require more care from weathering.

Steel Chimeneas

Malmo Chimenea with log store

Malmo Chimenea with log store

Steel chimeneas are the most versatile in the range. They come in both rustic, classic, and contemporary styles. There are some fantastic contemporary steel chimeneas.

As you can tell, the modern style steel chimeneas will compliment new style builds with large expanses of glass, metals and wide open spaces.

Steel is a lightweight metal making it easy to move from place to place. They burn at higher temperatures than clay alternatives, and are great for cooking. You can also burn most fuels on a steel chimenea.

Most importantly. there is the least amount of maintenance for steel chimeneas, especially if you buy a chimenea cover for protection. Very minimal in comparison to clay and cast iron.

We hope this guide has been useful. But if you have any questions, please feel feel to leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to check our range of fantastic chimeaneas – where you can find chimeaneas made from clay, steel & cast iron!