Choosing a Steel or Cast Iron Chiminea

Steel and cast iron chimineas are great way of adding interest to a garden or patio, make excellent outdoor heaters, and can be used for occasional barbecuing, too. Cast iron chimineas are available in a variety of traditional designs, with many having decorative features such as a bowl with a mesh front, and details to the feet, hinges and flue. Cast iron chimineas work best when used primarily as patio heaters, and although the thickness of the cast iron does make them very heavy, they do retain heat extremely well once they’ve warmed up.

Steel chimineas are much lighter than cast iron chimineas (a steel chiminea should weigh about half as much as a cast iron model of a similar size). They also tend to be more modern in design and are available in metallic finishes, such as bronze and black. A steel chiminea might also be the best option if you’re on a budget, since they are generally cheaper than cast iron chimineas, but it’s worth taking the time to choose one that will complement your garden design since it will be an eye-catching feature and will see a lot of use in the summer evenings.

Both steel and cast iron chiminea models usually come with an integrated barbecue grill, and a steel chiminea will output a similar amount of heat as a cast iron chiminea of equivalent bowl size. They should be protected from bad weather, since both steel and cast iron will rust if left out in the rain. If you’re concerned about durability, you might want to look for an enamel-coated steel chiminea, since enamel is a more heat-resistant coating than the heat-resistant paint used on chimineas, and a weather-poof cover will ensure your chiminea remains in pristine condition.

Whether you decide to choose a steel or cast iron chiminea is of course dependent upon what you want out of your new garden heater. In short, steel chimineas are cheaper than cast iron models, but cast iron chimineas are more hard-wearing, will last longer, and it really comes down to which design would look better in your garden.

Laura Phillips is an outdoor living enthusiast who writes for www.chimineashop.co.uk.

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