Why not invest in a barbecue heater like a chiminea?

At this time of year it can seem at times a little too cold to barbecue outdoors but that’s not the case at all – especially if you invest in a chiminea.

Certainly it’s a good idea to wrap up in a padded jacket, scarf, gloves and hat, if you’re eating outside, but a barbecue heater can really make all the difference, turning a lukewarm occasion into a roaring success.

As you’d expect, chimineas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – from eco-friendly versions to huge wood guzzlers.

The type you get not just depends on your ethical outlook, but also the size of the area you are planning to heat and, of course, how much cash you have in your pocket – or bank book – at this given moment in time.

You could, for instance, save your money and just buy a small table-top gas heater (especially if you have a small patio area). Then again, you could invest in an electric heater (which can prove costly in terms of heating bills), or you can go for the full cosy version by purchasing a free-standing chiminea or brazier – both of which will burn solid fuel.

All of these different types of heating produce what is known as ‘radiant energy.’ This means they only produce direct heat to warm the objects in their path.

The amount of heat produced by a gas heater will be determined, in the main, by how big the reflector at the top of the fire is and where it is located.

As you would expect, table top heaters don’t generate as much heat as the free-standing versions and tend just to warm the head and torso of those standing beside the table. The big plus point of these though is their portable nature which ensures they are light and easy to carry around.

In the main the big thing to remember when investing in a chiminea is to only buy a heater which has an anti-tilt shut-off device. This will ensure that the moment the heater gets knocked over, it will switch itself off.

Another safety point is to make sure the heater has a solid, heavy base so that it is difficult to knock over. It also makes sense to buy a heater where the reflector is protected by means of a wire guard.

When it comes to table-top heaters it’s a good idea to look for versions with a quick release connecting device – just in case it gets knocked over.

Obviously never place any flammable materials near a chiminea – such as cushions, curtains, cardigans etc (even plants) and never use them inside the house.

Some other safety tips include:

  • Never keep your heater on full throughout the meal. Once it’s taken the chill off the air switch it down to a medium or low heat
  • If you’re going to use a gazebo, buy a flame-retardant version
  • Keep the heater away from strong winds as, chances are, it could easily be blown over
  • Never move a chiminea when it is still alight
  • Get your heater checked annually by a competent workman who is certified for such a purpose
  • Never use your heater if you smell gas

The above is meant as a quick guide to make you ponder the type of heater you may require. It obviously makes a lot of sense to do some online research yourself whichever heater you buy though, you’re bound to be delighted with the difference it makes to a winter or autumn barbecue.

If you'd rather just get yourself a lovely new barbecue then check out our chimineas.