Best Charcoal Grills Reviewed & Compared
If there’s one thing that runners and dedicated athletes know all about, it’s protein. There’s nothing better to supplement your diet than a nice juicy steak or piece of chicken that’s grilled to perfection. This is why choosing the right charcoal grill is near and dear to runners of all shapes and sizes. This is one of those items that every member of your family can enjoy at some point or another.
When choosing a charcoal grill, you want to find something that’s going to work for your area as well as your needs. Not everybody drags their grill inside every single time it rains. The last thing you want is to lay a bunch of money down on something that rusts after the first light sprinkle. If you’re going to be using your grill year-round, then you definitely want something that’s a little bit more durable. If it’s only for an occasional cookout, then you can probably find something that’s lower quality.
We looked at grills that would appeal to the serious outdoor chefs. Every one of these models can stand up to years of outdoor barbecues and promises consistent quality over time. You don’t have to pay a fortune for a grill that can deliver on every front. We’ve reviewed the best of the best and compiled a list of charcoal grills for you to choose from.
- Weber Original Kettle Premium
- Built-in ash catcher
- Char-Broil 580 Square Inch
- Strong heat control
- Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's
13 Best Charcoal Grills
1. Weber Original Kettle Premium
The Weber Original Kettle Premium charcoal grill may not be the most portable grill on this list, but it can be made portable under the right conditions. Measuring at 38.5 by 27 by 22.5-inches, the Weber can be easily transported in a truck or other open trailer without being disassembled. It also does not take up a lot of space in the places that you will use it while giving you enough space to grill a medium group of food items at the same time. It is the right size for personal grilling or for moderately sized groups in your backyard.
This Weber has a cooking surface of 363 square inches. It also comes with an aluminum cleaning system that helps you easily deal with the mess of charcoal cooking. The handles are reinforced in a way that they won’t heat up, and the bowl is porcelain-lined to better retain its heat while cooking.
It measures at 38.5-inches tall, 27-inches wide, and has a cooking surface of 22.5 inches. The cooking surface is 363 square-inches with a hinged steel grate for easy charcoal access and cleaning. It is available with a copper, black, or green finish.
Compared to other grills, the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill provides the best combination of size, portability, and features available on the market. If is relatively inexpensive as well. You will likely have this grill for an extended period of ownership and use if you use and clean it properly.
- Built-in ash catcher for easier cleanups.
- Improved handles that do not heat up when in use and have a shield to protect your hands.
- Strong leg attachments
- Difficult to transport without a truck or similar vehicle
- More expensive than other options with similar features
2. Char-Broil 580 Square Inch
The Char-Broil Charcoal Grill has a combined 580 square inches of cooking space. That’s 400 square inches of a cast-iron cooking surface, and a 180 square inch porcelain-coated secondary cooking surface. The grill is 43.5 inches tall, 47.7 inches wide and 28.15 inches deep. The Char-Broil Charcoal Grill is difficult to transport unless you have a truck, but it is relatively easy to position in your home.
The Char-Broil Charcoal Grill uses cast-iron to help conduct heat to the right areas, It has a large cooking surface with a smaller secondary surface which makes cooking large meals with different cooking temperatures easier. There is also an adjustable height control pan so that you can control the heat and temperature. With the built in temperature gauge in the lid, you can keep track of cooking temperatures.
The Char-Broil Charcoal Grill has 580 square inches of cooking space through a 400 square inch primary cooking space, and a secondary cooking space that is 100 square inches. Much of the cooking body of the grill is made out of cast-iron to preserve heat while cooking. Two levels allow you to safely open the charcoal compartment and adjust the height of the charcoal bed. The cooking body is sided on both sides with a tray surface for easy access to your tools or for cooling freshly grilled food.
In terms of value, the Char-Broil Charcoal Grill offers you one of the best values for home grilling. The simplicity of the grill’s operation along with features like the wings for easy tool access and cooling makes the Char-Broil Charcoal Grill a great option skilled and beginner home grillers. Compared to other grills, the price makes it a great option.
- Strong heat control using cast-iron and an adjustable tray
- Wings for quick access to tools of for food cooling
- Portable by rolling or by truck
- Not easily portable to other locations or on uneven terrain
- Needs a significant amount of storage space
- Cast-iron design makes it heavy
3. Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's
One of the biggest advantages to the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's Charcoal Grill is its small size. It is the right size for cooking for two people. It can also fit safely on a small outdoor surface which makes it great for cooking on the go and with little cleanup.
The Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's Charcoal Grill has a coal plate height adjuster so that you can control cooking temperatures. The open top design is good for cooking quick dinner proteins and some sides. The cast-iron construction is good for controlling heat.
This charcoal grill is 19 inches wide, 10.25 inches deep, and 8.25 inches tall. The grill plate is slightly smaller, at 17.25 by 9 inches.
In terms of value, the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's Charcoal Grill offers great value for portable cooking. The grill is relatively lightweight and easy to carry by hand. The price of the grill makes it more affordable than other top grill options on the market, although it is still more expensive than many of the other options on the market.
- Lightweight and small design is great for portability
- Cast-iron construction makes it durable
- Small fuel consumption means easier cleanups
- Small size makes it difficult to cook a lot of fuel
- Poor positioning can create a tipping hazard
- Open - top construction may make cooking take longer, and can affect cooking if it rains
4. Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker
The Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill is smaller than most other grills measuring in at about 2 feet-tall, the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill is easily transportable by hand and in even enclosed vehicles (with the fuel source removed for safety). You can take it nearly anywhere without a struggle to move it because of its weight and small size.
The Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill uses dampers to control the cooking temperature accurately for better grilling. Cleanup is made much easier with an easy ash dump tray.
The Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill is 25.3 inches tall, 21.5 inches wide, and 20.5 inches deep. Its ceramic construction controls heat exceedingly well while experiencing less wear from use and cleaning. At a weight of 37 lbs, it is light enough to be carried easily while being heavy enough to not tip over.
In terms of value, the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill’s strongest value is its portability without sacrificing cooking quality. It cooks as well, if not, better than many larger grills, but gives you the option to cook practically anywhere. For the price, the benefits that it offers outweigh the potential concerns over its cost.
- Light enough to be carried, but heavy enough to be sturdy
- Ceramic body handles heat well
- Dampers allow for easy precision control of temperatures
- Small size limits the amount of cooking that you can do at one time
- Weight may be difficult to carry for some users
- Price may be a sticking point for some users
5. Char-Griller Table Top with Side Fire Box
The Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box is small enough and light enough to be carried by hand. You can use it as a table-top grill with more space than similar models. It is also one of the better-sized options for portable horizontal (Texas) style grilling.
The Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box has a detachable side plate which lets it be attached to the side of larger Char-Griller grills. It also has a removable sided ashtray which makes cleanups much easier.
The Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box is 40 lbs. It measures 18.5 inches tall, 17 inches wide, and 16 inches deep. It is built of high-strength steel with cast-iron cooking grates for better heat control.
In terms of value, the Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box offers the most versatility in terms of different uses. If you already own one of the larger grills made by Char-Griller, then it is an inexpensive attachment to expand its functionality. It also offers the same level of performance as the larger Char-griller models, but in a smaller package for portability. The price makes it very affordable for a grill of its size.
- Versatile option for extending your Char-Griller Pro Deluxe, Wrangler, Outlaw and Duo models, or being used as its own grill.
- Small design is great for portable grilling
- Easy cleanup with a removable ash tray
- Once converted to a side fire box, you should not convert back to a grill configuration for safety
- Only fits Char-Griller barrel grills as a side box
6. Camp Chef Deluxe Pellet Grill and Smoker
The Camp Chef Deluxe Pellet Grill is a larger option than many other grills because of its integrated electronics and fuel storage box. This grill is great for home grilling where you can leave it in place and have easy outdoor access to a power source.
The automated grilling feature makes grilling and smoking easier. The digital controls are easy to understand. It has a patented cleaning system that makes ash removal easy.
The Camp Chef Deluxe Pellet Grill has 429 square inches of cooking area. It can handle temperature between 160 degrees and 500 degrees. It can also hold up to 18 lbs of pellets in the feeder system. The grill measures 51 inches tall, 21 inches deep, and 45 inches wide.
In terms of value, the Camp Chef Deluxe Pellet Grill offers you an advantage in terms of grill performance. Beginner and intermediate grillers can make better food thanks to the support of the automated feed system. Although it is expensive, this grill makes cooking a wider range of food options easier.
- Automated grilling options make cooking easier
- Can consistently cook high-quality food
- High-hopper capacity means fewer reloads
- Assembly may be more difficult than some users prefer
- Seasoned grillers may have trouble adjusting to digital controls
- Heavy weight and a need for power source makes this grill unsuited for mobile grilling
7. OUTU X OTKL-002
The OUTU X OTKL-002 Foldable and Portable Charcoal Barbecue Grill is easily transportable by hand when folded. In use, it is tall enough to be on the floor but easily reachable. When folded, it can easily fit into any vehicle.
The OUTU X OTKL-002 Foldable and Portable Charcoal Barbecue Grill features a collapsible design that makes transport easy. It splits into two parts, the folded stand and the aluminum grate. It is also very light at 8.5 lbs.
The OUTU X OTKL-002 Foldable and Portable Charcoal Barbecue Grill measures 9.3 inches long, 11.8 inches wide, and 16 inches tall. It weighs roughly 8.5 lbs when folded. In its collapsed form, it can easily slide into most transports with few limitations.
In terms of value, the OUTU X OTKL-002 Foldable and Portable Charcoal Barbecue Grill is significantly more affordable than other options on this list. Despite its price, it offers more value than many similarly priced disposable grills. It is also more easily transported than other options on this list given its ability to fold into a form that is only a few inches thick.
- Collapsible design makes it easy to transport
- Price makes this grill highly affordable
- Grill is easy to position and has a larger cooking surface than other portable models
- Design may not be as sturdy as other options
- Grate is not secured to the frame when in use
The NutriChef Charcoal Grill is small enough to be a portable tabletop grill. The fan is small enough to be powered by replaceable batteries, and it uses very little charcoal.
The NutriChef Charcoal Grill is designed to be energy-efficient in every way. It uses very little charcoal and the fan is energy efficiency. By directing the heat and smoke toward the food, less energy is needed to get the same level of grilling as other grills. The grill is made of stainless steel which makes it harder for grease and other buildup to occur which makes cleanup much easier.
The NutriChef Charcoal Grill measures 13.39 inches across and 8.67 inches tall. It runs on four AA batteries. It is made out of stainless steel. The grill plate is 12.6 inches wide.
In terms of value, the NutriChef Charcoal Grill offers the most value in cooking speed and fuel savings. It requires very little charcoal and batteries to cook. It also lets you control the speed of cooking by using the fan to decrease cooking time. Its small size also makes it great for mobile grilling.
- Lightweight and smaller construction make it portable
- Battery powered fan speeds up cooking
- Very little fuel needed to cook
- Requires batteries for full functionality
- Cannot hold a lot of fuel at one time
- Construction requires cooking to be finished before adding fuel or changing batteries
9. Char-Griller Smokin Pro with Side Fire Box
The Char-Griller Smokin Pro is large enough to handle the cooking for medium and large groups at your house. With the side fire box attached, you will need more dedicated space for your grill. However, the addition of wheels and a lightweight frame make the Char-Griller Smokin Pro easy to transport.
The Char-Griller Smokin Pro has an 830 square inch cooking service. The grill and fire box are made of high-strength powder-coated steel with a double bottom for increased durability. The grates are made of cast-iron to resist corrosion and improve temperature control. The coal box is also removable for easy cleanup.
The Char-Griller Smokin Pro measures 62 inches wide, 50 inches tall, and 29 inches deep. It weighs nearly 120 lbs. Most of the construction is made out of steel which is specially treated to withstand temperatures. It has a combined surface area of 830 square inches.
In terms of value, the Char-Griller Smokin Pro is one of the best options for home grilling with large groups. The added surface area makes it possible to grill large groups of food items at the same time which is great for parties. You can also take advantage of the side fire box to smoke different food options, which would be more difficult on other grills.
- Large grilling surface area
- Easy cleanup with removable trays
- Sturdy weight and construction.
- Difficult to transport
- Side fire box is at a lower level than the main grill
- Large design may make it hard to find space for
10. Marsh Allen Cast Iron Hibachi
The Marsh Allen fits on a tabletop without taking up too much space. It is bigger than some competitors but is still able to fit comfortably on a moderately-sized table. It can be transported by hand as well for mobile grilling.
The Marsh Allen has two sets of adjustable grilling racks that let you control the temperature of your food. Two isolated handles on the sides make carrying it much easier. The ends of the grill plates are curved to help keep food on the trays.
The Marsh Allen is 18 inches long, 10 inches tall, and 3.4 inches wide. It weighs over 17 lbs thanks to its cast-iron construction. The adjustable racks have three positions to choose from.
In terms of value, the Marsh Allen is a great option for mobile hibachi grilling. It is easy to transport and is heavy enough to stay stable on the table. It is a great choice if you want a study hibachi grill.
- Construction is very sturdy
- Adjustable temperature controls on both ends of the grill
- Easily transportable
- Moving grill plate can be a hazard at times
- Small size limits your grilling capacity.
11. Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill
This grill has a large amount of cooking space, which means you can cook hot food outside no matter what the size of your group or party. Some people did voice an issue with the cooking tray having little room for adjustment so your food will always be the same distance from the coals, but with some practice, you should be able to adjust your cooking style to this.
The key feature of this grill is its design oriented towards minimalist fuel usage. And while this makes it difficult for some people to control the heat, once you get the hang out it you will be able to maintain a consistent temperature for long periods. The built in thermometer in the lid will also help keep tabs on how hot the grill is. The little fuel also means you will have very few issues with flare ups. Lastly, this grill is also very easy to assemble, which is a relief to anyone who ever tried to assemble appliances at home.
The Kettleman measures at 25.8’’ by 25.8’’ by 38.8’’ and weighs in at around 36 pounds. This grill has a 22.5’’ diameter grate and a 360 square inch cooking surface, which is enough space if you enjoy barbecuing larger cuts.
The Char-Broil TRU-Infared Kettleman Charcoal Grill is much more on the affordable end of things. Its overall features make purchasing this grill an excellent deal, but its value is only further increased by its fuel efficiency, since you will be spending less on charcoal in the long run.
- Deals with flare ups well
- Easy to assemble
- Uses a minimal amount of coal
- Lots a space to cook
- Keeps an even heat over long periods
- Thermometer built into the lid
- Cooks evenly
- Controlling tempreture may prove difficult
- Food is close to coals
- May have rusting issue
12. Old Smokey Charcoal Grill
The Old Smokey is a large but lightweight grill. The chef has room to cook but also no issues transporting this grill wherever they need it. This grill is also designed with plenty of cooking space, a great choice if you like to cook a lot of food or large cuts of meat that require a lot of space to properly barbecue.
The grill is designed with the essentials in mind. It has a unique shape which allows the food to be enveloped and cooked evenly and quickly. Old Smokey also lives up to its name, being designed to smoke meat as well as function as a grill. The grill is also set up with a low center of gravity so that it won’t have tipping issues from weight or wind.
The Old Smokey Charcoal grill measures at 22.5’’ by 22.5’’ by 13’’ and weighs in at 19 pounds. The Old Smokey is constructed of steel.
This grill is not only all around reliable but also very affordable when compared to similar options. So if you are looking for a quality grill on a budget then the Old Smokey Charcoal grill is one of the best choices on this list.
- Holds tempreture well
- Shape helps surround food
- Plenty of cooking room
- Low center of gravity
- Easy to assemble
- Smoking process can be complicated
13. PK Grill The Original Smoker
The PK Grill is compact. It is limiting in its total grilling capacity, which isn’t too small, but would have trouble with some larger cuts of meat. It makes up for it with its lightweight design and ease of transportation. Its made to be as easy to maneuver as possible and has a large variety of stands available for order.
Like some other options on this list the PK grill is a duel grill and smoker, which is great if you like to have options with your food prep. It is also reported to hold its heat well which in turn means it will cook your food fairly quickly. Many users report very easy cleanup, although some mentioned that the ash catcher is a little small for the size of the grill.
The PK Grill measures at 35’’ by 16’’ by 35.5’’ and weighs in at 45 pounds. It has a total cooking space of 300 square inches, which may be smaller than some grills on this list but is not too small by any means.
The PK Grill The Original Smoker is certainly one of the higher cost options on this list but its value is certainly worth its cost. The PK is constructed and designed to be long lasting. So if this grill will suit your needs, then your investment will last you a very long time.
- Holds heat well
- Cooks quickly
- Extremely well constructed
- Doesn't rust easily
- Easy clean up
- Doesn't use a lot of charcoal
- Ash collector is small
- Has limited cooking space
The Criteria We Used to Find the Best Charcoal Grills
Charcoal grills come in all shapes and sizes. This is why we looked at a number of different criteria that could make them more appealing to our readers. We know runners, and if there’s anything that they like, it’s convenience and portability. These are factors we took into consideration when reviewing the models on this list. Each one of these grills has a unique set of features that can suit even the pickiest backyard chefs.
The size of your grill can be influenced by a number of different factors. You want a charcoal grill with a large enough cooking surface to accommodate all of your foods. If you’re cooking for family, then you definitely want a larger grill then one you’ll only be using for yourself. The same goes for people that like to host a lot of cookouts or get-togethers. You don’t want something so large that it’s impossible to maneuver, and you don’t want something so small that it can’t stand up to a little bit of abuse. We looked at grills that were large enough to prep even the most gourmet meals, but still small enough to be portable and convenient. No one wants a model that’s going to take up their entire backyard!
You want your charcoal grill to be able to do exactly what you need it to do—grill delicious foods to perfection. Not everyone wants a completely hands-on experience when it comes to cooking out. A lot of people appreciate the automatic features and having separate burners on their grill. This includes an easy way to light it as well as a way to control the level of heat across the grate. For some models, you’re able to buy the basic charcoal grill separate from the add-ons. This gives you the option of upgrading your model at a later date when you’re sure that it’s something you’ll need. We considered ease-of-use, and necessary features when putting together our review list.
A charcoal grill should be easy to move, and at the right height to be comfortable for the person using it. The specifications of your grill are going to determine how much space it takes up in your yard, and how portable it is. You don’t want something that’s going to be stationary or that you won’t be able to maneuver around comfortably. Always check the height and weight of a grill before purchasing it. It’s also important to consider the ease of cleaning every part of your charcoal grill. If it doesn’t come apart completely and allow for easy cleaning, then the components can wear out a lot faster. Part of the durability of the grill is the ability to remove pieces and to make sure they stay in good working condition.
Whether you have a huge budget, or you’re looking for something more conservative—we looked at options that can appeal to you. Everything on this list is a great value for the price you’ll pay. We made sure that you would get the most out of your investment, and that this is a product that’s going to last long enough to be worth every penny. No one likes to throw money at something that not going to withstand the test of time, and we took that into consideration when putting together our reviews.
Other Important Factors to Consider
Below are factors that we may not consider within our review of the product but should still be something you should consider when deciding on the best grill for you.
Grills are generally a large purchase, especially if you are thinking of shopping online. So your shipping cost could be quiet high, or if you choose to be more budget conscious, could take quiet a long time. This is something to keep in mind, especially with such a seasonally oriented activity. Would be a shame to receive a grill when there is barely any grilling weather left.
Grills, especially if you are looking to purchase online, will ship disassembled. Time and ease of assembly are something that should be considered when looking into this type of purchase. Also many businesses offer assembly as an option, and if you require that type of assistance, the additional cost is also something that you may want to evaluate.
Q: What makes a charcoal grill portable?
When it comes to portability of a charcoal grill, its dimensions, weight, and carrying features are important. The most portable charcoal grills are compact and lightweight.
Q: How much food can I cook on a charcoal grill?
The amount of food you can cook on your charcoal grill depends on the size of the grill, the number of cooking grates, and the size of the food. The smallest portable grills can accommodate just a few small steaks while the largest options can cook food for many people at once.
Q: What’s the safest way to light a charcoal grill?
The safest way to light a charcoal grill is to use a charcoal chimney. It is a device that you stick in the bottom of the grill and it takes around ten minutes to work.
Q: What kind of grill grates are available?
Most of the grill grates currently available are made from stainless steel, ceramic, or cast iron. Stainless steel is the most common, while ceramic is the easiest to clean. Cast iron grill grates maintain steady heat the longest.
Q: How do I clean a charcoal grill?
Each time you use your charcoal grill, you should scrape any debris away with a wire brush. As often as you’re able, you can deep clean the grates and grill with a mild detergent and water.
Q: How do I extinguish a charcoal grill?
You should not use water to extinguish a charcoal grill, as it can be dangerous. Instead, you should close all of the vents and the top to put the fire out.
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