10 Best Charcoal Grills Reviewed & Compared

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With so many different charcoal grills available for purchase, it is easy to become overwhelmed with your choices. You don’t want to end up buying a charcoal grill made of a poor quality and without the features that you want. It is important that the charcoal grill you choose has the features, performance, portability, and the value that you are looking for. Otherwise, you may need to replace it after a grilling season or two to find one that better meets your needs or that can stand up better over time.

Additionally, there are different price points available for charcoal grills. For instance, if you want a professional model, you are looking at spending more than several hundred dollars. However, there are plenty of outdoor charcoal grills with less features that are available for less than $200. It just depends on what kind of grilling you plan to do where. The charcoal grills featured on this list span what’s available, from the inexpensive and portable to the large and professional.

Weber Original Kettle Premium
  • Weber Original Kettle Premium
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Built-in ash catcher
  • Price: See Here
Char-Broil 580 Square Inch
  • Char-Broil 580 Square Inch
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Strong heat control
  • Price: See Here
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's
  • Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Charcoal Grills

 

1. Weber Original Kettle Premium

The most sought-after grill on this list is the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill. This Weber has a long history of being a highly desired grill for its balance of high-quality, features, and price. It provides one of the best grilling options for home and small venue grilling that you can get from an industry leading brand.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Difficult to transport without a truck or similar vehicle
  • More expensive than other options with similar features

2. Char-Broil 580 Square Inch

Most grills are designed for home grilling, and the Char-Broil Charcoal Grill is one of the best that you can get. It offers one of the best combinations of size, grilling features, and price.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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

The Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's Charcoal Grill is one of the best grill options for tight spaces. It is a table-top sized grill that can be used to cook for a small number of people. It is great for when you need are having a small get-together or you want an easy grill for personal grilling.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • Lightweight and small design is great for portability
  • Cast-iron construction makes it durable
  • Small fuel consumption means easier cleanups
Cons
  • 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 one of the most portable grills on this list. Its small size makes it great for transporting it to events like tailgates and going camping. Despite its size, its shape and construction allow it to manage heat evenly for a better cooking experience.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • Light enough to be carried, but heavy enough to be sturdy
  • Ceramic body handles heat well
  • Dampers allow for easy precision control of temperatures
Cons
  • 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 offers the best combination of portability, price, and functionality of the small, table-top, portable grills on this list. Not only is it highly affordable, it can be used to expand the functionality of your other Char-Griller barrel grills. It is one of the best choices if you need a side fire box attachment, and gives you the biggest advantage for portable grilling.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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

In some cases, grillers will want a more sophisticated system like the Camp Chef Deluxe Pellet Grill that can do some of the work. It uses digital controls and an automated system to feed the grill and control the temperature. It is the best option if you are looking for a grill that can help you get grilling and smoking right every time.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • Automated grilling options make cooking easier
  • Can consistently cook high-quality food
  • High-hopper capacity means fewer reloads
Cons
  • 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

For the highest portability, you need the OUTU X OTKL-002 Foldable and Portable Charcoal Barbecue Grill. It is among the most affordable and easily transportable options on this list. You can fold it shut when not in use and easily transport it in a two-piece configuration.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Design may not be as sturdy as other options
  • Grate is not secured to the frame when in use

8. NutriChef

Grilling can be time consuming, even on the smallest of grills. That is why the NutriChef Charcoal Grill offers you the best approach in terms of grilling speed. It uses an electric fan to make the grilling process more efficient. It directs the heat to the food to speed up the grilling process.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • Lightweight and smaller construction make it portable
  • Battery powered fan speeds up cooking
  • Very little fuel needed to cook
Cons
  • 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

Earlier on this list, you can find the side fire box for this unit. The Char-Griller Smokin Pro offers you a larger version designed for grilling and smoking which can be used with the side fire box. The Char-Griller Smokin Pro is a great option for Texas-style smoking without a large or overly-heavy smoker. It is great for home smoking and grilling.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • Large grilling surface area
  • Easy cleanup with removable trays
  • Sturdy weight and construction.
Cons
  • 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

Hibachi grilling is popular and the Marsh Allen is one of your better options. It is a tabletop grill with enough space for medium-sized group grilling. Its adjustable configuration makes it great for temperature control and cooking your food just the way that you want it.
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Size
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.

Features
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.

Specs
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.

Value
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.
Pros
  • Construction is very sturdy
  • Adjustable temperature controls on both ends of the grill
  • Easily transportable
Cons
  • Moving grill plate can be a hazard at times
  • Small size limits your grilling capacity.  

 

The Criteria We Used to Find the Best Charcoal Grills

To determine which charcoal grills were the best ones to include on this list, we used an important set of metrics, as well as the reviews from customers and industry publications. We used the following key factors to create our list of the best charcoal grills. Each factor is explained below.

Size

The size of the grill has a lot to do with the grill’s portability and functionality. It includes the height of the grill and whether the grill is meant to be used as a tabletop model. When creating a best of list for charcoal grills, it was important to recognize each of these size differences on this list.

Features

The features a charcoal grill offers are an important aspect in deciding whether or not it makes sense to spend more money on a grill. If the grill offers many features, such as a damper or a smoker attachment, it makes sense to invest in these features if you’re going to use them. Some of the best charcoal grills have a wide range of features that make grilling, cleaning, and transporting easier.

Specs

The specs of the charcoal grills include the dimensions of the grill, so you know exactly how much cooking space you have to work with. It also includes what the grill grate and exterior are constructed from. These materials can have a lot to do with the grill’s overall weight, ease of cleaning, and transporting.

Value

The value that the charcoal grill offers is an important aspect of purchasing one. We wanted to know how the cost of the grill relates to the features it offered and its quality. Additionally, we evaluated how the grills compared to the price of the other charcoal grills available on the market.

Other Important Factors to Consider

When buying a charcoal grill online, it is important to also remember to consider the shipping costs and assembly. Grills can be large, so in many cases you’ll have to assemble the grill yourself or pay extra on shipping. These are additional factors to include in your budget.

Shipping

Charcoal grills can be large and heavy, especially the professional models intended to sit in one place. This may make your shipment take longer. It may also cost more money to ship than smaller packages.

Assembly

Most grills will be shipped to you unassembled. You will have to assemble the grill yourself or pay someone else to do it. Some tabletop models may come fully assembled.

Frequently Asked Questions

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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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.

Sources

  1. Libby Sciau, Burn Baby Burn: The Best Charcoal Grills You Can Buy, Website, May 09, 2016
  2. Derrick Riches, The 10 Best Charcoal Grills to Buy in 2017, Website, Dec 04, 2017
  3. Max Good, 2017 Amazingribs.com Top 10 Best Value Charcoal Grills, Website, Dec 27, 2017
  4. Kyle Schurman, The best charcoal grills, Website, May 18, 2017
  5. Kitchen Guyd, 9 Best Charcoal Grills for 2017 – Top Picks and Reviews, Website, Dec 27, 2017