Charcoal grilling is an all-time classic form of grilling. We, as humans, have been using charcoal grills throughout the history of humanity. It’s a classic, and now in 2022, it is growing even more popular. It has held against the test of time to be one of the most original forms of grilling.
In today’s modern grilling world, the rapid development of technology has aided us in so many ways to perfect the art of the grill continuously. But, with this comes decisions that can be difficult to make, especially on where the best place to invest your money is.
Yes, purchasing a grill can be a high-ticket item and should be viewed as an investment rather than an everyday purchase. When we take the time to decide on an investment, we are deciding what will be best for us in the long term and with our current skills.
Fortunately, I have selected a list of charcoal grills that serve both the beginner to the advanced charcoal griller. Whether you want a griller ready for on-the-go or can juggle multiple tasks at a time, I have you covered.
I’ve chosen the best grills for the price and even went ahead and narrowed the list down even more by price. Every grill on this list is under $500, and even most are under $200.
Without further ado, here are the best charcoal grills your money can buy!
Top 7 Charcoal Grills Comparison Table
Best Portable Charcoal Grill for Hiking and Camping
Whether you’re on the go or staying in one place tonight, the JiaDa Portable Barbecue Grill may be the grill for you.
Grilling food is something that is always to be desired. A tough issue most grill owners find is that with most grills, they’re too big to go anywhere! If you’re out camping or going on a long hike, trying to load up a 4-foot grill may not be the easiest task.
Fortunately, JiaDa Portable Barbecue Grill is portable for all charcoal grillers. It is easy to assemble.
Set up comes with options to fold up for easy storage and transportation.
The grill’s metrics sit at 15.9 inches long x 10.1 inches wide x 8.7 inches high.
This small design is great for the avid camper who wants to enjoy the luxury of grilling in the great outdoors or even for a smaller family of two living in a joint living environment such as an apartment where you may not have a lot of outdoor space.
It is designed to be compact by simply removing the grilling rack, folding the grilling rack holders and legs, then slipping the grilling rack in between the legs.
The grill has 5 air-flow vents to maximize charcoal efficiency during grilling.
The biggest drawback to the JiaDa Portable Barbecue Grill is its size, which depends on you. If you are looking for a grill for large groups or catering, this may not be the one for you.
However, if it’s a small group or you are looking to grill in different places, it might be the best pick on the list!
Best Portable Grill for Day Trips
So you’ve decided to take a quick trip to the park with your family, or maybe even spend the day at the lake. You don’t want to carry around an obnoxiously large grill everywhere, and there may not be a designated grilling area.
Fear no more, for the ColourTree Portable BBQ Charcoal Grill may be the answer to all these problems.
This charcoal grill is ready to serve you and your eating companions no matter the location.
The ColorTree can be stowed and carried with ease due to its folding tables and legs. This can be a real lifesaver because the car will already be packed with food, drinks, chairs, and whatever else you bring. Knowing that your grill is going to be the last thing you have to worry about is comforting.
One of the most unique aspects of this grill is its two folding side trays. Gone are the days of having to set all your utensils and ingredients on the ground and risk ants getting all over them.
The two trays are there for you to place your cooking utensils, plates, seasonings, and maybe even your drink while you cook.
The grill sits at 18 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7 inches high while completely folded. While unfolded, it is 32 inches Long x 12 inches Wide x 14 inches High. Even if you must set it on the ground, it stands quite tall for a portable charcoal grill!
One thing a lot of past customers are complaining about is the plastic wrapping that the charcoal grill comes in. It is coated with plastic to protect it during shipping, but many customers have complained that it’s incredibly difficult to get off.
For those who want to purchase this item, be sure to set aside a few extra minutes to take it off before using it.
Also, it may not be the best choice of the charcoal grill if you are looking to grill for large groups. With it being a portable grill, you can only fit so much on the grill at once. 18 inches of grilling space is a lot, depending on the foods you are grilling.
If you are needing to manage different sizes at once, then you may not have enough room to get everything grilled in a timely manner.
Simplest Charcoal Grill
If you’re looking for simplicity, then look no further. With the wild advancement in the cooking industry, it can get quite confusing, to say the least. Keeping up with all the new technology and grilling styles is nearly impossible.
So keep it simple! That’s what the Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill offers for you.
The simple design is ready to be used by the grilling professional or the new beginner. Regardless of skill level, this charcoal grill will give you the desired results.
This charcoal grill comes with a lid hook built on the side of the grill. This is extremely useful because finding somewhere to place your lid while still being sanitary can be quite the challenge.
The grilling rack is about 636 inches of space, but for those who don’t speak the lingo, this means you can fit about 13 burgers on there!
Another genius feature Weber added was their easy cleanup system. At the bottom of the grilling unit is a “One-Touch cleaning system” that releases the ash into their rust-resistant ash catcher.
The lid sits at about 7.5 inches tall and has a damper on the top of it, which allows for simple heat adjustments without having actually to lift the lid. A cool feature about the lid itself is that the handle on the lid has a heat shield, so there are no worries about burning your hand when you lift the lid.
Finally, the biggest feature is that the bowl and lid are made of porcelain which is great. It is resistant to damage like rust, cracking, or peeling when grilling at high temperatures. Two, for retaining heat better. Win-win!
Of course, not everything is perfect, and it is important to mention that because of the simplicity of the grill, it may not be as high-tech as other modern grills. If you’re looking for a grill with more capabilities to assist your grilling sessions or increase your accuracy, this may not be your grill.
However, if you are looking for something to keep in the backyard and use leisurely throughout the grilling season, it may be a perfect choice!
Best Backyard Charcoal Grill
Royal Gourmet has a charcoal grill necessary for every serious charcoal griller’s backyard.
Starting off, the Royal Gourmet CD1824E 24-inch Charcoal BBQ Grill has 368 square inches of cooking space. That’s enough to feed 10 people!
In addition to the cooking space, this charcoal grill also comes with a 106 square inch warming rack for when you need to keep food warm without the worry of overcooking or burning.
Whether you’re grilling for your family, or you’re hosting a party, this charcoal grill maybe everything you were looking for and more.
Under the cooking space is where the charcoal is placed. A super-intelligent feature Royal Gourmet included was height-adjustment capability. You can lower or raise the charcoal’s height to be more precise about the grilling temperature.
The charcoal pan has a pierced design that optimizes the airflow and ventilation and adjustable dampers, making finding the perfect heat and air ventilation far more accurate.
There is front door access where charcoal can be easily added without complications. Then underneath the charcoal pan is a try that can be pulled out for easy cleanup.
On top of the lid, you can find a built-in thermometer for easy and accurate temperature tracking.
This charcoal grill comes with two wheels, making transporting a little bit easier, though still be careful because the whole grilling unit is about 55 pounds.
The Royal Gourmet 24-inch Charcoal Grill stands at 47.6 inches wide x 21.7 inches long x 46.1 inches high.
Finally, two foldable side trays sit outside the grill, making this a completely self-sufficient charcoal grill no matter where you’re at.
Past customers have said that it is quite complicated to assemble initially. This may not satisfy you if you are looking for a charcoal grill that requires minimal effort from assembly to grilling.
If you want to step up your game and invest in tuning in the accuracy of your grilling, then the Royal Gourmet 24-inch Charcoal Grill may be the right purchase.
Best Charcoal Grill for Limited Space Patios
Grilling on charcoal grills is growing more popular as the years, and cooking styles evolve. Living in communal spaces like apartments and condos doesn’t always offer the most patio space, which can put a halt to your grilling passions.
The Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill stands at 31 inches wide x 21 inches long x 44 inches high, perfect for compact places.
Char-Griller came out with this charcoal grill that is perfect for people who have limited room.
The Char-Griller’s interior cooking space is 250 square inches, perfect for grilling for a small group of people or your family. Char-Griller states that this charcoal grill can fit tri-tip or whole chicken with indirect heat or 6 17-inch kebabs with still a little more room for peppers.
Since the overall main concept of this charcoal grill is to be for more compact grilling areas, there is a small foldable tray on the side of the grill. It’s not very big, but for smaller grilling sessions, it should be sufficient.
However, Char-Griller created the handle to the grill lid to be wood to reduce the risk of burning your hand when you’re grilling.
The interior grilling rack is composed of cast iron, which is favorable in most cases over typical stainless steel racks. Cast iron holds flavor better over time, has lower maintenance, and can be stellar for searing.
There are two dampers on this grill. One is on the side of the main cooking area, and the other is on the door that opens to the charcoal housing. This is a fantastic design because it can maximize airflow through multiple ventilation options throughout the grill.
The only reason to not buy this product is just for the grilling room. It does have quite a bit of room to grill on for a compact grill, but not a lot. If you’re anticipating large groups or catering, then this may not be a grill for you.
If you live in a smaller space and don’t have a lot of room, though, this could be a great grill. Just always be sure to check that charcoal grills are allowed in your living complex.
Best Charcoal Grill for the Multitasker
Once again, Royal Gourmet has another fantastic product in its catalog. The Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker is hard to pass charcoal grill for the expert grillers or those who like to do a lot at once.
The day is here, and you’ve decided that hosting the big party at your house was a mistake, because you have a lot of mouths to feed. As long as you have your Royal Gourmet, you can fight through it!
This charcoal grill sits at 45.3 inches wide x 26.8 inches long x 48 inches high.
Royal Gourmet comes with a total of 800 square inches of cooking surface.
The main grilling space sits at 438 square inches alone. That’s going to be more than enough, but fortunately, Royal Gourmet didn’t stop there. They also included 179 square inches for a chrome warming rack and 183 square inches for a smoking room in the offset smoker!
The charcoal pan can hold up to 5 pounds of charcoal that can be easily accessed on the side and has its own damper to control airflow.
The main cooking space has an adjustable height capability to bring it closer or further away from the charcoal to be more accurate with your temperatures.
The offset smoker has its own damper and loading space to put charcoal or wood chips. The smoker is a smoker and can act as a separate heating device.
In addition to all these features, the Royal Gourmet charcoal grill also comes with two storage trays. One is in front of the grill, and the other is below the grill, allowing more than enough storage while grilling and smoking for the big day.
The biggest complaint from past customers has been the paint. There have been numerous complaints of the paint peeling or chipping after a few uses. Some other customers have heavily recommended following curing instructions per the manufacturer.
If this concern will stop you from purchasing this product for fear of rust or deterioration, a simple solution might be to purchase a grill cover. Others have mentioned that the company quickly responds and wants to resolve these issues for their customers.
Best for the Kamado Charcoal Griller
By the looks of it, this charcoal grill doesn’t fit the same type of aesthetic that the others do, and that’s for good reason. This charcoal grill is considered a Kamado-style grill and has been an up-and-coming trend among the charcoal grilling community lately.
Kamado grills are basically charcoal grills that are made entirely of ceramic.
This ceramic shell is best known for holding and circulating heat better than the traditional kettle grills. For those interested in Kamado charcoal grills, I’ve found the best one by a reputable brand.
Char-Griller has yet again set the bar high for everyone else with their Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill.
This Kamado charcoal grill has 447 square inches of interior space. There are 314 square inches of cooking space and 133 square inches of a warming rack. The warming space is removable if you don’t want to bother with it or need it.
The grill is insulated with a triple wall of 22 gauge steel built to last. While the exterior is powder-coated that is meant to handle a tough environment. The interior is a finished porcelain triple wall 22 gauge steel that will hold heat better than ever.
The grilling rack is composed of cast iron which is a great choice for most grilling because cast iron tends to hold onto flavor. Cast iron also holds high heat for longer, which makes for more longer and efficient coal burning.
The exterior has adjustable dampers on the top and bottom to get the perfect ventilation. All the while the removable ash pan makes for easy cleanup. With the foldable side trays, this charcoal grill is ready to take on all the challenges you throw at it.
The biggest customer complaint has seemed to be a lack of quality control on Char-Griller’s behalf. Some people have experienced wrong parts for the shelves or paint chipping.
Fortunately, no one has fully experienced a specific malfunction with the grill consistently.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do You Look For When Purchasing A Charcoal Grill?
Purchasing a charcoal grill can be stressful no matter how long you’ve been grilling. The best thing you should consider when purchasing a charcoal grill is the factors that best benefit you.
- How often are you going to use your charcoal grill?
- How familiar are you with grilling? Also, how familiar are you with grilling on charcoal?
- How much do you anticipate grilling at once on average?
- Where are you grilling? Is it just on the back patio? Out camping? Or do you live somewhere with not a lot of space?
- What do you want to grill?
- Is there a specific brand you prefer? Weber? Char-Griller? Royal Gourmet?
These are only a few questions to ask yourself, but a great place to start when narrowing down your choices.
How Much Should I Spend On A Grill?
That depends on you!
A good starting point is to decide your maximum budget and then go down from there. Is there such a thing as too low? If not, maybe filter your options based on price.
If the price isn’t an issue, then consider features. Do you want additional attachments like a smoker, warming rack, or adjustable charcoal pan height?
My list of best charcoal grills offers top-quality charcoal grills for less than $500, and most even under $200.
Are Weber Charcoal Grills Worth The Money?
Yes! Weber has been a trusted brand in the grilling community for many years now. To prove my point, I’ve included a Weber product in my list of the best charcoal grills.
How Long Do Weber Charcoal Grills Last?
This question has a wide variety of factors to which it wouldn’t be fair to give an exact answer. Like most things, the better we care for them, the longer they’ll last.
Weber charcoal grills are high-quality products built to last, but if you aren’t taking proper care of your charcoal grill, it won’t last as long as you might want it to.
Take care of your grills so that they can take care of you!
No matter the brand or specific charcoal grill you go with, the mere purchase of a charcoal grill is the right step in the right direction. On the top of my list is the Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill.
Humans have been using charcoal grills for almost as long as fire has been around.
Charcoal grills have evolved greatly over time, but finding the right one isn’t impossible. Carefully consider the features you need to be the best griller, and weigh out the price you’re ultimately willing to pay.
The hope is that this article at least brought you insight into making the right decision for you. If not, close the deal on the right charcoal grill to get the ultimate grilling experience.