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With warmer weather around the corner, it is the perfect time to choose a new charcoal grill for your barbecuing and grilling activities. Whether you are replacing an older grill or beginning grilling for the first time, you’ll want to select the best one that makes it easy to cook your food easily, quickly, and that guarantees great taste and quality. Before choosing the best design, you will want to consider the shape, size, color, and cost, as well as any extras that you desire when cooking.
The best charcoal grills are not as expensive as you might imagine, and if you choose the correct model for your specific needs with a one-touch cleaning system, it makes it easy to perform maintenance after every use, so your new grill will serve you for many years to come. There are numerous types of grills available, and they differ in size, features, cooking surface, and price.
To offer you the best possible information and analysis of what the market currently offers, we spent several months researching what is available, and we tried out numerous charcoal grills. We also studied customer purchasing trends and customer reviews. Finally, we called on expert professional chefs who specialize in grilled and barbequed foods on their menus, for their professional opinions. We have selected ten of the best grills for your consideration.
In this review, we take an in-depth look at our choice of ten grills and compare highlights and the pros and cons of each of the grills we selected. We have tried to offer a listing of top models that suit the needs of different cooks and backyard chefs. So let’s get started!
#1. Best Grill and Smoker: Royal Gourmet 30″ BBQ Charcoal Grill and Smoker
Dimensions: 55.1 x 27.2 x 48.4 inches
Weight: 54.2 pounds
Material: Stainless steel
Extras: smokestack, temperature gauge, removable ash pan, smaller side grill, swing-away rack
Overall rating: 8.6 out of 10
This BBQ Grill by Royal Gourmet is also an offset smoker and is among the top-rated and best-selling grills available. This barrel-shaped grill is ideal for backyard chefs who enjoy grilling and smoking meats and foods in general. The size of this smoker also allows you to use it if you have a smaller cooking area for grilling or limited space such as a deck or balcony. The grill itself features eight hundred square inches of cooking space for grilling together with a rack that swings away if you are cooking foods that do not require direct heat.
This Royal model also provides a temperature gauge with the unit to assist you when cooking. The unit’s offset smoker can also be utilized as a smaller grill and adds 183 square inches of cooking space. The amply sized cooking grate is coated in porcelain, which facilitates cooking and cleaning afterward. The grill comes with an ash catcher that permits you to remove ashes or charcoal bits, so it’s easy to clean. It does not offer an ignition system.
Assembly is required. This grill comes with many extra features such as a side air vent, a side access door for charcoal control or addition, a smokestack, a heatproof handle, dampers, and a temperature gauge. The grill is easy to move thanks to wheels on the bottom. It is constructed in stainless steel that is powder-coated for rust protection and includes racks on the front, side, and even underneath for grilling accessories, as well as hooks for hanging your BBQ tools.
- Easy to use and assemble
- Adjustable temperature
- Removable ash catcher
- Side grill
#2. Best BBQ Grill: CD1824A Royal Gourmet Charcoal BBQ Grill
Dimensions: 50 x 22 x 48.8 inches
Weight: 57 pounds
Material: Stainless steel
Extras: temperature gauge, pull-out ash catcher, two side tables
Overall rating: 8.4 out of 10
Royal Gourmet offers one of the best charcoal models with a classic design offering approximately 393 square inches of preparing area and a warming rack that measures 205 square inches. With this size of cooking surface, you can quickly cook for eight to ten people. The grill is easy to move thanks to the two wheels attached to the bottom. It has excellent features that include a door at the front for adding charcoal during grilling, and the charcoal pan has adjustable holes, as well as the possibility to adjust the cooking grate level to allow for distance between the heat and the food. The grill offers easy maintenance thanks to a drawer-style design for the ash pan that can be pulled out for emptying. It also features a built-in gauge for temperature control while cooking.
- Reasonable pricing
- Temperature gauge
- Secure cleaning system with a pull-out ash pan
- Two side tables
- Difficult assembly
#3. Best Overall Grill: Weber Original Premium Charcoal Grill Kettle
Dimensions: 39.5 x 22.5 x 27 inches
Weight: 32.3 pounds
Extras: lid thermometer, ash receptacle, hinged inner cooking grate, lid hook
Overall rating: 9.4 out of 10
Manufacturer Weber-Stephen is one of the oldest and best manufacturers of grills and BBQ equipment internationally. This company brings a well-respected brand name with its products that feature American design, engineering, and assembly. Weber Kettle shaped grills are favorites, and their popularity continues from one generation to the next thanks to the validity of their product.
This Premium version of the 22″ kettle is almost identical to the standard version. Still, it offers a closed receptacle for ash collection attached to the kettle’s bottom, instead of an open tray. It impedes ashes from falling or blowing while grilling. The grate also boasts a hinge making it easy to use. You can easily add charcoal without having to remove the grate while barbequing.
A large cooking area of 363 square inches is enough for approximately 13 burgers. The lid also features a thermometer for heat control. An improvement is the new handles of nylon to protect your hands, and they can be easily removed for cleaning. The kettle design allows you to choose between a flatbed of barbeque charcoal or a two-zone grilling situation with higher or lower coal pileups.
- New closed ash receptacle.
- Porcelain-enameled lid and kettle bowl
- Lid hook
- Rotisserie kit available
- Built-in thermometer not known for accuracy
- Not easy to move
- Not ideal for smoking
#4. Best Limited Space Grill: Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill
Dimensions: 31 x 21 x 44 inches
Weight: 50 pounds
Extras: side table shelf, wheels for transportability
Overall rating: 8.8 out of 10
If you have limited space for your grilling activities, the Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro model is the ideal size for smaller balconies, patios, decks, porches, or just a tiny backyard. Or perhaps you cook for smaller groups of people and just don’t need a huge grill. This lower grill offers a reasonable amount of space for cooking.
This charcoal barbeque grill boasts grates made of cast iron. You will need to put a tad more effort into cleaning because it doesn’t have a one-touch cleaning system, but the material can withstand just about anything. Scratching probably will not be a problem, but keep an eye out for rust and corrosion.
Other features that we appreciated include a wooden table shelf on the side to place your grilled food or any BBQ accessories, and the drawer for charcoal or removable ash catcher. This drawer facilitates cleaning your grill. The grill also comes with a heat resistant handle to open and close the lid.
There will also be an air vent on the side of the grill for temperature control and to control how much air or smoke is inside your grill. The 1515 Patio Pro has a double bottom of steel so that repeated heating doesn’t place too much stress on your grill. Finally, the wheels attached to the bottom permit you to move your grill as needed. It is an excellent option for chefs with limited space or for those cooks who may prepare smaller meals for fewer people and ned less charcoal.
- Easily assembled
- The large cooking surface of 250 square inches
- Heat resistant handle
- Good temperature control
- Grates of cast iron
- Side table shelf
- Limited grilling space for more massive crowds
- Cast iron will need some maintenance
#5. Best 18″ Grill: Original Weber 441001 18-inch Charcoal Kettle Grill
Dimensions: 18.5 x 23 x 35 inches
Weight: 27 pounds
Extras: ash receptacle, lid hook
Overall rating: 9.4 out of 10
If you enjoy a grilled steak or burger, Weber offers a nice sized, reasonably priced original kettle premium grill that is easy to transport around your yard and yet is large enough to grill a family meal. Weber grills have an excellent reputation and are very popular among consumers because of the company’s attention to performance. Whether you want to smoke or sear, Weber provides you with a tool that will guarantee delicious results, and their grills have a terrific reputation for durability.
The grill is produced in steel and is porcelain enameled. It features an 18-inch rust resistant grate for excellent barbequing and easy cleaning afterward. The grill has a damper to assist in controlling the heat inside the kettle depending on what you are cooking, and the one-touch system for cleaning provides easy cleanup of ashes. Worthy of note is the Weber lid hook, which avoids having to place the lid on the ground while grilling. This is a good quality basic grill that gets the job done.
- 240 square inches of cooking surface
- Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
- Rust-resistant grates
- Aluminum ash receptacle
- Damper for heat control
- The handle can heat up too much
#6. Best Portable Grill: Cuisinart CCG-190RB Charcoal Grill
Dimensions: 14.5 x 14.5 x 15 inches
Weight: 2 pounds
Extras: lid locks for transport, ash catcher
Overall rating: 8 out of 10
For those who like the option of a portable grill for barbequing, we want the very lightweight, compact portable model by Cuisinart. The CCG-190RB is a streamlined high-quality product that makes grilling on the move easy. If you like camping or picnicking, you will want to take a look at this model. Cuisinart uses quality materials, and despite its lightweight, the metal construction appears quite sturdy.
The size is extremely compact with its 14.5-inch diameter and height of only 15 inches, making it easily transportable, mainly thanks to three locks that secure its lid during movement. The grill parts, including the top and the firebox, are coated in porcelain enamel to impede rusting and corrosion after use. This grill features two dampers to allow you to control the heat.
The firebox boasts a chrome-plated grate of 150 square inches of cooking surface, permitting you to cook quickly for four people in a single grilling. The four-legged base sets it apart from the standard tripod models and gives it more stability than comparable grills. If you are searching for a portable grill, this Cuisinart offers more than many other portable grills on the market and is worth a look. It should not be considered an alternative for your daily grilling. This is an excellent option for occasional grilling at picnics, during camping, at the beach, or during tailgating.
- Porcelain enamel coating
- The 4-legged base for stability
- Lightweight with lid locks for easy transport
- Chrome-plated grills can become difficult to clean.
- Ash catcher challenging to remove if the grill is still hot
#7. Best Heavy-Duty Grill: Expert Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill, 24-Inch
Dimensions: 44.88 x 26.38 x 42.32 inches
Weight: 60 pounds
Material: powder-coated finish
Extras: side table shelf, bottle opener, heat gauge
Overall rating: 9 out of 10
This reasonably priced grill features a 374-inch cooking space for up to 20 burgers in a single grilling. The Expert 24-inch model also boasts 200 inches of warming rack in chrome to allow you to keep those burgers and dogs from getting cold after cooking. The cooking grates are in heavy-duty cast iron so they can easily withstand high heat and repeated use and the grill comes with a gauge to monitor heat while cooking.
The charcoal pan can be adjusted for more or less charcoal depending on your grilling preferences and the featured side table shelf for food or accessories can be folded down to save space. The bottle opener is a nice addition so you can enjoy a cold drink while grilling. Vents on the sides of the hood allow you to control the airflow and thus heat. It also has wheels attached to facilitate moving it around your patio or yard.
- Generous cooking area size for its category
- Quality warming rack
- User-friendly charcoal pan and front load door
- Bottle opener and temperature gauge
- Grates of cast iron
- Attractive streamlined appearance
- Assembly not easy
- Complicated instruction manual
- Does not seem durable
- No rotisserie
#8. Best Rugged Terrain Grill: Beau Jardin Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill, 22.5 inches
Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 30 inches
Weight: 29.1 pounds
Material: aluminum and porcelain
Extras: additional indirect cooking zone
Overall rating: 7 out of 10
The Beau Jardin Portable 22.5 inch model is an elegant choice for your money if you are in the market for a portable grill, Its simple design makes it easy to use with a place for your fuel and a grate for your food grilling with a large cooking area of 398 square inches. It also comes with a warming grate for keeping foods warm, indirect cooking, or for thawing frozen goods.
It’s easy to clean after use and transportable if you like to camp, fish or tailgate. So, if you are a camping cook, this grill will likely give you good value for your BBQ needs. The capacity to retain heat is fundamental for grills using charcoal and Beau Jardin hit the nail on the head with this grill. Thanks to the damper, you can control the heat while grilling, meats, fish or vegetables.
This kettle features a very efficient tray for catching ashes, thus it’s easy to use and avoids any messy cleanup in your yard or on the patio after dinner. Beau Jardin offers you a rugged, sturdy grill that can move over uneven terrain thanks to its lightweight construction and framework.
- Great heat retention and control
- Easy to grill with and additional warming grill
- Difficult assembly
- Instructions unclear
#9. Best 22″ Grill: Original Weber Charcoal Grill 741001, 22-inch
Dimensions: 25 x 22.5 x 39.5 inches
Weight: 31.5 pounds
Extras: Lid hook
Overall rating: 9.4 out of 10
This classic model is one of the best charcoal grills manufactured by Weber, one of the major brands in the marketplace for grilling accessories. The Weber company began in 1952 when a metalworker named Stephen working for the Weber Brothers Metal Works in Chicago created the kettle grill for an ever more popular way of cooking. Since 1952 the Weber brand has demonstrated that it is the best overall company for providing grilling equipment.
This classic version is easy to assemble in less than 15 minutes. It boasts a kettle with dome lid and handles with heat shields, as well as a plated steel grate with 363 square inches for cooking. Dampers at the bottom and top of the kettle make sure that heat control is optimal to cook your food just right whether rare, medium, or well-done.
The steel construction is coated in porcelain enamel to avoid corrosion or rust. The kettle is mounted on a tripod base which can appear unstable but is built not to fall over. The Weber classic charcoal grill has proven itself to be the best overall on many occasions. This is due to its durability, functionality, easiness in cleaning, and affordable price range.
- Can use as grill or smoker
- Best overall in the class
- Necessary ash cleanup every time
- Ash receptacle can loosen
#10. Best Portable Table Grill: Isumer Portable Charcoal Grill
Dimensions: 15.9 x 11 x 8.8 inches
Weight: 4 pounds
Color: Stainless steel
Material: Stainless steel
Extras: Two-side ventilation, detachable legs
Overall rating: 8.8 of 10
This portable table charcoal grill is interesting for grilling tabletop as well as for grilling when camping. For those who enjoy Hibachi grilling, Kebab grilling or even searing a steak at the table, this little grill may be just what you’re looking for.
This grill fundamentally follows the concept of Japanese Hibachi which when translated, signifies a “fire bowl” or in other words, an open container for burning charcoal. This grill is designed without a lid so you can quickly sear foods right at the dinner table. Since it is without a lid, it heats up quickly thanks to more oxygen and is particularly good for searing your meats. The grill is ideal for cooking a pair of steaks or anywhere from four to six burgers at the same time.
The grill’s four legs can be easily and quickly detached to allow for packing up in a matter of minutes. Its cooking area can cook for two to five people and it is also ideal for a backyard, patio, balcony, or as previously stated right at your dinner table. The construction of stainless steel will avoid rust and corrosion and the two side air vents help you to control the heat. It also features a built-in ash collector which facilitates cleaning up after grilling.
- Constructed of thickened stainless steel
- Strong compact design
- Ventilation from two sides
- Simple assembly with detachable legs
- The grill grate is thin
- No lid
Buying Guide for the Best Charcoal Grill
If you have decided to buy a charcoal grill, and particularly if you’re a newbie to grilling, you’ll need to determine what you want to use it for. Are you a basic burger and hotdog griller, or maybe you want to grill just a pair of excellent juicy steaks? Perhaps you’re more adventurous and want to attempt a rack of ribs, or maybe you want to try your hand at smoking. Whether you want just to prepare your dinner or attempt some barbequing severe, it’s essential to identify your purpose before purchasing. Last but not least, remember your wallet and how much you can or want to spend as well as the space you plan to allocate for your grilling adventures.
Gas or Charcoal?
Gas or Charcoal? While we are concentrating on charcoal grills when you go shopping, whether, in a store or online, you’ll also be presented with gas grills to choose from as well. Know that charcoal grills are more comfortable to operate. They are simpler in construction because they offer a container for your burning coals and a rack above for cooking. Consequently, they are usually more affordable because they are more straightforward.
The prices for gas grills can be quite high if you opt for a high-quality unit with durability in mind. A gas grill will require burners, tanks, hoses, valves, and a system for ignition. The gas grill can also cause more stress with worries about propane tanks, eventual leaks, and parts to replace. Buying a bag of the best charcoal for BBQ is much more comfortable.
There’s nothing like the convenience of a gas grill, where charcoal grills will require a little more time and engagement. But if your goal is convenience, a microwave is even better than your kitchen stove. While cooking on a gas grill may appear more straightforward because you set the temperature, using charcoal BBQs for grilling is wonderfully challenging and rewarding, because nothing tastes like food grilled over charcoal or wood. The flavor is everything. If you want to enjoy that authentic smoky flavor, charcoal is the way to go. Once you know how to grill over charcoal, you can quickly grill with a gas grill, while the opposite is not necessarily exact.
There are three basic types of grills that you can consider: ceramic grills, barrel grills, and the classic kettle grills. All three models will permit you to grill, smoke, or barbeque, but each type has particular characteristics.
The Kettle Charcoal Grill
Kettle grills tend to be smaller in size, anywhere from 18 to 22 inches in diameter is the standard with the 22-inch diameter affording you 363 square inches of cooking space. This type of cooking space will allow you to grill between 12 to 15 burgers in a single grilling. There are some kettle grills in larger sizes, such as 26 inches and perhaps a few even more significant than 36 inches. But unless you have an army to feed, the 22-inch size is more than adequate for most personal uses.
The shape of the kettle retains and reflects the heat inside the pot so that your food is cooked evenly within. Most are equipped with removable receptacles for ashes, making them easy to clean. The grill allows you to boil over high or low heat and to smoke as well. If you want a grill just for the basics, a kettle grill will more than do the job.
The Barrel Charcoal Grill
Barrel grills are usually somewhat more extensive than kettle grills with an average length of 36 inches and 435 square inches of cooking space. Barrel grills are designed for smoking as well as grilling. The design is a steel drum sliced in half. The charcoal will go in the bottom half with a grate placed overhead for the food. The upper half of the steel drum serves as the lid. These grills usually have a chimney and air vents as well as wheels attached to the bottom for moving the grill, and many come with an extra warming grate to keep food heated or thaw frozen food before grilling. The barrel grill will allow you to cook more food. It will need more space, and it will cost more when purchasing.
The Ceramic Charcoal Grill
These are very expensive grills and probably not something that you want to invest in if you are a newbie, camping or tailgate griller. Ceramic grills offer terrific heat control for barbecuing or smoking. They come in various sizes, and the largest can weigh well over 200 pounds.
What to Consider When Buying Your Charcoal Grill
Controlling the temperature will decide how well you cook your food. While your kitchen oven has temperature control, a charcoal grill has nothing of the sort. Charcoal grills have several characteristics that will determine or influence the cooking temperature. These include dampers or air vents, lids, thermometers or temperature gauges, adjustable grate distances above the charcoal, coal beds that can be lifted or lowered, and not least of all experience at the grill.
Dampers or Air Vents
Charcoal grills make use of at least two dampers, one of which is for intake and the other for exhaust. You will be able to control the temperature with the chill used for input that permits the oxygen to enter and feed your fire, or if you need to lower the temperature, you can choke the fire with this vent. The exhaust damper is left open to permit smoke to escape.
If your grill has a lid, it should fit tightly to maintain the temperature. Depending on what you are cooking, you can decide to use the top or grill with it off.
Temperature Gauges or Thermometers
Today’s market offers any number of useful digital thermometers. A dial thermometer is an antique and definitely should be left in the past. This is one feature you will want to avoid under or overcooking.
Adjustability and Grate Distances
This is a great way to control the temperature when cooking. If you raise or drop the coal bed, the temperature lowers, and vice versa and this can allow you to cook slowly at the beginning and sear your meats at the very end. Some grills will have cranks that will enable you to raise or lower the bed of charcoal.
Does your charcoal grill offer you enough room to load the charcoal on one side? In this way, you can have a direct heat area and another lower heat area where you cook with indirect heat.
You will need the possibility to add charcoal while grilling or even mix and move the charcoal within your grill. Many grills now have a door or folding grate that allows you access.
Ashes and Their Removal
A sound ash removal system, whether a drawer or removable receptacle, will make life easier! You will want to remove the ashes because they insulate and absorb the heat, reducing the grill’s performance, and cleanup will be faster and less work.
Where you place your food when grilling can make a difference, some grates are made in cast iron, but they require maintenance. Steel-plated or chrome-plated wire grills can be a wise choice because they tend not to block any of the heat and permit good airflow.
You will want to make sure that the grill you are considering has excellent durability. Stainless steel, ceramics, or 16 to 18-gauge steel are all credible alternatives. The thicker the material, the better your grill will hold in the heat. A flimsy grill is never the right choice.
What are the benefits of Charcoal grills?
The most obvious benefit is that charcoal grills are more transportable than larger gas grills that must take into account the gas. They also provide a wonderful flavor to the food being cooked over wood or charcoal. A gas flame cannot replicate the flavor.
What is the best charcoal grill on the market?
We opted for Weber’s Premium 22-inch Original Kettle Grill, which boasts a design we like, and that has been successful for decades. Weber has not applied any significant design changes since its creation. The circular kettle guarantees convection heating, or it can grill using direct heat. It cooks meats, fish, or vegetables ideally and has a very affordable price considering the quality of the grilling and the durability of the grill. The cost-quality ratio is excellent, and it is available in three sizes (18, 22, or 26 inches).
Which is the best Weber Charcoal Grill?
We like the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill measuring 22 inches. It is a better version of the original Kettle grill by Weber, which debuted way back in 1952. Weber Original Kettle allows enough space to grill meats and vegetables but is still compact enough at 22 inches to be wheeled around your backyard. We like the Premium version for the addition of its ash receptacle, which facilitates clean up after grilling. The built-in thermometer in the lid is a nice touch.
Are Weber Charcoal Grills worth the money?
Absolutely yes, or at least we think so. Weber Grills can last ten years, twenty years, or even longer. Talk about a return on your investment! If they seem a little more expensive, their durability justifies any extra cost. Less costly models probably have a much shorter life, so in the long run, your Weber Grill will end up costing less.
Are Charcoal Grills better?
While gas grills can seem to be more expedient, charcoal grills win the day when it comes to searing steaks or burgers. The charcoal grows hotter than your typical gas grill, and heat is necessary if you want are cooking crispy lamb chops or steaks for dinner. And charcoal is particularly useful for cooking the meat on the outside but leaving the inside pink and tender. Charcoal also provides a smokier flavor.
Are there disadvantages to charcoal grills?
There may be a slightly higher risk of fire when using a charcoal grill, so if you live in an apartment building or condo, you may want to check the building or local fire codes when selecting. But if you keep water nearby, you should be safe for any sparks. Handling charcoal is a dirty business, and it can be difficult to light. You’ll want to pay attention to flare-ups that can burn your food, and you may have to add charcoal to keep the heat up. Most charcoal grills do not have rotisseries, and there are always ashes to dispose of after a good barbeque. But these problems can easily be solved if you know how to grill, and the flavor of food cooked on a charcoal grill is unbeatable.
Should I have any security worries when grilling on a charcoal grill?
You should never leave a grill unattended. This also guarantees the quality of your cooking. Never handle raw coals when you can use tongs, a small BBQ shovel or gloves. Should fat meat drip on your heated charcoal, causing a flare-up, a squirt gun or spray bottle with water can easily keep them under control.
Our top pick for a charcoal grill is the Weber Premium 22-inch Original Kettle Charcoal Grill for several reasons. First, it comes with one of the best product reputations for quality and durability in the market. You can find the same quality in Weber Original Kettle Grills, the Original Weber Charcoal Grill 741001, 22-inch, and the Original Weber 18-inch Charcoal Kettle Grill. All of them are included on our top ten list. Secondly, we loved using it and eating the food we grilled on the Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and the culinary results were delicious.
Another grill that we appreciated was the Isumer Portable Charcoal Grill, which was a delight when grilling some steaks and vegetables right at the dinner table. But if you are searching for a larger grill for your patio or backyard, then the Expert Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill, 24-Inch is the best choice. It has a beautiful design and a generous cooking area for its size.
Lastly, if you are interested in a small, extremely portable grill for camping, fishing, or tailgating, go for the Cuisinart CCG-190RB Charcoal Grill.
Whichever charcoal grill you end up buying, make sure that it can fulfill your barbequing and grilling desires. Once you have decided the type of grill you want based on how often you grill, how many people you cook for, how much you want to spend, and the space you have allocated for positioning your grill, it’s time to go shopping.
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