33 Best Charcoal Grills In 2020: Buying Guide & Reviews

There’s nothing quite like cooking over a charcoal fire.

There’s a ritual and a romance to the process that’s unmatched in any other grilling style.

The only trouble is, there are so many different brands and grill types available, it’s hard to discern which ones are most effective.

Sometimes, you’re looking for the best cheap charcoal grill you can find; other shoppers are on the lookout for quality over affordability.

When you’ve finished reading this roundup, you should be armed with enough information to select the best charcoal grill you can find.

In a rush? Here are the winners:

Contents (clickable) show

Buying a Charcoal Grill: What You Need To Know

A grill is a major appliance, meaning the purchase is not something to be taken lightly. In this section, we’ll take you through the finer points of charcoal grilling, including its pros and cons.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Charcoal Grill

If you’ve ever wondered what differentiates one charcoal grill from the rest, you’re not alone. This cooking style requires a certain degree of skill and finesse, and no two models are created exactly alike. Here’s some criteria to keep in mind while you’re making your decision.

Price

Naturally, you’ll want to map out a budget before you begin your search. The good news is that charcoal grills are often the least expensive models you can buy (see “Pros of Charcoal Grills,” below). The fuel costs won’t set you back too far either, unless you’re grilling every night of the week. Try to invest in the highest-quality grill you can afford, and don’t be tempted to cut corners.

Size

Next, you should think about how much grilling space you’re likely to use on a regular basis. As a general rule, plan on about 72 square inches per person. This means that a grill with 300 to 400 square inches of grilling space should be sufficient for a family of four. Larger families or outdoor chefs who love to entertain should look for a grill with a more expansive cooking surface.

Note that some grills, especially kamado-style cookers, may allow for multi-level cooking. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at the different styles, and consider whether you’ll be using the grill for direct cooking (like grilling) or indirect cooking applications (such as smoking).

Durability and Construction

Traditional charcoal grills will offer a heavy-duty steel construction, usually combined with a tripod stand or a cart-style design. The cooking grates are typically made of either stainless steel or cast iron, with or without a porcelain coating. While porcelain makes the grates easier to clean, it’s also prone to cracking or chipping. If you perform routine maintenance on your cooking grates, they should last you a long time with or without the additional coating.

Lid

A tight-fitting lid is essential for heat retention. Make sure the material is as solidly constructed as the rest of the unit, and that there are no gaps or cracks between the lid and the fire box. There should also be an adjustable damper to allow for airflow. If there’s a built-in thermometer included, your job just got that much easier.

Ventilation

While we’re on the subject of airflow, don’t overlook the vents and dampers. They should be well constructed, easy to manipulate, and accessible. If your dampers are prone to sticking, you won’t be able to calibrate the interior temperature, and your results will be disappointing.

Charcoal Access

If possible, try to invest in a unit with a door that allows you to add more charcoal to the fire when needed. This isn’t always necessary if you’re planning on using the unit primarily for burgers and hot dogs, but for smoked meats, it’s essential.

Ease of Assembly

A charcoal grill shouldn’t take longer than an hour to assemble, and that’s for the more complicated kamado cookers. Simpler models can be put together in a matter of minutes. If you’re a beginner, or otherwise technologically challenged, consider purchasing a model that requires very little assembly.

Maintenance

Similarly, it doesn’t take that much effort to clean a charcoal grill. All you’ll need is a stiff wire brush, hot water, dish soap, and a good supply of paper towels. The more access you have to the fire box, the easier it will be to clean the interior. As for the cooking grates, they should be designed so that you can easily scrape off the stubborn bits before scrubbing them clean in a soapy sink.

If you’d like a virtual demonstration on how to clean a charcoal grill, take a look at this YouTube tutorial:

Pros of Charcoal Grills

If you’ve never cooked over a charcoal fire before, you’re in for a real treat. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider investing in a charcoal grill.

Flavor

A charcoal fire imbues the ingredients with real smoke flavor–something you’ll never be able to replicate with a gas-fired flame. You can even customize the taste experience by adding flavored wood chips to the hot coals.

Affordability

Charcoal grills are among the most affordable units on the market. They’re far less expensive than most gas-powered models, and noticeably cheaper than pellet smokers. One exception? Kamado-style cookers, which usually feature a ceramic construction and are therefore more costly. We’ve reviewed a few of these in our Product Review Guide, below.

Convenience

Charcoal grills are typically more lightweight and portable than gas grills. If you’re looking for a grill that can be taken along on camping trips, picnics on the beach, or to tailgating parties, then a charcoal-powered unit might be your best bet. It’s also easier to transport a bag of charcoal than it is to lug along a propane tank.

Heat

A charcoal grill will get hotter than a gas grill. Proponents of well-seared meat or charred vegetables will appreciate the features that a charcoal fire has to offer.

Cons of Charcoal Grills

There are two sides to every coin, and charcoal grilling isn’t for everybody. The most common complaints regarding this cooking style are documented below.

Time

It takes a while for a charcoal fire to get hot enough for cooking–usually 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re the type of cook who wants to decide whether or not to grill at the last minute, or if you prefer instant gratification, you probably won’t be thrilled with a charcoal grill.

Skill

Cooking over a real fire requires a measure of finesse and a good deal of practice. In this regard, gas grills are a great deal more forgiving. That’s why many beginners gravitate toward gas-powered models, despite the increase in cost.

Regulations

Before you purchase a charcoal grill, make sure you’re allowed to have one. Many apartment complexes have restrictions in place that ban the use of charcoal fires. This is largely due to the fact that it’s difficult to keep the heat entirely under control, but the ash and debris are also a factor. If you live in an apartment building, check your building’s ordinances for more information.

Cleanup

While it’s not all that difficult to clean the grill itself, there is more residue to deal with. When you cook over gas, you don’t have to worry about ash removal. On the plus side, you can always use the ashes to scatter over your icy driveway when the weather turns.

Best Charcoal Grill: Product Review Guide

#1 Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

The ample and effective ash management system is the best reason to consider this offering from Weber, one of the giants in the industry. With the touch of a lever, you can release the built-in ash can, then dispose of the residue inside without having to get your hands dirty. The component also has a generous capacity, so you don’t have to worry about ash removal during long cooking applications.

The porcelain-enameled steel bowl and lid are well ventilated and easy to care for, with a four-hole damper situated on the top. The grilling grate measures 22 inches in diameter, giving you 363 square inches of cooking space. The lid is also equipped with a built-in thermometer, which is an especially impressive perk when you consider the reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Well-designed ash management system
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Easy to assemble

Cons:

  • Legs are awkwardly designed
  • Some shipping issues reported

Check Price on Amazon

#2 Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

This offering from Weber shares many of the same characteristics as the 22-Inch Premium unit. The ash removal system is somewhat less sophisticated, with a disc-shaped aluminum catcher instead of a built-in receptacle. There’s also no built-in thermometer. Otherwise, the only real difference is the price tag, which is slightly lower as a result of the downgrade.

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • Durable unit
  • Sufficient grilling space for an average-sized family
  • Well-ventilated

Cons:

  • Locking ports on legs are misaligned
  • Delivery box is sometimes missing parts
  • Lid may sit awkwardly on the bowl

Check Price on Amazon

#3 Weber Original Kettle 18.5-Inch

Weber 441001 Grilling, 35' H x 23' W x 18.5' L, Black

This is a smaller version of Weber’s original black kettle-style grill, offering 240 square inches of cooking space. Ash removal is simple, but you’ll have to provide your own receptacle. The steel bowl and lid feature a porcelain coating for easy maintenance. A lid hook is affixed to the side of the bowl, so you won’t have to place the lid on the ground while you’re cooking. The plated steel grate is durable and retains its heat well, giving you precise grilling marks.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Fuel efficient
  • Heat shield beneath handle to protect your hands
  • Large wheels for portability

Cons:

  • Legs are on the flimsy side
  • Lid interior is prone to rust without proper care

Check Price on Amazon

#4 Weber Jumbo Joe 18-Inch

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch Black

This travel-sized unit sits low to the ground and offers 240 square inches of cooking space. The bowl and lid are constructed of durable steel with a porcelain coating, and the grilling grate is made of plated steel for superb heat retention. A “Tuck-N-Carry” lid lock keeps the unit together during transport. There’s also a disc-shaped aluminum ash catcher to help keep cleanup to a minimum.

Pros:

  • Convenient design
  • Long handle for ease of transport
  • Generous grilling surface for a travel-sized model
  • Low price point

Cons:

  • Requires a great deal of lifting and bending
  • Ash catcher sits very close to the bowl
  • Legs are flimsy and prone to rusting

Check Price on Amazon

#5 Weber Performer 22-Inch

Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

This upgraded version of the Weber Original offers 363 square inches of cooking space, a durable porcelain-enameled steel construction, and a built-in thermometer. The Performer grill is a cart-style model, complete with side table and lower wire rack. The wheels are constructed of hardy rubber, making this grill maneuverable as well as durable. Both the damper system and the “One-Touch” ash removal feature are well-executed and easy to use.

Pros:

  • Adequate storage space, with a relatively small footprint
  • Excellent ash management system
  • Easy to assemble
  • Thermometer is accurate and easy to read

Cons:

  • Slightly top-heavy (may tip over in high winds)
  • Handles are lower-quality than the rest of the unit

Check Price on Amazon

#6 Weber Master-Touch 22-Inch

Weber 14501001 Master-Touch Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

What sets the Master-Touch apart from the rest of Weber’s offerings? For starters, the plated steel grid is equipped with a removable insert. This means that you can replace the center of the grid with a pizza stone, a poultry roaster, or any other grilling aid (options are available through Weber at an additional price). The interior of the chamber is specially designed to allow for cooking over either direct or indirect heat, giving the unit another boost in the versatility department.

While the main cooking surface offers 363 square inches of space, this number may vary depending on the cooking application that you’re using. Like many of Weber’s Premium or Performer models, the ash removal feature on the Master-Touch is one of the most effective systems we’ve seen.

Pros:

  • Removable grid insert adds versatility
  • Cleverly designed cooking chamber
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Great heat retention
  • Accurate temperature control

Cons:

  • Large, bulky design
  • Handles are less durable than the rest of the unit
  • Sits very high off the ground

Check Price on Amazon

#7 Weber Performer Deluxe 22-Inch

Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Touch-N-Go Gas Ignition System, Black

Like the other 22-inch Weber grills on our list, the Performer Deluxe features enough cooking space for an average family—363 square inches in all. However, there are several other features that set this grill apart. First of all, it’s outfitted with an electronic gas ignition system, so there’s no need to mess around with chimney starters or lighter fluid. Second, it comes equipped not only with a built-in thermometer, but an LCD timer to let you know when the food is ready. The ash management system is also quite handy, with a receptacle included for neat removal.

This unit offers a cart-style design, with an oversized prep table and lower wire rack for storage. The lid, like the bowl, is composed of porcelain-enameled steel, and features an effective damper system and handle with heat shield. There are even several tool hooks built into the control panel.

Pros:

  • Attractive, convenient design
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Touch-and-go ignition system
  • Secure, well-ventilated lid

Cons:

  • Relatively high price point
  • Some shipping issues reported
  • Ash catcher may need replacing frequently

Read our comparison between the Weber Performer Deluxe vs Premium.

Check Price on Amazon

#8 Weber Go-Anywhere

Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill,Black,14.5' H x 21' W x 12.25' L

The Go-Anywhere is another travel grill from Weber. Unlike the Jumbo Joe, this one is a rectangular tabletop unit, small enough to fit easily in the trunk of a car. With 160 square inches of cooking space, it’s capable of holding six hamburger patties at once.

Both the lid and base are constructed of porcelain-enameled steel, and do an efficient job at retaining their heat. Two lid dampers allow you to control the temperature from either side, so you can cook at two different temperatures at once. This model also offers twin handles and a locking lid, both of which make it easier to transport. Thanks to its diminutive size, cleanup is a snap.

Pros:

  • Small and portable
  • Locking lid
  • Sufficient airflow
  • Great heat retention

Cons:

  • Legs are very thin and flimsy
  • Body is positioned so that coals are very close to the grid
  • Base gets very hot; additional heatproof padding is required for picnic tables

Check Price on Amazon

#9 Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch (Portable)

Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill,Black

Suitable for tailgating or small patios, the Smokey Joe offers 147 square inches of grilling space and a porcelain-enameled steel bowl and lid. The plated steel cooking grate sits at a convenient distance from the coals, ensuring that your food is cooked evenly—and with excellent flavor. Three aluminum legs offer stability, and a disc-shaped aluminum plate helps with ash removal. The aluminum vents are rust-resistant, so you shouldn’t have any trouble controlling the airflow, even with frequent use.

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Simple maintenance
  • Good heat distribution
  • Sturdy, durable model
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Some shipping issues reported
  • No lock on lid
  • Single handle makes transportation slightly difficult

Check Price on Amazon

#10 The Original Po' Man

The Original Po' Man Charcoal Grill

As conversation starters go, you can’t get much better than the Po’ Man. This charcoal-fired grill is designed to resemble an ordinary trash can, with a durable steel construction and stainless steel grilling grates. The interior cooking chamber has a stacked design, with a tall wire tower for holding the cooking grate, drip tray, and ash catcher. Two meat skewers are also included in the purchase.

While the Po’ Man measures just 18 inches in diameter, the design allows it to hold up to 10 half-racks of ribs at once. As a bonus, it costs significantly less than most units with that type of capacity. If you’re looking for an affordable charcoal grill that can be used primarily as a smoker, this might be the unit for you.

Pros:

  • Exceptionally roomy interior
  • Reasonable price point
  • Eye-catching design
  • Easy to assemble
  • User-friendly
  • Small footprint

Cons:

  • Works better as a smoker than as a traditional grill
  • Screws can become loose after a few uses

Check Price on Amazon

#11 Royal Gourmet CD1824A

Royal Gourmet CD1824A Charcoal Grill,BBQ Outdoor Picnic, Camping, Patio Backyard Cooking, Black

This barrel-style grill features a cart design, with two side shelves and a lower storage rack. The fire box is easily accessible, so you can add more charcoal during the cooking process if needed. Two dampers and an adjustable smokestack allow for maximum airflow, giving you optimal control over the temperature.

The main cooking surface spans 363 square inches over the porcelain-coated steel grate, with an additional 205 square inches available on the chrome warming rack. The main body is composed of heavy-duty steel, and the cart features two oversized wheels and a lid with a built-in thermometer. There’s also a removable ash drawer and a cool-to-the-touch handle for convenience.

Pros:

  • Adjustable grate level
  • Generous amount of grilling space
  • Plenty of storage
  • Removable ash drawer
  • Accessible fire box

Cons:

  • Slats on lower rack are a bit too far apart
  • Time-consuming to assemble
  • Some components are noticeably low-quality

Check Price on Amazon

#12 Royal Gourmet CC1830S BBQ Charcoal Grill And Offset Smoker

Royal Gourmet 30' BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker | 800 Square Inch cooking surface, Outdoor for Camping | Black, CC1830S model

This is another barrel-style grill from Royal Gourmet, this one equipped with an offset smoker box for superior wood-fired flavor. The porcelain-coated steel cooking grates cover 438 square inches in the main chamber, with an additional 183 square inches available in the smoker box. An optional warming rack gives you another 179 square inches, for a grand total of 800.

The cart-style design is equipped with two wheels, a lower wire rack, a side table, and several tool hooks. The steel construction isn’t the sturdiest we’ve seen, and it isn’t great at withstanding temperatures above 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This might not be an issue if you’re primarily interested in smoking, but you shouldn’t expect the grill to last very long if you try to get an impressive sear on your steaks.

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Plenty of grilling space
  • Can do double duty as a smoker
  • Built-in tool hooks

Cons:

  • Main body is on the chintzy side
  • Finish is prone to melting at high temps
  • Sits low to the ground

Check Price on Amazon

#13 Fox Outfitters Quick Grill (Medium)

Quick Grill Medium: Original Folding Charcoal BBQ Grill Made from Stainless Steel

This is an affordable, convenient travel grill with a stainless steel construction and a unique trapezoidal design. It’s a foldable unit, which means it can be assembled and disassembled in a matter of minutes. The stainless steel grate offers 144 square inches of cooking space, and well-placed ports allow the air to flow freely through the chamber. This model even comes with its own carry bag to make it more portable. Be sure, however, that the unit has cooled completely before you attempt to put it back in the bag.

Pros:

  • Folding grill with travel case
  • Very affordable
  • Holds an impressive amount of charcoal for a portable unit

Cons:

  • Grate could be heavier
  • Small cooking surface

Check Price on Amazon

#14 PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X Original Portable Outdoor Grill And Smoker Combination

PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X Original PK Grill & Smoker Grill Smoker, Silver

If you’ve ever attended a buffet with steam tables, you should be able to conjure up an accurate mental image of this portable grill. The PK Grills Original is a tall aluminum-constructed unit with a rectangular fire box and lid, and a cart-style design with a broad handle affixed to the side. Two of the straight legs are outfitted with large wheels, and a sturdy shelf offers plenty of storage space.

The cast aluminum construction of this unit does an admirable job at conducting and retaining its heat. A four-vent system allows for superb airflow, so everything on the 300-square inch surface should cook evenly. This is a lightweight unit that can be easily moved from one side of the patio to the other, and is an excellent choice for tailgating parties.

Pros:

  • Lightweight yet durable construction
  • Great heat retention
  • Generous amount of cooking space for a portable unit
  • Clever design

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Lid doesn’t fit securely
  • Vents are large enough for charcoal to fall through when opened fully

Check Price on Amazon

#15 Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill (L410)

Looking for a cast iron grill that’s small enough to take on the road? Look no further than the Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill, which is designed specifically for camping trips. Small enough to fit into your heavy duffel bag, this hibachi-style model is built to withstand a lifetime of use. A flip-down door allows you access to the coals and contributes to easy ash removal. As long as it’s seasoned properly, all of its components should clean up easily with hot water and a stiff-bristled brush.

The cooking surface of the Sportsman’s Grill measures 17.25 by 9 inches, giving you about 150 square inches of cooking space. While we appreciate the heat retention of the cast iron grid, we’ve found that the surface is flat enough to allow ingredients to roll off during cooking, and there’s no protection around the edges. Take care when cooking round sausages like hot dogs and bratwurst. Otherwise, this unit is in the running for the best small charcoal grill on our list.

Pros:

  • Very portable
  • Extremely durable
  • Superior heat retention
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Cast iron can be heavy to carry
  • No rim around the grate
  • Requires seasoning prior to first use

#16 Kamado Joe Classic II Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill, 18 inch, Blaze Red

This is a kamado-style grill, which means that it features an egg-shaped cooking chamber and a ceramic construction for superior heat retention. A built-in thermometer is built into the lid, which is equipped with a latch to help retain flavor and moisture. This is important for any grill, but essential for a kamado model, since the lid is usually kept closed throughout the cooking process.

The Classic II measures 18 inches in diameter, which gives you 254 square inches of cooking space on the main grill. However, this unit also features “Divide and Conquer” cooking technology—a multi-level system that allows you to cook at more than one temperature at a time. When you include the grill extender and second shelf, you’ll end up with a total of 660 square inches of space. The grill has a temperature range of 225 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a good fit for everything from smoking to searing.

Pros:

  • Excellent heat retention
  • Versatile unit
  • Broad temperature range
  • Sophisticated ash management system
  • Ash removal tool and grill gripper included in purchase

Cons:

  • Very heavy
  • High price point for a charcoal grill

Check Price on Amazon

#17 Kamado Joe Big Joe II Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Kamado Joe BJ24RHC Big Joe II Charcoal Grill, 24 inch, Blaze Red

The Big Joe series represents a step up in the size department, offering 452 square inches on the main surface and a grand total of 1056 square inches when you include the second grate and grill extender. The ceramic construction and patented adjustable top vent do a great job at holding in the heat. This model features a six-piece design to help minimize the risk of breakage.

Pros:

  • Generous cooking area
  • Durable unit
  • Superb airflow and heat retention
  • Built-in thermometer

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Assembly can be tricky
  • Very heavy; shouldn’t be moved once it’s been set up

Check Price on Amazon

#18 Expert Grill Heavy Duty 24-Inch

Expert Grill Heavy Duty 24-Inch Charcoal Grill

This unit boasts a rectangular barrel-style fire box and cart design, with a woven wire mesh rack located beneath the cooking surface. Two of the four straight legs are equipped with durable wheels, and a generously-sized side shelf offers additional storage or prep space.

With a grilling surface that spans 573 square inches, this grill should offer sufficient space for your next neighborhood gathering. The exterior is constructed of black powder-coated steel, and the high-quality cooking grates are made of cast iron. Several tool hooks are built into the side shelf for your convenience. Given the size and versatility of this model, it’s set at a very reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Sturdy, efficient design
  • Lower shelf is well constructed
  • Easy to assemble

Cons:

  • Ventilation could be better
  • Charcoal tray has only one position

Check Price on Amazon

#19 Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Barrel Charcoal Grill

Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS675CB-D Heavy-Duty Barrel Charcoal Grill

Dyna-Glo offers a very sturdy, barrel-style unit with a cart design, complete with lower shelf and two large wheels for ease of transport. With 675 square inches of grilling space and a generously-sized lid, this model is a good choice for larger families or people who like to entertain often. The main unit is constructed of black heavy-gauge steel, with porcelain-enameled steel grates.

Be forewarned that the smokestack on this grill is quite high. If you’re planning on storing the unit in your garage or shed when it’s not in use, make sure you give it sufficient overhead clearance.

Pros:

  • Heavy and durable
  • Oversized grilling surface
  • Good heat retention

Cons:

  • Inconveniently designed ash removal system
  • Very tall smokestack
  • May be too big for some households

Check Price on Amazon

#20 Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker And Grill

Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill

The vertical design of this heavy-duty steel model makes it an excellent choice for smoking, though it’s not as convenient for grilling. The offset smoker box can be loaded with your choice of wood chips, allowing you to experiment with many different flavors. When all five of the chrome-plated steel cooking grates are in use, you’ll have a whopping 1382 square inches of space available.

One of our favorite things about this unit is the temperature gauge, which features a “Smoke Zone” setting so you can easily tell when the fire has grown too hot. We also appreciate the fact that the handles are always cool to the touch, so the meat can be removed as soon as it’s ready.

Pros:

  • Cleverly designed thermometer
  • Small footprint
  • Enormous amount of cooking space
  • Excellent wood-fired flavor

Cons:

  • Very high; prone to tipping
  • Better as a smoker than a grill

Check Price on Amazon

#21 Dyna-Glo Signature Series Barrel Charcoal Grill And Side Firebox

Dyna-Glo DGSS730CBO-D-KIT Signature SeriesBarrel Charcoal Grill & Side Firebox

With this offering, Dyna-Glo steps up its game with a grill that does a wonderful job on everything from seared steaks to smoked pulled pork. The offset smoker is large enough to impart great flavor, no matter what type of wood you choose. The heavy-duty steel construction and porcelain-enameled cooking grates are built to withstand frequent use, with a total of 730 square inches of available grilling space.

As with the regular Signature Series Barrel Charcoal Grill, this one features a very high smokestack. The footprint is also slightly larger, since the fire box extends to one side. Make sure you have plenty of space available before you decide to invest in this unit.

Pros:

  • Oversized smoke box
  • Holds its heat well
  • Generous amount of grilling space
  • Tight-fitting lid

Cons:

  • Relatively high price point
  • Tall smokestack
  • Somewhat bulky design

Check Price on Amazon

#22 Dyna-Glo Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill And Side Firebox

Dyna-Glo DGSS287CB-D Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill & Side Firebox

A smaller version of Dyna-Glo’s offset smoker grill, this unit offers 287 square inches of cooking space and a barrel-style design with a sawhorse chassis. As with all of Dyna-Glo’s charcoal grills, this one is composed of heavy-gauge steel with a porcelain-enameled steel cooking grate. The coiled handles are easy to grip, and will stay cool enough to touch throughout the cooking process.

Pros:

  • Portable unit
  • Heats quickly and efficiently
  • Large grilling surface for a travel model
  • Easy to care for

Cons:

  • Legs are a bit weak
  • Cumbersome to carry

Check Price on Amazon

#23 Dyna-Glo Extra-Large Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill

Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill, X-Large, Stainless

This unit’s claim to fame is its removable fire box divider, which allows you to cultivate two cooking temperatures at the same time. Even if you don’t use this feature, this grill has plenty to recommend it. The main cooking surface offers 576 square inches of cooking space, and the upper rack measures 240 square inches, giving you a grand total of 816. That’s more than enough for large parties, or for experimenting with different recipes.

The Dual Zone Premium features a rectangular barrel-style chamber with a cart design. The lower rack is shaped like a basket, making it more convenient for charcoal storage. Two side shelves flank the main cooking chamber, and all four legs are equipped with wheels, making the grill easy to transport despite its large size.

Pros:

  • Dual cooking zones offer versatility
  • High-quality charcoal pans
  • Easy access to charcoal

Cons:

  • Hinges are on the weak side
  • Maintaining two fires at once requires some skill

Check Price on Amazon

#24 Dyna-Glo Extra-Large Premium Charcoal Grill

Dyna-Glo DGN576DNC-D Premium Charcoal Grill, Extra Large, Black

This grill has many things in common with the Dual Zone Premium, with the exception of the two-sided fire box. It also offers 816 square inches of grilling space, and a large door gives you easy access to the charcoal tray. The side shelves are convenient and large enough to hold several items at once. There’s even a built-in bottle opener.

Pros:

  • Good value for the price
  • Easy access to charcoal tray
  • Nice design on the lower shelf
  • Bottle opener

Cons:

  • Lid is heavy and prone to slamming shut
  • Some hardware components are flimsy
  • Hot ashes can drop onto the cross bars

Check Price on Amazon

#25 Dyna-Glo Large Heavy Duty Charcoal Grill

Dyna-Glo DGN486DNC-D Heavy Duty Charcoal Grill, Large, Black

This is a stripped-down version of the Premium models, featuring 686 total square inches of cooking space. Two of the straight legs are equipped with wheels, which aren’t quite as sturdy as the ones on the Premium grills. The grilling grates are composed of porcelain-coated cast iron, and the barrel-style cooking chamber offers a heavy-duty steel construction. The charcoal tray is adjustable, with a handy access door to give you full control over the cooking experience.

Note that a smaller version of this grill is available with a stainless-steel construction. That model, called the Dyna-Glo Standard Heavy Duty Stainless, features 568 square inches of grilling space and six-inch wheels, making it a more portable option.

Pros:

  • Easy to control the temperature
  • Convenient design
  • Bottle opener
  • Easy to put together

Cons:

  • Takes a long time for the coals to burn down
  • Paint is prone to chipping
  • Interior rusts easily

Check Price on Amazon

#26 Dyna-Glo Compact Charcoal Grill

Dyna-Glo DGD381BNC-D Compact Charcoal Grill

This is Dyna-Glo’s smallest standard grill, offering 545 square inches of cooking space and a rectangular cooking chamber. A single shelf flanks the right-hand side of the fire box, with a similar rack positioned below. Two wheels offer maneuverability, and there’s a generously-sized bar handle affixed to the left-hand side.

Like many of Dyna-Glo’s other grills, this one features a large access door that allows you to stoke the fire or add more charcoal as needed. While the unit definitely has its shortcomings, we think this is an excellent perk. The thermometer is somewhat difficult to read, but it’s usually accurate.

Pros:

  • Easy access to charcoal
  • Handle and wheels make it easy to transport
  • Great airflow and temperature control

Cons:

  • Numbers on built-in thermometer are microscopic
  • Slats on shelving are too far apart
  • Charcoal cranks get stuck easily

Check Price on Amazon

#27 Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite

The Char-Griller kamado-style models differ from traditional kamado grills in one vital respect: They’re constructed of heavy steel, rather than ceramic. While this might cause some die-hard aficionados to turn up their noses, we think these offerings are worth a look.

The Akorn Kamado Kooker is part of the Char-Griller Akorn series. It comes equipped with a main cast iron grilling grate offering 314 square inches of space, with an additional 133 square inches available on the secondary warming rack. That gives you a grand total of 347 square inches, which is small by traditional charcoal grill standards but sufficient for a kamado model. The tripod cart is outfitted with two large wheels and a low rounded shelf for storage, in addition to two side shelves.

Pros:

  • Affordable price point for a kamado grill
  • Locking lid
  • Convenient ash removal system
  • Good heat retention
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Steel construction is unusual for a kamado grill
  • Some secondary parts need to be replaced frequently
  • Confusing package design

Check Price on Amazon

#28 Char-Griller Patio Pro

Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill, Black

The tight footprint of this barrel-style grill makes it a superb choice for people with a limited deck or patio space. It’s outfitted with 250 square inches of cooking space, so it’s a good fit for couples or small families as well. The straight-legged design features a wooden side shelf and a lower wire rack for prep and storage. Two wheels offer maneuverability, and a side air vent keeps the fire stoked to your desired temperature.

The Patio Pro features Char-Griller’s standard heavy-duty charcoal construction, with cast iron cooking grids. The ash drawer can be removed to make cleanup that much easier.

Pros:

  • Compact footprint
  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • Convenient design

Cons:

  • Complicated to assemble
  • Relatively small cooking surface
  • No built-in thermometer

Check Price on Amazon

#29 Char-Griller Akorn Jr.

Char-Griller E06614 Charcoal Grill, Red

The Akorn Jr. is a smaller version of the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker, with an egg-shaped cooking chamber and cast iron grates. Like its larger counterpart, it features a steel construction, so it’s significantly less expensive than most kamado grills of comparable size. Being a smaller model, it offers just 153 square inches of cooking space, but it’s lightweight enough to be used as a travel grill.

The small cooking chamber on the Akorn Jr. heats quickly and effectively, with a temperature range of 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this is a kamado grill, you can expect it to burn through less fuel than a traditional charcoal-fired unit. The built-in thermometer allows you to keep a close eye on the temperature, all without lifting the lid.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable, with convenient handles
  • Superior heat retention
  • Easy to assemble
  • Affordable price point

Cons:

  • Some off-gassing (needs a preliminary burn-off to dissipate the smell)
  • Relatively small cooking surface
  • Sits low to the ground; requires some bending and lifting

Check Price on Amazon

#30 Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill And Side Fire Box

Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box, Black

This is another tabletop unit, featuring a relatively generous 250 square inches of grilling space. The design is barrel-shaped, with four sturdy legs to hold it in place and to offer the tabletop some degree of protection from the heat. The body is composed of heavy-gauge steel, with cast iron cooking grates.

You can also attach this unit to the side of a regular-sized Char-Griller model to use as an offset smoker. Be forewarned, however, that once it’s been used as a smoker, you can’t revert it back to a charcoal grill.

Pros:

  • Sturdy design
  • Can be used as a grill or offset smoker
  • Removable ash tray for easy cleanup

Cons:

  • Some packaging and shipping issues reported
  • Paint is low-quality and bubbles up when cooking
  • Spacers are too short to make it an effective smoke box

Check Price on Amazon

#31 Char-Griller Outlaw Charcoal Grill And Smoker

Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw 1063 Square Inch Charcoal Grill / Smoker

With 1063 total square inches of cooking space, this is one of the largest traditional charcoal grills on our list. The heavy-duty steel construction and cast iron cooking grids help contribute to its longevity and heat retention, while a front-facing shelf offers convenience as well as storage. A side shelf and sturdy lower storage area give you plenty of room for condiments, tools, and extra fuel.

The cart-style design of the Outlaw allows you to move it if necessary, but it’s a bit too bulky to be moved without help. While this is one of the lowest-priced oversized grills on the market, be forewarned that assembly can be quite tricky. If you need a lot of grilling space, you might want to consider one of the higher-priced models listed above.

Pros:

  • Very affordable price point
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Oversized cooking surface

Cons:

  • Difficult to assemble
  • Paint is prone to chipping
  • Large, bulky design

Check Price on Amazon

#32 Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill, 22.5 Inch

Char-Broil’s kettle-style unit comes outfitted with TRU-Infrared porcelain coated cooking grates, designed to deliver the ultimate in heat retention. They’re also meant to seal in juices, resulting in fewer flare-ups. The overall construction of the grill is black powder-coated steel, with a locking lid to help seal in the heat. The lid also offers a built-in thermometer so you can check the progress of the fire without sacrificing temperature.

An adjustable charcoal grate and a series of well-placed vents allow you to control the cooking environment as needed. The ash pan is generously sized and easy to remove. With 360 square inches of cooking space, this unit is the perfect size for an average family.

Pros:

  • TRU-Infrared technology
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to clean
  • Well ventilated

Cons:

  • Weak legs
  • Prone to rusting if not stored properly

Check Price on Amazon

#33 Americana Swinger Charcoal Grill With Two Side Tables

Americana Swinger Charcoal Grill with Two Side Tables, Red

This square-shaped, portable unit would be right at home at the beach or state park. With a cooking surface spanning 332 square inches, it’s fairly large for a travel grill, but lightweight enough to be transported easily. A uniquely designed charcoal tray allows the food to cook thoroughly, without allowing the fire to burn through the bottom. The air vents are well-positioned for maximum airflow, and the cooking grid can be placed in six different positions. Two folding side shelves give you plenty of room for the mustard and ketchup.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and transportable
  • Generous amount of cooking space for a travel grill
  • Cleverly designed

Cons:

  • Chintzy wheels
  • Complicated return process
  • Time-consuming assembly

Check Price on Amazon

Best Charcoal Grill: The Winners

With all the grills that we’ve reviewed, which one is the best charcoal grill of them all?

In addition to the best overall, we’ve broken down the winners into subsections. This will make it easier for you to select the grill that’s right for you.

Best Charcoal Grill Overall

If we had to pick just one grill out of all the options listed above, we would choose the Original Po'Man. While its design is a bit unorthodox, we’re huge fans of the roomy interior and curb appeal. The lid fits tightly enough to achieve a good seal, and you can turn out tons of smoked meat at one time. While it functions better as a smoker than a traditional grill, it does a great job on sausages and bratwurst.

Runner Up

Second best would have to be the Weber 22-Inch Master-Touch, with its excellent ventilation and enviable ash removal system. The removable grid insert gives it one of the most versatile cooking chambers listed here. It’s not just one of the best Weber charcoal grills on our list–it’s one of the best grills, period. If you can’t find the Original Po-Man model, or if you would prefer a more traditional design, you can’t go wrong with the Master-Touch.

Upgrade Pick

Money burning a hole in your pocket? Splurge on the Weber Performer Deluxe, and give yourself a fine conversation piece in addition to a functional appliance. The built-in timer and sophisticated ash removal chamber will give you peace of mind throughout the grilling process, and the unit features plenty of storage space. Most importantly, it’s built to last, so you won’t have to worry about replacing it for a very long time–if ever.

Best Lifespan

Speaking of longevity, the Kamado Joe Classic II earns spectacular marks in this department. This unit is designed for outdoor chefs who are looking specifically for the last grill they’ll ever have to buy. However, since it’s also a kamado grill, it might not be what you’re expecting. For example, the lid will usually be closed during use, which is unusual for traditional charcoal grills. Make sure you’ll take advantage of all its features before settling on this one.

Best Portable Charcoal Grill

Travel-sized units offer convenience, but many aren’t as durable as their full-sized counterparts. The Lodge Cast Iron’s Sportsman’s Grill sets that stereotype on its ear, offering up a grill that can withstand years of punishment from the elements. If you season the cast iron properly, this grill should hold you in good stead throughout a lifetime of outdoor adventures.

Best Small Charcoal Grill

Small grills aren’t just for tailgaters and camping enthusiasts. Sometimes, limited deck or patio space will force you to invest in a downsized unit. If this is the case–or if you just don’t need a lot of grilling space to begin with–give the Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch a try. It’s compact enough to fit easily on a small deck, but offers enough grilling space to accommodate a couple or a small family.

Best Charcoal Grill for Smoking

Grillers who want to use their unit primarily as a smoker would do well to consider the Original Po'Man. (There’s a reason why we ranked it first on our list, after all.) The sizable cooking chamber allows you to imbue your food with the ultimate smoke flavor.

For a decent alternative, take a look at the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Smoker and Grill. This model gives you the most space of any grill we’ve reviewed, and the temperature gauge lets you know when the fire has reached the “Smoke Zone.” If you have space to accommodate this exceptionally tall smoker, you should be pleased with the results.

Best Budget Option

The best cheap charcoal grill on this list would probably be the Fox Outfitters Quick Grill. In addition to being affordable, it’s exceptionally portable, with its own carry bag included in the purchase price It can also be assembled in just a few minutes, and taken down just as quickly.

Best Weber Charcoal Grills

Weber’s flagship offering is the 22-Inch Premium Charcoal Grill, and we have to agree that it’s probably the best of its kind. It offers all the space and superior ventilation of the Original 22-Inch Charcoal Grill, but its ash removal feature is one of the most cleverly designed systems on the market. If you love cooking with charcoal but hate the mess, you should find plenty to love about this unit.

Best Kamado Joe Charcoal Grill

These ceramic kamado grills are all well-designed credits to the field, but we would give the edge to the Classic II. It’s the most popular of Kamado Joe’s offerings, and we understand why. The impressive temperature range is an excellent perk, allowing for unmatched versatility. Although you’ll pay more for a Kamado Joe than for a traditional charcoal grill, the benefits are well worth the cost. Moreover, they’re not nearly as expensive as some of the other kamado grills out there.

Best Dyna Glo Charcoal Grill

Dyna-Glo offers several quality grills at affordable prices, with the Dual Zone Premium leading the pack. Easily the best Dyna Glo charcoal grill on our list, the Dual Zone Premium is a sturdy grill with a durable fire box and removable insert, so you can cook at two different temperatures simultaneously. Best of all, Dyna-Glo grills are typically easy to find, so obtaining replacement parts shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Best Char-Griller Charcoal Grill

This company is well-known for churning out bargain-priced grills that are well-built enough to hold up to regular use. The Akorn Kamado Kooker is one of the best they have to offer, with its hardy construction and impressive temperature range. If cost is a major factor, but you’re interested in kamado grilling, the Akorn delivers on both fronts. It also offers more cooking space than the Akorn Jr., which is why we’ve ranked it slightly higher.

No matter which model you choose, we hope our roundup has been both entertaining and informative. Most of all, we hope your new charcoal grill brings you many years of delectable and mouthwatering results.

Best of luck, and happy grilling!

You might also want to read our review of the best portable charcoal grills.

Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on print
You might also like:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *