Did you know that Kingsford manufactures quality grills in addition to charcoal? For a long time, I didn’t. Then I realized that their products were well thought out and as cleverly designed as any of the competition—and more so than some. To help determine which ones are best, I decided to put together this list of Kingsford Charcoal Grills reviews.
Shopping for a Charcoal Grill: What You Need to Know
The best Kingsford charcoal grills should have several things in common. In this section, we’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions about charcoal grills in general.
What To Look For in a Charcoal Grill
Here are the most important features and benefits to be aware of when shopping for a charcoal grill:
Know in advance how much you can afford to spend. Fortunately, these units are frequently less expensive than their gas- or pellet-fired counterparts.
Look for durable materials, such as heavy-gauge steel for the body and stainless steel or cast iron for the cooking grates. Be aware that cast iron grates will need to be seasoned in advance and treated frequently with oil. On the plus side, they’re great for getting solid grill marks on steaks, chicken, burgers, and chops.
You can’t cook properly if you don’t know how hot your fire is. A built-in thermometer is an invaluable tool for any grill. If the unit doesn’t have one, then you can expect to spend a lot more time checking the internal temperature of your food.
The lid should be solidly constructed and tight-fitting to keep the heat from escaping.
It helps if the unit offers a rack or shelf to hold your tools or other accoutrements while you’re working. This is a rarity in kettle-style grills (see “Types of Charcoal Grills,” below), but you may be able to find this feature if you invest in a barrel-style unit.
Look for a saucer-shaped disk or a canister-like receptacle beneath the firebox of the grill. This will allow you to dispose of the ashes more efficiently.
The lid or sides of the firebox should be equipped with dampers to allow you to control the air flow. This will give you greater flexibility as far as the temperature is concerned.
Types Of Charcoal Grills
These are what most people think of when they picture charcoal grills. They feature round bowl-shaped fireboxes with separate lids, and come equipped with either three or four legs (sometimes with wheels attached). They’re convenient, affordable, and easy to use. The downside? They might not offer as much cooking space as their rectangular counterparts, and it’s more difficult to access the firebox, which means they’re not as effective for smoking large cuts of meat.
These barrel-shaped units have an impressive appearance, and often offer more storage space than kettle grills. They can usually cook greater quantities of food at once, including whole chickens and full rib racks. These units are more likely to have built-in thermometers, which is another plus. Bear in mind, however, that they’re also quite bulky and therefore less portable than kettle grills. You can also expect to pay more than you would for a kettle grill of comparable size.
If you can afford a ceramic charcoal grill, you might want to consider investing in one. They’re expensive, but their sturdy construction translates into superb heat retention and temperature control. Be forewarned that these units are also very heavy, so they’re unsuitable for tailgating or travel use.
What are the advantages of grilling with charcoal?
Charcoal grills are relatively affordable, come in a variety of sizes, and impart a wonderful smooth, smoky flavor to your food. Most models can even pull double duty as smokers, even without expensive add-ons. Since it’s usually easy to add wood chips to a charcoal fire, you can experiment with different flavors depending on what type of food you’re grilling.
While cooking over charcoal does require a degree of finesse, it’s fairly simple once you get the hang of it. Many grilling enthusiasts swear by the method and wouldn’t even consider using a different type of grill. Charcoal is also an inexpensive fuel source that’s easy to come by.
Are there any drawbacks to charcoal grills that I should be aware of?
It takes some time to start a charcoal fire. Usually, you’ll have to wait anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes before the coals are hot enough to cook your food. You can use this waiting period to attend to other matters, like prepping side dishes and sauces, but some people find it problematic. Conversely, gas grills can be fired up and ready to go within seconds. If you prefer instant gratification over authentic charcoal taste, then you might be better off looking at gas-powered units.
It should also be noted that charcoal is messier than propane, which makes these grills more difficult to clean. You should consider a charcoal grill only if you have enough time to devote to its care and maintenance.
Finally, the temperature control can be finicky when you’re dealing with a charcoal fire. To help offset this difficulty, look for a unit that has a built-in thermometer in the lid. You can find out more about useful features in the “What To Look For In a Charcoal Grill” section, above.
How do you clean a charcoal grill?
While the cooking grates should be cleaned after every use, you should also perform routine maintenance on the rest of the unit. This can be done weekly, biweekly, or monthly, depending on how often you grill.
To clean the grates, wait for them to cool slightly. Remove all stubborn food particles using a wooden scraper or high-quality wire grilling brush. When the grates are cool enough to handle, wipe them down with a damp cloth.
If you’re dealing with a lot of stubborn residue, give stainless steel racks a dousing in a hot, soapy sink, then rise and dry them thoroughly. While you shouldn’t use soap on cast iron grates, you can wash them in hot water also. In any case, cast iron should receive a light coating of oil while the grates are still warm from washing.
You should also empty the firebox after each use to prevent ash buildup. Use the dampers located on the bottom of the firebox to dispense the ashes into the included receptacle, if there is one. If not, you can place an inexpensive heatproof container beneath the grill to catch the ashes. Dispose of them as you see fit.
At least once a month, you should clear the firebox and give the whole interior a good scrubbing with hot soapy water, using a wire brush as your cleaning tool. Start with the lid, then work your way down the rest of the firebox until you’ve removed all the buildup. Make sure to rinse the brush thoroughly and wipe down the interior and exterior of the grill with a clean rag when you’ve finished.
For more tips on how to clean a charcoal grill, check out this video tutorial:
Kingsford Charcoal Grills Reviews: A Product Guide
This product review guide gives you an in-depth look at the best Kingsford charcoal grills.
#1 Kingsford 22.5-Inch Outdoor Kettle Grill
This sturdy kettle-style unit offers 354 square inches of cooking space, a porcelain-coated steel construct, and steel grilling grates with an additional warming rack. The clever design features a built-in basket for storage, with an additional wire rack underneath. This gives it more storage space than many comparably sized kettle grills. The warming rack is built into the hinged lid, which contributes to the streamlined design of this model. There’s also an ash bin just beneath the firebox to make waste removal easier.
This unit is surprisingly lightweight, considering how durable and rust-resistant it is. The price point is fairly decent as well, especially for the amount of cooking space that it offers.
Be aware that while the overall construct is decent, some of the secondary parts (like the ash catcher and the warming rack) are of noticeably lesser quality. While there is an air vent built into the lid to assist in temperature control, there’s no thermometer, so you’ll need to keep a close watch on your food throughout the cooking process.
- Easy to assemble
- Durable construction
- Affordable price
- Relatively lightweight
- Ash catcher is on the chintzy side
- Flimsy warming rack
- Hinged lid can be tricky to maneuver
#2 Kingsford 30-Inch Barrel Charcoal Grill
You can’t miss the eye-catching, burly design of this barrel-style grill, which features 793 square inches of total grilling space. The grates are constructed of long-lasting cast iron, which does an excellent job at retaining heat. A side shelf offers space for condiments, utensils, or prep work. There’s also a lower wire rack for storing charcoal or other necessities. Although the unit is large by any standards, two durable wheels make it easy to maneuver. This is a huge plus for a kettle-style grill, since they often take up a great deal of space in the outdoor kitchen.
The lid offers a built-in thermometer, so your grilling experience can be largely hands-free when you invest in this unit. While Kingsford doesn’t go so far as to advertise this grill as a smoker, it can certainly be used to smoke pork butt, whole chickens, or full rib racks. The oversized capacity makes it the ideal choice for large families or neighborhood gatherings.
Beginners should note, however, that this grill takes a relatively long while to assemble. The instruction manual can be difficult to follow, and some of the parts are tiny enough to get lost while you’re trying to put everything together. This shouldn’t be enough to deter seasoned grilling pros, but newcomers might want to consider a less complex model for their first time.
- High grilling capacity
- Tons of storage space
- Works great as a smoker
- Excellent temperature control
- Fairly expensive for a charcoal grill
- Lots of small, fiddly parts
- Instruction manual is somewhat difficult to follow
#3 Kingsford 24″ Charcoal Grill
The unique design of this model has more in common with gas grills than with any of the other charcoal-fired units on this list. With a rectangular cooking surface, hinged lid, and easily accessible firebox, it’s a superb choice if you’re looking to experiment with different types of wood chips. With 538 square inches of cooking space, it could easily fit a whole chicken or a full rib rack. If you’re looking to accommodate larger quantities at once, the 30-Inch Barrel Grill might be a better choice.
Like the above model, this one also offers a side shelf and a lower rack for storage, as well as a hinged lid with a built-in thermometer. The grilling grates are made of solid cast iron, and the overall construct is aluminum, making it fairly lightweight for its size. Side vents help you maintain the correct temperature. There’s even a bottle opener attached to the side of the unit, so you don’t have to fumble for your keychain when it’s time for another cold one.
This is a solid mid-sized option, suitable for the average family or couples who like to grill and entertain often. Note that Kingsford offers a two-year warranty when you purchase this model.
- Generous size
- Lots of storage space
- Two-year warranty
- Attractive design
- Difficult to find
- Assembly takes a long time
- Prone to rusting
#4 Kingsford 14-Inch Charcoal Grill with Hinged Lid
The smallest grill on our list, the Kingsford 14-Inch Charcoal Grill is suitable for camping or tailgating. Before adding charcoal, it weighs in at under ten pounds. The legs are foldable, so it can fit easily into your truck bed or the trunk of your car. Another plus? The hinged lid is equipped with a lock. This means you can transport the unit even when you haven’t fully emptied the charcoal or the ashes yet. Remember that this will increase the weight of the grill, and never attempt to move it when the coals are still warm.
The air vents on the lid help you to control the grill’s internal temperature, but unfortunately, there’s no thermometer included. The tripod design could also be problematic if one of the legs becomes damaged. Also note that there are no wheels attached to the locking legs, so you’ll have to lift the grill if you want to move it around once it’s set up. Fortunately, it’s light enough that this shouldn’t be a problem.
Since this grill offers just 208 square inches of grilling space, it’s best suited for couples or small families. If you’re planning on using it primarily as a travel grill, the small size shouldn’t be an issue, but you should pack along extra charcoal if you’ll be cooking for a larger group. Lastly, note that this grill’s diminutive size also makes it the most affordable unit in our roundup.
- Lightweight and portable
- Very affordable price point
- Locking lid
- No thermometer
- No ash catcher
- Minimal cooking space
If you’re looking specifically for a Kingsford charcoal grill, you should consider investing in the first model we’ve listed here. The 22.5-Inch Outdoor Charcoal Kettle Grill offers most of the vital features that you’d expect from a charcoal-fired unit. The construction is durable enough to withstand plenty of punishment from the elements, the kettle design is simple to clean, and it can be assembled in minutes. It’s also one of the most affordable units listed here, and offers a decent amount of cooking space.
The grill’s main drawback is its lack of a built-in thermometer. However, in my experience, it’s difficult to find a kettle-style grill that offers this feature anyway. The side vents help to make up the difference by giving you greater control over the air flow. Also, since the lid is so durably constructed, the unit is capable of maintaining its heat long enough to achieve a good sear.
It should be noted that if you’d prefer a barrel-style grill, or if you simply need more cooking space, the 30-Inch Barrel Charcoal Grill is a good option as well. It’s not as easy to put together, but the heat retention and construction are excellent. You’ll also have more prep and storage space, which means less time running in and out of the kitchen.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our roundup, and that your purchase brings you many long years of grilling satisfaction. Best of luck, and bon appetit!