The Best Portable Charcoal Grills in 2021 – [Buying Guide]

When getting a charcoal grill, there are several factors to consider if you want the best. Among the most underrated features that many may overlook is portability. It refers to the ease of carrying or moving the grill from one place to another.

Contributing features of a portable grill include a compact shape and lightness. It is an excellent option if you love moving around or camping. If you are looking for the best portable charcoal grill, you are in the right place. Stick on as we review the finest.

Best Overall

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

This charcoal grill takes the top spot in our review. Some of the noticeable features include its compact design which makes it a perfect tabletop grill. This model is also suitable if you love outdoor activities like camping.

If you are outdoors, setting it up is a walk in the park. The same applies when disassembling this cooker. Its small size translates to the space economy.

Another impressive attribute of the Jumbo Joe charcoal grill is its quality. It is a stainless steel grill with a porcelain coat. The coating serves two major purposes, keeping off rust and heat retention. Talking about heat, the Weber Jumbo Joe grill has dampers for temperature control.

While it is a small grill, it has a decent cooking space. You can cook up to eight burgers in this appliance. The lid has a plastic handle that upholds safety when holding it. The Tuck-N-Carry lid lock serves as a lid holder.

This Weber charcoal grill has catchy looks, hence it is a sure conversation starter in your backyard cookout. An aluminum ash catcher holds ash, translating to easy cleaning.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble, use and disassemble.
  • It requires minimal space.
  • A reasonable cooking area.
  • A plastic handle on the lid makes it safe to use.
  • It is of high quality, with stainless steel as its primary material.
  • The grill has amazing looks.
  • The aluminum ash catcher holds ash.

Con

  • The package may miss some parts, mostly nuts and bolts that you need for assembly.

Runner-Up

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

As its name hints, it is a cooker built for those constantly on the move. If you love camping and picnicking, this is a must-have companion. At 13-pounds, this utility is very lightweight.

It receives a boost from its compact build. The cooker’s rectangular appearance allows it to fit in the hood of your vehicle.

The Assembly is straightforward, requiring you to make only a few fixtures before it is ready for use. To use it, you unfold its legs, fill charcoal, and light it up. When done with it, you fold and store it. Cleaning is also hassle-free.

The Go-Anywhere charcoal grill is an iron-cast build with a porcelain coat. This construction translates to robustness, and it will serve you for a long time. The porcelain coating comes in handy in heat retention. The cooking grate is stainless steel construction with a porcelain coat. As such, it is easy to clean.

While it is small, the grill’s cooking area is pretty reasonable. You can prepare up to six burgers or a whole chicken in this cooker.

Safety is a crucial feature to look at when getting a cooking appliance. You have the assurance of utmost safety when you opt for the Weber Go-Anywhere grill. Its handles have a plastic covering for insulation. You cannot get burns when carrying it, even if it is hot.

This charcoal grill has dampers for temperature control.

Pros

  • Light in weight.
  • Economical on space.
  • Easy to set up, use and maintain.
  • Durable construction featuring cast iron, steel, and a porcelain coat.
  • A reasonable cooking area.
  • It has plastic handles for safety.
  • The dampers give you ample temperature control.

Con

  • Clearing ash from this charcoal grill can be challenging.

The Budget Option

Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill

If portability is important to you, then this grill is a superb choice. It looks like a mini kettle grill that comfortably sits atop your outdoor table. The grill is pretty light at 2-pound; hence, you can effortlessly carry it anywhere.

The Cuisinart grill has fantastic looks, thanks to its simple design. It is an excellent addition to your household if you are into artistry.

The grill has a 150-square inch cooking area. The chrome-plated racks will accommodate a lot of food at once and spread heat evenly. Cleaning the chrome rack is simple as you can toss it in the dishwasher.

When using a grill, it is important to keep the temperature levels in check. The Cuisinart charcoal grill has a dual venting unit. You can use this feature to maintain heat levels and fuel consumption. The lid has three secure locks; thus, transportation is trouble-free.

This charcoal grill’s primary material is steel, with an enamel coat. Besides the edge of robustness, the enamel also provides protection against agents like rust.

It has an aluminum ash-catcher that holds the residues from burnt fuel. This translates to easy cleaning and overall maintenance.

Pros

  • The grill has amazing looks.
  • Light in weight.
  • Economical on space.
  • An enamel coat makes it sturdy and less prone to rusting.
  • Its ash-catcher makes it easy to maintain.
  • A duel venting unit enables adequate temperature control.
  • A sizeable cooking area.

Con

  • The paint on the lid quickly comes off.

Top Kamado Grill

Char-Griller E06614 Charcoal Grill

The Kamado grill is one of the most popular due to its heat retention capabilities . If you are looking for a portable Kamado grill, the Char-Griller E06614 is an excellent choice. A thing that will impress you about this cooker is its ample cooking space. 153-square inches is reasonably big for a portable grill.

As it is a Kamado-style grill, you will love its temperature retention qualities. It provides even heat distribution to your dishes, enhancing their taste. Still, on temperature, the grill has a heat gauge to show you the heat readings. You can adjust the dual airflow dampers to increase or reduce the amount of heat to desired levels.

This ceramic grill is very robust and less prone to breaking. In short, it will serve you for a long time without signs of wear. Safety is a top attribute that you will notice from its insulated handles.

The Char-Griller cooker has an ash pan for easy disposal of ash. This makes cleaning a stress-free process.

Pros

  • Effortless assembly and use.
  • Fantastic appearance
  • High-grade temperature retention qualities.
  • It has a heat gauge for you to keep up with temperature readings.
  • Ample cooking space.
  • It is sturdy and less prone to degradation.
  • The grill is economical on fuel use.
  • The ash pan makes it easy to get rid of burnt fuel residue.

Con

  • The grill grate may rust if not maintained correctly.

The Rest of Our Picks

Char-Griller Side Fire Box Charcoal Grill

This is a heavy-duty cooker with stainless steel and cast iron as its primary materials. It has a 250-square inch cooking space, which can hold up to 15 burgers or two whole chickens.

For temperature control, this appliance has two dampers. You adjust the dampers depending on how much heat you need. You get a hint of its convenience when assembling it, whereby, you do not need sophisticated tools to have it in working order.

Its convenience also comes to play when cleaning it. The grill has an ash pan drawer for filling charcoal and removing ash. You can use the Char-Griller charcoal grill as a side fire box. It is compatible with most Char-Griller barrel grills.

The stay-cool hood handles ensure that you are safe from burns when opening or carrying the grill.

Pros

  • The grill is easy to assemble and use.
  • It requires less space for use and storage.
  • You can use it as a side fire box for Char-Griller barrel grills.
  • It has a heavy-duty construction featuring stainless steel and cast iron.
  • The ash pan drawer allows for easy ash removal.
  • The handles are safe to hold even when the cooker is hot.
  • It has dampers for heat regulation.

Con

  • The paint may start coming off after prolonged use.

Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Portable Charcoal Grill

The grill is an excellent addition to your camping gear if you want something to serve you for long. Steel is its primary material, which is resilient against agents like rust. Its cast-iron grates are likewise durable and offer sufficient heat distribution to your food.

The Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler utility is very adaptable. You can use it for high heat or low and slow cooking. You can also achieve the desired food preparation method by adjusting the grate’s height.

This cooker gives you maximum control of temperature. To control the heat levels, you have a thermometer on the lid. You use it to know the cooking chamber’s heat levels. There are large dampers on the side that you can open or close for airflow regulation.

Cleaning is an essential part of maintaining any grill. For the Rambler portable charcoal grill, it is a walk in the park. The appliance has a removable ash pan; thus, it is easy to do away with accumulated dirt.

For safety, it has insulated handles on the side and the lid. Carrying the grill, even when hot, won’t pose a risk.

Pros

  • The grill is of high grade.
  • The cast iron grate offers uniform heat distribution to your food.
  • Ideal for both high heat and low and slow cooking.
  • Ample temperature control.
  • Easy to assemble, use, and clean.
  • Its insulated handles uphold safety.

Con

  • The lid does not offer a tight seal. Some heat may escape from the gap created.

Kamado Joe Jr. KJ13RH Charcoal Grill

Getting a grill that can perform more than one function is guaranteed to save you money, that would have otherwise been spent on purchasing different appliances. You can use the Kamado Joe Jr. for smoking, grilling, roasting, and many more.

The grill will offer you the best heat retention qualities. Its thick-walled and heat-resistant shell ensures you have a uniform cooking temperature.  This gives you a hint of how flexible it is.

If you are the artsy type, you will love the simplicity shown by this implement. It has a bright red color, accentuated with dark outlines. When camping or cooking outdoors, it will show off your artistic side and radiate the area.

The Kamado Joe Jr. grill is very durable, sporting stainless steel as its primary material. It has a ceramic coat for protection and to enhance its heat retention qualities. The cooking grate is stainless steel construction, translating to longevity, consistent heat supply, and ease of cleaning.

Setting it up is a walk in the park. A few fixtures and you are good to go with this portable charcoal grill. Back to temperature, it has a built-in heat gauge to give you accurate readings. You can adjust the cooker’s heat levels from its cast-iron vent.

Like many Kamado grills, the Kamado Joe Jr. is economical on charcoal consumption.

Pros

  • Excellent in heat retention.
  • Economical on fuel consumption.
  • Assembling it is a straightforward affair.
  • The grill is durable, courtesy of its enameled stainless steel build.
  • You have maximum temperature control.
  • Amazing looks.

Con

  • At 75-pounds, it may be pretty heavy for a portable grill.

Sportsman’s Portable Cast Iron Charcoal Grill

When you hear the term cast iron, the first thought that comes to your mind is longevity. That is precisely what this charcoal grill offers. It has a rugged look, suitable for the outdoors. The material is very robust and will hold its own against agents like rust.

Assembly is an easy process, and with a few steps, you will have the cooker in working order. Another excellent thing about this iron grill is its superior heat retention capabilities. This attribute translates to fuel economy. With a few pieces of charcoal, you will have enough heat to cook your dishes.

It has an overhead handle for carrying it. The handle is long enough to keep your hands safe from the heat. The Sportsman’s utility is small, meaning it doesn’t need much space for use and storage. Additionally, it has a sensible cooking space of 150-square inches. This is adequate to hold up to seven burgers.

For heat control, you have sliding vents.

Pros

  • A robust construction.
  • Temperature control features include sliding vents.
  • Setting it up is a simple process.
  • Ease of maintenance, mostly cleaning.
  • It has a practicable cooking area.
  • Economical on space and fuel use.

Con

  • This appliance lacks a grill for sealing in the heat.

Original Folding Charcoal BBQ Grill

If you frequently embark on camping or educational trips, you can have this item to appreciate DIY practices. It is easy to set up, requiring you to follow a set of provided instructions. Disassembling it is likewise simple, with a storage bag provided to keep its parts.

The Original folding charcoal grill is stainless steel construction. In this vein, it is very durable. You can use it in different conditions, without the risk of degradation from rusting.

The Original folding BBQ grill has a moderate cooking space, where you can use it to prepare ten sausages or seven burger patties. Cleaning it is hassle-free, as most parts can go into the dishwasher. For heat control, there is a damper for letting in air.

This is a simple outdoor appliance suitable for backpackers or if you want to explore your DIY skills.

Pros

  • Effortless setting up and use.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Its stainless steel frame is very durable.
  • Ample cooking space.
  • The portable utility has an air damper for thermal control.
  • There is a bag for storage purposes.

Con

  • Handling it exposes you to the risk of burns as it does not have sufficient insulation.

Char-Griller Tabletop Charcoal Grill

This grill makes it to the list, courtesy of its user-friendliness. Almost every feature of this appliance shows off its convenience. We will start by looking at its relatively diminutive frame. It allows it to rest atop your table comfortably.

Furthermore, the size works to its advantage on storage. Setting it up is a breeze; using its manual, you will have it ready in minutes. The grill has one of the largest cooking areas for a portable cooker at 250-square inches. You can prepare large dish servings without the fear of crowding up space.

Char-Griller’s tabletop utility is very hardy, with heavy steel being its main material. Its grates feature cast iron. Both materials are top-quality and do not wear quickly.

For a charcoal refill, you slide a drawer for access to the chamber. The same drawer gives you access to ash when cleaning. There is a removable ash pan when you want to get rid of the burnt-up residue.

An attribute you cannot miss is its versatility. You can use this grill as an offset for smoking, whereby, you can fix it to any Char-Grill barrel model.

For thermal control, there are two dampers. You adjust them accordingly to have preferred temperature levels. Its safety features include a wooden handle to prevent burns.

Pros

  • Convenient to use.
  • Space friendly.
  • A large cooking area.
  • It is very durable.
  • A sliding drawer for easy refill of charcoal and removal of ash.
  • You can use it as an offset smoker for Char-Grill barrel models.
  • Two dampers for heat regulation.

Con

  • With prolonged use, this appliance loses its paint, especially on the lid.

Find out which are the Best Charcoal Grills of 2021 – Top-Rated Charcoal Grills

Things to Consider When Choosing a Portable Charcoal Grill

On your conquest to get a portable charcoal grill, there are essential factors to consider. The following are some of these factors.

Size

Start by looking at the size of the grill, weighing it against several factors. One of them is the cooking space. The cooking area should be big enough to accommodate the food you want to prepare. For instance, if you are going camping as a large group, a 250-square inch grill will work fine.

Still, on size, look at the space you have in your house or car. If the space is small, get a cooker that will occupy the least area.

Ease of Packing Away

After use, you need to store the cooking appliance. Disassembling is easy for some, while it is draining for others. The folding type is the easiest to pack away, as it also guarantees minimal use of space.

Others, like the blocky ones, do not need a lot of effort in packing. However, they may take much space. Finally, some do not take much space on storage, but you will have difficulty disassembling the parts. Pick the preferable one, depending on your situation.

Here are a few tips on how to start a charcoal grill without lighter fluid

Cooking Grates Material

The cooking grate is a crucial part of the grill. It is the part where you put your food. The material should be sturdy enough to hold the food and spread heat evenly. Stainless steel and cast iron are the choice material for the cooking grate. You may find aluminum grates, but many culinary pundits advise against it due to the risk of leaching.

Cast iron and steel are easy to clean. Some will have a porcelain coat for heat retention, which is suitable for grilling.

Weight

Weight is an attribute that highly determines the portability of this kitchen equipment. Check on the appliance’s weight and if possible, try lifting it. If you can comfortably lift it, the grill is a perfect acquisition. At most, it should weigh 75-pounds.

Durability

It is advisable to go for a high-grade grill. Look at the material and its stability. Stainless steel and cast iron are the most common materials. They are very sturdy and stable, an assurance of long life. Never compromise on material quality, lest you want to spend more on replacements.

Features and Design

On features and design, you look at the aesthetic appeal. Some grills are works of beauty and will instantly draw your attention. These can brighten up your surroundings.

Related: How to Use a Charcoal Grill

Snug Fitting Lid

The lid plays a vital role in food preparation. When shut, it traps heat and smoke for your dishes to cook perfectly. Additionally, the cover prevents foreign agents like dust from coming into contact with your meals. A snug-fitting lid does all the mentioned functions. If it does not fit correctly, you may have food without the preferred doneness level.

Accessories

Charcoal grills, like most kitchen appliances, can feature plenty of accessories for the user’s convenience. Some of the most common accessories are;

  1. A built-in heat gauge.
  2. An ash pan.
  3. Insulated handles.
  4. Extra grates.
  5. Cooking utensils like a barbecue fork.

The more accessories the grill has, the better it is.

Related: How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill

Wrapping Up

A portable charcoal grill is a great addition to your kitchen, especially if you move around a lot. It is light and will take minimal space. This review narrows down your search to the best in the market. Standout attributes include convenience, durability, and safety.

When getting one, you should also pay attention to features like size, accessories, and weight as provided in this article. A suitable charcoal grill will guarantee you a satisfying barbecue session.

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