Do you need a new charcoal grill that will let you cook tasty food easily, fast and conveniently? This guide was made just for you.
The season has already begun for many, before you make the decision about which charcoal grill to spend your hard-earned money on, make sure which grill will be the best for you so that you don’t throw your money away.
To do that, check out my carefully prepared selection of my favorite charcoal grills.
Based on my research, the 5 Best Charcoal Grills in 2020 are:
Forget about buying the cheapest grill in the store that has to be replaced after a single season. Add some extra dollars and buy a charcoal grill that will live up to your expectations.
REMEMBER! All of the below reviews are objective. I have selected charcoal grills for you taking quality, price, efficiency and features into account. My goal is to help you choose a grill that matches your requirements and is worth its price.
Best Charcoal Grills 2020
|Weber Original Premium 22" Kettle||Check on Amazon →|
|Weber Performer Deluxe||Check on Amazon →|
|PK Grill & Smoker||Check on Amazon →|
|Char-Broil Kettleman||Check on Amazon →|
|Weber Smokey Joe 14"||Check on Amazon →|
Are you tired of putting up with your old ineffective grill? The solution to your problem is very simple. Really, a good charcoal grill isn’t expensive, you can buy the right model for a decent price and it will serve you for many years.
There is quite a lot of different kinds of grills. They differ from each other in price, size or features. I spent several dozen hours analyzing the best models and, based on my experience, I have chosen 7 charcoal grills for you.
Is it a lot? Considering how many different grills are available and how different people’s needs are, I decided that having more reviews will make it easier for you to make a choice.
7 Best Charcoal Grills for Everyone
Here are my favorite charcoal grills, I have prepared as many as 7 options that differ in price, size and quality. I am sure that regardless of your budget or needs, you are certainly going to find the best charcoal grill for your situation.
1. Best Overall Weber Original Kettle Premium
A great charcoal grill for your family, available in several sizes. It is the most popular grill not only in USA, but around the world too. A great choice in every regard, in simple words it’s a grill worth its money.
You get quality for that money - it is made of steel and coated with porcelain enamel. Is has aluminum legs and a perfectly built construction. The round design of the kettle perfectly keeps heat.
It is available in different sizes, the model I’m writing about right now is Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-inch. The Original Kettle is also available in a smaller size of 18-inch and a much bigger 26-inch.
I think that for most people the best choice will be the 22-inch model. The grilling area is whole 363 square inches, which is prefect for 3-4 people. You can purchase a bigger model if you need to.
You can prepare pretty much everything on it – it is very easy to cook tasty hamburgers or steaks. The grill’s s size even allows to sear an entire turkey.
It is definitely a grill made to last long. It differs quite a lot from the cheapest supermarket-bought grills. Add some extra cash and buy a charcoal grill like this, and you’ll be satisfied for many years to come.
Temperature control – You can control your temperature thanks to the air vents that can be found on the cover and on the bottom of the grill. All you need to do to lower the temperature is close the vents on the bottom and top.
The ash catcher – it’s a feature in the slightly more expensive weber kettle models. Really a good choice to spend few more dollars and buy a model equipped with an ash catcher, which will allow you to quickly get rid of most of the ashes. It is very easy to clean this grill and it doesn’t require a lot of time.One-Touch cleaning system – clean your grill fast after each use. Three blades will move the remains of charcoal and ashes straight to the ash catcher, check how this system works in the video below.
Plenty of creative solutions – Such as the handle with a shield that protects the handle from overheating.
Thermometer – cook your meat with confidence, knowing the temperature inside the grill at any moment.
When you purchase the right accessories and make use of the right methods, this charcoal grill is great for smoking meat. For that, you have to use the indirect grilling method. A very useful accessory for you will be Slow 'N Sear, which will allow you to easily split the area of your grill.
You can buy different other extra accessories. Such as Rotisserie, pizza stones or charcoal baskets, which will allow you to split the grill area. All those accessories increase the abilities of your grill as well as comfort and convenience, unfortunately most of them have high prices. Still, it is good to have them if you have a little more disposable cash in your pocket.
You should definitely buy Rapidfire Chimney Starter. It doesn’t cost a lot, and the process of preparing your grill for cooking will seriously be incredibly easy and fast. The simplest and fastest method of firing up the briquette.
It kind of lacks mobility, it’s not the type of grill that you can quickly and easily bring along when going camping. It’s not some huge downside when it comes to this grill. If you’re looking for something portable, check out my other reviews.
If you ask me, it is the best choice when it comes to quality, simplicity, price and abilities. Number one among charcoal grills in every regard. Just look at how many positive ratings it has on Amazon or other websites.
Simple construction – very well though-out. Unlike gas grills or pellets, here you can be guaranteed that you won’t have to throw your grill away after a few or a dozen months.
It doesn’t have many electronic systems or burners. The only problem that might occur when it comes to simple charcoal grills is rust. In case of Weber Original Kettle Premium, your task is to make sure that it’s clean and dry. That way you can prevent it from rusting, and your grill will serve you for more than 10 years.
It is true that the weber charcoal grills make long-lasting products. A good solution will be to buy a cover that will protect your grill from the harmful influence of water, sun or snow. That way you will significantly extend the grill’s lifespan.
2. Best Upgrade Pick Weber Performer Deluxe
One has to admit that the weber kettle charcoal grills are the most popular and desired grills in the world. The Perfomer Deluxe version is mounted on a table and comes with all the features of weber kettle + an array of additional options that make this version the best charcoal grill.
Touch-N-Go gas ignition system – All it takes is to put in the charcoal and turn on the gas burner located under the grate. Within few minutes the charcoal will be ready, and you can begin to cook your food. All that is left to do is to turn off the gas ignition and that’s it. The burner is gas powered ( a standard propane tank ). A very convenient and fast way to light the charcoal.
There’s a removable aluminum ash tray of high capacity. You will quickly and easily clean your grill before the next cooking.
Gourmet BBQ System plated steel hinged cooking grate – the grates are compatible with other accessories for this grill, which are sold separately. All those accessories make this charcoal grill much more interesting and versatile.
It has a large cooking area, it is the 22 inch model which means it has 363 square inches.
There’s plenty of space on the table, such area is useful for putting food or tools needed for cooking nearby.
The steel grates can be lifted and put together in different combinations. It allows for an easier access to the charcoal when cooking. That way you can easily and quickly switch the method from direct to indirect cooking. It is in the center of the grate where you can place different accessories. Among the compatible accessories are: wok, Poultry Roaster, Griddle, Sear Grate and Pizza stone.
On top of that, you can also buy other extra accessories, such as iGrill 2. A thermometer and a timer in one, a device that allows to monitor the cooking process directly from your phone using an app.
A big container under the grill to keep charcoal, so that you always have a fuel supply at hand.
A built-in thermometer on the lid allows to control the temperature inside the grill.
An LCD watch that can be removed and taken along if needed. Sadly, it’s a cheap timer, which can only measure time up to 99 minutes. It will make sense to buy iGrill 2, which has other extra features beside the timer.
Weber Performer Deluxe has literally everything you need. All the features present in this grill increase its price, remember that they are not necessary for normal grilling. You can buy a regular Weber Kettle 22 inch, which is much cheaper and doesn’t contain all those extra features.
But if you have some money to spend then you can pick this model, you won’t regret your decision.
A great cooking area, a big table to prepare meals or for accessories and a Touch-N-Go gas ignition system. All of that makes this grill worth every cent.
Weber gives you the ability to expand your grill, you can achieve that by using different additional accessories ( obviously all are paid for separately, and their price is pretty high ).
Brand and Quality – Weber grills are recommended by quite a lot of people due to their quality and possibilities. It is worth mentioning that the Weber technical support is high-quality when it comes to any problems with your purchase.
Overall it’s a great charcoal grill, if you have more cash you should buy it. This version of Weber Kettle will satisfy everyone who wants to have several interesting features as well as a big work area.
3. Best Lifespan The Original PK Grill & Smoker
Let me show you a grill that will definitely last for years. An incredible retro look and simplicity. Hand-made in USA using the 1950s-style method. ( hand-cast aluminum grill capsule ).
An aluminum cast grill is truly a purchase for eternity. It’s a product that is meant to last as long as possible, it hasn’t changed a lot since the 1950s. The aluminum casting guarantees that it is rust-resistant. It might seem unreal, but there’s plenty of people who have been using this kind of grills for dozens of years.
The cooking area is not great, but sufficient, at 306 square inches. For a family of few, it is most certainly enough space.
Nickel-plated steel grates
It contains a small shelf on the side plus plenty of space under the grill for different accessories or food.
Very easy to assemble, thanks to the aluminum casting it is pretty lightweight and very durable. The construction isn’t big, which makes it easy to pack this grill in the car and drive to the lake.
The greatest advantage of this charcoal grill is its durability, in terms of that it has no matches. The aluminum casting guarantees that it’s a grill that will last for a lifetime, which is confirmed by numerous reviews.
Sadly, one downside when it comes to PG Grill is lack of an ash catcher. Cleaning the compartment is kind of harder because of that. Sometimes it happens that there’s ash or cinders coming out of the lower air vents, this problem can be solved by putting an aluminum tray under the vents.
It also lacks a temperature sensor inside the grill.
It is very good at keeping heat, 4 air vents allow for a very good temperature control ( two on the bottom and two on the top ). You can freely cook your food at high temperatures or slowly smoke meat at a low temperature. To do that, first you need to learn how to properly use the air vents.
Another advantage is configuring the areas inside the grill. You can select between indirect or direct cooking depending on how the charcoal is laid out inside the grill and how the air vents are set. Such approach makes it a grill and a smoker at the same time.
To summarize, it’s a great quality charcoal grill that will last forever. The durable and thick aluminum construction entirely made in USA guarantees resistance to rust. The air vents allow for versatile grilling or slow meat searing.
The only significant downside is lack of a removable ash tray or an ash catcher. It makes the pk grill require more time to clean it.
The price is slightly higher, but the pk grill is still worth all of its money.
It’s a charcoal grill that will last for a lifetime, except for a potential need to replace the grates in a distant future. Easy to use and assemble.
4. Best Alternative Char-Broil Kettleman
This time it’s a much less popular, yet very good charcoal grill – a competitor of Weber Kettle. The 22,5 inch model has the same price as its competitor. It differs a lot in terms of appearance and several details.
What makes this grill better than its competitor? It is definitely the grilling grate. These aren’t just regular stainless steel grates. In the kettleman charcoal grill you will find porcelain-coated grates. Their structure is great at keeping the food on the surface and prevents flare-ups.
TRU-InfraRed Cooking System makes sure that your grates heat up evenly, preventing cold spots.
The cooking area is 360 square inches. That’s a lot, as much as the main competitor.
It has big adjustable air vents on the bottom and vents at the top, which allows to easily control temperature.
There’s a temperature indicator on the lid, for a convenient control of the temperature inside the grill.
The ashtray is easy to remove. Throw the ash away and put the tray back in its place.
The main advantage of this grill is the grates, their good point is that the food won’t fall through the grates.
The charcoals are located close to the grates, which results in a much lower fuel consumption.
One downside is lack of shelves, there’s no place to put the food or accessories. But that’s not a great disadvantage in any way, considering the price and all the other factors.
Another downside when it comes to Weber Kettle is lack of accessories. Sadly, Char-Broil doesn’t have interesting accessories that would make your grill better.
Weber has plenty of useful accessories that make Weber Kettle a versatile charcoal grill.
Kettleman is a good charcoal grill for a decent price. It’s a good competitor for the popular Weber model. It differs significantly in terms of appearance, has several interesting features and the price is similar.
Another advantage is the hinged lid. At this kind of price such approach is something that can influence choosing between Weber Kettle and Char-Broil Kettleman.
Sadly, when it comes to Kettleman, plenty of people complain about poor quality of small elements such as the screws.
Well made charcoal grill for an affordable price. It lacks accessories that turn a regular grill into a versatile device.
Still, Char-Broil is a good investment for this kind of money.
The Best Small Charcoal Grills
5. Best Small & Budget Weber Smokey Joe 14"
The smallest Weber, it works similarly to the cult Weber Kettle and looks almost the same.
The small Kettle grill that can do quite a lot. The grilling area is 147 square inches, it is big enough for a small charcoal grill.
It works great for camping, picnics or tailgate parties. Very lightweight and easy to assemble as it is only made of 4 parts.
It needs 25 to 30 minutes to be able to start cooking meat. In the simplest words, it’s a mini version of the standard Weber Kettle Premmium.
The design is simple, the construction is based on three aluminum legs. Underneath them you’ll find an ash catcher, a fast and easy way to get rid of ash and keep the grill clean.
The air vents allow for a much better temperature control.
The closing lid lowers the heat loss and fuel consumption.
A great choice as a small, lightweight and very efficient charcoal grill. Its price is very low and it’s definitely worth this money. It will certainly come in handy if you travel a lot and want to eat grill food outside. A good alternative for small gas grills that are characterized by a different flavor of food.
You may even purchase it as an additional small bbq charcoal grill. Its price is so low that you won’t feel the difference in your wallet, and the grill is well-made enough for it to serve you for a very long time as long as you take good care of it.
6. Great for Small Patio Char-Griller Patio Pro
A perfect choice if you have a limited external space. It is great for places with limited space such as a balcony, small patio, small backyard etc.
Due to its size I put it together with small charcoal grills that are perfect for small spaces.
Despite its medium size, it has a very large cooking space, which is whole 250 square inches plus cast iron grates.
Dump ash pan – get rid of the excess ash fast and easily.
There’s a side shelf for your food or accessories. With a grill this small, it is nice to have some work space.
The side air vents located on either side of the grill make it easier to control the temperature inside the grill.
In conclusion, it’s a great and effective small charcoal grill for this kind of price. Perfect for those with limited space, fits very well on small patios, in apartments etc.
If my other suggestions are too expensive, I think that Char-grillsr Patio Pro has an adequately low price.
7. Best Durable Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned
A great charcoal grill - small, cheap and very durable.
Perfect for cooking outside, you can bring it along for camping or a picnic. The entire construction and grates were made of a strong cast iron. It has plenty of upsides as well as few downsides.
The cooking area isn’t big, but it’s enough for few people.
It has two adjustable heights as well as Draft doors. All of this makes it possible to adjust the temperature.
One upside of that grill is that it will be good and efficient pretty much everywhere. It is small, therefore you can bring it along wherever you want.
A perfect competitor for portable gas grills. There’s nothing to break down here, and the taste of meat made with a charcoal grill will always be superior to that made with a gas grill.
Obviously, grills as small as those have plenty of upsides and downsides. The cast iron takes much longer to heat up. The size limits your cooking options. Plenty of types of meat will simply not fit on this grill.
Perfect for small pieces of meat or vegetables that require high temperatures ( steaks, hamburgers, sausages, fishes, vegetables etc ).
Another important thing is the necessity of always keeping it clean and seasoning it. The thing about cast iron is that its surface is prone to corrosion and has to be cleaned with a brush. The upside is that this grill is incredibly easy to clean and the entire thing takes very little time.
Hibachi grills are very characteristic. Known for their simplicity and mobility, you will learn more about those grills here.
I chose it because of the price, simple use, mobility and high quality. Lodge L410 is a small charcoal grill for many years as long as you take proper care of it.
Draft Door is a great feature for adjusting warmth, the competitive models lack such feature.
The ingenious and well made construction makes this grill worth your money. You love the taste of charcoal grill meat? When going camping or on a picnic, this grill will live up to all your expectations.
Let me tell you what to pay attention to before buying a charcoal grill. This guide contains several key points you should pay attention to if you want to pick the right grill. Charcoal grills aren’t complicated, quite the opposite. But they are available in many different sizes and are equipped with different features.
Each of us has their own priorities and needs, take a look at the crucial facts regarding a purchase of a charcoal grill.
Where and what for?
This question may have sounded a little stupid, but there’s a difference in whether you buy a grill for a picnic or for a large patio. First, please think very hard about what purpose you’re buying your grill for and where you’re going to be using it.
Take the size of your backyard, balcony or patio into account, as well as the size of your family or the number of people you’re going to cook for. It is the key factor as the charcoal grill market is diverse.
Before the purchase you need to clearly define what it more or less is that you need. It is pointless to buy a large grill for two, it is better to buy a smaller one and save a lot of money.
What type of meat and cooking methods
Next think about what grilling methods you’re interested in and what type of meat you will want to cook. There are small, medium-sized and large grills which is why if you’re thinking about larger pieces of meat like turkey or ribs, you have to look for a bigger grill. Small grills are sadly unable to indirectly grill large chunks of meat.
When it comes to grilling methods, there are charcoal grills that offer indirect grilling.
You need a little more space for that as this method revolves around splitting the grilling area so that there is a separate place for food and for charcoal briquette. The food has to be on the opposite side to the hot coal. There is also a way where the food is in the center with coal being on the sides. Learn more about indirect grilling using a charcoal grill.
The size and type of a charcoal grill
There are several types and sizes of grills. We can distinguish such types as: Barrel Grills & Smokers, Ceramic & Kamado Grills and the most popular; Kettles.
First of all, how big is the grill you need? You travel a lot and need a grill to take to the lake, the beach, camping or you’re just visiting friends who don’t have their own grill. If that’s the case, you need a lightweight and small bbq charcoal grill. If you have a small backyard or patio then make sure before the purchase if the size of your grill fits your spot in the backyard.
The grills that don’t take much space are usually Kettle and ceramic grills, they have enough cooking area. However, ceramic grills, due to their massive built, are heavy and it’s harder to move them to a different spot.
On the other hand, the Kettle are available in different sizes and overall weight much less than other grills. There’s even a small version of kettle available.
Barrel grills differ in size, they are available with a much bigger grilling area.
Another thing you should pay attention to is how many people is the grill supposed to be for? Most of regular charcoal grills are enough for 3-4 people easily. If you’re planning to cook for a bigger number of people then you’ll have to choose a grill with a bigger grilling area. Manufacturers disclose the cooking area in inches or the number of hamburgers that can fit on the grates.
Control and temperature maintenance
It’s a very important aspect of every grilling. A grill has to be equipped with a lid that will block the warmth inside the grill. That way you’ll be able to cook the food in the right temperature and use much less charcoal if the lid is closed. Otherwise you’ll use much more charcoals than you need.
The grill’s lid has to be air-tight so that the warmth is kept inside the grill. That way you can control the air flow using the air vents. One of them is there to let oxygen inside the grill, while the other is to let the fumes out.
Some grills provide the ability to adjust the distance between the coal and food, that way you can raise or lower the temperature your food is cooking in fast and easily.
The best at keeping temperature are the Kamado-style charcoal grills. However, it takes some time to learn how to properly use them.
Easy to clean
Ash – that’s one of the downsides of charcoal grills, it is created as a result of charcoal burning. Pay attention to how the problem of ash removal was handled in your grill. The most popular solutions are Ash Trays under the grill or Ash Pans mostly on the side of the grill that can be removed fast and easily to throw out the ash.
Some grills are equipped with additional doors that make it possible to also quickly throw out the ash or add with no need to take off the grates or the food.
If a charcoal grill doesn’t have a simple feature of ash removal, you may have problems cleaning the grill. It is no disaster, but you will need a little more time and a brush to manually clean the grill after each use.
Easy to use
A charcoal grill offers a better flavor of food but it requires us to clean it more. It also requires some time to get the charcoal burning. There are already charcoal grills available that are equipped with a gas burner to get the coal burning. It is a very helpful option, sadly it is available in much more expensive models. As an alternative, however, I recommend special accessories that make the process of getting the charcoals burning significantly easier and shorter. They are cheap and compatible with every charcoal grill.
When buying a charcoal grill, you would like it to be a long-term investment without any problems. To simply last for many years without having to be replaced. You have to pay attention to what materials it was made of. You need to know that thicker grills are much better at holding heat.
Charcoal grills are made of small numbers of parts, they also don’t malfunction too often. It is different when it comes to gas or pellet grills, which contain plenty of electronics ( such as the burners ) that break down often making it impossible to cook food.
That’s why it is important that you pay attention to grills that are made of good quality materials. It’s a good solution to increase the budget a little and buy a charcoal grill from a renowned company that will last for many years. The most popular and I think the most durable these days are kettle charcoal grills. Their price when compared to gas grills or pellet grills is several times lower.
How did I pick the best ones ?
You will find many different grills here, from small ones to huge ones. I know how important the price is, which is why I paid attention to the price-to-quality ratio when choosing. All the charcoal grills presented on this website are worth that money.
You need to feed your whole family and neighbors at the next party? No problem, a grill with a big grilling area will let you prepare a whole lot of food in a short time.
A big grill might cause problems when it needs to be moved into a different part of the backyard. That’s why you should look for a mid-sized model that will be more handy.
Beautiful weather encourages to spend time traveling or camping, which means the perfect solution will be small charcoal grills. They are very lightweight and handy, you can easily bring them along to many different places.
I have removed Pellet grills and other kinds like Kamado grills from this list. Why?
Kamado grill is great thanks to its appearance, but it’s very expensive compared to traditional charcoal grills. When it comes to Kamado, it is harder to learn how to grill. But the main reason is the fact that good models are several times as expensive as a very good Weber Kettle grill, which is currently the most popular charcoal grill.
Pellet Grills – this type of grills was also omitted in this guide. The main reason is the fact that most pellet grills are unable to generate the searing heat. Which means that they make a poor choice if you’re planning to cook a whole lot of steaks and burgers. A traditional charcoal grill generates heat that allows to sear burgers and steaks.
Why a Charcoal Grill ?
Let me give you 4 reasons.
The price – First of all, for the sum of about 150$ you can get a great grill that will certainly serve you for many years. A good gas grill costs at least 3 times as much, a Pellet Smoker even more than that.
The flavor – One of the more important reasons why people decide to buy a charcoal grill is the flavor, it is definitely much better than in gas grills. The reason for that is the popular and well-known delicious smokiness, which differs from gas grill or pellet grills.
The heat – a charcoal grill generates a much higher temperature because charcoal is hotter than gas. It allows for a much better sear on burger's and steaks.
Indirect Grilling – For people with more knowledge on the charcoal grill there’s a possibility to slowly cook the meat without burning it. In order to use this method you need to have a bigger charcoal grill. All it takes is to place the charcoal on one side of the grill, and then put the meat on the opposite side. That way you will avoid high temperature.
Accessories – Kettles type charcoal grills have a wide array of extra accessories. They allow you to expand your grill and make it able to do much more than a regular charcoal grill. All the accessories are paid for separately, you can buy such things as Rotisserie Kit, KettlePizza, Smokenator, Cast Iron Grates or Slow N' Sear and many more.
Check out my collection of recommended accessories for Kettle grills ( mostly Weber ).
When compared to other types of grills, a charcoal grill has several downsides which are not too much trouble. First of them is ash, charcoal burning creates ash, which always has to be cleaned before the next grilling. More expensive models have interesting solutions that lower the cleaning time to the max and make it easier to keep your grill clean before the next use.
Another downside is more difficult temperature control, getting distracted for too long may end with getting your meat burned.
Then there’s of course the process of firing up a charcoal grill. There are accessories that make this process significantly easier and faster, but it’s still always more time-consuming than in case of gas grills where you can turn on the grill instantly with one push of a button.The answer to the question of what type of grill to choose – gas, charcoal or pellets one can be found here, you better read it in order to make a conscious decision about which type of grill is the best for you.
I already know that you love the wonderful smoking aroma of meat or vegetables. Beside you, we could find millions of other people who love the food from a charcoal grill.
But if you’re a fan of gas grills, check out our reviews and buyers guide for the best models.
It’s always a good idea to spend some time looking around different offers instead of quickly making a rushed decision and then regretting it and losing money. I hope that this long and comprehensive article will help you make the final choice.