Best Charcoal Grills – Buying Guide

A backyard barbecue is as American as apple pie. And while many will say that the grill is only a tool to help you serve a delicious meal, there’s no question that the quality of your “tool” can make or break your party. So, how do you go about buying a grill? With all the choices to be found on the market today, it’s easy to get burned buying the wrong one. That’s why we’re breaking down each type of grill in the market throughout several buying guides. We’ll discuss their pros and cons as well as point out the features that you’ll need to be on the lookout for. In this particular buying guide, we’ll talk about the favorite of many barbecue enthusiasts – the charcoal grill.


Top Charcoal Grills of 2017

ModelBrandImageScorePrice
Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Gril Char-Griller Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill 9.7 View Product
Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill, 22.5 Inch Char-Broil 9.0 View Product
Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill Weber Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill 9.9 View Product
Coleman RoadTrip Sport Charcoal Grill Coleman Coleman RoadTrip Sport Charcoal Grill 9.4 View Product
Coleman RoadTrip LXX Grill Coleman Coleman RoadTrip LXX Grill 8.3 View Product
Dyna-Glo DGN405DNC-D Heavy Duty Charcoal Grill Dyna Glo Dyna-Glo DGN405DNC-D Heavy Duty Charcoal Grill 9.2 View Product
Primo 774 Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill, Oval Junior Primo Primo 774 Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill 8.9 View Product
Primo 775 Oval Grill, Large Primo 9.2 View Product
Primo Jack Daniels Edition Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill - Oval Xl Primo 9.1 View Product
Luxor Charcoal Grills 30 Inch Charcoal Grill On Cart Luxor 9.6 View Product
Luxor Charcoal Grills 30 Inch Built-in Charcoal Grill Luxor 9.6 View Product
Weber 14401001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black Weber 9.8 View Product
WEBER Summit Charcoal Gril Weber 9.2 View Product
Kingsford 24" Charcoal Grill (Grill Only) Kingsford 8.1 View Product
Kingsford 32" Charcoal Grill Kingsford 7.3 View Product
Kingsford GR1031-014984 Barrel Charcoal Grill, 30-Inch Kingsford 8.0 View Product
Napoleon NK22CK-L-1 Charcoal Kettle Grill Napoleon 9.1 View Product
PK Grills, Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo, Silver PK99740, UPC 673632997408 PK Grills 6.7 View Product
Char-Broil CB940X 08301390-26 Charcoal Grill Char Broil 8.4 View Product
Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Copper Weber 8.9 View Product
Napoleon PRO605CSS Mirage Charcoal Grill with Rear Burner Napoleon 9.4 View Product
Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box Char-Griller 9.0 View Product
Weber 14501001 Master-Touch Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch Weber 8.4 View Product
Weber 1211001 Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Portable Grill Weber 9.6 View Product

Why Charcoal

The Benefits of Using a Charcoal Grill:

Flavor: When it comes to grilling, nothing beats the flavor that comes from the smoke produced by burning charcoal. And this is one of the main reasons why barbecue fanatics tend to favor this type of grill. Now, some may say that you can add flavor to a gas grill’s smoke by adding wood but it’s just not the same. And while this flavor really isn’t a big deal when you’re cooking hot dogs and burgers, it does make itself known when you’re slow roasting chicken, turkey, ribs, and the like. One other thing that adds flavor to your cooking is searing. In order for a really good searing, you’ll need a grill that can deliver a high temperature of 900 0F – something that a charcoal grill can easily do.  There are some gas grills that can sometimes reach the range of 500 0F. And there are some gas grills that have sear burners that can deliver the necessary heat for searing. But if you want to be able to do a lot of steaks at once, charcoal is the way to go. Tip: It’s best to use lump charcoal if you want a natural, stronger smoke flavor to your meat.

The ritual: There’s something to be said about preparing your grill with your friends for a lazy Saturday afternoon barbecue. Plus, we’ve all experienced that little thrill you get when playing with fire. Not to mention, it takes a bit of practice to learn the fine art of grilling and smoking perfectly seasoned and seared meat. And the ritual is all part of that learning with a side of fun.

Portability: Most charcoal grills are already equipped with wheels and easily carried by two people onto the back of a truck. Plus, a bag of charcoal really isn’t a hardship to load. Yes, gas grills are portable too. But only those that are sold as such. Bigger sized gas grills aren’t really fit for tailgate parties.

Higher temperature: Compared to standard gas grills that have no infrared burners, charcoal grills burn hotter. And that’s exactly what you need when you’ve got meat on the grill that you want to cook crisp on the outside while the inside remains pink and tender like lamb chops and steaks.

More budget-friendly: In general, charcoal grills don’t come with a lot of moving parts so it’s not as expensive as quality gas grills to buy as well as maintain. You can easily get a quality charcoal grill for under a hundred dollars. For the same reason, charcoal grills last longer. No need to replace your grill or its parts anytime soon.

The Drawbacks of Using a Charcoal Grill:

Safety issues: The risk of starting a fire other than inside your grill is higher with charcoal grills because sparks can fly and coal can fall out of vents, etc. Unlike a gas grill, you can’t put out the fire with a turn of a knob. There’s also a higher chance of flare-ups with a charcoal grill. Both of these can be easily solved by having a squirt gun (for the flare-up) or a fire extinguisher on hand.
Messy: Handling charcoal is messy. Cleaning up ash is messy too. Fortunately, these are problems that can easily be solved. Use gloves or a tong to handle the raw charcoal. And when buying a grill, make sure that it has an ashtray that can be pulled out for cleaning.

Temperature control: Obviously, a charcoal grill takes longer to heat than a gas grill. You can’t just light it up with a push of a button or a turn of a knob. Sometimes, lighting up a charcoal grill can be a challenge especially to beginners. Also, it takes a bit longer for the coal to burn its way to the right temperature.  Another thing, it’s very difficult to control the temperature of a charcoal grill because of several factors. The temperature of your grill will depend on the type of fuel you use (lump charcoal don’t have the same sizes) and the way you arrange them. The amount of oxygen in and around the grill will also have an effect on the temperature; your grill’s oxygen supply can be affected by how open your vents and lid are and how windy it is. In addition, if you’re doing some slow cooking, you’ll need to monitor your coal and top it off whenever it gets low to ensure that the temperature holds steady. And should you want to lower the temperature, you can’t do it as fast as you’d like.

In comparison, gas grills allow for a set-it-and-forget-it type of grilling. Just set the burners at the right level, make sure that the temperature is where you want it, then go ahead and do whatever you want while your food gets cooked. Turning down the heat isn’t a hardship with a gas grill either because the knob is all you’ll need.

All that being said, with some practice, you can learn how the pros do it – creating several cooking temperatures on your grill by moving your coals to one side, leaving the other side as a not-so-hot zone for indirect heat cooking. In addition, learn how to utilize your top and bottom vents to control the energy of your fire.

Things to consider while Buying a Charcoal Grill

Grill Type

There are several types of charcoal grills that you can choose from. The first is the kettle grill which is the classic, designed to distribute the heat evenly. For those who want a large surface space for cooking (for multiple racks of ribs, etc.), you may want a barrel grill. It looks like a horizontal barrel sliced in half with the top as the lid and the lower half as the chamber that contains the charcoal. Some barrel grills come with a smoke box which allows you to smoke large amounts of meat at a lower temperature for long periods of time. There’s also the kamado or ceramic grill that holds heat and moisture very well, excellent for smoking and roasting. Pellet grills, the newest kid on the grilling block, uses wooden pellets (hence the name) that ignite fast and has a digital controller that lets you set the temperature just like an oven.

Grate Material

Just like with gas grills, the type of grate material your grill has will affect how well your grill cooks and how long it will last. Stainless steel grates are ideal for charcoal grills because of several reasons. One, they’re really easy to clean and maintain. Charcoal is already messy enough so why make life harder? Second, it holds heat pretty well. It’s not as good as cast iron but it gets the job done. Cast iron, on the other hand, requires a lot of maintenance. Without proper care, it will rust. Third, stainless steel will last a long time and will not rust. However, it will get dark after a couple of cookouts.

 

Since we’re talking grates, here’s one more tip. Choose thin grates instead of thick ones. Thick grates reduce the amount of radiant heat that touches the meat so it doesn’t cook evenly. Also, thicker grates are heavier to lift when you need to add more coal or move it around. Lastly, thicker grates cost more money. Stainless steel grates are ideal for charcoal grills because of several reasons. One, they’re really easy to clean and maintain. Charcoal is already messy enough so why make life harder? Second, it holds heat pretty well. It’s not as good as cast iron but it gets the job done. Cast iron, on the other hand, requires a lot of maintenance. Without proper care, it will rust. Third, stainless steel will last a long time and will not rust. However, it will get dark after a couple of cookouts. Since we’re talking grates, here’s one more tip. Choose thin grates instead of thick ones. Thick grates reduce the amount of radiant heat that touches the meat so it doesn’t cook evenly. Also, thicker grates are heavier, making it hard to lift when you need to add more coal or move it around. Lastly, thicker grates cost more money.

Temperature Control

It was already mentioned that temperature control is not really easy with charcoal grills and learning how to do so takes quite a bit of practice. That being said, you’ll need to make sure that whatever grill you buy has both top and bottom vents that fit tightly. This allows you to accurately control the amount of oxygen that gets into your grill when you need to lower the temperature. You’ll also need to make sure that your grill comes with a lid that fits tight so the vents are the only way that air can get in or out. Some charcoal grills come with a feature that allows you to adjust how near or how far your coal is to the food. This option also allows you to regulate temperature so keep it in mind when shopping for your grill.

Size of Grill

Whether you’re buying a charcoal grill or a gas grill, size always matters. Bigger is better if you have a large party to feed or if you’d like to be more versatile with your cooking (cooking various types of food at the same time). If you plan to do some cooking using indirect heat, you’ll need enough space for two zones – one side for coal, the other for cooking your meat. You also might want to consider if you want to grill space for side items such as corn. One last factor to consider is the location of your grill. Obviously, it’ll be outside, so make sure that the grill you buy will fit in the space available with around 2 feet of clearance on each side (safety measure).

Easy to Maintain

It’s already been said that using charcoal can get really messy. So make sure that you buy a grill that doesn’t need to be turned over just to get the ash out. A charcoal grill with a removable tray is a good choice.

Easy coal access

In order to add fuel to your fire, you’ll need to be able to easily add coal in your grill. You’ll also need to be able to move coal around to control your temperature. So check to see if the grill you’re buying enables you to do both of these things.

Durability & Safety

If you’re planning to make much use of your grill, you’re going to want to buy one that lasts. Be sure to check what material the grill is made of; two good options are stainless steel and ceramics. Also, check the thickness of the material. You don’t want to end up with a flimsy grill. As an added bonus, a grill made of thicker material will hold the heat better.

Safety

Since you’re literally “playing” with fire on your charcoal grill, safety is an important thing to keep in mind. Make sure that the grill of your choice is very stable even when you wiggle it. You don’t ever want it tipping over while you’ve got a fire going. Also, your grill shouldn’t have sharp edges that might injure you if you bump into it. If you’re buying a grill with a lid, check to see how much space there is between the hood and its handle. You wouldn’t want your hand to get burned if the handle heats up along with the grill.  And since a lot of charcoal grills have wheels, you’ll need to check the wheels and its casters. You need to be able to easily move it and keep it locked in place as needed.

Charcoal Grills Reviewed

Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill


$48.584.2 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 477
Review Score – 4.2

If you’re looking for a fairly priced mini charcoal grill, you might want to check out this product from Char-Griller.

For a small charcoal grill, the Char-Griller Patio Pro is worth more than what you paid for. It has a reputation of lasting several years despite frequent cookouts. If you have a small backyard and a small family, the Patio Pro is definitely something you should consider. While it’s not perfect, the results will show that owning one is totally worth it.

Char-Broil Kettleman TRU-Infrared 22.5″ Charcoal Grill


$96.994.5 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 146
Review Score – 4.5

Charcoal grills aren’t known for cooking via infrared radiant heat; it’s usually a combination of convection heat (hot air) and conductive heat (hot cooking grate) that does the job. But Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design changes all that. With this grill, you get a no-fall-through cooking grate that provides concentrated radiant heat with little exposure to the burning charcoal below. This means that you get evenly cooked meat that’s moister that those cooked in traditional charcoal grills. This innovative grate also ensures that you prevent flare-ups and hot spots around your grill. Even better, small foods like veggies and shrimps are at no risk of falling into the burning charcoal.

While the Kettleman isn’t a right match to Weber’s Premium 22” Kettle, it can certainly deliver beautifully cooked meals which are most people eager to taste. It’s very easy to use even for novices. For a grill at its price range, you definitely get more bang for your buck.

Coleman RoadTrip Sport Charcoal Grill


$79.493.6 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 30
Review Score – 3.6

If you’re looking for a very portable, basic charcoal grill, you might want to check out this Sportster grill from Coleman. The grill has 225 square inches of cooking space which means 12 burgers at a time. It has porcelain-coated steel wire grates that are non-stick so they’re a breeze to clean. This grill also has vents – two on the lid and two on each side of the grill. To transport your grill, just fold it up, lock the grill in place with the latch, and roll it down to where you want it. When packed up, it’s small enough to fit in the trunk of your car.

All in all, this is a very basic charcoal grill that has a lot of potential in portability, if the locking system and the handle are well made. There are pros and cons to owning this grill, just like in any other. If you like the Coleman brand and aren’t too picky about the cons listed here, you might be a good fit with this charcoal grill.

Napoleon NK22CK-L-1 Charcoal Kettle Grill


$203.532.2 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 2
Review Score – 2.2

If charcoal is your thing and you’d like an alternative to Weber’s classic Kettle, then you should check out Napoleon’s NK22CK-L Charcoal Kettle Grill. There are definite similarities between the two. Like the Weber, the 22.5-inch Napoleon has an adjustable, hinged, chrome-plated steel rod cooking grid (365 square inches of cooking space) that allows you to place the grid at three different heights and add more charcoal to the grill without moving the food. It also has air vents on the lid and at the bottom of the grill for precise temperature control. The Napoleon also comes with a temperature gauge on the lid and a detachable ash catcher. So, what’s the difference? Two things. The CK-L has a fourth leg which was added for stability. It also has a convex, stainless steel heat diffuser (which looks like a flying saucer).

Coleman Standup Charcoal Grill


$109.494.0 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 1
Review Score – 4.0

If you want to go really old school with your charcoal grill, how about cooking over an open flame with no lid? You get to control the heat by lowering or raising the adjustable grill surface. But airflow? There’s no way to control that. I’d say this one would require some hardcore grilling skills. Aside from no lid, what else should you expect from this charcoal grill?

It is charcoal after all so you get to enjoy lighting a fire, the delicious smoky flavor in your food, and you can even get really good searing done, I imagine. You also get the benefit of easy ash removal since you get a slide-out tray.

 

The verdict? You might be better off with just a grill pan over your stove. Better chance of getting things right the first time around. But if you love charcoal grilling and absolutely adore a challenge, then this might be the grill you’re looking for.

PK Grills, Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo


$369.994.6 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 186
Review Score – 4.6

Nobody builds them like they used to… unless we’re talking about PK Grills. A throwback to the 1950s, the PK (Portable Kitchen) Grill still has that retro-cool appearance with its rectangularly shaped lid and body made out of the thick cast aluminum. The cart is also made of aluminum. The aluminum ensures that heat is retained and radiated throughout the entire the grill. The hinged lid ensures that the grill is closed up tight so no air escapes unless you make use of the two dampers on top or the two dampers below. Which brings us to how versatile this grill is. Because of the flat bottom and the presence of those four dampers, you can use this grill for cooking over direct heat and indirect heat at the same time. You can also use the grill as a smoker. And the best part? This baby was built to last forever.

Coleman Roadtrip Grill LXE


$168.994.4 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 3726
Review Score – 4.4

This is probably one of the best portable gas grills that Coleman has to offer. The Coleman Roadtrip Grill LXE is a 2-burner propane gas grill that is attached to a collapsible stand with two wheels. At 41 pounds (with the stand), it isn’t difficult to haul it to and from an outdoor party. And there’s a lot more going for it than just that.

One thing that is a bit off-putting about this grill is that the weight is a bit heavy for lifting – like bringing it out of the trunk of your car. It’s also a bit awkward to carry. But once you get past that, it’s rollin’ rollin’ rollin’. Another drawback is that you’ll need to practice a bit to get the temperature right for cooking because the grill can get really hot. It’s best to start out with the lowest setting until you learn how fast your grill can cook.

Coleman did a great job in balancing quality and price with this particular grill. For under $200, you get a really versatile grill that beautifully cooks your food quick and easy. There might be a learning curve but so do a lot of other grills. The portability of this grill is high so you get to enjoy a good BBQ anytime, anywhere. Road tripping is at its finest with the LXE.

Dyna-Glo Heavy-Duty Compact Charcoal Grill


$151.583.8 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 48
Review Score – 3.8

This compact charcoal grill is a very basic grill with a couple of awesome features. While it’s not as durable as a Weber (at least we don’t think so), this Dyna-Glo grill does offer some things that you don’t always find in Weber grills such as an adjustable charcoal tray and side vents.

For its price (which can get incredibly lower depending on which store you buy it from), this charcoal grill is definitely worth the price. It does a good job of producing decently cooked grilled meals and does so with less of a hassle than a lot of charcoal grills in the market today.

Primo Oval Junior


$845.003.7 out of 5 stars

If you’re going ceramic and you want small, the Primo Oval Junior may be right up your alley. There are loads of things to love about it with just a few things that we don’t like.

While the size is certainly perfect for those who have a small backyard, however, it may be too small for those who love to cook for large parties. The primary cooking surface can only accommodate around 10 burgers at a time.

The Primo Oval Junior does cost a lot, especially for beginner backyard chefs. But the investment would be totally worth it if you want a grill and smoker combo for your BBQ needs.

Primo Jack Daniels Edition Oval XL


$1,530.005.0 out of 5 stars

Fans of Jack Daniels may be interested in this special edition of Primo’s Oval XL ceramic grill. It’s exactly the same as the Oval XL – grilling surface, versatility, premium ceramics, etc. The only difference is the Jack Daniels logo placed on the top lid. The addition of this logo costs you an additional $200+. If you aren’t a big fan of Jack Daniels or you don’t believe that any logo should cost this much, then this grill’s definitely not for you. You might be better off using the extra $200+ on one or two of Primo’s accessories

Luxor 30” Charcoal Grill on Cart


$3,599.00

There’s no question that Luxor charcoal grills are high-end grills. The price alone is enough of a clue. But there’s a reason why the grills are so expensive.

The Luxor Charcoal 30 is a very big investment. It’s built well and definitely looks stylish with its polished edges. If you’re thinking about creating an outdoor chef’s paradise with a large, stylish grill that can beautifully cook burgers and steaks for you and your family and friends AND money is no object, then this one should definitely be your top choice.

Weber Original Kettle Premium 22″ Charcoal Grill – Review


$149.004.7 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 831
Review Score – 4.7

This is probably the most popular outdoor grill ever. The design is still the same one that we’ve all grown familiar with while we were growing up – the iconic kettle. It just has a few added features to make it extra nice. Originally introduced in 1952, the Weber Kettle is well-loved by many a griller simply because of its excellent grilling performance (on anything, from meat to fish and veggies), simplistic design, and its ability to last forever, creating memories that are passed on from one generation to another. In fact, the start of outdoor grilling as an American pastime is often associated with the invention of this particular grill. Decades later, it’s still the number one choice for people who love to hold backyard barbecues.

Now, to the best part. We’ve already mentioned that the grill can cook anything beautifully. And it’s certainly true. With the Weber Kettle, you can use the entire grill for hot dogs and burgers or set up 2-zone cooking for grilling and searing steaks, etc. You can also perform some delicate grilling with fish. With some practice, this particular grill is able produce delicious smoked meat.

Kingsford 24″ Charcoal Grill


$107.254.1 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 35
Review Score – 4.1

This is a pretty decent grill manufactured by Masterbuilt in China and sold under the Kingsford brand. The grill comes with a cast iron cooking grate that has 360 square inches of cooking space. The warming rack is 205 square inches. The steel lid has a high temperature black paint finish and adjustable vents. The firebox also has adjustable side vents. The grill has a foldable side shelf with tool hooks, two wheels, and an attached bottle opener. There’s a door that enables you to add charcoal to the firebox while you’re cooking and the coal tray can be raised higher or lower, depending on how much heat you want on your meat. For cleanup, the removable ash tray is quite easy to use – just pull it out and dump the ash. The grill also comes with a temperature gauge.

Char-Broil CB940X 08301390-26 Charcoal Grill


$569.993.9 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 63
Review Score – 3.9

Cooking for a large family isn’t a hardship if you’ve got one of Char-Broil’s CB940X Charcoal Grill. This large-capacity grill has porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates, a chrome-plated swingaway, a front door in the firebox that enables you to add more charcoal without lifting the lid, two large wooden side shelves for added workspace, two adjustable air vents for temp control, and a removable ash tray for easy cleaning. This big ass grill has 435 square inches of primary cooking space and 180 square inches of secondary cooking space. To increase the grill’s versatility, the charcoal tray’s height is adjustable. You can raise it up, just under your meat to quickly sear your food. You can also drop it all the way to the bottom when you want to smoke or slowly roast your meat. The only problem with it is durability. Expect the CB940X to only last a few years before you’re back in the market for a new one.

Kingsford 32″ Charcoal Grill


3.9 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 12
Review Score – 3.9

The Kingsford 24″ Charcoal Grill has a big brother – the 32″ Charcoal Grill. The features all remain the same except for the size and the addition of one more foldable steel side shelf. With this grill, you get 495 square inches of primary cooking space on the cast iron grate and 273 square inches on the warming rack. The cart has a powder coating, a bottle opener, and a rack on the bottom for extra storage. The two foldable side shelves have tool hooks. For airflow, you get adjustable side vents on both the lid and the firebox. The firebox has an access door for the charcoal, a removable ash pan, and an adjustable coal grate.

Overall, this is a great grill sold at a very low price. Other grills of this size generally cost a hundred dollars more. It grills and smokes meat to perfection. Controlling the heat is very easy due to the adjustable side vents and the fact that the lid closes real tight. The grill is also very sturdy with some small exceptions. However, it needs a bit of TLC to ensure that the grill lives to serve you for a long time. While it’s definitely not a Weber, this grill gives you great value for your money. If you want a charcoal grill that gives you a lot of joy with only a small amount of frustration at a very affordable price, you should visit your local Walmart to check this one out.

Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill


$429.004.6 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 331
Review Score – 4.6

If you want more bells and whistles in your charcoal grill, then the Weber Performer Deluxe 22″ Charcoal Grill is what you’re looking for. This grill has a 22-inch diameter porcelain powder-coated steel lid and fire bowl with 363 square inches of cooking surface provided by Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System cooking grates. These innovative, heavy-duty grates are hinged, allowing you to easily replenish coal. They also feature a removable insert that can be replaced with Weber’s cookware collection such as a pizza stone, wok, or griddle. Another feature is the Touch-N-Go gas ignition system that fires up your grill with just a touch of a button. The cart is made of heavy duty steel and includes a bottom wire rack for additional storage as well as a tuck away lid holder on the side. An enclosed ash catcher is attached to the bottom of the firebowl, ensuring that all ashes are collected properly, not blowing in the wind. With the Performer Deluxe, you really have it all.

Kingsford 30″ Barrel Grill 


$99.994.5 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 90
Review Score – 4.5

If you’re looking for something bigger, Kingsford offers a 30″ barrel grill that’s perfect for feeding your hungry horde. With a porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grate that’s 793 square inches, you can cook 24 burgers at once. The heavy duty grill also has an oversized analog thermometer, a wire rack for storage (at the bottom), adjustable side vents, a chimney, wheels, an adjustable coal tray, and a removable ash tray.

It’s easy to find complaints about this grill such as the fact that the grill doesn’t seal tight. However, for a grill of this size and design, there’s no question that you’re getting a great deal at its current price. You get a nice charcoal grill that can cook loads of food at a time. You don’t have a hard time cleaning the grill and controlling the temp may be a tad difficult but not frustrating. While the metal isn’t thick, it looks and feels quite sturdy so you don’t have to worry about replacing this grill for something else next year.

Napoleon PRO605CSS Mirage Charcoal Grill with Rear Burner


$1,305.603.2 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 9
Review Score – 3.2

The Napoleon Professional Charcoal Grill is an impressive piece of equipment for several reasons. The entire grill is stainless steel including the cart. You get heavy cast iron grates that give you 605-square inches of primary cooking space. The firebox has a front door for easy access to the coal, whether you’re adding more or cleaning out the ash. You also get an adjustable charcoal bed with six height options. The most impressive feature of this grill is the charcoal-powered rotisserie burner (rotisserie kit sold separately). While there are loads of great features on this grill, there is one inherent flaw. Because of the gas grill body design, there’s a bit of a problem with controlling airflow. Even when all the vents are closed, you still have enough oxygen to keep the fire going. You’ll not only be going through more charcoal than you’re willing to use, you’ll also be wasting it by waiting for the fire to burn itself out.

Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box


$59.974.3 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 484
Review Score – 4.3

The Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill is an exceptionally portable grill, perfect for that camping trip or tailgating party you’re going to. The grill looks like a log smoker from back in the 50’s,  made of heavy steel with cast iron grates and 250 square inches of cooking surface. There are adjustable air vents on the lid and firebox which are extremely effective in helping control temperature as well as an easily accessible ash pan for some quick clean-up. The “log” has four short legs for stability. Though the legs don’t fold, this little baby is still quite easy to transport. For those who already have a Char-Griller barrel grill at home, this table top grill can easily be transformed into a side firebox to do some serious smoking. The only drawback is that once you turn it into a firebox, you can never revert it back into a portable grill.

Weber 14501001 Master-Touch Charcoal Grill


$199.004.8 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 126
Review Score – 4.8

The Master-Touch is basically an Original Kettle grill with all the accessories and features that Weber can put in a charcoal grill. In addition to the usual, you also get Weber’s Gourmet BBQ system which is a hinged plated steel grate (to make adding coal easy) with a round center grate that can be replaced with some of Weber’s cookware accessories such as the pizza stone, wok, and griddle. Please note that these accessories are all sold separately. Other upgrades include a glass-reinforced nylon lid handle with heat shield for protection, tool hooks integrated on the side handle, two char-baskets for creating direct and indirect cooking zones, an enclosed ash catcher that’s easily detached for cleaning, and a tuck-away lid holder. If you want a grill that does more than just basic grilling, then the versatility of the Master-Touch is exactly what you’re looking for.

Weber 1211001 Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Portable Grill


$59.994.7 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews – 552
Review Score – 4.7

If only you could take your Weber Kettle with you wherever you go… Oh, wait. You can! The Jumbo Joe is the portable version of the 18.5-inch classic kettle. It has the same 240 square inches of cooking space, a nickel-plated steel cooking grate, a porcelain-coated steel lid and body, a glass-reinforced nylon handle, an ash pan, a top and bottom vent, and three legs (although these are much, much shorter). The Jumbo Joe also comes with a locking bar to keep the lid in place while you transport it to and from your vehicle. In short, you get all the great things you love about the Original Kettle in a portable container. Any drawbacks? Only two. One, the ash pan isn’t enclosed so expect ash to get blown around. And two, there is limited clearance under the lid so don’t expect to be cooking a whole chicken in there.

Hopefully, our charcoal buying guide will help you to make the right decision while choosing the perfect grill for tasty future meals you’re going to cook. At least it’ll narrow down your search even more, and you’ll not find you lost in the diversity of charcoal grills.