Last updated on: June 12th, 2019

Best Charcoal Grill

Do you know that grilling can be easy and fun if you have chosen the proper device? However, many people get perplexed when purchasing the first vertical charcoal smoker, charcoal cabinet smoker or best outdoor charcoal grills because they simply don’t know what characteristics are crucial for a good device. Besides, most charcoal grills are expensive to maintain, that is why you should compare several options if you want to know “What is the best charcoal grill today?”

7 Best Charcoal Grills & Smokers

Here we have put together detailed overviews of the best charcoal grills under 500, charcoal grills under 300, and charcoal smokers under 200 alongside with other helpful reviews to help customers find an optimal smoker for their budget without sacrificing quality. You will definitely be able to choose the best charcoal smoker after reading our built in charcoal grill reviews made by our experts after thorough studying of the most popular models.

Today we will try to find the best charcoal grill smoker at the most affordable price and highest quality. You will also find out whether a medium-priced device can be of the same quality as high end charcoal grills. After reading our list of the top rated charcoal smokers that can change the way you BBQ, you will find you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on maintenance and there are medium priced models worth buying.

If you want to get an answer to questions like “What is the best charcoal grill on the market?”, or “What to choose: Akorn Kamado vs Weber kettle or PK grill vs Weber kettle?”, our reviews will definitely give you a hint. So, let’s get started.


Factors to consider while shopping for the best charcoal grill

best charcoal grill
Who wants to spend money on a device you will don’t  use?

That is why it is crucial to bear in mind all the important features a charcoal grill must have to be 100% useful.

We have collected the most essential characteristics that you must be aware of.

What is the best kettle grill?

best kettle charcoal grillKettle grills are very popular today because they are user-friendly and cheap. They are sold in various sizes and can serve for different purposes; you may find portable models, which you can take with you in your car’s trunk, boat, RV,or use for camping.

If we compare a kettle grill vs a regular grill, kettle grills are very recognizable thanks to the classic round form and defined bowl for holding charcoal. This shape helps retain heat inside, which influences more even and fast cooking.

However, this form has its drawback as you have limited space but it’s enough having a backyard BBQ for a single person or small family.
If you do not grill on a regular basis and do not cook large portions, and are choosing between barrel grill vs kettle grill, a kettle model would be the best grill.

What is a barrel grill?

best barrel charcoal grillSimilar to the kettle, barrel grills are a bigger and more versatile. As implied from the name, their form is similar to a barrel, however, they are not always rounded on the top and bottom.

They do let you go a bit deeper in grilling by offering slow cooking or smoking techniques. Its cooking space is also bigger, thus you can freely grill for a party or a big family gathering.

However, there arises a price issue, because they are larger, and this influences the price tag as well. The common price range the best barrel charcoal grills starts from $100 for a basic model to over $1,000 for a luxurious model.

Overall, if kettle models are too small and you want to try smoking your meat, then give a barrel option a try.

Best kamado grill

best kanado grillCeramic kamado grills are extremely popular today because of their functionality and durability, while you get what you pay for, they are not very affordable. These grills have an egg-shaped design and are constructed in accordance with ancient technology of Japanese clay ovens. They can easily cope with any cooking task as their form and construction help hold necessary heat inside.

They start very fast and can hold much of the smoke inside, which gives your food unbelievable taste. You are not limited to preparing burgers and steaks on Kamado grills, you can cook pizza, bread, paella and even yummy desserts there!

You can store ceramic grills in your yard all year round without worrying about the elements, as they are very durable.
Being very efficient, these devices cost a lot; the starting price for an average ceramic Kamado grill is about $300, but with extra features, it may rise significantly.

The great quality and good reputation of this luxury charcoal grill make it a good investment that you won’t regret making.


portable charcoal grill
Size is an essential parameter for many people, some need small and portable models, others need massive units for their backyards.

Space conscious people should look at kettle and barrel grills that are lightweight and easy-to-carry but if size is not a factor, then heavy ceramic ones are a good option that will serve you for years.

Cooking area

big charcoal grillWith cooking area, consider how many portions you typically cook and visualize if the grills cooking area is sufficient.

You can find accurate information on how many burgers a definite model can hold, often given by manufacturers on grills characteristics.

Thus, it is not rational to buy a small model if you need cooking many dishes at once and vice versa.


Cooking grates

When selecting a grill, always pay attention to the material its grates are made from. The best materials are stainless steel and cast iron, as they are easy-to-clean and will not rust. However, each of them has different characteristics, thus stainless steel is easier to clean and has zero chances of being rusted. Whereas, cast iron keeps heat better and is much better in cleaning.

Temperature control

charcoal grill temperature controlGood grill must have precise temperature control. How can you do this? Firstly, pay attention to the lid, as it influences the level of temperature control directly, thus it must fit your grill tightly.

Other important elements are dampers, you should have not less than two dampers, as they are in charge of letting oxygen in and exhaust out. However, the more dampers your device features, the better, as you get the more accurate temperature control.

Some grills have got a special technology, which assists even in controlling the distance between your food and embers, thus this way you can control the level of heat.

The more effective though are Kamado grills, which have a great temperature control thanks to its triple wall construction, which keep the heat extremely well and their egg-shaped form.


charcoal grill cleaningСleaning charcoal grills have its own peculiarities that you must know.

However, some cleaning steps are already made by manufacturers, we are talking of an ash pan installed into a grill, removable elements or a special coating, which are easy-to-clean.

However, the rule is to clean its grates after each use, as it may contain parts of the food that should be removed.


You can also use some cleaning liquids sold in the shops, which will make a cleaning process even more effective.


To stay secured always check whether you grill has a warranty coverage and what period it covers. Try to find devices with a solid guarantee, as this is the key to success. If something happens with your device, you will always get a replacement or your money back.

After conducting thorough research, we have created a list of charcoal grills that are worth buying and which prices are reasonable. If you are searching for a new device, then keep on reading.

Top 7 charcoal grill smokers

After conducting thorough research, we have created a list of charcoal grills that are worth buying and which prices are reasonable. If you are searching for a new device, then keep on reading.



Weber 14402001 – Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill


Finding the best charcoal kettle grill that is both affordable and effective is challenging. However, that is not about Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, a 22-inch versatile device on which you can cook enough food for a small family.

Weber BBQ grill is great in both smoking and grilling, and, despite its traditional round form, it has about 400 square inches of cooking area, thus you can easily cook there big items of food as well.

Besides, buying this portable charcoal grill, you do not need to worry about its cleaning, as it features special ash collected technology, which consists of an ashtray that can be easily removed and cleaned after each use.

However, that is not a complete list of benefits this grill for charcoal BBQ features, you can also find there cool-touch handles, thermometer, hooks and various technologies for precise heat control like dampers. Besides, it features plated steel grates, which keep the heat with ease and can be hinged for adding coals while cooking.

Overall, this best Weber charcoal grill is an excellent option for those who enjoy traveling, as it is not massive, but is staffed with the large cooking area. Speaking of its warranty, the manufacturer offers 10 years coverage for cookbox, lid and burner tubes and about 5 years for other grill parts.

  • Portable device
  • Large cooking area
  • Many additional features

  • Expensive in maintenance


Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado – ceramic grill for smoking meat


Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado features 22-gauge steel that is why it is lightweight and quite durable. Like other Kamado grills, this ceramic grill is egg-shaped and features triple wall technology that all the Kamado grill are famous for.

This portable Kamado grill smoker has 153 square inches of cooking area, which is quite enough for cooking for a small group of 1-3 people. It also features 14-inch cast iron grates, which are excellent in retaining the heat of about 200-700 degrees F and two dampers for accurate temperature control.

Inside Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill is porcelain-coated that is why you do not need to worry about its peeling off or rusting with a passage of time or cleaning. Besides, there are ergonomic handles that make it very easy-to-carry.

Overall, this is a very affordable grill that is great for grilling your food as well as for smoking meat that you won’t regret buying. Besides, it is quite mobile, thus you can easily take it with you for camping or RV traveling. And, what is more, with 1 year of warranty coverage, you are safe in terms of getting replacement or repair.

  • Portable
  • Affordable price
  • Can smoke your meal

  • Features not very big cooking area


Cuisinart 14 in. Charcoal Grill – best portable charcoal grill for campers


Do you know what is the best compact charcoal grill today? Maybe Cuisinart CCG is what you are looking for in terms of quality and price range? Cuisinart grill is a good portable grill with grill area of 14 inches (150 square inches of cooking area), which is enough for cooking six burgers at once.

This kettle grill for charcoal barbecue features chrome-plated cooking area, thus it won’t peel off or rust and is very easy-to-clean. Besides manufacturer took care of a firebox too – it has enamel coating that makes it extremely durable and fast-to-clean.

Portability doesn’t mean poor functionality, Cuisinart is staffed with an ash catcher for better cleaning and venting technology for precise temperature control. Besides, you can safely transport this grill thanks to the three lid locks and small weight, which makes it an ideal option if you want to organize a charcoal BBQ for campers. If you want to find out the warranty terms, you can visit the manufacturer website to know more.

Overall, if you need to find a small grill for several people, then give this grill a try.


  • Mobility
  • Large cooking surface
  • Special coating makes it rust-resistant

  • If you want to cook more than 6 burgers at once, not your option


Char-Broil Charcoal Grill 580 – charcoal BBQ with adjustable height control pan



Do you want to get 580 inches of cooking area for a bit more than $120? With Char-Broil Charcoal Grill 580, you will get it! This professional charcoal grill is the best deal you can get for such an affordable price, but is there any pitfalls because of this?

Let us figure it out. This is a sleek-designed black and easy to move charcoal grill with two extra side shelves for better cooking experience and two wheels. Its cooking area is divided into 480 square inches of the main area and 100 square inches of the primary surface.

Besides, this best wood charcoal grill features cast iron grates that perfectly hold the heat and can be cleaned excellently. The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty from the date of purchase.

What are the drawbacks? The material it is made of: being light in weight and stainless steel we can say that this device will not last for long. However, there are also pluses as well. It has adjustable height control pan, porcelain-enameled interior and Heat and Smoke Control system, which consists of large dampers that allow airflow and smoke let in.

Overall, this charcoal BBQ grill is a great deal for the price. It definitely worth the money spending on it, thus if you are looking for the best charcoal smoker for the money, come and buy it.

  • Adjustable height control pan
  • Very affordable price
  • Sleek design

  • Stainless steel material it is made of


Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill – best large charcoal grill and smoker



Are you looking for the best big charcoal grill of the royal quality? Look no further, as with Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill, you will get what you need. Just imagine owning a charcoal grill with smoker box that features 782 square inches of the cooking area!

This charcoal smoker can be called a king of grills thanks to 440 square inches of the main cooking surface, 180 square inches of warming rack plus 182 square inches of porcelain cooking grates. Do not be afraid of spending too much time on its cleaning, as they are very easy-to-clean.

But that is not all, it is staffed with air vents for great temperature control, heavy lid with a thermometer and cool-to-touch handles. Besides, with this handles, you can adjust the height of the charcoal if you need to change the level of heating.

This charcoal grill for outdoor kitchen also has a front table and bottle shelf for you to organize your cooking routine properly. And you do not need to worry about the working condition of your grill, as the seller offers you a 1-year coverage.

Overall, buying this is the best large charcoal grill that doesn’t cost a fortune, you will get an excellent grill with an extra-large cooking surface and other perks like a thermometer, additional cooking areas and nice design.

  • Affordable price
  • Extra large cooking area
  • Great construction

  • Some people complain that the paint peels off


Magma Marine Kettle – charcoal grill for pontoon boat



If you are a fan of a genuine smoke scent only wood and embers can give, then Magma Marine Kettle Grill will fit you. This is a stainless steel grill with stylish design and great functionality. Buying this boat barbecue grill, you will get 133 square inches of cooking surface, which is optimal for a few people.

Besides, there are draft doors, which help to control the level of hot inside and adjustable stainless steel cooking grates. You can easily clean this device using cleaning liquids or do a DIY one yourself. If you get interested, you can find a seller’s warranty information on the official website.

This charcoal grill for pontoon boat is easy-to-clean and is great for RV, boat and travel lovers. Thus, if you are searching for a portable grill for boat, which is effective and durable, this model is great.

  • Very mobile
  • Can suit your boat
  • Affordable

  • Not for backyards


Weber Smokey Joe – charcoal grill for beginners



Do not want to invest much on the best portable barbecue for camping, as you do not know whether you’ll like grilling? Smokey Joe is a simple charcoal grill model that features 14.5 inches of cooking grates that is enough for grilling three steaks.

This best cheap charcoal grill has everything that makes it travel-friendly: a retainer for keeping the parts of this charcoal grill for beginners together, small weight of less than 10 pounds and damper for precise temperature control. What is more, it is very cleanable thanks to the ashtray.

The price range is very affordable, as it’s even less than $50, and this makes this device for dummies the best budget charcoal grill.

If you are searching for the grill, which you can take with you when traveling, Weber charcoal grill will meet this criterion perfectly. Besides, this grill has 10-year warranty coverage, thus you will be sure that you are safe in terms of getting a replacement.

  • Low price
  • Travel-friendly model
  • Lightweight

  • Doesn’t suit for a big party cooking


Q/A section


How to start a charcoal grill?

What can be easier than lighting embers? The rule is to keep the wood briquettes closely for the fire to spread without any obstacles. If you want to read more, click here.

Which charcoal is best for bbq?

As you know, charcoal is nothing more than wood that is half-burnt. It is made by burning wood without excess oxygen and very slowly, for it to become carbon. How does the charcoal differ from the rest fuels? It’s faster in starting a fire and doesn’t make much smoke.

You can find various types of charcoal today including lump and different briquettes, thus you can find the one that suits your grill and your taste the best. We have described all this in our guide.

How to clean a charcoal grill?

Any grill must be maintained properly if you want it to serve you for a long period. You must clean the ashtray and grate each time after its use. Find the other helpful tips here.


Final words about charcoal grills - Conclusion


If you have read our expert reviews of the top-rated charcoal grills, you may have already found your best charcoal grill. If not, then let us tell briefly what each of them is good at:

  • Weber 14402001 Original Kettle – best charcoal grill, which is great for traveling and can cope with both smoking and grilling;
  • Char-Griller E06614 Akorn Jr. Kamado – good kamado grill – an option for those who want to try famous Kamado technologies of grilling;
  • Cuisinart CCG – charcoal bbq for camping – if you need a grill capable of cooking 6 burgers at once, that is it;
  • Char-Broil Charcoal Grill, 580 Square Inch – best charcoal barbecue with adjustable height control pan – 580 square inches of cooking area for about $120, this deal will blow out your mind;
  • Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker – top rated big charcoal grill– get a royal quality and king size of 782 square inches of the cooking surface;
  • Magma Marine Kettle – charcoal grill for pontoon boat – will work ideally on your boat as it performs perfectly and is compact in size;
  • Weber Smokey Joe – charcoal grill for beginners – if you are a newbie of grilling, then Smokey Joe is an excellent choice for you.

As you see, you can find a charcoal grill that will meet your requirements at any size and price rate. We cannot say that there is one best grill, as they all serve different purposes and have their own peculiarities. However, our expert reviews will help you in choosing your match.

Additional grill stuff

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- 13% TriNova Grill Cleaner Spray
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