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Charcoal grills that will kick your next cookout up a notch

Take your barbecue to the next level


There’s nothing quite like the smoky flavor of cooking on a classic charcoal grill. While cooks of all skill levels can learn how to use them, choosing the right charcoal grill can make it even easier. These can range from simple kettle-style grills to more advanced charcoal grills with added features, and they can also vary significantly in price points. 

Whether you’re looking for a cheap charcoal grill or something with a few more bells and whistles, there are a few things to note before you buy.

What to know when buying a charcoal grill

Types of charcoal grills

The most common type is the classic kettle grill. These are usually round grills with metal legs, featuring a simple grate above where the charcoal goes. 

Other less common charcoal grills include barrel-style, ceramic charcoal and park-style grills. Barrel-style are large, open barrels often used for slow-cooking, smoking and barbecuing. Ceramic charcoal grills for optimal heat control at a higher price point. Open-box or park-style grills mount to the ground.

Charcoal grill basics

Nearly every charcoal grill will include a few specific features. These include a lidded compartment with a grate to cook on, a vent for controlling airflow and an ash-catching tray beneath the grill.

Cooking surface size

The main feature of a basic charcoal grill is the size of its cooking surface. Most kettle-style charcoal grills have a round design, with diameters ranging from as small as 14 inches to as large as 22 inches. You can also find barrel charcoal grills with larger, rectangular cooking surfaces, while park-style grills usually include smaller rectangular cooking grates.

Added features

If you want to go beyond the basic charcoal grill, you can find some with added features to make cooking even easier. Many high-end charcoal grills include features such as an igniter, precise temperature control, timers, multi-layered cooking grates and more elaborate cleanup tools for minimizing the mess.

Best charcoal grills

Top charcoal grill

Weber Performer Deluxe 22-Inch Charcoal Grill With Touch-N-Go Gas Igniter

What you need to know: This is the ultimate in charcoal grills, featuring a convenient igniter, a huge cooking space and an easy-to-clean ash catcher.

What you’ll love: Buyers love this grill’s luxury features, including its precise temperature controls and easy-to-clean configuration. It also has room to store coals, tools and other grill necessities on the bottom rack and features two different sizes of wheels for easy moving.

What you should consider: This Weber grill is pricey, even with its deluxe features.

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Top charcoal grill for the money

Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Black Portable Grill With Porcelain Anti-Rust Coating

What you need to know: This basic charcoal grill is super affordable and perfect for family or company outings with its small, portable size. 

What you’ll love: This grill has a useful anti-rust porcelain coating and easy-to-use dampers for controlling the temperature. It includes a dump tray, instructions with cooking tips and an ergonomic, anti-heat handle to make it easy to open and close.

What you should consider: The cooking area is relatively small, and the portable grill sits very low to the ground.

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Best charcoal kettle grills

Top charcoal kettle grill

Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman 22.5-Inch Charcoal Kettle Grill With Hinged Lid

What you need to know: This Char-Broil grill is known for having a more evenly heated surface than most charcoal grills due to its Tru-Infrared system that uses infrared heat to make the temperature more even across the grill top.

What you’ll love: This offers excellent temperature control compared to most, and it includes a useful “no-fall” porcelain cooking grate to help mitigate flare-ups. Additionally, the hinged lid is easy to prop up on its side, and you can buy this grill in either black or blue.

What you should consider: Some buyers stated they preferred grills with more features at this price point.

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Top charcoal kettle grill for the money

Kingsford 22.5-Inch Outdoor Charcoal Kettle Grill With Tool Rack

What you need to know: This classic kettle grill includes all the basics you need for a barbecue and can grill roughly 21 burgers simultaneously.

What you’ll love: This comes at a fair price point and has convenient features common in a basic grill, such as an ash catcher, a vent for temperature control and a hinged lid that can be propped open. It also includes a useful tool rack as well as a larger storage rack.

What you should consider: Some said the grill top is a bit too low on this grill.

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Best park-style charcoal grill with a post

Top park-style charcoal grill with a post

Titan Great Outdoors Park-Style Charcoal Grill With Single Post And Adjustable Grate

What you need to know: This is a classic park-style grill featuring a single post that you can mount into the ground and an adjustable grate to control how far your food is from the flame.

What you’ll love: This grill includes a 16.5-inch wide grilling surface with a swiveling top, and it has four levels at which you can place the grate. This grill also has the option for a rolling base if you don’t want it in a fixed position.

What you should consider: The open-top design can make it hard to control the grill’s temperature.

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Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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