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Best Charcoal Grills

Updated August 2023
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Best of the Best
Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
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A high-end charcoal grill from Weber that offers a wide variety of luxury features.


Designed with creature comforts in mind, this Weber grill offers a number of desirable features such as 1-touch ignition, precision temperature control, and a built-in cleaning system. Additionally, the grill offers an extra-large workspace and convenient storage for charcoal and grilling tools.


The biggest drawback to purchasing this charcoal grill is the higher price.

Best Bang for the Buck
Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
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Best for Everyday Use
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Great little grill to take with you on trips or to backyard parties.


Simple no-frills grill that does what it's meant to do. Super portable and easy to clean. Porcelain coating reduces rust. Nice touch with the owner's guide, which comes with cooking tips and ideas. Quality build and simple to use. From a trusted, long-standing grill company.


Some issues with the air vent — ash has a tendency to clog airflow.

Titan Attachments Heavy Duty Park Style Charcoal Grill
Titan Attachments
Heavy Duty Park Style Charcoal Grill
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Durable & Rugged
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If you enjoy the heavy-duty charcoal grill design that you can find at public parks, then this option will make you happy.


This heavy-duty grill can be permanently stationed in your yard via the steel post. The unit can swivel 360 degrees, is durable, and weighs approximately 65 pounds. The thick, adjustable grate features 4 different cooking levels and a 16" by 16" cooking surface.


Users must be careful not to bump the grill while in use, as the grate can be knocked loose a little too easily.

Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Charcoal Grill
Akorn Jr. Kamado Charcoal Grill
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Tough Build
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Small, portable, and durable, the Char-Griller is an excellent choice for camping trips or BBQ parties.


Ceramic top and iron grates evenly distribute heat for thorough cooking. Simply remove the ash pan for convenient cleaning. Withstands high temperatures yet remains lightweight enough for safe traveling. Simple to carry thanks to built-in handles. Available in multiple colors.


Some critiques of the design of the assembly, especially with the mounting bracket.

Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill
Portable Charcoal Grill
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Easiest to Use
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With dual vents and small structure, this is a safe and small BBQ grill that is portable for user convenience.


Wide grill offers plenty of space to cook meat and side dishes at the same time. Dual venting system allows users to customize temperature and speed. Features 3 lid locks for safe grilling and transportation. Coated with enamel that resists fire and overheating.


Some users report that the top grate can be somewhat wobbly.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best charcoal grills

Whether grilling with charcoal is an occasional adventure for you and your family or a weekend way of life, you can’t get the job done without a charcoal grill. Since the food you cook on a charcoal grill is only as good as the grill, no matter what your level of commitment, you’ll want the best charcoal grill available.

If you’ve been grilling for a while, you probably already have an idea of what you’re looking for. However, if you’re new to charcoal grilling, there are a few things you’ll need to know in order to purchase the best model for you.

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Adding wood chips to your charcoal can infuse your meats with additional flavor.

Key considerations

Although there are countless variations and hybrids, there are only three basic types of charcoal grills. Knowing how they work and who they are designed for is the best place to start your search for a new charcoal grill.

Kettle charcoal grills

When you think of a charcoal grill, a kettle grill is likely what you picture in your head. It is a metal grill on legs with a lid. This is a good type of grill for beginners to purchase because of its ease of use, versatility, and affordable price.

Barrel charcoal grills

Barrel grills look like small metal barrels lying on their sides. These larger grills are ideally used for slow cooking and smoking, but they can also work like kettle grills. This type of grill is best for a more experienced user who enjoys smoked meats and barbecue.

Ceramic charcoal grills

This grill looks like a giant egg, and the quality ones can run several hundred dollars. Because of the materials used and the design, ceramic grills excel at heat control. This type of grill is probably not ideal for a first-time buyer. A seasoned chef who grills year-round is the best candidate for a ceramic grill.


Besides overall grill type, there are a number of other features you will want to consider before purchasing your charcoal grill.

Cooking surface

The cooking surface determines how much food you can grill at one time. For example, a grill that is 22 inches in diameter can cook about a dozen burgers at once. Be sure the charcoal grill you get is appropriately sized for your needs.

Table space

Charcoal grills may have one side table, two side tables, or be built directly into a table. If you anticipate needing table space, be sure the charcoal grill that you are considering has this feature.

Storage space

Some charcoal grills have space to store your grilling tools, while others can accommodate extra charcoal. However, many grills offer little to no storage space.

Push-button ignition

A convenient option for higher-end charcoal grills is a push-button ignition that allows you to start your charcoal without the need for matches.

Temperature gauge

A temperature gauge that is built into the lid of your charcoal grill will tell you the temperature inside the grill. However, it won’t tell you the temperature of the meat. For that, you will need to purchase a meat thermometer.

"Charcoal typically reaches a maximum cooking temperature of approximately 500°F."

Hinged lid

Many charcoal grills now come with a hinged lid. This is a highly desirable feature because it eliminates the need to constantly look for a place to set the lid when flipping burgers or adding charcoal.

Hinged grill grate

If your charcoal grill has a hinged or two-piece grill grate, you will be able to add charcoal without removing the entire grill grate.


A few higher-end charcoal grills have a timer built into the unit for convenience. Alternatively, you could purchase a separate timer.


Most charcoal grills have wheels and are mobile. If you prefer, however, you can purchase a model that is permanently installed.

Ease of cleaning

Grills are tough to clean. Any device, feature, or system that a grill has that makes cleaning easier will be greatly appreciated.


Unless you purchase a special bundle, chances are you won’t find many grills that come with a plethora of accessories, and you'll want a few more things on hand to make sure you have a great cookout. Many models come with a grill cover, but other items to look for include cleaning supplies, a grill light, grilling tools, and a grilling glove and apron.

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Did you know?
You can easily create a two-zone fire (high temperature and low temperature) on a charcoal grill by only placing charcoal on half of the grill.

Charcoal grill prices

You can pay anywhere between $25 and $200 or more for a charcoal grill, so no matter your price point, you can find the right grill for your patio.

You can pay as little as $25 for a kettle grill or make an investment of several hundred dollars for a ceramic grill. Anything below $35 is going to be a portable, tabletop grill that is good for a few uses per season but must be replaced in a year or two, depending on your level of care.

From $40 to $60 is where you start to find standalone kettle grills with wheels. These are no-frills units that are designed for the occasional griller. From $70 to $100, you’ll find convenient features such as a temperature gauge and easy cleaning. The sweet spot for affordable charcoal grills is between $100 and $150. In this range, you can get a number of features, reliable build quality, and a respectable warranty. If you grill once or twice a week, this is the best price range for you.

For those who grill more often, you’ll want to look at models above $200. At this level, you get luxury, durability, and features such as push-button ignition and precision temperature control.


  • Be sure your charcoal grill is clean and dry before starting.
  • Fully open the vents (dampers) at both the bottom and top of your grill.
  • A chimney starter is the easiest way for a beginner to light the coals. Fill the chimney about halfway with charcoal – you will learn the best fill level with experience – and place two sheets of newspaper beneath the chimney. Light the newspaper and wait for the flames to appear at the top of the chimney.
  • If you do not have a chimney starter, build a pyramid out of your coals and carefully light the pyramid in multiple locations on the bottom.
  • To keep food from sticking to your grill, allow your grill to preheat for a few minutes before adding food.
  • Oxygen is what determines the temperature of a charcoal fire. The better the airflow, the hotter and faster your coals will burn. Open your dampers to increase the temperature; close them (not fully) to decrease the temperature.
  • If you need to add more charcoal, only add charcoal that has not been pretreated with lighter fluid. Adding a product such as Match Light Charcoal to a charcoal fire is extremely dangerous.
  • Be sure to cook all meat to USDA recommended temperatures: 165°F for poultry, ham, and leftovers; 160°F for ground meat; and 145°F for fish, pork, and steak.
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You can create longer-lasting heat by arranging your charcoal in a circle around the inside of your grill. The secret is to leave a gap in the circle and only light the charcoal snake at one end.


Q. What is charcoal?
Charcoal is wood that has been cooked in a low-oxygen environment. Over a period of days, the water, methane, hydrogen, and tar inside the wood are slowly burned away, leaving pure carbon.

Q. What is the difference between lump charcoal and briquettes?
While lump charcoal typically is easier to light and burns hotter, leaving less ash, charcoal briquettes burn longer at a lower, more even temperature. Briquettes are more affordable, but they are infused with additives, which some claim affect the final taste. If you’re looking to discover which is better, you’ll find professional grillers on either side of the debate. Experience will ultimately tell you which is best for your grilling methods.

Q. How long does charcoal stay hot?
After your charcoal is ready – approximately 15 minutes for lump charcoal and 30 minutes for briquettes – it will remain at an effective cooking temperature for about one hour.

Q. I left my bag of charcoal out in the rain. Should I throw it out?
No. It is possible to dry wet charcoal so that it is usable again. The best way to do this is to lay it out on a sunny day and allow it to dry naturally via the sun.

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