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Best Portable Charcoal Grills

Even with all the advantages that come with gas grills, they haven’t been able to replace the charcoal ones entirely. You just can’t get that mouth-watering smoky flavor without using charcoal.

This is why you might find yourself a bit reluctant to get a more compact – thus more portable – gas grill, but did you know there are some extremely portable charcoal grill models on the market?

That’s right; you don’t have to settle for bland steaks on your picnics. Instead, You can pick one of the best portable charcoal grills on the list and enjoy a delightful meal.

Our Top Picks 

Grill

Weight

Cooking Area

Material 

Cuisinart CCG190RB

2 Pounds

150 sq. inches

Steel

Lodge Sportsman’s 

27 pounds

155 sq. inches

Cast Iron

Char-Griller E16620

97 Pounds

314 sq. inches

Metal

Char-Griller E06614 

37 pounds

153 sq. inches

Ceramic

BEAU JARDIN

35.2 pounds

255 sq. inches

Porcelain

AYCFIYING

13.5 pounds

520 sq. inches

Stainless Steel

Char-Broil 13301719

6 pounds

540 sq. inches

Steel

7 Best Portable Charcoal Grills in 2021

Without further ado, let’s dive right into the reviews so you can pick the one that best suits your needs.

1. Cuisinart CCG190RB – Editor’s Choice

The Cuisinart CCG190RB is compact and lightweight, so you can fit it into your car while you’re going on your trips and enjoying your grilled meals.

It features a 150-square-inch cooking rack, which can accommodate around 5 to 6 burgers at the same time. This makes it the go-to option for small picnics and backyard gatherings rather than big parties.

Moreover, the dual venting system helps with controlling the temperature and managing the charcoal while you’re grilling. Not to mention, the three lid locks ensure hassle-free transport and keep you on the safe side if you decide to move the grill to a different spot.

Additionally, the Cuisinart CCG190RB comes with an Enamel-coated firebox as well as an ashtray for convenient and safe usage. All in all, it’s easy to clean and reassemble, and it gets the job done.

Pros:

  • Weighs about 2 pounds only
  • Can be assembled in less than 10 minutes
  • Features a 3-lock lid for security
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • The average size isn’t suitable for large gatherings

Our Verdict

For a small family, Cuisinart makes an excellent tabletop charcoal grill that can distribute the heat evenly. It’s also among the most affordable options you can currently find as it costs less than $50, and it’s user-friendly as well.

Portable Charcoal Grill lodge
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The Cuisinart CCG190RB is compact and lightweight, so you can fit it into your car while you’re going on your trips and enjoying your grilled meals.

It features a 150-square-inch cooking rack, which can accommodate around 5 to 6 burgers at the same time. This makes it the go-to option for small picnics and backyard gatherings rather than big parties.

Moreover, the dual venting system helps with controlling the temperature and managing the charcoal while you’re grilling. Not to mention, the three lid locks ensure hassle-free transport and keep you on the safe side if you decide to move the grill to a different spot.

Additionally, the Cuisinart CCG190RB comes with an Enamel-coated firebox as well as an ashtray for convenient and safe usage. All in all, it’s easy to clean and reassemble, and it gets the job done.

Pros:

  • Weighs about 2 pounds only
  • Can be assembled in less than 10 minutes
  • Features a 3-lock lid for security
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • The average size isn’t suitable for large gatherings

Our Verdict

For a small family, Cuisinart makes an excellent tabletop charcoal grill that can distribute the heat evenly. It’s also among the most affordable options you can currently find as it costs less than $50, and it’s user-friendly as well.

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If you’re looking for a spacious, well-built grill to cook some juicy meals, then the Char-Griller is the smartest choice for you.

The body of the grill is made of 22 gauge steel with a powder coating on the exterior. On the other hand, the interior is made of porcelain-coated steel, whereas the cooking surface is made of cast iron. This construction makes the Char-Griller a sturdy option, but, unfortunately, it comes at a price as it’s the heaviest grill on our list.

Regardless, with the 314-square-inch cooking rack, you have plenty of space for your backyard BBQ parties. Not to mention, the warming racks offer an additional 133 square inches.

Pros:

  • Robust construction
  • Plenty of cooking space
  • Comes in 3 different colors

Cons: 

  • Heavy 
  • Expensive

Our Verdict

Although the Char-Griller is about 97 pounds, it’s easy to transport because it features two large wheels that come with locking rear casters to maintain stability. Also, with the 447 square-inch cooking space, this grill is pretty hard to beat.

4. Char-Griller E06614 – Best Value for Money

If you like the previous E16620 model, but you think it’s a bit overpriced, then maybe you should give the much cheaper – yet not so different – E06614 model a go.

 

For the most part, the two models offer the same performance, which is pretty understandable since they’re made by the same manufacturer. However, the E06614 is smaller in size, and thus, it’s lighter and more portable.

 

Moreover, it’s made of ceramic rather than graphite. Ceramic is well-known for its slow cooking that’s favored by those who don’t like over-browning their meals. Besides, it’s non-reactive, making it an excellent choice if you like to grill some vegetables on the side instead of just meat.

 

Lastly, whereas the Char-Griller E16620 comes with a triple damper, you only get a dual damper with the E06614 model. That’s not much of a bummer, though, because you won’t be able to tell the difference, and your meals will taste good anyway, so this one is left for the critics to worry about. 

Pros: 

  • Reasonably priced 
  • Ceramic prevent over-cooking
  • Excellent heat insulation
  • Relatively lightweight compared to the E16620 model

Cons:  

  • Smaller cooking space

Our Verdict

With Char-Griller, you get efficiency, durability, and portability in one package. It’s worth mentioning that this ceramic model is available in more colors than its graphite counterpart, so you can find an eye-catching color that doesn’t look too traditional.

5. BEAU JARDIN – Best Maneuverability

The BEAU JARDIN is one of the most flexible grills that you can currently find on the market. 

One of the aspects that hinder portability has nothing to do with the wheels; it’s, in fact, the few handles and hangers that compromise maneuverability. In other words, lacking such hooks makes the grill less user-friendly, but the BEAU JARDIN managed to overcome these problems.

This grill is quite easy to assemble using the step-by-step guide, and the lid comes with an internal hanger hook, so you can hang it on the bowl handles instead of making a mess.

Moreover, the cooking grate comes with two handles to add or rearrange the charcoal. Removing the ash is simple; all you have to do is rotate the ash leak, and the ash will fall into the catcher so you can easily dispose of it.

As for functionality, the heat control and retention are pretty impressive whether you choose to go with direct or indirect grilling and the porcelain-enameled coating ensures that the heat is well-distributed. 

Pros: 

  • Comes with insulated handles for comfortable use
  • Rust-resistant
  • Features a 255-square-inch grate
  • Upgraded wheels for more durability
  • Easy to clean and reassemble
  • Excellent price

Cons:

  • Some might prefer a hinged lid design
  • Available in one color only

Our Verdict

The BEAU JARDIN has a lot to offer in terms of usability, and it’s just as good -if not better- when it comes to cooking. It’s sturdy and looks modern, so it’ll certainly flatter your patio.

6. AYCFIYING Portable Charcoal Grill – Most Versatile

If you like to spend an entire day out and gather with your family or friends, then the AYCFIYING is the smartest choice to go with because it features a frying pan that you can put on the grill and enjoy some fried and grilled food. 

This killer combination saves you some space because you don’t have to take a dedicated fryer. It also saves you money as well because you don’t have to buy a portable fryer if you don’t have one.

All that aside, the grill also comes with three shelves on which you can put your tools and seasoning. The entire unit is made of stainless steel, and once you take off the grill and the rack, you can fold the rest of the unit for more convenient packing. 

Pros: 

  • Comes with a non-stick frying pan
  • The foldable design is easier to transport
  • Features multiple shelves to keep your cooking tools
  • Has its own storage bag

Cons:

  • No wheels

Our Verdict

The AYCFIYING is a brilliant grill/fryer that can be used to feed more than five people in a single cooking session. It’s best for camping because you’ll set it up in the same spot and use it for several days, and you can keep your cooking tools on the shelves rather than setting up a dedicated spot for them.

7. Char-Broil 13301719 – Largest Cooking Area

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The Char-Broil 13301719 offers a cooking surface of 540 sq. inches that’s perfect for camping and parties. It’s made of steel, so it’s among the most durable options, especially that it comes with porcelain-coated grates that are resistant to rust.

You might expect that such a large unit is probably heavy, which would make it less portable; surprisingly, the Char-Broil 13001719 is only 6 pounds. 

In terms of usability, you can adjust the coal position through the front door, allowing access to the firebox without leaking heat. Also, the removable ash pan ensures easy cleaning after your food is done.

 

Lastly, it comes with a 90-day limited warranty, so if you face any troubles with the different parts of the grill or any of its functions, the manufacturer either fixes or replaces your unit. 

Pros: 

  • Amble cooking area
  • Rust-resistant grate
  • Extremely durable
  • Costs less than $50

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t come with wheels

Our Verdict 

If you want to save up some cash and still end up with a high-end charcoal grill, then the Char-Broil 13301719 is your best bargain.

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How to Pick a Portable Charcoal Grill

Choosing a decent portable grill is a simple task that takes a couple of minutes once you figure out what you want. This is why we’ve created a simple guide that includes the most important aspects to consider when picking a portable grill. 

Weight

It makes perfect sense to give the weight much attention if you do not intend to limit your grill to your backyard. However, many people don’t notice that the grill’s weight should be taken into consideration alongside other factors that affect it, including its size and capacity.

 

I mean, a grill that has the capacity to cook ten steaks in one session should be heavier than that designed for cooking five steaks only. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a flimsy grill that wouldn’t last for long. 

Wheels 

Wheels make it much easier for you to transport your grill from one place to the other, even if it is heavy. This is why the Char-Griller E16620 is among the top featured grills despite its 97-pound weight.

Grate Diameter

Choosing the grate diameter relies on what you want to do with the grill in the first place. If you’re buying a grill for your romantic picnics to enjoy a day out with your partner, it’s reasonable to stay with the smaller grills that offer a maximum cooking space of 150 square inches.

 

On the other hand, grills that offer 500 square inches or more are the way to go if you throw frequent BBQ parties or have a big family.

Materials

What should your grill be made of? You shouldn’t expect one material to offer you the full package. Although it’s a little disappointing, the truth is, there’s always something that one material can do better than the other. 

 

Still, there are some key features that you wouldn’t want to give up, like easy-cleaning and durability. Meanwhile, you will find different rust resistance levels, temperature response, insulation, non-stick levels, and others. 

Cooking Speed 

This one is always forgotten, but we believe that waiting for your meal to get ready when you’ve been hungry for several hours is a form of torture. Meanwhile, slow-cooking pots are the best way to avoid over-cooking or burning your food. 

 

The cooking speed has a lot to do with the material of the grill and the temperature regulation; however, even though there’s no wrong and right here, it’s something to take into consideration.

Extra Features 

Having some extra features won’t necessarily increase portability, but it’ll ensure a better user experience. For instance, while having an ashtray doesn’t affect the taste of your grilled food or how easy the grill can be transported, it makes it much easier to clean your unit. 

Warranty 

Going for a product that comes with an extended warranty will give you some peace of mind. Although such products are usually a bit pricey, they make a smarter investment for many people. 

 

Final Thoughts

Even though you can find much bigger grills than the Cuisinart CCG190RB, it remains the best portable charcoal grill for most users because of its lightweight design, high-quality steel construction, and extremely affordable price that’s less than $25.

 

However, it’s better to go with the Char-Broil 13301719 if you want a sizable grill to feed a larger group of people. The Char-Griller E06614 makes an irresistible bargain as well. It has a lot to bring to the table, and it’s worth much more than its actual price.

 

That said, the previous guide will direct you towards the right choice that’s optimal for each type of user. Bon appétite!  

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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