Best Portable Charcoal Grills in 2021 Reviewed

Although grilling your favorite foods in the comfort of your backyard is fun, sometimes a person needs to take their grill on the road. There are times when a person might want to use their grill over at a friend’s house, at a tailgate party, or even in the park on warm summer days. Moving most BBQ grills is a big pain, but fortunately, there is another solution. That solution comes in the form of a portable BBQ grill. The best portable charcoal grills have most of the power and features that larger grills offer, but they’re extremely easy to move from one place to another. Let’s look at some of the models we’d like to suggest to all of our readers.

Summary of the Best Portable Charcoal Grills

Editor’s Choice: Weber Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Black Grill

People who just look at the product pictures that come with many online listings for this product and nothing else would conclude that this was a full-size grill. It just looks like any other grill. However, anyone who takes a closer look at it will be quite surprised. They’ll find out that this is, in fact, a very compact grill that’s extremely easy to take to tailgate parties, family reunions, or any other place the consumer needs to take it. It’s a compact and portable model that doesn’t weigh a whole lot and fits easily into a car’s backseat or trunk.

This product is approximately 19.75-inches by 20.5-inches by 19.75-inches and weighs under 20-pounds. That makes it very easy to carry, but its size and weight aren’t the only things that make it portable. It also has several other features that make it easy to pack up and take on the road. For one, it has a lid lock—a feature called a Tuck-N-Carry Lid Lock—that enables the consumer to lock down the lid, so they can grab the grill by the handle and take it. Second, it has a removable ash pan that’s easy to take off the grill when needed.

Another thing that we liked about this grill was that it has an 18-inch cooking area. That’s plenty of space for cooking up pork steaks, chops, burgers, or just about anything else the home cook is going to want to grill. This is a grill that has a nice domed lid that helps heat and smoke to circulate around the food, so consumers get perfectly cooked food every single time. It also has legs that are tucked underneath it that give it the stability it needs but reduces its overall footprint so it fits on many different types and sizes of tables. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s easy to see why we’ve selected this grill as one of the best portable charcoal grills available.

– This product has a larger than expected grill space.
– It’s easy to move from one place to another.
– It’s well built but doesn’t cost a whole lot.

– None.

Also Recommended: Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Portable Grill

The next grill we’d like to discuss is this one from Oklahoma Joe. This product is called the Rambler and it’s one of the most well-built grills—portable or not—that we’ve seen. It’s made using heavy-duty steel and it features thick cast-iron grates. This is certainly a grill that’s designed to hold up to many seasons of grilling, but is it as portable as another model? Well, let’s take a closer look at it and find out what it offers the consumer.

This grill is approximately 26.7-inches by 19.5-inches by 21.80-inches and it weighs approximately 53-pounds. This means that it is a little bit larger than most portable charcoal grills but still well in line with what a person would want from a grill they can move from one location to another. Although it is heavier than we would’ve liked, it’s increased weight is due to it being made from steel and using cast-iron grates. This increased attention to its durability has regrettably resulted in increased weight, but we think that it’s a worthy trade-off.

Due to its improved construction, this grill is also more expensive than just about any other portable grill. That might put some people off, but once again, this is due to it being one of the better-built grills available. People who don’t mind paying a little bit extra for this grill will be rewarded by a model that’s going to last them for a long time.

The last feature we’d like to talk about is the cooking space of this grill. This model provides the consumer with 218 square-inches of cooking surface. That’s enough space to cook up to 10 burgers at one time or several pork chops, bratwurst, or steaks. This is a grill that’s easy enough for people to take on the road but is powerful enough to cook just about anything.

– This is an extremely well-built portable grill.
– This product provides 218 square-inches of cooking space.
– This product weighs under 60-pounds.

– This model costs more than other portable grills.

Also Consider: Weber Go-Anywhere Black Charcoal Grill

Another Weber grill on our list is this one called the Go-Anywhere Grill. When we first saw this grill we thought that it looked quite like the old lunch boxes that people used to carry to work. It had sort of a rectangular shape to it and it had a convenient handle on top of it. Although this “lunchbox” shape means that it’s portable, it also means that it’s not as large as what some people would need. To explain this further, allow us to do a deep dive into this portable charcoal grill’s features so that all of our readers can decide for themselves if this grill is right for them.

This grill is approximately 12.2-inches by 21-inches by 14.5-inches and weighs about 14.5-pounds. It also features a Tuck-n-Carry Lid Lock. Its size and lid lock feature make it easy to carry from the home to the car and just about anywhere else it’s needed, but it also means that it only has 160 square inches of cooking space. That’s just enough cooking space for about 6-people. Although that might be perfect for some people, for other people, it’s going to be a way too small. Each person is going to have to decide for themselves which category they fall into.

This is a well-built charcoal grill and features cooking grates that are made from plated steel and hold heat well. It also has plated steel legs that are somewhat small but are big enough to provide a stable surface for the grill. We’d also like to mention that this grill is reasonably priced, and its price is around what a person would expect from a portable grill that uses charcoal. Keeping all of this in mind, we do think that it’s a grill that would work well for most people—if they didn’t care that it was a little smaller than comparable charcoal grills.

– It’s well-built and seems sturdy.
– It’s extremely portable.
– It features a tuck-n-carry lid.

– Its cooking area is smaller than other portable models.

A Guide To Portable Charcoal Grills

We feel that our reviews of the best portable charcoal grills should give our readers some options when they’re choosing their next model. However, that doesn’t mean that all of our readers are going to want to choose from only among these three grills. That’s why we’ve decided to write a guide on how to buy one of these grills. Anyone who isn’t interested in the grills we’ve selected as the best models, can learn from this guide what constitutes a great portable charcoal grill and select one that more fits their style. Now that we’ve said that, let’s find out what our readers should consider before purchasing their next portable grill.

Consider The Grill’s Shape

One of the first things that the consumer is going to want to do is to consider the shape of the grill. Although these grills come in a variety of different shapes—most of them fall into one of three different shapes: kettle-shaped, barrel-shaped, or rectangular. Let’s examine each of these more closely to see their pros and cons. 

Kettle-Shaped Grills

The first portable grill type we’d like to talk about is kettle-shaped grills. These grills tend to be the ones that are the most portable and also tend to have the highest heat retention. That’s why these are usually at the top of any portable charcoal grill list. 

Barrel-Shaped Grills

These grills usually have the highest amount of cooking space available, but they’re not as easy to move as kettle grills. These grills are better at low and slow smoking that kettle grills, too, although they also tend to be more expensive. 

Rectangular Grills

These grills usually have the lowest amount of cooking space but are usually the cheapest of all three grill types. They’re also extremely easy to carry from one place to another. 

Consider The Grill’s Grates

The next thing that the consumer is going to want to think about is the grill’s grates. Most of these grills either have steel or stainless steel grates, porcelain-coated grates, or cast-iron grates. Let’s examine each of these more closely. 

Steel Or Stainless Steel

These are the cheapest of all of the grates available on charcoal grills. They are also the least durable of all of the grate types. These grates have a tendency to bend, and ordinary steel can corrode over time. Stainless steel is a bit better than ordinary steel and won’t corrode, however. Stainless steel also tends to be more non-stick than regular steel.

Porcelain-Coated Grates

These grates are usually steel or cast-iron that have been enameled with a type of porcelain. They’re not as inexpensive as steel or stainless steel grates, but they’re also not as expensive as cast-iron grates. They’re also easier to clean than ordinary steel grates. 

Cast-Iron Grates

Cast-iron grates are some of the most expensive grates available and are usually found in high-end charcoal grills. They also tend to be the most durable of any of the other types of grates. They also do an amazing job of holding onto the heat and usually help cook more quickly and efficiently than what is possible with other grill grates.

Consider The Grill’s Size

The next thing that the consumer is going to want to consider is the size of the grill. With ordinary grills, the consumer will usually want to purchase the one with the most grill space, but with portable models, the consumer is likely to want to weigh cooking capacity against portability. And this can be a tricky balance for most people. 

The minimum size for a portable grill is approximately 160 square-inches—which is enough to cook about 6 burgers. We feel the high end for a portable grill is probably around 250-square inches. Any larger than that and the consumer is in the category of full-size grills. Most full-size grills start at 400 square inches in size and move up from there. 

Additional Features To Consider

Once the consumer has determined the shape, size and grates found on the portable charcoal grill, it’s time for them to take just a few more features into consideration to ensure they purchase the model that’s perfect for them. Below are some questions that most consumers are going to want to ask themselves before they purchase their next portable charcoal grill to ensure that they purchase the best one for their needs. 

  • Does the grill contain digital or built-in thermometers?
  • How tightly does the lid fit?
  • Does the grill have a removable ash catcher? 
  • Does the grill have a lid that locks?
  • Does the grill have a handle or handles on it?

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