Top 7 Best Small Charcoal Grills For Camping & Backyard BBQs – 2020

Can resist the mouth-watering smoky flavor of grilled meat? Me too! The tricky part is to find the best small charcoal grill for your need without compromising your space, budget and time.

If you find yourself swimming in the ocean of choices, don’t worry. I have been there, and I know exactly what you need. These 7 units below are your grilling dream. You will see!

Best small tabletop charcoal grills

  • Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill – Best overall
  • Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill – Hibachi-style grill
  • Char-Griller 6714 Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill – Kamado Style grill
  • Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box – Best for Texas-style smoked food

Best small freestanding charcoal grills

  • Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill – Best overall
  • Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill – Top rated
  • BEAU JARDIN 18-inch charcoal grill – Budget-friendly option

Best small tabletop charcoal grills

Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill – Best overall

Sale
1,583 Reviews
Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill,Black,14.5" H x 21" W x 12.25" L
  • While spending most days on your way to somewhere else, the Go-Anywhere portable charcoal grill brings a taste of home wherever you go. The lid locks for easy portability, and its rectangular shape fits perfectly in the back of most cars.
  • Holds up to six burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and base retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
Pros
  • Well-built unit
  • Even heat distribution
  • Suitable for picnic and camping
  • Adjustable vents
  • Cool down fast
  • Versatile

Cons
  • Not easy to clean

Small and versatile, Weber 121020 is an absolute choice for camping trips, outdoor picnics, or patio grilling parties. This small grill offers 160 square inches of grilling space, enough to fit 8 burgers at a time to feed a buddy or two.

It is lightweight and compact enough to fit in your trunk. Plus, the carrying handles make transportation a piece of cake.

When it comes to construction, I am stunned. The plated steel legs are durable, adding extra stability to the grill. The lid is tightly fit. The cooking box is built to endure the time test.

The only concern has to do with cleaning. I have read a few comments saying that this grill is tough to clean, so be prepared.

Product Specifications 

Dimensions12.2 x 21 x 14.5 inches
MaterialPlated steel cooking grates,
Cooking grate diameter160 square inches
Holds up to8 burgers
Weight14 lbs
Highlight FeaturesPorcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel, lid lock doubles, dampers.

Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill is a little beast for small barbecue jobs. Whether you are on the go or at home, it is such a great versatile unit to have.

Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill – hibachi-style grill

Pros
  • Versatile size, perfect for backyard, backwoods, and ballgame
  • Sturdily constructed
  • Heat up quickly and maintain heat
  • Low maintenance
  • 2 height adjustments

Cons
  • Not rust-resistance

Love hibachi-style grill? So far, nothing can beat the low-maintenance Lodge Sportsman’s grill. This unit has topped my expectations in many ways. First of all, it saves coal. The grill heats up fast even with a minimum amount of coals. It is also able to keep the heat for quite a while.

The grill’s construction is also impressively simple. It comes with a steel wire handle and a draft door for added air ventilation. The simple construction allows users to take control over temperature. Plus, with the durable steel frame and elements, this unit is a lifetime investment.

The Lodge Sportsman’s grill offers enough space for a few burgers, hot dogs and veggies. This is an affordable option at the campsite.

Any drawback? The cast-iron grates aren’t rust-resistant. You should store the grill indoors after use.

Product Specifications

Dimensions19 x 8.2 x 10.2 inches
MaterialCast-iron
Cooking grate diameter17.2″ x 9″
Weight27 lbs
Highlight FeaturesA draft door that regulates heat, seasoned and ready to use, all cast iron construction, superior heat retention, made in the USA

Not only affordable but also durable, the Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill is suitable for family camping, tailgating, and small parties.

Char-Griller 6714 Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill – Kamado Style grill

1,024 Reviews
Char-Griller E6714 Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill, Black
  • 153 Square inch primary cooking area with cast iron grates
  • Insulated design means more heat uses less charcoal and less airflow means insulated heat for juicy meat
  • Easy dump ash pan for fast and simple cleanup
  • Body is constructed of 22 gauge Steel, exterior finish is powder coated Steel, interior finish is porcelain coated Steel
Pros
  • Clear assembly instruction
  • Hold temperature well
  • Very well-built
  • Portable

Cons
  • The color fades over time

If you are a big fan of Kamado-grilling style, the Char-Griller 6714 is a sound selection. The 153 square inches allow this little beast to feed small BBQ parties. The insulated design helps you save charcoal and maintain airflow and heat inside the chamber. Fewer coals and juicer steaks!

This Char-Griller 6714 looks like an Easter egg. The durable 22-gauge steel shell coupled with its porcelain-coated steel interior finish is impressive. This is a unit that requires minimum maintenance and lasts for a very long time.

For air ventilation, this unit features dual damper controls and a built-in thermometer. Grilling is more like a joyful experience now, isn’t it?

Char-Griller 6714 is also known to reach up to 700-degree F. It might be good for grilling, but some people find that high temperature trips off the shell’s color.

Product Specifications

Dimensions14 x 25 x 21 inches
MaterialCast iron cooking surface, porcelain coated steel
Cooking grate diameter153 square inches
Weight40 lbs
Highlight FeaturesTriple-walled insulation retains heat, adjustable top and bottom dampers, easy dump ash pan and Stainless heat gauge

Char-Griller 6714 Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill has everything that you need: durable design, ease of use, perfect temperature controls, a great application for camping and small families.

Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box – Best for Texas-style smoked food

1,138 Reviews
Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box, Black
  • Removable ash pan for easy coal clean up
  • Offset for Texas style smoking
  • Attaches to all Char-Griller barrel grills (#2123, #2828, #2137 and the #5050 Duo Gas and Charcoal Grill)
  • Use as a table top grill or horizontal Texas style smoker
Pros
  • A little nice grill
  • Solid construction
  • Even heat
  • The lid has excellent seals

Cons
  • The spacers are too hot

Another option from Char-Griller. This portable tabletop charcoal grill is a gift for Texas-style grilling. Made of sturdy steel, this unit is certainly a trusted companion for many years to come.

Char-griller 2-2424 is surprisingly lightweight, making it perfect for camping and picnicking. It fits in your car and can be easily relocated everywhere you go.

When it comes to heat control, the two dampers help to regulate heat effectively. The grill offers even heat and excellent temperature maintaining.

If 250 square inches of grilling space isn’t enough, you can add an extra side box for added grilling space. The process is hassle-free!

Anything to complain? The spacers can get to a dangerous temperature, so you need to be more careful handling the grill.

Product Specifications 

Dimensions18.5 x 17 x 16 inches
MaterialHeavy steel construction, cast-iron cooking grates
Cooking grate diameter250 -square inch
Weight40 lbs
Highlight FeaturesUse as a table top grill or horizontal Texas style smoker, fits the Chargriller Pro Deluxe, Wrangler, Outlaw and Duo as a Side Fire Box

 

Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box is a nice little grill. The quality and stoutness of this unit are excellent. A must-have grill for summer camping.

Best small freestanding charcoal grills

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill – Best overall

2,283 Reviews
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black
  • Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press; Built-in lid thermometer
  • One-Touch cleaning system with high-capacity ash catcher provides hassle-free ash cleanup
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Affordable
  • Big cooking surface
  • Easy to clean
  • A solid unit

Cons
  • Assembly instructions could be better

There are many elements that I love about this grill. It offers precision heat control. Without even lifting the lid, you can just adjust the dampers to either fuel the heat or extinguish coals. The durable grates can withstand high temperature, suitable for direct and indirect grilling.

You can easily add charcoals during the grilling process. No matter how high the temperature is, the heat-proof handle helps to protect your hands. Other features I love including hooks to hang grilling tools and the convenient lid placement. The wheels enable easy transportation.

Many people aren’t happy with the assembly instruction. I think that it could be better.

Product Specifications 

Dimensions14.9 x 24.4 x 24.4 inches
MaterialPlated streel
Cooking grate diameter363 square inches
Holds up to13 burgers
Weight37.7 lbs
Highlight FeaturesBuilt-in lid thermometer, One-Touch cleaning system, porcelain-enameled lid and bowl

When it comes to freestanding charcoal grills, the best overall choice is hands-down Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill.

Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill – Top rated

Sale
314 Reviews
Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black
  • The powerful performance and convenient features of the Performer charcoal grill is your excuse to ignite the coals every day. Prep food on the work table, hang grilling accessories from the tool hooks, and then clean up with ease—but only after you’ve taken every last bite of your perfectly grilled meal.
  • Dimensions - Lid Closed: 43.5"H x 42"W x 29"D | Total cooking area: 363 sq. inch
  • Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press (sold separately)
  • Slide the lid into the Tuck-Away lid holder on the side of the grill to avoid placing it on the ground
Pros
  • The stand is sturdy and strong.
  • High-quality parts
  • Accurate readings from the built-in thermometer
  • Folding table saves space
  • Sleek design

Cons
  • Can’t lift the center of the grate when it is hot.

What has caught my eyes at the first gland is the sleek design that the Weber 15301001 has to offer.

But that isn’t the only thing Weber 15301001 features. This unit comes with porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, together with dual dampers, making heat control and heat retention a simple process.

The temperature gauge will also assist you during the cooking. This is a trustable thermometer that is worth reading.

Unlike its brother Weber Original Kettle I have mentioned above, this upgraded version offers a side foldable table. You can keep everything from platters to seasonings. Once you finish, fold it down to save space.

The grates are well-heat-retained, but one problem occurs. Some people find it awkward to lift the center of the grate when it is hot. It isn’t a big deal though you may feel frustrated when you want to add some more charcoals.

Product Specifications 

Dimensions17.1 x 32.3 x 27.1 inches
MaterialPorcelain-enameled lid and bowl
Cooking grate diameter363 square inches
Holds up to13 burgers
Weight71.1 lbs
Highlight Features  The cooking grate is compatible with GBS inserts, tool hooks for hanging grilling tools, such as a spatula and tongs, built-in lid thermometer

Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill is a top-rated option for small weekend BBQ parties. Its sturdiness, shiny design, and performance will satisfy your grilling thirst.

BEAU JARDIN 18-inch charcoal grill – Budget-friendly option

395 Reviews
BEAU JARDIN Portable Charcoal Grill for Outdoor 18 inch Barbecue Grill and Smoker Heat Control Round BBQ Kettle Outdoor Picnic Patio Backyard Camping Tailgating Steel Cooking Grate for Steak Chicken
  • PORTABLE CHARCOAL GRILL:Portable charcoal grills with dimension of 18 inch diameter by 24-inch high without lid. Durable 18 inch diameter of BBQ grill plated steel cooking grate provides ample cooking surface for any meal of your grilling. A perfect Go-anywhere kettle grill with two bowl handles and durable wheels for outdoor camping by getting your friends or family hovering around the grill, hungry for tempting charcoal flavor of burnt food. Screws and washers are in the bottom of the legs.
  • PERFECT HEAT CONTROL&RETENTION: Rust-resistant adjustable aluminum air vent damper allows for heat control without hassle to lift the lid. Two handles of the cooking grate make you easy to lift it to add or adjusting charcoal. Heavy-duty durable plated steel charcoal grate design withstands the heat of any charcoal fire for a direct or indirect grilling with this charcoal grate. The round porcelain-enameled coating bowl and lid retains heat well to flow for even grilling.
  • EASY TO USE&CLEAN: The inside lid hanger hook under the lid could be hung on one bowl handle without hassle to lift it or put it on the ground. The ash leak under the bowl and the ash catcher become the best choice to be one-touch cleaning system. You just need to rotate the ash leak to move the ash down into the ash catcher for easy ash disposal and cleaning. The durable wheels make this charcoal BBQ grill to be easy to move and transport for outdoor picnic tailgate camping.
  • EASY TO ASSEMBLE&PERFECT GRILLING: This portable charcoal barbecue grill is easy to assemble with step by step instruction. The thick grilling bowl and lid with porcelain-enameled coating provides precise heat retention for grilling tastier food. Just adjust the air vent damper to any grilling condition you’d like. You will love superior smoky flavor and then enjoy your wonderful meal of filet mignon, burgers, steaks, chickens, chop, turkey, summer squash, onion, asparagus, and shrimp.
Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Two wheels for convenient transport
  • Perfect for small families
  • Great value for the price
  • Affordable

Cons
  • Plastic handle

Love portable grills? This should be your favorite cup of tea.

The Beau Jardin BBQ Kettle comes with a compact dimension, suitable for small picnics, backyard parties. This model comes with 2 wheels and 2 stands, making it stable and mobile at the same time.

What I love about this grill is the perfect heat control. The aluminum air vent damper works perfectly, allowing users to manage the heat inside the grilling chamber. The Beau Jardin features 2 cooking-grate handles so that you can lift it with ease.

As for cleaning, the one-touch cleaning system with an ash catcher will make cleaning up a breeze. With durable steel construction, this grill brings great value at a decent price.

Anything to complain? Yes, the plastic handles kill the scene. You need to wait for the grill to be completely cool down before you move it anywhere.

Product Specifications 

Dimensions18 x 24 inches
MaterialGalvanized, double zinc coating
Cooking grate diameter18 inch diameter
Weight14 lbs
Highlight FeaturesPorcelain-coated steel lid and bowl, One-touch Clean System- Ash Catcher, durable all weather wheels

BEAU JARDIN 18-inch charcoal grill is a small, budget-friendly option for small parties and camping trips. With durability and versatility, it will bring good bang for your buck.

How to choose the best small charcoal grill (buying guide)

Durability

A properly maintained charcoal grill can last for many years. That’s why you shouldn’t waste your money on a flimsy product from an unknown brand.

It is essential to do some research, go through a few reputable brands and select your favorite products. Remember to check the materials and construction.

You want to stick with non-stick and rust-resistant ones.

Safety

Charcoal grills, when handling inappropriately, could cause hazards. When buying a grill, check its sturdiness. Make sure that your small grill is stable and won’t tip over during the cooking process.

Temperature control

Temperature control is an important factor in grilling. To create the tender, flavorful grilled food, you need to master the temperature control. The lid and dampers are two main parts that you want to take a closer look here. Check whether the lid is tight-fitting no matter which brand it comes from.

Some grills offer adjustable options so that you can move coals inside the chamber to increase or decrease the temperature.

Clean up

Don’t want to work with a mess after grilling? Then you need a charcoal grill that is easy to clean. Some options offer a removable ash catcher, which can help you a great deal.

Who makes the best small charcoal grill?

Weber

Weber has built its reputation on high-quality, durable grills. This company offers different types of fuel types, from gas to electricity and charcoal.

Regardless of fuel types, the grilling quality of Weber’s products is consistent and reliable. With over 60 years of experience, you can depend on Weber’s skills for a good BBQ party.

Lodge Sportsman

Lodge Sportsman was founded by Joseph Lodge as early as the 1910s. After the Great Depression and the World Wars, the company has thrived as the most trusted manufacturer for cookware.

Their grills are affordable and tough, flavored by many professional chefs and outdoorsmen. In addition to that, the continuous application of technology and innovation in production has benefited users a lot.

Char-Griller

Whoever loves grilling knows about Char-Griller. The brand is well-known for its affordable and hard-wearing grills. Their charcoal grills are especially exceptional.

Char-Griller has every reason to pride their charcoal grills for excellent performance, absolute durability, and versatility.

Beau Jardin 

Beau Jardin offers grills with useful features and incomparable flexibility. Their charcoal grills are well-built, versatile and dependable.

FAQs

Does charcoal grilling taste better?

Yes, charcoal grilling makes food taste better if only you know how to do it. Slow cook meat in a closed grill is a great method. You can add wood chips to enhance the smoky flavor of the food.

Are charcoal grills healthy?

There are certainly some concerns about the healthy side of charcoal grilling. Cooking food at a high temperature can create heterocyclic amines or HCAs, which is known to cause cancer in laboratory mice.

Scientists aren’t certain whether this substance poses the same threat to human.

Can you reuse charcoal for BBQ?

If you want to save money, reusing charcoal for BBQ is a way to go. However, you need to be careful so that leftover ashes to ruin the party.

What you can do is to remove ashes, shake charcoal briquettes to remove any leftover. You also need to keep the used charcoal cool and dry, ready to use the second time.

Do you leave grill open when starting charcoal?

Yes, you need to remove the lid and cooking grate to access the bottom to light the fire.

How do I make my charcoal grill hot?

There are many ways to keep your charcoal grill hot. The basic idea is to manage the air ventilation inside the grill. It is essential to create 2-zone cooking while grilling.

You also need to take care of ash disposal. Tools like air probe thermometers will be helpful when it comes to mastering heat control.

The bottom line

Grilling can be such a pleasant experience if you know how to find the best small charcoal grill. Don’t your hunger for smoky steak and tasty hamburger wait no more. Take a closer look at your desired product before making a purchase.

Follow my blog for more grilling tips and great grilling units.

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