So, you’re on the hunt for the best portable charcoal grill or propane grill for the ultimate summer excursions. Well, there are a few things to look out for when purchasing the best portable charcoal grill or propane grill – and we’ll take you through the ins and outs of finding the right grill for you.
The first step into purchasing the best charcoal or propane grill is to decide if you’re going to want to go with charcoal or propane. And, there’s really no clear winner between the two, however, there may be personal preferences that will help you through this decision-making process.
What’s the Difference Between a Charcoal and a Propane Grill?
Let’s start with taste and texture. Charcoal grills get much hotter than gas grills, therefore, you will see some serious searing action with a charcoal grill. So, if you’re looking for a crunchy outer texture, charcoal grill hands-down.
In addition, charcoal grills produce more smoke and this smoke transfers flavor. According to AmazingRibs.com, with charcoal, you will be burning more complex organic molecules which will give you a broader range of flavor compared to a propane grill.
This is not to say that you won’t be grilling some delicious hamburgers on a propane grill. Quite the opposite, in fact. However, if you’re looking for that outdoorsy, smoke-infused taste, a charcoal grill is the way to go.
As far as convenience goes, propane grills seem to win this battle. Propane grills light with a flick of switch or a turn of a knob while charcoal grills take a lot more effort. And, propane grills will reach desired heat at approximately 10 minutes while charcoal grills reach desired heat at approximately 20 minutes.
When it comes to cleanup, charcoal grills are far more messy because you have the ash to deal with. So, a propane grill wins the clean-up convenience factor.
Finally, decide if you will be grilling year round. Propane grills are the clear winner for every season while charcoal grills are more difficult to light in the colder months. And, sometimes it’s too cold or too windy to get them to light at all.
So, hopefully you’ve been able to come to some sort of conclusion on which type of grill is going to work best for you. And, if you haven’t, maybe just taking a browse through our picks for best portable charcoal grill and best portable propane grill will help you on your way – whether it be a portability factor or even the aesthetic of a grill that catches your eye.
Best Portable Charcoal Grill and Propane Grill
Best Portable Charcoal Grill and Propane Grill
Weber 51010001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill
Our first pick for best portable propane grill comes from one of the top outdoor grill companies around. Weber was established around 1952 with the invention of the kettle grill. Since then, Weber has become a household name due to innovation and quality and their name is synonymous with grilling.
The Weber 51010001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill is built of porcelain-enameled cast iron with a cast aluminum lid and body. And, according to Crown Variety, the benefit to grilling with cast iron is the cast iron will retain a large amount of heat. Furthermore, because the cast iron is coated in porcelain, this means it will protect the cast iron from erosion and rust, extending the life of the grill.
In addition, cast iron is known to clean up quickly and easily. And, along with the disposable and replaceable drip trays, this is one of the easiest propane grills to clean.
The Weber Liquid Propane Grill lights up instantly and is reliable in just about all-weather conditions. Once lit, you can then adjust the control burner valve to any temperature from low to high.
And, with this pick for best portable propane grill, you get the luxury of split grates. Split grates are two separate grates that, when put together, become one. Furthermore, when purchased separately, you can add a griddle grate for cooking items such as scrambled eggs, hash browns and paninis.
The Weber Liquid Propane Grill is lightweight and folds up easily for portability. And, it comes with side trays that fold up over the grill when not in use.
This portable grill is the perfect size for transporting and the perfect size for a small balcony. So, if you’re looking for a grill that works just as well at home as it does on the road, this pick is superb.
Finally, the measurements of this grill completely expanded with the lid open and the side tables out is 24.6 inches tall, 40.9 inches wide and 20.5 inches deep. With the lid closed and the tables out, this grill measures 15.5 inches tall, 40.9 inches wide and 16.5 inches deep. And, it comes in your choice of colors: Fuchsia, Black, Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Red, Titanium or Florida State Maroon.
This pick for best portable propane grill is the perfect size for taking it on the road or using on a small porch or balcony. And, to make matters even better, if you have a standing grill in mind, you can add-on this portable cart.
Furthermore, the Weber Liquid Propane Grill lights easily and heats up quickly. And, while cooking, this grill retains an even cooking temperature throughout, including an even cooking surface. Once grilling is done, cleanup is a cinch.
There’s not much negative to be said about this grill. It cooks flawlessly, heats up reliably and folds up nicely. However, one small flaw prevents this grill from being a ten. The regulator is located next to one of the handles, which makes it rather awkward and difficult to carry.
Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
This pick for best portable charcoal grill is a classic and an all-time favorite. And, according to the Weber Kettle Club, the Weber Smokey Joe Grill was first introduced in 1955, and was Weber’s first portable, tabletop grill. Furthermore, it has kept the same basic design for over half a century.
The Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill features a plated steel cooking grate and a heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate. The plated steel cooking grate is durable and easy to clean. Furthermore, the plated steel cooking grate has the ability to produce some serious sear marks.
In addition, this portable grill features a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid. This will help to prevent rust and will enable heat to transfer evenly.
To keep things clean, the Weber Smokey Joe comes with an aluminum ash catcher. Once the ash catcher is full, simply scoop the ash out and you’re ready for another round of grilling.
This pick for best portable grill measures roughly 12 inches tall and 15.6 inches in diameter. The cooking grate measures 14.5 inches in diameter, enough to fit 3 steaks or 6 burgers at a time. However, if you’re looking for something a bit larger in size, you can always go with the 18-inch model, which you can find here.
Finally, this portable grill transports easily. Simply place the lid on the grill and latch it shut. And, if you think things may get a little messy in the process, Weber offers a handy carrying bag which you can conveniently strap over your shoulder.
Weber makes quality products and this Smokey Joe Portable Grill is just another one of their reliable products they offer.
So, if you’re looking for a basic, no-frills grill, this pick is most likely your best bet. Plus, the price is right.
This grill is lacking handles. And, for the life of us, we can’t figure out why something so simple and convenient was left out of the design. However, you can always carry a pair of gloves with this grill to help protect your hands and maneuver it if you must.
Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE
We are in love with this design. This is as close to the look and feel of an outdoor home grill. The Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE is a collapsible grill that will fit in most trunks. And, it features a lift and lock system which allows for set up within seconds.
This pick for best portable propane grill offers 2 porcelain-coated cast iron grilling plates. These plates are easy to clean and will last for a very long time. And, according to Grill Beast, cast iron is extremely efficient at retaining heat for long periods of time. Furthermore, the sear marks cast iron produces are to die for.
And with these grill plates, they can be interchangeable with a griddle plate for scrambled eggs or whatever your heart desires.
The Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill offers a lot of cooking power with 10,000 BTUs for each burner. BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of measure given off by a gas burner. For instance, a home stove has around 7,000 BTUs per burner. So, 10,000 BTUs is a seriously good amount of heat for some grilling.
This portable grill features an Instastart Button which will enable you to light the grill without a lighter. And, once lit, this grill can run for an hour on one of the 16.4 ounce propane cylinders.
Other features of the Coleman Road Trip Grill is a removable grease tray for easy cleanup and the convenient sliding side tables.
Finally, this grill measures 33.8 inches long, 13.5 inches wide, 19.1 inches tall and weighs roughly 50 pounds. And, you get your choice of color: Black, Blue, Green, Maroon, Orange, Purple, Red or Silver.
The portability of this grill, while having the appearance of a regular-sized grill, is unheard of. And, when speaking of the portability, did we bring attention to the wheels?
Furthermore, the setup of this grill is literally in seconds. No hassle, no fuss, it just props right up.
Because this grill has cast iron grilling plates, it’s going to take a lot longer to clean than grills with steel grates.
Another con to this grill, it is rather heavy at 50 pounds. Just make sure you have the manpower to transport this to and from the trunk.
Gourmia GBQ330 Portable Charcoal Electric BBQ Grill
This pick for best portable charcoal grill is an electric pick, looks-wise and function-wise. The Gourmia BGQ330 Portable Charcoal Electric BBQ Grill is battery and coal-operated. Simply place the charcoal in the small charcoal box, light the ignition and adjust the Smart Turbo Fan to control the strength of the flame.
This Smart Turbo Fan is a fabulous addition. Not only does it control the strength of the flame, it also controls the airflow. This allows for minimal charcoal and minimal smoke output.
The Gourmia GBQ330 Portable Charcoal Electric BBQ Grill features a non stick grill plate that is easy to clean. In addition, this electric charcoal grill comes with a double grill pan system that helps eliminates drip. Furthermore, it has a removable drip pan and all the electronic elements are removable for the convenience of cleaning.
Lastly, this pick for best portable charcoal grill has a circumference of 37.39 inches with an 11.90 inch grilling surface. And, it comes with a travel case with a shoulder strap for easy portability.
The cleanup process of this grill is flawless. You can easily get to every crease and crevice without much hassle.
In addition, this grill is extremely efficient and doesn’t burn much charcoal, making it cost-effective.
The grill plate is on the thin side and can bend rather easily.
Furthermore, some consumers say the heat does not distribute evenly and tends to focus on the center of the grill.
Pinty Portable Folding Charcoal Grill
If you’re looking to grill for a group of people and still want the portability factor, this pick for best portable charcoal grill is one to consider. The Pinty Portable Folding Charcoal Grill features 250 square inches of grill space which can accommodate anywhere from 5 to 7 people. And, 250 square inches comes out to 18.5 inches wide by 13.5 inches deep of grill space.
This charcoal grill is made of carbon steel with a dust proof surface. Carbon steel is known for its durability and strength. In addition, the Pinty Portable Folding Charcoal Grill comes with porcelain-enameled grates which will help protect the grilling surface from rust while being easy to clean. And, to protect your extremities, this grill comes with heat-resistant silicone handles.
This pick for best portable charcoal grill comes with 7 air vents for dust and ash discharge and will create the ultimate ventilation. It also comes equipped with an ash catcher underneath the grilling grates. And, to remove the ash, you simply remove the grates and turn the grill upside down.
Finally, even though this grill can accommodate a group of people, it is still highly portable. With the legs expanded, this grill measures 22 inches long, 15.7 inches wide and 15.4 inches tall. It’s fully foldable so the legs can tuck underneath the grill. And, you can carry it away by one of the silicone handles.
This is one sturdy little grill. And, we’re not sure if we should be calling it little as it can feed a family at once.
So, with this pick for best portable charcoal grill, you’re getting the best of three worlds: Durability, portability and a large grilling space.
While this grill is made with carbon steel, some consumers felt it wasn’t as heavy-duty as they thought it would be.
Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Charcoal Grill
Our final pick for best portable charcoal grill can also be used as a Texas-style smoker. However, once you use this as a smoker, you cannot go back to using it as a grill.
The Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Charcoal Grill is constructed of heavy steel with cast iron cooking grates. So, you’re looking at durability all around. And, with the cast iron cooking grates, you’re looking at some seriously fabulous grilled foods. In addition, like we mentioned before, cast iron cleans up easily and quickly.
This portable charcoal grill is another pick that offers a large amount of grilling space. The cooking grates have 250 square inches of real estate, enough to feed anywhere from 5 to 7 people.
A couple of other features include a removable ash pan for easy and convenient cleanup and a Stay Cool handle to protect your extremities from heat.
For portability purposes, what you see is what you get. Just pick it up and go. The Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Charcoal Grill measures 18.5 inches long, 16 inches wide and 17 inches tall. It weighs approximately 41 pounds.
This pick for best portable charcoal grill is well-constructed and made with some of the most durable materials available. From the cast iron cooking grates to the heavy steel construction, you may be looking at a grill for a lifetime.
Furthermore, if you ever want to try your hand at some smoked fish or sausage, this grill would be your opportunity. However, just remember you can’t go back to using this as a regular grill once you use it as a smoker.
Some consumers have had issues with the paint coming off after the first couple of uses. But, it’s important to note that some consumers haven’t had any issues.