The 10 Best Charcoal Grills

Updated October 21, 2017 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Charcoal Grills
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Anyone who's serious about grilling understands that, despite what Hank would tell you, charcoal is king of the hill. These grills designed specifically for briquettes deliver all the smell and flavor you know and love, and some of them also incorporate a few handy, innovative features that bring old-school great taste into the 21st century. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best charcoal grill on Amazon.

10. Char-Broil Gas2Coal

If you can't make up your mind between propane or charcoal, then the Char-Broil Gas2Coal is the best of both worlds. You can convert it from gas to coal in seconds without tools, and can even use the igniters to light your briquettes.
  • concealed internal tank storage
  • tray engineered to reduce flare-ups
  • no hooks for grilling accessories
Brand Char-Broil
Model 463370516
Weight 115 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Volcano Portable

If space is at a premium, then the Volcano Portable is a great choice. It's terrific for camping or beach grilling, and can be set up in the middle of your backyard for use as a fire pit after the meal's over. Don't expect to feed a huge crowd with it, though.
  • also runs on wood and propane
  • great for cooking with a dutch oven
  • too heavy to carry on hikes
Brand Volcano Grills
Model 20-300
Weight 20 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Kingsford 30" Barrel

The Kingsford 30" Barrel has heavy-duty wheels and a bottom shelf, so you can move it where you need to while taking your charcoal in the same trip. The biggest issue with it is that assembly is a pain, and you'd better have your bifocals for the tiny-print instructions.
  • adjustable vents for smoke control
  • gets very hot so good for searing
  • eats through a lot of fuel
Brand Kingsford
Model GR1031-014984
Weight 81.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Weber Go-Anywhere 121020

If you want something that's easy to take with you on your next picnic or day at the lake, then the Weber Go-Anywhere 121020 is lightweight while still being very stable. The steel legs can flip up to secure the lid while traveling, so you won't have to worry about spills.
  • nylon handle remains cool
  • coating resists rusting and fading
  • can't hold very much charcoal
Brand Weber
Model 121020
Weight 15 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Dyna-Glo DGN405DNC-D

The Dyna-Glo DGN405DNC-D is a durable and functional centerpiece that features a built-in stainless thermometer for accurate temperature control, and is large enough to grill 20 hamburgers at once, making it a great choice for feeding a crowd without burning any meat.
  • can change height of coals
  • adjustable flue on the smoke stack
  • lid doesn't have a tight seal
Brand Dyna-Glo
Model DGN405DNC-D
Weight 74 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Char-Broil Kettleman

The Char-Broil Kettleman sports a porcelain enamel finish for added protection against the elements, and the hinged lid has a temperature gauge built right in, so you don't have to worry about losing the top or your thermometer, while also making it easy to stop flare-ups.
  • handy wire bottom shelf
  • two wheels for easy mobility
  • loses a lot of smoke in the rear
Brand Char-Broil
Model 16301878
Weight 50.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Weber Original 741001

The iconic Weber Original 741001 combines a traditional design with innovative features. Its hinged, stainless steel cooking grate lets you conveniently add more charcoal while grilling, and the rust-resistant aluminum vent allows easy control of the internal temperature.
  • good seal between grill and lid
  • ash catcher keeps grill area clean
  • makes it easy to recycle fuel
Brand Weber
Model 741001BLK
Weight 31.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Char-Griller 26720

Designed for Kamado-style cooking, the Char-Griller 26720 offers a lightweight and convenient way to cook burgers, fish, and ribs. Its insulated design creates more heat while using less charcoal, which makes it easier to sear your meat while also saving you some money.
  • can also be used as a smoker
  • locking rear caster
  • removable warming rack
Brand Char-Griller
Model 26720
Weight 99.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Fox Outfitters QGLG

The Fox Outfitters QGLG offers a great way to take grilling with you wherever you go, as the highly compact design allows for a quick setup and breakdown. It also comes with a convenient carry bag, which makes it easy to transport or to put away when you're done cooking.
  • made from food-grade stainless steel
  • can also be used with wood
  • great for tight spaces
Brand Fox Outfitters
Model QGLG
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Weber 15501001

With its exclusive Touch-N-Go gas ignition system, the premium Weber 15501001 ignites charcoal briquettes at the push of a button. It's loaded with features, including heavy-duty gourmet cooking grates, a lid thermometer, and a glass-reinforced nylon handle.
  • handy removable lcd cooking timer
  • no-rust aluminum vent
  • sturdy side tabletop
Brand Weber
Model 15501001
Weight 99 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Get Yourself A Great Grill

No one can resolve the great debate between the charcoal grill and the gas grill for you; it's a decision you have to make for yourself. But if you have settled on making your next grill a charcoal burning unit, you potentially stand to get a great grill for a pleasantly low price. While you can spend hundreds of dollars on a top of the line charcoal grill with an integrated smoker box and optional gas ignition systems, you can also get a perfectly decent unit for well under fifty dollars.

One of the most important factors in deciding which grill you should buy is simply the grill's size. That means two things, however: you need to account for the overall dimensions of a prospective grill, making sure it will fit the porch, patio, or deck on which you hope to do your cooking out, and you have to know the measurements of the physical grilling surface, too. Some smaller grills might seem like a good fit for your property, but if it turns out you can't simultaneously cook as many hamburgers, steaks, or sausages as you'd like, you will make a "penny wise, pound foolish" decision that will ultimately mean much more time standing around waiting for foods to cook. Therefore the grill's cooking surface area is the more important consideration when it comes to size.

The exception here comes when you are looking for a portable grill you can bring camping, to a picnic, or to the beach. There are compact grills available that weigh less than four pounds, making them suitable even for backpacking trips. When a unit is that small and portable, sacrificing square inches of cooking space for the ability to cookout at all is a fine trade indeed.

For the casual chef looking for a larger charcoal grill for his or her backyard, once minimum grill surface size has been factored in, the next consideration for which grill best suits you should be the type of cooking you prefer. If you just want a good grill for cooking up dogs and burgers in the summer, then a standard kettle style charcoal grill is a great idea. These grills tend to produce even heat all across their cooking surfaces (provided you used enough charcoal) and allow for easy 360 degree access which means easier flipping and monitoring of your foods.

For the decidedly more serious cook, a larger charcoal grill with a generously portioned rectangular cook surface is a good idea. This is true not only because these designs afford more cook space, but because they make it easier to create differing heat zones even when using charcoal (or hardwood) as the heat source, something most kettle grills can't do. (And an ability many assume is relegated to gas grills, in fact.) By keeping hotter coals to one side of the grill, an experienced chef can sear meats over flaming heat and then slow cook them to perfection, or can slowly roast vegetables even while cooking up a platter full of steak or salmon fillets nearby.

Charcoal, Hardwood, And More

The easiest way to cook in a charcoal grill is to use charcoal briquettes. That's all the more true if you opt for briquettes that are "self lighting," meaning they have been infused with lighter fluid. While most self-lighting charcoals are safe for human health -- contrary to common misconceptions -- the accelerant used to make them burn can impart unpleasant flavors to foods, therefore serving to be counterproductive. If you are going to use self-lighting charcoal, make sure all licking flames have died down and that the briquettes have taken on a uniform gray and orange coloration before you begin to cook.

Using charcoal that is not pre-treated requires a bit of extra patience and, usually, extra tools. See below for information about charcoal chimneys, a must have for an efficient charcoal briquette grilling experience.

Hardwood barbecue cooking is becoming ever more popular and, when conducted properly, can yield delicious results. Hardwood, not surprisingly, infuses meats with a subtle smoky flavor that most types of charcoal can't muster. You can get so-called hardwood charcoal that consists of wooden lumps and/or briquets without the same fillers used in standard charcoal, but pre-packaged, pre-cut strips of simple hardwood is the way to go for ideal smoke flavoring.

Plan to light your hardwood in the same charcoal chimney you use with basic briquettes, or else plan to first build up base heat in your grill using charcoal. Then add the hardwood once the charcoal is well on its way to burning down.

Finally, you can always grill using the same wood you burn in a fire place. However, to avoid creating meats (or veggies or grilled fruits) that are overly smoky, make sure the wood has fully burned down to embers before you start cooking over it. One approach is to keep a crackling fire going in a nearby fire pit so you have a ready source of more hot wood coals.

Great Charcoal Grill Accessories

Getting a charcoal great grill is just the beginning of your outdoor culinary adventure. There are myriad tools and accessories to which you should treat yourself to ensure that you will have the most enjoyable, efficient, and safest grilling experience possible.

First and foremost, you need good barbecue tools. At the most basic, a set should have a large, sturdy spatula, a pair of tongs, and a good, long fork. Also often included is a basting brush, skewers, a long-handled knife, and a good case in which to store everything when you're not grilling.

If your grill tool set did not come with a meat thermometer (or if the included unit yields desultory results), then treat yourself to one of these affordable, essential items. Using a meat thermometer means the difference between an overcooked steak, an undercooked chicken breast, or a pork chop prepared to perfection. If you spend the money to get fine cuts of meat, you absolutely must make the modest investment in a meat thermometer.

Also wise to have on hand, as it were, are grilling gloves. Heat resistant gloves offer much more control and dexterity than the outmoded oven mitt, allowing you to maneuver, slice, baste, or simply flip your foods even when the flames are dancing high above the grill.

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Last updated on October 21, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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