Best Charcoal Grills

The Hottest Charcoal Grills of 2018 Designed to Thrill While You Grill

Whether you are purchasing your first charcoal grill or replacing an older model, the sheer number of new options available can be overwhelming. From fancy features to portability, there are many specifications to examine and think about when choosing a new charcoal grill. We’ve waded through the vast sea of options, reviewed our favorite options, and created a handy-dandy buyer’s guide to help you select the best grill.

Charcoal Grill Buyer’s Guide

There are several key features that are of the greatest importance when you are selecting a new charcoal grill. You may also be wondering if you want to choose a charcoal grill or select a different cooking method altogether. Let’s take a closer look at these topics.

Why You Should Select a Charcoal Grill

One of the most popular reasons to purchase a charcoal grill lies in the distinctive taste it provides. This type of grill gives your food a more authentic smoky taste as opposed to gas or electric grills. Other grilling options, such as a gas grill, can leave an almost chemical taste on your meat. The smoke and heat that is created by the burning charcoal flavors your meat in a way that is unmatched by any other method.

Charcoal grills are also quite affordable. While a fancy gas grill can set you back thousands of dollars, a charcoal version is much more economical. If you want to save money or are on a budget, a charcoal grill is definitely the way to go.

Charcoal grills are often more portable. If you plan on taking your grill to a cookout, tailgating, or on a camping trip, they are perfect. You can easily move and set up many charcoal grill options.

Charcoal grills are also able to reach higher temperatures than electric or gas versions. This allows you a larger range of the types of dishes you can create. You can also achieve a perfect sear on the outside of your meat while ensuring the inside remains tender and juicy.

Key Features

When you are searching for a new charcoal grill, there are a few key considerations that you should ponder. Charcoal grills have some features that are unique t this type of cooking appliance. Having a knowledge base of the specifications included with this type of grill will help you make a sound and informed decision. The three most important considerations revolve around temperature control, access to the charcoal, and amount of cooking surface.

Temperature

One of our favorite features on charcoal grills is the temperature control. Since you can easily control how hot the cooking surface becomes, you are able to have much more control over how the food turns out. This is a feature not easily controlled by most outdoor cooking and grilling methods. The temperature can be altered by utilizing your charcoal grill’s lid, dampers, space between the surface and the coals, thermometers, and experience.

The lid can be opened and closed to allow for different temps. You’ll want it completely closed if you are smoking meats, for example. Dampers are also important. The grill needs at least two dampers, an intake as well as an exhaust. You are able to alter your grill’s temperature primarily with the intake damper. This allows oxygen in to feed the fiery coals and effectively raise the temperature, or to choke the oxygen off to lower the temp.

Many newer models will include a temperature gauge that easily allows you to know how hot your grill is. This is imperative in cooking steaks to a medium or medium rare. You can also utilize a digital meat thermometer. Be sure to carefully read descriptions to ensure your grill has a temp gauge if this feature is important to you.

Access to the Charcoal

Some grills make it easy to adjust the amount of charcoal you are using. You want to be able to easily add more coals or stir them around as needed. This will allow you to customize cooking temperatures. Additionally, it’s nice to have a way to easily remove the charcoal ashes when cleaning your grill.

Cooking Surface

Depending on your needs and preferences, the amount of cooking surface might be the most important consideration. If you are using the grill at home, occasionally for yourself or a few family members, you most likely do not need an option with a gigantic cooking surface. However, if you’ve set your sights on treating family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors to the best barbeque they’ve ever tasted, you will need a larger surface.

Depending on the size, you can accommodate a set amount of food only. For example, a cooking surface that measures at around 300 square inches will comfortably grill about 15 to 16 average sized hamburger patties. Understanding how much meat you can grill at a time will allow you to plan ahead. A larger surface means you won’t need to constantly replace cooked meats for raw ones and you can spend more time enjoying your food rather than manning the grill and cooking all night.

Types of Charcoal Grills

There are three basic types of charcoal grills that you can choose from.

Kettle Grills

A kettle grill is a very popular option among charcoal grill enthusiasts. A kettle grill has a rounded shape with a deep bowl where you place your charcoal. A grate is placed over to use as your cooking surface. They are simple to set up and operate. They are also extremely portable. This makes a kettle grill the perfect option if you want to take it camping or to a football game. They are also inexpensive.

Barrel Grills and Smokers

Barrel grills are larger and offer more cooking surface when compared to kettle grills. They are usually more expensive as well. This is a great choice if you would like to smoke meats such as brisket, or you enjoy cooking for larger groups of people. This version is also full of more interesting and useful features than a kettle grill, which is evident in the higher price tag.

Ceramic Grills

This version is often referred to as a kamado grill or an egg-shaped grill due to its unique build. Crafted from a traditional Japanese design, this option will allow you to explore many different cooking methods and styles. This type of charcoal grill will also regulate temperatures more effectively than other models. With a ceramic grill, the sky is the limit. You can make pizzas, paella, and breads. They are also extremely durable. The downside is that these grills are far more expensive than the other to charcoal grill versions.

Reviews of the Best Charcoal Grills of 2018

Best Heavy Duty Choice: The Heavy Duty 24- Inch Charcoal Grill by Expert Grill

 

The Expert Grill Heavy Duty 24-Inch Charcoal Grill was created with passionate grilling enthusiasts in mind. This model isn’t your traditionally small charcoal grill. It is super-sized and packed with exciting features. We love the temperature gauge on this model. It makes it easier than ever to create mouthwatering burgers or to smoke a brisket. Unlike other versions, you actually know what temp you are working on so you can avoid undercooked steaks or burnt to a crisp hot dogs.

(Yellow) The Expert Grill Heavy Duty 24-Inch Grill is spacious with a 372 square inch grilling surface. You can easily prepare twenty burgers at one time, making this a perfect option for lazy summer barbeques or football season. This grill also comes fitted with an adjustable charcoal pan, a side shelf that can fold down, a 201 square inch warming rack to keep your freshly grilled meat at a delectable temperature, and it even has a bottle opener.

(Green) PROS

• Huge cooking surface at 372 square inches
• Warming rack keeps food hot
• Foldable side shelf perfect for storing when not in use
• Crack open a cold beer with this grill’s bottle opener
• Temperature gauge takes grants extra confidence when grilling
• Adjustable charcoal pan

(Red) CONS

• Might be a tad bit difficult to assemble
• Does not come with the best instruction manual for assembly and use

 

Best Compact Option: The Kingsford 24-Inch Charcoal Grill

Kingsford has a long and celebrated history in charcoal production. They have branched out into the grill making arena as well. This offering by the Kingsford company features 381 square inches of cooking space, so you will be able to create larger meals. The charcoal grate is adjustable by a crank, so you can easily adjust the space between the grate and your heat source. The compact build on the Kingsford 24-Inch Charcoal Grill is solid even though it is somewhat lightweight at around 65 pounds, making it great for transport if needed.

(Yellow) The Kingsford 24-Inch Grill is fitted with a folding shelf that includes utensil hooks. You will love this specification if you are used to multitasking while barbequing. The grate is a porcelain coated wire, so you won’t need to be too concerned with your burgers or hot dogs sticking to the grill. This grill has a digital thermometer, which is extremely useful as well.

(Green) PROS

• Huge cooking surface at 381 square inches
• Easy to remove and empty ash pan
• Folding shelf
• Bottle opener included for beer and soda enthusiasts
• Digital thermometer for optimal cooking experience
• Porcelain coated wire grilling rack

(Red) CONS

• Assembly can take two to three hours on average
• The paint job has a tendency to peel when used at higher temps

 

Sweet Budget Option: The Expert Grill 17.5 Inch Charcoal Grill

 

The Expert Grill 17.5 Inch Charcoal Grill takes the love of grilling and packages it into a smaller package. This is a great choice for anyone who loves the smoky taste of freshly grilled bratwursts without a hefty price tag.

(Yellow) The Expert Grill 17.5 Inch Charcoal Grill happily accommodates up to 16 burgers at one time thanks to its 302 square inch cooking surface. A porcelain coated bowl and lid makes clean up easier than ever. This option also has a handy storage rack at the base of the grill’s legs. It is super light, making it wonderful for camping or tailgating.

(Green) PROS

• 302 square inches of grilling area
• Accommodates up to 16 burgers at one time
• Porcelain lined lid and bowl
• Less expensive than many other grills
• Easy to set up, transport, and use

(Red) CONS

• Basic version lacks fancier features of more costly models
• Somewhat difficult for grilling newbies to properly regulate temperatures with

 

Perfect for Grilling Newbies: The Expert Grill 22- inch Charcoal Grill

 

The Expert Grill 22-Inch Charcoal Grill is perfect for you if you want to have the option of grilling larger amounts of food without a larger price. The grilling surface is an astounding 402 square inches. That’s enough space for 23 burgers at one time, making this a terrific grill for family gatherings or trips to the cape.

(Yellow) The Expert 22-Inch Grill is also a relatively inexpensive option, costing less than many similar models. This option weighs around 20 pounds. This makes it easily portable. While it lacks some specifications such as a built-in thermometer, it is simple to set up and use. If you want to save some money compared to higher tech and higher priced grills, the cost to buy the Expert 22-Inch Grill and a digital meat thermometer are more economical.

(Green) PROS

• Outstandingly large cooking surface of 402 square inches
• Porcelain lined bowl and lid makes for mess-free cooking
• Bottom storage rack is great for saving space
• Easily transported
• Simple set up
• Great for newbies

(Red) CONS

• Lacks some features of more costly models
• Does not have a thermometer

Best Basic No Frills Grill: The Expert Grill 14.5 Inch Portable Charcoal Grill

 

The Expert Grill 14.5-Inch Portable Charcoal Grill is an inexpensive and basic option. But don’t let that scare you away. This tinier model is perfect for setting up on your tailgate on a camping trip. It is also a perfect solution for those barbeque lovers that live in an apartment or a townhome. While you most likely can’t fit a larger grill on a tiny patio or porch, you can safely use the Expert 14.5-Inch Portable Charcoal Grill.

(Yellow) The Expert Grill 14.5-Inch Portable Charcoal Grill is capable of grilling up eight burgers at once on a 138 square inch cooking surface. It is crafted with a porcelain coated lid and cooking surface to prevent meats from becoming stuck on the grates. The lid locks into place and has a handle to make it more portable. The legs are foldable to increase its ease of traveling. This pint-sized model packs a colorful punch and is available in several fun shades including red, blue, and lime green.

(Green) PROS

• Smaller grill that’s perfectly suited for camping
• Excellent option for apartments or townhomes
• Locking lid, handle, and folding legs increase portability
• Easy to use and no in-depth assembly required
• Extremely inexpensive

(Red) CONS

• No fills very basic option
• Meant only for small amounts of food

Quality Grill for a Budget Price: The Weber Jumbo Joe 22-Inch Premium Charcoal Grill

 

Weber offers a more economical option with their Jumbo Joe 22-Inch Charcoal Grill. This would be an awesome choice if you love Weber grills and products, but cannot afford their typically more costly models. You will still get the quality of Weber but at a fraction of the price.

(Yellow) The Weber Jumbo Joe has been crafted with a 363 square inch steel plate cooking grate. You can easily fit 20 burgers at one time. The grill is stabilized by a three-leg design and has hinged doors for easy access to your coals. The bowl and lid are coated with porcelain to make clean up a breeze. The oval design of the Jumbo Joe allows for excellent heat distribution which means you are better able to thermoregulate inside temps.

(Green) PROS

• Cooking surface of 363 square inches fits up to 20 burgers comfortably
• Aluminum venting system
• Simple to clean after use
• Hinge doors provide coal access
• Temperature regulation is easy thanks to oval design
• Lightweight yet durable

(Red) CONS

• Three-legged design isn’t the sturdiest option
• Lacks a temperature gauge

Best for Smoking Meats: The Outsunny Barbeque Charcoal and Smoker Combo

The Outsunny Barbeque Charcoal and Smoker Combo offers the best of both worlds. This grill is amazing for smoking and grilling. Whether you are new to backyard grilling or have been at it for years, the Outsunny Barbeque will be a very welcome addition to your cooking arsenal.

(Yellow) The Outsunny Barbeque is loaded with primo features you can’t find anywhere else. It consists of two separate cooking areas. You will also love its easily read temperature gauge, which is essential for successful smoking or perfectly searing a steak. Since you will know what the temp inside is, you won’t be forced to open the lid which will let out precious heat.

(Green) PROS

• Has both a grill area and a smoker area
• Temperature gauge that is easy to read
• Bottom storage rack
• Two wooden shelves
• Wheels add to its portability
• Great for learning how to smoke meats on

(Red) CONS

• Somewhat difficult to set up

Luxury Option with the Ability to Use Charcoal or Gas: The Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal and Gas Grill

The Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal and Gas Grill was created with grilling aficionados in mind. With this set up you can create masterpieces with charcoal or gas to delight lovers of any style of barbeque. Each one of the two grills can comfortably accommodate 16 burgers, for a grand total of 32 patties at one time. The Dual Fuel is perfect for large gatherings, bigger families, or anyone who wants to take their grilling to a whole new level.

(Yellow) In addition to a dual-sided grilling surface, the Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal and Gas Grill features a warming space that clocks in at 188 square inches. The gas side has three stainless steel tube burners for a combined total of 24,000 BTUs. The charcoal side is fitted with an adjustable tray with front access to fully customize your charcoal grilling experience. A removable ash pan makes clean up seamless and painless.

(Green) PROS

• Huge cooking surface at 372 square inches
• Warming rack keeps food piping hot
• Bottle opener
• Small lower storage rack
• Temperature gauges on both grilling sides
• Adjustable charcoal pan

(Red) CONS

• Slightly difficult to assemble
• You will need to supply a gas source
• More expensive than other charcoal grills

Great for Small Spaces: The RevoAce 26-Inch Mini Barrel Charcoal Grill

 

The RevoAce 26-Inch Mini Barrel Charcoal Grill offers big taste in a smaller package. This option may be perfect for you if you have a smaller backyard thanks to its compact design. But don’t fret, this grill still has plenty of room to cook your favorite foods. With 306 square inches of cooking surface, you can grill 16 burgers at one time.

(Yellow) The RevoAce 26-Inch Mini Barrel Charcoal Grill includes a warming rack to keep freshly prepared foods warm or to heat up bread. The warmer grill measures up at 125 square inches. The grill itself is crafted from steel and then coated in porcelain to prevent any burnt-on meat. The warming rack is chrome plated steel to aid in heating up efficiently and quickly.

(Green) PROS

• The 306 square inch grill accommodates 16 burgers at a time
• 125 square inch warming rack
• Compact design takes up little space
• Wheels for mobility
• Attached ash pan is easy to empty

(Red) CONS

• Somewhat difficult to fully assemble alone

 

The Char-Griller Smokin’ Pro Grill and Smoker

 

The Char-Griller Smokin’ Pro Grill and Smoker is a dream come true for Texas style barbeque lovers. This grill is big on both taste and size. It’s crafted from a heavy gauge steel that has been powder coated and measures a huge 62 inches by 29 inches by 50 inches, making it one of the largest charcoal grills available.

(Yellow) The Char-Griller Smokin’ Pro Grill and Smoker has an unbelievable cooking surface size of 830 square inches composed of a 580 square inch main cooking grill and a 250 square inch side firebox. The heat levels are easily controlled utilizing the adjustable dampers and an adjustable fire grate. You can check your temps with a heat gauge conveniently located on the hood. The Smokin’ Pro also features an easy empty ash pan to speed up and simplify your cleaning process.

(Green) PROS

• Hugest cooking surface at 830 total square inches
• Warming rack included
• Cast iron grill
• Adjustable dampers and fire grate
• Temperature gauge makes grilling easier
• Easy empty ash pan

(Red) CONS

• Paint tends to peel when used at higher temperatures

Thinking about your needs and preferences while shopping for a new charcoal grill will empower you to make the best choice. If you are short on space, go with a smaller grill. If you need to make lots of hot dogs and burgers, you are better off choosing an option with a larger cooking surface. We hope you enjoyed this article. Don’t forget to leave us a comment below with your favorite charcoal grill models.

Leave a Comment