Grills & Smokers

10 Best Portable Charcoal Grills of 2020

Best Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Weber

If you are one of the many seasoned grillers that prefer to take the party on the go, a portable charcoal grill will be a great investment.

Portable charcoal grills will have a cooking surface of 300 square inches or less, and they come in a compact and lightweight design to make them easy to carry. With the best portable charcoal grill, you can cook from almost anywhere whether it is at the beach, park or deep in the woods when camping.

To help ensure that you end up with a good portable charcoal grill, below we review 10 top rated models and also explain how to pick the right one for you.

10 Best Portable Charcoal Grills – Review

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Weber 121020

1. Weber 121020 (Best Overall)

  • 160 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Compact and highly portable
  • Easy temperature control
  • Long-lasting plated steel grates
Char-Broil 465131014

2. Char-Broil 465131014 (High Performing Tabletop Grill at a Great Price)

  • 190 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Fairly priced despite the top quality
  • Durable steel construction
  • Heat-resistant handles
Marsh Allen 30052AMZ

3. Marsh Allen 30052AMZ (Best for the Money)

  • 157 sq.in. cooking surface
  • More precise charcoal burn rate control
  • Multiple position cooking grids
  • Handy wood grind handles
Char-Broil CB500X

4. Char-Broil CB500X (Top Quality from Top Brand)

  • 240 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Sturdy cast iron construction
  • Usable with both lump charcoal and briquettes
  • Easily adjustable grate
Char-Griller 2-2424

5. Char-Griller 2-2424 (Best Tabletop)

  • 250 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Heavy duty steel construction
  • Removable ash tray
  • Stay cool handle
Weber 1211001

6. Weber 1211001 (Lightweight & Highly Portable)

  • 240 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Durable and heat retaining porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
  • Handy temperature control dampers included
  • Multipurpose lid lock
Weber 40020

7. Weber 40020 (Small but Highly Efficient)

  • 147 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Dampers included for easy temperature control
  • Heat retaining and rustproof
  • Convenient lid lock design
Beau Jardin BBQ010

8. Beau Jardin BBQ010 (Easy to Use on Wheels)

  • 255 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Heavy-duty plated steel grates
  • Straightforward use and assembly
  • Excellent heat retention
Cuisinart CCG-100

9. Cuisinart CCG-100 (Perfectly Sized for on the Go Grilling)

  • 240 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Sturdy and stable base design
  • Highly accurate temperature management
  • Unique lift system for easy charcoal bed access
Pinty 0000

10. Pinty 0000 (Taking Tabletop Grilling a Notch Higher)

  • 250 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Easy clean design
  • More air vents for better ventilation
  • Fully foldable and highly portable

PRODUCT

1. Weber 121020

(Best Overall)

Weber 121020
  • 160 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Compact and highly portable
  • Easy temperature control
  • Long-lasting plated steel grates

2. Char-Broil 465131014

(High Performing Tabletop Grill at a Great Price)

Char-Broil 465131014
  • 190 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Fairly priced despite the top quality
  • Durable steel construction
  • Heat-resistant handles

3. Marsh Allen 30052AMZ

(Best for the Money)

Marsh Allen 30052AMZ
  • 157 sq.in. cooking surface
  • More precise charcoal burn rate control
  • Multiple position cooking grids
  • Handy wood grind handles

4. Char-Broil CB500X

(Top Quality from Top Brand)

Char-Broil CB500X
  • 240 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Sturdy cast iron construction
  • Usable with both lump charcoal and briquettes
  • Easily adjustable grate

5. Char-Griller 2-2424

(Best Tabletop)

Char-Griller 2-2424
  • 250 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Heavy duty steel construction
  • Removable ash tray
  • Stay cool handle

6. Weber 1211001

(Lightweight & Highly Portable)

Weber 1211001
  • 240 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Durable and heat retaining porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
  • Handy temperature control dampers included
  • Multipurpose lid lock

7. Weber 40020

(Small but Highly Efficient)

Weber 40020
  • 147 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Dampers included for easy temperature control
  • Heat retaining and rustproof
  • Convenient lid lock design

8. Beau Jardin BBQ010

(Easy to Use on Wheels)

Beau Jardin BBQ010
  • 255 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Heavy-duty plated steel grates
  • Straightforward use and assembly
  • Excellent heat retention

9. Cuisinart CCG-100

(Perfectly Sized for on the Go Grilling)

Cuisinart CCG-100
  • 240 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Sturdy and stable base design
  • Highly accurate temperature management
  • Unique lift system for easy charcoal bed access

10. Pinty 0000

(Taking Tabletop Grilling a Notch Higher)

Pinty 0000
  • 250 sq.in. cooking surface
  • Easy clean design
  • More air vents for better ventilation
  • Fully foldable and highly portable

1. Weber 121020Best Overall

Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Photo: Weber

  • Cooking Surface: 160 square inches
  • Material: Porcelain-coated cast iron
  • Weight: 14.05 pounds

Weber 121020 is designed for use on the go, and it is one of the easiest grills to carry thanks to the compact size and easy to pack design.

The charcoal grill provides a cooking surface of 160 inches with plated steel cooking grates, plated steel legs that you can easily maneuver for easy transportation, and a porcelain enameled coating that helps to prevent rust and corrosion.

This portable charcoal grill also has a built-in lid hanger that makes the lid easy to manage. And the lid also comes with a glass-reinforced nylon handle that will stay cool to the touch when cooking.

Also, this grill will not require any assembly, and it is designed to be quick and super easy to clean.

Despite the 160 square inches of cooking space being one of the smallest in our portable charcoal grill reviews, it should still be enough for cooking for a small group or family.

Pros:

  • Easy to clean grates
  • Built-in lid hangers
  • No assembly required
  • Cool to touch and durable glass-reinforced handle
  • Highly portable and packs away nicely

Cons:

  • Relatively smaller cooking surface
  • Cleaning it can be quite tedious

2. Char-Broil 465131014High Performing Tabletop Grill at a Great Price

Char-Broil Tabletop Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Char-Broil

  • Cooking Surface: 190 square inches
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds

Char-Broil is one of the most reputable charcoal grill manufacturers, and if you are on the hunt for the best tabletop charcoal grill, they have you covered with this top-notch model.

It is a compact and lightweight grill that will fold up easily to make it convenient to carry. The set up is also a quick and almost effortless task which makes this one of the best portable charcoal grills for camping.

Also, you can be sure that it will serve you well for many years thanks to the highly durable steel construction.

And with the heat-resistant handles and easy to clean grids, this will also be a more convenient charcoal grill to use. Better yet, you get all this without spending much as this grill comes at more affordable price.

Some air adjustment vents like what you find in other models and sturdier legs would have been nice, but these are still not deal breakers as this grill still cooks well and fast enough.

Pros:

  • Fantastic quality for the price
  • Folds compactly for easy portability
  • Durable construction and finish
  • Heat-resistant handles
  • Easy to clean grids

Cons:

  • No adjustable air vents
  • Legs are not sturdy enough

3. Marsh Allen 30052AMZBest Grills for the Money

Marsh Allen 30052AMZ Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Marsh Allen

  • Cooking Surface: 157 square inches
  • Material: Cast iron
  • Weight: 18 pounds

Marsh Allen's model 30052AMZ is our best portable charcoal grill for the money thanks to the fact that it is the cheapest in our list and also because it is hard to find anything that performs better at that price tag.

This lightweight and highly portable grill features a sturdy and highly durable cast iron construction designed to ensure that it will serve you well for many years.

Also, the grates can be adjusted to three different positions, and there are also some adjustable air vents to make temperature control easy when using this grill.

Handling this grill when it is hot or when you are cooking is also made easy by the wood grid handles.

Although the 157 square inches of cooking space is one of the smallest on our list, it should still be enough to cook for one or a few people.

Pros:

  • Multiple position cooking grate
  • Wood grid handle for easy and safe handling
  • Adjustable air vents
  • Sturdy and durable cast iron construction

Cons:

  • Relatively smaller cooking surface
  • Grill handles do not feel very durable

4. Char-Broil CB500XTop Quality Grill from a Top Brand

Char-Broil CB500X Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Char-Broil

  • Cooking Surface: 240 square inches
  • Material: Cast iron
  • Weight: 40.5 pounds

Another top quality Char-Broil charcoal grill that is designed for convenient use from a tabletop and is still portable enough for use on the go.

This high-quality grill features a durable cast iron construction and grates that are designed to retain more heat and ensure a more even heat distributions.

Also, it comes with an adjustable fire grate design and dampers to make it easy to control the temperature when cooking. And with the lid-mounted temperature gauge, you can also monitor the cooking temperature easily.

This portable grill will also work with both lump charcoal and briquette, and it has a removable ash pan to make cleanups easy.

Despite this being the heaviest model among our portable charcoal grill reviews, it is still quite portable, and the plastic leg caps are also not a big concern because you can easily replace them.

Pros:

  • Easy heat control
  • Lid-mounted temperature gauge
  • Removable ash pan for easy cleaning
  • Temperature control dampers included
  • Works with both briquettes and lump charcoal

Cons:

  • Quite a heavy grill
  • Plastic leg caps cannot handle high temperatures

5. Char-Griller 2-2424Best Tabletop Charcoal Grills

Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Char-Griller

  • Cooking Surface: 250 square inches
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Weight: 38 pounds

The 250 square inches of cooking space that you get on Char-Griller’s model 2-2424 will be perfect when you have to cook for a larger group.

Apart from providing a larger cooking surface, this charcoal grill is also well made with a heavy steel construction and some equally durable cast iron grates.

With the two adjustable dampers on this grill, temperature adjustment is also a quick and easy process, and with the easy dump ash pan and sliding drawer that provides access, this is also an easy to clean grill.

This portable charcoal grill is also designed to be ideal for various uses as you can also use it as a side firebox.

The spacers do not seem long enough, but this should be a simple problem to fix with a trip to the hardware store. And although it is the second heaviest in our list, it is still quite portable.

Pros:

  • Large cooking surface
  • Heavy steel construction and durable cast iron grates
  • Convenient sliding drawer for easy access
  • Simple heat control
  • Ideal for multiple uses

Cons:

  • Spacers are not long enough
  • Relatively heavier

6. Weber 1211001Lightweight & Highly Portable

Weber 1211001 Jumbo Joe Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Weber

  • Cooking Surface: 240 square inches
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 8.2 pounds

With a cooking surface if 240 square inches, the Jumbo Joe will be a perfect charcoal grill for cooking for a medium size group on the go.

Besides the relatively larger cooking space, this charcoal grill is also well-built to ensure many years of great service.

At just 8.2 pounds, this is also a lightweight and highly portable charcoal grill. And the construction includes a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, and a glass-reinforced handle that will remain cool when cooking.

The top rated portable charcoal grill also comes with come rust-resistant aluminum dumpers and ash catcher to enhance its performance and make cleaning it an easier task.

Although it requires some assembly, the manufacturer provides some detailed instructions and all the necessary parts and hardware to make it an easy process.

The metal seems to have some sharp edges, but they are easy to get rid of with a little filing, and although a hinged grill would have been better, the one on this grill still works well enough.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Relatively large cooking surface
  • Glass-reinforced nylon handle
  • Easy cleanup thanks to included ash catcher
  • Easy assembly

Cons:

  • Lots of sharp edges on the metal
  • A hinged lid would have been better

7. Weber 40020Small but Highly Efficient Grill

Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Weber

  • Cooking Surface: 147 square inches
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 9.8 pounds

A compact and lightweight charcoal grill like the Weber 40020 is designed to not only make cooking on the go easy but also ensure that carrying it will be an almost effortless task.

Also, it is a well-built grill that features porcelain-enameled lid and bowl that will resist rust to ensure maximum durability and also ensures maximum heat retention.

The tuck-n-carry lid lock design will also double up as a lid holder to ensure that you never have to place the lid on the ground at any time.

Temperature adjustment is also made quick and easy by the built-in dampers that ensure that you can adjust the temperature inside the grill precisely.

The 147-square inch cooking surface is the smallest on our list, but it can still accommodate up to 5 burgers which makes it ideal for cooking for an individual or small family/group.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight for easy portability
  • Rust-resistant and heat retaining bowl and lid
  • Easy to manage lid
  • Quick and easy temperature control

Cons:

  • Smaller cooking surface
  • Side vent location not the best

8. Beau Jardin BBQ010Easy to Use Charcoal Grill on Wheels

Beau Jardin Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Beau Jardin

  • Cooking Surface: 255 square inches
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 12.55 pounds

While this Beau Jardin product might not be the smallest portable charcoal grill, it is one of the most portable that you can get anywhere. And this is thanks to its compact and lightweight construction and the fact that it also includes some durable wheels.

Also, it provides up to 255 square inches of cooking space which should be more than enough for typical families.

But, what many grillers will love most about it is the perfect heat retention and control. The impressive heat retention comes from the porcelain-enameled bowl and lid while the adjustable air vents make heat control easy.

One touch clean system that includes an ash catcher makes cleanups easier and quicker, and this is also a quick and easy grill to assemble.

Although some people will find the 24-inch height a little too short, this is an easy problem to fix with a little innovativeness such as making a simple DIY wooden stand for the grill, and it also does not take anything away from the fact that this is a high performing charcoal grill.

Pros:

  • Simple to use and clean
  • Excellent heat retention and control
  • Large cooking surface
  • Convenient transport wheels included
  • Easy and quick assembly

Cons:

  • Not high enough for some users

9Cuisinart CCG-100Perfectly Sized for on the Go Grilling

Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Cuisinart

  • Cooking Surface: 240 square inches
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 30 pounds

Cuisinart CCG-100 is perfectly sized for portability which ensures that you can use it from almost anywhere. Also, it comes with integrated side handles to make transportation easy.

With this charcoal grill, temperature control is also easy thanks to the unique grill lift system that also makes it easy to access the charcoal bed and precision air flow system.

The one-piece base design helps to keep this grill sturdy and stable to ensure that you do not have to worry about it tipping over regardless of where you place.

Also, there is a lid-mounted temperature gauge that makes it easy to monitor the cooking process and a large ash bin for easy cleanups.

This is our second priciest grill but it is worth every buck you will pay for it, and although the lid hinges should be a little more substantial, they still do what they are meant to do well.

Pros:

  • Accurate temperature management
  • Large ash collection bin
  • Unique grill lift system
  • Stable and sturdy base
  • Integrated side handles for easy transportation

Cons:

  • A little pricier
  • Lid hinges need some improvement

10. Pinty 0000Taking Tabletop Grilling a Notch Higher

Pinty Portable Folding Charcoal Grill

Photo: Pinty

  • Cooking Surface: 250 square inches
  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Weight: 9.92 pounds

With the fully foldable design and lightweight construction of this charcoal grill, transporting it should be an effortless task which is just what you want in a portable grill.

Besides the ease of transportation, this is also an easy-to-use grill with 7 vents that are designed to provide more efficient ventilation and enhance the dust discharge.

Handling the grill when cooking should also be safe and easy thanks to the heat-resistant handles. And you can easily cook for the whole family or a small group as it has a relatively large cooking surface of 250 square inches.

This grill also uses some porcelain-enameled grates, and it has a dust-proof surface to make it easier to clean. And the cooking efficiency of the porcelain enameled grill also helps to cement this grill's position as one of the best portable charcoal BBQ grills out there

Although the cleanup can still be quite tedious because you need to take out the grates, it is still a straightforward process. And the hard to read assembly instruction will be a non-issue for most grillers as the assembly is quite easy.

Pros:

  • Simple transportation and storage
  • More efficient ventilation and dust discharge
  • Easy clean design
  • Heat-resistant handles
  • Larger cooking surface

Cons:

  • Cleanups can be quite tedious
  • Hard to read assembly instructions

How to Choose the Best Portable Charcoal Grill

How to Buy the Best Portable Charcoal Grill

Photo: Char-Griller

To ensure that you get a fantastic model that cooks well and offers you great value for your cash, you will need to consider the following factors when shopping for the best portable charcoal BBQ grill.

1. Size

Size determines the portability of the charcoal grill, and so it will be one of the most important factors to consider when shopping.

When it comes to the size you will need to make sure that the grill is small and compact enough to make it easy to carry but still large enough for efficient cooking.

To make sure that you get a grill that will work well for you, it is important to consider the weight and the actual dimensions of the charcoal grill and try to strike a balance between portability and the amount of cooking space that you get.

2. Cooking Surface

The cooking surface is one of the key elements that define a grill and the portable charcoal grill is not an exception.

For a portable grill, 300-square inch cooking surface is often considered the maximum size. And hence, buying something that is around this size should be good enough as you can use it to cook for at least 4 people at a go.

The number of serving portions that you need or the number of people you will be cooking for regularly should help you determine the cooking surface that you will need.

3. Material

The build quality of the portable charcoal grill will determine how well it will serve you and also its durability.

For the build quality, the most important factor that you will need to consider is the material used to make the different components of the grill.

First, consider the frame material and go for tough and sturdy ones like cast iron and stainless steel. Also, you also need to consider the materials used to make the grates, and here you will also have many options from plain cast iron and stainless steel to porcelain enameled and coated aluminum.

The material used to make other things like the handles also matters, but the most important thing here is to ensure that the material is heat-resistant for easy handling of the grill even when hot.

4. Accessories

There are some accessories that might not come with all portable charcoal grills but they are still great to have as they can make grilling easier and more convenient.

Some of these accessories to watch out for when shopping include things like covers, carry bags, grill tools and grilling recipes and tips books.

5. Price

Top-rated portable charcoal grills with larger cooking surfaces and some fancy features and accessories will not come cheap, but this also does not mean that you need to spend a fortune to get one of these grills.

You can get a good quality portable charcoal grill for under $50 while some high-end models will retail for up to $500 or more.

When it comes to the price, you need to come up with a budget and then choose a model with the right cooking surface and features for you within that budget.

Conclusion

Portable charcoal grills make it possible to enjoy your favorite grilled foods on the go whether you are out camping, hiking or even just at the park or beach.

Like with any other grill type, finding a good model ensures that you will have a grill that is not only easy to use but also cooks well, efficiently and fast enough.

And from our reviews above, the Weber 121020 should work well for all kinds of grillers while the Marsh Allen 30052AMZ is our top recommendation for the budget shoppers.

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