The Best Portable Charcoal Grills for 2021

Jason Webster
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The best portable charcoal grills, like the Weber Smokey Joe and the Weber Go Anywhere, are awesome for traveling, but there are plenty of other design options that you can use when building your own portable charcoal grill.

Below are eight great DIY projects to help you make your own portable charcoal grill.

Whether you collect reclaimed bits of wood, use a kitchen sink, or some other cool idea, these homemade portable charcoal grills can be used over and over with ease.

NameCategoryProduct
Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch BlackBest OverallWeber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch Black
Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium 14-Inch Portable GrillBudget PickWeber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium 14-Inch Portable Grill
Kamado Joe Jr. KJ13RH Charcoal Grill 13.5 inch Blaze RedUpgrade PickKamado Joe Jr. KJ13RH Charcoal Grill 13.5 inch Blaze Red

1. Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch Black

Our rating: 9 / 10

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch Black

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Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Pre-assembled
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Sturdy
  • Highly portable
  • Very economical
  • Has an aluminum bowl for the charcoal
  • The charcoal bowl can easily be covered with a lid (not included)

Cons:

  • Drawbacks: Difficult to clean, No vents

If you are looking for one of the best portable charcoal grills, then this is one that you should definitely consider. It is one of the favorites for many campers, tailgaters, and even backyard barbecuers because it offers 622 sq. in. of cooking area.

Just like the name suggests, this portable charcoal grill is an 18-inch compact grill. It uses a charcoal grate to hold the charcoal, which is highly affordable. It only weighs 20 lbs. which makes it extremely easy to carry to any location.

It is a very sturdy charcoal grill with a lot of positive feedback from users. We recommend that you use this unit over a campfire pit. If you intend on using it indoors, then you would need to add additional vents to make it work.

2. Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill,Black,14.5" H x 21" W x 12.25" L

Our rating: 9 / 10

Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill,Black,14.5" H x 21" W x 12.25" L

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Pros:

  • Large cooking area
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Improves with age

Cons:

  • Smallish for a charcoal grill
  • Very small fuel storage area
  • Small cooking grates

The Weber Go Anywhere charcoal grill is a compact grill but has a lot of space for small meals or medium sized meals. It is simple to use and doesn’t take a lot of time to get going. It requires very little maintenance and will work for years.

The Weber Go Anywhere charcoal grill has a lot of things going for it and it handles well considering its small size. The full portion of the grill can usually fit six hamburgers. The cooking grates are small but the large cooking area of the grill makes up for it.

The Weber Go Anywhere charcoal grill has two handles that make it easier to stack when you pack up for the day. It can be used at home or at any campground. While it is designed for smaller meals, the small size doesn’t make it for cooking for an entire crowd. The smallish size and fuel storage means it isn’t going to hold that much fuel and you will need to refuel often.

3. Char-Griller E06614 Charcoal Grill

Our rating: 8 / 10

Char-Griller E06614 Charcoal Grill

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Pros:

  • The thick, non stick coating of the grill makes it easy to clean
  • It has a stand
  • You can adjust the height to cater to your needs
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • A bit shaky
  • The lid is a bit flimsy
  • The grill grate isn’t durable
  • The paint coating can easily chip out

The Char-Griller grates are made with heat resistant aluminum. The grate is wire which is easy to clean. The grill surface is wide and long, making it easy to cook food for a crowd. It can be easily stored when not in use due to the fold-down stand.

This charcoal grill has a lid with a thermometer which is very useful if you plan to grill for a long time. The grill’s temperature can be easily adjusted according to your needs. The large surface of the grill allows you to cook food for a large gathering.

There are also multiple wheels which make it easy to move the Char-Griller around. This saves you time in the cleanup process since you have to move the grill away once you are done with the grilling.

4. Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium 14-Inch Portable Grill

Our rating: 7 / 10

Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium 14-Inch Portable Grill

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Pros:

  • Available in 6, 8, and 10 inch
  • Portable charcoal grill
  • Budget-friendly price
  • The lid doubles as a skillet
  • Easy to maintain
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Comes with a removable cooking grate
  • 5 year warranty

When it comes to convenience, portability, and a value for the price, few other grills can match the Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium Portable Charcoal Grill. It's durable, lightweight, and easy to use grilling solution.

Whether you're tailgating, camping, or just grilling in your backyard, the Weber 40020 will give you a great grilling experience. Based on the classic Smokey Joe design (hence the name), it's easy to see why the Weber 40020 has been so popular with outdoor chefs for so long. Because it’s a carbone grill it'll cook your meat evenly, and your food will be fully flavored and tenderized.

The grill features side handles for easy portability and a removable drip tray so you can enjoy a drip-free grilling experience. It also comes with a handy grease cup to drain off any excess fat that comes from meats cooked on the grill.

5. Old Smokey Charcoal Grill #22

Our rating: 6 / 10

Old Smokey Charcoal Grill #22

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Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Large grilling surface area
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Some parts are made of metal and could rust if not properly maintained

The Old Smokey Charcoal Grill is built to last for years of rugged use in the backyard. It is one of the most affordable charcoal grills we came across yet it’s also one the most durable. Its large size makes it perfect to grill up dinner for the whole family and entertaining guests.

The cast iron cooking surface and the stainless steel lid will last through many meals and won’t rust over time due to the powder-coated exterior. The sturdy metal legs make sure the grill doesn’t fall of the table or blow over in the wind (or when your kids accidentally push it over).

We also love that it comes with three cooking grates. The top one is for charcoals and the lower two are for food when cooking. This way you can have dinner prepared in less time. The grates are also adjustable so you can get just the right distance between the food and the charcoal.

6. Kamado Joe Jr. KJ13RH Charcoal Grill 13.5 inch Blaze Red

Our rating: 6 / 10

Kamado Joe Jr. KJ13RH Charcoal Grill 13.5 inch Blaze Red

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Pros:

  • Compact design
  • A ton of ventilation
  • Two options for temperature control
  • Easily portable

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Takes a long time to heat up

The Kamado Joe Jr. is a quality portable charcoal grill to take with you when camping, hiking or just travelling. It features a compact, lightweight design and is very durable. It also comes with two options to heat. The Kamado Joe Jr. is a quality portable charcoal grill to take with you when camping, hiking or just travelling. It features a compact, lightweight design and is very durable. It also comes with two options to heat.

One is a blow tube which is used to heat it up in a few minutes. The other is a regular charcoal chimney. You do have to get the coals nice and hot, but once you do, the infra-red temperature controller helps regulate the temperature to your specifications.

There are plenty of vents in the top and bottom which allows for good airflow to make your charcoal last longer. Some reviewers have commented that you do have to use high quality charcoal otherwise it might burn and give off fumes.

7. Cuisinart CCG-100 Portable

Our rating: 5 / 10

Cuisinart CCG-100 Portable

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Pros:

  • Grills up to 330 square inches
  • 26,500BTU grill which heats up to 400 degrees
  • Easy to move
  • Hinged cooking grate
  • Side fire box
  • Removable ash catcher

Cons:

  • The propane tank is sold separately
  • Propane tank needs to be bought separately

For the size, the Cuisinart CCG-100 portable charcoal grill can cook up to 18 hamburgers and the 17.7" L x 18.5" W x 15.4" H. It has a built-in thermometer to help you keep track of the temperature. Aside from its portability, it has a large cooking area which makes it a great choice for bigger families.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best portable charcoal grill?

The best portable charcoal grill is the Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner. This model is relatively cheap but it still gives you a lot of features. It has a 2 burner setup and each burner totals 20,000 BTU. The cooking area is 660 square inches with a 420 square inch warming rack.

It also has a porcelain cast iron grill grate which can be transferred to a camp table and a rust-resistant aluminum tray with water reservoir. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty.

It has 341 customer reviews on Amazon and has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars based on reviews. It is also top rated by consumers on other websites. With all great customer reviews, it is no wonder that this is the most popular portable charcoal grill.

What is the best charcoal grill on the market?

The best portable charcoal grill has to have 3 criteria: decent product quality, value for money, and good customer reviews. Here are the best products that stand out in our research:

Which is healthier gas or charcoal grill?

There’s a healthy debate going on between the two. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. But for the most part, we recommend the charcoal grill over gas.

For one thing, you have to deal with the foul odor of gas. And, with today’s mild condition, you can’t really be sure that the gas will stay lit, even when covered.

On the other hand, you just have to add coals and that’s about it. And you’ll have a smoldering fire to get through so there’s that.

But if you really want to be sure, check out these statistics below:

What is the best BBQ for 2021?

If you’re a grill master, chances are you’ve already got your favorite grill. But if you’re still on the fence, here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Size/Capacity: A great grilling experience starts with good spacing. The bigger the grill the more space for cooking you will have. And a larger grill capacity means more room for friends to gather while the food is grilling.

Hot Rod: Lots of grills have added a rotisserie option, but it’s most convenient if this option can be controlled from the inside, like with a gas grill with the rotisserie attachment. It’ll allow you to keep an eye on your food while you tend to other things.

Conclusion

The Weber Jumbo Joe Classic Charcoal Grill is an excellent option for users who anticipate using their grill frequently. It is affordable yet high quality and can withstand frequent use and exposure to the elements. Its square shape is a strong point of this model since it leaves users with the option of placing it on their decks, patios, or any other space that is limited. I believe it is my personal favorite.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch BlackBest OverallWeber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch Black
Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium 14-Inch Portable GrillBudget PickWeber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium 14-Inch Portable Grill
Kamado Joe Jr. KJ13RH Charcoal Grill 13.5 inch Blaze RedUpgrade PickKamado Joe Jr. KJ13RH Charcoal Grill 13.5 inch Blaze Red