The idea of summer is never complete without the image of a barbecue going on in the backyard, meat sizzling or searing, the delicious aroma hanging in the air and the company of loved ones to enjoy this sensory experience with. The grill has been a quintessential part of the American lifestyle and all of us love to keep it that way. There are so many places a grill comes in handy apart from the backyard – think a camping or beach trip with friends, tailgating before the big game or simply some quiet time with your loved one. Want a small and effective grill to be perfect in any of these settings?
Although there are a considerable number of options available in the market for every shape, size, and budget, here we have tried to focus our attention to find out the best charcoal grill for the money. Why charcoal? Simply because of the amazing smoky taste of the grilled meat and vegetables that is near impossible to replicate in any of the other models. There is a huge variety available in the market even for this and we have tried to find out the best small charcoal grill for you.
There are a number of parameters we considered unlike some of the other charcoal grill reviews. So you can be assured that when we tell you, we have found out what is the best charcoal grill in the market; we know what we are talking about. Some of the parameters that we considered in our quest to find out the best charcoal grill for money are size, shape, material, portability, ease of use features available and definitely the price as compared to the competitors and the budget friendliness.
So without further ado, let us take a look at the models that are contenders to become the best small charcoal grill.
Top 5 Small Charcoal Grill Comparison Chart
Small Charcoal Grill Reviews
Let’s have a look at the detailed breakdown of the five best small charcoal grills of 2019.
1. Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch
The first small charcoal grill in the review is from the masters themselves. Anyone evenly mildly acquainted with grills would have heard of Weber products without a doubt. The company has been in the business for decades and the experience shows in each of their products. Whether it is the design, the material, the technology or the attention to small details Weber charcoal grills have it all. An amazing option and one of the best charcoal grills under $100, this little beauty has a lot to talk about.
The Weber 10020 Smokey Joe has a host of interesting features, some of which include compact size making it convenient to transport, lightweight and useful for tailgating and camping, thoughtful design features like porcelain enameled lid and bowl, dampers for proper air circulation, an adjustable charcoal tray for indirect cooking and great quality of materials. With the model covering almost all the desired criterion, it’s no wonder that the customers had used it to rate their experience very highly. The foremost reason for including this model in our charcoal grill review was the unparalleled word of mouth publicity this product has got. Even though Weber has another model – the original 22″ kettle premium – which is a forerunner in the portable charcoal grills, it was interesting to see whether this smaller variation can live up to the big name. It does and how!
What’s to Like About Weber 10020 Smokey Joe
The first thing that attracts towards the Weber 10020 Smokey Joe is its sleek design and the great quality of the material. Customers vouch for the quality and anti-rust performance of this model over the years. The Weber design experience reflects in every tiny detail like the cooking area that is able to hold up to 5 burgers in a go. It is sufficient for the whole gang for a quick bite before attending a big game. The porcelain-enameled bowl and lid making heat retention seem like a breeze and giving you the evenly cooked meat experience. If you want to control the temperature, the adjustable aluminum dampers ensure proper air circulation and cooking at the requisite temperature for the perfectly cooked meat. The ash catcher is the perfect cherry on top of the cake making it a clean solution for the next time you go camping in the wilderness or the beach with your friends.
What’s not to Like About Weber 10020 Smokey Joe
There isn’t much left to be desired except for a few things – there is no thermometer to check the cooking temperature, leaving it to trial and error. Also, the Gold model does not have an ash catcher which is a little surprising.
2. Char-Broil Portable CB500X
The next product on our list, searching for the answer to the question – what is the best charcoal grill on the market, is the Char-Broil Portable CB500X. Another brand to reckon with especially in the charcoal grill market, this model is loaded with all the usual expected features.
In this 15.8 X 24 X 16 inch box you get all that you desire in a charcoal grill – wide cooking area, adjustable coal tray, the built-in temperature gauge in the lid, dampers to control air circulation and a slide out ash catcher. Of course, the design may not be its forte but the Char-Broil Portable CB500X makes up for it with the functionalities. And it is this aspect that makes it appear not just in ours but almost all other charcoal grill reviews. After all, it isn’t common for a small portable grill to give you the same features as that of its bulky counterparts.
What’s to Like About Char-Broil
There are a lot of great things to be said about the Char-Broil Portable CB500X starting with the attention to functionality. This is one of the rare small and portable charcoal grills that come with a temperature gauge built into the lid. The slide-out ash catcher is another of the small yet well thought out features. After all, while camping in the wilderness, you do not want to worry about cleaning your grill to avoid making a mess.
What’s not to Like About Char-Broil
The Char-Broil Portable CB500X certainly isn’t one of the best designed portable charcoal grills and hence the portability remains a big question. Of course, it is great for a gathering of close family or friends in your backyard. Another feature lacking is the missing grease tray. The dripping grease may cause clogging, if not a full blown fire menace.
3. Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch
A favorite in almost all charcoal grill reviews, this one just had to be a part of our search for the best small charcoal grill. Coming from the stable of a company known for its charcoal grills, this is one of the models that has made Weber the name it is today in the market. If you want to find the best charcoal grill for the money, you surely will cross paths with one or more of Weber products and the Weber original 22-inch kettle will predominantly feature in the search.
The dominance of this model is not without reason. There are a number of things to look out for in this compact 25 X 20.5 X 38.5-inch beauty. Let us start with its pleasing design, making it a benchmark for design standards – compact yet spacious enough for a cooking area of 363 inches square. In fact, the design has been so popular that it hasn’t changed over the decades, except for a few additional features getting added on with time. Some of these features are nylon handles reinforced with glass so as to avoid heating of the handle while cooking, an aluminum ash catcher making it easy to clean and maintain, lid hooks allowing hanging the lid when not in use and hinged grates making it easier to access the charcoal.
What’s to Like About Weber 741001
There is so much in this model that works making it difficult to choose one. Some of the things that make it one of the best charcoal grills under $200 are its compact and lightweight design, the porcelain enameled body for great heat retention, all-weather wheels making it easily portable, minimum assembly requirements, airflow management with the dampers and easy cleaning with the one-touch cleaning system.
What’s not to Like About Weber 741001
When everyone is so happy with a particular model, it is easy to overshadow the problems. However, in our quest for identifying the best small charcoal grill, we want to help you know about the positives as well as the problems of each of the models. Like in this extremely popular model, the first problem we find is the use of stainless steel grates instead of cast iron. This means the heat will not be even during cooking due to lesser heat retention. This may give you uneven cooking or extra sear marks on the meat. The other possible issue is sometimes the three-legged stand isn’t very stable.
4. Cuisinart CCG-100
The next entry on our recommendation list is the Cuisinart CCG-100 which is a preferred choice for anyone who has used it. There are so many things that work well for this model, making it one of the best charcoal grills under $200. When you are looking for the best small charcoal grill, there can be a whole lot of reasons you want one – tailgating, camping, beach trip, family picnic or a simple family gathering in the background. Whatever be the reason, one quality that you would surely look for is the portability and that is where this model scores big time. Let us look at some of the other unique features that make it a part of our list.
“The first impression is the last impression,” they say, and this one makes a lasting first impression. The unique briefcase style design along with an eye-catching color makes it stand out in the black and steel world of charcoal grills. Once you move past the unique design and color, you start noticing the features of the Cuisinart CCG-100. The first thing to hit home is the unique grate lifter lid design. This is the second unique feature of this model. The lid is designed in such a way that you can choose whether to lift the cooking grate as you open the lid. This gives access to the charcoal tray without touching the grate – the desired feature during cooking, so as to maintain a proper temperature. The remaining features are what most charcoal grill reviews talk of like temperature control, the built-in thermometer to check cooking temperature, air vents for circulation, ash collection tray etc.
What’s to Like About Cuisinart CCG-100
The first impressive feature of this model that instantly grabs the attention in a positive way is the unique grate lifter lid. It is such a beautiful and different solution for a problem faced by all charcoal grills. Also, the 240 square inch cooking area is quite large when fitted in such a small box-shaped model. The side handles make it even more convenient to carry right after you have finished cooking. The porcelain-enameled cover is durable and rust resistant, making it a long lasting model.
What’s not to Like About Cuisinart CCG-100
Although the Cuisinart CCG-100 has a number of unique and creative solutions for some of the common problems faced even by the best small charcoal grills, it certainly is not without its share of issues that need to be addressed. The grate lifter lid needs some practice to getting used to. Secondly, the grates tend to be slightly lopsided for some users and need to be carefully aligned.
5. Char-Griller E22424
Our last entry in this list, which started out with a simple question – what is the best charcoal grill in the market, is the Char-Griller E22424. The first feature that distinguishes it from the remaining entries is its shape. Shaped like a barrel, reminiscent of the log smokers in the 1950s. The barrel is supported on short legs which are not foldable. However, with such a bulky look, it is commendable that the entire model weighs only 41 pounds, making it incredibly lightweight. This has been possible because the body of the grill is made of heavy steel. Another unique feature that sets it apart from the common entries in the charcoal grill reviews is the fact that it is one of the rare grills supporting the Texas style smoking. Also, apart from being a grill, it can double up as a side firebox. However, once you do that, it cannot go back to being a grill. So make your choice carefully.
There are a number of features to look out for in the Char-Griller E22424, which makes it one of the best charcoal grills under $100. Starting with the unique design to the extremely lightweight increasing the portability, the possibility of Texas-style smoking, the large cooking area of nearly 250 square inches, easy assembly, cast iron cooking grate, ash pan, separate side drawer for accessing coal and side handles for easy transport. All these make the Char-Griller E22424 desirable for anyone looking to get one of the best small charcoal grills for a pocket-friendly price.
What’s to Like About Char-Griller E22424
So much goes right for the model, beginning from the attention-grabbing design. The carefully thought out features make it a much-adored model and have created its own fan base. The lightweight design made of steel ensuring portable puts it at an advantageous position when looking for the best small charcoal grill. As one gets more and more involved with using the Char-Griller E22424, they start realizing the smallest of elements like the cast iron cooking grate making heat distribution even while cooking.
What’s not to Like About Char-Griller E22424
Of course, there are things that work against the Char-Griller E22424. To begin with, the company advertises it as a “dual usage” model – both a grill and a smoker. At the same time, they warn that if you use it for another purpose, it cannot go back to being a grill! That is confusing for any user. The other problems with it are it is a little bulky in design despite its low weight giving an impression of not being easily portable. Also, there is a risk of peeling as well as rusting of some of the parts on repeated usage. Not something you would want in a grill you have purchased for camping or beach trips.
Small Charcoal Grill Buyer’s Guide
While looking for a small charcoal grill, there may be considerations like which is the best charcoal grill under $200 or finding the best charcoal grill under $100. But, the features that need to be given a higher preference should be the size and portability of the grill you buy.
Small Charcoal Grill FAQs
Here we have some of the most frequently asked Questions about Small Charcoal Grills compiled and answered for you.
What Are Some of The Best Charcoal Grill Under $100?
There are a number of options that are available in the market, including the two in our list above – Weber Smokey 10020 and Char-Griller E22424.
What is the One Prominent Feature to look out for in a Small Charcoal Grill?
Although there are a number of features, the most important should be ease of carrying and ease of cleaning.
Having gone through numerous charcoal grill reviews, interviewing experts and finally testing out the grills on their own, our panel of experts has finally agreed on their recommendation of the best small charcoal grill. Of course, the requirements for every individual would differ. Some may want a small grill just to have an intimate gathering in their own backyard, in which case portability is not a criterion. On the other hand, there may be people looking for a small grill exclusively for tailgating or camping. In this case, portability becomes a make or break criteria.
In the current review our experts have taken the following points in consideration for coming to a conclusion – design, portability, number of features included, ease of assembly, quality of material, ease of cleaning, access to charcoal while cooking, ease of maintaining the cooking temperature by adjusting air flow and longevity.
Taking all these points into consideration, our experts have agreed that the best small charcoal grill is the Weber Kettle Original 22 inch. Despite its few limitations, this model fits beautifully in the overall expectations from a small charcoal grill.
It is compact, stylishly designed kettle shaped body made up of durable material, making it rust resistant won the favor of one and all. What add to the charm of the model are its utilitarian benefits. The large cooking area with hinged cooking grates, enclosed in the porcelain-enameled bowl and lid take care of one of the pre-requisites of any charcoal grill – temperature control and heat retention. These are essential for even cooking giving you that smoky flavor in your meat and vegetables.
Another aspect is that once you are done using your grill, it should be easy to clean, especially if you are traveling. The Weber Kettle Original 22 inch impresses even in this regard with its one-touch cleaning system.