Our Top Picks
"Our top pick features a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl for optimal heat retention, along with a one-touch cleaning system."
"A more affordable version of our best overall pick, this grill can hold up to nine burgers."
Best with Smoker: PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker at Amazon
"If you're interested in both smoking and grilling, you'll be well-served by this two-in-one cooker."
Best Cart-Style: Nexgrill Cart-Style Charcoal Grill at Home Depot
"This wheel-away grill gets extra points for its warming rack and foldable shelf for additional working space."
Best Portable: Weber Smokey Joe Portable Charcoal Grill at Home Depot
"This 14-inch model is a great addition to your next tailgate or outdoor adventure."
"Use this oval-shaped grill to cook food at temperatures ranging from 200 to 700°F."
Best Hibachi-Style: Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill at Amazon
"Made out of seasoned American-made cast iron, this portable grill is ideal for camping."
Best Splurge: Weber Performer Deluxe 22-Inch Charcoal Grill at Amazon
"Any grill master would love this unit's built-in lid thermometer and gas ignition system."
01 of 08
Best Overall: Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill
Whether you’re replacing a well-loved grill or buying your very first one, you can’t go wrong with the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill. While widely viewed as the best charcoal grill you can buy, this thoughtfully-designed grill is also quite affordable, costing hundreds less than high-end models.
This Weber grill features a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl for optimal heat retention, and the cooking grate can hold up to 13 burgers at once. There’s a built-in lid thermometer and dampers on the lid that allow you to monitor and adjust the inner temperature. The plated steel cooking grate includes a hinge that allows you to add charcoal while you’re cooking, and the angled lid hook lets you hang the top of the grill on the side of the unit, keeping it off the ground.
When you’re done cooking, the Weber grill has a one-touch cleaning system that lets you sweep ash and debris into the removable ash catcher for disposal. Reviewers of all experience levels rave about the quality construction and performance of the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, saying it’s easy to use and delivers unbeatable results.
02 of 08
Best Budget: Weber Original Kettle 18-Inch Charcoal Grill
If you’re not looking to spend as much on a grill, you might consider a pared-down version of our top pick: the Weber Original Kettle 18-Inch Charcoal Grill. It’s smaller and lacks some of the features of the Premium model, but this affordable Weber Kettle Grill still delivers delicious grilled foods infused with the smoky flavor of charcoal.
This grill can hold up to nine burgers on its plated steel cooking grate, and it features an enameled porcelain lid and bowl, lid hook, and easy-to-adjust tampers. It has durable wheels for easy transport, and you can clean up quickly using the one-touch cleaning system, which swipes ash and debris into the rust-resistant ash catcher. Many reviewers prefer the “simple” design of this budget-friendly charcoal grill, writing that it’s easy to maintain and even going so far as to call it the “best grill ever made.”
03 of 08
Best with Smoker: PK Grills Original Outdoor Charcoal Grill & Smoker Combination
Grilling cooks food quickly using high heat, while smoking uses indirect heat and lower temperatures to cook food slowly. If you like to switch up your cooking style once in a while, you’ll love the PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill and Smoker Combination. This model delivers the best of both worlds, and it’s perfect for both casual grillers and professional chefs.
This grill is made from cast aluminum for superior heat conduction, and its unique shape and four-point venting system make it ideal for both grilling and smoking foods. It has 300 square inches of cooking surface—that’s big enough for a whole turkey!—and two work shelves where you can prep food. Reviewers say this charcoal grill and smoker is heavy-duty and retains heat extremely well.
04 of 08
Best Cart-Style: Nexgrill Cart-Style Charcoal Grill
Cart-style grills feature wheels on one side so you can easily tilt and move the unit. One of the best charcoal grills in this category is the Nexgrill Charcoal Grill, which gets top marks from reviewers, thanks to its solid construction and reasonable price.
This charcoal grill can hold up to 19 hamburgers at a time on its primary cooking space, which is equipped with porcelain-coated cast iron grates, and it also features a top-level warming rack for buns and side dishes. There’s a foldable front shelf to provide you with more working space, and you can use the built-in thermometer and adjustable ventilation brackets for heat control. The removable ash catcher makes clean up easier, and reviewers say the wheels and light weight of the unit make it easy to transport.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Portable: Weber Smokey Joe Portable Charcoal Grill
Looking for a charcoal grill that you can bring to the big game or on your next outdoor adventure? Then you should definitely consider the Weber Smokey Joe Portable Charcoal Grill. Just like full-size models from the brand, this 14-inch grill has a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, as well as steel grates and an ash catcher down below.
This portable charcoal grill can hold up to seven hamburgers at a time, and the lid’s glass-reinforced nylon handle stays cool during use. Reviewers say this product is an unbeatable value, as it’s easy to tote around to various events and delivers the same caliber of high-quality food as full-size Weber grills.
06 of 08
Best Kamado: Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker
Kamado-style grills originated in Asia more than 3,000 years ago, and these oval-shaped cooking vessels have become increasingly popular in the U.S. in recent years thanks to their superior versatility. Kamado grills like the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Barbecue Grill can be used to smoke and bake dishes, and they heat up quickly and impart more flavor into food.
This particular Kamado grill has a triple-walled solid steel construction and features 314 square inches of cast iron grill space, as well as a removable warming rack. It includes a built-in thermometer and can be used to cook at temperatures ranging from 200-700 degrees Fahrenheit. The grill has two convenient folding side tables and utensil hooks, and reviewers say it works great for grilling, smoking, and even baking pizza and other dishes.
07 of 08
Best Hibachi-Style: Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill
Hibachi grills are small, portable charcoal grills that are typically made from cast iron, and one of the best ones available is this model from the popular cast iron brand Lodge. While certainly not lightweight—it weighs 30 pounds!—this cast iron grill is ideal for camping, tailgating, or grilling in a small space.
The Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill measures 10.25 x 8.25 x 19 inches, and it’s built out of American-made cast iron that’s been pre-seasoned for you. The hibachi grill has two adjustable heights, as well as a draft door to regulate heat and a flip-down door that lets you access the coals. It may not look like much, but reviewers swear it delivers amazing results and is ideal for camping.
08 of 08
Best Splurge: Weber Performer Deluxe 22-Inch Charcoal Grill
If you haven’t noticed by now, Weber is one of the top charcoal grill brands today, and it also makes the splurge-worthy Performer Deluxe 22-Inch Charcoal Grill. This model has a wide variety of useful features that any grill master would love, including things like a Touch-N-Go gas ignition system and food prep surface.
This charcoal grill can hold up to 13 burgers at a time, and you can monitor the internal temperature using the built-in lid thermometer. This Performer Grill has an easy, electronic charcoal ignition system, as well as a removable timer that mounts to the side work table. Additionally, there’s a convenient charcoal storage bin integrated into the design, as well as the brand’s one-touch cleaning system. Reviewers say the quality of this product is great and that the grill will undoubtedly serve you well for years to come.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought a top-rated charcoal grill and our reviewers tested it for five hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this grill, from its size to its special features. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Charcoal Grill
Size When deciding what size grill you want, think about how many people you expect to be serving on a regular basis and how much cooking space you’ll need. Also keep in mind that smaller grills are more portable—whether you’re moving your grill across the yard or to a tailgate party—while larger grills are heavier and harder to transport.
Grill material From enameled steel to stainless steel to ceramic, grills are made from a wide variety of materials, and each has its pros and cons. But that’s not all—grill grates can be made from cast iron, stainless steel, or other material. No choice is wrong; it just depends on how you prefer to cook.
Special features Some grills are equipped with a variety of special features. Certain models double as smokers or have integrated thermometers. Others have side tables or are designed to be especially easy to clean. It’s your grill and your food, so decide what’s most important to you.
Test Results: Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman's Grill (Best Hibachi-Style)
Easy to clean
Handle is small and not sturdy
Gets very hot
According to our tester, this grill’s best features were its size, durability, and easy setup. “It was very easy to move around and set up on the go—like at a tailgate,” she said, “and since it’s made of cast iron, it won't damage with transport or tons of cooking.” She also loved its performance: “It retains and radiates heat well so the food we cooked on it was tender,” she said. In terms of negatives, she felt its handle was “small, flimsy, and hard to hold.” She also noted that it was heavy.