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When you don’t have space for a big grill but don’t want to cook dinner one burger at a time, one of these compact grills might just be your new best friend. To help you choose the right grill for your needs, we researched the many options on the market and rounded up the top ones. We even tested a few of our favorites ourselves by searing steaks, roasting peppers, and grilling fresh corn to see if they really were up to the task.
01 of 09
Weber Genesis II E-210
The smallest of the Weber Genesis line, this grill has many of the same features of the larger grills but in a petite size, making it ideal for folks who don’t have room for a more spacious grill. While the grill is compact, it still offers 380 square inches of primary cooking area, plus an additional 114 square inches in the warming rack that folds out of the way when you’re not using it.
The two burners are made from durable stainless steel with porcelain-enameled Flavorizer bars above add smoky flavor while also reducing flare-ups. The cooking grates are porcelain enamel coated cast iron for easy cleaning and impressive grill marks.
The proprietary Infinity Ignition system starts the grill with a simple turn of a knob, as easy as starting your stove. The grill has two side tables to hold plates and condiments, with integrated hooks to hold your barbecue tools. The tables fold down when not in use, to save space on your patio.
This grill includes an iGrill digital thermometer that connects to the Weber iGrill app on your mobile device you can monitor the grill temperature and fuel level from a distance. The thermometer can be connected to up to four food probes (available for purchase separately) to monitor your food as well.
02 of 09
Weber Q-1400 Electric Grill
Great for urban balconies or anywhere else that a live fire isn’t desired, this electric grill does the job without coal, wood or gas. Just bring it out to the patio or deck, plug it in, and start grilling. The 6-foot grounded cord is long enough to reach a nearby outlet and short enough to be safe.
This has 189 square inches of cooking space and a 1560-watt heating element that can sear your steaks with ease. The cooking grates are porcelain enamel coated cast iron for easy cleaning, even heating and attractive grill marks. Infinite burner controls let you adjust the temperature easily from low to high, just like your home stove.
The lid and body of the grill are made from aluminum and the frame is glass enforced nylon for light weight and easy portability. A removable catch pan makes it simple to clean drippings and grease when cooking is done.
A cart is available for this grill, sold separately, that converts it from a tabletop grill to a taller free-standing grill.
03 of 09
Weber 14" Smokey Joe Charcoal Grill
This little grill is large enough for dinner but small enough to be compact for storage and portable to take along to a picnic or tailgate party. Built in the classic Weber kettle style, this has three aluminum legs, so it will stay stable even when the ground is uneven.
This is made from steel with a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid that make it durable and rust resistant, while the air vents and ash catcher are aluminum. The cooking grate is nickel-plated steel that is rust resistant.
Take a look at other product reviews for the best portable grills on the market today.
04 of 09
Weber Q 3200 Gas Grill
This gas grill grew out of the popularity of the original Q. This super-sized model is designed more for the person who has limited space than the person who needs to transport their grill. At 83 pounds all together this isn't a grill to take on a picnic. This grill does, however, provide you with indirect cooking abilities and as much space as a small, traditional gas grill. This grill will give you authentic grilling in a unit that is easily stored and doesn't take up a lot of space.
Check out our guide to the best Weber grills you can buy today.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill
Built for patio grilling, this has 250 square inches of cooking space. The grates are cast iron, which retains heat well, and it has a side shelf to hold plates and condiments, with hooks on the front for your cooking tools. The stay-cool wooden handle on the grill lid keeps your hands safe from the heat.
A side drawer makes it simple to load charcoal and clean out the grill when you’re done cooking. The grill weighs just 50 pounds, and the dual wheels make it easy to move the grill into the perfect position for grilling, then move it into storage when it’s not in use.
Made from powder coated steel with a double layered bottom, this little grill is built to last.
Take a peek at some of the other best charcoal grills you can buy.
06 of 09
Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared
Imagine the power of an infrared grill in a portable. This 14,000 BTU infrared grill packs more heat than any other portable grill and at 20 pounds you can take it almost anywhere. All stainless steel construction you can even get this grill in marine quality steel with a railing mount for boating. 155 square inches of grilling area. Uses either disposable propane bottles or can be converted to a full 20-pound tank or even natural gas.
See more reviews of our favorite portable gas grills available for purchase.
07 of 09
Char-Broil Patio Bistro Infrared Electric Grill
Can't have a gas or electric grill where you live? This might be the solution for you. The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill is one of the largest electric grills on the market. Of course, it is still small enough to fit on most balconies but gives you enough space to comfortably cook for four people. The 1,750-watt heating element produces a good amount of heat for the size so you will be able to grill most everything that fits under the lid in this grill. The overall construction of this grill is a little lightweight so this grill will need some care to keep it looking and working well.
See more reviews of our favorite electric grills.
08 of 09
KitchenAid 2-Burner Gas Grill Model# 720-0891B
You might know the KitchenAid brand from their popular stand mixers, but they make many other small and large cooking appliances, including quality outdoor grills. This compact grill has two stainless steel burners that produce a total of 26,000 BTUs of cooking power and stainless steel cooking grids that are easy to clean and will never rust or corrode. Flame tamers prevent flare-up when grease drips while creating the smoky flavor you love. They also help to spread the heat, so food cooks evenly across the grill top.
The two side shelves give you extra space to hold cooking tools, sauces, and burger buns, then they fold down when you’re not cooking to save you space on your patio or in storage. Hooks on the shelves let you hang your cooking tools or hand towels out of the way and a built-in thermometer makes it easy to check the grill temperature at a glance. A grill cover is included, so you can protect the grill from weather and dust when not in use.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill
This two-burner grill produces a total of 20,000 BTUs of cooking power that will cook family dinners with ease on the 280 square inches of cooking space. The cooking grates are porcelain coated cast iron that won’t rust and are easy to clean, while also producing pretty grill marks on your steaks and burgers. The piezo ignition starts the burners easily with just the push of a button, so you’ll be ready to grill in no time.
The lid and firebox are porcelain coated steel that can handle heat and weather and still look good, and the large handle on the hinged lid is easy to grab, even when you’re wearing bulky mitts. Two side shelves give you plenty of space for dishes, condiments, sauces and tools, then they fold down out of the way when you’re done cooking. Made from durable metal, the shelves won’t be damaged by hot tools or cooking pans.
Two 6-inch wheels make it easy to move this grill into the perfect spot for cooking, and since they’re made from plastic, they won’t scratch your wooden deck. Two stationary legs keep the grill in place so it won’t wander if it’s accidentally bumped.
Read more reviews of the best gas grills under $250 available to purchase online.
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 25 hours testing two of the most popular small grills on the market by setting them up at home and cooking dinner for themselves and their families. To ensure the most comprehensive feedback possible, we asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these small grills, like amount of cooking space, ease of use, and portability. We've outlined the major takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Small Grill
Cooking space This is a consideration for just about every grill, but it’s possibly more critical with small grills. When you’re cooking dinner for the family, can you fit everyone’s burger on the grill at the same time, or will you be cooking in shifts while you’re trying to keep everyone’s food warm enough to eat? The key is to get enough grill but not too much.
Portability While all of these small grills are somewhat portable, some are designed to be brought out of storage when you need them, while others are designed to have a permanent space in your outdoor area. Your lifestyle and space will let you know which grill is best for you.
Fuel type Some people say that charcoal gives the best flavor, while others prefer the convenience of propane. Meanwhile, there are folks who can’t have a live-fire grill on their balcony or deck, so electric grills are the best option. Each type of fuel has its pros and cons, but no matter which you choose, you’ll be enjoying outdoor grilling on any of them.
Test Results: Weber Genesis II E-210
What We Like
Easy to clean
Cooks well and evenly
What We Don't Like
Fixed wheels with front handle make it less maneuverable
Our testers thought this model was a “great grill for any home” because it was durable, easy to clean, and didn’t take up too much space. Its performance was also a plus: “I love how this grill can cook a perfect medium rare steak without much issue,” noted one reviewer. However, our testers thought that this grill could be slightly more maneuverable: “If it was all caster [wheels], holding the handle in front makes sense as I can move the grill in any direction I want,” one reviewer observed. “However, with the large fixed wheels, it is more of a pushcart — the handle needs to be on the side to move the grill better.”
Test Results: Weber Q-1400 Electric Grill
What We Like
Easy to use
Cooks food well
What We Don't Like
Frustrating to clean
If you’re not looking for a charcoal or gas grill, our testers thought this model was a great alternative. “It's compact and easy to use once it's heated up,” reported one reviewer, who cooked burgers and hotdogs and was satisfied with their quality. However, one of our testers found that the grill was a bit difficult to clean. Pro tip: Make sure you have a metal grill brush to make the process go a bit more smoothly.