The Weber Spirit II E-210 2-Burner Liquid Propane Grill was the overall winner in our testers' book because of its sturdy construction, storage space, and reliability. Looking for a budget-friendly option? Check out the Weber Original Kettle 18-Inch Charcoal Grill, which has long been a favorite with grillers.
Bigger isn't always better when it comes to your grill. Whether you live in an apartment or just don't grill that often, there are plenty of reasons you might prefer a grill that's on the smaller side, and the good news is that you can find one that performs just as well as its full-size counterparts.
As you shop for a small grill, you'll want to think about whether you prefer a tabletop or freestanding unit, the type of grill you prefer, and if you want it to be portable. You may also want to look at how much cooking space the grill offers, as this can impact your ability to cook for a crowd.
With those factors in mind, here are the best small grills that deliver big flavor.
Best Overall: Weber Spirit II E-210 2-Burner Liquid Propane Grill
Flavorizer bars create smoky flavor
Folding side tables
Propane tank scale isn't always accurate
Pricey for just two burners
Who else recommends it? Saveur also picked the Weber Spirit II E-210.
What do buyers say? 16,500+ Wayfair reviewers rated this product 4.7 stars.
Weber has been a popular brand of grills for generations, for good reason. They’re well-made, reliable, and look good on the deck or in the backyard. This Spirit-series grill has two burners, Weber’s signature "flavorizer" bars that vaporize food drippings to create flavorful smoke, and a total of 450 square inches of cooking space. The open cart makes it easy to stash supplies below the grill, while six tool hooks keep grill brushes, tongs, and spatulas easily at hand.
This propane grill has two large wheels that make it simple to reposition when needed and two sturdy legs that keep it from accidentally rolling during use. When space is at a premium, the left side table folds down and then flips back up easily when you need space for condiments and plates.
Price at time of publish: $499
Fuel Type: Liquid Propane | Dimensions: 44.5 x 48 x 27 inches | Burners: 2 | Cooking Area: 450 square inches | BTU: 26,500
Best Indoor/Outdoor: George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
Large enough to cook for a crowd
Nonstick grill plate is easy to clean
Can be used indoors or out
Heat control can get spattered with grease
Removing grill from base could be easier
Best known for its line of countertop contact grills, the George Foreman company also manufactures other grills, such as this innovative electric pedestal model that can be used indoors and outdoors. It’s great for cooking on the balcony when the weather is nice, but you can also use it inside when it starts to rain. The temperature control gives you a choice of five settings, and for added versatility, the grill can be removed from the stand for countertop operation.
Our tester found that this did a nice job with basics, such as burgers and sausages, producing excellent grill marks. It also did surprisingly well cooking a frozen pizza, turning out a crisp bottom crust and properly melted cheesy surface. With juicy foods, the fat and drippings drained through the strategically placed holes in the grill surface and landed in the drip tray. The only downside was that some grease spattered out the sides during high-heat cooking, which made the control dial a little greasy and required a little extra countertop cleaning.
Though this has a smaller footprint, it still provides you with 240 square inches of cooking space on its nonstick grates. The grill plate is removable for easier cleaning, and it can even be tossed in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $139
Fuel Type: Electric | Dimensions: 22 x 18 x 35 inches | Cooking Area: 240 square inches | Watts: 1,600
"This grill does a fine job with basics like burgers and sausages, producing nice grill marks. It also did a surprisingly good job cooking a frozen pizza." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Portable: Weber Q 1400 Electric Grill
Durable and easy to transport
Cast iron cooking grates help retain heat
Doesn't display temperature
Long preheat time
While cooking over a fire can certainly be appealing, using an electric grill has many benefits. For one thing, there’s no need for charcoal or gas tanks that need to be replaced, and you don't have to worry about live fire. Plus, if you purchase a small electric grill like this one, you can take it on the road and use it on vacation—or really anywhere you have electricity. You just really shouldn't use it inside, as it produces quite a bit of smoke.
The Weber Q-1400 has a total of 189 square inches of cooking space and a 1,560-watt electric heating element that heats efficiently. The grates are porcelain-enameled cast iron, so you’ll get great grill marks. After cooking veggie shish kebabs, hanger steak, and marinated chicken breast for a backyard barbecue, our tester confirmed that the grill marks are remarkable and said the food tasted wonderful, but did miss the true smoky flavor you can only get from a charcoal grill.
The lid and body of this grill are aluminum and the frame is glass-reinforced nylon, reducing the weight to make it easier to move (also making it rust-proof). A removable catch pan makes cleaning easy when cooking is done. However, it only has a 6-foot cord, so you’ll need to use it fairly close to an outlet.
Price at time of publish: $329
Fuel Type: Electric | Dimensions: 14.5 x 27 x 16.5 inches | Cooking Area: 189 square inches | Watts: 1,560
"We were super pleased with these grates, as they gave us drool-worthy sear marks during different grill sessions." — Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester
Best Infrared: Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill
Adjustable charcoal grate
Easy to clean
No side tables
Hard to wheel around
Char-Broil has updated the standard charcoal grill design with infrared cooking grates that heat evenly and create more heat with less fuel. This grill has 360 square inches of cooking space on its porcelain-enameled steel grates, which conveniently resist rust, and the large vent on the lid helps to regulate the temperature during cooking. For even more control, the charcoal grate is adjustable, so you can cook food closer or further from the heat source.
This infrared grill has two wheels that make it easy to move into the perfect spot for grilling, and there’s no need to look for a place to set the lid down since it’s attached to the grill with a hinge. The lid latches closed for storage or when moving the grill, and a handy temperature gauge makes it simple to monitor the internal temperature at a glance. Even cleanup is easier with this grill, since the ash bowl slides in and out easily.
Price at time of publish: $239.50
Fuel Type: Charcoal | Dimensions: 26 x 39 x 26 inches | Cooking Area: 360 square inches
Best Pellet Grill: Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Control Portable Wood Pellet Grill
Lightweight and compact
Portable power options
Learning curve on temperature interface
Some design quirks
Pellet grills tend to be large and expensive, but this budget-friendly option has a smaller footprint, and it's Wi-Fi enabled. It boasts many desirable features that you’d typically find in larger grills, like a thermal sensor that constantly monitors grill temperature, as well as a digital controller with Wi-Fi that can connect to an app on your iOS or Android phone.
This pellet grill is also portable, so when you want to store it or take it on the road, the legs fold up and serve as handles. Since it’s built for travel, you can plug the grill into a standard electric outlet, but it also comes with adapters for other power options—you even can run it on 12V on the road. As far as storage, the peaked lid allows you to cook taller foods with the lid in place, and a wire side rack with tool hooks gives you space for sauces and tools.
Our tester said this grill turned out delicious burgers, brats, and more, but that it occasionally struggled with pellets not feeding properly. It relies on gravity to feed the pellets down into the auger, and at times, the pellets didn't drop in—especially when low. One solution is to always keep the 8-pound hopper full and constantly monitor it to make sure all is functioning as expected. The bug also minimizes the benefit of the Wi-Fi/app capability because being able to control the smoker from anywhere doesn't help if the pellets aren't feeding into it.
Price at time of publish: $379
Fuel Type: Wood pellets | Dimensions: 34 x 23 x 31.75 inches | Cooking Area: 219 square inches | Hopper size: 9 pounds
"Friends at our tailgate raved about the deeper flavors and light smoke ring effect enjoyed even with shorter cooking times." – Justin Park, Product Tester
Best Budget: Weber Original Kettle 18-Inch Charcoal Grill
Simple, easy-to-use design
One-touch cleaning system
Lid hangs on side of grill
Lid handle can get hot
A backyard staple for many years, the Weber Original Kettle Grill is practically an icon in the grilling world. Its shape is designed to hold and circulate heat, while the no-frills design makes it simple to use. Just adjust the vents to control the heat, and drop more charcoal through the grates below the handles. This round grill has 240 square inches of cooking space on a plated steel cooking grate, and the lid can be hung on the side of the grill when it’s time to add or remove food, so there’s no need to find a place to set it down.
This Weber grill has two wheels that make it easy to roll it onto the perfect place for grilling and roll it back into storage when grilling season is over, and the one-touch cleaning system brushes the ash out of the kettle and into the catcher when cooking is done for convenient cleaning. The ash catcher below the grill gets the job done, but it can be a little messy if a strong wind passes through.
Price at time of publish: $119
Fuel Type: Charcoal | Dimensions: 36 x 18.5 x 23 inches | Cooking Area: 240 square inches
Best Propane Grill: Char-Broil 463673519 Performance Series 2-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill
Large cooking surface with warming rack
Folding side shelves
Locking caster wheels
Issues with ignition
Doesn't get as hot as larger grills
This compact two-burner grill provides more cooking space that you’d guess, with 300 square inches on the main cooking grate and an extra 100 square inches on the swing-away rack—ideal for keeping food warm, heating buns, or gently slow-cooking foods. The two metal side shelves give you plenty of space for dishes, sauces, and condiments, and they fold down when not needed so the grill takes less space in storage or on a small patio. Plus, the closed cabinet provides even more space for storing tools and supplies out of sight.
This grill has four casters that make it easy to move around; two of the casters lock so the grill won’t roll away if it’s accidentally bumped. The lid is stainless steel for an upscale look, and it features a temperature gauge to make it simple to check the internal temperature.
Price at time of publish: $310
Fuel Type: Liquid Propane | Dimensions: 24.5 x 43 x 44 inches | Burners: 2 | Cooking Area: 400 square inches | BTU: 24,000
Best for Camping: Texsport Heavy Duty Over Fire Camp Grill
Folds for easy transport
Grate can warp
Legs could be a bit taller
Paint burns off
Made for rugged camping, this grill has legs that fold under to make it easily portable. The simple style straddles a campfire, so there’s no need to bring along charcoal, propane, or other fuels, and there’s no need to watch a separate fire for cooking.
You can cook directly on the surface of this grill, but it can also hold a Dutch oven, frying pan, or coffee pot over the hot fire. It comes in two sizes, with cooking surfaces of either 16 x 12 inches or 24 x 16 inches, and when not in use for cooking, it can as a small table to keep gear off the ground.
Price at time of publish: $25
Fuel Type: Open fire | Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 6.5 inches | Cooking Area: 192 square inches
Best Kamado: Char-Griller E06614 Charcoal Grill
Excellent heat retention
Can be used for smoking
Small cooking area
Thermometer isn't always accurate
Kamado might not be the first thing you’d think of when it comes to small grills, but this kamado is small enough to be portable, whether you're bringing it to a tailgate party or to the neighbor’s yard. It has a 14-inch grate that offers a 155-square-inch cooking area and many of the same features as full-size kamado grills.
Made from 22-gauge steel, with a porcelain-coated interior and a powder-coated exterior, this Char-Griller model is sturdy enough for regular use, but it weighs just 33 pounds so it’s truly portable. The grill has top and bottom air dampers to help control the temperature and an ash pan that’s easy to empty when cooking is done. There are side handles that make it easier to move from place to place and legs that keep it stable on the ground or on a table, and it's just 26 inches tall and 20 inches wide, so it stores compactly when not in use.
Price at time of publish: $168
Fuel Type: Charcoal | Dimensions: 26 x 20 x 20 inches | Cooking Area: 155 square inches
What to Look for in a Small Grill
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.
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.
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.
How much charcoal is needed for a small grill?
There are two ways to decide how much charcoal you need for a small grill. If your grill has a chimney, you’ll want to fill it about one quarter full for lighter foods that cook quickly, such as fish, and 50 to 75 percent full for heavier and thicker foods, like steaks. If it doesn’t have a chimney, a good rule of thumb is about thirty briquettes. This is about half of the quantity you’d use for a larger, standard size grill.
What can you cook on a small grill?
Small grills are, of course, best for smaller foods, but you can grill plenty of things on them. Burgers, kebabs, pieces of chicken, sliced vegetables, sausages, pieces of fruit, miniature pizzas, and small cedar planks of seafood should all work well. Avoid trying to grill food for more than four people or attempting to grill large batches of meat. Indirect grilling is possible, but may prove challenging.
How do you maximize your space on a small grill?
First, be sure that you’re using the appropriate tools to handle your food, such as quality grill tongs that have sufficient length, so that you can maneuver items around easily. Additionally, once precooked foods like sausages and hot dogs are seared, they can be placed on top of one another to continue heating through. Lastly, you can purchase an additional grate for your grill so that you can cook a second batch of food quickly after the first.
How do you keep a small grill lit?
You keep a small grill lit with similar steps as a larger one. Always use dry charcoal, stack them as high as is viable for the grill space, and continue to add more coals well before the current ones go out. A grill full of old ash from previous charcoal will inhibit the ability for charcoal to stay lit, so clean your grill after each use. Also, utilize the dampers at the bottom and the top of the grill, and keep them open enough. Additional oxygen can help keep the fire going.
How do you season a small grill?
You season a small grill similarly to a larger one. First, while the grill is off, use a damp cloth to wipe down the interior of the grill, removing any residue leftover from manufacturing. Next, use oil, cooking spray, or shortening to coat all the interior surfaces of the grill. Then, pour in charcoal and light it, closing the lid, but keeping the vents open. Let the grill stay on for at least an hour, feeding it new charcoal as needed, and then allow the charcoal to burn out. Once cooled, the interior should appear darker, which is the seasoning coating.
Is a small grill better for frequent meals?
If you’re going to be using a grill frequently to cook your meals, you may find that there are advantages to using a smaller grill. For one thing, you will use less charcoal for a charcoal grill and less propane for a gas grill because you’re heating a smaller surface. Also, you will have less surface area to clean, and since grills should be cleaned after every use, a smaller grill will save you cleaning time in the long run. If you’re cooking for one or two people, a small grill for frequent meals is a better choice. However, if you have a large family or regularly grill with friends, a small grill won’t be the right choice no matter how often you use it.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie met her first grill as a child, when the neighbor introduced her to the wonders of grilled burgers and hot dogs. Since then, she graduated to owning her own grills, from simple charcoal grills to fancy gas models, dedicated pellet grills for pizza, and indoor electric grills. Even with all of that, she’s still investigating new grills and grilling technology, just in case she needs to fill another bit of space in the backyard.
Ariane Resnick, who updated this article, is a special diet chef, certified nutritionist, and bestselling author. She has more than 20 years experience in the food and writing spaces and believes in a joy-filled approach to health and wellness.
The Best Small Gas Grills in 2022. Saveur. https://www.saveur.com/shop/best-small-gas-grills/