The 11 Best Portable Charcoal Grill Models to Take On Your Next Trip!

August 3, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The top lightweight charcoal grill is the Cuisinart CCG190RB. This grill is portable and lightweight but also has a good cooking space, grills well, and is easy to assemble.

As I have started camping more, I have been increasing my collection of portable grills. Since nothing quite beats the taste of charcoal BBQ, I decided to begin my search for the top charcoal model.

In this post, I will introduce you to the best portable charcoal grill and have included some other top picks as well. I have also added a buyer's guide!

best portable charcoal grill

Comparison of the Best Portable Charcoal Grills

Product Type Cooking Surface Area (Sq. Inches) Dimensions (Inches) Weight (lbs) More Information
Cuisinart CCG190RB Portable Charcoal Grill
Cuisinart CCG190RB
Kettle Grill 196 14 x 14 x 15 4.2 Check Price
Weber Jumbo Joe
Weber Jumbo Joe
Kettle Grill 240 19.75 x 20.5 x 19.75 18 Buy on Amazon
Fire Sense 60508
Fire Sense 60508
Brazier Grill 205.3 17.53 x 11.82 x 14.18 7.28 Buy on Amazon
Weber Go Anywhere
Weber Go Anywhere
Square Grill 160 11.5 x 19.5 x 15 13.45 Buy on Amazon
Char-Griller Akorn Jr.
Char-Griller Akorn Jr.
Kamado Grill 153 20 x 20 x 26 33 Buy on Amazon
Masterbuilt MB20040702
Masterbuilt MB20040702
Cart Style Grill 200 18.8 x 44.6 x 36.2 52 Buy on Amazon
Oklahoma Joes Rambler
Oklahoma Joes Rambler
Square Grill 218 19.5 x 26.8 x 21.8 48.5 Buy on Amazon
Cusimax Charcoal Grill
Cusimax Charcoal Grill
Square Grill 220 19.7 x 15.3 x 7.3 10.38 Buy on Amazon
JJ Jujin Charcoal Grill
JJ Jujin Charcoal Grill
Barrel Grill 150 14.6 x 16.5 x 11.8 7.92 Buy on Amazon
Everdure Cube Portable Charcoal Grill
Everdure Cube Portable Charcoal Grill
Cube 115 13.67 x 16.73 x 9.05 15.4 Buy on Amazon
Mueller Charcoal Grill
Mueller Charcoal Grill
Brazier 166 8 x 23.6 x 13 4.2 Buy on Amazon

The Best Portable Charcoal Grills

Here are the top portable charcoal grills for you to choose from:

1. Cuisinart CCG190RB

Best Overall

Specs

  • Type: Kettle Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 196 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 14 x 14 x 15 inches 
  • Weight: 4.2lbs

Good Cooking Space

Though this may be a portable charcoal grill, the grill grates have a decent circumference. Due to this, you can actually for one or two people at a time. This portable grill also gives you the opportunity to cook a bit more food at once so you get done with your grilling a little faster.

Portable and Lightweight

As far as portable grills go, this is one of the most compact and lightweight options around. So, you will have no problem packing up this grill and taking it around with you.

The only thing that you should be aware of is that this grill can be a little flimsy. As a result, you have to be careful with how you handle it to avoid denting or damaging it in any way.

Good Grilling Performance

I was quite impressed with the grilling performance of this grill. One of the things that I really liked was that I was able to get it to a fairly high temperature, allowing me to grill a greater variety of foods. It was also pretty cool that the temperature remained pretty steady throughout the cook.

Two Men Enjoying Barbecue Party with Cuisinart Portable Grill

Easy to Assemble

One of the reasons that this portable charcoal grill works so well as an option for a first-time user is because it is so simple to assemble. There are only a few components that need to be put together. In fact, if you want to dismantle the grill to transport it more easily, you will be able to put it together without a fuss at your destination.

Pros

  • Good cooking space
  • Compact and portable
  • Great grilling performance
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • A bit flimsy

2. Weber Jumbo Joe

Runner Up

Specs 

  • Type: Kettle Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 240 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 19.75 x 20.5 x 19.75 inches 
  • Weight: 18lbs

Larger Cooking Area

Want a portable charcoal grill but don't want to compromise on the amount of food you can cook at once? Well, then this is the portable grill for you. You should be able to grill around eight burgers on the cooking grate at one time which means that it works well for a couple or steaks or mid-sized cuts of meat. This charcoal grill can be used for a small family.

Good Temperature Control

One of the things that I was pleasantly surprised with by this portable charcoal grill was the temperature control. The vents make it really easy to get this small charcoal grill to precisely the temperature that you want.

In fact, not only is this portable charcoal grill excellent for grilling, I was also able to use it for smoking as well. There is a bit more space on the charcoal grate to allow for a few pieces of wood.

Now, the only downside is that the wires on the charcoal grate are a bit far apart. So, you need to make sure that the charcoal pieces that you place in your charcoal chimney are on the larger side. This will prevent them slipping through.

Durable

One of the reasons that this grill has landed so high on the best portable grills list is because of its durability. The porcelain enameled bowl and lid hold up well under high heat and the heavy gauge steel cooking grates are great and aren't prone to warping.

If you are looking for a good investment with your portable grill, then this is the one that I would suggest.

Good Design

The cool thing with this portable charcoal grill is that it has the same design of a full size grill. This means that it offers a better cooking performance. At the same time, the grill is perfectly scaled down so that it is portable and lightweight.

The other thing that I really like about the design of this grill is the Tuck n Carry lid lock. This allows you to rest the lid at an angle rather than placing it on the ground.

Pros

  • Large cooking area
  • Good temperature control
  • Durable
  • Good design

Cons

  • Wires on charcoal grate too far apart

3. Fire Sense 60508 Notebook Grill

Specs 

  • Type: Brazier Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 205.3 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 17.53 x 11.82 x 14.18 inches 
  • Weight: 7.28lbs

Foldable Design

When it comes to a truly great portable grill, it isn't just about having smaller dimensions and being lightweight. You also need a portable charcoal grill that is easy to carry and transport. And, this is just what you get with this portable grill.

This is because you can fold this portable charcoal grill completely flat! So, this is actually a great option if you are looking for a grill that you can take with you if you need to hike to your campgrounds.

Good Cooking Space

While this is a portable charcoal grill that can be folded flat, when it is folded out, it actually offers you quite a bit of cooking space with its cooking grates. Due to this, you can easily cook for two people or even more. Or, you can simply cook larger batches of food if you like.

Good Heat Control and Distribution

One of the features that I really liked with this grill was the temperature control. Not only was I able to get the temperature up to you where I needed it, but this hot grill had an even temperature throughout the cooking grate. Due to this, I was able to cook all my food at an even rate.

My only complaint is regarding the fact that the ash and embers do leak out the bottom of the grill. So, you have to be careful to not place it on plastic or grass. I found that placing a steel container or even aluminum foil did the trick.

Sausages and Burger Patty on the Fire Sense Notebook Grill

Easy to Clean

This is a really simple portable charcoal grill to clean up. Since there are so few parts, it is largely a matter of emptying out the grill and cleaning the grill grates. You are then good to go.

Pros

  • Foldable design
  • Good cooking space
  • Good heat distribution
  • Easy clean up

Cons

  • Ash and embers can escape through the bottom

4. Weber Go Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Best for Durability

Specs

  • Type: Square Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 160 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 19.5 x 15 inches 
  • Weight: 13.45lbs

Good Quality Materials

Even with the best portable grills, durability can sometimes be an issue. This is because a lot of brands will focus on portability, using lightweight materials to make it easier for you to carry the grill around.

Luckily, with this portable charcoal grill, you get the best of both worlds. The basin and the lid are made from porcelain enameled material while the cooking grates and the legs are made from plated steel. So, if you are looking for a portable grill to last you a while, this is the model to go with.

Functional Design

I also really like the functional design of the grill. The dimensions of the grill make it easier for you to cook larger batches of food at once.

The other cool thing is that the lid lock ensures that you can completely close up the lid when it is in transit, allowing you to secure the grill with ease.

Portable

Also, don't let the durability of this portable charcoal grill fool you, it is actually quite easy to carry around. Not only is it fairly lightweight, but there are plenty of handles, allowing you to get a good grip on the grill.

As an added bonus, the foldable legs can be positioned so that they are affixed to the body of the grill. This creates a streamline design for you to carry around.

Good Temperature Control

If you are serious about your grilling and grill marks, then you will love how easy it is control the temperature with this model. You use the vents on the top of the grill to adjust the temperature with ease and precision.

I do have to warn you that these dampers do get pretty hot during the cook. So, you will need to use gloves or a prongs to adjust them as necessary.

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Functional design
  • Portable
  • Good temperature control

Cons

  • Vents get hot

5. Char-Griller Akorn Jr.

Best Kamado Grill

Specs

  • Type: Kamado Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 153 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 26 inches 
  • Weight: 33lbs

Great Temperature Range

Many portable charcoal grills aren't known for a versatile temperature range but this kamado grill changes the game. With this portable charcoal grill, you can set the temperature anywhere from 225 to 700F. As a result, this charcoal grill is ideal for smoking and grilling, allowing you to cook a greater variety of food.

Excellent Temperature Control

The other thing that I really like about this portable charcoal grill is that it offers such great temperature management. This is due to the fact that you can adjust the vents precisely to get the exact temperature that you want.

And, even if you are someone who is new to using such a portable charcoal grill, you will be able to pick up this method without any issue at all.

Good Design

This portable charcoal grill really does have a great design. This is because it can be setup on stable and sturdy frame. Due to this, you don't have to worry about the grill budging at all during the cook. This is especially true if you decided to set up your grill on grass or other uneven surfaces.

The only issue with this grill is that it is pretty heavy. So, you may need to have someone else help you carry it to your desired location.

Red Char-Griller Akorn Jr Portable Grill

Easy to Clean

Another perk with this portable charcoal grill is that it is quite easy to clean. This is all thanks to the removable ash pan that allows you to get rid of any debris quickly and efficiently.

The cast iron grates are also quite high quality and this makes it easy to clean off any food residue from the surface.

Pros

  • Great temperature range
  • Easy temp control
  • Good design
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Heavy

6. Masterbuilt MB20040722 Portable Charcoal

Best Cart Grill

Specs

  • Type: Cart Style Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 200 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 18.8 x 44.6 x 36.2 inches 
  • Weight: 52lbs

Easy to Use

One of the best things about this Masterbuilt portable charcoal grill is that it is easy to use. This is all due to the fact that it is battery powered, allowing you to adjust the temperature with a dial. So, if you don't have the time or patience to master how to adjust vents, then this is the portable charcoal grill for you. This grill also works if you want a fuss-free grilling experience.

Good Temperature Range

As I mentioned, you adjust the temperature on this Masterbuilt portable charcoal grill with the help of a dial. Now, this dial can be adjusted from around 250 to 500F. This range works well for both grilling as well as smoking. So, you can cook a greater variety of foods on the same grill.

My biggest complaint regarding this grill is that the temperature does fluctuate a bit. As a result, you have to keep a close watch on the grill to make sure that your food isn't overcooking.

Good for Long Cooks

This Masterbuilt portable charcoal grill has a pretty unique feature - it has a charcoal hopper. This holds around 1.5lbs of charcoal, which amounts to about 4 hours of cook time. Considering that this is a portable charcoal grill, I have to say that this is pretty impressive and a great option for anyone who wants to have uninterrupted longer cooks.

Portable Design

Despite this grill charcoal grill being on the heavier side, this grill is actually quite portable. This is because it can be folded down and then wheeled around. Due to this, you don't really have to brunt the heft of the grill unless it needs to be loaded into or out of your vehicle.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good temperature range
  • Good for long cooks
  • Portable design

Cons

  • Some temperature fluctuations

7. Oklahoma Joe's Rambler Tabletop

Specs

  • Type: Square Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 218 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 26.8 x 21.8 inches 
  • Weight: 48.5lbs

Durable

Considering that this grill is from a well-known brand, it isn't too surprising that it is so well-built. Still, it is nice to have a portable charcoal grill that is durable as it means it is a good investment. Even if you use this grill frequently, you can have peace of mind knowing that it is going to last.

The only downside to this durability is that this grill is heavier than most others. So, if you don't have a lot of upper body strength, you are going to need some help.

Good Cooking Area

As far as the best portable charcoal grills go, this one has a pretty good sized cooking area for you. You should have no trouble cooking for two or more people or just for cooking a larger batch of food.

Good Temperature Management

One of my favorite things about this grill is that there are so many different ways for you to manage the temperature.

One thing that you can do is to lower or raise the position of the grate. In doing so, you can bring the food closer or further away from the heat. This is good for slow cooking food as well as searing food if needed.

The other thing that you can do is to change the airflow with the vents. This will determine how hot the flames will be. It is also a great way to alter the temperature more precisely.

Person Carrying Oklahoma Joe's Portable Grill

Easy to Clean

A the entire ash tray can be removed from the grill, it is really easy to clean up this grill. Also, the grill grates are really hefty but have a non-stick surface to them that makes them a breeze to clean off.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Good cooking surface
  • Great temperature management
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Heavy

8. Cusimax Charcoal Grill

Specs

  • Type: Square Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 220 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 15.3 x 7.3 inches 
  • Weight: 10.38lbs

Good Cooking Area

For a smaller charcoal grill, this model does have a pretty good cooking area for you to grill on. So, if you are cooking for two or more people, you should be able to do it fairly easily.

In addition to the main cooking area, there is also a warming rack. I found this is a really nice additional feature to have on this grill. It was great for keeping food warm and toasting hamburger buns.

Portable Design

I found that the design of this charcoal grill to be pretty great. To start with, you have the folding feet. This helps to make the grill more streamlined and easier to carry. You also have a great handle that makes it easier to grip.

And, to ensure that nothing falls out, the lid can be completely locked for secure travel.

The only issue with this grill is that it isn't the sturdiest grill. So, you do have to be careful about how you handle it.

Easy to Clean

Due to the design of this portable grill, you will find it pretty easy to clean. The charcoal ash can easily be dumped out. Also, I found the cooking grates to be pretty non-stick, allowing you to wash off the food debris rather quickly.

Pros

  • Good cooking space
  • Portable design
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Not very stable

9. JJ Jujin Charcoal Grill

Specs

  • Type: Barrel Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 150 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 14.6 x 16.5 x 11.8 inches 
  • Weight: 7.92lbs

Good for Grilling and Smoking

Although this grill may be on the smaller side, it is still pretty versatile. As it is equipped with a lid and vents, you can actually use it for both grilling as well as smoking. Due to this, you can cook a wider variety of meats in a greater number of ways.

Good Temperature Management

One of the cool things about this grill is that in addition to the vents, it also has a smokestack. This means that you have greater control over the airflow coming into the grill. In turn, you will find it a lot easier to control the temperature on this grill. It is also this feature that allows you to go very low or very high with the temperature.

Burning Charcoal on the Grill

Portable Design

I really like how compact this grill is. Although the legs can't be folded, it is small enough and light enough to be carried around as it is. The latch for the grill makes things secure and the handle allows you to carry the grill around without any problem.

The only real problem with this grill is that it isn't very sturdy. Due to this, you have to be careful with how you use it and how you carry it around.

Pros

  • Good for grilling and smoking
  • Good temp management
  • Portable design

Cons

  • Not very sturdy

10. Everdure Cube Portable Charcoal Grill

Specs 

  • Type: Cube Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 115 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 13.67 x 16.73 x 9.05 inches 
  • Weight: 15.4lbs

Compact Design

I really love the design of this cube. For one thing, it is very aesthetically pleasing. This is a cube that will look equally good in a stylish kitchen as it will at the park.

I also love how compact it is. This, along with the fact that it has handles makes it really easy to transport this grill around.

Good Grilling Experience

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at what a good little grill this was. It gets hot enough for food like steaks and veggies without any issue.

That being said, this grill would have really benefitted from a cover. This is because it doesn't get nearly as hot without one, making it a little less versatile.

Easy to Clean

As everything can be taken apart with this grill, it is incredibly easy to clean it completely. Also, all the materials in the grill are rather simple to clean. So, there is no hassle involved in keeping this grill clean.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Good grilling experience
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Lacks lid to improve grilling experience

11. Mueller Portable Charcoal Grill

Specs

  • Type: Brazier Grill
  • Cooking Surface Area: 166 sq. inches 
  • Dimensions: 8 x 23.6 x 13 inches 
  • Weight: 4.2lbs

Portable Design

If you are looking for a really lightweight grill, then this model should be at the top of your list. It barely weighs anything and it is a breeze to carry. Best of all, you can handle it by yourself without any help at all.

As an added bonus, the legs can be folded so that it becomes very streamlined and comfortable to carry and transport.

Good Heat Distribution

I was surprised to discover that the heat distribution on this grill is actually quite great. It heats up rather quickly and the temperature is constant from one side of the grill to the other.

This means that your food will cook at a more even rate.

Easy to Assemble

I love how easy it is to assemble this grill. In fact, you can disassemble it and then reassemble it once you get to your destination as well. All in all, this should only take you a few minutes to put together. This certainly cuts on the hassle of working with this grill.

The only issue is that this grill is a bit flimsy so you have to be careful when setting it up or carrying it around.

Mueller Portable Charcoal Grill

Pros

  • Portable design
  • Good heat distribution
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • A bit flimsy

How to Choose the Right Portable Charcoal Grill for You?

Here are the top tips that you should pay attention to when choosing between the top portable charcoal grills:

What Type of Charcoal Grill Do You Want?

The top types of portable charcoal grills include kettle grills, brazier grills, square grills, kamado or ceramic grills, and cart style grills.

Brazier grills are great if you want a bare bones grill. This is because this is essentially an open grate grill. These are simple to set up and tend to be quite lightweight as well. The only downside is that they aren't too great for maintaining precise grilling temperatures unlike with traditional or gas grills.

Then you have the square grill, it is essentially the brazier grill with a lid. This grill is also lightweight and simple to use. And, if there are vents on the lids, you have greater control over the temperature.

Still, these aren't the very best options if you want a superior grilling performance.

Then you have the kettle grills. These work well if you want to be able to control the temperature a bit more accurately. Just keep in mind that the very small grills can have limited cooking space on them.

After this, you have the kamado or ceramic grills. These are known for superior heat retention and they can get quite hot as well. This makes them ideal for both grilling as well as smoking. The only issue with these grills is that despite their smaller size, they can actually be pretty heavy.

Last, but not least, you have the cart style grills. The problem with most portable grills is that they are really low to the ground. This means that you either have to find a higher surface to set them on or you have to grill while squatting. This can make your experience a bit more uncomfortable.

With cart style portable charcoal grills, though, the grills come with a simple stand. This way, it is a lot easier to grill your food. The only issue is that these charcoal grills aren't quite as compact as the other designs.

Determine the Quality

With portable charcoal grills, you often get what you pay for. So, if you are choosing a cheaper design, you should be aware that it is made with lower quality materials.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with that but it can mean that your portable grill will not last as long as you would like it to. It may be prone to warping, damage, or rust.

If you want your portable charcoal grill to last you a while, I would suggest looking for one with good materials. This includes a porcelain enameled basin or bowl. Also, look for high quality grates such as cast iron grates.

Consider the Dimensions and the Cooking Space

Now, choosing a portable charcoal grill isn't as simple as picking out the smallest grill available. This is because the smallest grill will inevitably have the smallest cooking area as well.

Now, if it is just you and you only want to grill small quantities of food at once, then this isn't too much of an issue. However, if you are cooking for two or more people or want to cook larger batches, then this will not do.

You may also want to think about the types of foods that you want to cook. Burgers and hot dogs don't really take up too much space. And, steaks tend to lie pretty flat so they can be used on just about any grill as well.

If you are planning on cooking larger or thicker cuts of meat, then make sure that there is enough of space between the grate and the top of the lid on the inside.

When considering the size of your portable grill, make sure to consider the length, width, and the height. This is especially important if you have a smaller car. Check that you can fit the grill into the transport or storage space as required.

Hot Outdoor Grilling Using Portable Charcoal Grill

Check Out the Weight

This is another instance where you don't have to go with the lightest grill. Rather, you should think about how you will use and carry your grill.

First off, what is your upper body strength like and will you be getting help from anyone else to carry the grill? If you are fairly strong or will have a partner to help you carry the grill, then there really isn't much of a problem here.

You can choose a slightly heavier grill. The same goes for any grill that you are planning on only carrying in your car.

The only time you will really need to look for the lightest weight possible is if you are carrying the grill alone or if you will need to cover quite a distance with it.

Examine the Portability Features

A lot of people assume that portability just has to do with the size and the weight of the grill but this isn't always the case.

The portability of a grill is also determined by the design.

This is why you should start by looking at the handles. How many are there? How are they positioned? Are they placed in a way that makes it easy for you to carry the grill?

I would also take a look at the legs. Can they be folded? If so, are they folded in a way that makes it more comfortable for you to carry the grill.

If you want to find the ultimate portable charcoal grill, I would suggest considering a foldable design. You can find ones that can fold completely flat.

Look for Temperature Control Features

Just because you are looking for the most portable charcoal grill doesn't mean that this is the only aspect that you are interested in. You also need to make sure that this is a well functioning charcoal grill.

Now, with brazier and square grills, you don't have much say in temperature control. However, with these charcoal grills, I would look for even heat distribution across the grates. This will ensure that your food cooks at an even rate.

When it comes to ceramic and kettle grills, then you should check out the vents. Can you open and close them in a way that you can get a more precise adjustment for your grill? If so, this is good news as it allows you to cook more delicate foods without worrying about overcooking them.

In general, I would use some kind of hood thermometer or food thermometer to keep track of the rate of cooking. It can make all the difference to your grilling experience.

The Final Verdict

The best portable charcoal grill is the Cuisinart grill. It is lightweight and portable, is simple to assemble, has a good cooking surface area, and has a great grilling performance to boot.

If I were you, I would check out the other best portable charcoal grills on this list as well. They each have their own features and advantages. So, you can never tell which one will be the best option for you until you check them all out!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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