Not everyone has the budget or space in their backyard for a big charcoal grill or outdoor wood-fired pizza oven. Our definitive list of the best small portable charcoal grills is for people who are on the lookout for a barbecue grill they can take anywhere and don’t want to compromise on quality.
Check our top choices for the best outdoor charcoal grills in 2018 here.
Most importantly, many customers look for a small portable charcoal grill to enjoy the unique flavor a charcoal grill adds to any food.
Best of all, the majority of our top choices of the best small portable charcoal grills cost less than $100 without compromising on quality.
No matter if you need a small charcoal grill for your next camping trip, picnic at the beach or park, tailgate party or for the home patio, you’ll find plenty of great choices in our post.
Comparison Chart Best Portable Charcoal Grills 2018
Let’s start off with a comparison chart where you can see details of the weight of the grill, the size of the cooking surface and any additional features at a glance.
Best Small Portable Charcoal Grills 2018 – Our Top Choices
Weber 1211001 Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Portable Grill
The material and finish of the Jumbo Joe are identical to the Weber Performer grill, porcelain-enameled bowl, and lid as well as a generous cooking surface of 240 square inches.
The Weber Jumbo Joe is an ideal choice for someone who needs a bigger cooking grate than the average portable grill offers.
The lid holder is perfect to protect the grill from the wind. The ventilation is great thanks to the vents in the lid as well as the bottom vent.
The Weber Jumbo Joe charcoal grill is not foldable and doesn’t have a cover. A reviewer on Amazon suggested using the gray vinyl cover for the 18.5″; turn the cover upside down, put the Jumbo Joe in and roll the cover up like a lunch bag. Here is the link.
We like that the lid holder can be locked into place to secure the lid for easy transportation.
The Weber Jumbo Joe ticks all the boxes for a quality, reliable and sturdy portable charcoal grill with a generous cooking surface.
Weber Smokey Joe Premium (Gold)14-Inch Portable Grill
Both Weber’s are hugely popular amongst buyers with pros and cons.
What they have in common is the identical size, and high quality of material Weber is famous for. The Smokey Joe Gold has a lockable lid; the Silver doesn’t.
The big difference between both is the location of the vents. The Silver has the vent in the bottom (plus one in the lid), and the Gold has the vents on the side next to the handle.
Pros and Cons of having the vents on the bottom (Silver)
Better air ventilation and therefore even burning of the coals which result in better grilling experience. Some users complained that the charcoal ashes clock the vent holes and ashes are falling through which makes the use a bit messy.
Pros and Cons of having the vents on the side (Gold)
No ashes are coming out and therefore cleaner. Some say the side vents provide better air ventilation but others have found that there is no air ventilation at all which means the charcoal doesn’t burn properly.
Overall, both Weber’s are one of the best small portable charcoal grills and are built to last.
There is a carry bag that needs to be purchased separately. Here is the link.
The price difference between both Smokey Joes is only around $10. You’ll get a 10-year limited warranty with your purchase.
The Lodge Preseasoned Charcoal grill is a rustic hibachi-style grill made from cast iron. ‘Hibachi’ is Japanese and means ‘fire bowl.’ It is basically an open container made from heatproof material so it can hold burning charcoal.
The Lodge Sportsman’s grill is a sturdy construction built to last. Cast iron is nearly indestructible, and this beauty can be passed on to the next generation of grilling enthusiasts.
It easy to assemble and the cooking grate offers a surface space of around 160 square inches.
With a weight of 32 lbs, this hibachi-style grill is not lightweight. Also, keep in mind to place the Lodge Sportsman on a heat resistant, sturdy surface because the cast ion legs will get hot as well.
The front flap doesn’t latch so be careful. There are two adjustable heights. The air ventilation can be regulated in the front by a cast iron temper.
Overall, this is a fantastic small portable outdoor grill that looks rustic and does a great job grilling all sorts of meat, fish, and vegetables.
Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
It is compact, weighs only 14.5 lbs and arrives ready-to-go right out of the box.
The cooking surface of 160 square inches is generous enough to grill two steaks at once or a few chicken drumsticks.
Even though the legs look a bit tiny, they are pretty sturdy and hold up well. The legs are secured with a clip and also hold the lid and bottom together when you are done barbecuing.
Extra tip: for easy cleaning, line the bottom of the tray with aluminum foil before adding the charcoal. Once you have finished grilling, just through the aluminum foil out together with the ashes.
By the way, the square shape of the Weber Go_Anywhere grill may suit some people better than the round shape of the Weber Smokey Joe.
It fits perfectly in the trunk of a car. For us, the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal grill is the ultimate portable charcoal grill.
Aicok Portable Smokeless Charcoal Grill, BBQ Grill
The charcoal fits into the small container that sits in the middle of the bowl. The outer layer doesn’t get hot, so it is even safe to use on a table with your guests being around. Everyone can get involved to put their favorite food on the cast iron grate.
To get the fire started, you’ll need to put some firestarter liquid on the plate in the bottom and light it. Next, place the container for the charcoal on top and fill with charcoal.
Lastly, the cast iron grilling surface goes on the top. It should be hot enough in around 5 to 10 minutes.
In the bottom of the Aicok is a battery operated fan (4 AA Batteries, not included) that you can regulate for air ventilation.
The whole grill (without fan compartment) is dishwasher safe.
You’ll get a carry bag with your purchase plus a 2-year warranty.
Overall, the Aicok grill is a unique, sturdy and quality small charcoal grill.
Quick Grill Medium: Original Folding Charcoal BBQ Grill
It folds down completely and comes with a nice carry bag. With a weight of only 4.5 lbs, the Quick Grill medium is truly lightweight.
The Quick Grill charcoal bbq grill is made from premium food grade stainless steel.
The grilling surface of around 140 square inches is big enough to grill hot dogs, hamburger patties, or two juicy steaks.
The only downside we could find is that the grill grate is not anchored to the body of the grill and therefore can move. So you have to be careful when turning the food.
For easy cleaning, line the bottom of the basket with aluminum foil.
Overall, the Quick Medium grill is a high-quality portable charcoal grill that is easy to assemble and folds down for storage and portability.
Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill
For our review, we are focusing on the portable charcoal grill feature only.
The Char-Griller Table Top grill is made of heavy-duty steel excluding the front handle which is wood.
The cooking grate is cast iron and provides a generous cooking surface of 250 square inches.
For excellent airflow, you’ll find two dampers/vents on both sides; one is higher up on the left side and a lower damper on the right-hand side.
With a weight of 40 lbs, it is not really lightweight but still portable enough to take this grill on your next camping trip.
Our favorite feature is the slide-out ash drawer for easy cleaning. Just perfect!
Overall, the Char-Griller Table Top is a sturdy, durable portable charcoal grill with generous cooking space. We do like the rusting design and look of it.
WolfWise Portable Foldable Charcoal BBQ Grill Stainless Steel
You don’t need to assemble anything; it’s all done already. To unfold the grill, just press the spring loading pins on both sides and you are done.
The cooking space of 124 square inches is quite small but big enough to grill food for up to two people.
We do like the practical carry bag that makes it so easy to take this grill anywhere, the beach, for a picnic, or camping.
The charcoal grate has an enamel coating. the whole construction is made of stainless steel and carbon crystal plate.
Overall, you have to be careful not too overload the grill with charcoal because of the small size but also to avoid the food from burning.
Also, the cooking space is quite small but should be ideal for one or two people.
If you are looking for a small, foldable, and truly portable charcoal grill that is easy to clean, then the WolfWise grill might be the right choice for you.
Here is another great example of a simple yet practical portable charcoal grill. The legs are foldable which makes this grill easy to carry and with only 2 pounds it is very lightweight.
Thanks to the thickened stainless steel housing, the grill is durable, won’t rust, and should last a while.
We would like to see a carry bag that would make it even better to take the grill to the next picnic or tailgate party.
The edges of the legs are a bit sharp and some customers feel that the wire mesh is a bit on the thin side.
Overall, this grill is lightweight, compact and offers cooking space big enough to cater for up to five people.
A carry bag would be the icing on the cake. Otherwise, this product is solid and suitable to grill in small spaces.
Best Small Portable Charcoal Grills 2018 – Summing It Up
We listed our top choices of the best small portable charcoal grills in no particular order. Every single one of these portable charcoal grills has their own unique features and benefits for you, the user.
Which one you would like depends on different things. and the questions you might like to ask yourself first.
Do you want a folding grill? Do you prefer a cast iron grill or stainless steel? How important is the size of the grilling surface? Do you want a lightweight grill or rather a heavier one?
We hope that our post will help you to make an informed decision. One thing is for sure, our best portable charcoal grills are great value for money, are durable and made with high-quality materials.
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