8 Best Charcoal Grills (2023) Find the Right Pick for You

Devon Ferguson
Published by Devon Ferguson
Last Updated On: November 14, 2023

As a long-time carnivore, there is little that I love more than the taste of freshly grilled meats cooked over a charcoal flame. Charcoal grills offer that smoky flavor and texture that you just can't replicate with gas grills or electric grills.

That being said, finding the best charcoal grill for your needs is no easy feat.

Because there are so many factors to consider, I have been testing charcoal grills for years now and have put together this review to help you find the right charcoal grill for your backyard cookouts.

The Best Charcoal Grills

The 8 Best Charcoal Grill Models

1

1 - Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22" (Best Overall)

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22
Performance
4.8
Durability
4.8
Convenience
5.0
Price
4.8
Overall Score
4.9

The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill is one of the most popular models on the market.

This traditional kettle-style charcoal grill has 363 square inches of grill surface and a porcelain-enameled lid for excellent heat retention.

I was amazed to see the heat shield on the cover, which ensured the handle on the lid stayed cool regardless of the grill’s temperature inside.

The air vents on the kettle grill provide superior temperature control, so your food is cooked well each time.

The rust-resistant aluminum damper makes it easy to adjust the temperature as needed, and you can also use the included lid hook to quickly move the lid out of the way when checking your food.

This Weber kettle grill also has a hassle-free cleaning system with an ashtray and a removable hinged grate, making cleanup a breeze.

I also appreciate that the hinge on the grate lets me add more charcoal briquettes in the middle of my grilling session.

Pros
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Hinged cooking grate
  • One-touch cleaning system
  • Kettle grills cook 13 burgers at a time
Cons
  • The lid vent control doesn't have heat protection
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Quick Facts:

  • Cooking Area : 363 sq in
  • Material : Plated steel
  • Dimensions : 39.5"H x 22.5"W x 27"D
2

2 - Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18" (Cheapest Option)

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18
Performance
4.5
Durability
4.8
Convenience
5.0
Price
5.0
Overall Score
4.8

The Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill is the perfect size for a small backyard or patio.

This Weber grill has an 18-inch cooking grate with 240 square inches of cooking space — enough to cook nine burgers at once.

The porcelain-enameled lid helps retain heat and prevent flare-ups, while air vents make it easy to control the temperature.

This portable charcoal grill is designed to travel well, weighing under 18 pounds, so it's great for camping trips and tailgates.

It also has a removable ash pan that makes cleanup easy, so you can spend more time enjoying the food than cleaning up afterward.

One of my favorite things about the Jumbo Joe portable grill is that it has a lid-locking system that makes it easy to carry or transport.

This mechanism also acts as a lid holder, so I never have to put the lid on the ground while cooking.

Pros
  • Lightweight, portable charcoal grill design
  • Removable ash catcher
  • Lid locking system
Cons
  • No integrated thermometer or warming rack
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Quick Facts:

  • Cooking Area : 240 sq in
  • Material : Plated steel cooking grate
  • Dimensions : 19.7"H x 19.7"W x 20.5"D
3

3 - 18.5" Classic Pit Barrel Cooker (Leading Grill and Smoker Combo)

18.5 Classic Pit Barrel Cooker
Performance
5.0
Durability
4.8
Convenience
4.7
Price
4.2
Overall Score
4.7

This Pit Barrel Cooker Company product is a combination charcoal grill and smoker that helps to make grilling more straightforward than ever.

It has an 18.5-inch diameter, making it the perfect size for small patios and balconies while offering plenty of room for larger cuts of meat or several burgers side by side.

The cooker comes with eight high-quality stainless steel hanging hooks to suspend your meat for even cooking.

A charcoal basket and grate provide consistent heat distribution when you want to shift from smoking to grilling.

I am impressed by how much food I can cook at once with this device.

The cooker can easily accommodate two turkeys, two briskets, or eight racks of ribs, meaning that I can cook enough for a party without constantly moving meat on and off the charcoal grill.

Pros
  • Grills and smokes
  • Large capacity in a compact size
  • Comes with 10 oz of pit rub
Cons
  • No wheels for easy moving
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Quick Facts:

  • Cooking Area : 260 sq in
  • Material : Steel
  • Dimensions : 36”x 25”
4

4 - PK Grills PK 360 Charcoal Grill and Smoker (Premier High-End Grill)

PK Grills PK 360 Charcoal Grill and Smoker
Performance
4.5
Durability
5.0
Convenience
4.5
Price
3.5
Overall Score
4.4

PK Grills has created an excellent combination of a charcoal grill and a smoker in one device.

The PK 360 boasts a total cooking space of 360 square inches and features two convenient side shelves and a hinged lid with a vent, and a built-in thermometer.

The four cast aluminum corners make this device incredibly durable, while the airtight seal ensures that smoke and high heat are trapped inside.

The charcoal grill heats up four times faster than a steel grill while distributing that heat evenly, so you can start cooking faster than with other grills.

The grill has four adjustable vents and a thermometer built into the lid so you can monitor the temperature while cooking. The vents allow for two-zone heating - direct heat for the grill and indirect heat for the smoker.

My favorite feature of the PK 360 is that the grill is detachable from the base stand. This allows for easy storage and transport, making it an excellent option for tailgating or camping trips.

Pros
  • Sturdy and rustproof
  • Hot grilling or low and slow smoking
  • Adjustable input and output vents
Cons
  • Expensive compared to other charcoal grills
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Quick Facts:

  • Cooking Area : 360 sq in
  • Material : cast aluminum/stainless steel
  • Dimensions : 42.9” x 54.2” x 26.9”
5

5 - Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D Heavy-Duty Stainless Charcoal Grill (Best Heavy-Duty)

Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D Heavy-Duty Stainless Charcoal Grill
Performance
4.5
Durability
5.0
Convenience
4.5
Price
4.5
Overall Score
4.6

The Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D Heavy Duty Stainless Charcoal Grill is a solid choice for those looking for a large and cart-style charcoal grill.

With 686 square inches of cooking space, this cart-style grill can accommodate enough burgers and hot dogs for your family or the neighborhood.

The heavy-duty stainless-steel construction ensures that this cart-style charcoal grill will last for years, while the two side shelves and bottom rack provide extra workspace.

The flue of the stainless steel smoke stack, while the porcelain-enameled, cast-iron grill space heats evenly and quickly.

I like that this grill comes with an adjustable charcoal tray. The wire charcoal tray ensures that I can fine-tune the temperature for either searing or slow cooking.

This grill also has a temperature gauge on the lid, which makes it easy to monitor and adjust the heat.

Pros
  • Double lid holds in heat
  • Wheels make it easy to move
  • A movable door makes it simple to load charcoal
Cons
  • Clean out tray should be deeper
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Quick Facts:

  • Cooking Area : 686 sq in
  • Material : stainless steel
  • Dimensions : 55.79” x 28.43” x 50.98”
6

6 - Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker (Top Pick Digital Grill)

Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker
Performance
4.2
Durability
4.5
Convenience
4.7
Price
4.0
Overall Score
4.4

The Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker is a high-tech charcoal grill that combines convenience with performance.

This grill features two vertically stacked cooking grates, which provide 560 sq. inches of grilling space for efficient cooking. The upper provides indirect cooking while you can sear on the bottom one.

The impressive gravity-fed hopper will hold 10 pounds of charcoal, ensuring you get a long cook and plenty of smoke flavor.

The device also comes with an easy-to-read digital temperature and timer display, which makes it easy to monitor the cooking process.

The digital controls on the display allow you to set your desired temperature and time, then let the grill do the work.

The fan speed changes automatically to maintain the proper temperature and smoke level, ensuring that your food comes out perfectly cooked.

I appreciate that you can access all the grill's controls on a smart device via WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity.

This makes it easy to adjust the settings or monitor the grill while talking to the family or entertaining guests.

Pros
  • Reversible cooking grates for smoking or searing
  • Built-in meat probe and thermometer
  • Easy start and rapid heating
Cons
  • WiFi app can be finicky
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Quick Facts:

  • Cooking Area : 560 sq in
  • Material : stainless steel
  • Dimensions : 24.65” x 54.13” x 51.97”
7

7 - Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe I (Top-Notch Ceramic Grill)

Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe I
Performance
4.7
Durability
4.8
Convenience
4.2
Price
3.2
Overall Score
4.2

Kamado Joe is known for its innovative ceramic grills, and the KJ23RH Classic Joe I is no exception.

The company has upgraded its standard grill with some modern features. The double-thick walls and airtight seal help retain the heat and moisture, which is perfect for both slow cooking and searing.

The KJ23RH also comes with a "Divide & Conquer" flexible cooking system, which allows you to cook multiple types of food simultaneously but at different temperatures.

The grill grates are divided in half and can be adjusted to varying heights over the hot coals.

One of my favorite new features of these kamado grills is the slide-out ash drawer. This makes cleanup easy as I no longer have to remove all the inner parts of the grill to clean out the ashes.

I can dump the ashes as needed without interrupting my grilling session.

Pros
  • Smoke at 225F or sear at 750F
  • The top vent provides excellent temperature management
  • Easy to assemble
Cons
  • Heavy and awkward to move
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Quick Facts:

  • Cooking Area : 250 sq in
  • Material : stainless steel
  • Dimensions : 18” x 18.11” x 48”
8

8 - Burch Barrel BBQ Smoker Grill & Fire Pit Combo V2 (Best Value)

Burch Barrel BBQ Smoker Grill & Fire Pit Combo V2
Performance
4.5
Durability
4.5
Convenience
4.8
Price
3.0
Overall Score
4.2

The Burch Barrel BBQ Smoker Grill & Fire Pit Combo V2 uniquely combines a smoker, grill, and wood or charcoal fire pit.

It has the unusual design of an adjustable tripod system from which the smoker hangs vertically.

Using a clever series of linkages, you can use the pulley system to lift the lid or reload the charcoal.

The smoker has nine different temperature settings for exceptional control over your cooking.

You can easily adjust the temperature by raising the lid or lowering the coals. And with the temperature gauge at the top of the cover, you can ensure your meal cooks just right.

I think this grill is especially convenient for outdoor entertaining. The ability to turn the grill into a fire pit is a creative and fun way to keep guests warm and close to the grill.

The atmosphere is relaxed, and the fire's heat is subtle enough to keep guests comfortable.

Pros
  • Clutch action legs keep the grill level
  • The lid raises and lowers without ever removing
  • Smoker vents allow for fine temperature adjustment
Cons
  • Expensive compared to other options
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Quick Facts:

  • Cooking Area : 254 sq in
  • Material : stainless steel
  • Tripod Height : 81" to 84"
  • Tripod Footprint : 60” circle

"I love the culture of grilling. It creates an atmosphere that is festive but casual."
- Bobby Flay, Chef

Buyer's Guide

An image of a guy looking to buy the best charcoal grill

When you decide to buy a charcoal grill, there are a few things to consider before you make your purchase.

1. Size

Your required grill size will depend on how many people you plan to serve. A small, portable grill model should be sufficient if you're only cooking for a few people.

However, you may need a larger model if you need more hot coals for neighborhood gatherings. When in doubt, choosing a bigger model provides more flexibility.

2. Temperature Control

A close up image of a person adjusting the temperature of a charcoal grill

The ability to control the temperature of your grill is essential for properly cooking food. Look for a model with adjustable air vents or a top vent to give you more precise temperature control.

The better models will also have built-in thermometers or digital readouts that make it easier to monitor the cooking temperature.

And some models even have "auto-start" or WIFI features that makes lighting and maintaining your charcoal easier.

3. Price

Charcoal grills can range in price from under $100 for a small model to over $1,000 for larger or more feature-packed models.

Consider how much you are willing to spend and the features you need when making your selection.

The good news is there are charcoal grills available for every budget, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

Read More: Best Charcoal Grills Under $500

4. Construction

When buying a charcoal grill, ensure the construction is high quality. The body can come in several materials, from porcelain enameled steel to ceramic to stainless steel.

Each has its strengths and weaknesses, so choose the metal that best suits your needs. The legs should also be durable to support the weight of the grill when full.

5. Style of Grill

When it comes to charcoal grills, there are several styles to choose from.

Some models are built for convenience and portability, while others provide a more traditional setup with a larger cooking surface. Consider the type of grill that best meets your needs before making a purchase.

6. Fuel Options

Although we are talking about charcoal grills here, some models can burn charcoal and wood.

If you want the flexibility to switch between fuel sources, look for a model that allows for multiple options.

7. Grill Grates

A close up image of grill grates with meat on top

The grates of your charcoal grill can also vary. Some are made from metal, and some are porcelain-coated, each having advantages.

Further, some grills come with hinged grates that make it easy to add or remove charcoal while grilling.

Others have partial grates that can be adjusted to increase or decrease the cooking surface.

8. Accessories

Some charcoal grills come with accessories like hooks for your grill brush or other tools, side tables, wheels, and covers. A model that includes these items can make cooking more efficient and convenient.

Even if your grill doesn't come with everything you want, you can see if there are accessories you can purchase separately.

9. Ease of Cleaning

In the old days, you had to scrub your charcoal grill after every use. But now, some models have removable ashtrays and other accessories that make cleanup easy, such as the abovementioned grill brush.

A model with features like this will allow you to clean up quickly after cooking.

10. Special Features

Technology has made charcoal grills more efficient and easier to use.

The best charcoal grills have features like automatic ignition, digital temperature controls, and embedded meat probes, which can improve your grilling experience.

Who Should Use a Charcoal Grill?

An image of a person using a charcoal grill

People who want to add a smokier flavor to their food should use charcoal grills. They are also ideal for those looking for more of an outdoor experience for the backyard barbecue.

These charcoal grills require less maintenance than gas grills or electric models and can even be portable.

Charcoal grills are an excellent option for those who take their grilling seriously and want to get the best flavor out of their food.

Related Articles:

Who Should Not Use a Charcoal Grill?

Those who want to minimize the time spent maintaining the grill should not use a charcoal grill. Charcoal grills require more effort when it comes to preheating, adding fuel, and managing temperature.

So, if you're looking for convenience, this might not be your best choice. Look to gas or electric grill models instead.

FAQs

Is It Worth Buying a Charcoal Grill?

Yes, it is worth buying a charcoal grill if you love the taste of traditional, smoky grilled food. Plus, they are usually more affordable than gas grills or pellet grills and require less maintenance.

How Long Does It Take to Heat a Charcoal Grill?

The amount of time it takes to heat a charcoal grill can vary depending on the type of grill as well as the amount of charcoal you use. Generally, it takes anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes for most models to reach their ideal temperature.

What Is the Difference Between a Charcoal Grill and a Gas Grill?

The main difference between a charcoal grill and a gas grill is the fuel source. Charcoal grills use briquette or lump charcoal to provide heat, while gas grills use propane or natural gas.

What Is The Best Charcoal Grill for You?

Charcoal grills add a unique flavor to your meals that other cooking methods can't quite match.

After evaluating the best charcoal grill on the market, the 22" Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill proved to be my top pick. It has the perfect balance of simplicity and quality, making it ideal for beginners and seasoned grill masters alike.

These Weber charcoal grills have a large cooking surface, a rust-resistant design, and an easy ash cleanout system. Their air vents provide consistent temperature control while its hinged lid prevents flare-ups.

User reviews rave about how well this grill retains heat at an affordable price. The Original Kettle deserves a close look if you are in the market for a new grill.

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22" (Best Overall)

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Hinged cooking grate
  • One-touch cleaning system
  • Kettle grills cook 13 burgers at a time
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of December
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