With so many grill manufacturers on the market, how do you know you’re getting the best portable grill for your money?
We’ve been trying and testing grills for a few years. We took eight of the most popular grills on the market, finding their pros, and cons, and ultimately, deciding on the best grill on our list.
8 Best Portable Grills
1 - Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
First on our list is the Weber Q2200 portable gas grill, and it offers 280 square inches of a cooking surface over cast iron cooking grates.
This grill delivers a total of 12,000 BTUs of power and can be connected to 16.4-ounce liquid propane canisters.
This tabletop grill features two side tables, giving the user extra space for preparation and grill management.
The Weber Q2200 features a removable catch pan and a push-button ignition, boosting overall usability and ease.
This propane grill is set within a cast aluminum body, and you will find a thermometer built into the lid.
While the cast iron cooking grate is ideal for retaining heat, we found it a little heavy.
- Features two side tables for extra prep space
- Cast iron grates, which are ideal for heat retention
- Removable catch pan and electric ignition
- Built-in thermometer
- The unit is a little heavy
2 - Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill
Next is the RoadTrip 285 portable gas-powered grill from Coleman, offering 20,000 BTUs per hour over 285 square inches of grilling space.
The cast-iron cooking grates can be interchanged for stove grates or a cast-iron griddle, which are ideal for creating grill marks.
The Coleman RoadTrip features electronic ignition and three independently heated zones across the grilling surface.
This allows you to control the heat distribution separately, which is perfect for indirect heat cooking.
The portable propane grill sits on quick-fold legs, which can be folded down and pushed around with the two wheels placed on the bottom of the stand.
The grill lid can be closed with a latch. However, we felt it was not strong enough to secure the lid properly.
- 20,000 BTUs per hour
- Grates can be swapped out for stove grates or griddles
- Three independent heat zones
- The lid latch isn’t secure enough
3 - Cuisinart CGG-180 Petit Gourmet Gas Grill
CGG-180 Petit Gourmet is a portable propane grill from Cuisinart, featuring a single burner that produces 5,500 BTUs per hour over a 160-square-inch cooking space.
The grill plates are porcelain-enameled, allowing heat to distribute evenly and efficiently.
The Petit Gourmet is ideal for small spaces while still providing enough grilling space for three to four people.
You can either use this grill as a tabletop or freestanding unit, thanks to the extendable legs that can be quickly packed away, allowing you to carry the grill briefcase-style.
However, we found the legs to be slightly unstable and challenging to fold.
- Ideal for small spaces
- Can be used as a tabletop or freestanding unit
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- Legs are a little unstable
4 - Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Grill and Smoke
Traeger is next on the list, with a model from their portable electric grills range - Ranger.
While you can grill on this unit, you can also smoke, roast, bake, and braise on it. You will find an additional iron griddle that provides you with 184 square inches of cooking space, as well as an 8lbs pellet hopper.
With the space to cook six burgers at once, this entire unit weighs only 60 lbs, making it ideal for grilling on the go.
This electric grill uses Advanced Grilling Logic that allows you to precisely measure the temperature, and the timer lets you know when to check your food.
This Traeger grill also includes a temperature probe. However, we did find it to be a little hit or miss when it came to accuracy.
- Six-foot power cord
- Porcelain-enameled cast-iron grates
- 184 square inches of cooking space
- Temperature probes can be hit or miss
5 - Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
Next on our list is the Weber Smokey Joe charcoal grill. This compact version of Weber’s best por grill is ideal if you have limited outdoor space, providing 147 square inches of a cooking surface over a stainless steel grate.
It features four air vents to help regulate the flow, plus an aluminum ash catcher that reduces clean-up.
This compact grill is big enough to fit ten skewers at once, making it a good choice for small families or those looking to throw small bbq parties.
The only downside we came across was that there are no handles on the stainless steel grate, making it a little difficult to move when hot.
- Very affordable
- 10-year warranty
- Cooking temperature is controlled by four vents
- No handle on the grill grates
6 - Blackstone Tabletop Griddle Grill
This Blackstone Tabletop Griddle features a 339-square-inch griddle, powered by 24,000 BTUs per hour. It is compact enough to take with you when camping, yet big enough to cook for a small party.
This grill has two ‘H’ burners, which can be individually adjusted, allowing you to cook food at high heat or low for slow cooking.
Blackstone also incorporated a grease management system into their gas-powered grill, meaning all grease will be conveniently collected inside a rear grease trap, resulting in a quick and easy clean-up.
We found the griddle to retain consistent heat; however, the temperature knob seemed a little flimsy and cheap.
- Fairly large cooking area
- Two burners which can be individually adjusted
- Grease management system
- Temperature knobs are a little flimsy
7 - NOMADIQ Portable Propane Grill
This propane grill from NomadiQ weighs only 12 pounds, making it ideal for grilling on the go. It is designed to be used as a tabletop grill and can be folded up to be carried briefcase-style.
This NomadiQ portable propane grill comes with two drip trays and 226-square-inch nonstick grates, which are dishwasher-safe and rust-resistant.
Since this grill has two individual grilling sides, you can control the temperature for each with 10,000 BTUs of power.
The entire unit is made from steel construction, finished with a powder coat. The only downside to this grill is that it doesn’t come with a lid, meaning it can be difficult to control the temperature.
- Weighs only 12 pounds
- Comes with two drip trays
- Grates are dishwasher safe
- No lid
8 - Everdure CUBE Portable Charcoal Grill
Last but not least is the Everdure CUBE portable charcoal-powered grill. It features 115 square inches of grilling surface, with an integrated storage tray and a bamboo cutting board.
The charcoal tray can be removed, and the porcelain enamel firebox is easy to clean.
The grill comes with a spatula and tongs, both made from brushed stainless steel, making it corrosion-resistant.
The integrated base plaque allows you to grill on any surface without worrying about damaging it.
We found the charcoal grill to be lightweight enough to transport anywhere while still providing enough grilling space.
- Comes with a bamboo cutting board and grilling tools
- Integrated storage tray
- Lightweight design
- A little pricey for the size
When searching for the best portable grill, there are a few things to consider to ensure you’re getting the best value for money.
The first thing you need to decide is what type of grill you’d like to get. While gas and charcoal grills are the most popular, you can also pick up portable electric grills and pellet grills.
1.1. Gas Grills
These are the most convenient out of all portable options. Typically, the best portable grills will be equipped with an electronic ignition system, also known as a push-button ignition, which will have your grill lit and ready to cook in minutes.
Controlling this grill is relatively easy since all you have to do is alter how much gas is going into the grill.
This means you will have fewer problems with flare-ups or your food not cooking well. You also don’t have to worry about discarding any ash or embers like you would with a charcoal-fueled grill.
“I can't grill vegetables, shellfish, or steaks without tongs. Don't bother with those long-handled grilling tongs normally found in the BBQ section of your home store. Get intimate with your grill and opt for the regular stainless steel tongs.”
- Bobby Flay, Chef
Portable gas grills also have the benefit of a cleaner carbon footprint. The gas burns cleaner than most, meaning less smoke will be produced, which is also a plus if you want to grill indoors .
However, the downside to gas-powered grills is that you typically won't get your grill hotter than a portable charcoal grill, and you also won’t be able to achieve that signature smoky flavor, which some grillers deem as a necessary part of BBQing.
You also worry about potentially running out of gas mid-grill; therefore, you will always have to have one or two cans handy, which isn’t great for portability.
1.2. Charcoal Grills
The best thing about charcoal portable grills is the signature smoky flavor they produce.
Grilling on a coal grill can also give off a more authentic BBQ atmosphere that most people value when it comes to cooking.
Using a charcoal-fueled grill will allow you to reach temperatures high enough to sear your meat, something that can rarely be done with a propane grill.
Charcoal tends to be a lot cheaper than propane, and it is usually easier to transport.
As long as you close the bag securely, you can simply throw them in your car seat and be ready to go.
While the smokiness of a charcoal-fueled grill can be a great aspect, it also has its downsides. If you’re creating a lot of smoke while grilling, it may cause some trouble depending on the environment you’re in. Not everyone wants to be breathing in smoke.
Grilling with charcoal can also be a lot messier. Charcoal briquettes can easily stain your hands and clothes, and you always have to ensure you throw ash away correctly to avoid any unwanted fires.
1.3. Electric Grills
An electric grill is somewhat similar to propane grills but more straightforward. These are easy to use; simply plug the grill in, turn it on, and get grilling.
That being said, to turn the grill on, you have to be plugged into a power source constantly.
So, if you’re on the beach, an electric grill becomes useless. When it comes to cooking performance, they also produce the least authentic flavor out of all the grills .
1.4. Pellet Grills
A pellet grill is in between gas and charcoal, giving you the great flavor that charcoal produces while also providing ease and control.
That being said, the best portable pellet grills tend to be a lot more expensive than other types of grills, and pellets can be harder to come across than charcoal.
The best grill will be constructed with high-quality materials.
If you want your grill to last you a long time, you’ll want to ensure it is durable enough to be moved around a lot, with the possibility of being knocked down during car rides.
Another factor you’ll want to consider is how lightweight the unit is.
Since your grill is designed to be used on the go, you won't want to be carrying around something that weighs 100 lbs.
Ideally, you’ll want a firebox made from cast aluminum. This gives you both durability and rust resistance while still being great at absorbing and reflecting high heat evenly.
Most grill grates are made from porcelain-coated cast iron, which, while heavy, does a great job at searing foods, retaining high heat, and helping food not to stick .
Stainless steel is also an option; however, the flavor it produces may not be satisfactory for some.
3. Ease of Use
As I mentioned, gas-powered grills are typically easier to use and more convenient compared to other grills.
Also, it is a lot easier to control the grill temperature, and you can light it quickly with a push of a button. When looking for a portable grill, keep an eye out for an electric ignition to save you from using a light or match to get your grill started.
Cooking on a coal grill takes practice to get the temperature, timing, and cooking method right.
This makes using it a little difficult, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. With a gas-powered grill, you typically don’t need a lot of experience to grill something up quickly.
Since portable models are smaller than regular grills, they will usually come without all the gadgets a full-sized grill would give you. This also makes them a lot easier to use since there aren’t many features to master.
Even though these grills are listed as portable, some are more portable than others. If you’re looking for the best portable grill for RV or camping, you usually won’t have any problems taking a standing grill with you.
However, if you don’t have a lot of space in your car or don’t have a car at all, you’ll be better off with a grill that you can fold up and carry briefcase-style.
The cooking area will also be something to consider. Typically, you won’t be getting many square inches of cooking space with a grill.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t grill a load of hot dogs or burgers; it’ll just take a little longer.
5. Heat Output
Another thing to consider when buying a grill is the heating elements. A portable grill will have a design set to reduce the risk of any flare-ups.
Flare-ups are created when the naked flame is exposed to any grease or oils that drip down from your grill grate. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also affect the food taste.
When it comes to the heat output itself, the type of grill you use will determine the heat. Charcoal-powered grills get a lot hotter compared to gas-powered grills; however, if you purchase one with independently powered burners, you can create different heat temperatures across your grill. This is perfect for searing and slow cooking.
Gas-powered grills use BTU (British Thermal Units) to measure output; however, a higher BTU doesn’t necessarily mean your grill will produce more heat.
Typically, you want each burner to produce 7,000 - 10,000 BTUs per hour. So, if you have a smaller grill, don’t worry too much about a high BTU .
When looking for a portable grill, the biggest problem seems to be how much fuel you should take with you.
The last thing you want is your propane to run out mid-grill, especially when you’re not at home.
However, taking heavy gas canisters with you also limits portability. If you’re going camping, a few sites will have gas tanks available for purchase, so that’s one way to tackle the problem.
Another way would be to take a charcoal model. Charcoal-powered grills are easier to find fuel for and are generally less heavy.
All you have to do is throw one or two bags in your car, making it a lot easier to transport and see how much fuel you are using.
Having a lid on your grill is essential for a few reasons. First, a portable grill is going to get moved around quite often.
Due to this, you’ll want to ensure all parts are securely kept inside the grill, especially if the grill folds. A portable grill will have a strong latch on its lid that will lock everything safely into place.
The lid also plays a very important role when it comes to heat control. Charcoal-powered grills use air vents to regulate airflow, so you also need to ensure they have enough vents situated in the right places.
What Is the Best Portable Grill for the Beach?
The best portable grills to use on the beach are compact enough and lightweight to carry. It will be difficult to drag a standing grill through the sand, so look for a grill that has extendable legs.
If you decide to take a tabletop grill, you will have to find a surface, such as a table, to place your grill on.
Beaches also tend to get windy, so have a grill with a wind guard if you don’t want to struggle with temperature.
How Much Charcoal Do You Need for Portable Grills?
How much charcoal you use all depends on the food you’re cooking, the size of your grill, and what temperatures you’re looking to hit.
Char-broil recommends using around 30 briquettes for portable grills, adding more depending on the weather conditions such as wind and rain .
How Do You Boil Water on a Portable Grill?
To boil water on a portable grill, you first need to ensure you’re using a pot with no wood or plastic.
Once you have your pot, simply place the water over the burner and turn the heat to high. If the lid fits, place it over the grill.
If you can’t close the lid, the process will take longer. However, it will eventually reach boiling point.
What Is Our Best Portable Grill?
All the grills reviewed here today are worthy of the best grill title.
That being said, our winner has to be the Weber Q 2200 Propane Grill, purely for the size of the cooking area, the total amount of BTUs, as well as the built-in thermometer and electric ignition.
We believe this is the best portable gas-powered grill due to the extra prep space with the foldable side tables, and although the porcelain-enamel grill grates make it heavier, it has impressive heat retention and is easy to clean.
Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
Our #1 Recommendation
- Features two side tables for extra prep space
- Cast iron grates, which are ideal for heat retention
- Removable catch pan and electric ignition
- Built-in thermometer