​Comparison Table

Summer is on its way, and that means it's time to start thinking about great barbecue and the best charcoal grill to achieve that. Ribs, chicken, steaks, bratwurst, kebobs, brisket….sorry, we're getting a little carried away. In a minute we're going to be salivating. We better get down to business: what's the best charcoal grill for making all this magic happen?

Charcoal Grill FAQ

1. What Is a Charcoal Grill?

2. What Is Charcoal?

3. How Is a Charcoal Grill Different from a Gas Grill?

4. What Should I Look for in the Best Charcoal Grill?

grilling meat on charcoal griller

image via Pexels

How We Reviewed

There are more grills out there than you can shake a stick at, so to find the best charcoal grill we had to have a rubric for grading. In this review we're looking at the key features of each grill, the pros and cons, the price, and what kind of warranty you can expect to get.

Overall Price Range

The cheapest grills we looked at run just under $​. The most expensive are between $​$ and $​$$. Generally, the higher price is getting you more durability and a larger size; though in a few cases the price is based solely on availability.

What We Reviewed

  • Royal Gourmet 24 Inch Charcoal Grill
  • Weber Original Kettle 18 Inch Charcoal Grill
  • Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker
  • Blackstone 3-in-1 Kabob Charcoal Grill
  • BBQ Grill Charcoal Barbecue Outdoor
  • Royal Gourmet 30" Charcoal Grill
  • PK Grills PK Original Outdoor Charcoal Grill & Smoker
  • Kingsford GR1031-014984 Barrel Charcoal Grill
  • Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill
  • Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill
person grilling meat and sausages

image via Pexels

 

Royal Gourmet 24 Inch Charcoal Grill

Royal Gourmet CD1824A Charcoal Grill,BBQ Outdoor Picnic, Camping,...
  • Total 598 Square inches of cooking surface, 393 Square inches for cooking grates, porcelain Enamel steel wiring, 205...
  • Easy-lift charcoal pan adjustment system for heat control and cooking flexibility. Innovative charcoal pan with holes...
  • Front door with cool-touch handle design, make easy access for stoking coals or adding charcoals during cooking. Also...

Features

When you first look at the Royal Gourmet, you might think it's fairly featureless. It doesn't have many special gimmicks; but that's ok. The Royal Gourmet feature is QUALITY. This grill is made of exceptionally durable materials. The lid and welds are strong and won't be leaking your heat out all over the place.

The two side folding tables come in either solid metal (sturdy and easy to clean) or wooden slats (solid and aesthetically pleasing). You can lock the charcoal pan at any of six different heights, which lets you control the sear on those perfect steaks.

Pros

  • Excellent construction
  • Convenient front access door
  • Adjustable charcoal pan
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Ash pan can dump on you if you're not careful
  • No rotisserie connection
  • Can't double as a smoker

 

Price $

 

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

Royal Gourmet will give you a pretty industry-standard, one-year warranty.


Weber Original Kettle 18 Inch Charcoal Grill

Sale
Weber 441001 Grilling, 35" H x 23" W x 18.5" L, Black
  • Holds up to nine burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • One-Touch cleaning system provides hassle-free ash cleanup
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel

Features

Weber produces some of the best charcoal grills around, and their 18-inch grill is a nice balance between size and portability. When we say “portability,” we're not talking about taking this thing camping (that's a different kind of grill entirely). We are talking about taking it all over your yard or in and out of the garage with ease.

This is unadorned, inexpensive, and perfect for limited-space cooking (like on that “patio” you've got off your apartment.) The nylon lid handle will keep you from burning your fingers, and the legs are secured well to the body of the grill.

Pros

  • Very reliable
  • Inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Legendary customer service

Cons

  • Small cooking area
  • Doesn't make an effective smoker
  • Thermometer isn't very accurate

Price $

 

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon

Warranty

Weber offers a ten-year warranty on the box and lid, a five-year warranty on all plastic parts, and a two-year warranty on anything else.

Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker

Sale
Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker, Black
  • Assembling easily, adopt new process,the paint on the burn box won't flake.total 800 sq inches cooking surface, 438 sq...
  • Combination offset smoker, good for smoker and heating, side door for easy adding charcoal, air vent grants better air...
  • Heavy duty lid, with professional thermometer, big stack and cool-touch spring handle. Adjustable damper for better air...

Features

Our next contender for best charcoal grill is another offering from Royal Gourmet. Once again, you can see the quality as soon as you look at this thing. It's made of durable materials and is meant to last.

This one comes with an offset smoker, and that makes it an amazingly versatile, compact smoker/grill combo that's well worth your attention. It won't take up too much space, but you can still get 20 hamburgers on it at once.

Pros

  • Nicely sized
  • Good price
  • Excellent quality
  • Combo smoker and grill

Cons

  • Shelf is quite small
  • Some users complain of flaking paint

Price $

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

Royal offers a one-year warranty on their product.


Blackstone 3-​In-1 Kabob Charcoal Grill

Blackstone 3-in-1 Kabob Charcoal Grill - Barbecue - Smoker - With...
  • 3 UNITS IN ONE - The Kabob delivers three unique cooking experiences including the traditional barbecue, a motorized...
  • BUILT IN THERMOMETER - Monitor temperatures inside with the built in thermometer. Powder-coated steel frame with...
  • DURABLE - The professional grade black powder coated finish is designed to withstand incredibly high temperatures and...

Features

The name should be a giveaway about the cool feature that makes this grill stand apart: it has a motorized kebab spinner so your kebabs (or attempts at recreating a shawarma cone) will be evenly cooked.

The Blackstone also functions as a grill and a smoker. It's not the most beautiful looking thing out there (let's just be honest here) but the functionality more than makes up for it. It can handle a lot of heat, lasts a long time, and has a certain rustic charm you might come to love.

Pros

  • Three cooking types in one!
  • Inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Unique kabob rotating system

Cons

  • Smoker portion doesn't work as well as others
  • Tricky to put together
  • Getting hard to find

Price $$

 

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

This one only has a three-month warranty, which is a disappointment.

BBQ Grill Charcoal Barbecue Outdoor

BBQ Grill Charcoal Barbecue Outdoor Pit Patio Backyard Home Meat...
  • ♥『EASY ASSEMBLE』: This BBQ Grill designed in minimalist European and American style. The BBQ Grill can be...
  • ♥『More Secure』: This features a protective fire screen lid to prevent sparks and burning embers from escaping....
  • ♥『Multi-Purpose』:This BBQ grills is perfect for use in your backyard, outdoor entertaining, bonfire pit, RV trips,...

Features

This is a very inexpensive model if you're looking for a combo smoker/grill that will just do the job. It's got wheels: good. It's got a fire screen lid: even better. It's very stable, which we like, and the adjustable vent works well.

You can also use wood in this one, and it's big enough that you could fit a rotisserie on it if you wanted. Be forewarned, however, that the metal is pretty thin, and it doesn't work nearly as well as a smoker as it does as a grill.

Pros

  • Works well as a grill
  • Very stable and easy to move

Cons

  • Not a very good smoker
  • Thin metal isn't very durable
  • Extremely expensive for quality
  • No warranty

Price $$$

 

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

Sadly, we weren't even able to determine who makes this grill exactly, and there appears to be no warranty.

Royal Gourmet 30" Charcoal Grill

Royal Gourmet CD2030 Charcoal Grill Large 30", Outdoor Barbeque,...
  • Total 780 sq. in. of porcelain enamel iron wiring cooking surface, 490 sq. in. primary cooking grates, plus 205 sq. in....
  • Front access door for tending fire and charcoal with minimum heat loss.
  • Adjustable height fire pan allows you to raise or lower charcoal pan to 6 different levels for fine-tuning temperature...

Features

If you read the review of the Royal Gourmet 24” above then you'll know the basics about this one. It's a similar model but larger, so that you end up with 787 square inches of cooking surface. The cooking grates are covered porcelain for quick cleanup and a long life.

The charcoal pan features special holes that help everything burn efficiently, and there's a nifty access door that will let you stoke the fire without having to expose your food to the open air. We were also impressed with how accurate the thermometer was compared to other brands.

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Plenty of working space
  • Great thermometer

Cons

  • Some reports of grill arriving damaged
  • Slightly unwieldy size for smaller spaces

Price $$ 

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

This grill comes with a one-year warranty that's standard in the industry.

PK Grills PK Original Outdoor Charcoal Grill & Smoker

PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X Original PK Grill & Smoker Grill Smoker, Silver
  • A charcoal grill and smoker - pks unique capsule shape and 4 vents make it easy to grill hot and fast or low and slow.
  • Cast aluminum construction - aluminum is rust-proof, durable, lightweight and conducts heat 4x more efficiently than...
  • 10-Year - buy with confidence. Pk cast aluminum charcoal grills are covered against rust, burnout or breakage for a full...

Features

If you're looking for smoker that will still be around long after the zombies have taken over--a grill you can accidentally run over and still expect to work--you want this one. There's a kind of cult following of PK Grills, and once you own one you'll understand what all the hubbub is about.

The durability is second to none, and the grill design is based on a 1950s design that WORKS. This thing holds heat, has awesome airflow control, and will still be around long after your Weber is toast. This grill may get you to consistent temps that no other charcoal grill is capable of reaching.

Pros

  • Incredibly durable
  • Excellent temperature control
  • Versatile
  • Works as a smoker

Cons

  • Small cooking space
  • Some may not prefer the old-fashioned look

Price $$$

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

PK stands behind their grills with a 10-year warranty against burnout, rust, or breakage.

Kingsford GR1031-014984 Barrel Charcoal Grill

Kingsford GR1031-014984 Barrel Charcoal Grill, 30-Inch
  • 793 sq.in. cooking area
  • Cast iron cooking grate
  • Expand metal side shelves and bottom rack

Features

The best part about this Kingsford is the enormous cooking surface. You can easily fit 35 burgers on here at one timee. The Kingsford also looks pleasing and will be an asset to any backyard.

Kingsford packages a special high-end thermometer with their grill that will let you get precise control of your grilling. This grill also works as a smoker and seasoner, and the durable steel construction will last you a while.

Pros

  • Priced well
  • Plenty of cooking surface
  • Very precise thermometer
  • Durable

Cons

  • Few bells and whistles
  • Difficult to put together
  • Temperature control can be tricky

Price $$ 

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

Kingsford offers a one-year warranty on their grills.

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
  • 314 square inches of primary cooking space, warming rack 133 square inches for a total of 447 square inches
  • Assembled Dimensions: 45" L x 31" W x 47" H | Weight: 97.0 lb
  • Insulated design means more heat uses less charcoal and less airflow means insulated heat for juicy meat and folding...

Features

This is a popular grill on Amazon available in three colors and featuring a space-age look that will complement the modern home. It has decent amount of cooking space, and the design is made to keep heat in and preserve your charcoal.

There's nothing about this grill that stands out as unique, but it is definitely a serviceable and quality item. The cooking surfaces are cast iron, the body is thick steel, the wheels make it easy to move, and there are lots of nice touches you'll appreciate.

Pros

  • Solid grill for smoking and grilling
  • Easily reaches high temps
  • Very efficient

Cons

  • Thermometer is not accurate
  • Air controls don't regulate temperatures well

Price $$$

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

You get a one-year warranty on this grill, provided you have the original receipt.

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill, 22.5 Inch
  • Charcoal kettle grill with a 360- square inch total cooking surface.
  • 22.5-inch diameter porcelain-coated cooking grate keeps food on top and prevents flare-ups.
  • Hinged lid with mounted temperature gauge for ease of operation and temperature monitoring.

Features

This grill looks a lot like a Weber grill: a classic grill design. That's where the similarities end, however, since Kettleman has managed to create something that cooks with amazing consistency while not flaring up. It's their infrared tech that makes this possible.

This isn't the biggest grill on the market, but it will do for an average size family barbecue. Our favorite part of this grill is the way the grate is designed to keep the charcoal away from your food while still letting smoky deliciousness seep right through.

Pros

  • Very efficient
  • Heats evenly
  • No flareups

Cons

  • Infrared system has to be cleaned frequently
  • Awkward temperature control

Price $$ 

Where to Buy

This can be found in Amazon.

Warranty

Kettleman offers a 10-year warranty on the box and lid, a five-year warranty for the ash pan, and a two-year warranty on everything else.

The Verdict

The best charcoal grill is the one that fits your budget, space, and cooking expertise. It's a personal decision, but if you asked us which was the best charcoal grill for our money, we would go for the PK Original every time. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways, and that's true here.

If you want the best charcoal grill for a struck budget, then we would have to tell you to run with Weber. They have a good reputation for a reason, and while you might be able to find a better grill out there, you won't find better customer service.

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