The Best Small Charcoal Grills

The 10 Best Small Charcoal Grills

The best small charcoal grills can transform your camping or tailgating experience. There’s nothing better than firing up the grill with friends and family and cooking a meal over the hot coal. The small size is a true bonus, making it easy to transport so you can pack it up and bring it anywhere from the park to the beach.

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Best Small Charcoal Grills

For many people, the idea of grilling conjures up images of large grills permanently installed in outdoor kitchens. However, small charcoal grills offer a number of advantages that make them ideal for everyday use.

Small charcoal grills are practical and convenient while allowing you to entertain in almost any environment. Charcoal also provides a more authentic way to add flavor to your BBQ that many grill masters and professional chefs believe to be superior for cooking.

For all of these reasons, small charcoal grills are an excellent choice for anyone who loves to grill. In this article, we will review the best portable charcoal grills. Enjoy easy grilling in a limited space with easy transport. Ready? Let’s go!

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Our Picks for Small Charcoal Grills

  1. Editor’s Choice: Pit Boss Pit Stop Portable Charcoal Grill
  2. Best Overall: Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 18″
  3. Best Luxury: PK Grills Charcoal BBQ Grill and Smoker Combo
  4. Best Small Budget: Fox Outfitters Folding Charcoal Grill
  5. Best for Beginners: Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill


Pit Boss Pit Stop Portable Charcoal Grill

Pit Boss Pit Stop

Ready to go anywhere you are, the Pit Boss Pit Stop Portable Charcoal Grill is a game changer for outdoor grilling. This grill combines practical size, ease of use, and portability without sacrificing the quality of the barbecue experience. Crafted with a durable stainless steel body and features a porcelain-coated steel cooking grid, the Pit Boss is built to last and ensures a quick and easy clean-up.

This portable charcoal grill is a cinch to set up and light, and the heat generated is surprisingly powerful for such a compact unit. The grilling surface is ideal for small gatherings, and the porcelain-coated steel cooking grid was a breeze to clean afterward. Plus, being able to choose from four colors adds a nice personal touch.

When compared to other portable charcoal grills on the market, the Pit Boss stands out due to its quality and features. It strikes a great balance between size and cooking power that many others fail to achieve. While some grills may offer a larger cooking surface, they often fall short in portability and ease of use.

The Pit Boss Portable Grill is perfect for those who love to enjoy a barbecue wherever they go. Whether you’re a camping enthusiast, tailgater, or just love a backyard cookout, this grill provides the portability and convenience you need.

What We Liked
  • Compact and extremely portable
  • Comes with a cover bag
  • Durable stainless steel body and a porcelain-coated steel cooking grid
  • Battery-operated fan control for straightforward charcoal lighting
  • Minimal assembly
What We Didn’t Like
  • While its compact size is great for portability, the cooking surface might be too small if you need to cook for a large group.
  • The fan control of the grill is battery-operated, so you’ll need to make sure you have batteries on hand, especially for longer grilling sessions.

All in all, the Pit Boss Pit Stop offers excellent value and performance. Its compact design, portability, and high-quality materials make it a worthwhile investment for barbecue lovers on the go. Considering its features and our positive experience with it, we highly recommend the Pit Boss Portable Grill for all your outdoor grilling needs.


Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 18″

Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 18&Quot;

The Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill is one of the best kettle grills on the market. This 18″ Weber kettle has a porcelain enameled coating that looks aesthetically pleasing and it’s also effective at retaining heat thanks to its snug-fitting lid. The porcelain enameled lid and bowl prevent rusting and peeling while providing consistent heat control that you can depend on.

We love the easy-to-use dampers to control airflow and heat output and the temperature gauge is also a nice touch. The plated steel grill grate is durable, easy to clean, and can hold 9 burgers at a time which is pretty impressive in the world of portable grills! This is a great grill that makes it easy for you to host backyard BBQ parties for all your friends.

One of the best things about this grill is its cleaning system. The one-touch mechanism helps move all the debris and ash into the ash catcher for a one-stop cleanup. Whether you are a seasoned expert or a beginner just getting started with charcoal grilling, this portable charcoal grill will serve you right.

What We Liked
  • Quick to assemble
  • Maintains internal temperature
  • One-touch cleaning system makes cleaning easy
  • Heat shield prevents handle from getting too hot
What We Didn’t Like
  • Catcher takes effort to remove

PK Grills Charcoal Grill & Smoker Combo

Pk Grills Charcoal Grill &Amp; Smoker Combo

The PK Grills Charcoal Grill & Smoker is a luxury charcoal grill shaped like a bullet capsule with a cast-aluminum cook chamber. It’s easy to set up right out of the box and is resistant to rust and the outdoor elements.

The best part about this grill is the four air vents that provide excellent airflow and cooking temperature control. It also has an attractive design with user-friendly features, making this unit quite versatile for both experienced and novice grill users.

The PK Grills Charcoal Grill is designed with two-zone cooking in mind, where one zone grills on high heat and the other cooks low and slow with indirect heat. The primary cooking area of this grill is 360 square inches, and though it is not the largest grill on our list, it is still sufficient space to cook great BBQ for your family and friends.

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  • Two-zone heating design
  • Easy portability
  • Four-point venting system for more temperature control
  • Low heat retention
  • Small grill space

Fox Outfitters Folding Charcoal BBQ Grill

Fox Outfitters Folding Charcoal Bbq Grill

The Fox Outfitters Folding Charcoal BBQ Grill pushes the limits in terms of size but doesn’t compromise on quality. If you’re on a tight budget, this charcoal grill blows all other grills out of the water.

This grill will challenge your idea of how small a portable grill can really be. This folding charcoal grill comes in a small nylon bag that folds up to the size of a notebook! Plus, unfolding and setting up this grill takes no longer than a few minutes so you’ll be ready to grill dinner on the stainless steel grates in no time. Talk about a made-to-move grill!

The best thing about this BBQ grill is that it weighs only 4.8 pounds! It isn’t built for heavy iron pans but this grill can serve you well with a cooking area of 144 square inches. This is enough space to fit either five burgers or 12 hot dogs at once, which isn’t enough for a huge party, but it will do just fine on your camping adventures.

Our favorite part is its unique funnel shape accompanied by a reflective metal. This uniquely designed charcoal bed increases the intensity of heat produced, contributing to a controlled, yet high-intensity internal temperature.

What We Liked
  • Completely Foldable
  • Compact and lightweight grill
  • Comes in a storage bag
  • Retains the heat for a smooth cooking process
  • Dishwasher safe
What We Didn’t Like
  • Not designed for a big party
  • May heat up while cooking

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

The Weber Go-Anywhere grill is all about portability and is definitely one of the best portable charcoal grills out there. It’s not only lightweight and foldable, but it can also collapse and become half of its size for easy transport. This includes the stainless steel legs that swivel up and out to wrap around the lid!

This Go-Anywhere Grill has a nylon handle on top of the porcelain-enameled lid, providing a comfortable grip to move from one place to another. The porcelain-enameled lid prevents the grill from rusting and provides good heat retention to keep the food warm and well-cooked. The innovative lid also features vent dampers with three holes that prevent any air from ruining the coals mid-cook.

This sleek charcoal grill has plated steel grill grates with a cooking surface of 160 inches. That’s just the right size to easily grill six burgers or two Porterhouse steaks at once. And the best part? This weighs only 15 pounds and is about the size of a breadbox!

Unfortunately, the Go-Anywhere Grill doesn’t contain an ash pan, but you can easily flip the grill over to dump all the ashes out for a quick cleanup. Or, you can place an aluminum sheet on the grill’s bottom to collect any dripping grease and ashes.

If you’re a grilling enthusiast who likes to maximize cooking space while keeping your grill light and portable, the Go-Anywhere charcoal grill is the best tabletop grill for you.

What We Liked
  • Foldable design
  • Quick to set up
  • Excellent lid to maintain the temperature
  • Adequate cooking area
  • Lightweight
What We Didn’t Like
  • Wire legs aren’t very sturdy
  • No ash pan

Our Results for the Best Small Charcoal Grills

  1. Editors Pick: Pit Boss Pit Stop Portable Charcoal Grill
    “being able to choose from four colors adds a nice personal touch”
  2. Best Overall: Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 18″
    “The one-touch mechanism helps move all the debris and ash into the ash catcher”
  3. Best Luxury: PK Grills Charcoal BBQ Grill and Smoker Combo
    “ excellent heat conduction and is rust-proof, durable, and most importantly, lightweight”
  4. Best Small Budget: Fox Outfitters Folding Charcoal Grill
    “This folding charcoal grill comes in a small nylon bag that folds up to the size of a notebook!”
  5. Best for Beginners: Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
    “not only lightweight and foldable, but it can also collapse and become half of its size for easy transport”

Things to consider when buying Small Charcoal Grills

Okay, we’ve given you a lot to think about. Now we need to figure out which of these incredible charcoal grills best fits your needs.

We want to help you take the guesswork out of your purchase, so you can have confidence in your new grill and get started cooking some of these delicious recipes asap.

Here are some important factors to consider before buying the perfect one!

Cooking Grate

The grill grates of a portable charcoal grill are one of its most imperative parts, after all, this is where you’ll be cooking your mouth-watering delicacies. Cooking grates are seen in a few different materials, mainly cast iron or stainless steel.

Stainless steel is a good option for a portable charcoal grate because it’s lightweight and therefore easy to transport. It’s also corrosion-resistant and heats up rather quickly. Cast iron, on the other hand, is a lot heavier and the porous material is prone to rust if not cared for properly.

However, cast iron grates are still one of the best cooking grate materials when it comes to burning charcoal because of their high heat retention. Its ability to retain heat creates an even cooking temperature all throughout the cook that some grill masters swear by.

Another point worth mentioning is the cooking surface area. When choosing a small grill you must keep your ultimate needs in mind: cooking enough food at the same time. Think about how much food you might be cooking on a family outing or beach day. Will a grill that holds 6 burgers and a few hot dogs be enough room for you? Read the specs to find out how much grilling space your potential charcoal grill actually has.


A properly fitting lid is imperative to the results of your cook. Even if you can get your grill heated effortlessly, your food won’t cook properly if your grill’s lid isn’t tight-fitting. Heat will escape! When a lid doesn’t fit right it makes it hard to maintain the airflow around the food.

There may also be extra features built into some charcoal grill lids! A lid that comes with a lock is a plus as it allows for better storage and transportability of your grilling tools. Some even have a built-in lid thermometer! You’ll also want to keep air vents and handles in mind when looking for the perfect one for you.

Air Vents

Vents and adjustable dampers affect the overall quality and performance of a unit. Most charcoal grills have a dual venting system that supports healthy airflow and helps to manage the cooking temperature.

Without proper vents and dampers, your temperature will get quite high, which is best for hot grilling but not low and slow cooking. If you want to cook large pieces of meat slowly, you want a grill with sufficient dampers and vents.

Extra Features

Keep an eye out for bonus features that your next small grill offers. There are many features that manufacturers keep adding to grills of all kinds, it’s up to you to find out where your priorities lie.

Would a built-in lid thermometer with a temperature gauge be useful for you? Would a one-touch cleaning system like the Original Kettle Charcoal Grill save you time, allowing you more time to spend with your family? What about an ash catcher, durable wheels, utensil hooks, and a glass-reinforced nylon handle?

Bonus features come down to personal preference, so first, decide what would be truly beneficial to you.

Features to consider when choosing a small charcoal grill

Construction Materials

Keep an eye out for solid structures built from long-lasting materials. Just because a grill is portable does not mean it should have a weak or disposable structure.

Another feature that holds lots of importance is the sturdiness of the handle and legs. These two characteristics can greatly impact the way you can use a grill for a purpose. Weak, flimsy legs and handles can ruin your cooking experience and may also lead to accidents that can result in injury.


The fact that you’re in the market for a portable charcoal grill probably means that you’re looking for something smaller in size that can be transported easily. There are different sizes of portable charcoal grills, some that fold up to the size of a notebook like the Fox Outfitters Folding Charcoal Grill, or some that still require a little heavy lifting like the Kamado Grill. Be sure that the size of your new grill will fit in your vehicle and won’t take up too much space when set up.

Also, make sure to invest in a charcoal grill that doesn’t demand cumbersome assembling and disassembling. No one wants to waste time trying to understand the parts and their adjustments before putting their grill to work.

Also worth considering is the cooking area, or cooking space. Any grill with a cooking surface area of less than 350 square inches is an ideal candidate for a portable charcoal grill. You can easily utilize this unit to prepare food for almost five people at once.


Mounting your portable grill is an important factor to keep in mind. Most portable charcoal grills are small enough to place on an outdoor table or tailgate, but what if you’re going somewhere that doesn’t have a place for you to set up? A stand or mount is an important feature that could change your entire grilling experience.


When you make a big purchase like this one, it’s important to consider what kind of warranty you’re protected by. Sometimes things go wrong and you have no control over the outcome. There may be faulty parts, or maybe you’re just not happy with your decision. This is where a warranty comes in handy. Also, when a company offers a free lifetime warranty like the one on the Kamado Grill, you know it’s a good product that the company trusts will do its job.

Safety Tips for Small Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills, charcoal smokers, portable gas grills, and grills of any kind should be handled with care and caution, especially small grills that you can move around. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when handling your new charcoal grill.

Sturdy Base

When setting up your portable charcoal grill, ensure you’re resting it on a sturdy base that will not fall over. Wiggle the base and put some weight on it before trusting it to hold your grill full of hot coals to prevent disaster.

Avoid High Traffic Areas

When choosing a spot to set up your portable charcoal grill, avoid high-traffic areas or play zones. If you set up next to a group of people throwing a football around, for example, there’s a chance that the ball might knock your grill over, creating a very dangerous situation for those nearby.

Allow Ample Cool Time

The point of a portable charcoal grill is to bring it along for your adventures for outdoor cooking, whether that’s a camping trip, a beach day, or an afternoon at the park. It’s essential to ensure the grill has cooled completely before attempting to disassemble or pack up your grill.

Small Charcoal Grill FAQs

Why Should I Buy A Small Charcoal Grill?

A small charcoal grill is an excellent addition to your BBQ collection because it allows you to have delicious food with a smoky flavor while out and about. You can easily pack a small charcoal grill on a camping trip, beach day, or afternoon at the park.

Where Can I Buy A Small Charcoal Grill?

You can find small charcoal grills at any hardware store or appliance store, but you’ll never find the kind of selection like you will online. By shopping online for a small charcoal grill, you can read reviews, see pro and con lists, and hear from real customers about their experiences.

How Do I Properly Care For A Cast Iron Cooking Grate?

To care for your cast iron cooking grate, it’s essential to clean it after every single use. Start by removing any stuck-on food, burning it off at a high temperature, or scraping it off with a brush. Next, coat the entire cast iron cooking grate with a high smoke point oil and allow it to dry. That’s it!

What’s The Difference Between A Charcoal Grill And A Gas Grill?

Charcoal grills allow you to cook food over hot coals on a rack above them. Gas grills are more complex because they have many different parts involved in the cooking process, like burners, hoses, tanks, and valves. Many enjoy the smoky flavor you get by cooking over charcoal briquettes that you wouldn’t get on a traditional gas grill. Furthermore, many moving parts on gas grills mean more could go wrong.

How Do You Light A Charcoal Grill?

The easiest way to light a charcoal grill is with a chimney starter. To use a chimney starter, add charcoal (either lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes will do) to the chimney and ignite with either a pre-made combustible or a wad of newspaper. Allow 15 minutes for all the charcoal to catch, and it’s ready to use!

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