10 Best Charcoal Grills for 2017 | Reviews & Buying Guide

Grilling is one of the best pastimes. While some people prefer doing so in warm weather, I can do grilling anytime, regardless of the weather.

In fact, grilling is not all about having fun. It is also about healthy eating.

To meet the huge demand in recent years, the market has been flooded with many grilling products. Here is a quick review of the best charcoal grill on the market.

What is Charcoal Grill and How Does It Help?

A charcoal grill is one of the most popular types on the market, besides gas grills. It is proved to provide amazing benefits that even surpass other competitors.

But let’s find out how beneficial grilling is first. Grilling is believed to reduce significantly the amount of fat in cooking, so it is absolutely an advantage for healthy living.

Also, grilling has positive impacts on the cooking of all foods. Vegetables will keep their richness of minerals and vitamins, while their flavor is improved.

On the other hand, all nutrients in meat will not be gone when you grill it.

And last but not least, grilling gives you a wonderful time with your friends or family outdoors. You can forget all depression and stress and enjoy moments to the fullest extent.

Now, move on to the next big question: Why do you want charcoal grill?

You might be confused between charcoal and gas grills, both of which are dominating the current market.

To make the right decision, you need to ask yourself: Do you want convenience or flavor? Most differences between these two types of grill lie in this question.

With a charcoal grill, you can expect the temperature to go up to 500 or 700 degrees Celsius. It is much hotter, compared to other types.

This temperature is very helpful, especially when you want to have perfect steak. In fact, only by using charcoal can you get the perfection of steak.

Besides, the flavor of food will be smokier, and I bet that a lot of people fall in love with this flavor, like me.

While grilling is such an exciting outdoor activity, using charcoal seems to elevate this event to a new level. Having fun with fire is irreplaceable, and it seems like a ritual. Also, you can learn some new skills when grilling, such as fire control.

The portability of charcoal grill is also highly appreciated when you can take it to wherever you want your party to take place. Its cost is another advantage when you have to make comparisons among different types.

Nevertheless, it is true that charcoal grill sometimes causes some problems.

One of the firs rules of using charcoal is that you have to wear gloves or tongs. Charcoal is obviously dirty and might lead to too much ash.

Plus, many people seem to report that they find it very difficult to handle the fire and regulate the temperature properly.

How to Choose Charcoal Grill

Getting to know the benefits of charcoal grill may urge you to buy one in a hurry. Don’t rush! There are a number of things to think carefully about.

Sometimes, it is not the best charcoal grill that makes you satisfied. You will need something that is most suitable for you.

  • Size

Before getting a charcoal grill, you have to know well where you will put it. It has significant effects on the size of charcoal grill that fits you most.

Regarding the size of the charcoal grill, there are two main points that you need to focus on.

First of all, do you want a small or big grill? It is dependent on your willingness and motivation.

In case charcoal grill is used for camping or having fun at your friend’s house, you had better go for something portable and light.

Cooking surface is the second factor that should be addressed properly.

You only want to satisfy 3-4 people in your family at one time; then you might not overthink about the cooking surface of the charcoal grill.

However, when 20 or even 30 people come to join the party, you will need something bigger. In such circumstance, the cooking surface of your charcoal grill has to be relatively large.

  • Temperature Control

Temperature control is more likely to become a must when it comes to the selection of charcoal grill.

And it is undeniable that the grill’s lid will be crucial to the temperature regulation. You have to insist on a tight-fitting lid, regardless of the brand you choose.

Besides, good grills have to be equipped with no less than 2 dampers. One is used to let oxygen in and the other aims to remove the exhaust from the grill.

If possible, extra dampers will allow you to control the temperature more easily and efficiently.

  • Durability

Whether your charcoal grill can survive after many summers also depends on the way you maintain it. But it is a better idea to choose some well-known brands that prevent you from changing new grills often.

The durability is strongly related to the grill’s materials as well as construction. In addition to checking the product on your own, you can read some reviews as a reference.

  • Safety

Safety is one of the most important things in cooking, especially for beginners or even professional chefs.

Before using, you have to fully understand the way charcoal grill works and strictly obey its instructions.

To maximize the safety of using a charcoal grill, you should select sturdy grill that reduces the risk of fire hazard.

  • Ease of Maintenance and Cleaning

As mentioned above, the flavor charcoal grill brings to the food is much better than other types of grilling.

However, a flip side is that you might need to make more efforts to clean the grill after using it. Charcoal is very dirty, and without care, you may make it a mess.

Therefore, it is better to pay attention to grills with removable ash catcher. Otherwise, you may be stuck with ash.

Top 10 Best Charcoal Grills

Considering all factors above, we have come up with top 10 out of the best charcoal grills on the market at the moment. Check our reviews, and you may get what fits you most.

It is necessary to remember that Weber has been a strong part in the grilling industry for many years. And many people even believe that it is the symbol of American barbecue brand.

All products from Weber are famous for their closed-lid cooking. The adjustable dampers are always the advantage you can see in Weber products.

Now you can always control the temperature inside the grill, but the interesting thing is that you do not even have to lift its lid. There are different levels of temperature for you to select, depending on the food you are cooking.

The materials used to make dampers are rust-resistant so that you can rely on their durability as well as functionality.

This product’s charcoal grate is strong enough to deal with the heat. It comes from heavy-duty plated steel, which partly explains for its durability.

Besides, another advantage of this feature is to offer you enough space to set up everything, whether directly or indirectly. As a result, it is such a flexible gadget for cooking.

One of the biggest concerns of those who work with charcoal grills is cleaning. However, with this product, it is no longer an issue to worry anymore.

Weber uses one-touch cleaning system in its version of Original Kettle that enables users to clean the grills more easily than ever.

Rotating the handle will stimulate 3 blades to remove all ash made in the cooking process into the grill’s ash catcher. And finally, you can easily lift out its aluminum ash catcher to dispose of the ash. Not dirty for your hands anymore!

Pros:

  • Improved dampers with rust resistance ability
  • Flexible for cooking
  • Equipped with One-Touch cleaning system that makes the removal of ash easier than ever
  • High-quality construction and materials

Cons:

  • Some reports on problems with falling legs or wheels

The manufacturer of Weber has made some significant improvements in the basic Kettle version and introduced its 14401001 Premium charcoal grill.

This product is highly appreciated for its durability, high quality, and stability.

The producer hinges its cooking grid on both sides, so it is much easier to transport the charcoal grill now. Even when you want to move it, you do not need to lift off its grid. It is such a plus point for cooking experience.

Porcelain enameled is used to produce its lid and bowl, so the durability of these parts is undoubted. This material is super effective in the prevention of damage and rust when you burn. As a result, you can use the charcoal grill for many years.

The dampers, always one of the most outstanding features in Weber products, are aluminum and strongly resistant to rust. Thus, you can regulate the temperature in the charcoal grill easily and efficiently.

Rotating it is the only thing you need to do so as to change how much oxygen is let in. It will keep adjusting the heat, which gives you better outcomes.

Besides, a thermometer is equipped with its lid, which tells you exactly the temperature. Controlling the heat is easier than ever!

The One-Touch system to clean up the ash after cooking also appears in this version. Simple as it is, it maximizes the efficiency of cleaning, especially when you do not have any energy.

In the Premium version, the manufacturer tries to fix some problems with legs, which are seen in previous models. Now, you can expect its legs to be firmly held in place.

Pros:

  • Aluminum dampers with resistance to rust
  • The existence of a thermometer inside to inform you of the temperature
  • Great cleaning system
  • Stronger legs
  • High-quality construction

Cons:

  • Some users complain that they find it hard to understand the thermometer
  • Problems with the plastic tires of its wheels

Another superb version from Weber for grilled foods lovers is 441001 Original Kettle. It provides such great functions and features to help you handle all difficulties in the grilling process.

Its cooking space is around 240 square inches. Therefore, small families will benefit from this product most.

While the traditional design remains in this product, the manufacturer also made some innovations. Its lid and bowl come from steel. Porcelain enamel is used to coat them, so the heat can circulate better when you cook foods.

Also, the porcelain enamel has gone through the baking process at 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, there is no need to worry about the possibility of its breaking due to cooking.

It is also resistant to rust and burns. Its smooth surface is an advantage for those who are afraid of cleaning up the charcoal grill as well.

Furthermore, its ash catcher is aluminum. Along with the One-Touch cleaning system that you normally see in Weber products, you will be satisfied with its ease of clean-up.

Like other products, you can confidently regulate the heat efficiently even when the lid is not lifted. The functionality and durability of its dampers are guaranteed.

It is important to remember that its durable charcoal grates will maximize the cooking flexibility because they come from heavy-duty plated steel.

Such great news from Weber is that with this product, you can get warranty up to 10 years. However, note that warranty is limited also.

Pros:

  • Traditional design, but innovative features
  • Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
  • Great dampers to keep the heat
  • Very easy to clean up after cooking
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Cooking surface of 240 square inches is suitable for small families

Cons:

  • Lack of expert assembly, so you have to purchase it at extra cost

The Master-Touch charcoal grill is among the most innovative models from the manufacturer Weber. Its style still resembles kettle, but it has been equipped with many outstanding modern features.

The first advantage that can be seen is the cooking area. Its capacity expands up to 363 square inches so that you can handle a larger amount of foods at one time.

Weber uses the Gourmet BBQ system into this charcoal grill. Its cooking grate is hinged. The interesting point is that the center section is removable for you to use some other custom accessories.

Besides, touch charcoal grill has some unique advantages, which you hardly witness in other products. For example, its legs are taller, so you can maximize the charcoal grill’s height easily.

Plus, you will find the existence of a shield on its lid handle. This aims to protect your hands from possible injuries.

The One-Touch cleaning system still exists in the Master Touch versions. It includes ash catcher with many innovative features, such as high capacity or aluminum and removable qualities.

Pros:

  • Large cooking capacity with about 363 square inches
  • The dampers are aluminum and rust-resistant
  • Equipped with 2 glass-reinforced nylon handles
  • Taller legs which help you increase the grill’s height
  • There is a shield on its lid handle which improves the safety for your hands

Cons:

  • Expert assembly will come in hand as long as you pay more
  • Some people complain about its unstable structure of 3 legs

High-end performance is what most users comment on this product. It deserves to be the last Weber product we want to mention in this list.

Upgraded from its previous version, this Premium charcoal grill comes in simplicity but has perfect style. It resembles a kettle.

Despite its simple design, it works naturally and efficiently. You do not have as many problems as you do with gas grills.

Now, the cooking space has been improved even up to 508 square inches – such a great number compared to other Weber products. So, it might be a good choice for large families or parties.

Of course, small families can be completely satisfied with this size.

Its porcelain-enameled lid is another advantage that gives you guaranteed durability.

Moreover, you find its built-in lid thermometer super useful because it informs you of the grill’s temperature instantly. As a result, you can always keep track of the cooking process without difficulty.

The cooking grate comes from the main materials, which are stainless steel, so it is made to last for a long period of time.

Besides, stainless steel is also responsible for its One-Touch cleaning system. The ash catcher has the same qualities as in other versions. As a result, cleaning is no longer a concern for those who have this charcoal grill.

Pros:

  • Unique and expanded cooking space, suitable for big families
  • Rust-resistant, aluminum dampers to improve the grill’s durability
  • Glass handle and hook to help you store foods more conveniently
  • Ease of clean up
  • Simple uses

Cons:

  • Does not come with some fancy attachments

Weber has been a strong competitor in the grilling industry; however, it is not the only dominant one. The competition has become fiercer than ever, and every brand is trying to get the attention.

For long, Char-Broil has gained many interests and become one of top charcoal grills.

The cooking space of this grill is 360 square inches. Its cooking grate is also porcelain-coated and rust-resistant. Not only does its cooking grate help to keep the food in place, but it also makes heat distributed evenly in the cooking process.

If necessary, you can even adjust its charcoal grate to control the cooking temperature better.

The cooking temperature can be raised easily by closing the vent on its lid. In case you want to let heat out, simply open it.

This grill is equipped with 2 wheels that permit to move it very conveniently. This is a strong advantage, especially when you want to have outdoor parties.

When you move the grill, it is possible to latch down the lid. This aims to enhance the security and safety for yourself.

Besides, it is worth mentioning something about its TRU-InfraRed Cooking System. This technology has positive impacts on the control of temperature.

Infrared heat lowers the appearance of cold and hot spots on its cooking area. Therefore, while cooking process becomes faster, you can notice that there is a significant amount of fuel saved.

Pros:

  • Great cooking space
  • Adjustable cooking grate
  • Ease of transport thanks to 2 wheels
  • Maximum safety
  • TRU-InfraRed Cooking System to allow you to control the temperature more efficiently

Cons:

  • Some users report problems with its unstable legs
  • The resistance to rust of cooking grate gets many doubts from users

Even though it only provides a cooking area of 250 square inches, there are still some outstanding features that make us consider this top charcoal grill.

It is more suitable when you want to use for small patios or decks. Stainless steel is used to produce this charcoal grill so that you can count on its durability.

The design of this Char-Griller grill is extremely simple, which makes it more ideal to transport to another place.

This is not to mention that it is equipped with wheels. Now you can enjoy your party anywhere you want with little effort of transport.

The cooking grates are cast iron, so its appropriate thickness allows the heat to be dispersed faster and more evenly. As a result, your food will have more special flavor. This technology does not have negative effects on the moisture of the foods.

The built-in thermometer can also be found on the grill’s lid. The information about temperature is accurate. However, it seems to heat up when you cook foods. Therefore, it is better not to touch it.

The ventilation of the charcoal grill is good because it has side air vent that lets the heat in and out more easily.

Especially, this charcoal grill provides Side Shelf, but its size is not big.

In general, this version is q​​​​uite suitable for small groups of people who enjoy barbecuing.

Pros:

  • Simple assembly
  • Produce foods with great smoked flavor
  • Very portable and easy to transport
  • Made of stainless steel

Cons:

  • The cooking area is more limited than other products
  • Small side shelf

Ceramic grills usually have very high prices on the market. However, Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill might be a great option for those who love smoked foods at reasonable costs.

Unlike traditional ceramic grills, Kamado style grills seem to use materials of better quality to maximize its durability.

More importantly, it is more lightweight, so you do not have to struggle with carrying the heavy previous ones.

It is an ideal option for those who want to go camping or enjoy the grilling party outdoors.

Kamado style grills are claimed to improve even heating so that the flavor of the foods is enhanced greatly.

Air dampers appear at both top and bottom of the charcoal grill. Therefore, the temperature can be controlled more simply, but precisely. Besides, the heat will be kept efficiently, which reduces the amount of charcoal you have to consume.

The dampers support the dual flow of air. Along with triple wall steel, it provides users with amazing grilling experience.

The portability is even better when you figure out that the grill also has convenient handles. All outdoor activities can become easier with this product.

Regarding the clean-up, you will be also happy to know that they have simple dump ash pan. Everything will be clean within several minutes after cooking.

Pros:

  • More durable and flexible construction than traditional ceramic grills
  • Air dampers support the even heating so well
  • Simple clean up with dump ash pan
  • Lightweight and suitable for transporting
  • Built-in temperature gauge

Cons:

  • Quite limited cooking surface, only 153 square inches

The red color of this charcoal grill might be an attractive feature for many users who are not interested in the black version of Weber.

What’s more? It is the first product on this list that comes with two main functions: as a grill and as a smoker. While some people are so excited about this, others might be worried that it does not work as efficiently as specialized one.

Do not worry! This Kamado style charcoal grill still has amazing features.

The cooking space is improved with 314 square inches. In fact, you can even expand it with some additional racks.

Additionally, cast-iron cooking surface, along with its porcelain coated steel interior finish, guarantees that you will have very durable grill over time.

Simple as it is, the insulated design is so good that it creates more heat. However, at the same time, less charcoal is burnt. Therefore, your meat will receive insulated heat to get the amazing flavor.

Moreover, you can notice the appearance of the cart in this version. It has wheels and also locking caster.

This charcoal grill is also considered as very versatile with its adjustable top damper. It gives you better control of the heat thanks to the equipment of built-in temperature gauge.

This technology is very suitable when you want to use slow smoke or high heat. Besides, the damper can also be found at the bottom so that the heat control is more precise.

Pros:

  • Built to last construction
  • Temperature control becomes efficient and easy
  • Large locking wheels that allow you to move the grill easily
  • Up to 314 square inches cooking space
  • Removable warming rack that can give you more cooking space

Cons:

  • Certain users report broken grates
  • Poor wrapping

Last but not least, we would like to address Char-Griller 2123 Wrangle in the list of the best charcoal grill.

It is outstanding, first of all, because it provides such an impressive cooking area with 435 square inches. In fact, its total space can expand even up to 635 – a great impressive number that we hardly see in this list.

This grill is a suitable choice if you want to handle large crowds, thus.

Even heating is also maximized thanks to casting iron cooking grates.

Besides, this grill has large round legs, and they are very sturdy. So, you can completely rely on its construction. At the same time, it is easy to move this grill to another place.

Adjustable ashtray serves to collect ashes from burning coal in the cooking process. So, you do not have to worry much about cleaning up.

One particular advantage of this product is that you can always provide more coal into the grill, but you do not have to remove the entire grate.

With adjustable fire grate, the control of temperature becomes simpler, and all sides of foods will get even heating.

On the other hand, storage is never a problem in this product because it has 3 shelves. Now it is unnecessary to run back to get spices or sauces when you cook foods.

You can always keep them in both front and side shelves for convenient uses. Besides, its bottom shelf can serve as the place to store charcoal.

Pros:

  • Very sturdy construction
  • Great temperature control
  • The appearance of 3 shelves for convenient storage
  • Simple clean up with ash tray

Cons:

  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Rust-resistance is a worry with this product
  • Poor assembly

Conclusion

Grilling is such a great experience when you have free time. And a good charcoal grill plays an important role in making you happy.

Overall, each product has its pros and cons. But I strongly believe that Weber 14401001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill is the best charcoal grill you can afford on the market now.

It has all latest and outstanding features that you can expect in grilling experience. And I love its durability over time.

Here are some tips on charcoal grilling for beginners, check it if you still have little idea of how it works.

Let’s share your opinion to let us know what top charcoal grill is for you!

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