Despite grilling being known for a long time now, a lot has changed in the world of charcoal grills within the last few years. Today the best cooking results can only be provided by a good grill the construction of which allows to precisely maintain temperature and easily control the whole cooking process.
There used to be a belief among people that any model is enough to be able to start grilling. Today it is recommended to choose a decent charcoal grill that will enable you to prepare an expensive steak just like the champions do. A better model also means more convenience, functionality and guarantee of quality and durability for many years to come.
We have very good news, a good quality charcoal grill doesn’t cost as much as, for example, a gas grill. In order to make it easier for you to choose a new grill, we have conducted detailed research that allowed us to prepare a list of the best charcoal grills.
Overview: The 5 Best Charcoal Grills For 2019
Weber Original Premium 22”
Weber Performer Deluxe
PK Grill & Smoker
Weber Smokey Joe 14-inch
Char-Broil TRU Infrared Kettleman
Choosing a new charcoal grill seems like a very simple task, but the reality is that one has to remember about a lot of very important things. First and foremost, the quality of elements/materials is important, it is hard to verify when buying online, which is why we suggest to check out the warranty period in such cases. The top-tier models are covered with as much as 10 years of warranty which attests high quality of workmanship and that’s exactly the kind of models you should look for.
After that, many other aspects have to be taken into account like the size or features for example. Remember never to choose with your eyes, and if you don’t know where to start then I encourage you to read our tips on the bottom of this post.
We have conducted comprehensive research and tests before choosing what we considered to be the top 5 charcoal grills of this year. We carefully analyzed the entire offer, split it into different price ranges, and then compared. The details of our tests can be read in the reviews below. In most cases, the models differ mostly in quality of workmanship and features.
The tests are pretty much just like grilling different types of meat in standard household conditions. That way we can verify the functionality of each model and quality of individual elements in real life.
We tried to choose 5 models in different sizes and price ranges which lets us believe that you will choose something for yourself regardless of whether you have a limited budget or maybe you’re looking for a high quality charcoal grill.
The 5 Best Charcoal Grills Reviews in 2019
1. Best Overall Weber Original Premium 22” Kettle
I don’t think there is anyone into BBQ who doesn’t know the kettle grill from Weber. For many decades, it has been the number one brand among not only charcoal but also gas grills. The phenomenal kettle with its decades-spanning history is an icon of charcoal grills by now.
The construction has been perfected so much over the years that it is not possible to not appreciate how brilliant this grill is. This model is available in many sizes, although we’ll be presenting the most universal size of 22”. Depending on your needs, you can buy the slightly smaller size of 18” or the much bigger 26”, although for most people the 22” model will be perfect.
Under the lid you will find 363 square inches of the main cooking area. Such size allows not only to cook large quantities of food but also to arrange the charcoal inside the grill in any preferred way. You get enough space to cook with different methods using direct or indirect heat that is perfect for slow meat smoking.
The construction consists of rust-resistant air vents, as well as Glass-Reinforced Nylon Handles and heat shield that are there to prevent the handles from warming up. There has also been a very important feature added - One Touch cleaning system. It is a solution that makes it possible to easily, quickly and conveniently remove ash, an undoubtedly very useful solution in charcoal grills.
Weber Original Premium 22” Kettle is a product made in USA and covered with whole 10 years of warranty ( slightly less for selected smaller elements ). As a result, it is also an investment for many years, especially if you take good care of your grills. All of that is available at a decent price that I think will fit within everyone’s budget.
2. Upgrade Pick Weber Perfmormer Deluxe
You expect something more? Looking for a versatile high-quality charcoal grill with a large amount of useful solutions? We have a perfect choice for you but there is one problem. You have to prepare much more cash than with a regular kettle grill, but we have to admit that it is really worth it.
Remember all the praise that Weber Original Premium 22” Kettle has gotten? The Performer model retains all the advantages of the Original Premium 22” model while also adding more to it. It is the same body as Original Premium except that it is located within a special construction ( work bench ) thus giving you even more benefits.
Beside the large working area you will also find many other interesting solutions here. Under the table there’s a large container where you can store the charcoal that is necessary for grilling. On top of that there has been a small yet incredibly useful feature added that is a lid hanger. Now you no longer have to worry where to place the grill’s lid.
You don’t want or don’t have time to get the charcoal burning? No problem, Weber Perfomer Deluxe comes with a special electronic Touch-N-Go gas ignition system that gets started with a press of a button ( you’re going to need a small propane tank ). That way you don’t have to worry yourself about getting the charcoal burning.
Another neat gadget is the built-in LCD timer that you can detach any moment and bring along. A useful option when you have a lot on your head, just set the timer for 15 minutes for example to preheat the grill or when cooking so that you don’t forget about important chores.
When it comes to the other features, everything looks identical to the Original Premium 22” Kettle. Which as you can see means that for much bigger money you have extra work space at your disposal as well as several interesting gadgets that every fan of BBQ will surely appreciate. It is undoubtedly a very interesting suggestion to consider for people who have passion and a thicker wallet.
3. PK Grill & Smoker
A classic from few decades ago that just like the kettle grill has become an icon of charcoal grills. The initial version from around 1950-1960 has lived to see its reproduction. A whole lot of people who bought their model back then are still using it to this day.
It only shows how solid and durable this grill is, but that’s not all that makes it stand out.
PG Grill has a very interesting and well thought-out construction that perfectly understands the importance of temperature control and using different cooking areas in 100% ( direct or indirect heat ).
Thanks to its interesting construction, you get a lot of place inside the grill at your disposal which allows to arrange the charcoal or wood however you like. It allows you to very easily convert your grill into an effective smoker.
A very huge upside in this model is temperature control, you have as many as 4 air vents at your disposal located in four different but important places ( 2 on the bottom and 2 on the top ). Such placement of air vents allows for more effective air flow control.
You also need to know that the cast-aluminum construction is very durable and most of all rust-resistant, with whole 10 years of warranty. On top of that, the aluminum is lightweight which means you can easily bring the grill along on a trip, just detach the main body from the stand to make it much easier.
Therefore we recommend it not only for those who remember this grill from decades ago. It is simply a very durable charcoal grill that is also versatile and offers great temperature control. The price may be too high for many, but take into account that it is an investment for years.
4. Portable Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch
The next option is the well-known among travelers Smokey Joe 14-inch that makes a great solution for those looking for a small, portable charcoal grill. We are impressed with this model even though it’s not a full-sized kettle grill but its minimalistic version instead.
The size of this grill makes it a great choice for those who travel a lot. Smokey Joe is very lightweight and it can be easily brought along anywhere. It is also a great model if you want to quickly prepare a small amount of food with a low effort for just one person for example. In such case, grilling is much easier, requires less charcoal, and when you’re done cooking there’s not that much to clean up.
If you spend a lot of time camping or anywhere outside home, you’re going to be very satisfied with this model. The assembly is incredibly easy and fast which is another advantage.
We also have to emphasize that when it comes to quality, there isn’t much difference compared to other models from Weber. Everything is still at the same high level, Smokey Joe is also covered with whole 10 years of warranty.
Therefore the simple, lightweight and efficient construction of the small kettle will definitely not disappoint most of people, especially considering that Smokey Joe 14-inch is available at such a low price. Taking all its aspects and the price into account, we can definitely recommend this grill to everyone.
5. Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman
A great competitor to the popular Weber Original Premium22” Kettle, if for any reason you’re looking for something else then Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman will certainly make an interesting option. First and foremost, this model differs from the well-known kettle grill with a completely different grilling system ( TRU- Infrared ).
When it comes to the cooking area, you have as much at your disposal as in the competitive model which is 360 square inches. So much area gives a broad choice of charcoal arrangements and allows to grill with different methods, utilizing indirect or direct heat.
A significant difference, however, is the grilling grates that have been designed to retain the meat, preventing it from falling through, and to prevent flare-ups from occurring. That’s an interesting solution, grates of this type are not exactly easiest to clean, but it’s not anything particularly difficult either.
A large advantage of this model is low fuel consumption thanks to the charcoal being located closer to the grilling grates ( the difference can reach savings amounting to as much as few dozen percent ). To many people it is a downside but one has to simply remember to use a lower amount of charcoal.
What we certainly didn’t like was the lack of an additional handle on the side of the grill. There is only one and it’s integrated with the lid which means that when the lid is open the handle is useless. It causes problems when we want to move the grill with its lid open. What is an upside on the other hand is the lid lock which is useful during transportation.
Another new thing is the air vents that in this grill are located all around the grill (360-degree Air Inlet ). They are responsible for providing the grill with oxygen whereas the upper vent is located centrally on the top of the lid which is the case in every other grill of this type.
Which therefore makes it a great alternative to a regular kettle grill from weber. A completely different grilling system may be appealing or not, that is sadly something you need to figure out on your own. We on the other hand can only say that we did like this system.
Charcoal Grills Buyer’s Guide
We are perfectly aware of the awkward situation that every fan of BBQ is in when choosing a new grill for their backyard. Every effort related to buying should be well though-out, you should always pay more attention to quality than to price in products.
It is very important to understand what you really need in order to avoid disappointment. For example, a small family of three doesn’t need the same kind of charcoal grill as a family of eight. On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time camping, you could use something lightweight and handy.
The choice of the right charcoal grill mostly boils down to understanding your own needs. We have prepared a guide for you as well as a list of the top charcoal grills to make the task easier for you.
How We Tested
Our team that consists of BBQ enthusiasts with years of experience carefully analyzes everything related to charcoal grills. Based on our own experience and tips from friends, we choose the most popular grills on the market, then we test them.
We assemble them, test the quality of workmanship, grill food ( red meat, vegetable or even fish ), we test all the features and look for all the pros and cons of each of the grill models.
Then we publish the results right here so that you can know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Charcoal Grill
Why you should buy Charcoal Grill
Gas or Charcoal ?
It is probably the hottest topic touched upon by everyone who is into BBQ. Many years ago one could say that a charcoal grill is better but today, due to such a sudden technological development, it is hard to choose a clear winner.
After long discussions in our team, we came into a conclusion that choosing one winner in the battle between the gas and charcoal grill makes no sense. It all depends on preferences and expectations, and each of us is different and prefers something else.
Whether you choose a charcoal grill instead of a gas grill depends on how often and what you cook and whether you feel up to all the chores related to a charcoal grill or maybe you prefer a convenient gas grill instead.
We believe that the best solution is to have both types of grills, but we realize that not everyone can afford this kind of spending or simply doesn’t have space for more than one grill.
Analyze your preferences and cooking style and carefully choose which type suits your lifestyle the best.