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Charcoal grills sear meat and veggies to perfection and fill food with that perfect smokey flavor. Of all the grills we researched, the Weber Original Kettle 22-inch grill stands out because of its classic design and excellent price point.
When purchasing a high-tech device like a smartphone or DSLR camera, you understand the importance of picking out and comparing the slight nuances between these devices. After all, it’s those minuscule differences that set apart these complex devices.
When purchasing a low-tech device like a charcoal grill, though, you may be tempted to just pick any model. After all, even the best charcoal grills don’t have computer chips or touchscreens. Heck, cavemen invented grilling meat over coals and fire a few hundred thousand years ago. We can duplicate that process with just any old grill, right?
Sure, any grill will heat meat, but there are significant differences between charcoal grills that clearly set them apart from each other. Your grill plays a key role in just how you can cook your meat and vegetables. Precise grilling requires the right grill or your expensive steaks will just end up looking like they were grilled by a caveman. That’s why we’ve done the research to find the best charcoal grills you can buy.
Here are the best charcoal grills you can buy:
Best overall: Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch
Best grill with a smoker: Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker
Best high-end grill: Broil King Keg 5000
Best portable grill: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman
Best big grill: Char-Broil American Gourmet 800 Series
Best charcoal and gas grill: Char-Griller Double Play 3 Burner Gas and Charcoal Grill
To make the most of your charcoal grill, we’ve also rounded up the best charcoal for grilling in a handy guide.
Updated on 05/18/2018 by Malarie Gokey: Updated formatting and prices. Added a charcoal and gas grill combo and included links to our other grilling guides.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks for the best charcoal grills.The best grill overall
Why you’ll love it: Weber’s Original Kettle Grill has a tried and true design that grills meat and vegetables perfectly, and it costs less than $100.
We love the round design of the Weber Original Kettle 22-inch charcoal grill … and so did our parents and grandparents. Why? Because this design has been around for decades with no significant changes. When you think of a charcoal grill, the Weber Original is almost certainly the one you picture in your head.
As The Spruce discusses in its review of the Weber Original Kettle, the circular shape works so well because it creates a convection heating system. The round kettle also can grill with direct heat and smoke vegetables or meat, although larger grills tend to perform better when smoking than this Weber model. The grill is available in three sizes — 18, 22, and 26 inches in diameter — so you can pick the perfect size for your needs. The 22-inch model offers 363 square inches of grilling space, which is ideal.
The Weber Original Kettle is easy to move from location to location, as it has two wheels and one peg leg in its tripod design. However, this unit is too large to be considered a portable charcoal grill.
The Charcoal Grill World review says the Weber Original is easy to clean, thanks to its three blade ash sweeper and its removable ash catcher. We can attest to that, having used the Weber Original Kettle grill in the courtyard of our apartment building. It’s easy to pop out the ash catcher and safely dispose of the ashes without creating a huge mess.
Finally, this is the best overall charcoal grill because of its reasonable price. Customer reviewers on Amazon appreciate the value the Weber Original provides, while also offering a variety of grilling options.
Pros: Classic round design works great for distributing heat, strong price point, easy to clean ash, works well for all types of grilling, large grilling space, optional rotisserie kit available
Cons: Not meant as a portable grill, other units are better at smoking
Buy the Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill on Amazon for $99.00
Buy the Weber Original Kettle 18-Inch Charcoal Grill on Amazon for $79.00
Buy the Weber Original Kettle Premium 26-Inch Charcoal Grill on Amazon for $299.00
The best charcoal grill with a smoker
Why you’ll love it: The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado grill features a teardrop design, which allows it to double as an effective smoker.
The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker charcoal grill is definitely a head turner. It looks a bit like an upside down teardrop or, if you want to relive your college days, it looks a bit like a beer keg.
Char-Griller based this grill’s design on the Kamado cooking technique, which originated in Japan roughly 3,000 years ago. According to the Busted Wallet review, the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado grill’s design allows it to work equally well as both a smoker and direct heat grill. The Amazing Ribs review points out the good value and performance level of this unit, although its narrow bottom doesn’t allow for using the indirect grilling technique.
The Char-Griller Kamado grill has 314 square inches of primary cooking space with another 133 square inches on a warming rack (447 square inches of cooking space in total), so this charcoal grill is a nice option for those who need to grill a lot of meat for parties. Its tripod design has two wheels with a third peg leg for stability.
One of the best aspects of this Char-Griller unit is its ability to retain heat for a long time, as explained in an Amazon customer review. However, some customers on Amazon have questioned the quality of the construction of the Akorn Kamado grill.
Pros: Versatile grill for both smoking and grilling, cool looking design, retains heat over the long term, large cooking space, reasonable price point versus similarly designed grills
Cons: Long-term construction is questionable, doesn’t work for indirect grilling
The best high-end charcoal grill
Why you’ll love it: The top-notch construction of the impressive Broil King Keg 5000 means it’s a good investment that’ll last many years.
As we mentioned with the Akorn Kamado Kooker grill, the keg-shaped design for a grilling device has been a popular option for centuries, offering the ability to smoke meat, as well as cook it over direct heat. This design shape has made its way to the top of the list of modern charcoal grills, and the best high-end unit we’ve found is the Broil King Keg 5000 charcoal grill.
As both The Spruce and Just Luxe discuss in their reviews, the construction of the Keg 5000 is impressive, offering double-walled steel with an insulation layer in between. This design keeps the heat inside the grill more efficiently than other designs, while allowing the exterior of the unit to remain cool to the touch. Just Luxe also mentioned the smart ash cleanup tray included with the Broil King Keg 5000.
We appreciate the total of 480 square inches of cooking surface available with the Broil King Keg 5000. Some 280 square inches are in the primary cooking grate and 200 square inches are in the secondary cooking grate. This Broil King model’s base is sturdy with two wheels on one side and a two-legged base on the other side. With a little reconfiguring, you can mount this unit to your vehicle’s trailer hitch and tow it anywhere.
Pros: Holds heat inside efficiently, insulation keeps the exterior cool to the touch, uses less charcoal than other grills because of efficient design, mounts to a trailer hitch for towing, large grilling surface
Cons: High price point, maintaining consistent smoking temperature can be tricky
SEE ALSO: The best grill brush and cleaning tools
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