Portable grills are a must-have if you’re a frequent camper, road-tripper or tail-gater. Given their small size, they can also be a good option for apartment-dwellers short on space. Finally, if you’re on a tight budget, portable grills can be an affordable way to get your grill on. But how can you ensure you’re getting the right bang for your barbecue? We asked experts for tips on how to buy a portable grill and rounded up some of the best portable grills currently on the market.
How to buy an portable grill
Be sure to right-size your grill by accounting for how much kitchen, trunk or outdoor space you actually have versus how much cooking surface you need to feed your family or guests.
“You don’t want .. a grill that’s either too small for your events or too large to fit into your kitchen,” says David Sheppard, home improvement expert and co-founder of HVAC Judge.
Look for quality materials, like stainless steel or ceramic components and coated cooking grates, says Hector Ruiz, Editor at BBQGrillAcademy.com.
“Portable grills are small and serious consideration should be given to the heat output capacity, measured in BTUs, the grill can produce,” he adds. “Some portable grills include foldable stands and legs, which add great convenience when taking the grill camping or outdoors.”
To score a good deal on a portable grill, comparison-shop, negotiate with retailers and shop during the grilling-offseason (September through April). You can find more general grill-buying tips in this roundup.
The best portable gas grills
We identified some of the best portable grills out there based on their components, warranties, expert recommendations and online reviews. (Prices were obtained from the manufacturer’s website, unless otherwise noted. They are accurate as of writing this article, but subject to change. Read all warranties in full to understand any exclusions.)
1. Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill by Weber
Weber’s popular Q Series propane gas grills are a mainstay among the top-rated portable grills on popular retailer websites, including Lowe’s and Home Depot. The Q1200 is Weber’s flagship version. It’s available in six different colors and features a cast aluminum lid and body, porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates, a glass-reinforced nylon frame, and a stainless steel burner operating at 8500 BTUs per hour.
Weber offers a five-year limited warranty on the cookbox, lid, burner tubes, cooking grates and plastic components. There’s a two-year warranty on all other parts.
2. RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill by Coleman
This Amazon’s Choice portable propane standup grill from Coleman is another option for people looking for some extra power and prep space. It’s outfitted with porcelain-coated, cast-iron cooking grates, a built-in thermometer, and three adjustable burners operating at up to 20,000 BTUs per hour.
It offers 285 square inches of cooking space and comes with folding legs, two small collapsible side tables, wheels and a locking lid for easy transport. (It also can be folded up and carted off like a suitcase.) Coleman offers a three-year limited warranty on the grill from the original date of purchase.
3. TravelQ TQ285X by Napoleon
The TravelQ TQ285X features a cast aluminum lid, porcelain-coated, cast-iron cooking grids, and two stainless steel burners operating at 12,000 BTUs. It offers 285 square inches (or about 17 burgers’ worth of) primary cooking space and comes with a collapsible, but notably stable Scissor Cart that makes it easily portable, once the party is over. (It folds up like a rolling suitcase.)
Napoleon offers a 10-year limited warranty on the base and aluminum castings; a five-year warranty on the burners and cooking grids; and a two-year warranty on all other parts.
The best portable charcoal grills
1. Smokey Joe Portable Charcoal Grill in Black by Weber
If you’re a fan of Weber’s classic, popular and highly-rated kettle charcoal grills, well, its Smokey Joe might be the portable grill for you. With its porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, rust-resistant dampers and steel cooking grates, it’s essentially a smaller version than the kettles designed for full-sized decks or yards.
The Smokey Joe comes in a number of sizes and colors, including crimson, ivory, slate blue and spring green. The classic black, 14-inch kettle costs $34.99. It offers 147 square inches (or about five burgers’ worth) of primary cooking space.
The Smokey Joe grills come with a 10-year warranty on their bowls and lids, a five-year warranty on their cleaning systems, and a two-year warranty on all other parts.
2. Go-Anywhere Portable Charcoal Grill by Weber
If you’re looking for something more square (or, actually, rectangular), Weber’s also popular Go-Anywhere charcoal grill is another solid portable option. It features a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, a plated-steel cooking grate, and heavy-steel charcoal grate. It’s also outfitted with plated steel legs, a durable handle and a lockable lid for extra-portability. The grill offers 160 square inches (or about six burgers’ worth) of primary cooking space.
Weber offers a 10-year limited warranty on the cookbox and lid. There’s also a five-year warranty on the plastic components and a two-year warranty on all other parts.
3. PKGO Grill & Smoker by PK Grills
Another Platinum Medal Winner over at AmazingRibs.com, this portable charcoal grill and smoker from PK Grills comes with a number of unique features, including the ability to convert into two hibachi-style grills. (The lid effectively becomes a base for a second charcoal grate and cooking surface.)
The PKGO is outfitted with a rust-proof cast aluminum lid and base, coated cast-iron cooking grates and a four-point venting system designed to enable two-zone cooking (grilling simultaneously at two different temperatures). It offers a total of about 400 squares inches of cooking space or 200 squares inches per active hibachi. PK Grills offers a 20-year limited warranty on the aluminum lid and bowl.
The best grills of 2021
Looking for a grill for your home? We’ve identified some of the best grills on the market across popular grilling categories.
This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.
Image Credit: nd3000 / iStock
Jeanine Skowronski is a veteran personal finance journalist and content strategist, she has previously served as the Head of Content at Policygenius, Executive Editor of Credit.com and a columnist for Inc. Magazine. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, CNBC and more.