The best charcoal grills are vital pieces of equipment and symbols of American culture. It’s easier to picture summers with one of these beauties, from burgers grilled on classic kettles to giant racks of ribs in massive, barrel-shaped cookers. And, while numerous makes and models are on the market, take your time with all of the specifications and details: more than anything, these types of grills must be sturdy, inexpensive, and adequately sized for your lifestyle. The PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker, a highly rated pick with a unique capsule shape, is our top pick 2023.
But it all comes back to choosing the best grill for your needs. Whether you want something simple or heavy-duty, here are our top selections for the best charcoal grills to buy right now.
- Best Charcoal Grill Overall: PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker
- Best Extra-Large Charcoal Grill: Dyna-Glo X-Large Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill
- Best Basic Charcoal Grill: Weber 18-Inch Original Kettle Charcoal Grill
- Most Versatile Charcoal Grill: Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill
- Best Charcoal Grill Smoker Combination: Broil King Offset Smoker Grill
- Best Campsite Charcoal Grill: Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
- Best Portable Charcoal Grill: Trailblazer Portable Campfire Stove
1. PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker
PK Grills is well-known for producing high-quality charcoal grills. While the line has extended to include advanced models like the PK360 and more compact options like the PKGO, the Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker remains a popular choice that has won the title of best overall. It has a distinctive capsule form and four vents that allow you to adjust the temperature—open all of the vents for high-heat cooking and leave a couple closed for low-and-slow grilling. You may also designate two cooking zones, allowing you to slow-cook your steak and finish it over high heat for the perfect scorched finish. The entire capsule is made of aluminum, which conducts heat four times better than steel, ensuring that heat is evenly distributed throughout the capsule. It also features 300 square inches of cooking surface, so you can feed a crowd if necessary.
2. Dyna-Glo X-Large Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill
Consider this huge charcoal grill from Dyna-Glo if you need the capacity to cook three dozen burgers at once. It has 816 square inches of cooking space and many ingenious features that make it well worth the money. A hand crank raises and lowers the charcoal tray to manage cooking temperature, and a steel door allows for easy insertion of charcoal and cleaning after cooking. A built-in thermometer permits you to monitor the inside temperature. At the same time, side tables serve as prep stations, a lower rack holds supplies, and an attached bottle opener is a useful bonus.
3. Weber 18-Inch Original Kettle Charcoal Grill
$119$131Save $12 (9%)
If you plan on cooking hot dogs or hamburgers for the family now and again, the classic Weber kettle is a great option. This classic grill couldn’t be simpler, so it had mostly stayed the same since the mid-twentieth century when the initial model became the first widely available charcoal grill sold. It’s reasonably easy to adjust airflow and maintain the cool coals with a damper in the lid and ash-clearing vents at the bottom. There are 240 square inches of cooking space sufficient for a family BBQ or usage at a campsite or tailgate. And the price is hard to beat; for such a strong, dependable piece of equipment, it’s difficult to believe it’s less than $150.
4. Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill
$329$375Save $46 (12%)
This Kamado is an excellent choice to slow-smoke pork butts, cook pizzas and bread, sear steaks, and flip burgers all on the same grill. Kamado-style grills, sometimes known as eggs, are based on the Japanese Kamado, “an earthenware cooking urn whose initial design is probably at least 3,000 years old,” according to Meathead Goldwyn, a renowned BBQ specialist. Kamado grills, according to Goldwyn, “are excellent smokers and superb roasters.” They’re also great for pizza and bread since the sides and domes absorb heat and radiate it back like a professional brick oven, allowing the pizza and bread to cook correctly from above.” The Char-Griller Akorn is a fantastic value given its excellent performance with various food types and intelligent design features like fold-down racks, a removable warming rack, and an easily accessible ash pan.
5. Broil King Offset Smoker Grill
This offset smoker enables low and slow smoking hours, resulting in genuinely excellent ribs, brisket, pork shoulder, and more. The smoker can also be used as a secondary grill, allowing you to cook simultaneously at multiple temperatures or cook more food at once. The primary grilling area’s 625 square inches of space proved useful even when cooking for a company of more than 20 people. Dual dampers and a chimney allow perfect airflow control, while side doors and ashtrays make adding extra charcoal (or wood) and wiping off ashes easy.
6. Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
$71$78Save $7 (9%)
With only 14.5 pounds, the Weber Go-anyplace Charcoal Grill can go anywhere, like the deck, park, or beach. When not grilled, the grill’s folding legs elevate it off the ground, lowering the fire risk, and lock the lid in place for easy carrying (and saving space). The grates can hold six burgers, two huge steaks, or roughly a dozen dogs simultaneously. Dual dampers in the lid provide precise heat control, and twin plastic-coated side handles allow you to move the grill even while it’s hot. As an added plus for the campsite, the elevated shape of this little grill allows it to distribute heat at 360 degrees while cooking, keeping you toasty on chilly nights.
7. Trailblazer Portable Campfire Stove
One of the reasons this compact stove/grill/mini fire pit is an excellent choice for use at campsites or an impromptu backyard s’mores session is its ease of setup. But the Trailblazer’s small size and light weight really set it apart. When packed down, the three-pound grill takes up roughly the same amount of space as a loaf of bread, so you could easily bring this back on a backpacking trip. You can swiftly cook a half dozen burgers (or whatever else is on the menu) with a bed of charcoal or even a crackling fire and the grill grate in place. It’s safer than making a typical campfire because the Trailblazer raises the coals or wood fire off the ground.
Why Trust Forbes Vetted
We know a thing or two about outdoor cooking at Forbes Vetted. We’ve researched, tested, and prepared lists of the top gas grills, pellet and electric smokers, and indoor grills. We used this knowledge and consulted a few grilling professionals to compile a list of the top charcoal grills. Finally, we considered consumer feedback to confirm that the models on this list satisfied our quality criteria.