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The Best Charcoal BBQ - 2021

Last updated on September 13, 2021

We looked at the top 5 Charcoal BBQs and dug through the reviews from 28 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Charcoal BBQs.

Best Charcoal BBQ

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Our Picks For The Top Charcoal BBQs

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Our Best Pick

ISUMER 28.7-Inch Portable Hibachi Style Charcoal BBQ

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ISUMER

28.7-Inch Portable Hibachi Style Charcoal BBQ

Overall Take

Ultra-Portable ModelThis charcoal BBQ is designed to last, as it's constructed from a rust-resistant stainless steel.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Grill Smoke Love. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Large grilling area. Great value for money. Portable and lightweight. Made of durable stainless steel. Portable and lightweight. Uses charcoal for an authentic taste. Includes a non-stick grill pan."
  Runner Up

Char-Griller 50-Inch Smokin Pro Charcoal BBQ

Char-Griller

50-Inch Smokin Pro Charcoal BBQ

Overall Take

Includes Fire BoxThanks to the nonstick cast-iron cooking grates on this charcoal BBQ, you'll achieve even heating every time.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Alice’s Kitchen, Best Grill Reviews, 5 Product Reviews, BBQ Host, Pioneer Smoke Houses, Savoury Table. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Best Views Reviews.
Pros
" One of the most affordable options on the market that can perform well. You can use the Smokin Pro as a complete charcoal grill by adjusting its fuel tray to control the unit’s heat level. It comes with adjustable fire..."
Cons
"Heavy and awkward to assemble. Grate height Is hard to adjust while grilling. Hinges on offset smoker can leak."
  We Also Like

Cuisinart 14-Inch Portable Charcoal BBQ

Cuisinart

14-Inch Portable Charcoal BBQ

Overall Take

Chrome-Plated GrateThe dual venting system in this charcoal grill allows for better temperature control.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus BestReviews, The Spruce Eats, Outdoor Gear Lab, Best Grill Reviews, Savoury Table. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Best Views Reviews and Walmart.
Pros
" Weighing just 2 pounds and having a base that is only 14 inches, this Cuisinart grill can go anywhere you go. It has 150 square inches of cooking space and features a dual venting system to help you control cooking..."
Cons
"Takes a while to heat up. Not a ton of cooking surface."
  Strong Contender

Weber 11.5-Inch Porcelain & Coated Cast Iron Portable Charcoal BBQ

Weber

11.5-Inch Porcelain & Coated Cast Iron Portable Charcoal BBQ

Overall Take

Compact and LightweightThe lockable lid on this charcoal BBQ adds to its portability.

Experts Included
DWYM Outdoor and Garden Experts plus Globo Grills, BestReviews, Little Grill Collective, Outdoor Gear Lab, Best Grill Reviews, Pro Electric Smoker and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Incorporates wind protection. Suitable for cooking six burgers at a time. Highly durable. Includes dampers for temperature control. Rectangular briefcase design. Lockable lid. The grate is rust proof."
Cons
"Needs some assembly before first use."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
12

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the charcoal bbqs available to purchase.
5

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

28

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Barbecue Grills & More, BestCamping, Fire Food Chef, Awesome Backyard Living, BestReviews.

68,692

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 5 Charcoal BBQs and also dug through the reviews from 28 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Charcoal BBQs.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

ISUMER 28.7-Inch Portable Hibachi Style Charcoal BBQ


Our Expert Score

0.0
1 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

7.8
1,330 user reviews

Our Take

Whether you're planning a backyard get-together or a family reunion at the park, you'll want to grab this charcoal BBQ grill. It's designed with side handles and foldable legs for easy travel. The large grilling area and two included baskets allow for cooking everything from corn on the cob to a pair of juicy steaks.

What other experts liked

Large grilling area. Great value for money. Portable and lightweight. Made of durable stainless steel. Portable and lightweight. Uses charcoal for an authentic taste. Includes a non-stick grill pan.
- Grill Smoke Love

What other experts didn't like

Could be more sturdy.
- Grill Smoke Love

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Char-Griller 50-Inch Smokin Pro Charcoal BBQ

Our Expert Score

8.0
6 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.9
1,584 user reviews

Our Take

With a heavy-gauge powder-coated steel construction, this charcoal BBQ is designed to last. The unit offers removable charcoal drawers to quickly deal with ash, a temperature gauge and a storage rack. The side fire box even allows for smoking your favorite meats without another device.

What other experts liked

One of the most affordable options on the market that can perform well. You can use the Smokin Pro as a complete charcoal grill by adjusting its fuel tray to control the unit’s heat level. It comes with adjustable fire grates. The grill is made of non-stick cast iron to...
- Alice's Kitchen
Durable construction. Can be used as a grill or smoker. Good warranty coverage. Charcoal drawer for easy cleanup. Three adjustable grate height settings.
- Best Grill Reviews
We liked the durable steel construction making this grill suitable for outdoor cooking. You can let it deliver the required heat required for the recipe. Easy to control the heat output. Large cooking area. Double bottom for high durability.
- 5 Product Reviews
Reasonable price point. Sturdy construction. Easy to use, especially for first-timers.
- BBQ Host
If you are an occasional charcoal griller but love your smoked food, we like this grill/smoker combo. It is nice to be able to have one unit to do it all that also fits into our budget-friendly category. Bear in mind, it is a better smoker then grill and grilling...
- Pioneer Smoke Houses
A total of 830 square inches for cooking. Removable charcoal and ashtray. Versatile firebox on the side. Affordable.
- Savoury Table

What other experts didn't like

Its built-in thermometer is low quality so you may want to buy a replacement. Some users complain that the paint starts peeling off after a few uses. You may experience some leaking, so it’s a good idea to seal up this smoker.
- Alice's Kitchen
Heavy and awkward to assemble. Grate height Is hard to adjust while grilling. Hinges on offset smoker can leak.
- Best Grill Reviews
Lid doesn’t fit tightly. Some minor design flaws. Confusing instructions.
- BBQ Host
Count on making modifications for best smoker performance like adding heat baffles, thermometers, and Silicone. If you make a few modifications to your Char-Griller, you will have a great entry-level smoker that is capable of smoking anything to perfection.
- Pioneer Smoke Houses
It is too heavy to move for some.
- Savoury Table

Overall Product Rankings

ISUMER 28.7-Inch Portable Hibachi Style Charcoal BBQ

1. ISUMER 28.7-Inch Portable Hibachi Style Charcoal BBQ

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 2

Char-Griller 50-Inch Smokin Pro Charcoal BBQ

2. Char-Griller 50-Inch Smokin Pro Charcoal BBQ

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 11

Cuisinart 14-Inch Portable Charcoal BBQ

3. Cuisinart 14-Inch Portable Charcoal BBQ

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 11

BEAU JARDIN 18-Inch Round Charcoal BBQ

5. BEAU JARDIN 18-Inch Round Charcoal BBQ

Overall Score: 7.6
Reviews Included: 10

Our Charcoal BBQ Findings


ISUMER 28.7-Inch Portable Hibachi Style Charcoal BBQ

What We Liked: Whether you’re planning a backyard get-together or a family reunion at the park, you’ll want to grab this charcoal BBQ grill. It’s designed with side handles and foldable legs for easy travel. The large grilling area and two included baskets allow for cooking everything from corn on the cob to a pair of juicy steaks.


Char-Griller 50-Inch Smokin Pro Charcoal BBQ

What We Liked: With a heavy-gauge powder-coated steel construction, this charcoal BBQ is designed to last. The unit offers removable charcoal drawers to quickly deal with ash, a temperature gauge and a storage rack. The side fire box even allows for smoking your favorite meats without another device.


Cuisinart 14-Inch Portable Charcoal BBQ

What We Liked: This charcoal BBQ is small enough to sit on a table and is the ideal choice for camping trips and tailgating parties. The chrome-plated cooking rack is able to accommodate a few hot dogs, hamburgers and asparagus stalks at once. Three secure lid locks and a set of non-skid feet add to the functionality of this unit.


Weber 11.5-Inch Porcelain & Coated Cast Iron Portable Charcoal BBQ

What We Liked: With this charcoal grill, you’ll be able to prepare up to six hamburgers at once. The unit is outfitted with a plated steel cooking grate that is super easy to clean. The lid and base are constructed from a porcelain enamel, which does a great job of retaining heat.


BEAU JARDIN 18-Inch Round Charcoal BBQ

What We Liked: In addition to a budget-friendly price tag, this charcoal BBQ also comes with several attractive features. The unit is equipped with a set of insulated handles, an ash catcher and a lid hanger. It’s even easy to assemble, so you’ll be cooking burgers for your family right away!

Our Charcoal BBQ Buying Guide

The barbecue grill market is alive and well and expected to continue to grow through the year 2026. While gas grills tend to be the most popular, charcoal BBQs aren’t that far behind. This may be because gas grills are quicker to get going, but charcoal grills produce a more authentic flavor.

When shopping for a charcoal barbecue, you first need to decide how portable you need the model to be. There are grills that have a set of wheels that allow you to easily move them from one area of the yard to another. Others fold flat for transport to a new location. These grills make excellent options for a family picnic at the park. Small and more compact grills that are lightweight and easy to carry are a better choice for camping or tailgating.

Check to see what the charcoal BBQ you’re looking at is constructed from. Stainless steel is always a great option, as it resists rust and is easy to clean. When it comes to the cooking grates, look for nonstick, cast-iron grates, as they are designed to keep food from getting fused to the surface of the grates.

Review the grilling area to ensure there’s enough room to cook for everyone in your party. A charcoal grilling area of 150 square inches will fit just six hamburgers, while using a 250-square inch grate will allow for adding corn on the cob and a few hot dogs. Of course, you’ll also find extra-large models if you regularly cook for a massive group.

Take a look at the charcoal BBQ’s vents. You may find one large adjustable vent or two smaller vents. It’s important that the vents are able to provide enough air flow to cook your foods evenly and prevent your fire from suffocating.

Consider any extras that the grill may have to offer. For example, there are charcoal grills that feature an additional fire box for smoking meats. Others offer locking lids, which add an element of safety during transport. Insulated handles are always an excellent choice, as they won’t get hot to the touch. You’ll even come across grills with anti-slip rubber feet to keep them firmly planted on your concrete patio.

DWYM Fun Fact

The word “barbecue” comes from the Spanish word “barbacoa,” which was used by the Arawak people to describe the wooden structure they built to cook their meats.

It wasn’t until the 18th century that this type of cooking came to the American Colonies, as settlers used it to roast pigs.

Henry Ford is credited with creating the first charcoal grill under the name of the Kingsford Product Company. He was trying to find a way to reuse sawdust and wood scraps so they wouldn’t go to waste.

Charcoal grills evolved further in 1952 when Chicago-based Weber employee George Stephen formed a dome-shaped grill after cutting a buoy in half. The top half of the buoy was used as a lid to seal in flavor. Of course, the grill was also weatherproof, since buoys were designed for use in water.

Overtime, charcoal grills were outfitted with vents to aid in temperature control, as well as feet, so that they could be set on a table or patio. Today, many of these grills have a host of added features, such as storage shelves, back wheels for portability and ash catchers. You can even get BBQs with cooking ranges in a wide variety of sizes.

The Charcoal BBQ Tips and Advice

  • There are several different types of charcoal to choose from. You may opt for lump charcoal, which is made from pure wood. It doesn’t contain any binders or petroleum-based accelerants. Charcoal briquettes don’t have to be replenished as quickly as lump coal. They are created using wood, sawdust, Borax and binders, among other ingredients. Coconut shell charcoal is constructed from coconut husks. It’s best for use in smaller grills, as it is less readily available and more expensive to purchase.
  • Looking to add a smoky flavor to your meats? Consider adding some hardwood chips to your lump charcoal.
  • Always store your charcoal in a cool, dry location, as it has a habit of absorbing moisture.
  • If you wish, you can use a chimney starter to encourage the charcoal to heat up faster. It’s often a better choice than lighter fluid.
  • Always preheat your grilling grate before placing your chicken, beef or vegetables on the grate. Otherwise, they will stick to the grate. It’s also a good idea to oil the grate to further prevent foods from sticking.
  • Consider picking up a grill basket, as they allow you to grill sliced vegetables, like zucchini, peppers and onions without losing any between the grates.
  • Keeping your charcoal BBQ clean is the best way to prolong its life. Begin by removing the ash catcher, dumping out the ashes and wiping the catcher clean using a mild detergent and some warm water. Move on to the cooking grates next. You’ll want to use a stainless steel brush to remove any stuck-on foods. Wipe down the grates afterward with a wet cloth. Finish cleaning the grill by wiping down the bowl and lid with a mild dish soap and water.
  • Never clean the grill while it’s still hot. Wait for it to completely cool or you may suffer an accidental burn.
  • If you can’t move your charcoal BBQ into a garage or outdoor shed, it’s a good idea to pick up a grill cover to keep your BBQ protected from weather, debris and animals.
  • It’s important to properly make use of your grill’s vents, otherwise, you’ll have trouble controlling the temperature. Closing the vents will suffocate your fire, so you only want to do this after you’ve finished grilling. Opening the vents fully will significantly increase the temperature within the grill, while closing the vents partially works to cool the temperature down.
  • Since you can’t control the temperature of a charcoal grill like you can a gas grill, you’ll want to use a meat thermometer to ensure your beef and poultry has been cooked to the recommended internal temperature.
  • Determine how much assembly is required. You may want to recruit a friend to help you get the grill set up the first time.
  • After your fire has gone out and your grill has cooled, you can save and reuse any charcoal pieces that have not been burned.

About The Author

Alicia Bodine
Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in gardening. She enjoys spending time learning about the latest gadgets that make designing, planting and maintaining a garden a breeze. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared in leading home improvement publications. When she's not writing, you'll find her gardening, spending time with her kids, cooking in the kitchen or playing with her two kitties, Flitter and Otter. Alicia loves researching the latest and greatest gadgets, products and items that help her save time, energy and money.