Best Portable Charcoal Grill in 2019

When you get your first charcoal grill it seems to be a sign you are reaching true adulthood. Many people prefer charcoal to other forms of grilling because the taste can be outstanding.

There are many different kinds of charcoal on the market that will have a hint of mesquite or maybe apple wood.

Getting a portable charcoal grill is sometimes a better option than a full-size grill. Portable grills are usually cheaper, use less charcoal and are easy to take on the go. They are also ideal for small patios.

Charcoal grills are also more ideal for traveling since you don’t have to take propane with you. They can reach higher temperatures than propane.

Choosing the right grill will depend on your needs as well as brand preferences. Some questions to ask yourself before buying:

How heavy can it be?

Will you be feeding a lot of people and need a larger cooking area?

What kind of storage space do you have for it?

Do you have a brand preference?

How much do you want to spend?

Will you be using it for camping, tailgating, home grilling or some other use?

#1. Volcano Grills 3-Fuel Portable Camping Stove/ Fire Pit
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17 x 17 x 12 inches / 4lbsSteelCollapsable

Uses charcoal, wood or propane

Comes with carrying bag
#2. Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box

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18.5 x 16 x 17 inches / 38 lbsSteel and cast ironAttaches to a larger grill
#3. Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter Portable Charcoal Grill

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17.7 x 18.5 x 15.4 inches / 3 lbsEnamel coated steel with porcelain coated wire grateThermometer included
Grate lifts for easy access to charcoal
#4. Char-Broil Portable CB500X Charcoal Grill

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15.8 x 24 x 16 inches / 40 lbsSteel and cast iron

Wooden handles
Thermometer included
Has adjustable grate and damper to control temperature better.
#5. Old Smokey Charcoal Grill

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22.5 x 22.5 x 13 inches/ 19 lbsAluminized steelLarge cooking space

#1. Old Smokey Grill

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This grill is barrel shaped and ideal for smoking as well as grilling. Made from aluminized steel, the Old Smokey is sturdy and light. It is a bit bigger, however, for storing than other grills in this list.

It has some great reviews on amazon and is a fraction of the cost of some other portable charcoal grills.

Old Smokey company has been around since 1923 and is not corporate owned. Believe it or not, the company has been in the same building (with some renovations of course) since 1923 in Houston, Texas. It is a reliable brand that many people depend on.

  • Large cooking space
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • A little large for portability

#2. Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box

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The Char Griller is much heavier than the Old Smokey grill, but it is smaller. It is shaped like a traditional smoker, and it can attach to a larger version. It is a little bit small to do a whole lot of grilling.

It is made of steel and cast iron; however, some buyers complain that the black paint bubbles up once exposed to heat.

This grill is a perfect companion to a larger Char-Griller. You could easily cook side dishes on its smaller cooking surface while cooking meats on the larger grill.

Char-Griller is another household name known for quality grills; although, this portable grill seems like a better pair to the larger smoker than one to take while traveling.

  • Small
  • Good for smoking
  • Attaches to larger grill
  • Heavy
  • Paint may bubble and chip

#3. Cuisinart CCG-100 GrateLifter Portable Charcoal Grill

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This grill takes some of the hassle out of filling the grill with charcoal. The grate lifts away from the bottom for easy filling without touching a dirty or possibly hot grate.

Cuisineart is mostly known for its small kitchen appliances and gadgets, not so much for grills. There are mixed reviews on this portable charcoal grill.

Some reviewers love it, but some are less than satisfied. It weighs only three pounds, but, according to reviewers, this may be because it is made with less than satisfactory materials. Still, there is no denying its small size and light weight make it ideal for traveling. It also has a thermometer, which is helpful when grilling.

  • Small and lightweight
  • Grate lifts for easy charcoal placement
  • Thermometer
  • Hard to put together
  • Some parts seem cheaply made

#4. Char-Broil Portable CB500X Charcoal Grill

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With a unique box design, the CB500X is eye catching. Char-Broil is another well known name in grilling. The company has been around since 1948.

The grate is adjustable, helping you control the amount of heat that reaches your food. It also has a thermometer.

It weighs about 40 pounds, which may be better for a small patio and not for traveling or camping. It is also the most expensive grill on this list.The grate is adjustable and it has an easy to use damper to control temperatures better.

  • Thermometer included
  • Adjustable grate
  1. Heavy
  2. pricey

#5. Volcano Grills 3-Fuel Portable Camping Stove/ Fire Pit

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The Volcano grill has the most unique look of any charcoal grill on this list. If you want truly portable, this grill is perfect. It is collapsable and has a handle. It also is very lightweight.

The most wonderful thing about this portable charcoal grill is that it doesn’t just have to be a charcoal grill. You can hook up a propane tank to it or use it as a fire pit. Oh, did I also mention it comes with its own carrying bag.

It is probably the most versatile grill on the list since you can use it for cooking in a pan as well as grilling. It is perfect for frying using a dutch oven. The propane attachment hooks up to a 20-pound tank, but you can purchase a different attachment that will hook up to a small portable propane tank.

Some reviewers had problems with the propane not heating as thoroughly as it should, but overall, this grill had some great reviews. The only drawback is the price.

Although a little less than the Char-Broil, it is more than any other grill on this list.



  • Collapsable
  • Lightweight
  • Uses charcoal, wood or propane
  • Comes with carrying bag
  • Has handle for easy carrying


  • Pricey
  • Propane may not work well
  • Conclusion

If you want the most versatile and portable charcoal grill, I would consider buying the Volcano. It is collapsible and the perfect size and weight for traveling. A great bonus is using it as a fire pit, especially if you camp at a primitive campground where a fire pit isn’t included.

The only thing that might deter prospective buyers is the price. However, it seems worth every penny and perfect for a camping expedition or tailgating. It could even be used at home on your patio or as a fire pit for a bonfire right in your own yard.

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