The Best Charcoal Grills And Smoker Combos [Top 5 Grills Rated]

By Walter J. Farrell | COOKING

After two weeks of intense hands on testing as well as crowdsourcing opinions from peers and reputable websites, we have concluded that the Weber Master-Touch Charcoal Grill 22 inch is the one of the best performing charcoal grill of 2017. It has an innovative clean up system that allows faster and more convenient clean up times than any other products we have seen.

Are you fond of having burger parties during the weekend with friends?

And you still haven’t found the right charcoal grill to help you make those scrumptious burgers or steaks?

​​​​If you answered yes to both questions, this might be the reason why you have stumbled upon this article.

Picking a reliable and durable charcoal grill is a difficult task. No doubts. Especially with so many low quality grills out on the market and product brands, there's a very good chance you might pick the wrong one.

Not to mention about the ton of features and factors you have to consider which make choosing the right grill even more difficult. 

Lucky for you we have done all the hard work for you by listing down the top rated products. We will also share with you the important factors to look out for when choosing a charcoal grill.

So without further ado, let’s begin!

Product NameTemperature gaugeClean up systemConstruction 
Weber Performer Deluxe- Most Feature PackedYesOne Touch Clean Up SystemStainless Steel
Weber Master-Touch Charcoal Grill 22 inchYesOne Touch Clean Up SystemHeavy Cast Aluminum Steel
Char-Broil American Gourmet 800 SeriesYesAsh receptacleStainless Steel
Portable Kitchen PK Cast Aluminum GrillYesAsh Receptacle Aluminum Steel
Napoleon Infrared Charcoal GrillYesAsh receptacle Stainless Steel

"What To Consider Before Buying a Charcoal Grill?"

Choosing the right charcoal grill might seem like an easy task. However, it is much harder than you think. There are actually several factors that you need to consider before buying one.

We have laid out a list of factors that you need to consider before buying a charcoal grill. With that being said, let us start.

1. Size

Size is one of the defining factors that will tell you how good a charcoal grill is. However, this factor will rely on your personal preference. Whether you want one with a larger cooking area for big parties or one with a more compact design that is fit for camping trips, the choice all boils down to personal preferences.

Size also determines the price of a charcoal grill. Most of the time, a larger charcoal grill comes with a higher price tag. Consequently, a smaller one will elicit a smaller price.

In terms of size, you also need to consider your cooking space. If you are living in a small apartment in LA for example, it would be very impractical for you to get a large sized grill. So take note of these specifics before determining the right size for your grill. 

2. Price

Style is also a factor to consider. Although this does not apply to all, most people would want a grill that performs well and has a design that is at par with its high quality.

Charcoal grills come in a variety of designs. Some have straightforward box type shapes while others have more unique designs with intricate patterns. Most of the time, more complex designed charcoal grills also come with a huge price.

More contemporary designed grills also sport a bulkier style which resembles a gas unit. In totality, the style of your charcoal grill relies on your personal preference.

3. Air Vents

Ventilation is also an important factor that affects the performance of a charcoal grill. For less discerning consumers, this might seem like an insignificant aspect, but it actually carries a huge part of its function.

Always pick one that has adjustable air vents. Why? Because air vents allow you to adjust the temperature level of the charcoal grill. You wouldn’t want overcooked patties, would you? To be safe, pick one that lets you adjust the amount of air that comes into the grill.

Other more recent grills also have two or more air vents, this allows better manipulation over the temperature. So before buying, ask whether the product has an adjustable vent or if it has more than one.

4. Additional Features

The last factor is the addition of a few useful features.

One useful feature is the addition of a clean up mechanism for the grill. Some more advanced grills have a one touch system that allows you to discard accumulated charcoal residue with one touch while others rely on a more traditional route, with the use of a removable ash bin.

Some newer models are also equipped with additional storage places, for example additional racks for you to place utensils or other cooking tools.

For those who prefer their meat smoked, then a charcoal grill with an attached smoker is also a good option. With this, you are able to enjoy your smoked ribs with ease.


How We Assessed and Evaluated These Products

We spent 3 weeks researching and finding various charcoal grills across multiple sites including cooking forums, food blogs and other online communities — we ended up having a big list of 20 products in our watchlist.

We narrowed list by applying a scoring system based on common buying factors like durability, size, price, output, style and ease of maintenance. And selected only the 5 with the highest scores for hands-on testing.

Our team then compared the findings against big review sites like The Spruce and TheSweethome. We also sought feedback from our readers and co-workers who have used the products.

Finally the products are rated based on editor's pick, first runner-up and second runner-up. You find the reviews of each product, its pros and cons and our recommendation below. 


Our Top Picks

1. Weber Performer DeluxeMost Feature Packed

When it comes to outdoor barbecue cooking, Weber is one of the most popular brands. The first entry on our list is from their high quality line of charcoal grills, deserving the tag Deluxe.

The product is very compact, it has a 22 inch diameter bowl. It also comes with an ergonomically designed work surface and a wire bottom shelf. It has a cooking area of 363 square inch.

Just like the older Weber Performer models, it also has the same cleaning system that is equipped with a removable ash receptacle that allows for more convenient cleaning.

In terms of cooking convenience, the Performer Deluxe offers the ease of use of a gas start with a single touch of a button, thanks to its Touch-n-Go Ignition system.

The product is equipped with flip up and hinged stainless steel cooking grates to allow easier flipping of the grate more coal to the grhen you need to add in ill or rearrange the coals underneath.

With more storage area in its center portion, you can place and store more accessories such as cookware sets, woks, griddle or pizza stone.

To add more icing to the cake, it has a built in temperature gauge placed on top of the lid as well as an LCD timer that allows you to manage your cooking time conveniently.

Our only gripe with this product is the fact that it is smaller than expected, with this, there will be a hard time adjusting to large cookware. 

What We Liked

  • Temperature gauge
  • LCD timer
  • List Element

What We Didn't Like

  • None.

The second entry on our list still comes from the well renowned brand, Weber. The product is constructed with high quality steel and is fortified with enamel porcelain, further ensuring the build of the grill to be rust resistant. In addition, it also has rust proof legs.

The product is equipped with two vents. Because of this airflow is controlled better and the overall temperature can also be well adjusted. Its round design is suitable for better heat distribution.

With over 363 square inches in primary cooking area, and an additional 80 square inches warming rack area, it comes with a total cooking area of 443 square inches. There is enough space for you to cook your home cooked hamburgers, steaks and other favourite dishes. In our test, we were able to cook a whopping total of 12 burgers all at once without any problem.

The cooking grate that comes along with this purchase is made of heavy duty steel which is also resistant to rust. For easier refilling of fuel, it has a slightly hinged design.

It also comes with a built in lid thermometer and a lid handle with heat shield.

But there’s more! Probably, the special feature of the product is its One-Touch cleaning system. With this, cleaning is but a walk in the park. You just have to invert the handle and the grill shall clean itself. Because of the three blades in the unit, the residue will be travel through the vents and into the catcher.

Our main gripe with this product is that it is too large for small group parties or house cooking. 

What We Liked

  • One Touch Cleaning System
  • Rust resistant build
  • Heavy duty construction
  • plus
    Hinged design for easier fuel refill
  • plus
    Round design for better heat distribution

What We Didn't Like

  • exclamation-triangle
    None.

The third worthy entry on our list is the char-Broil American Gourmet 800 Series. This is one of the more straightforward charcoal grills featured on this list.

It has a very simplistic design, yet you still get the feeling of having a well constructed grill. It is made of heavy duty steel that allows longevity of usage with the product.

Just like the previous entry, it also has a large cooking area. Measuring at 580 square inches, the main cooking part is suitable for large meals. It is also equipped with a swing rack.

The upper level of the grill allows you to slow roast pieces of meat while cooking meat in the main cooking area.

Some of its added features are a temperature gauge and a durable handle. It has an ash pan and a highly adjustable fire grate. It is equipped with a folding shelf that allows storage of utensils and other cooking equipment.

While its seems that the product has got it all, it does come with a drawbacks. When we exposed the grill to the elements of the outdoors for a few days, we immediately noticed some rust spots. So be prepared to do some maintenance.

What We Liked

  • Removable ash pan
  • Large cooking area
  • Simplistic design
  • Swing away rack
  • Temperature gauge
  • Folding front shelf

What We Didn't Like

  • Rust easily

PK has made charcoal grills since the 1950s, no wonder this unit comes with an attractive vintage looking design that is somewhat similar to the first models. The unit is made of rust resistant cast aluminum to ensure high quality build and durability.

With the aluminum construction, there is increased heat conductivity as well as distribution. This means that cooking will only last a few minutes compared to similar products. It has a nickel plated steel cooking grate that are also rust resistant. The unit comes with a hinge that allows for easy fuel refilling.

Donning more vents, the product boasts of excellent temperature control.

The tight aluminum body allows it to be lightweight enough to be packed around camping or hunting trips.

Our main caveat though with the product is the fact that the hingers were a bit flimsy. This is a disappointment since the overall build of the product is actually astounding.

What We Liked

  • Good design
  • Vintage looking design
  • Cast aluminium build
  • Lightweight
  • Wheeled stand
  • Nickel plated steel cooking grate

What We Didn't Like

  • Flimsy hinges

The last but definitely not the least entry on our list is the Napoleon Infrared Charcoal grill. It has a hooked lid that allows the grill to be hung on the right side cooking surface. It is actually very lightweight and portable compared to its counterparts.

Measuring only 350 square inches, the product is very compact and lightweight. With this modest size, it can accommodate more than 20 patties being cooked at the same time. It has a hinged cooking grate for easier fuel refilling.

For convenient cleanup, it is equipped with a compact ash catcher. Because of this, you no longer need to open the grill and discard the remains which is actually a very taxing task.

It has a reliable temperature gauge that lets you monitor the heat being subjected to your meals.

Despite having the lid on, you have the option to see the temperature inside the grill.

We noticed that the grill was too small, so if you are looking forward to large house parties or gatherings, better look elsewhere!

What We Liked

  • Durable construction
  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Hooked lid for better storage
  • Good sized ash catcher

What We Didn't Like

  • None.


Our Recommendations:

Editor's Pick: Weber Master-Touch Charcoal Grill 22 inch

With careful deliberation and discussion with the team, the charcoal grill that stood out from the rest for us was the Weber Master-Touch Charcoal Grill 22”.

In terms of build, it is made of heavy duty aluminum which makes it stable and durable compared to other charcoal grills that make use of cheap stainless steel.

Moreover, its round design makes it conducive for cooking as it allows good heat conduction and distribution better than others

What makes it stand above the rest is the fact that the product employs the use of their patented one touch cleaning system that allows convenient and easy clean up with a single press of a button. To aid in easier fuel refilling, it has a hinged design which makes the task a walk in the park.

Runners Up: Portable Kitchen PK Cast Aluminum Grill and Char-Broil American Gourmet 800 Series

Coming in at second place is the attractive Portable Kitchen PK Cast Aluminum Grill. The PK grill dons a vintage design that is reminiscent of the past designs during the 1950s. With this, your friends and family will adore this uniquely designed grill.

Moreover, it has a wheeled stand, a rare feature for grills, that make it ultra portable. To add more durability and stability to the grill, the cooking grate is constructed from nickel fortified steel.

At third place is the Char-Broil American Gourmet 800 Series. The product boasts of a rather simplistic design but it ticks off all the necessary features for a good charcoal grill.

It has a removable ash pan that collects all the charcoal residue for easy disposal. It has one of the largest main cooking areas which makes it suitable for large parties. It also has a temperature gauge that allows you to determine the amount of heat in the grill. This is important as it allows you to estimate the time it takes to cook your meals.

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About the Author

Walter J. Farrell is an accountant who is very passionate about sharing his knowledge on high tech gadgets. He started AuthorityAdviser to help people know more about the products that are currently a hit in the market.

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