5 Best Charcoal Grills 2021

Updated April 2021

Are you looking to take your grilling game to the next level this year? Or even if you’re just getting started, here are the top 5 highest reviewed charcoal grills for you to check out. We’ve listed their best features, star ratings & a handy review from a verified purchaser.
You’ll be un-grill-ievable in no time!

Portable Kitchen Weber Original Kettle Weber Original Kettle Premium Weber Master Touch Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050
Rating
4.81
4.76
4.72
4.72
4.40
Cooking Area (sq in)
301
363
363
443
1050
Burger Count
12
20
17
17
18
Ease of Set Up
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
Price Range
$
$
$
$
$$

4.81

★★★★★

301 square-inches of cooking area

60+ years history of proving to be rust-proof and durable

Unique capsule shape & 4 adjustable vents allows for easy temperature control

You can cook hot and fast or low and slow

Added benefit of being portable so you can detach from any available stand options

Cast aluminum means that it conducts heat 4x more efficiently than steel charcoal grills

Hinged cooking grid lets you easily add charcoal or wood

The detachable hood makes cleaning easy

Verified Purchaser Review: Couldn’t be happier.

When we bought our home last year, we began looking for a grill that was reasonably priced, could hold a temperature well in cooler weather and would last. After a lot of research and reading reviews I decided on the classic PK grill. One of the deciding factors for me was its ability to work as a grill and a smoker. After a Summer of use I couldn’t be happier, it is amazing how efficient this grill is. I grilled a brisket for 7 hours and had no problem keeping the temperature set, with minor adjustments to the vents you can really keep it dialed in. I am looking forward to many years of use with my PK grill.

best 5 charcoal grills

4.76

★★★★★

363 square-inches of cooking area

Made from premium-grade U.S Steel coated inside & out with porcelain enamel

Bowl & lid are precisely shaped to allow heat to circulate evenly

Aluminum vent helps you reach & control your desired grilling temperature

Rotate the handle to move ash into the catcher below & keep unburned coals in the bowl, which saves money on fuel

Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling

One-Touch cleaning system makes clean-up & ash removal easy

Verified Purchaser Review: Amazing long lasting charcoal grill!

I’ve never owned a large grill before I purchased the “Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 22 inch”. I have had two “Smokey Joe’s” prior to this purchase and really enjoyed them for over 28 years each. Now I can smoke/cook for our family get-togethers with much more ease, instead of having to smoke/cook several items one at a time. I love the smell and taste of charcoal; I also start my charcoal with the Weber tower charcoal starter and get cooking faster without the mess and smell of dangerous charcoal lighter in my food. Thank you for a great product for over 28 years of cooking on my Weber charcoal grills.

4.72

★★★★★

363 square-inches of cooking area

Many of the same features as the Original (non-Premium) in terms of shape & materials however, this one comes with some upgrades:

Built-in thermometer means you can monitor temperature without needing another device

Hinged plated cooking grates so you can easily add more charcoal

Reinforced nylon handles, two of which have built-in tool hooks

Plus standard Kettle features such as:

Made from premium-grade U.S Steel coated inside & out with porcelain enamel

Bowl & lid are precisely shaped to allow heat to circulate evenly

Aluminum vent helps you reach & control your desired grilling temperature

Rotate the handle to move ash into the catcher below & keep unburned coals in the bowl, which saves money on fuel

Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling

One-Touch cleaning system makes clean-up & ash removal easy

Verified Purchaser Review:

This is my first charcoal BBQ after decades of using propane ones and if I knew how easy it was to use the Kettle I would have switched over a long time ago. It’s basic design has been around for a long time with very little revisions to its shape. No need to alter something that is nearly perfect for its intended function. unlike all the propane bbq’s that I’ve owned previously, the Kettle gets so hot (over 500F degrees) which sears thick steaks perfectly and imparts flavors that only charcoal can bring. Clean up was a cinch. All the ashes can be easily collected and disposed of through the aluminum catcher located directly below the grill. Just move the lever back and forth and presto a Kettle ready for more action.If you are hesitating about going back to charcoal don’t. This is how barbequing should be done.

4.72

★★★★★

443 square-inches of cooking area with 80 square inch warming rack

Classic Weber Kettle with all the bells & whistles added

Including Gourmet BBQ system which has a removable round center section that you can replace with a selection of Weber’s customer accessories (sold separately)

Turn your Kettle into a pizza oven, wok, griddle & more

Option of direct or indirect cooking using the two included charcoal fuel holders

Comes with the Premium Kettle features too of a built-in thermometer, hinged grates for easily adding more charcoal, OneTouch cleaning system & more

Verified Purchaser Review: Master-Touch has made eating fun again!!!

Our Master-Touch 22″ has been a dream to cook on. In the past 6 weeks we have done ribs, steaks, wings, chicken and several Boston butts. Friends and neighbors have enjoyed the fruits of my labor as well. Very well designed with plenty of cooking space and allows you to control the heat range perfectly. A+++++++ to Weber for a great product!

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4.40

★★★★★

1,050 square-inches of cooking area consisting of cast iron cooking grates & two porcelain FoldAway warming racks for indirect cooking

Revolutionizing charcoal grilling by combining the flavor & versatility of charcoal with the convenience of a pellet grill

DigitalFan technology stokes the flames to the precise temperature on the easy to use PID controller or your smartphone

Within 10 minutes you can reach low & smoking temperatures or a few more minutes takes you up to 700 degrees for searing

Use of gravity ensures that fresh charcoal feeds the fire, with ash dropping into the bin below

Hopper can hold 10lbs of charcoal or 16lbs of charcoal briquettes, which gives you up to 8 hours of cooking time

You can also mix in some wood chunks to add extra flavor to your cook

Use your smartphone to set the temperature, timers or receive notifications, plus monitor your meat probes wirelessly

Extra prep space with a stainless steel folding front shelf

Verified Purchaser Review: I love this grill!

I purchased my 1050 in July and it is hands down the best grill I have ever bought. I feel like I can grill, smoke or bbq anything. The grill is very easy to use and with the use of thermometers to verify temperatures, it is almost impossible not to have meats that are tender and tasty, cooked to perfection.

best 5 charcoal grills

6 Considerations for the Best Charcoal Grill for You (A Buyer’s Guide)

Despite the growing market for innovative BBQ equipment and appliances, charcoal grills remain a popular choice due to their simplicity and reliability. Not only do they cook food faster and sear better than gas grills, but they also cost less in comparison, making them a cost-effective choice.

 

Though they are simpler in function, there is a vast selection of charcoal grills in the market today. Picking the right one requires considering a number of factors to ensure you’re getting the best charcoal grill for your needs.

 

From the size of the grill to temperature control, easy-cleaning features to direct and indirect cooking options, here are 6 key considerations to help you make the right choice.

best 5 charcoal grills

#1 Size of the Grill

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Grill Size
Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050

Picking the right-sized charcoal grill for your needs depends on two things: the number of people you typically cook for and the maximum number of people you expect to grill for at once. 

It’s important to remember that a bigger grilling surface also allows you to create dual-zone grilling setups for the convenience and versatility of indirect cooking.

Small charcoal grills (measuring a maximum of 26 inches wide) are ideal for couples and small families, particularly for camping trips and tailgate parties with a few close friends. 

Options in this size range include the Portable Kitchen Cast Aluminum Charcoal Grill & Smoker with 301 square inches of cooking area, the Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill and Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill, both of which offer 363 square inches of cooking area.

The Weber Master Touch 22-Inch Charcoal Grill With Gourmet BBQ System Cooking Grate is another excellent choice in this category, offering up to 443 square inches of cooking area that includes an 80-square-inch warming rack. 

Medium charcoal grills, typically measuring between 27 and 33 inches in width, offer added versatility with room for both main dishes and sides as well as space for dual cooking zones. 

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker stands out in this category with its cast iron cooking grates and two porcelain FoldAway warming racks for indirect cooking, creating a total of 1,050 square inches of cooking area.

#2 Temperature Control

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050
Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050

Charcoal grills have the advantage of cooking food faster as they can go above 500 degrees, but this involves watching over the food closely and maintaining good control of the temperature.

In this regard, the Portable Kitchen Cast Aluminum Charcoal Grill & Smoker’s unique capsule shape and 4 adjustable vents allow for easy temperature control, while the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill and Weber Master Touch 22-Inch Charcoal Grill With Gourmet BBQ System Cooking Grate both feature an aluminium vent for better control of the desired grilling temperature besides a built-in thermometer to easily monitor the temperature.

If you prefer a charcoal grill with an innovative twist, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker uses the DigitalFan technology to stoke the flames to the precise temperature you set on the easy-to-use PID controller or your smart phone.

#3 Accessories

Weber Master Touch
Weber Master Touch

The versatility of a charcoal grill is largely dependent on the grill’s available accessories.

The Weber Master Touch takes it to the next level with a variety of plug-and-play accessories integrated into its Gourmet BBQ System. 

Besides a hinged cooking grate with a 12-inch insert that can be replaced with other components for more grilling flexibility, the grill also includes two glass-reinforced nylon handles that can withstand the elements for the life of the grill, one of which has built-in tool hooks, and a Tuck-Away lid holder that conveniently allows you to store the lid while you grill.

Equally versatile in its own right, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 comes with a set of locking casters for portability, side and bottom shelves for added storage and prep room, a grill cover, and rotisserie kit for added cooking options.

#4 Easy to Clean

Weber Master Touch Easy Cleaning
Weber Master Touch Easy Cleaning

Charcoal ash tends to corrode steel when it gets wet, which makes proper cleaning vital to optimizing your grill’s lifespan. To make life easier for yourself, pick a grill with easy-clean mechanisms.

Weber’s Original Kettle, Original Kettle Premium, and Master Touch models all feature the patented One-Touch cleaning system that caters for hassle-free cleaning. When the handle is rotated, the three blades in the bowl move ash through the vents and down into the enclosed aluminium ash catcher below which prevents the ashes from blowing away and creating a mess.

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050’s unique design places charcoal on a grate inside the GravityFed hopper, which permits ash and burned-out bits to fall into a removable ash bin below. The grill also comes with a drip pan for easy clean-up.

best 5 charcoal grills

#5 Smart Features

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker Smart Features
Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker

For a digital charcoal grill and smoker, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 steals the show with its easy-to-set pellet grill-style PID controller that runs nonstop calculations to keep temperatures stable. 

Not only is the grill compatible with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for access to the Masterbuilt App, it can be used to control temperatures, set timers, and receive notifications when the food is ready. 

The app also puts you in command of the included meat probe and thermometer, resulting in hassle-free cooking you wouldn’t imagine possible on a charcoal smoker.

#6 Direct & Indirect Cooking

To get more bang for your buck, why not opt for a charcoal grill that allows for direct and indirect cooking at the same time?

The Weber Master Touch instantly turns your kettle grill into a pizza oven, wok, griddle, and more, with the ability for direct and indirect cooking via the two included Char-Basket charcoal fuel holders in various positions. 

Equally versatile, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 features two porcelain coated FoldAway warming racks that can be set at two different levels for indirect cooking, placed at the same height for a larger indirect surface, or removed altogether to accommodate larger items.

There are a variety of factors to consider when shopping for a charcoal grill, but it all boils down to a simple matter of priorities and how much you’re looking to spend.

We hope this buyer’s guide inspires some ideas for the perfect grill in anticipation of the coming summer!

Portable Kitchen Weber Original Kettle Weber Original Kettle Premium Weber Master Touch Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050
Rating
4.81
4.76
4.72
4.72
4.40
Cooking Area (sq in)
301
363
363
443
1050
Burger Count
12
20
17
17
18
Ease of Set Up
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
Price Range
$
$
$
$
$$
best 5 charcoal grills