Grilling is a great way to make tasty foods and it can be done in many different types of areas, from your backyard to the park. Portable grills are becoming more popular as they allow you to take this cooking method with you as you’re going about your business. Here’s some tips on how to choose the best portable grill for your needs.
In general, there are two major categories of portable grills: propane-powered and charcoal. Propane ones tend to cook faster and easier because all you have to do is turn them on and the heat starts going. Charcoal ones require a little bit more work but it’s well worth it for their unique flavor – not something you can get from a gas grill, that’s for sure.
Whether you choose gas or charcoal doesn’t depend only on your personal preferences – it also depends on your plans and what’s more convenient for your situation. If you plan to be cooking at home most of the time, go with a propane grill because it’ll save you time and energy – all you need to do is turn it on and start cooking! On the other hand, if you love spending time in nature and like to bring everything but the kitchen sink with yourself, charcoal grills are probably better suited for this purpose as they’re much easier to transport around. Whether you go with gas or charcoal grills will also affect how easy it is to use them: since propane requires no extra work apart from turning them on (and the party can start!), they’re a lot more popular and common, especially among beginners. It’s also worth mentioning that charcoal grills are much cheaper – if you’ve already got some coals on hand or know where to find them near you, you’ll save a significant amount of money by going with this type of grill instead.
As far as portability goes, both propane and charcoal grills have their advantages and disadvantages. Propane ones are definitely easier to transport after all – no matter how small your car is, there’s bound to be enough space for a gas grill in there! On the other hand, most models don’t have legs so they need a flat surface to sit on – not something too convenient when camping or on the beach! Charcoal grills on the other hand are much easier to transport around because they usually have legs so you can just put them wherever you want. Also, many of them have handles on top which makes it really easy to carry them around even if they’re full of things.
On the other side though, propane ones are definitely more stable – that’s something you don’t need to worry about with charcoal models as long as there are legs supporting their weight. Another thing is ease of use – both types of grills require some amount of work before you can start cooking but once you get familiar with your grill, using it will become a lot simpler and faster for sure.
Both prop and charcoal grills come in many different types and models, which makes it harder to choose the right one. Luckily for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the best ones out there so be sure to check it out! It might just help you pick the perfect grill for your needs.
Top Portable & Small Grills
Weber Q1200 Propane Grill
- One stainless steel burner produces 8500 BTU-per-hour to heat 189 square-inch total cooking area. Dimensions - Lid Open and Tables Out (inches)-24.6 H x 40.9 W x 20.5 D. Lid Closed and Tables Out (inches)-15.5 H x 40.9 W x 16.5 D
- Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates and cast aluminum lid and body
- Fully assembled out of box. Battery type: AAA
- Easy-start electronic ignition and infinite control burner valve settings
- Uses disposable 14.1 or 16.4 oz LP cylinder (sold separately).Glass-reinforced nylon frame
Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill
- Travel with taste, or grill up a quick meal on your patio with the Jumbo Joe portable charcoal grill. The compact size with larger grilling area and convenient carry handle is perfect for any weekend getaway or spontaneous day at the beach. Combustion by-products produced when using this product contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
- Holds up to eight burgers made with a Weber burger press
- Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
- The Tuck-N-Carry lid lock doubles as a lid holder to avoid placing the lid on the ground
Kenyon Frontier Electric Grill
- The grill will exceed temperatures of 550° F
- 1300W Element in direct contact with cooking surface for efficient grilling
Coleman Roadtrip 285
George Foreman Plate Portable Grill
- 5 Servings - Feed the whole family in record time. With 72 square inches of grilling space, you can make five servings of everybody’s favorites all at the same time. The product does not have variable temperature control
- Removable Plates - Easy cleanup is essential, and that’s what the removable grill plates are all about. Pop them in the dishwasher after grilling and they’ll be ready to go for your next meal
- Premium Ceramic Coating - Time for an upgrade! Ceramic is the key to our improved nonstick coating. It’s 5x more durable, stain- and fade-resistant, and free of PTFE and PFOA
- Fat-Removing Slope - It’s the sure sign of a George Foreman Grill. The sloped grilling surface helps remove up to 42% of fat from meats for lean, tasty meals. Removable Grill Plates - The top and bottom grill plates are completely removable, and cool-touch plastic grips make them easy to handle
- Drip Tray - The dishwasher-safe drip tray collects excess fat and grease so you don’t have to. How nice is that.
Things to consider when buying a Portable Grill
Food is always better when cooked on an open fire. Find the perfect portable grill for your needs and you’ll be able to enjoy more outdoor barbecues and camping trips than ever before.
Most of us only need a gas-powered grill for occasional use, such as at apartment buildings that do not allow charcoal grills or during power outages. Portable charcoal grills are ideal for camping, picnics or tailgating, while heavy duty models with side burners can cook enough food for a small army of people around a banquet table at catered events. Here’s what you should look for:
Size: How many people will you be cooking for? You’ll want to select a grill that has the right type and number of burners for your needs.
Portability: Pull-carts and towable carts can be difficult to maneuver if you’re by yourself, so look for a model with wheels that swivel or one than can be quickly disassembled into several smaller pieces. You may also opt for a collapsible grill that breaks down flat when not in use.
Cooking area: This is where you’ll need to do some math – take the number of people who will be eating and multiply it by the number of hot dogs or hamburgers they eat on average. If you want to cook veggies as well, add another person’s worth of servings per person and include that total as well (see chart below).
Burner type: Gas grills have a number of burner types to choose from, including infrared and ceramic. Each has its own unique pros and cons, so do your research before buying one (see chart below).
Price: Grills can cost anywhere from $50 for small tabletop units to several thousand dollars for heavy duty grills with side burners and telescoping lids – price largely depends on size, cooking capacity and features. If you’ll be using it only every now and then, we suggest sticking with a basic gas grill that costs less than $300.
Charcoal: If you’re looking to cook low-and-slow foods like ribs or pork butt, you may want to go with another type of grill such as a smoker or an offset charcoal box. Check out this guide to help you choose the best one for your needs.
Weight: There are portable grills that weigh only 25 pounds, but they are usually small tabletop models with tiny cooking areas. If you need something large enough to feed a family of four, plan on hauling around at least 80 pounds of grill and coals.
Side burner: Some portable gas grills have an attached sideburner to boil water for hot dogs or burgers, which can make things easier if you’re cooking for a crowd. One word of caution – be sure it’s actually designed to cook off-heat as some models either shut off completely when not in use or shut off the flame entirely once lit (not what you want if you’re trying to keep something warm).
Side tables: Side tables can come in handy when you’re cooking with a group or have a large grill. Look for a unit that has at least one, though the more the merrier.
Charcoal grate: Some charcoal grills have standard wire grates with small openings, which works fine for cooking hot dogs and hamburgers but not so great for things like fish. Look for a model that has a special raised grate as it allows more airflow under the food and prevents foods from sticking as much as they would on the standard grate.
Number of burners:
1-2 person serving per person = 3-6 burner grill
3-4 person serving per person = 5-8 burner grill
5-6 person serving per person = 8-10 burner grill
8+ person serving per person = 12+ burner grill