Best Small Charcoal Grills of 2021 – Top Picks Reviewed

| Last Updated: January 9, 2022

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Do you travel often and enjoy a fresh, delicious meal? How would you like to have your favorite BBQ anywhere you are? If so, you are in the right place. In this article, we will discuss the best small charcoal grills that are perfect for all of your on-the-go grilling needs.

Comparison of the Best Small Charcoal Grills

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Lid locks for easy portability
  • Plated steel cooking grate
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  • Handmade, high-quality clay construction
  • Comes with adjustable ventilation
  • Durable chrome cooking grill
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  • Best Kingsford Small Charcoal Grill
  • Legs fold down and has a nice carrying handle
  • Lead-free and non-toxic
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  • Best for the Money
  • Foldable for easy and simple storage
  • Heat-resistant and scratch-resistant
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  • Best Small Weber Charcoal Grill
  • Light and compact for mobility
  • Comes with durable, easy-to-clean plated steel cooking grate
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  • Best Small Char Broil Charcoal Grill
  • Tube frame for added stability
  • Slide-out charcoal drawer
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  • Best Small Tabletop Charcoal Grill
  • Good, high-quality steel construction
  • High-temperature finish helps prevent rust
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Best Uses For a Small Charcoal Grill

Choosing the right grill is very important to the success of your grilling experience. For many users, the weight and location of the grill are important determinants of their choice. To help you choose the best model, we've rounded up the best uses for small charcoal grills:

Easy to Set up and Stow Away

Small charcoal grills are great for camping and picnics because of the ease of setup. They are lighter, and you spend substantially less time assembling one than setting up a gas model of the same size. This is because of its minimal list of parts. Hence, you're able to install the parts and get ready to cook within a few minutes.

Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Grill

Low Maintenance and Affordability

If you do not have much of a budget to work with, then a small charcoal grill is your cheapest option. It is interesting to note that they are very easy to maintain. The grate is the only part likely to wear out every few years.

Traditional Smoky Flavor

Do you like the old classic taste of barbeque prepared over charcoal? Well, that’s great. Many barbecuing experts prefer the naturally smoky taste of food made over a charcoal model.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Small Charcoal Grill?

You can’t make a good barbeque unless you know your oven temperature and can control it. Temperature control in a small charcoal grill depends on some different features. You ought to look out for these when weighing your options.

A Lid

Without a lid, you're very limited in the type of cooking you can do. You need a lid for heat retention, and the tighter it fits, the better it will be. 


Look for models that have 2 dampers, specifically an exhaust and an intake damper. With these, you can control the grill’s temperature and regulate the supply of oxygen to choke or feed the fire. Ensure the damper is tightly fitted, allowing you to properly choke the oxygen supply when needed.


Always ensure that your potential upgrade is equipped with a good digital thermometer. Without a good digital thermometer, there's a good likelihood that you'll end up with overcooked food or, even worse, undercooked food.

Ash Catcher

This is a pivotal feature. Ash is an excellent insulator, and if it is not removed, it will absorb heat and reduce performance.

Willy's Top Picks - Best Small Charcoal Grills

Review of the Best Small Charcoal Grills

You now know what to look for, let’s look at some of the best options on the market.

Best Overall:
Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Grill

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill, Black


  • Great value for your money 
  • Easy to clean due to the steel cooking grate design
  • Does not need a huge amount of charcoal to get good heat
  • Comes with a ventilation system that allows it to cool down quickly after cooking
  • Plated steel legs fold up and lock the lid in place, making it very easy to transport or store


  • Does not come with a storage bag
  • Cooking grate is not height adjustable

What Recent Buyers Report

A vast majority of Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Grill buyers are pleased with their purchase. It has plenty of cooking space for up to two mid-sized steaks or 6-8 pieces of chicken. It only requires a few minutes to be assembled, which makes it one of the best on-the-go grills.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This feature-rich design will appeal to many people. The ease of setting it up and how easy it is to transport are stellar features that set it apart. It also comes with a price tag that is attractive to many budgets, and the Weber quality has a long-standing reputation.

Who Will Use This Most

The Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Grill is perfect for those who do not cater for more than 2-3 people. Because of its compact nature, it is ideal for travelers who desire to have the whole grilling experience on the go. It is a must-try if you are a frequent traveler!

Bottom Line

For hardcore grillers who cook for a large number of people, this is not the option to consider. However, if what you need is a mini charcoal grill for small barbecue jobs, then all you need is the Weber Go-Anywhere. It is easy to assemble, easy to transport, and inexpensive. 

Fire Sense Large Yakatori Grill

Fire Sense 60450 Yakatori Internal Grates Charcoal Chrome Cooking Grill Japanese Table BBQ Handmade Using Clay Adjustable Ventilation For Outdoor Barbecues Camping Traveling - Large - Tan


  • Foods cook faster
  • Resistant to water
  • Large cooking surface
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Creates Hibachi-style food, healthier meals, earthy flavor, and juicy food


  • Requires a lot of cleaning
  • Heavy for a portable model

What Recent Buyers Report  

Satisfied customers find this product easy to use, as there is no assembly required. It has been praised for how well insulated it is and how quickly it generates heat to produce hibachi-style grills. They also say it does not require a lot of charcoal, and it gives a wonderful smoky flavor to your food. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The price is very reasonable when compared to similar Yakatori types. The ceramic body of the grill provides good insulation that locks in the juicy fire pit taste to the food. Hence, it becomes easy to achieve traditional Japanese Hibachi cooking. The grill architecture also means less charcoal is needed, and this saves running costs.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an ideal alternative to high-cost options, especially if you are looking for something to cook traditional Hibachi-style Japanese cuisine. The insulation on this is known to balance the pH level of most food, making them healthier. Also, the flavor the ceramic body adds to food makes it naturally appealing.

Bottom Line   

If you do not mind lifting it every time you need to get this out of the car, then the Fire Sense Large Yakatori Grill is an excellent choice. It is the closest you’ll get to making Hibachi-style foods. It is affordable, comes with a large surface area, saves cost on charcoal, and offers great value for your money.

Best for the Money:
Uten Barbecue Portable Grill  

Uten Barbecue Grill Portable Lightweight Simple Charcoal Grill Perfect Foldable Premium BBQ Grill for Outdoor Campers Barbecue Lovers Travel Park Beach Wild etc.[Small, Black]


  • Hinged lid
  • Easy to assemble
  • Heat-resistant handle
  • Foldable legs for easy transport
  • Powder-coated finish to resist rust


  • Doesn't come with an ash catcher
  • Assembly instructions are quite unclear

What Recent Buyers Report  

This product offers great value for the money, is easy to clean, and is perfect for small families. The naysayers point out the instructions in the setup manual are vague, but you will manage just fine if you have a bit of grilling experience.

Why it Stands Out to Us    

It is a great small charcoal grill that provides outstanding value for the money. It's a compact, convenient size that is great for smaller patios or balconies. This is a perfect, small option to have if you don't want to light up your big grill every time you want a burger, steak, or hotdog.

Who Will Use This Most   

This is a great choice for someone who doesn’t grill often, and it is also great for small families that cater for 2-3 people. If you do not have a big budget, but you want a sturdy, small option, then the Kingsford 14” Kettle Grill with Hinged Lid is for you.

Bottom Line  

This is a sturdy, well-built model that is engineered to last and very easy to assemble. The Kingsford is also easy to clean up and transport and is efficient for two to three people. It is not an apparatus for big families or those who grill often, but is a perfect model for those who have moderate grilling needs.

Best Kingsford Small Charcoal Grill:
Kingsford 14" Kettle Grill with Hinged Lid


  • Easy to assemble
  • Foldable for easy storage
  • Portable and durable construction
  • Hybrid design makes it perfect for 2-zone cooking
  • 12-airway vent design makes it easy to start a fire faster


  • Does not have a lid
  • Body gets hot very fast
  • Charcoal tray is not adjustable

What Recent Buyers Report  

Fans of the Uten Barbecue Portable Grill love the compact, lightweight design. They also appreciate how it can fold into a small box and be carried in a backpack with ease. They praise the clever design, which is great for traveling, and its overall efficiency.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The design is simple, sturdy, and functional, with heat-resistant and scratch-resistant properties. The 12-airway vent feature makes it easy to get the fire started, so you can get to the business of grilling your favorite meal in no time. The can easily be transformed into a small, metallic briefcase, and this enhances easy storage. 

Who Will Use This Most

This product is perfect for campers and travelers. For instance, go for this product if you have a small family, are on a road trip, or have 3-5 people parties. If you're a traveler, then look no further, the Uten Barbecue Portable Grill is designed for you.

Bottom Line  

The Kingsford is great for its convenience and the fact that it can be folded and transformed into a small lunch box. This makes it perfect for outdoor activities. The downside is there is no lid, which impacts the cooking time.

Best Small Weber Charcoal Grill:
Weber 10020 Smokey Joe

Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill, Black


  • Easy to use
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Nylon handle that does not heat up
  • Durable, plated-steel cooking grate is easy to clean
  • The bowl and lid are porcelain-enameled and won’t peel or rust


  • Not foldable
  • Made of aluminum and can become easily deformed

What Recent Buyers Report  

This product is praised for its durability, sturdy design, and how easy it is to assemble. Purchasers are impressed with the modest cooking area and overall efficiency. They are also impressed with the lightweight design that enhances convenience and comfort. However, it is not foldable. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This product is designed for many years of use. Those who have owned this grill state that theirs has lasted for over 10 years without any issues. The construction and design are much like large Weber cookers, all without the accompanying size and the higher price tag.

Who Will Use This Most 

This is a lightweight option that is great for traveling or cooking out for a small group. It’s perfect if you’re cooking for 2-3 people at a time. It comes with a modest cooking area, but it is highly efficient in catering for all of your on-the-go grilling needs. 

Bottom Line   

All in all, this model is designed to be extremely durable and to give a great grilling experience. It is not foldable and will generally require a little bit of space, but it is portable enough to go all the way with you.

Best Small Char-Broil Charcoal Grill:
Char-Broil American Gourmet Grill

Char-Broil American Gourmet 18-inch Tabletop Charcoal Grill


  • Easy to clean
  • Tube frame for stability
  • Handles for easy transport
  • Heavy-duty with easy portability
  • Side prep charcoal drawer is easy to clean and empty


  • Not foldable
  • Paint has a tendency to peel off easily

What Recent Buyers Report  

Buyers are generally pleased with the sturdy construction, the easy-to-clean parts, and the charcoal tray that slides out. They also say it is strong, durable, and easy to assemble. Others remarked that it gives the best flavor to their grilled food, and it is the best cooking accessory you can take with you wherever you go.

Why it Stands Out to Us   

For its price, this is a perfect grill! It retains the heat as well as any other option. It comes with a temperature gauge that is built-in, an ash-catching tray that can be removed for easy cleaning, and easy airflow control thanks to the two dampers. Also, it is masterfully crafted to be durable and highly efficient.

Who Will Use This Most 

This model is great for those who do not have to cater to a large number of people. Its compact design would fit nicely on most patios or tight-fitting balconies. Perfect for a small family of 4-5, this unit can also be taken with you when you go camping or on a trip. 

Bottom Line   

This is a well-built, strong product that is lightweight enough that you can take it anywhere but sturdy enough to have years of use. It is very simple to assemble and you can easily clean it with a dustpan or hand broom. It is not foldable, but the small design is just what you need, even when you go on a trip.

Best Small Tabletop Charcoal Grill:
Char-Broil Portable Tabletop Grill


  • Large grilling surface
  • High-quality steel build
  • Handles are resistant to heat
  • It is compact and easy to fold
  • Compact design enhances ease of use


  • No air control dampers
  • Charcoal tray is not adjustable

What Recent Buyers Report  

This product is a small and efficient grill that offers high value for the money. It is made of durable materials but is lightweight enough to be taken with you everywhere you go, including picnics. It is portable and space-saving, making it ideal for any traveler. Plus, it is easy to set up and use in no time!

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a "no-frills" little grill that's easy to transport and stow away because of its foldable construction. It also features great circulation and a tight fit on the lid. There are air vents on the side of the lid and the bottom of the unit.

Who Will Use This Most

This  is the ideal option for anyone who grills only once in a while or those who don’t need to cook lots of food. Because of its small size, it can cook just enough food for 4-5 adults at a time on its 190-square inch cooking area. 

Bottom Line  

This product features a sturdy construction and a large cooking area. What is more, the drip pan efficiently catches drippings and prevents flare-ups during cooking. This small charcoal grill is very portable and easy to assemble, clean, and maintain. Plus, it is not only durable but also resistant to rust.  

Pros and Cons of Small Charcoal Grills

All products come with both advantages and disadvantages, so do these types of products. Let’s take a look at a few here.

Pros of Using a Small Charcoal Grill

  1. Easy to Assemble: Assembly time for small charcoal grills is relatively shorter than the bigger charcoal models or gas variants of the same size.

  2. Heat: Smaller models burn hotter and can be stoked to reach a temperature of 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

  3. Affordability: It is significantly less expensive and more cost-effective than any other grilling option.

  4. Taste: Most people prefer the authentic, smoky flavor you can only get with food prepared over a charcoal grill.

  5. Portable: These are very portable and easy to carry with you anywhere you choose to go.

Cons of Using a Small Charcoal Grill

  1. Charcoal is quite messy, so you need a deeper cleaning session.

  2. Ash might get into your food.

  3. You need to supplement the charcoal as needed.

All in all, having a small charcoal grill is a great idea. They are compact, portable, and add the delicious smoky flavor to your foods, which you simply cannot get with a gas grill. They are also quite affordable and easy to set up wherever you are!

How to Use a Charcoal Grill

Now that you have your small grill, here is how to use it:

  1. Begin by opening the vents. The fire will need oxygen to ignite.

  2. Then, you might use a charcoal chimney to start it. This is the quickest and easiest way to get started.

  3. Place some newspaper in the chimney, then fill the chimney with charcoal. Remove the top grate from the grill, place the chimney inside, and light the newspaper.

  4. Let the charcoal or briquettes burn for 25-30 minutes until they are covered with gray ash.

  5. Wearing protective gloves, take the grate off the grill, hold the chimney by the handles, and pour charcoal inside.

  6. Use a towel soaked in vegetable oil to grease the grate, using a pair of tongs to avoid burning yourself. This way, your food will not stick.

  7. Your small charcoal grill is ready!


All in all, these are some of the best small charcoal grills you can find. We hope that this article has given you an idea of which one might be the best choice for you according to your needs and expectations. Make sure you check them all out, you will not regret it!

People Also Ask

Still have a few questions on your mind? Take a look at the answers below to gain some more insight into small charcoal grills.

How Much Charcoal Do I Need For a Small Grill?    

As a rule of thumb, start small – you can always add more. If you're slow cooking/smoking, you can start with 15 pieces. However, you might need to supplement this amount if you cook for a longer period. The trick is to watch the temperature of your grill. If it's not staying above 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then you need to throw a few more on.

Are Charcoal Grills Better?    

Charcoal grills are generally more portable, less expensive, and burn hotter than gas grills. Charcoal grills have their obvious benefits and drawbacks. While the pros far outweigh the cons, the choice of what is better comes down to the individual’s personal preference. If you enjoy the traditional smoky flavor and the whole experience, go for a charcoal grill.

Hey there, I’m Will, and I’ve been smoking and grilling for as long as I can remember. I made this blog to help others who are looking for honest and reliable info from someone they can trust. In my own efforts to try to perfect my smoking and grilling skills, I’ve done a lot of research and would like to have it compiled as a resource for others to use. Happy smoking!