Buyer’s Guide 2018: The Best Portable Grills For Every Occasion

A portable grill is perfect and compact enough to take on camping trips or if you’re just looking for something that does the job of a large grill, but for a limited amount of space.  

In this article, we’re going to look at different types of portable grills and highlight the features that may work best for you!

Best Portable Grills Comparison Chart

Features of an Admirable Portable Grill?

Surface Cooking Area

Portable grills are not as big as normal grills. You must predetermine how much space you actually need.

Think about how much food you plan to grill and how many people you want to serve. About 5 to 6 people is the most portable grills can usually handle.

Also keep in mind that the larger the space, the more expensive it will be. Choose a portable grill that will best suit your needs.

BTUs

British Thermal Units determine how hot the temperature will be. The higher number of BTUs will determine the maximum amount of heat available.

Grills with low BTUs may take longer to preheat. Keep in mind that BTU rating does not fully affect how hot the grill will get. There are other factors that come into play as well.

Quality

The quality of construction of a portable grill is important when it comes to durability and safety. Make sure you choose one that is stable and won’t tip over for the best experience with friends and family.

Make sure the corners and edges won’t get snagged on clothing or cut anyone. The best material for grills are aluminum, cast iron, and stainless steel.

Keep in mind that you often get what you pay for so choose one that is in your budget and look at the quality of painting, the metal used, and the welds or nuts and bolts.

Best Uses for a Portable Grill

Backyard

A portable grill is perfect for everyday backyard grilling. Portable grills are much smaller and are perfect if you don’t want to the commitment of buying a full-size grill.

They’re easy to move around and don’t take up a lot of space. They can easily be set right outside the backyard door for convenience or outside on a small apartment deck or patio.

Camping

If you want a light and simple grill to bring along with you camping without all the hassle, a portable grill is the right choice for you. They’re easy to assemble as well as clean up. This will ensure a great grilled food experience that would be just a good as using a larger grill.

Picnics

A portable grill is a great component for a picnic at a beach or park. They are great to quickly grill up hamburgers or hot dogs. It’s a great addition to add hot, fresh grilled food along with typical foods like fruit, salads and cold sandwiches.

Willy's Top Picks - Best Portable Grills

Review of the Best Portable Grills

Now we're going to switch gears and transition into our review. Here is where we'll take a look at some of our top picks and explain why they made our list. 

1. Best Tabletop Charcoal Grill: Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill

This tabletop charcoal grill is ideal for cookouts, tailgate parties, and car camping. The cooking grate is 14.5 inch in diameter and is triple nickel-plated.

With the porcelain enameled coating of the bowl and lid, it helps prevent rusting and fading. This tabletop charcoal grill is perfect if you have limited space and its portability helps you easily maneuver it from place to place.

Reviews reported that with no handle, it is difficult to move until the grill is cooled down.

For your satisfaction, this product comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • High quality
  • Easy to assemble (no tools necessary)

Cons

  • No handle to easily move entire grill while hot

Bottom Line

This portable grill is the perfect size for about 1-5 people for small grilling meals for traveling anywhere.

This portable tabletop grill is fueled by propane. If you’re looking a for a small, tabletop gas grill that is large enough to cook a family meal, this one is for you.

It cooks as evenly as a larger grill. It comes with a 5,500 BTU stainless-steel burner and a porcelain enameled grate.

This grill is easy to set up and is great if you have limited space such as an apartment with limited deck space or patios. Like the name suggests, it is made to cook on a tabletop.

The compact size keeps heat only near the cooking surface, which makes it more energy efficient than larger grills.

Reviews reported that things from the lid such as latches and handles melted and fell off after short-term use.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Heats up quickly
  • Removable grate is dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Some buyers report that product does not last long is properly cared for

Bottom Line

Even for its compact size, it is still the perfect size for cooking a meal for a family. It comes with all the necessary components for a gas grill even if you’re limited on space.

3. Best Portable Electric Grill: Hamilton Beach Electric Smokeless Grill

This portable electric grill is made safely to be used indoors. It does a great job at providing the flavor you would get from using an outdoor grill.

It comes with a temperature control, dishwasher-safe removable plates and drip tray, and a 118-square-inch nonstick grilling surface that grills up to 4-6 servings.

Reviews have reported that the drip tray does a great job at catching everything. Grease doesn’t fall anywhere else. Because it is an electric grill, it must be plugged in.

Pros

  • Heats quickly
  • Has temperature control
  • Dishwasher safe plates and drip tray

Cons

  • Has to be plugged in
  • Short cord (25-inches)

Bottom Line

You should only consider buying this grill if you only plan to use it indoors because this portable grill is made specifically for that purpose.

4. Best Portable Gas Grill: Cuisinart CGG-200 All-Foods Tabletop Gas Grill

This is a 12,000-BTU tabletop gas grill with a stainless-steel burner. The twist-start ignition is convenient for easy start-ups.

This cast-iron 240-square-inch cooking grate is porcelain enamel-coated to prevent rusting.

This grill comes with easily collapsible folding side shelves and a temperature gauge that allows you to control heat more easily and controls the intensity of the flame.

This tabletop gas grill is compact enough to fit on a picnic table but large enough to serve 6-8 people. Because of its small size, it is designed to generate more heat than larger grills and heats evenly.

Pros

  • Foldable side tables
  • High temperature (12,000 BTUs)
  • Large cooking surface area - feeds 6-8 people

Cons

  • For just being a tabletop grill, it is somewhat expensive

Bottom Line

If you need to downsize your current grill to fit a limited space or to just find a quality portable tabletop gas grill, this is the ideal choice for you.

5. Best Portable Camp Grill: Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill

If you’re specifically looking for a camp grill, look no further. This liquid propane grill produces 8,500 BTU to heat a 189-square-inch cooking surface.

The cast-iron cooking grates are porcelain-enameled. The lid and body are cast aluminum. With its non-stick surface, it is very easy to clean.

This grill comes with a built-in lid thermometer, folding side tables, a glass-reinforced nylon frame, a large grip handle, and a removable catch pan. This is all the essentials needed for camp grilling.

Buyers report that there is little-to-none assembly necessary. The side tables are very sturdy and overall the grill is not flimsy. Some also say that its functions are very comparable to a full-size grill.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Folding side tables
  • Removable catch pan
  • Built-in lid thermometer

Cons

  • A little expensive (but you're paying for quality)

Bottom Line

This grill is the perfect size to bring camping or for small space, and it includes the necessary features for the best experience.

This portable infrared grill is built to travel easy. It has a 200-square-inch stainless steel grilling grate. Its high-impact frame with legs and carry handles makes this grill sturdy and easy to handle.

The grill also is enclosed in a cast aluminum firebox and lid with dual stainless-steel latches and a temperature gauge.

When traveling with this grill, it is specifically designed to survive adventure from camping to competitive tailgating.

The built-in push-button ignition require no batteries to ignite the 9,500 BTU burner powered by a small portable 16.4 oz disposable LP cylinder. With the no flare-up TRU-Infrared cooking systems, the grill cooks even in the coldest climates.

Traditional gas grills use convective heat to cook food, but with Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared system, it limits the hot air flow and uses natural, radiant heat to cook food directly without drying.

While convective heat eliminates the food’s moisture barrier, infrared heat penetrates it and locks in the moisture and natural juices and flavors.

Pros

  • Heats up quickly
  • Easy to bring for travel
  • Has hood-mounted temperature gauge

Cons

  • Some buyers report the regulator went bad after short usage
  • Some buyers report quick deteriorating of the stainless-steel grates

Bottom Line

This is the ultimate portable grill best suited for traveling and to endure different conditions.

Conclusion

All the grills mentioned above serve slightly different purposes and have different types of fuels. We highly recommend any of these portable grills, but make sure you chose the one that best suits your lifestyle and budget!

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