What’s the best charcoal BBQ in 2020 for home and travel?
- By: Ashley Saunders
- June 2020
British summer time wouldn’t be complete without the odd family BBQ in the garden, regardless of how unfriendly the weather is! But what is the best charcoal BBQ for your garden?
Since single use BBQs are widely available and cheap, most opt for one. However, charcoal BBQs are a far better investment as they’ll last for years, look stylish and provide a superior cooking experience.
In our search for the best charcoal BBQ, we’ve evaluated many currently on the market. Here are 15 of the best available across the price range.
Tepro Toronto Click Model 2019 Barbecue Trolley
Tepro Toronto Click Model 2019 Barbecue Trolley is built from powder coated stainless steel. It comes flat pack, yet thanks to its patented screwless design, takes an estimated 30 minutes to assemble.
Before looking at the cooking surfaces, let’s take a peek at what makes this design fantastic. 2 plastic wheels and a large handle make it easy to move.
A bottle opener is easily found on the left-hand side. The shelf beneath the grill is excellent for storing supplies, drinks or bowls of covered cold food.
The folding shelf on the right-hand side is useful for meat, buns, condiments and extras. Below this shelf is 4 hooks, perfect for all your cooking utensils.
The grill features a few unique elements. Firstly, the coals sit on an height-adjustable shelf. Therefore, you have superior temperature control over a traditional BBQ.
The charcoal bowl features a door, enabling you to add more coal during your BBQ. This is safer than having to remove the grate. When you’re finished, simply slide the Ash collection tray out and empty.
The BBQ grill provides an impressive 56 x 41.5 cm cooking space. A warming rack of 53.9 x 24.1 cm provides further usable space.
The lid, when down, creating a seal, which allows concentrated heat to circulate. 4 special ventilation openings ensure air circulation during the grilling process and prevent the coal from extinguishing.
- Patented screwless design
- Good amount of shelving
- Height-adjustable coal shelf
- Challenge to assemble (some users have spent over 2 hours)
- Some units arrive dented from delivery
Kicking our list of the best charcoal BBQ is the Tepro Toronto Click Model 2019 Barbecue Trolley. While affordable, it does have a few negatives.
While Tepro estimates that you can assemble in around 30 minutes, the actual time is closer to 2 hours! So, quite a big difference.
As the unit uses thin sheet metal, some units have arrived dented or slightly damaged. While this is a packing and transporting issue, it’s easily avoidable.
We like the moving coal shelf, as it enables us to tailor the temperature to what we’re cooking. Plus the easy to remove ash collection tray makes cleaning simple. 7/10
Charles Jacobs Large Charcoal Barrel BBQ with Mini Smoker And Accessories
The Charles Jacobs Large Charcoal Barrel BBQ with Mini Smoker arrives flat packed but also comes with accessories. Assembly is easy thanks to clear instructions and labelled parts.
The frame and barrel are manufactured from steel with a black powder coated finish. The folding wooden work-tops make preparing and storing food easy.
The bottom metal storage rack is perfect for coal bags or cold food. Making it easy to move is 2 plastic wheels and a large handle.
The traditional grill design features a large coal pan. This feeds a large 70 x 35 cm cooking area, making this BBQ ideal for big parties and family gatherings.
In addition to the main grill, there is a removable mini smoker which sits underneath the lid. The lid features 2 air vents, which allow you to control the temperature when closed.
As an added bonus, the package includes three utensils (fork, spatula and tongs).
- Classic design
- Comes with utensils
- Requires assembly
The Charles Jacobs Large Charcoal Barrel BBQ is an excellent choice and is reasonably priced. Also, the included utensils are a nice touch!
You do have to assemble, however, Charles Jacobs has tried to make this process as painless as possible.
Once put together, it provides a nice even cooking temperature across its large surface, making it ideal for family gatherings. The air vents make controlling the heat even easier, both when the lid is closed and open.
There’s plenty of storage space, which always comes in handy within the heat of cooking. The two wooden shelves fold down, making it easier to move and store the unit. 8/10
Rosmarino Portable Charcoal Barbecue
Completely different from the others we’ve covered so far, the Rosmarino Portable Charcoal Barbecue is perfect for travelling and is highly affordable.
The Rosmarino is made from high-quality and enamelled stainless steel. It’s 36 cm (14 inches ) diameter make it perfect for camping, BBQ in the park or travelling. Plus at 2.6 kg, it’s very lightweight.
Designed to cater for 2 to 4 people, it’s easy to use and clean. Simply fill and light the coal, and you’re away. There’s no temperature sensor or control. However, 2 adjustable air outlets ensure optimal air circulation and heat regulation.
A lockable lid and weatherproof nylon handles make it easy to carry. Finally, it comes with a 2 years warranty.
- Portable lightweight design
- 2 years warranty
- No frills
If you love BBQs and travel, the Rosmarino Portable Charcoal Barbecue is ideal. Of course, it won’t be suitable for a large family or provide the best cooking options. However, that not why we like it.
It’s light, cheap and small, making it perfect for hiking trips, days at the park or beach, or for spontaneous BBQs. 8/10
Outsunny Portable Charcoal BBQ
A small garden doesn’t mean you have to compromise your grilling. Introducing the compact yet superb Outsunny Portable Charcoal BBQ.
Crafted from stainless steel and wood, this BBQ is hard-wearing and durable. Once assembled, it sits on two wheels, so can easily be moved around.
As a compact solution, it’s quite surprising how much storage Outsunny have managed to include. There’s a shelf for coal or larger items at the bottom of the frame.
There are also two side shelves. These are fantastic for storing food, plates, condiments and more. The barrel design allows for even heat throughout and the temperature can be regulated using the vents.
There’s no need to lift the lid as there’s a thermometer on top, which enables you to easily check the cooking temperature.
- Compact design
- Thermometer on top
- Requires assembly
If you’re looking for a small, no-frills BBQ, then you really should consider the Outsunny Portable Charcoal BBQ. It’s reasonably priced yet is packed full of features. There are three shelves, a decent sized cooking area and thermometer on the lid.
Thanks to it’s compact design, it will fit in even the smallest of postage stamp gardens, and yet will still provide a great cooking experience. While it does have a vent, there is no upper warmer. However, for the price, you can’t knock it. 7/10
CosmoGrill™ Outdoor Smoker Barbecue
CosmoGrill™ Outdoor Smoker Barbecue is a portable and flexible unit. As it comes flat pack, you’ll need to spend an hour to put it all together. Apart from the plastic wheels, it’s completely made from stainless steel finished in a black powder coat.
Before looking at the grill, let’s inspect the frame. Either side of the grill is a foldable shelf, which is ideal for storing meal, drinks, utensils and more. Underneath the right shelf is 4 hooks for utensils.
There’s a large shelf under the grill, perfect for storing bags of coal. Also, on the left of the grill is a bottle opener.
Moving on to the grill. The coal sits a height-adjustable shelf. Meaning you can control the detail of whatever you’re cooking. Underneath this is an ash collection tray, which is easy to remove for emptying.
The main grate is large enough to fit food for a family or a whole chicken for smoking. The lid when close still provides ample headroom. In addition to the main grill grate, a warming rack is included.
The lid includes a built-in thermometer, which allows you to keep the BBQ at optimum temperature!
- Height adjustable coal tray
- Thermometer on top
- dual role as a BBQ and Smoker
- Requires assembly and instructions aren’t easy to follow
The CosmoGrill™ Outdoor Smoker Barbecue is highly affordable. That said, the instructions leave lots to be desired and help to complicated construction. As a result, you’ll probably spend over an hour building it.
Once built, it’s superb. You can adjust the height of the coal, use the door to add more coals and bring the lid down and smoke meat and veg.
The shelves make cooking far more straight forward and easy. And as they are of a good size, you can keep an eye on cooking rather than trips to the kitchen. Overall, it’s sturdy and well designed. 8/10
Grill Chef 11510 Broiler XXL Charcoal Barbecue
If your attitude to life is “go big or go home”, then our most expensive BBQ is for you! Introducing the Grill Chef 11510 Broiler XXL Charcoal Barbecue.
Made from black powder coated steel, the Broiler XXL arrives in a relativity small box. Assembly takes a few hours and is best with two of you.
Either side of the grill is a sizeable shelf. These are ideal for storing meat and veg as well as drinks, condiments and more. Each shelf has 3 positions for hanging tools and utensils.
A larger shelf sits under the grill is perfect for storing bags of coal, or piles of buns. Completing the frame is a bottle opener.
While there’s no handle to allow for easy movement, there are wheels on one end. So moving the unit around is fairly easy.
In terms of the grill, there are two internal coal shelves. Each is height adjustable, and so enables the chef to tailor the cooking heat.
3 grill grates sit above the coal shelves and provide a massive cooking area of 79.5 x 42 cm. In addition to this cooking area, a 75.5 x 25cm warmer sits above.
The lid features 2 air vents, which allow you to further control the cooking speed. There’s also a useful thermometer on the lid, meaning you can easily check the temperature without having to lift the lid.
- Dual height adjustable coal shelves
- Massive cooking area and warmer
- Thermometer on lid
- Requires assembly
- Massive (not for small gardens!)
If you love to entertain during the summer on a grand scale, then you’ll love the Grill Chef 11510 Broiler XXL Charcoal Barbecue. Yes, it’s expensive,but it offers all you’ll ever need to BBQ the summer away!
As a versatile BBQ, you can light up either or both coal trays. So for smaller gatherings, you can tailor the cooking size to the event. And of course, when the time’s right, you can experience its full power!
It’s worth noting, that it’s complex to put together as there are many parts to configure together. That said, each element is essential for large parties and so it’s worth taking your time when assembling.
Other than the assembly, It’s hard to find fault with the Grill Chef 11510 Broiler XXL Charcoal Barbecue. 9/10
Landmann 43.5cm Kettle Charcoal Barbecue
At a penny under £30, the Landmann 43.5cm Kettle Charcoal Barbecue is a no-frills, portable BBQ. Based on a classic design, it’s ideal for small gardens, day outs at the park or trips to the beach.
Crafted from stainless steel, the design uses a mix of silver and black powder coat elements. The plastic wheels are weather resistant and make moving it really easy.
The enamelled firebowl and lid close to preserve heat or for compact storage. The lid feature two chrome-plated ventilation discs, which allow you to control the heat even further.
A chrome-plated cooking grill sits on top of the coals and provides a 41.5 cm diameter cooking area. It caters well to 4 people and is easy to operate.
- Classic design
- Compact and portable
- Assembly instructions not clear
if you enjoy the occasional BBQ or looking for a portable solution for family outings, then consider the Landmann 43.5cm Kettle Charcoal Barbecue.
The classic no-frill design is compact and fairly easy to assemble, once you’ve translated the assembly picture into steps!
Of course, if you’re serious about BBQing then you’ll want to look at others on our list. That said, for the price, you can’t really knock it. 7/10
Bonnington Plastics Kingfisher OUTBBQ2 Portable Barrel BBQ
Representing great value for money the Bonnington Plastics Kingfisher OUTBBQ2 Portable Barrel BBQ is a superb portable solution which is very veritable. Designed to fold flat, the two sides can be used as grills.
If you’re travelling and only require a small cooking area, then you can use one side. The lid becomes useful for temperature control as it’s has a vent and closes.
If you’re having a party, then you can extend the cooking area by lighting both sides. Made from stainless steel, it’s designed to last and arrives ready to use.
- Ideal design for camping or travelling
- Dual sided grill
- No frills
- Loses heat quickly
As compact BBQ goes, the Bonnington Plastics Kingfisher OUTBBQ2 Portable Barrel BBQ has to be one of the best on the market.
It’s cheap, no-frills design makes it ideal for camping, day trips out or for small gardens. We also love how you can easily extend the cooking area using the lid.
While it will never match the requirements of serious BBQ enthusiasts, it’s a few steps up from a cheap and cheerful disposable version. 7/10
Uten Barbecue Grill Stainless Steel BBQ
The Uten Barbecue Grill Stainless Steel BBQ is a fantastic solution for camping, parties and picnics. The Grill comes with easy-to-follow instructions. You don’t need any tools to assemble, so it’s perfect for travelling.
Featuring a portable design which is lightweight, it’s easy to transport and store. Comfortable lifting handles allow you to move it without hassle. Non-slip rubber feet improve the grill’s stability.
The air vents on both ends of the grill allow you to control the airflow and distributed the heat evenly throughout the grill. Also, it’s easy to clean.
The Uten comes with small and large barbecue wire mesh panels, allowing you to tailor the cooking area to your need. This means it can easily accommodate enough food for 5 to 10 people. Finally, the grill comes with a 1-year guarantee.
- Folding design
- Made from stainless steel
- Ideal for travelling
- Top heavy – so make sure you place on flat ground
If you’re planning on travelling or need a BBQ that folds away for easy storage, then consider Uten Barbecue Grill Stainless Steel BBQ. It’s affordable yet the stainless steel means it will last years.
The lightweight design makes it ideal for slinging it in the boot and heading to the beach or park. It’s worth pointing out that it is top heavy, so could be easily tipped if not on flat ground. Placement, therefore, is really important. 8/10
Mbuynow BBQ Grill
If you’re looking for a portable barbecue grill for 4-6 Persons, then consider the uber affordable Mbuynow BBQ Grill.
The black styling is complemented by the silver grill grate. Assembly and disassembly are both simple and requires no tools. As the grate is removable, it’s easy to clean.
At 44.5 x 29.5 x 24 cm, it’s compact and suitable for a range of situations. Ventilation holes allow good air flow, enabling greater control of the cooking temperature.
Designed for 4-6 people, you can easily fit a lot of food on the cooking surface. It’s ideal for camping or spontaneous BBQs in the park or at the beach.
- Compact design
- Ideal for travelling
- No frills
- Loses heat quickly
If you’re travelling with little space or want a BBQ which is better than a disposable one yet doesn’t cost that much more, then you should buy the Mbuynow BBQ Grill.
It has no-frills or exciting features. However, it’s a solid BBQ for the price. Plus if you’re camping, you can always remove the grate to create a mini fire-pit! 8/10
Fennek Portable Grill
Sporting a unique design the Fennek Portable Grill is German manufacturing at it’s finest.
Thanks to some clever design skills, the Fennek folds down into the size of a notebook. This makes carrying it a no-brainer whether you’re travelling, visiting the beach or BBQing in small spaces.
Made in Germany from stainless steel, the grill is designed to be robust and long-lasting. It assembles in less than a minute and heats up in under 15.
As the grill’s lid can be removed, you can shield your food from wind and rain. This also reflects the heat back onto the grill, providing the ideal BBQ results.
The unit includes a suitcase made from aluminium, which can double as subsurface and improve air circulation. Finally, all parts are dishwasher safe, meaning it’s very easy to clean!
- Unique compact design which folds down to notebook size
- Easy assembly
- Quickly burns coal to desired temperature
- So good you’ll want another!
If the Fennek Portable Grill seems expensive, consider how many disposables BBQs you’ve used in the last few years. We bet it seems far more affordable now!
There is lots to love. The design is unique, it’s small and highly portable. You’ll probably want to get another one.
We like that you can dish-wash all the parts and that it assembles in under a minute. Bringing it up to cooking temperature only takes about 15 minutes. So, it’s perfect for spontaneous events or days at the beach or park, where you want to eat fast.
As far as portable BBQs go, the Fennek Portable Grill is up there with the best. 9/10
Landmann Stainless Steel Pedestal Charcoal Barbecue
Landmann Stainless Steel Pedestal Charcoal Barbecue sports a classic design and is reasonably priced.
This Grill-Chef BBQ features a classic design, manufactured from stainless steel. It does require some assembly, but this should take a few minutes. We would recommend upgrading the bolts to stainless steel hex bolts as this improves its sturdiness.
The pedestal contains an easily removable ash catcher, which makes cleaning easier. There’s also a ventilation disc on the pedestal, which enables further heat control.
The height adjustable 36 cm chrome-plated grill provides enough space to cook food for up to four people. The rear panel creates a helpful wind-shield and keeps those flames under control.
- Classic, no-frills design
- Easy to assemble
- No shelves
- Included bolts aren’t stainless steel
The Landmann Stainless Steel Pedestal Charcoal Barbecue is a classic and is especially good if you lack space or only BBQ occasionally.
Again save yourself from future disappointment and upgrade the bolts to stainless steel hex ones from the beginning. Trust us, this will improve the construction and durability.
In terms of performance, it heats up well and cooks food evenly. The vent improves airflow and allows further control of the temperature.
If you’re looking for a simple, no-frills BBQ, that’s value for money then consider the Landmann Stainless Steel Pedestal Charcoal Barbecue 7/10.
Azuma Black Steel Barrel BBQ
Azuma Black Steel Barrel BBQ mixes traditional design with modern innovations. Arriving flat-packed, assembly is fairly easy. The design uses black powder coat stainless steel throughout, apart from the plastic wheels and a wooden handle.
The frame has two shelves. The large sits under the barrel and is perfect for storing plates, buns and coals. A second shelf is located at the front is ideal for plates of meat or veg, condiments or utensils. Sadly there are no hooks for tools.
A large handle and two wheels make moving the Azuma easy.
The barrel has two parts, the coal tray and lid. The coal tray is fairly basic and has a vent at each end. The main grate is a nice size and provides enough space for a large family or a small party.
In addition to the main cooking area, there’s a warmer which runs the entire length and sits in the lid. The lid also features a vent at each end and can be opened/closed using a wooden handle.
In terms of performance, it takes around 40 minutes to heat up to a suitable cooking temperature.
- Traditional design
- Nice size cooking area
- Made using black powder coat stainless steel
- Requires assembly
- No thermometer on lid
Sadly, the Azuma Black Steel Barrel BBQ leaves lots to be desired.
It’s well designed and built, yet it misses the mark on a few key elements. For example, there’s nowhere to hang utensils. While the upper shelf is a good size, it doesn’t fold down and having a side shelf would be a welcome addition.
Also for the price, you’d expect a thermometer on the lid. Sadly, this is missing, too.
Unless your buying for purely aesthetic reasons, we would recommend buying the CosmoGrill™ covered above, it’s slightly cheaper and offers a better range of features. 6/10
Fire Mountain Deluxe Charcoal Barbecue
The Fire Mountain Deluxe Charcoal Barbecue features dual grates and plenty of storage. Made from black powder-coated steel, it sturdy and durable. It’s easy to move, thanks to plastic wheels at one end.
Two black side shelves are ideal for holding plates, condiments or for preparation. Beneath the grill and hidden behind the fabric front is another storage area, perfect for holding charcoal or utensils.
With a large cooking area split over two levels, you can easily grill different types of food at the same time. Each section can be placed at one of three heights, meaning you can cook at the front and warm at the rear.
Whether you’re grilling food for family meals or garden parties, the Deluxe Charcoal Barbecue offers a fantastic way to enjoy long summer days.
- Dual moveable grill
- Designed to include lots of storage
- Requires assembly
- No lid
Arriving flat packed, the Fire Mountain Deluxe Charcoal Barbecue has pretty bad instructions. So you’ll want to set aside a few hours to get it put together.
While the coal tray is on the shallow side, you do have a wide cooking area. As you can adjust both grates height, you can cook food to perfection without having to continually move items into cooler areas.
The shelves are useful. However, there are no hooks for utensils or bottle opener, both are a bit of a let-down. That said you can store all your BBQ essentials and still have room to spare. 8/10
Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill
Our last coal BBQ is slightly different from the rest. Introducing the Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill, made from high-density 0.9mm carbon steel with quality powder coating, this 14-inch Callow smoker BBQ is built to last.
Ensuring everything is secure are four stainless steel locks. The lid features a built-in thermometer. So you can accurately identify the perfect cooking/smoking temperature.
There are also two thermometer access points. Both enable you to check your food without having to remove the lid.
6 air vents allow for better temperature control and improved airflow. 4 are located in the base. The remaining two are in the lid.
Both the water and charcoal pans sit behind a hinged door, for easy access. This means you can simply top up either while retaining most of the heat/smoke.
This charcoal smoker BBQ grill comes complete with two cooking grates and a smoking rack. Also included are 6 hooks for smoking sausages, fish or ribs. This gives you a wide choice of options when cooking or smoking.
The simple structure makes it easy to use and very efficient. A weather-proof cover completes the package.
- Versatiledesign combining smoker and BBQ grill
- Easy to empty and clean
- Cover fits well
- Poor instructions
- It might take a few hours to build it
- Charcoal dies out after 4 hours
It won’t surprise you by this point that the Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill comes with poor instructions, which make assemble a major headache.
If you can face spending a few hours putting this unit together then you’ll be rewarded by the superb quality of both the BBQ grill and smoker.
While the smoker isn’t the hottest we’ve encountered, it smokes food gently and evenly over a few hours. Of course, this won’t appeal to some people, but if you’re after a premium quality finish, this is for you.
It does have a relatively short burn rate of around 4 hours. So if you’re looking for a set and leave overnight, it’ll be worth looking at more expensive units. 4 hours does give you enough time to watch some TV and relax with a beer!
As it’s on the small size at 14 inches, it’s highly portable. We could easily imagine packing this in the boot and heading to the coast for a long weekend. 8/10
The best Charcoal BBQ?
Having reviewed 15 of the best charcoal BBQs on the market, our top picks will be split into two categories.
Best general all round BBQ
Our top two are the Grill Chef 11510 Broiler XXL Charcoal Barbecue and the CosmoGrill™ Outdoor Smoker Barbecue. Both are fantastic and are well designed and built.
The CosmoGrill™ is smaller and cheaper, which make it ideal if you love to BBQ but have a small to medium sized garden.
The Grill Chef is expensive, but its size and features are really worth it.
Best portable BBQ
When it comes to small BBQs that you can pack easily and set up in no time, there’s only one winner: Fennek Portable Grill.
While the most expensive of the portable BBQs we reviewed. It will last for years to come, packs down into a tiny amount of space and can be set up and going within 15 minutes.
If you’re looking for something different then either get a Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill or buy one in addition to a more traditional BBQ.