Grilling is an age-old American pastime that everyone enjoys. Once the summer hits and sunshine breaks through, everyone is out and about enjoying the free air while the grill gets fired up and lunch or dinner is made.
Any experienced grillmaster will know that not all grills are made equal. Some are better than others for various reasons. It can come down to features, size, unique designs, or just personal preference. Today we will be looking at a few of said grills and highlighting some of the features between these five options. Each of these is below $200, and each of these has its pros and cons. By the end, we’ll decide upon an ideal best option and a runner-up.
Charcoal Grills Under 200$ Reviews
Char-Griller E06614 Charcoal Grill
Our first option is a smaller Kamado style charcoal grill that is perfect for those who won’t be grilling and preparing large meals for larger groups.
This smaller Kamado-style charcoal grill stands at 25.3 inches tall, with a total of 37 pounds. While not the largest of the bunch, this charcoal grill opts for a compact design as the Kamado style tends to be better for even heat distribution and thus a better flavor.
The cooking area is a decent 153 square inches, made with standard cast-iron grates. The grill’s shell is made of a robust and durable layering of three 22 gauge steel walls that help lock in heat and maintain an inside temperature of anywhere between 200 and 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
This material makes it both more durable and lighter than its ceramic counterparts while still holding heat just as well with less charcoal. This temperature can also be easily read with the temperature gauge on the lid of the grill.
Other features include:
- A top and bottom air damper for more comfortable and more precise temperature control
- Sidebar handles for easier portability
- A hinged and lockable lid
As a cheaper alternative, there are some slightly disappointing features. Firstly, as a metal grill, your food will often lack the natural smoky flavor you get with ceramic options used for quite some time develop. While it’s also a good budget alternative to the Weber’s Green Egg, it’s still not quite the same, and you’ll notice that it takes quite some time to cool down thanks to heat retention.
- Heat is easily adjustable
- Excellent heat retention and distribution
- Small and portable
- All-metal design is not as good as ceramic options
- It takes a very long time to cool
Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker
Our second charcoal grill is one by the famous and well-regarded brand Royal Gourmet and is a much larger option than the previous with a side-smoker included.
This all-black design follows the more conventional standing grill design. Altogether this grill stands 48.4 inches tall, almost twice as tall as the Char-Griller, though still not quite that tall for the typical adult. The grill dimensions are also quite respectable, with a cumulative cooking surface of 800 square inches.
Altogether there are three surfaces to choose from:
- A porcelain-coated steel wire grate – 438 square inches
- A chrome-plated warming rack – 179 square inches
- The offset smoker – 183 square inches
Below the grill, there is an easily removable charcoal and ash pan to make cleanup more manageable. On the side, you’ll find an access door so that you can tend to the charcoal more easily.
Note that there is no ignition system built into this grill. Additional features include the offset smoker with its smaller charcoal pan – better suited towards lump charcoal or briquettes – as well as a smokestack that points away from the user, an easily readable temperature gauge, scald-proof handles, two wheels that make transportation more comfortable, and a seamless connection between the different conjoined points.
There is one singular air vent on the side, which allows for some temperature control. It’s quite durable and stands strong against moderate wind speeds as it is made of stainless steel. The black coating can withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees before beginning to wear away.
This relatively inexpensive grill feels cheaper than other options. The materials aren’t the best quality, but they do the job well enough. The grill is also an awkward size, relatively short for the average adult, especially for a more conventional grill design.
- All-metal design is not as good as ceramic options
- It takes a very long time to cool
- Feels cheaply made
- Small for a conventional grill
Beau Jardin Premium 18 Inch Charcoal Grill
This option is a decent budget option from the company Beau Jardin, compared to the previous few we’ve looked at so far.
Standing 25.4 inches tall, this grill is highlighted by its durability, portability, and heat control capabilities. The charcoal grilling area is a sizable 18 inches across, with a 255 square inch steel plated grill that is quite robust and durable. This kettle grill is made more easily portable with the insulated anti-scalding handles and thick wheels that can suit pretty much any outdoor terrain.
The grill’s shell is made with thick steel with a 1mm thick porcelain-enamel grill bowl coating. This makes the grill pretty good at heat retention and great for a more controlled heat flow for even grilling across the grate. A rust-resistant aluminum air vent damper that is adjustable allows for easy heat control without needing to lift the lid, which would cause a massive amount of heat loss.
There are two handles on the sides of the cooking grate, which makes it easy to tend to the coals, while a durable, plated steel charcoal grate can be added or removed for alternating direct and indirect grilling. It’s easily assembled, stable, and strong against the wind, with an easy to clean ash catcher beneath for easy disposal.
There aren’t any real issues or design choices of note to complain about. The size is a bit on the smaller end, which is expected for a design like this, especially within this price bracket. Additionally, the lack of a cover to protect the grill when not using it means it can easily be subject to weathering if you choose to leave it outside.
- Great heat retention
- Easy access to coals for tending
- Options for direct and indirect grilling
- Smaller than average and awkward to use
- No cover to protect the grill from the elements
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
Weber is a beloved company that many swear by for their quality and excellent design features. Their products easy to use and staples in many people’s homes.
This 22.5-inch tall grill by Weber has a deep, forest green porcelain-enamel coating covering its steel shell. Using their One-Touch cleaning system, you can easily clean out massive amounts of ash that fall into their ash catcher for a hassle-free ash cleanup.
Because of the material used and the coating, the grill has excellent heat retention and distribution and won’t rust or peel easily. A lid hook keeps the entire thing sealed, and a built-in thermometer allows you to easily read the internal temperature without needing to open it to check.
The grate is hinged so you can easily add coal beneath, and the grate is strong enough to withstand direct heat from the coals so you can grill directly or indirectly. The grate itself is also a pretty hefty 363 square inches.
For a Weber, the quality of this grill is relatively low and cheap, which is to be expected for a budget option. Additionally, the lid fits very awkwardly and requires exact installation, or else it will always be a hassle and perform suboptimally.
- Great quality materials
- One-Touch cleaning system makes ash clean up easier
- Large grilling space
- Design feels low quality for a Weber
- The lid fits awkwardly and with difficulty
Raptor Grilling’s Large Portable Charcoal Grill
This grill’s design focus is to be portable and efficient in its grilling with an intelligent design.
Built with supposed money-saving efficiency, Raptor’s grill uses an intelligent design that should save you an average of $112 per week of use. This means you can pack lightly when going on trips and save on the amount of coal you use. With the Clean Hands handles, you can easily clean, light, and grill your meals without creating a mess or touching anything with your hands.
Tight tolerance air valves allow for easy heat control, as well as rapid cooling when you’re done. The grilling surface is quite large, with a 230 square inch space, despite the grill being relatively small and portable. This makes it excellent for traveling and camping, or even just as a standard grill you keep at home.
The only downsides of this grill would be the smaller design that might put some off, as this is very much a floor grill that you would consider akin to a campfire in placement and use. However, it’s easy to put together and use and is one tough little grill.
- Efficient grilling that can save money
- Clean Hands technology so you never have to dirty your hands
- Large grilling surface
- Short floor grill
Our final recommendation would be the Char-Griller grill, as this one gives you an excellent bang for your buck as well as the opportunity to save money through efficient coal burning. A good runner up would be the Weber option, which is a good grill but may take some patience getting used to the design.