Best Charcoal Grills of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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When summer hits, there’s no better way to celebrate other than backyard BBQs and grilling. However, the quality and durability of your grill can significantly impact your grilling session. If you’ve already invested in an old or poorly built grill, you may find that your food will start to reflect the quality of the grill.

That’s why we’ve taken the time to research the best charcoal grill of 2020. If you’re looking to find grills that are durable and effective, then there’s no better way to find them than in our in-depth review.

Comparison Chart

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Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill, 22.5 Inch
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Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill, Black
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Royal Gourmet CD1824A Charcoal Grill,BBQ Outdoor Picnic, Camping, Patio Backyard Cooking, Black
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Guide Gear Heavy-Duty Park Style Charcoal Grill, Large
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PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X Original PK Grill & Smoker Grill Smoker, Silver

Best Charcoal Grill Reviews

1. Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill

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The Char-Broil brand works to provide high-quality grills to those who love grilling. For the TRU-Infrared model, it’s been designed to be small and portable, but still, enable you to serve up to four people at once.

The exterior features multiple durability enhancements, and the added lid helps regulate heat. Other than that, the ash bowl collects ash and makes clean-up hassle-free.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill:

  • Hinged Lid

One of the main struggles of grilling is that you don’t usually have the use of both of your hands. Of course, the manufacturer of the Kettleman Charcoal Grill has thought about this problem and has created a hinged lid.

The lid stays propped open, and you can use both hands to focus on the food. Lower the top back down, and latch it closed so that it’s properly stored.

  • No-Fail Grates

The high-temperature grates are long lasting and contain multiple levels of protection. Besides being porcelain coated, they also feature rust-resistant properties along with thick grates to help prevent flares. Plus, they are evenly spaced, which ensures that the heat will be distributed evenly.

  • Adjustable Damper

An adjustable damper is located on the top of the lid, which allows you to control the airflow. If you’d like the temperature to rise, you can easily slip the damper to trap heat and cook evenly. On the other hand, release the damper to allow the heat out of the vent and cool the temperature.

  • Air Inlet

There’s a 360-degree air inlet on the bottom of the grill. This helps increase airflow, which can be useful for quicker setup times.

  • Lid-Mounted Temperature Gauge

To keep a better eye on the temperature, there’s a lid-mounted temperature gauge which features a dial meter. It will help you track the temperature without having to lift the lid and stick a thermometer in the meat. Plus, you can easily track the pre-heated status to be sure you’re cooking at the right temperature.

  • Ash Pan

An ashtray is located at the very bottom of the grill, which can be used to capture any falling ash and keeps the main coal compartment clean. It’s easy to remove and can be cleaned out by sliding the tray out and emptying it into the garbage.

  • Comprehensive Warranty

The company offers a ten-year warranty for the grill and lid and a five-year warranty for the ash pan. Any other parts are guaranteed up to two years.

The Good

We enjoy the fact that you can quickly check and regulate the temperature, as this isn’t common in most grills. It takes most of the guesswork out of grilling and can be used to get the desired results while cooking.

The Bad

The biggest downside we’ve found is that cleaning is going to take awhile. While the ashtray does help a bit, you will still need to deconstruct everything and clean every nook and cranny.

Pros:

  • Temperature control
  • Limited warranty
  • Easy to clean grates
  • Large cooking surface

Con:

  • Hard to clean full grill

2. Char-Griller Patio Pro Charcoal Grill

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The Char-Griller features durable construction, which is designed to be long-lasting. It has a cast iron grate, a large cooking surface, and an extra side table to help hold other food items. Overall, it’s a compact griller that features convenient storage, easy cleanup, and a sturdy build.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the Char-Griller Patio Pro Charcoal Grill:

  • Large Surface Area

The grates feature a large cooking area which can support up to 250 square inches of food. If we were to translate that into food terms, it should be enough for up to six to eight guests. Perfect for families, small gatherings, and backyard barbeques with side dishes and grilled vegetables.

  • Compact Design

While the grill boasts 50 pounds of weight, it can easily be moved by the two wheels located on the left side of the legs. The Patio Pro dimensions are only 31” W x 21” D x 44” H. It’s one of the most compact grills suitable for limited space or those who don’t want a huge grill.

  • Easy Clean-Up

With the easy dump ash pan, you can get rid of any leftover ash quickly. All the grease, ashes, and leftover bits will fall directly from the grill into the ash pan, making clean up a breeze.

  • Built to Be Tough

The exterior is crafted using a heavy-duty steel plating which is covered in a powder coating. This helps protect against rust, aging, and wear and tear. To ensure that the grates aren’t going to wear down after a few uses, it’s crafted from a cast iron and provides you the ability to sear your food with ease.

  • Convenient Storage

Need to store extra meats, vegetables, or just anything to clean up with? Well, the Patio Pro includes a tray side shelf that can be used to either hold cooked or raw ingredients. If you don’t have any more room, don’t worry. There’s also a wired rack on the bottom of the grill which can be used to store bags of charcoal or other items.

The Good

When it comes to extra space while also taking up less room, you can’t go wrong with the Patio Pro. We appreciate the compact design, as it’s suitable for those who don’t want a full-sized grill sitting outside.

The Bad

We don’t enjoy the fact that the setup for this grill is beyond frustrating. The instructions skip over many of the necessary steps, and you’ll find yourself being confused more than not. If you can find a pro who will assemble it for you, we highly recommend doing so.

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • Multiple storage areas
  • Large cooking surface
  • Easy to move
  • Easy to clean

Con:

  • Poorly written instruction manual

3. Royal Gourmet CD1824A Charcoal Grill

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The Royal Gourmet CD1824A Charcoal Grill is another one of the best charcoal grills on the market as it features a whole host of features. The grill includes refined support, high-temperature support, and a control heating vent.

Besides that, there’s a one-touch cleaning system, heat control, and large wheels for easy transportation. There’s also extra storage in multiple areas to keep all your cooking ingredients at hand.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the Royal Gourmet CD1824A Charcoal Grill:

  • Reinforced Support

The framework is reinforced so that your grill won’t tip over while being moved around. It features increased stability and focuses on keeping the grill in one piece, that way, no stray parts go missing or break.

  • Temperature Control and Ventilation

Located in the charcoal tray is a fuel grate that can help you control the direct and indirect heating. This is good if you want to have full control over the grilling process.

  • One-Touch Cleaning

Cleaning is always the worst part of using your grill, but the Royal Gourmet CD1824A Charcoal Grill includes a drip and ashtray located at the bottom of the grill. All you’ll need to do is slide it out to empty it and then slide it back in when you’re done.

  • Heat Control

To fully control the cooking process, there’s temperature control which can read up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. This enables you to check when the grill is preheated and too hot, as well as gives you options for cooking different ingredients.

  • Shelving

Two shelving units are designed to help keep the clutter down and hold other food items. The first one is located above the grill and is designed to hold cooked food while you’re grilling. It keeps them warm, but they won’t cook because of how far they are from the heat source.

The second shelf is located on the legs of the grill and gives you enough space for bottles of marinades and spices.

  • Large Wheels

Lastly, there are two large wheels that enable you to move the grill around your yard. This helps if you need to move last minute or if you want to redecorate or store the unit away for the off-season.

The Good

What shines on this grill is the extra storage space. You’re given enough to have all the room so that you can cook multiple items at once while not walking back and forth to the fridge for spices or marinades.

The Bad

Again, the only complaint we have about the unit is that the instructions are terrible, and it takes at least three hours to set up. However, once you do set it up, you won’t have to do it again.

Pros:

  • Easy to move
  • Multiple shelves
  • Easy to clean
  • Manage heat

Con:

  • Confusing instructions

4. Heavy Duty Park Style Charcoal Grill

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When it comes to both style and performance, the Heavy Duty Park Style Grill doesn’t disappoint. It includes a similar shape to park style grills and enables you to cook better, as you’ll be provided more control. There are four different settings which help you cook each time perfectly.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the Heavy Duty Park Style Charcoal Grill:

  • 360-Swivel

To help create a park-like setting, the BBQ turns up to 360 degrees. You’ll be able to have full control over your cooking while watching your kids or family play. It’s the perfect addition to any home that has young ones who need supervision.

  • Durable Design

The exterior of the grill is crafted with a heavy-duty plating, which helps prevent aging. The material used is steel, and it’s up to 3.8mm thick.

  • Adjustable Grates

Four different grate levels which enable you to control the cooking temperature are integrated. It’s best used for steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers, and your traditional grilled meats. If you’re worried about vegetables or other sides burnings, the lowest setting can help prevent the flames from reaching the food and burning them.

  • Installation

To install it on your property, you will have to mount the post into the ground manually. The whole grill is 39” long and will need to be placed in a convenient location which is not too close or far away from your home. You don’t want to have to take multiple trips for spices, dry rubs, or marinades, right?

  • Dimensions

Overall, the dimensions of the grill are 34” x 2 ⅜” x 16” and weighs approximately 58 pounds. You may need help installing, as you will need someone to hold the base down while you dig the hole and install.

The Good

We love the fact that this gives you 360 degrees of control and enables you to watch your family while you cook. It’s suitable for events, games, and any public event where you want to grill and keep watching.

The Bad

You need to mount the grill into the ground, which can be time-consuming and confusing. If you don’t install it correctly, then you may find that you have issues later with it tipping over while in use.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Unique swivel design
  • Adjustable
  • Decent grilling space

Con:

  • Needs to be mounted in the ground

5. PK Grills Original Outdoor Charcoal Grill and Smoker

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The PK Original includes a unique shape that helps provide controlled airflow and heat retention. If you’re looking for a full-sized charcoal grill, you can’t go wrong here.

It features a massive 300 square inches of grilling space and enables you to cook for a multitude of people. Besides this, it features extra storage space, non-stick grills, and lightweight design.

Highlights

Here’s an overview of the PK Grills Original Outdoor Charcoal Grill and Smoker:

  • Four-Point Venting System

The four-point venting system enables you to control the temperature and airflow. This helps when you’re trying to either grill at certain temperatures such as hot, fast, low, or slow. If anything, it also helps heat the grill faster because you can control how much oxygen is being exposed to the coals.

  • Cast Aluminum Construction

The cast aluminum is rustproof, lightweight, and sturdy. There’s no need to worry about any damage or wear and tear, as it’s one of the best materials to craft with. Other than that, the heat is conducted more efficiently, which produces better cooking.

  • Portable

Lastly, the PK Grill features a smoker which can easily be detached if you’re not interested in using it. Nevertheless, it can also be used as a portable smoker or grill and is excellent for tailgating.

The Good

It’s the sturdiest we’ve seen out of the bunch, and you won’t have to worry about it wearing down quickly. It can stand up to multiple uses and is suitable for big crowds or gatherings.

The Bad

The downside is that although it conducts heat very well, the aluminum can become hot to the touch. Always wear gloves or be careful while operating around them.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Large cooking surface
  • Sturdy

Con:

  • Hot to touch

Buyer’s Guide

As a consumer, you need to be aware of the features each grill has. Every grill is built differently from one another and will have a whole host of various features. If you’d like to get help finding a grill that’s right for you, we can give you a basic overlay for the different types of features to keep an eye out for.

1. Types

There are a few types of charcoal grills out there, each of them being different from the next. We will give you a basic breakdown of when you should use these types of grills and how they can affect your grilling session:

  • Ceramic: Ceramic grills are the most versatile in terms of effectiveness and results. What makes a ceramic grill? The ceramic chamber is used to help trap heat levels in the lid, allowing the heat and moisture to cook the food evenly and lock in flavor. These are best for grilling, smoking, and baking.
  • Barrel: A barrel is the primary type of grill you’d see in any grilling fanatics backyard. It has the classic barrel shape with grates and maybe some extra cooking surfaces. It’s excellent for vent control and enhanced airflow, which allows the temperature to stay regulated throughout the barrel. It’s best used for smoking or cooking large pieces of meat at once.
  • Kettle: A kettle grill includes multiple chambers which work well to hold the charcoal in a kettle shape. It’s designed to provide the best heat distribution which is widely popular for large racks of meat. The kettle shape is perfect for preventing flare-ups and prevents grease from dripping into the coal.

2. Size

Does the size of the BBQ grill even matter? The truth is: it’s essential to take a closer look at the grate size.

You should consider using a larger size depending upon how much food you want to make. Some grills accommodate a few people at a time while others can only grill food for two people.

We found that you need at least 130 square inches to feed two people with main and side dishes. That being said, anything above 190 square inches tends to feet four or more. You may find larger surface areas, but those are usually recommended only for those hosting parties or outdoor events.

3. Durability

The durability is affected by a few different factors. First is the type of material the exterior and interior are crafted from. A durable grill should at least contain protective coatings such as rust resistance, temperature control coatings, and non-stick coatings.

Other forms of durability tend to be the type of material that the grates and grill are made of. Popular types are stainless steel, porcelain, iron, or other forms of metal, while some are made from synthetic materials or pure metals.

4. Ease of Use and Cleaning

Ease of use refers to set up, clean up, and overall usage. If you’re a grilling beginner, there may be a few models you’ll find challenging to work with. The first problem is that the ease of use is determined by set up.

Some models require tools and other forms of complicated instructions to set it up. If you don’t know much about building appliances, you may struggle. Some grills, though, don’t require any setup or come assembled, which can be easier for beginners.

As for cleaning, it’s important to remember that non-stick grates are the best way to go. The reason for this is that barbequing involves fat, marinades, and other forms of cooking, which cause the grates to become dirty. Any grates that are removable, non-stick, and can be wiped down is ideal.

5. Safety

Safety is also very crucial, as you don’t want to end up injuring your guests, home, or pets. We’d argue to say though that most safety comes with the fact that you need to have precautions on what type of coal you’re using, have an ABC fire extinguisher, or know how to put out coal.

With that in mind, some grills do come with safety features that help prevent injuries. The first common mistake is touching the grill when it’s scorching. To prevent this, some grills come with heat-resistant handles that are cool to the touch. If you need to smother the fire, vents and other controls are helpful, as they cut out the fire’s oxygen supply.

FAQs

1. How to Use a Charcoal Grill?

Using a charcoal grill is not much different than using any grill or the stovetop. All you will need to do is make sure that the meat is seasoned before throwing it onto the grates and letting it cook.

If you have fatty meat, it’s best to wrap it in aluminum foil to avoid the fat dripping into the fire. Flip the meat every few minutes to ensure that the outside doesn’t burn. We recommend using a meat thermometer to check if the inside of the meat is cooked or not.

2. How to Start a Charcoal Grill?

The real magic happens when you’re using the charcoal to heat up and power the grill from the inside out. The heat will start to ignite when exposed to oxygen slowly. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re using one correctly:

  1. Take the grate off and put a selected amount of coal into the compartment.
  2. Light the charcoal and leave the vents open and allow the grill to heat up.
  3. Once set up, you can then start grilling your favorite food.
  4. Once done, you’ll need to extinguish the fire by placing the briquettes or coal into water or by smothering the coals for the next 48 hours.

3. How to Clean a Charcoal Grill?

Cleaning a charcoal grill can be tricky if you’ve never had to deal with it before. The trick is to always invest in a non-stick grate, which can help prevent food from getting stuck. Plus, the ashtrays are helpful for catching dripping oils and ash. Here are a few steps on how to clean your grill:

  1. Allow the grill to cool down for approximately 48 hours.
  2. After the grill is cool, take the grate off and wipe it down with mild soap and water.
  3. Allow the soap to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing the grates with a sponge.
  4. Rinse the grates and allow them to air dry.
  5. Take the inside of the grill and wipe down with a damp towel and soap.
  6. Get all of the ash and coal out before scrubbing down the inside.
  7. Using a hose can be useful, so try and clean outdoors.
  8. Always ensure that you’ve allowed the soap to sit before cleaning and you should be good to go.

4. Can You Put Wood in a Charcoal Grill?

Yes, but it’s not always recommended. If you do choose to put wood into the grill, we suggest you use grill wood only. Other types of wood from camping and chopping could end up damaging the grates and causing more harm than good. Plus, wood burns a lot faster than charcoal, which means you should only cook food that needs a few minutes and not a long time.

5. How to Cook Ribs On a Charcoal Grill?

The best method for cooking delicious ribs on a charcoal grill is to prepare them low and slow for a long time. This gives the collagen and tough meat time to break down and enables the meat to have that classic fall off the bone texture.

Here’s a video that we recommend to watch to learn how to cook ribs.

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Conclusion

Grilling your favorite meats and vegetables doesn’t have to be complicated if you purchase a quality grill. We’d have to say that the best charcoal grill of 2020 would have to be the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill.

The design includes small details that help you cook your meat to perfection. Plus, the extra space and durable build ensure that it will last for years to come.

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