Best Portable Grills (All Types) – Our Top Choices & Buying Tips

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There are lots of reasons to get a portable grill.  As great as full size grills are, you can’t exactly take one on the go with you with ease.  So maybe you’re looking for a grill that you can take with you on the go for tailgates or camping trips.  Or maybe you’re living in an apartment and simply don’t have the patio space to support a full size grill setup.

It could also simply be that you’re new to grilling and you want to find a grill on a budget to test it out and see how you like grilling!

All of these are perfectly viable reasons for wanting a portable grill.  In this article, we’ve rounded up the best portable grills on the market today (all different grill fuel types).  By the end, you’ll have a great idea of which might be the best fit for you along with some guidance on what to look for when comparing products.

Best Portable Grills – Our Reviews

Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill (Best Portable Gas Grill)

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When it comes to the all around best portable grills, the Weber Q1200 Propane Grill without a doubt needs to be at the top of the conversation.

It strikes that perfect balance of portability and performance, so you can make restaurant quality food from the camp site or tailgate party.  One stainless steel burner has an output of 8,500 BTUs which does a fantastic job of quickly and evenly heating a 189 square inch cast iron cooking grates.

The Q1200 is fueled by a standard 1 lb propane tank, which connects to the grill easily and conveniently.  An easy push to start electronic ignition system and intuitive burner valve adjuster makes operating this grill about as straightforward as it gets.

Weber is a brand name that’s been around for a while in the outdoor cooking space, and they are known for making high quality products.  The cookbox on this particular grill is made of a durable cast aluminum that’s rust resistant and built to last for years.

Last but not least, this grill has the most sophisticated grease management system we’ve ever seen on a portable grill.  All grease and food drippings funnel automatically into an angled grease tray and catch pan.  It’s a safe distance from the burners, and when it gets full all you have to do is remove the pan and dispose of the grease.  Both the grease tray and ash pan are very easy to clean.

It’s also sold in 7 different fun colors, if that’s your kind of thing!

Check out our full Weber Q1200 review here.

Things We Like

  • High quality burner and cooking grate
  • Fueled by standard 1 lb propane tank
  • Durable and rust resistant cast aluminum cookbox
  • Easy to clean – excellent grease management system
  • Easy to use – push to start ignition and intuitive burner control
  • Covered by a 5 year warranty

Things We Don’t

  • Honestly, there isn’t much to split hairs about here.  Especially considering the Q1200 is covered by such a generous (5 year) warranty

Blackstone Tabletop Grill

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I’ve made no secret on this website of the fact that I absolutely love flat top grills.  They’re one of the most versatile types of grills – and especially in an on the go setting they can be the star of the show.

The Blackstone Tabletop Grill is one of my top choices because of its high performance capacity, versatility, and great price.  This grill is fueled by a standard 1 lb propane tank.

It’s worth noting right off the bat that the cooking surface area is a generous 330 square inches.  That’s a lot for a portable grill!  With that in mind, it’s possible to crank out a ton of burgers, hot dogs, or even pancakes at your outing.

The griddle top is heavy duty cold rolled steel, and is heated by 2 H shaped burners that each have their own burner controller – so it’s possible to set up 2 heat zones on this griddle.  That means you can easily cook several foods at once on different temperatures.

A built in grease channel helps greatly to manage your cook and clean up process.  At the end, all of the grease is in one place and is very easy to clean up before your next use.

If you want to learn a little bit more about how to care for a flat top grill, check out our resources on how to clean griddle surfaces and which oils you should use for griddle cooking.  If you want to learn more about this specific brand, check out our complete Blackstone Flat Top Grill review article!

Things We Like

  • Quality cold-rolled steel griddle surface is perfect for outdoor cooking, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner
  • Built in grease channel for easy clean up
  • Excellent price point
  • 2 high quality burners are independently controlled – possible to set up 2 zone cooking
  • 330 square inches of cooking surface area is very generous for a portable grill
  • No flare ups or lost juices thanks to griddle cooking style

Things We Don’t

  • Not much to nitpick here either!  If you aren’t a fan of griddles though, this obviously won’t be the best choice for you

Traeger Ranger

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Pellet grills have become quite the craze recently, and for good reason.  As far as outdoor cookers go, they’re one of the most versatile types.  You can grill, smoke, and even bake on these things, all while utilizing wood fired smoke and flavors.  And the best part?  They’re incredibly easy to use.

There aren’t a ton of portable pellet grills out there, but the Traeger Tailgater is a great choice if you’re looking to make it happen.

I will add that while this is one of the best portable pellet grill choices, it does weigh 60 pounds.  That’s kind of the nature of the beast with pellet grills though, they naturally weigh a lot because of the electronics, auger, and other components required to run the pellet grill.

It does have a locking lid design and carrying handle, which makes the transportation process a little bit easier.

As far as the grill itself goes, the hopper is capable of holding up to 8 pounds of wood pellets at once.  Across the main cooking grate and an elevated rack, there’s a total of 164 square inches of cooking surface area to grill or smoke on.

One of the more impressive features of this portable pellet grill is that it has a temperature range of 180-450°F.  A temperature range like that opens up a world of possibilities – you can smoke low and slow or get a restaurant grade sear on your steak.

Things We Like

  • Wood pellet fuel means wood fire flavored food
  • 164 square inches of total cooking surface area
  • 180-450°F temperature range allows you to smoke low and slow or sear on the same unit
  • Wood pellets are a relatively cheap source of fuel so your ongoing costs will be low
  • Precisely control your temperature in 25°F increments

Things We Don’t

  • On the more expensive side of the best portable grill price spectrum
  • Weighs 52 pounds

Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill (Best Portable Charcoal Grill)

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The Weber Jumbo Joe another great option for a portable charcoal grill.  It’s also made by Weber, but instead of a rectangular shape the Jumbo Joe features the traditional kettle design that put Weber on the map.

The Jumbo Joe weighs 18 pounds and features a circular stainless steel cooking grate that’s 18 inches in diameter.  For all of you non-math majors like me out there, that translates to just about 254 square inches of cooking surface area to work with.  That’s enough space for 8 to 10 burgers at once, depending on how large you make them.

A “Tuck-N-Carry” lid design feature was built into this grill, which essentially means that you don’t ever have to place the grill lid on the ground.  The lid lock (which is used to transport the grill) also doubles as a lid holder.

Dampers are placed on the lid and body of this grill to give you maximum control over your airflow while you grill.  It makes managing your charcoal fire and temperature very easy while you cook.

The Jumbo Joe also features an aluminum ash catcher pan at the bottom!  All of your ash conveniently funnels to one place, which can be easily cleaned before your next cook.

Things We Like

  • Kettle design and porcelain enameled lid/body are ideal for charcoal grilling
  • Lightweight & lid locking design make it very easy to transport
  • Ash pan collects all ash for easy clean up
  • Friendly price point
  • 254 square inches of cooking surface area
  • Ventilation system gives you maximum control over your cook
  • Covered by a 10 year limited warranty

Things We Don’t

  • We’d like to see a higher quality material used for the handle

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

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The Weber Go Anywhere is the another charcoal grill that fits the bill here.  At only 15 pounds, it’s extremely lightweight and a great way to get that traditional BBQ smokey flavored food at your next outing.

It has stainless steel cooking grates, which do a fantastic job of evenly distributing heat and making beautiful grill marks on your food.  Albeit, the total cooking surface area is 160 square inches – so it’s definitely on the smaller side.  For reference, that’s enough space to grill about 6 burgers at once.

One of the best features of the Go Anywhere is Weber’s signature porcelain enameled lid and base.  This also does a fantastic job of distributing and retaining heat, and the surface is peel and rust resistant.  Even with exposure to the weather elements, you can expect this grill to last for many years.  Dampers are built into the lid and body to help you control your airflow and therefore temperature.

The lid also locks into place to help secure the unit when it’s time to take it on the go.  This feature combined with carrying handles make this grill incredibly easy to transport and store.

Things We Like

  • Entry level price point
  • You get to impart charcoal fired smokey flavor onto your food
  • Extremely lightweight and has features to take on the go
  • Porcelain enameled lid and body retain heat very well
  • Covered by a 10 year limited warranty

Things We Don’t

  • We’d like to see a better ash management system.  It’s not horrible to clean, but something like a removable ash pan would be nice
  • Charcoal basket isn’t super deep, which can make fire management just a little tougher

 

*Note* if you’d like a more detailed comparison of these two Weber portable charcoal grills, check out our in depth comparison of the Weber Jumbo Joe vs Go Anywhere.

Coleman RoadTrip 225 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill

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Coleman has been manufacturing outdoor cooking equipment for decades, and their RoadTrip 225 Portable Stand-Up propane grill is a solid choice to take to your next camp out or tailgate.

The most distinct feature of this grill is the built in quick folding legs.  These legs not only make the grill quite easy to transport (you can lug it around like a suitcase thanks to built in wheels), but they can turn the unit from a tabletop grill into a freestanding grill in the matter of seconds.

That may not sound like a big deal, but often times at a campsite or a tailgate, table space is at a premium.  So it’s nice to not have to take any of it up for your grill.

Coleman also sells additional swappable cooking tops.  The grill comes standard with cast iron grill grates, but you can purchase and substitute a griddle top or a stove top for more versatility.

It also comes with two adjustable burners, which are controlled by two separate knobs – so it’s possible to set up two zones of grilling across the 225 square inch cast iron cooking surface.  Fuel wise, the RoadTrip is powered by 1 lb propane tanks.

Things We Like

  • Convert-able between a tabletop and freestanding grill
  • Foldable leg design and built in wheels make transport super easy
  • One push ignition system
  • Interchangeable cooking grates
  • Powerful burners with two heat zones

Things We Don’t

  • Would like to see at least one interchangeable cooking surface included in the price

Kamado Joe – Joe Jr (Best Portable Kamado Grill)

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Alright, I know ceramic kamado grills are arguably very not portable because they are so heavy, but I felt it necessary to at least mention the Kamado Joe Joe Jr.  So the downside here is that this grill weighs 75 pounds – not exactly what most people would consider portable.

However, if you have an extra pair of strong hands to help you lug it around – the Joe Jr delivers a truly premium grilling experience.  The ceramic shell is an absolutely perfect material for heat retention, and the 304 stainless steel cooking grate will beautifully and evenly grill or smoke your food.

As far as cooking surface area goes, the stainless steel grate is 13.5 inches in diameter – which means 143 square inches of cooking surface area.

The Kamado Joe Jr is capable of holding temperatures between 180-700°F, so it’s an ideal choice for just about any outdoor cooking duty.  You can smoke, grill, sear, and bake easily on this cooker.  An ash tool and easy clean system is also built in to minimize the amount of time you spend cleaning post cook.

Every component of Kamado Joe grills is made with high quality materials.  It might sound like hyperbole, but the Joe Jr is literally made to last a lifetime with proper care.

Things We Like

  • A premium grilling experience – the food you can make on this grill will rival the pros
  • Quality ceramics and steels used in construction; grill will last a lifetime with proper care
  • Easy clean ash management system
  • Kamado Joe is a trusted name in the grilling community
  • Covered by a manufacturer’s warranty

Things We Don’t

  • 75 pounds isn’t exactly the most ideal for a portable grill
  • Price point is high, especially considering you only get 143 square inches of cooking surface area

Camp Chef PPG20 Portable Pellet Grill

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The Camp Chef PPG20 Portable Pellet Grill is another great option if you’re a fan of pellet grills.  It’s ideal for smoking and grilling, and is also a great choice if you have lots of mouths to feed or simply prefer more cooking surface area.

This grill has 501 square inches of cooking surface area evenly split across an upper and a lower cooking rack.  It also has a 10 pound hopper capacity which comes in handy and minimizes the amount of times you need to refill your pellets.

You might be wondering how a portable grill can have all of that cooking area and hopper size.  Well, it’s not exactly lightweight at 100 pounds.  However, the legs easily break down, and the entire unit folds up when it’s time to go.  From there, built in wheels allow for you to roll the PPG20 just as if it were a suitcase.  While it’s heavy, it’s not too much of a hassle to move around.

It also comes with dual meat probes and an LED display that will readout the internal temperature of two of your foods along with the ambient temperature of your pellet grill.  These are the sort of features you’d expect on a full size grill, and are truly a treat when they come on the best portable grill.

An advanced ash clean-out system, automatic auger, temperature selection system and an electronic auto-igniter all contribute to the overall ease of use of the Camp Chef PPG20.

Things We Like

  • 501 square inches of cooking surface area – extremely generous for a portable grill
  • Foldable leg design makes transport easy and also allows for you to set it up like a standalone grill
  • 10 lb hopper capacity
  • Very easy to use – a true “set it and forget it” style grill
  • Locking lid and bottle opener
  • Ongoing fuel costs are low thanks to wood pellets being cheap

Things We Don’t

  • Price is on the higher end compared to some other portable grills

Isumer Portable Hibachi Style Grill

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If you’re on a strict budget and don’t care about brand name, the Isumer Portable Charcoal Grill is definitely worth a look.  It’s a simple, no nonsense design that utilizes a charcoal fire to grill food on a stainless steel grate.

There’s 117 square inches of cooking surface area, which can handle about 4-5 burgers at a time.  It’s also a great hot dog or kebab grill – it almost has a yakitori grill feel to it with the ability to turn skewers over the edges of the grill.

The legs are foldable and the entire unit weighs less than 5 pounds – which makes it an ideal choice to bring with on the go.  There are also built in air vents on either side to help you control and set your temperature.

Things We Like

  • Very cheap, entry level price point
  • Foldable leg design and only weighs 4 pounds
  • Uses charcoal as the fuel source so you can impart smokey flavor on your food
  • Great for skewers or kebabs

Things We Don’t

  • Not the most durable design
  • Only 117 square inches of cooking surface area

Cuisinart CGG-180 Petit

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The Cuisinart CGC-180 Petit is another versatile choice and is one of the top products on the market.  It has the ability to be used as either a freestanding or tabletop grill and is fueled by 1 lb propane tanks.

When it’s time to travel, the entire design folds up into a briefcase style form with a convenient carrying handle on top.  The entire set up and break down process takes only seconds, not minutes.  At 17 pounds, it’s extremely easy to take with you on the go to just about anywhere.

There’s 1 5,500 BTU burner inside of the CGC-180 that heats a 160 square inch porcelain enameled cooking grate.  For reference, that’s enough space to cook for about 4 to 6 people at once.

A twist to start ignition and customizable temperature gauge allow for you to quickly and precisely heat up your grill to its desired temperature.

Things We Like

  • Design sets up and breaks down in seconds
  • Extremely portable at under 17 pounds
  • Can be set up as a tabletop or freestanding grill
  • Quick start ignition system

Things We Don’t

  • Lid is not made of the best material and can be prone to melt or rust
  • No grease management system

George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill

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There’s one other type of grill we haven’t touched on yet, and that’s the electric grill.  As far as electric grills go, the George Foreman Electric Grill gets our nod.

The circular cooking grate is made of a nonstick porcelain enameled surface that has 240 square inches of cooking surface area.  It also includes a removable stand that allows you to transition from a tabletop indoor grill to a standalone outdoor grill.

A removable drip tray is built in to ensure that the clean up process post grilling is as easy as possible.  If you choose to use this grill on the go, just bear in mind that you’ll need to have access to a power outlet.

Things We Like

  • Electric grilling is simple and fuss free
  • Price is on the lower end of the spectrum
  • This grill can also be used indoors
  • Generous 240 square inches of cooking surface area

Things We Don’t

  • You must have access to an electric outlet and may need to purchase an extension cord extra
  • Electric heating element doesn’t produce the same flavors that other fuel sources would

Things to Keep In Mind When Comparing Portable Grills

Whew, that was a lot of information!  Let’s take a step back and cover a few of the key factors you should keep in mind when making the decision as to which is the best portable grill for you.

Which Fuel Source is Best?

First and foremost, it’s good to have an idea of which type of grill you want to target.  It might be just one or it might be a few!  Which fuel source your grill utilizes will have implications on the taste of your food and how easy your grill is to fire up and clean up.

Portable Gas Grills

Propane grills rely on a connection to a propane tank.  The gas is pumped to your burners and ignited, resulting in a flame that cooks your food.  Most portable gas grills will connect to 1 lb propane tanks, with converter kits available at an extra cost if you want to use 20 lb tanks.

Propane is a clean source of fuel and is capable of making delicious food – it’s also very easy to clean up!  The downside is that you might find yourself refilling tanks often if you get heavy use out of your small gas grill.

Portable Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills (like traditional charcoal grills, kettle grills, or kamado grills) utilize charcoal briquettes that are ignited (typically with a chimney starter).  The resulting smokey fire then cooks and flavors your food.

Charcoal grills are a little more high maintenance in the fact that it takes effort and attention to properly start and manage your fire.  It’s nothing that you can’t handle, but it’s definitely a consideration.

The payoff is that charcoal grilled food typically is some of the best tasting.  There’s just no substitute for the real thing when it comes to traditional BBQ smokey flavor.

Portable Pellet Grills

Pellet grills and smokers are a newer technology, and rely on a hopper, auger, and feeder to ignite wood pellets which then cook and flavor your food.

Thanks to advanced technologies, pellet grills are extremely easy to use but also provide an element of wood fired smoke to your food’s flavor profile.

Pellet grills typically aren’t designed to be portable, but there are a few models out there that do a great job.  Pellet grills are very easy to use, but they’ll be on the heavier end and can get expensive too.

Portable Electric Grills

Electric grills are at the top of the list when it comes to ease of use.  Most of them can start heating your food by simply plugging them in and turning a dial.  They’re also typically very easy to clean and smokeless for indoor use.

There are two main downsides to electric portable grills though.  First is their reliance on a power source.  Especially if you go camping with your grill, it can be hard to connect to power.

Second, you definitely sacrifice some in the flavor department with an electric grill.  The heating element doesn’t produce any flavorful smoke, and there’s no way for food drippings to vaporize and rise back up into your food for flavoring.

Best Portable Grills – Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped you on your journey to delicious on the go BBQ!  No matter which choice you end up with on this best portable grills list, you’ll be well equipped to make delicious food and some great memories.

Remember to think about the setting you plan to grill in, how many people you typically cook for, and what your budget is.  No matter what your answers are, there is a perfect fit for you somewhere out there.

Which grill did you end up with?  Have any questions for us?  Don’t be afraid to let us know in the comments section below!