Best Charcoal Grills for the Money

1. Weber Original Kettle 22” Premium Charcoal Grill – Versatility, Thy Name is Weber!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 363 square inches
Aluminum lid with cool handle  [usr 5]
Ash management system  [usr 4]

We understand people looking for bells and whistles, and we have to admit that there is something impressive about them. However, our top priority was to consider the performance of various grills. It was easy to conclude that no grilling system can beat the Weber Original Kettle Grill. The model has been on the market for years, and it comes in various sizes and colors. You can buy it in green or copper or go for a smaller version at a lower price. However, we decided to present you the 22” black-colored type as we believe it’s the most sleek-looking specimen out there that represents an excellent value.

Why would this model be among the best charcoal grills for the money? First of all, Weber designed and manufactured it. When you see that they are the company behind a product, you know that things cannot go wrong. Second, this is a classic kettle grill perfect for all lovers of this style out there. We believe that there is a reason why it has been surviving for years on the market and getting high ratings from the customers.

Now, enough small talk, let’s move on to the features. The product comes with a bowl made of steel with the porcelain-enamel finish. The container has a diameter of 22 inches, which is about 363 square inches of available grilling surface. Believe it or not, that is more than enough to cook a modest-sized Thanksgiving turkey! But if you prefer traditional grilling option, you should know that you can serve the entire family or a small party at once.

The beauty of the Weber Original Kettle Grill is that you can cook all types of food on it. We started by placing 12 burgers on it (there was room for a couple more of them) and they all got those lovely sears thanks to the plated-steel cooking grates. We wanted to try slow-cooking a chicken next, and we got what was probably the crispiest skin we ever tried.

The cooking process was child’s play. The lid is made of aluminum to ensure that it resists rust and heat. As a result, the handle stays cold, so we didn’t have to reach for a towel each time we opened the bowl. We didn’t even have to do that often because the built-in heat gauge does its job perfectly. When you notice that the temperature could use a bit of adjusting, you can use the dampers located beneath the grilling surface and on the lid. Overall, the heat distribution is excellent, but we advise you to lay the coal as flat as possible to avoid places that are too hot or too cold.

Girls love little details in a relationship and we love them in grilling systems. The Original Kettle has tool hooks on the sides perfect to hang your tongs or towels. The ash catcher pan is also beneath the bowl, and it does an incredible job of collecting the waste. Weber even designed this component of aluminum, which makes the ash pan incredibly durable.

The dimensions of the grill are 27 x 22.5 x 38 inches, and its weight is little less than 37 pounds. It has a cart with two wheels and the third leg for increased stability. While this cart makes it ideal and stable on all grounds, you should keep your children away to avoid getting the grill knocked over. There is also a triangle tray that you can use as additional storage space.

Pros

You can cook all types of foods with this item. It gets heated quickly and does an exceptional job in retaining the heat. Ash management system and tool hooks also included.

Cons

The height is only 27 inches, so you might need a chair when grilling. For comparison, average kitchen counter is 36 inches high.

Why You Should Consider It

Weber always produces high-performing grills. If you like kettle BBQ units, you can’t go wrong with this one. It has all the essential features plus a couple of extra accessories to spice up the deal.

2. Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill – Best Hibachi for the Money!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 590 square inches
Perfect for families  [usr 5]
Adjustable coal bed  [usr 4]

We love to see a grill that has high ratings from numerous users, and that is the case with Lodge L410. On Amazon, this item has 4.7 stars (out of average five) from more than 1,100 reviews. That is enough to say that it is a bestseller and one of the best charcoal grills for the money available on the market. In short, you could say that this is a Hibachi-style BBQ that is ideal for those looking for compact design.

The dimensions of the product are 19 x 8 x 10 inches, which means that it won’t take up a lot of space on your patio or in the backyard. However, you can’t say that it is lightweight because it has 27 pounds once assembled. Regardless, it still belongs in the portable category. Furthermore, it overcomes the additional pounds by providing sturdiness and high-quality materials, and it still fits in the trunk of any car due to its compact size. All this makes it a perfect fit for tailgating, picnics, or a camping trip.

The entire grill is made of cast iron, and that is the reason why it is a bit heavier. On the other hand, it is what ensures the durability of the product, and you can be confident that L410 will last for years to come. It comes with a 17 x 9 inches cooking grate, which means that it features around 155 square inches of the grilling area. That’s not a lot, but it’s still enough for a small camping crowd. Plus, the product is very efficient and overcomes the lack of cooking surface with speedy results.

There are two preset heights for the cooking grate to control the temperature. The charcoal bed is beneath the grille, and you can access it via the flip-down door. Heat distribution and retention are incredible and, when you do need to adjust the temperature, you can use the draft door. Hibachi grills are probably the most effective ones out there, but you might need to try them for once or twice before you find out how to get the most out of the item. There are guides available online that can help you with using Hibachi correctly, so make sure to read them before using the product.

The product comes pre-seasoned which will save you a lot of hassle in the beginning. Those of you who assembled and seasoned a grill before know that this is a time waster. However, if you want the durability of the Lodge L410, you need to make sure to care for it properly. There is no ash catcher of any kind, which means that you will need to wash it after each use. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use the soap so that the seasoning stays intact. All you need is a brush and hot water. Also, don’t forget to oil the grates on a regular basis.

Pros

The incredibly compact design is a huge advantage. Those who are living in apartments or don’t have a lot of garage space will appreciate that they can store away the item quickly. It’s also suitable for any trunk, but make sure to avoid hiking with it. Thanks to this particular design, L410 Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill is as efficient as it can be and can bring tasty food to the table quickly. The adjustable height and draft door make controlling the temperature child’s play. The cast iron material secures extended durability and ensures that your grill will last for years.

Cons

If you never used a Hibachi before, you might need to check out some online tutorials or give it a test run for an afternoon or two. The specific design also means that there is no lid for this grill. Therefore, you can forget slow cooking or smoking because it is virtually impossible to produce indirect heat. You can try custom covers if you want to risk, but the manufacturer doesn’t have a fitting lid for the product.

3. Napoleon NK22CK-C Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill – Premium BBQ from Canada!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 447 square inches
Broad range of cooking options  [usr 5]
Insulated design  [usr 4]

Napoleon does not make grills for anyone. Despite being a Canadian company and not the one based in the US, they are known for designing premium grilling systems of high value, but also high price. When you take a look at this grill, it’s hard not to compare it to Weber’s Original Kettle. However, there are several twists that Napoleon NKK22CK-C included deserving to be the part of the best charcoal grills on the money list.

The first difference you will notice is the cooking grates. They are made of cast iron, and they are hinged on both sides. That way the grill enables easy access to the coal bed when you need to add or rearrange the charcoals. There are three preset positions for the grate so that you can have the maximum possible control of the temperature. The entire grilling area measures 365 square inches, which puts this kettle into mid-sized products.

We also loved the heat diffuser feature. We could describe it as a convex hub of stainless steel in the form of a flying saucer that can be placed in the center of the coal bed. The idea of the manufacturer was to secure proper heat distribution and prevent any hot or cold spots. However, if you are used to grilling without it, you can remove it at any time. You can adjust the heat by using the vents on the lid or the one at the bottom. The temperature gauge mounted on the cover has already become a standard for premium charcoal grills.

Napoleon also included a hinged lid with NKK22CK-C. However, it’s not your ordinary cover because it can rotate 180 degrees. That comes especially handy if the wind starts blowing. You can move the lid any way you need to protect yourself from the smoke. If you need additional space, you can use the folding shelf on the side for prepping your food or as a storage area for accessories. The cart has two big casters for mobility and two small ones for increased stability. Although the product weighs a bit less than 90 pounds, it’s not difficult to move it around.

Pros

Napoleon NKK22CK-C is built with carefully chosen materials. The massive and sturdy construction and a combination of stainless steel and cast iron components secure incredible heat retention and distribution. Durability comes as a given with this company’s products and you can be sure that the model will last for years. You can control the heat without going through any trouble, and the temperature diffuser is a nice feature that can prevent hot or cold spots.

Cons

Although it is not difficult to assemble, some of the parts are heavy, so you might consider getting a helping hand while setting it up in your backyard. Also, the paint tends to wear off after a couple of uses, which might be a problem for those who are fans of aesthetics but shouldn’t be the reason not to consider this grill. Although you get a premium grill, we can’t neglect the fact that it is a bit pricey.

4. Hasty-Bake 131 Legacy Powder Coated Charcoal Grill – Just Like 60 Years Ago!

Our rating:

Cooking surface 363 square inches
Extreme durability  [usr 5]
Effortless cleaning process  [usr 4]

It was about six decades ago when Grant Hastings founded his company and built their first charcoal grill. Up until today, the design underwent only minor changes. However, the manufacturer added a bunch of bells, whistles, and useful features to accommodate the modern times and expectations of the newer generations. As a result, we have Hasty-Bake 131 Legacy Powder, the beautiful mixture of contemporary with tradition.

The design is simple yet still innovative. It is a metal box that can even remind of a piano from afar. It is elegant and looks very sleek. The base and hood are of powder-coated 18 gauge steel, while the fire box is of the 18 and 12 gauge galvanized steel. The cooking grates are nickel-plated to prevent the food from sticking to the surface. All these materials are also a guarantee of a durable product. In fact, the manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty on the finish and a 5-year one on artistry and parts. Some users purchased this grill that has used it for over two decades.

The dimensions of the product are 42 x 21 x 30 inches. While that is not that big, you should know that this is the most massive product on our best charcoal grills on the money list. It weighs a whopping 200 pounds, which means you should probably assemble it at the place where you plan to hold it. The item does feature two wheels, but the movability is rather weak. However, the sturdiness of the construction means that no wind can knock it over.

The grill boasts 523 square inches of the cooking area. The charcoal bed is adjustable thanks to the crank in the side. You can move it for as much as 14 inches up or down. The temperature control is additionally increased with the heat diffuser. You can monitor the heat by checking out the gauge mounted on the lid. The pan designed to catch the ash is located at the bottom, and it gathers all the waste that falls through the coal grate.

The model delivers excellent results in both grilling and barbecuing. It is particularly fantastic for smoking a Thanksgiving turkey or ham. The table on the front is made of stainless steel and presents a prepping area that you will need while cooking. If you truly want the product to last, you should consider buying a cover for it. However, keep in mind that the official protection is not waterproof, although it is water repellent. You can also purchase a rotisserie kit, which is a beautiful thing to see among the available accessories.

Pros

The company had known how to make excellent grilling systems six decades ago, and they haven’t forgotten that today. Hasty-Bake 131 Legacy is a premium charcoal grill that can also be a prestige symbol among the barbecue lovers. Many of the users bragged that they had used previous models for decades and the durability of this version probably means the same in this case. The item offers ample cooking surface and delivers excellent results whether you use it for grilling burgers or smoking a ham. Overall, this is a top-notch model suitable for beginners and experienced grillers.

Cons

The product comes almost entirely assembled. However, there are no instructions for those couple of things that a buyer needs to set up before he can start using the grill. Tradition and durability come at a price, and you will need to set aside $1000 just for the grilling system and even more if you plan to purchase extra accessories. While that is not cheap, you can find consolation in the fact that it will be a long-term investment.

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