Best Charcoal Grills~ Guru Review Club Buying Guide for 2018

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All the best barbecuers out there have a preference between charcoal or gas. If you are one of the thousands of grillers who prefers cooking over charcoal this list is for you. We have included 10 of the best charcoal grills for your consideration. If you are unsure whether or not you prefer dance or charcoal grills we have included a video below to help educate you.

Be warned, this article may make you hungry.

Charcoal powered grills provide an excellent sear to your meat. Charcoal also produces more smoke than gas. This means your meat will be infused with a smoky aroma and flavor. The longer the cook time, the more smoky the flavor. Be sure to properly clean your grill to reduce fire hazard. It may also help to do some research on different kinds of charcoal. Depending on the source material the flavor of the charcoal can change.

Features to consider

Size of the Grilling Surface

Finding the best size for you largely depends on the amount of guests you’re planning on serving. Grill space is typically measured in square inches. Many grills will specify how many hamburgers they are able to fit in their product description. Consider what type of meat you will be cooking, and how much of it at a time.

Type of Charcoal Grill

There are three main categories of charcoal grills. These are kettle grills, barrel grills, and kamado grills. Let me break it down for you.

  • Kettle Grills- The most affordable option. These are simple, versatile, and affordable. They are also significantly more portable than a barrel grill. They have a dome shaped to help keep in all the heat. These are typically smaller models and are not the best suited for feeding large crowds. This is a decent option if you are most likely to be grilling hot dogs and burgers more often than anything else.
  • Barrel Grills- This is the largest option. These are great for more advanced chefs who are interested in going beyond the basics. Barrel grills are capable of slow cooking and smoking meat. These are useful for adding new flavor profiles to your menu. These are well suited to a chef that doesn’t mind a project. You will grow to appreciate the ritual that comes with cooking food on a barrel grill.
  • Kamado Grills- Created by the Japanese, kamado grills are egg-shaped. these are a versatile appliance and are suited to many different styles of cooking. These type of grills heat up remarkably fast for a charcoal grill. Often times the main complaint about charcoal is it takes a while to get up to the proper temperature. Kamado grills help cut down this time. They are known for their ease-of-use and versatility.

Cost and Value

Cost is always something to consider when making a purchase. We have included some pretty serious grills on this list.  However, for the more casual griller, it may be best to choose a more simple model. If you are giving this growl as a gift,  it is best to consider the needs of the recipient. Someone who looks forward to summer all year, because it means that they will get to cook outside, will truly appreciate a more serious model.

Extras

Some of these grills may be able to be outfitted with a couple extras. A great example of an experiment would be a rotisserie. This is a great feature to look for chicken lovers. You might also consider a feature like an ash pan to help with cleanup. Some grills include built-in thermometers for monitoring temperature. You can also find features that allow you to adjust the height of the charcoals to be closer or farther away from the grilling grate.

Guru Review Club’s Top 10:
Best Charcoal Grills

Name Our Rating View Price
Blaze 20-inch Freestanding Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill With Shelves 10 View Price
Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill 9.7  View Price
Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill 9.3  View Price
Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill 9.3  View Price
Weber 14401001 Original Kettle Charcoal Grill 9.7  View Price
Char-Griller 26720 Akorn Kamado Kooker 9.3  View Price
Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill 9  View Price
Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker 9.7 View Price
Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro 9  View Price
Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker 8  View Price

Blaze 20-inch Freestanding Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill With Shelves

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This is one of the best charcoal grills money can buy. It’s unique cast aluminum body is durable and provides excellent heat retention. Blaze is so confident they backed this product up with a lifetime warranty inside and out. The exhaust is cast molded to eliminate the risk of it falling off and breaking. The lid is hinged, and features lift assist to help you open it with ease.

The cooking surface is hinged as well. This allows for additional fuel to be added without removing the entirety of the cooking surface. The lid  is sealed to the body using tongue and groove which replaces the more commonly used felt gasket. The owner of this grill will not waste time or money replacing gaskets, which wear away easily. This unique seal method also prevents heat loss. There are two shelves included in this freestanding model. The stainless steel grill cart has six casters.

This grill has the first ever solid cast aluminum construction in the industry. Coupled with the tongue and groove seal, this model is a work of art.

Features we love

  • Top-Of-The-Line
  • Cast Aluminum Body
  • Tongue and Groove Seal
  • Two Shelves

10Total Score
Top-Of-The-Line Unique Kamado Grill

20 inch diameter cast aluminum kamado grill. Featuring two side shelves for storage and prep space. Tongue and groove seal allows for superior heat retention. Six casters on the grill cart for easy maneuverability. Includes built-in thermometer and stainless steel ash catcher.

Customer Reviews
10
Design
10
Value
10
PROS
  • Stainless steel grill cart
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Tongue and Groove Seal
  • Solid Cast Aluminum Body
CONS
  • Priced for experts and professionals
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Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill

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This is a unique model because it features a touch and go gas ignition system to make lighting your charcoal simple and quick. The process of lighting charcoal can be one of the most frustrating parts of using a charcoal grill and this feature eliminates that frustration. It also includes a removable LCD countdown cook timer. This grill features a one touch cleaning system and a high capacity ash catcher. included is the CharBin storage container to keep your charcoal from getting wet.

There is a lid holder included in set up which is a smart feature that’s a lot of convenience. Serious chefs will appreciate the plentiful prep space that the metal table provides. With the performer deluxe charcoal grill Weber has eliminated any problems that typically come with a charcoal grill such as cleaning ash, difficulty lighting charcoal, and unhinged lids.

Features we love

  • Lid Holder
  • Prep Table
  • Wheeled Unit
  • Protective CharBin
  • One Touch Ignition

9.7Total Score
Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill

This model features 363 in.² of cooking space. Includes large metal table for plentiful prep space. One touch ignition for your charcoal. Includes helping to keep your charcoal protected from the elements.

Customer Reviews
10
Design
10
Value
9
PROS
  • One Touch Ignition
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Lid Holder
  • Wheeled Unit
  • CharBin
CONS
  • Not considered portable
  • Not built for slow cooking or smoking
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Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill

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Here is a charcoal grill that strongly resembles a gas grill at first glance. This grill has some great features and is very stylish. It features 380 in.² for the cooking grates and porcelain enamel steel wiring. It even has an additional 210 in.² for the warming rack. Included is additional prep area in the form of side shelving. This is a great feature to have when it comes time to plate your creations.

To make cleaning easier there is a pull out drawer that catches ashes. You can adjust how close the charcoal itself is to be cooking grate. There are six different options for proximity to the cooking grate, which are selected manually. This grill even features a built-in bottle opener. There is also a steel bottom shelf for added storage. Amazon offers expert assembly for this product. If you would like there is even a grill cover for this model available for purchase.

Features we love

  • Warming rack
  • Pull out ash catcher
  • Side shelves
  • Built-in Bottle Opener

9.3Total Score
Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill

This model features 380 in.² of cooking space, and an additional 210 in.² of warming rack. There are two side shelves for additional prep area. It features a pull out ash collector to make cleanup easier. This model even has a built in bottle opener. Expert assembly is available upon request for a fee.

Customer Reviews
9
Design
9
Value
10
PROS
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Built in bottle opener bottle
  • Warming Rack
  • Side Shelves
CONS
  • Not easily transported
  • Not built for slow cooking or smoking
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Dyna-Glo DGN576SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill

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This grill features two different heating zones. This feature is great for when you are cooking more than one type of food. It allows you to have complete control of each side so that you can simultaneously cook at two different temperatures. The cooking grates are made from porcelain enameled cast iron and are designed to retain heat. These extra hot cooking grates help you get that perfect sear. There is even a stainless steel smokestack with an adjustable flu cap and side vents. This allows you the ultimate control over your temperature.

This is a wheeled unit for ease of transportation. This model includes side shelves, a storage basket, and a bottle opener. What more could you ask for? How about the ability to grill up to 30 hamburgers at once? This grill has 816 in.² of cooking area. This company also offers a custom fit grill cover for this model which is sold separately. Buy the cover to protect your grill from the elements.

Features we love

  • Wheeled Unit
  • Dual Heating Zones
  • Stainless Steel Smokestack
  • 816 in.² of

9.3Total Score
Dyna-Glo Dual Zone Charcoal Grill

This model features 816 in.² of cooking space. Wheeled unit for ease of transportation. There are two side shelves for additional prep area. It features a pull out ash collector to make cleanup easier. This model even has a built in bottle opener. Expert assembly is available upon request for a fee. Features a stainless steel smokestack

Customer Reviews
9
Design
10
Value
9
PROS
  • Dual Heating Zones
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Built in bottle opener bottle
  • Stainless Steel Smokestack
  • Side Shelves
CONS
  • Not easily transported
  • Not built for slow cooking or smoking
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Weber 14401001 Original Kettle Charcoal Grill

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This design is a classic. You will likely recognize the image right away. This is the archetype of kettle grill. It has an excellent price point, and high value. This grill has a 22 inch diameter with a 363 in.² cooking area. This model also features a removable high-capacity aluminum ash catcher. This makes cleaning your grill less of a chore. Amazon even offers expert assembly and free two-day prime shipping.

It is constructed using a heavy gauge porcelain enamel. This is a high quality material that will get this grill a long life. The cooking grate is hinged and made from plated steel. There is a built in thermometer on the lid of the grill so you are never left guessing. This grill weighs just over 32 pounds, making it relatively easy to transport. It is a great option for car camping. This model is available in three different colors: black, copper, and green.

Features we love

  • Portable
  • Removable Ash Catcher
  • Built in Thermometer
  • Durable

9.7Total Score
Classic Kettle Grill

A classic 22 inch diameter kettle grill. Available in three colors. Includes a removable ash catcher for easy cleanup. Made from high quality durable materials. Weighs just over 32 pounds. F

Customer Reviews
10
Design
9
Value
10
PROS
  • Portable
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Available in Three Colors
CONS
  • Can not add rotisserie
  • Not built for slow cooking or smoking
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Char-Griller 26720 Akorn Kamado Kooker

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Here is another Kamodo style cooker. This model features  314 in.² of primary cooking space. It also has 133 in.² removable warming rack, prefect for toasting buns on. Like all other Kamodo cookers you get a lot of heat for a relatively small amount of fuel, which helps cut down on operating costs. You can even heat to 700 degrees. Kamado grills are excellent for baking bread or pizza. You’re also able to smoke your meats with this style of grill.

There are two slide shelves which are perfect for prep and plating. The side shelves even fold down when you aren’t using them. It is wheeled, so it is easy to relocate. The wheels have locking caster to make sure the grill won’t move if you bump into it accidentally. It weighs 90 pounds, so it’s not considered portable. There is an ash catcher that can be easily removed for fast clean up. This model has adjustable top and bottom dampers for precision heat control. You have four color options to choose from: brown, black, blue, and red. You may also choose to purchase expert assembly.

Features we love

  • Kamado Grill
  • Heats Quickly
  • Great Insulation
  • Easy to Clean
  • Four Color Options

9.3Total Score
Char-Griller Kamado Kooker

This model features 314 in.² of cooking space, and 133 in.² warming rack. Wheeled unit for ease of transportation. There are two side shelves for additional prep area. It features a pull out ash collector to make cleanup easier. The lid locks for safety.High quality Materials.

Customer Reviews
9
Design
10
Value
9
PROS
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Side Shelves
  • Four Color Options
CONS
  • A bit small for large cookouts
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Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill

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This grill from Kettleman is grill from has a 360 in.² cooking surface. As the brand name suggests this is a kettle grill. The listing offers two different options, you can buy the grill by itself or with a cover. You also have the option of adding in expert assembly with your purchase. The lid includes a built in thermometer, so that you always know at a glance what temperature you are cooking at.

The removable ash catcher makes cleanup a breeze. This grill includes a 10 year limited warranty. It is built to last. The cooking grate is designed to keep food from falling through and to heat evenly. Infrared technology helps prevent hotspots or cold spots. This allows for even heating across the entire surface of the grill. It also cuts down on fuel consumption. The lid is hinged and can be locked during transport or storage. There is a large adjustable damper on the top of the lid to allow precision temperature control.

Features we love

  • Kettle Grill
  • 360 in.² Cooking Surface
  • Hinged Lid
  • Built In Thermometer
  • 10 Year Limited Warranty

9Total Score
Char-Broil Kettle Grill

This model features 360 in.² of cooking space. Your purchase includes a 10 year limited warranty. This grill is built to last. Wheeled unit for ease of transportation. It features a pull out ash collector to make cleanup easier. The lid locks for safety. Built in thermometer.

Customer Reviews
9
Design
9
Value
9
PROS
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Hinged Lid
  • 10 Year Limited Warranty
CONS
  • No Prep Area
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Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker

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This is the smaller version of the Kamado Kooker by Char-Griller. This one has a total of 153 square inches of cooking space. It has the same easy clean ash pan as the larger model. It is portable and lightweight due to its smaller size. This is the perfect model if you are looking for something to take with you while camping or tailgating.

It has top and bottom adjustable dampers to control air flow and temperature. It includes a guide on the perfect options for the dampers for different kinds of meat. Like the larger model, this one is capable of reaching 700 degrees. It is durable, which is another great reason to consider this model as the perfect fit for traveling. You can purchase expert assembly with your product.

Features we love

  • Kamado Grill
  • Portable
  • 153 square inches of cooking space
  •  Easy clean ash pan
  • Two adjustable dampers

9.7Total Score
Char-Griller Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker

This model features 153 in.² of cooking space. Short, sturdy legs. It features a pull out ash collector to make cleanup easier. Two adjustable dampers. Reach temperatures of up to 700°F. Built in thermometer.

Customer Reviews
9
Design
10
Value
10
PROS
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Hinged Lid
  • 10 Year Limited Warranty
  • Portable
CONS
  • No Prep Area
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Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro

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When we compile these lists we try to include a little something for everyone. This model is smaller and more affordable while still being highly rated and an excellent option for novices and experts alike. There is a total of 250 in.² of cooking space making it ideal for smaller decks or patios. There is a small side shelf that provides extra space for prep and plating.

This is a wheeled model. Keep in mind that assembly will be required, and expert assembly is available for purchase. It has all the great features larger girls do such as an easy dump ash pan. It is made from heavy duty steel and powder coated to increase durability, the handle is made of wood and is designed to stay cool. There is even a storage rack underneath the grill. This model makes an excellent gift due to its high quality and lower price point.

Features we love

  • Great for Small Spaces
  • Wheeled
  • Side Shelf
  • Durable Construction

9Total Score
Patio Pro

This compact model features 250in.² of cooking space. Wheeled model to allow for easy transport. It features a pull out ash collector to make cleanup easier. Features a side shelf for prep space. It is made from high quality, durable materials. Ideal for smaller spaces

Customer Reviews
9
Design
8
Value
10
PROS
  • Easy to Clean
  • Side Shelf
  • Compact
CONS
  • No Built-in Thermometer
  • Not Ideal for Large Crowds
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Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker

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This model is a combination offset smoker. It features side doors which allow you to add or remove fuel and ash. There is a built in thermometer on the mainland so you always know what temperature you are cooking at. There are two additional working and storage spaces. It is a wheeled unit so that you can move it easily. There is an adjustable damper. This grill is equipped with lifting handles that allow you to change the height of the charcoal bed for precision heat control. And there is also a removable charcoal pan which makes adding charcoal and dumping ashes a breeze. Amazon offers the option to buy the grill by itself or with a cover included.

The main chamber has 440 in.² of cooking space, 180 in.² chrome warming rack, and the offset smoker provides an extra hundred and 82 in.² of cooking surface. If you’re keeping track that total 782 in.². The charcoal pan can hold 5 pounds of charcoal at once which is rather large.

There was an issue with the old version of this grill, the paint often flaked when you reach high temperatures but they have fixed this problem in the new version. Before you purchase this grill make sure it is the new version Royal Gourmet® offset-Smoker charcoal grill CC1830F.

Features we love

  • Offset Smoker
  • Total of 782 square inches of cooking space
  • High Capacity Charcoal Pan

8Total Score
Offset Smoker

This model features 782 in.² of cooking space. Wheeled model to allow for easy transport. It features a pull out ash collector to make cleanup easier. Includes an adjustable damper. Built in thermometer.

Customer Reviews
8
Design
8
Value
8
PROS
  • Easy to Clean
  • Built-in Thermometer
  • Hinged Lid
CONS
  • Not the best insulation
help

 

10 Total Score
Aluminum Cast Kamado

Winner:Aluminum Cast Kamado State of the art and top of the line. Made from aluminum cast, and complete with a tongue and groove seal. Incredibly durable. On 6 casters, and has two side shelves.

Value
10
Design
10
Customer Reviews
10
PROS
  • Aluminum Cast
  • Tongue and Groove Seal
  • Wheeled Unit
  • Two Side Shelves
  • Unbeatable Quality
CONS
  • Priced For Pros
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