These Are the Top Portable Grills for Grilling on the Go
As July 4th nears, grilling season is officially upon us. And while many Americans will be grilling at home, we're also all itching to travel this summer. If you'll be away from home, have no fear: a portable grill means you can cook a feast anywhere you go, be it to a park, campsite, tailgate, beach, balcony, or beyond.
Although there are three different types of portable grills—gas, charcoal, and electric—for this guide we'll focus on gas and charcoal since electric grills are typically only usable where there is access to an electric outlet, and the flavor is lacking because there's no real flame. Gas grills are easy to operate, heat up quickly, and usually fold pretty compactly, but they can be heavy and are often expensive. You'll need to bring along a propane canister as well. Charcoal lends a distinct smoky flavor and portable versions are typically very affordable, but they can be messy and hard to control the heat; you'll also need equipment like charcoal and lighter fluid.
Before buying consider what style of cooking you prefer, how portable a grill is, how sturdily it's constructed, and what you plan to use it for. Whichever you choose, get ready to get grilling beyond your backyard.
Best Portable Grills to Buy in 2021
- Best Gas: Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill
- Best Charcoal: Weber Smokey Joe Premium
- Best No-Hassle: Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Gas Grill
- Most Versatile: BioLite Outdoor Smokeless Wood and Charcoal Burning FirePit and Grill
- Most Stylish: Everdure CUBE
- Best Flat-Pack: UCO Portable Stainless Steel Grill and Fire Pit
Weber Smokey Joe Premium
These lil' guys are a classic for a reason: They're affordable, lightweight, and easy to use, making them a staple of park picnics and camping trips. Made from enameled porcelain, this grill is durable and won't rust, and the premium model has a rack to hold the lid while you're flipping your meat and vegetables. Of course, you have to be willing to deal with charcoal to use this grill, but it's ideal for stashing in your trunk and feeding a small crew.
Shop Now: Weber Smokey Joe Premium, $47.99, amazon.com.
Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill
This propane grill ignites quickly and easily, takes just 15 minutes to heat its 189 square inches to 500 degrees, and can easily cook for a group of six. It's sturdy, not too heavy, and has some added bells and whistles like fold out table flaps and cast iron grates, but it is a little bulky compare to other models. Bonus: It comes in a variety of colors.
Shop Now: Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill, $219, amazon.com.
BioLite Outdoor Smokeless Wood and Charcoal Burning FirePit and Grill
A nifty device, this is both grill and fire pit and can use wood or charcoal. We also like that it doesn't billow smoke thanks to the small fan attachment, which further helps ignite the wood or charcoal. What's more, it has a coal tray that raises and lowers, allowing for different styles of cooking depending on how direct the heat is. It's light and compact, and when you're done grilling you can enjoy the fire pit if you're on the beach or at a campsite—or even in your own backyard. The downside is the higher price tag, and the fact that the grates are stainless steel and hard to clean.
Shop Now: BioLite Outdoor Smokeless Wood and Charcoal Burning FirePit and Grill, $375, amazon.com.
Everdure CUBE Portable Charcoal Grill
Famous and acclaimed British chef Heston Blumenthal designed this portable iteration as part of his Everdure line of modern grills. Thoughtful and stylish, it's also extremely functional. The handles stay cool and there's a heat shield on the bottom that lets you use it on a tabletop. A handy storage tray for stowing food or utensils and a bamboo prep board nestles right on top. And the interior is coated and the charcoal tray is removable, allowing for easy clean-up. This grill-in-a-box is small and can only fit about two steaks or two-to-three chicken breasts or burgers, making it perfect for couples.
Shop Now: Everdure CUBE Portable Charcoal Grill, $199.95, Food52.com.
UCO Portable Stainless Steel Grill and Fire Pit
While it's hard to imagine that a grill can pack completely flat, that's exactly what this notebook style charcoal grill does—it can even fit in a backpack, making it a good choice to bring along on a hike. Made from stainless steel, it's also very lightweight at just over three pounds and sets up easily. While not the most sturdy, you'll be able to cook for two to three people and it even doubles as a fire pit. Plus, the price is right.
Shop Now: UCO Portable Stainless Steel Grill and Fire Pit, $39.99, amazon.com.
Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
More portable than the Smokey Joe thanks to its rectangular shape and folding legs, the Go-Anywhere from Weber has three separate handles for carrying that always stay cool. It also has a lot of cooking real estate—you can cook six burgers on here—and is durable and easy to use. The downside is that it can be hard to clean (ash gets stuck in the corners, which isn't a problem with circular grills) and the grate is very close to coals so food gets hot fast—pay attention so it doesn't burn.
Shop Now: Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill, $59.99, amazon.com.
Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Gas Grill
This grill from the kitchen appliance maker is extremely easy to use—just twist the knob to ignite—and it's extremely portable and can be carried like a briefcase. Making it stand out from the crowd are its telescoping legs, allowing for stand-up grilling or setting it on a table. Although it only reaches 450 degrees, it's easy to assemble and clean. Plus, it's one of the more affordable portable gas grills on the market.
Shop Now: Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Gas Grill with VersaStand, $132.32, amazon.com.
Char-Broil Grill2Go Portable TRU-Infrared Liquid Propane Gas Grill
Carry this workhorse with just one hand like a briefcase, with all the parts tightly packed. Easy to set up and very sturdy and durable, Char-Broil has produced a solid portable gas grill that ignites at the press of a button. The cooking space is one of the largest, at 240-square-inches, but be careful while cooking, as it can get very hot—which makes a nice sear for steaks but is sometimes too strong for chicken.
Shop Now: Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Portable TRU-Infrared Liquid Propane Gas Grill, $128, amazon.com.