When the weather starts getting nice, it’s time to break out the grill. But if you’re trying to take the grill on the road or at least to the backyard, you’re going to want one of the best portable grills.
Obviously, portable grills were designed from the bottom up to be easily transportable and typically easily cleaned and used too. Though that does mean some compromising on size and grilling surface space, the best portable grills are still extremely well-made and can rely on your standard fuel sources, whether charcoal, propane or electricity.
We rounded up some of the best portable grills below for your consideration. We made sure to grab at least one great option for each fuel source as well as some overall great portable grills and one totally strange but brilliant portable grill designed with vehicles in mind.
1. NOMAD Grill & Smoker
For the ultimate portable grill, you have to check out the NOMAD Grill & Smoker. It’s what you get when you set out to design a portable grill from scratch, ignoring what came before. There are too many details to dive into to make our case for this portable grill as the best overall, but here are the main takeaways: It’s made from cast aluminum that’s been treated to survive the long term, the outside of the box stays cool enough to safely put on any surface, even when cooking, and it features built-in convection airflow. It also boasts 425 square inches of cooking space and basically folds up into a briefcase for easy portability.
Yes, you will have to pay through the nose for the awesomeness that is the NOMAD portable grill, but it’s definitely one of the best portable grills for just about any person.
2. Coleman RoadTrip LX Propane Grill
The Coleman RoadTrip LX Propane Grill delivers what its name promises: It’s a great road trip grill. It’s ultra basic in the good way because, at the end of the day, all you really need out of the best portable grill is a good amount of grilling surface without losing easy transportability and usability. It comes with a collapsible stand if you’re outdoors but the grill can also go on any flat surface that can stand up to the heat, like, a rock or a truck bed.
3. Fire Sense Black Notebook Foldable Charcoal Grill
BUDGET PICK / MOST PORTABLE
Not only is the Fire Sense Black Notebook Foldable Charcoal Grill one of the most portable grills, it’s also one of the cheapest. Unlike just about every other portable grill out there, this grill has a triangular construction, enabling it to fold up like a folding chair or table. It even has hand holes to carry it when it’s collapsed; that’s how portable it was designed to be. When you need to use it, just unfold it, dump some charcoal in and throw the grill grates on and you’re ready to party.
4. HitchFire Forge Grill
BUILT FOR VEHICLES
The strange but brilliant HitchFire Forge Grill is unlike any other portable grill we’ve encountered. It’s actually designed to be hitched to a trailer of a car, meaning it goes wherever your car can go and it doesn’t even take up cargo space. The swing arm helps you position the grill wherever you’d like it and all you need is a standard propane can to get grilling.
5. Weber 40020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
BEST SMALL CHARCOAL GRILL
For a small, standard portable charcoal grill, you can’t go wrong with anything from Weber, including the Weber 40020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill. With a 14-inch diameter, you’ve got enough room to cook for a few people, perfect for a small camping trip or a backyard afternoon with a couple of the boys. It features porcelain-enameling on the lid and bowl for heat retention and durability, and the built-in handles make moving from A to B a cinch.
6. Weber Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Charcoal Grill
BEST MEDIUM CHARCOAL GRILL
We swear we’re not being lazy when we recommend the Weber Jumbo Joe 18-Inch Charcoal Grill. We checked out a lot of medium-sized portable grills but in the end we just kept coming back to this Weber grill. It’s basically identical to the above pick, only larger, and excellent for the same reasons. It offers a decent amount of cooking space for its size and price and it’s well-made enough that it’ll last a long time, as long as you don’t leave it in rain and adverse weather for days at a time.
7. Cuisinart Propane Grillster
BEST SMALL PROPANE GRILL
For the best small propane grill, we like the Cuisinart Propane Grillster. It really is quite compact, weighing only 10 pounds, but it still manages to offer 146 square inches of cooking surface. Enameled steel grates are also dishwasher safe, so you can toss them in there instead of scrubbing for hours after a days-long trip. One reviewer who worked as a trucker said it was perfect for his work, but this grill could easily work on a backyard patio or a balcony, which is great for apartment dwellers. Truly, this portable grill is ready to go out of the box. The only thing you need is the propane can.
8. Char-Broil Portable Propane Gas Grill
BEST MEDIUM PROPANE GRILL
For a portable propane grill with some more cooking surface to work with, the Char-Broil Portable Propane Gas Grill will get the job done. It offers a substantial 240 square inches of cooking surface for all your burgers, steaks and hot dogs, and sturdy legs make sure there are no accidental fires wherever you place the grill. Handles on the grill make it easy to transport and, like any self-respecting grill, it uses porcelain on the body for heat retention and durability. Use it at the campsite or even on the beach.
9. George Foreman 12-Serving Rectangular Electric Grill
BEST ELECTRIC GRILL
If you expected us to recommend anything but George Foreman grills for the best portable electric grill, we are not sorry to disappoint. If you’ve never used a George Foreman grill before, they work great and are, for lack of a better term, idiot-proof. The George Foreman 12-Serving Rectangular Electric Grill is no different.
It offers 200 square inches of cooking space and you’ll never have to worry about a flammable fuel source since it plugs into a standard AC outlet. Nonstick coating makes cooking and clean-up a breeze, and if you don’t need the included stand, it’s removable.
Of course, the downside for electric grills is the fact they’re significantly less portable than charcoal or propane grills because you need a source of electricity. But lots of outdoor spaces these days include spaces with electricity and with the right vehicle or specialized plugs, you could use a car as the energy source.