Charcoal grills are simple, may lock the luxury appearance of gas grills, but when it comes to flavor, the best charcoal grill is one of the economical options available. From convenient set up to preparing meals, these grills are ideal t enjoy a true smoky flavor.
All you need is a lighter, a bag of charcoal, and your favorite ingredients to achieve a quick meal. However, it can be hard to find the charcoal grill when you are looking to buy the one within your budget. Well, here is a list of the top 10 best charcoal grills under 500 for 2024.
Comparison of the Best Charcoal Grills Under $500 for 2024
Detailed Reviews of Best Charcoal Grills under $500
1.Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
The first charcoal grill in this list is Weber Original Kettle Premium loaded with some exciting features. There is a porcelain-coated bowl featuring a lid containing glass-reinforced nylon handles. Moreover, the steel finish of the bowl makes it rust-free, and nylon handles are heat resistant and also flexible and durable. Lifting the lid during grilling is safe, and easy to check the food status.
Featuring 39.5 x 22.5 x 27 inches dimensions, the overall cooking space of the grill is 363 square inches, which is good enough for a medium-sized barbecue party.
The plated steel cooking grates are hinged that allows adding charcoal, although you are grilling conveniently. These cooking grates can retain heat perfectly and are easy to clean.
With its removable ash catcher, it’s very easy to clean up the charcoal ash after preparing food. One of the best features of this charcoal grill is a heat control system that helps to adjust the heat by adjusting the damper.
The shielded handle prevents your hand from heat mounted on the lid. With its hanging hooks for handling, it is very easy to organize tools and other grilling accessories. To ensure perfect stability during food preparation, there are 2 durable caster wheels and 1 stable foot.
2. Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill
The Weber 741001 comes with durable construction and ease of use. Featuring a porcelain-coated steel kettle and domed lid, the charcoal grill provides rust and corrosion resistance. The reinforced nylon handles work as a heat shield to prevent your hand from burning. This grill takes up less space with 39.5 x 22.5 x 27 inches dimensions and offers 363 square inches of spacious cooking area.
The grill is supported by a tripod base that has one stable foot and two caster wheels for easy mobility. It also accommodates an aluminium ashtray, which prevents ash from falling during grilling.
This charcoal grill is an excellent choice with lightweight material and a durable structure. The overall weight of the unit is 3.3 pounds. Moreover, the damper on the bottom allows you to control the temperature during grilling.
On complete closing of the damper, it will cut oxygen supply and lower the temperature. The bowl of the kettle allows you to place a modest charcoal amount for optimum grilling time. Its steel fuel grates are designed for direct or indirect heat. You can easily adjust charcoals according to your needs.
3. Royal Gourmet 30″ BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker
This Royal Gourmet CC1830S charcoal grill features a side smoker box. The smoker box helps in adding classic smoked flavour to barbecue. You can experience dual-style BBQ with a smoker and charcoal grill at once.
It offers 438 square inches primary cooking area along with a 179 square inches warming rack. There is also 183 square inches offset smoker system for grilling, which makes overall 800 square inches of grilling area.
You can easily adjust the heat by raising or lowering the fire pan using lifting handles and adjust the distance between charcoal and food. There is a side door that allows charcoal or clean ash effortlessly along with the slide air vent to stroke fire.
The cooking grates are efficient in even heat retention, and also porcelain-coated makes them durable and easy to clean.
Also, its removable ash pan helps in easy and quick ash disposal. This best charcoal grill under 500 has ample storage due to its side table, hanging hooks, and rack to prepare food or keep tools right next to hand.
Its scaled proof handle prevents it from burning during grilling. The grill is also equipped with a temperature gauge mounted on its lid for better heat monitoring. With two durable caster wheels, it’s easy to transport the grill. Last but not least, the durable stand keeps it on the ground firmly.
The Patio Pro E1515 is a great choice for grilling in small apartments, balcony and for an outdoor party. The size of the cooking area is a little bit small, measuring 250 square inches in total. But this is an ideal grill size for a 2 to 4 people barbecue party.
The cooking grates are made of cast iron instead of steel which is durable. However, scrubbing them for cleaning can be a challenging task. The good thing is their thickness provides fast and even heat.
The unique barrel-shaped design helps to improve cooking efficiency and retain heat almost the overall cooking surface. There is a large side air vent which allows for more precise temperature control.
And you have a small charcoal drawer also for storage directly below the grill. For more space, there is a small side shelf with hanging hooks and an underneath wire storage rack available.
There is a wooden handle embedded on the lid for your safety. When it comes to construction, this grill is an excellent choice with double steel bottom, caster iron grates, steel base, and durable plastic wheels. The overall weight of this charcoal grill is 50 pounds, and with the help of two caster wheels, it’s very easy to move.
5. Magma Products Marine Kettle, Charcoal Grill
If you are looking for a small-sized outdoor charcoal grill, then this Magma Marine Kettle is perfect for you. This grill features a hinged lid for ideal grilling performance, which is a unique feature in budget grills.
The rotating design allows you to open the lid in a specific direction does, but the feature is extremely useful in windy conditions.
There is a 133 square inches grilling surface which is good enough for preparing food for 3 to 4 persons. Thanks to the draft door assembly that allows adjusting the height of the cooking grill and also set variable temperature.
Its attractive bowl-shaped design helps oven-type baking to enhance the classic grill flavour of charcoal smoke.
One of the best features of this charcoal grill under 500 is it’s 18-9 mirror polished stainless steel construction which makes it perfectly rust-resistant. The lid handle is made with stay-cool plastic to prevent hands from burning.
Just close the draft door, and charcoal extinguishes, which is the best feature for safety purposes. With 15.3 x 15.6 x 6.5 inches dimension, it weighs only 2.2 pounds. In simple words, it is one of the best portable propane grills available on the market.
6. Weber 14407001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
The Weber 14407001 Original Kettle Premium is specially designed with a built-in thermal gauge in the lid to allow you to monitor heat and cook efficiently. The durable grilling grate is hinged for adding charcoal easily.
This feature is extremely handy when you want to add fuel during grilling. Another great feature of this unit is that the charcoal grill withstands high temperatures and is very efficient in heat-retaining.
There is also an aluminium damper embedded on the lid for adjusting airflow for better temperature control. When you close the grill completely, it will cut down airflow and extinguish charcoal conveniently. With a removable ash catcher, it is effortless to clean the grill after use.
One of the best features of this best charcoal grill under 500 is glass-reinforced nylon handles for an ultra-comfortable grip and also to prevent hands from burning. The side handle also has tool hooks to help in holding grilling accessories. Offering 363 square inches of cooking space, the unit is good enough to prepare food for 3-6 people.
7. Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill
This Weber 15301001 charcoal grill is a little more sophisticated and stylish than other contemporary grills on the market. The charcoal grill takes minimum space but offers a decent-sized cooking area of 363 square inches to prepare food for 4 to 6 persons.
The damper in the lid allows precise control of the heat without lifting the lid. Open the damper to increase the airflow for burning coals while on closing it will extinguish charcoals.
The grill is also equipped with a built-in lid thermometer to display the real-time internal temperature of the grill.
You can easily adjust the heat according to grilling needs. One excellent feature of the grill is its waist level in height for ultra-comfortable grilling. Its kettle-like bowl and lid coated with porcelain is ideal for constant temperature and even cooking.
The porcelain finish also prevents the grill from crossing and rusting. Moreover, its heat shield handle prevents it from getting hot.
Though the grill is a bit heavy, weighing 66.2 pounds, there are 4 caster wheels of 8 inches for convenient mobility. Other notable features include side foldable shelve and tool hooks to provide additional storage space to keep grilling accessories in place.
If you are looking for a portable charcoal grill, then this Weber Jumbo Joe is designed for you. This best charcoal grill under 500 features an excellent heat control and retention system. You can easily add a smoky flavour to your food. With 18 inches’ diameter, it offers 240 square inches of grilling area to prepare food for 2 to 4 persons.
The grilling grates are made with plated steel, so the food particles will not stick easily. This durable charcoal grill is designed to last for a long time due to its tripod base manufactured with heavy gauge steel, which is also rust-resistant.
The ash catcher at the bottom is manufactured of aluminium which makes it lightweight and durable.
The lid handle with a heat shield prevents the hand from burning. Its built-in damper allows you to control inside temperature easily. One unique feature of the grill is the Tuck-N-Carry lid work as a lock and a lid holder.
Considering its portable design, lightweight, and excellent durability, this charcoal grill is the best choice for those who are looking for a budget-friendly grill with decent features.
9. Weber 441001 Original 18 in Charcoal Grill- Best Lightweight Charcoal Grill
Another excellent charcoal grill by Weber, this 441001 model offers precision heat control with durable construction. The design of the Weber grill is just like the other models by the brand, but the ash tray is one extra feature.
The grill features an open ashtray, which is not recommended for the windy season. With 18 x 23 x 35 inches dimensions, this grill weighs only 3.3 pounds which makes it one of the best lightweight charcoal grills on the market.
Besides the lightweight, there are two caster wheels available for ultra-convenient mobility. The durable tripod base is perfectly stable with one foot and two wheels. Made for high-grade steel, the grill can easily withstand high temperatures and tough weather conditions.
In addition to this, its lid and bowl are corrosion resistant due to porcelain coating. There is an angled lid hook for hanging the lid on the side instead of placing it on the ground.
With its One-Touch cleaning system, cleaning ash is easy. All you need is to slide out the ash tray and dispose of it. You can precisely control the internal temperature of the grill without lifting the lid; just adjust the damper accordingly to needs.
10. Weber 14402001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
With a big stylish dome, this Weber Charcoal grill offers a sleek appearance. The bowl is 22 inches in diameter, providing 363 square inches of grilling surface, which is good enough for medium-sized barbecue parties.
The manufacturing material has been coated with porcelain to make it stronger and rust-proof. For cleaning purposes, there is a removable aluminium ash catcher available for a convenient and quick job.
The hinged cooking grates ensure convenient fuel addition. It helps to continue grilling while adjusting the coals comfortably. One of the best features of perfect grilling is the built-in thermometer that helps to monitor the temperature of your food.
There is also a multi-functional glass-reinforced nylon handle to prevent heat from affecting your hands.
However, handles are not only for lifting, but they also have hanging hooks on both sides to hold grilling tools. Weighing only 32.3 pounds weight, the grill has 2 sturdy wheels for convenient mobility.
Buying a charcoal grill without considering essential factors is not a wise decision. You should focus on the following major factors before buying the best charcoal grill under 500.
The most important factor to consider while buying a charcoal grill is its grilling area. The area depends on how much food can be grilled at one time. For instance, you should choose a grill with a large grilling area if you are looking to prepare food for more than people. Remember, larger charcoal grills cost more because they need more fuel. But having a larger area of grilling means you can create multiple heating zones according to needs by adjusting the quantity of coal. There are multiple grills available in our list, from 130 square inches to more than 800 square inches of grilling area. The best way is to buy a midsized charcoal grill that works for both small and large gatherings.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the cooking grates before buying the best charcoal grill. The food close to coals will cook faster from the exterior, but the inner portion will not cook thoroughly and remain juicy. Look for a grill with cooking grates that can be raised or lowered at suitable positions. It will give way to tame the flames and control overheat. The cooking grates must be good heat conductors as they allow you to cook your food evenly heat.
Always prefer stainless steel and cast iron grates. Because they are long-lasting and can bear high-temperature stresses. Moreover, porcelain coating over cooking grates makes them rust or corrosion-resistant. Remember to clean these net-like wires completely after every use.
Access to Charcoal
Having easy charcoal access means better control over the temperature of the grill. Some grills come with a charcoal drawer that is much easy for adding coal. All you need is to slide out the drawer, add fuel and push in towards the grill. Some also have hinged grills that help to add coal during grilling. Various charcoal grills feature charcoal grates or trays for efficient performance. The charcoal grills listed above provide you with different kinds of access.
Nobody likes to clean grills after a barbecue party. But in the case of the charcoal grill, it is very important to clean ash and remaining food particles. If you do not clean the ash, it will act as an insulator and increase the time to heat up. In simple words, the food will take more time to grill. When you decide to buy a new charcoal grill, don’t forget to pay attention to the ash removing mechanism.
Look for large-sized ash pans or trays that must be detachable. It will help you to empty the ash from the grill body in no time. Some charcoal grills are equipped with an ash catcher right beneath the charcoal grates, while others have sliding ashtrays. Thus, choose a grill that allows easy ash removal and convenient for you. It is better to select an ash catcher and sliding trays. By using them, you can dispose of ash during grilling also.
Having a temperature gauge in your grill allows you to monitor the real-time temperature. Thus, it will help to decide whether remove or add more coal. Always choose a grill with a built-in thermal gauge.
Also, prefer a charcoal grill with a damper feature that helps in exhaust and intake gases. Having a damper also helps to control the grill temperature by igniting the coals or extinguishing the coals according to needs.
For additional grilling space, look for side shelves or hanging hooks. These features make it easier to keep sauces and grilling tools near to hand while grilling. Warming racks also act as extra storage space and helps to keep grilled food warm.
If you want to buy a large charcoal grill, consider the caster wheel facility. Because larger grills weigh heavy and caster wheels make mobility convenient from one place to another.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which way is it easy to get coal started?
There are multiple ways for an easy start-up. First, start with dry charcoal because they light up easily and burn longer. You can use a chimney-type starter or starter stick for this purpose. Use a piece of paper or cloth and light it up and place it over coals, and then open-air vents.
How to control the temperature in a charcoal grill?
The air vent controls the temperature by allowing oxygen to fire up, and on closing, they cut down supply and lower temperature. Moreover, lid dampers also work in the same way. Adjustable grates are also helpful in maintaining the distance for indirect cooking.
Is heat distribution important for grilling food?
Heat distribution is very important when grilling food. If the heat is not distributed properly, it will result in developing hot and cold spots. In simple words, your food will be undercooked in some areas and overcooked in others.
Charcoal grills are one of the most famous choices for backyard barbecue lovers. Though it may take some time to set up the grill, the unique smoky flavor created by charcoal is simply amazing. The best thing about these grills is that they are affordable, easy to use, and clean, and offer perfect grilled food in no time. Before you buy the best charcoal smoker under 500, make sure to consider your needs, including grilling area, manufacturing material, and other important features.
About Shawn Summer
Best when it comes to BBQ. From charcoal grills to pellet smokers, I’ve got you covered. My goal is to share my knowledge and passion for grilling with you, so you can create delicious meals for your family and friends. Let’s get grilling!