6 Best Charcoal Grills Under 150 Dollars of 2020

It’s that time of the year again – the time for a barbecue. But why spend your entire life’s savings (or even more) on a grill? It’s just not worth it. Even on a budget, you can get a decent charcoal grill that will feed both you and your friends and/or family.

Take a look at this list of the 6 best charcoal grills under 150 dollars and pick the grill that suits you the most.

Best of the Best Charcoal Grills Under $150

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What Is the Best Charcoal Grill on the Market?

Product Reviews

I am presenting you six decent grills that you can get for a reasonable price.

Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker

The Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker E06614 is a familiar name because anyone who knows the sport of grilling has heard the name Kamado. This is the smaller, budget-sized version with a lower price and smaller grilling space with all the same great features.

Specs

For grilling space, it’s got 14 inches in diameter, for a total of 153 square inches. It’s not a full-bodied grill in the sense that it has shelves and wheels, it’s just the grill, so you would need to put it on top of a table to use it. But, for that tradeoff, it’s also more portable – hello, hiking trail, good morning breakfast!

Going camping or on the road trip? See the list of the best portable grills for camping.

What Is So Great About a Kamado Grill?

Kamados are known for their cast-iron even cooking, with their special triple-wall design to keep heat in and give that extra boost to flavor, and can reach temperature up to 700 F degrees! It has a thermometer on the outside along with multiple air vents for better control of the temperature. The bottom of the grill is an ash catcher that is easily emptied. A grill like this doesn’t need a bunch of fancy features, and it is known for its “it just works” that enables even average-skilled cookers to get more bang for their buck and skill set.

What’s Not So Great About It

Like the other grills in this price range, the Akorn Jr can suffer from missing pieces, quality control issues, and stripped screw holes. Char-Griller offers at least a standard 1-year warranty on all the Kamado products, so if your product arrives defective or with missing pieces, simply return it in exchange for a new, better one.

The other downside of the Akorn is its small size. You can definitely grill a whole, smaller beer can chicken, but you don’t have room for a lot of other foods like a turkey or a rack of spareribs. But if it’s just you and another adult or child, this grill will suit you just fine.

The Best Kamado Grill for the Money

It’s almost impossible to find a decent kamado grill in this price range. Despite its tiny size and quality control issues, it’s an amazing charcoal kamado grill that does everything it’s supposed to.

Pros
  • Kamado-style grill
  • Portable
  • Cute-looking
  • Can reach a very high temperature
  • Even cooking
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Very small
  • Grates rust over time if not seasoned regularly
See Reviews

Weber Original Kettle Premium

The Weber 14402001 Original Kettle Premium is a traditional orb style charcoal grill that comes in the three colors of ebony black, burnished copper, and forest green.

It’s a Weber

Unlike the traditional cheapy orb grills, you’d find at your local department store, Weber grills have some amazing features that are easy to miss but make a big difference the more you cook on them.

This grill has a 22-inch diameter grate and a cooking area of 363 square inches, and because of the wire lid catch on the back, it takes up a bit more space to store, 27 inches deep by 22 inches wide by 39 inches high. It’s a full-sized grill with wheels and a triangular rack beneath the ash catcher.

The Great Reasons That Make a Weber a Weber

Firstly, almost all modern Weber grills come with a thermometer attached to the lid, as well as a heat-resistant lid so you can always touch the handle with your bare hands.

Next, there’s a special wire running along the back of the grill so that you can set your lid down into the groove, keeping it erect and steady, so you don’t have to sit it on the ground where it will get all dirty and inevitably you’ll have that one bite of food that’s gritty and crunchy with unwanted earth.

The right and left flap of the stainless steel wire grate can be lifted up so that you can arrange and stoke up your coals without having to remove the entire grill face – and your food too.

Lastly, the special ash catching mechanism on the bottom can quickly and easily be emptied.

What’s Bad About This Grill

Lower priced products, in general, tend to have an assembly line and manufacturing plant issues, including quality control. The Original Kettle Premium is no exception, and some grills may come with missing parts, misfitting parts, or improper welds. All delivered products are subject to dents and dings from the assembly line process and long transit in delivery trucks.

But don’t worry! Webber has a 10-year warranty for the cooking orb and lid, 5 years for the grates, and 2 years for everything else. So if you discover that your grill has some issues upon arrival, simply call up the company and they’ll send you a new one for free.

Final Word

If you’re a traditionalist griller, i.e. you want your charcoal grill to be as plain as possible and without any bells and whistles, then look no further. This grills motto is: “why improve something already perfect?”.

Pros
  • Classic-looking charcoal grill
  • Great for smoking and barbecues
  • Comes with a temperature gauge and an ash catcher
  • Easy to clean and to move around
Cons
  • Temperature control is not easy
See Reviews

Royal Gourmet Charcoal BBQ Grill with Cover

This charcoal grill from Royal Gourmet (model CD1824EC) is a grilling behemoth. Never again worry whether you’ll have enough space on the grill.

Feed up to 10 People

This gargantuan has a total cooking space of 598 square inches, making it the charcoal grill with the most spacious cooking space on this list. The main cooking area (the grates) is 393 square inches large, and the other 205 square inches belong to the warming rack.

Genius Coal Management

You can adjust the distance between the charcoal and the food. Talk about micromanagement (pun intended).

With the charcoal access door at the front. you can add coals without interrupting the cooking process.

Shelves, Shelves, and More Shelves

The 2 side shelves and the bottom shelf are spacious enough for you to have anything and everything on hand. This eliminates the need for placing a table next to the grill or you running up and down like an Olympic gymnast.

Other Features Include:

  • Lid thermometer
  • 2 large wheels
  • Airflow damper
  • Pierced charcoal pan for better air circulation
  • Draw-out ashtray

Something’s Not Right About This One

The assembly is tedious. And the instructions make this job even worse. There are a lot of bits and pieces and the assembly instructions are poorly written. It took me hours to set up the grill.

Final Verdict

If you want to feed the whole party at once very fast, then this gargantuan is probably your best choice. With great heat and charcoal management, you’ll cook your steaks in no time. Your guests will think you’re a steakhouse chef. Just assemble the grill at least a few days before as it will take a while.

Pros
  • Spacious cooking area
  • Great charcoal and heat management
  • Easy to clean
  • Even cooking
  • Built-in thermometer
Cons
  • Tedious assembly
See Reviews

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill

Can’t decide between an infrared grill and a charcoal one? Then why not have both with this TRU-Infrared Kettleman Grill by Char-Broil.

Enjoy the Benefits of Both Infrared Grills and Charcoal Grills in One Unit

Infrared grills are well-known for their even cooking, reduced cooking time, and retaining the juices inside the food. They also have low mileage because they’re very efficient.

But the downside of this grill type is you can’t really smoke. But because this is a charcoal grill you can enjoy the full smokey taste the charcoal provides.

Interested more in infrared grills? Then find out how they work and their other advantages and disadvantages.

Say Goodbye to Flare-Ups and Hot spots

Infrared grills (almost) eliminate flare-ups. This grill is no exception. The porcelain-coated, rust resistant cooking grate is designed in a way so that no food falls trough it on the flames below.

Also, the infrared heat helps prevent hot and cold spots on the grates. You don’t have to worry anymore where to place your food on the grill. Just toss them on the grate and you’re done.

Hinged Lid

Instead of placing the lid on the ground or a side table or hang it off the side of the grill, you just prop it open. Now you have both hands free and can devote all your attention to the food.

You won’t find many grills in this price range that have this feature.

You’re in Full Control

With the thermometer built-in the lid, you can fully control the temperature and, consequently, the cooking process.

Increase the heat when making burgers, and lower it when making ribs. Cook anything and everything without either undercooking or overcooking.

This Grills Ugly Truth

The rust-protection coating covering the whole grill is poorly applied, so a grill cover is just as necessary as the charcoal itself.

Also, be on the lookout for any dents and similar deformities as the quality control is terrible. The left leg was so twisted I had to hammer it just to make the grill level.

repaired grill leg

Yay or Nay?

Despite its flaws, it’s still an amazing grill, considering the fact that you won’t get an actual infrared grill for $150 or less. And because its fueled by charcoal, makes this grill even better.

Pros
  • Infrared grill grate
  • No flare-ups
  • Even cooking
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Integrated temperature gauge
Cons
  • Prone to rust
  • Bad quality control
See Reviews

Expert Grill Heavy Duty Charcoal Grill

If you’re worried about the price and upkeep of a charcoal grill in the long run, then try the Expert Grill Heavy Duty 24-Inch Charcoal Grill. Not only is this one the cheapest of this list (or at least it was at the time of writing), but also the maintenance cost is surprisingly low.

Royal Gourmet’s Cheaper Brother

This grill is pretty much the same as the Royal Gourmet from above, except it’s more affordable and has one side table instead of two.

Spacious Cooking Area

The main cooking area is 372 square inches which is enough to cook up to 20 burgers at once.

The warming rack has 201 square inches.

Combined, you can feed your whole family and friends in no time.

charcoal grill bbq party

Control Both Charcoal and Temperature

Just like the Royal Gourmet reviewed above, this one also has an adjustable charcoal pan height. If you see that your burgers are cooking to fast, just crank down the charcoal.

The built-in lid thermometer is also a nice addition. Combine this with the vents, and you’re in full control of the airflow.

Other Features

  • Hinged lid
  • Charcoal access door
  • Foldable side shelf 
  • Built-in bottle opener
  • Slide-out ash pan
  • Simple assembly

The Downsides

Don’t be surprised when the paint starts to fall off of when fire it up.

The Verdict

When you buy a grill for $150, don’t expect it to last very long. Either they fall apart or rust. If you really want this grill to last you for years and years, you can paint it yourself. If I were you, I’d just save up for a higher-quality grill while at the same time enjoy cooking on it.

It’s still not a bad product. It has a big cooking area, cooks like a charm, and has a lot of bells and whistles.

Pros
  • Easy to assemble and clean
  • Even cooking
  • Large cooking area
  • Portable
  • Easy ash, coal, and temperature management
Cons
  • Bad paint job causing the paint to fall off when cooking
See Reviews

Char-Broil Charcoal Grill 580

Char-Broil’s Charcoal Grill 580, named for its cooking area of the same size is also a great introductory grill.

What’s So Special About It?

It’s a full grill with wheels, 2 workstation tables on either side of the grill, and a small shelf at the bottom. The full size of the grill is 47 inches long by 44 inches wide by 28 inches high. You can purchase the double workstation version or the version with one workstation and one side burner.

Char-Broil is a renowned name in outdoor grilling and this grill proves just why that is with a convenient and movable charcoal pan, a crankshaft to adjust the pan height and thus the cooking temperature and speed, and multiple air dampers to control the airflow and temperature inside the cooking area.

A front-facing side door can be opened to stoke the fire, replace charcoals, or rearrange them as needed without disturbing the food cooking inside. A different side door allows you to pull out the ash catch and empty it. The lid has a thermometer.

Downsides of the Grill

This grill, like many others in its category, has issues with used, refurbished products not being cleaned properly. It also has some assembly issues such as missing pieces, the wrong pieces, and comprehension issues with the assembly instructions.

But, Char-Broil’s standard warranty is to cover all of their products from one year from the purchase date. This should give you plenty of time to return an unsatisfactory grill in exchange for a better one of the same model.

Summary

Char-Broil grills are well-known for their high quality and outstanding cooking performance. The same goes for this grill. Like all of the grills in this list, it has some issues, but for this kind of money, they should be negligible.

Pros
  • Adjustable charcoal pan height control
  • 4 large air dampers
  • Large pull out ash drawer
  • 580 square inch cooking area
  • Fast and even cooking
  • Easy charcoal management
Cons
  • Quality control issues
  • Poorly-written instructions
See Reviews

How Do I Choose a Charcoal Grill?

Consider these next 7 factors:

  • Do you really need one (is a gas or an infrared grill better suited for you)
  • Size of the cooking area
  • Your budget
  • What features does it have to control the temperature
  • How durable the grill is
  • Size and weight (whether it’s portable or not)
  • How easy it is to clean

There are many charcoal grills to choose from. Even choosing one of these 6 best charcoal grills can be difficult. If you’re still unsure which charcoal grill suits you the most even after watching this video, then check out this detailed charcoal grill buying guide.

The Best Charcoal Grill under 150 Bucks: The Kamado Akorn Jr!

I rated the Kamado Akorn Jr the best grill in this budget charcoal grill category for its unique ability to enhance the grilling results of an ordinary barbecue into something extraordinary thanks to its unique and charming design.

There’s nothing wrong with the Weber Original Kettle Premium or the Char-Broil 580 or the others, simply that they are outclassed and outmatched by the Akorn.

Are you a fan of smoking or do you mostly just grill?

About Mario 118 Articles
I am the owner of the Kitchen Guru Ideas. I've set up this site so I can share my kitchen tips and hacks that have been passed on to me from my parents and grandparents and show you how a wonderful experience cooking is and not just a way to save money. Even in this hectic lifestyle, there is time to prepare and most important enjoy a home-cooked meal.

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