Grilling is expensive. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. But it doesn’t have to be. The $200 price range is more than enough money for you to get a decent reliable charcoal grill that won’t let you down.
The market is saturated with cheap-built grills that only look good. That’s why I’ve done my research on the best charcoal grills under 200 dollars and found 3 winners worth trying out.
Top 3 Best Charcoal Grills Under 200 Dollars
What Is The Best Charcoal Grill Under $200?
- Best Classic-Style Looking: Weber 14501001 Master-Touch Charcoal Grill
- Best Charcoal Grill Smoker: Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro 830 Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
- Best Portable: LotusGrill G-AN-34 Portable Charcoal Grill
Take a look at the best grills that you can use on charcoal for a reasonable price.
Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro 830 Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
The Char-Griller Smokin’ Pro 1224 is a traditional barrel-style charcoal and wood grill, which enables it to double as a smoker. The grilling surface is 27 inches long by 19.5 inches wide for a total of 527 square inches, and weighs 146 lbs, making it sturdy and reliable. There is a front working space formed by the fancy wooden slats, which is adequate for most bowls and plates.
The firebox isn’t in the cooking barrel but in a side-box, so you can stoke the fire and add fuel without disturbing your careful meal planning by opening the lid. The firebox is 17 inches long by 15 inches wide for a total of 250 square inches. This is big enough to put small to medium-sized full wood logs inside. You just want to be sure that the lumber won’t be big or dense enough to cut off oxygen flow and suffocate the fire.
The Cons of the Char-Griller Smokin’ Pro
No grill is without issues, especially in the lower ends of the price range. Part of keeping the price so low is pushing out these grills from the factory floor to the department store floor. These units are fraught with all kinds of quality control issues, especially with pieces not fitting right, not being the right size, the lid not fitting properly, and missing pieces.
But don’t let that keep you from buying one, as they’re covered with a manufacturer’s 1-year warranty. When you set up your unit and you find a problem, simply call the company and they’ll take care of it and send you a new one.
Some grills might also have problems with the paint wearing off where the fire is hottest, as well as some issues with bending to very hot fires. These are both minor and cosmetic issues that don’t affect the integrity of the grill or the quality of the meat.
Who Is This Grill For?
The Char-Griller 1224 Smokin’ Pro is aimed at cooks who are above the entry-level of having a grill and are now ready to explore smoking, but at an affordable range, which is why I rated this grill one of the best charcoal grills under 200 bucks.
Weber 14501001 Master-Touch Charcoal Grill
The Weber 14501001 Master-Touch is a traditional orb-style grill for wood and charcoal with a 22-inch diameter cooking surface, about enough to fit 13 full-sized sized burger patties. It comes with a handy bar catch at the back of the grill so that you can prop your lid instead of having to set it on the ground where it will get dirty.
On the bottom of the grill is a catch mechanism where you can easily empty out your ashes without too much trouble, which they’ve dubbed their “one-touch cleaning system”. The handle is heat shielded, and the cover includes a thermometer built-in.
What’s Good About It? What’s Bad About It?
Some grills come with pieces that don’t fit together as they should, creating a frustrating experience. Even if a grill had no issues, this grill is known for having weaker legs. The issue isn’t to the point where the grill is rickety or unstable, just that the legs are noticeably cheaper.
The upside to this grill is that it doesn’t disappoint. Everything works as it should, and this grill performs to your highest expectations, with a few handy frills thrown in that actually matter. The simplicity and high quality of this grill are why I put it on this list.
LotusGrill G-AN-34 Portable Charcoal Grill
LotusGrill makes this G-AN-34 Portable Charcoal Grill, a perfect choice for campers, students, and travelers. Because it is a smokeless grill, you can also use it indoors. The grilling surface is a very generous size of 1 foot, enough to feed 2-4 people at once.
What’s really great about this charcoal grill is that you only need to wait 4 minutes to get started cooking. This is made possible thanks to their patented design to force air over the charcoal creating heat quickly and efficiently using a fan. Another bonus of this fan is temperature control – a feature a lot of portable charcoal grills lack.
This grill has some problems, it’s biggest being short usage time. Because it’s small, you can’t put a lot of charcoal there. This means it will get cold fast. Also, the supplied batteries don’t last very long. They should last 40 – 60 hours, but in my case, they lasted only about 35 hours. Quite a disappointment.
Another issue with this grill is that it has some quality control issues that stem from the manufacturing process. Pieces might be bent or warped in a way that they can’t be fit and assembled together properly. Surfaces might be dinged, scratched, or dented. The good news about all of this is that this grill comes with a 2-year warranty. If your grill has issues, just contact the company and send it back for a better one. If your grill doesn’t have any of these issues, good for you!
Other than that, this is a pretty fine grill, and with the low warming up time, it only takes a fraction of the time needed to grill juicy steaks or burgers than using a conventional charcoal grill.
What Kind of Charcoal Grill Should I Buy?
A simple question with a not-so-simple answer. I love to grill, just like the rest of America. The question is, which charcoal grill should I buy given all the choices?
I’ve seen everything from tiny little Hibachi grills that sit on top of the dinner table to huge backyard monstrosities that resemble a battleship. Where I want to use my grill determines many of the characteristics I’m looking for.
Folks in an apartment or condo can use smaller charcoal grills that fit easily on a patio or balcony. Homeowners with back yards and decks can go a little larger with an eye toward mobility or built-in, depending upon their tastes, yard size, and budget.
While a gas grill may not give off a flavor or taste to food, I’ve found that charcoal gives my dinner a smokier, more robust grilled taste than gas. I also like the charcoals that are available with Mesquite or Hickory wood chips included to add even more flavor.
While some cooks prefer gas grilling to charcoal (about 2/3 of America grills over gas) I think charcoal offers benefits that gas grills don’t.
Pick a Style, Any Style
Ever since George Stephan created what would become the Weber grill in 1952, designs of grills have covered a range of ideas and concepts. The basic design remains the same with charcoal below and grill above, but the variations on the theme are impressive.
I prefer a larger surface area rather than smaller so I can distribute different items to hot or not-so-hot locations around the grill. With a larger grilling area, I can feed more people more rapidly and not in shifts.
Round or Square Will Get You There
Consumers can decide between round or square grills with equal results. More important is the mobility of the grill. Many grillers prefer wheels to roll around on, saving their back muscles from distress. Other grillers like the built-in variety of grill set up which can increase the grilling area substantially.
In any case, it’s the skills of the grill master that will make the biggest difference.
Lots of Options
Grilling food is always enjoyable and eating it is even better! When considering a grill, I look for helpful options that upgrade my skills. Warming shelves and adjustable vents are a primary ingredient on my shopping list. I also look for a thermometer that helps me control the cooking temperature.
One thing I think is important is an ash catcher because nobody likes hot ashes falling on their nicely varnished wood deck or staining the patio cement. Side tables are nice for holding dishes and sauces nearby.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
Charcoal grills are designed and constructed from different materials and with varying design features. Consumers can choose between lightweight, rust-free aluminum grills and powder-coated or stainless steel-bodied grills. Charcoal has been updated to pelletized fuel in some models of grills.
With all the features and benefits available on today’s charcoal grills, I’m looking forward to discovering new ways to enhance my grilling skills.
Interesting Facts About Charcoal
Does Charcoal Expire?
No, charcoal does not have a shelf life. It expires only when it is burned.
If you have some charcoal left after a barbeque session, just wrap it up and put it in a dry place. The only real threat to charcoal is moisture – and only when you leave it in the rain. If it’s hot and moist outside, and the charcoal is in the bag, then you have nothing to worry about.
Self-lighting briquettes are a bit more delicate than regular charcoal. They need to be stored in a sealed container and you shouldn’t open the bag for any reason other than using it on the grill. Why? Because lighter fluid evaporates over time and when this happens, you’ll end up with plain charcoal briquettes.
Is Charcoal Ash Good for Anything?
There are several things you can do with charcoal ash, aside from throwing it in the trash of course. These include:
- Neutralizing odor
- Pest control
- Absorbing moisture
- Slowing algae growth
You can use the ash as a fertilizer for plants and vegetables in your garden as long as you use natural wood charcoal without additives. If you don’t, you’ll do more harm than good. Remember, ash increases the pH level of the soil, so don’t use it around plants that thrive in acidic soil, like blueberries.
Charcoal ash absorbs any smells around it. If your compost is starting to smell, for example, just place a bowl of ash and it neutralizes the smell. If it stinks really bad, add some unused pieces of charcoal.
Got snails in your garden? Sprinkle the ash around the garden (or plants) to make a barrier.
Both charcoal and ash are very good at absorbing moisture. Got tools rusting in the shed? Just place a bowl of ash inside. Because unused charcoal is more absorbent, people use it more than ash.
Slowing Algae Growth
Charcoal ash is rich in potassium. Add some of it to your pond to encourage the growth of the other plants. This growth prevents algae from spreading.
Choose The Best Charcoal Grill For Your Needs
I hope you will consider my suggestions and the features of these grills and decide on the best. If you have any questions or a suggestion, type it below in the comment.
Do you prefer lump charcoal or briquettes?