12 Best Portable Grills in 2021 – How To Buy Smart

Whether you’re on a road trip, going camping, or tailgating with your friends, it’s important to have delicious, healthy food. In some cases, you can cook over an open fire pit, but it’s generally best to get a portable grill that you can take with you everywhere.

Being prepared is essential, and we’ve decided to talk about the best grill products on the market. They’re all portable, even if some of them are full size. While we rarely focus on anything other than gas, we did include what we think is the best charcoal grill. That way, you’ve got a few options available to pick from.

Brand names aren’t the most important, but we did want to mention Cuisinart and Weber, as these seem to be the best options, and everyone appears to love them. Let’s get started!

Short on Time? Here Are Our Top 3!

9.5
Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Portable Grill

Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Portable Grill Best Overall

With this grill, you get plenty of cooking space, 8,500 BTU, and a stainless steel burner. It's an excellent option with large handles that you're sure to appreciate.
9.5
Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Gas Portable Grill

Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Gas Portable Grill Best for Versatility

This portable grill is a top choice because of the 5,500 BTU. Plus, it only weighs 17 pounds, so it's easy to carry and small enough to store.
9.5
Char-Broil Deluxe Portable Gas Grill

Char-Broil Deluxe Portable Gas Grill Best for Small Footprint

Those who want a simple design with plenty of power are sure to like this grill. With 11,000 BTU and porcelain-coated grates, you can cook enough to feed the family. Plus, it's only 10.1 pounds, so it's lightweight.
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Buyer’s Guide

Before you can buy the best portable grill, you’ve got to know what to consider. That way, you can evaluate your options and choose between some of the best grills out there.

Grill Materials

The best gas grills are durable and strong. You probably want to use the grill often, so consider cast-iron or stainless steel materials. They hold up better and can be easy to clean and maintain.

Enameled cast-iron can bring about a stronger flavor, but it’s heavier. Alternatively, stainless steel doesn’t corrode and is lightweight.

Size

Consider how many people are going to eat your cooking. You may need a full-size portable gas or propane grill so that you can cook large amounts of food at once. If you’ve got a small family, you might be able to get away with a smaller surface area and still get all the grilling done at once. Otherwise, you may need to go in batches to get all the cooking done.

Heat Source

We didn’t include any electric grills in this list. We find that electric grills are often harder to transport, especially for tailgating or a camping trip. It’s generally harder to find an outlet.

Charcoal grills are often easy to take with you anywhere, but they can be messier. You also need to take more with you on your camping trip when using a portable charcoal grill because you need the fuel source.

The propane grill or gas grill uses gas to heat up the device. How much heat it produces is determined primarily by the BTU rating. You don’t always have to pick a propane grill based on the highest BTU number. Also, consider the size of the gas grills and compare that with the BTUs. Portable gas grills with 10,000 BTUs are still going to get very hot fast for cooking.

Portability

The best gas grills are going to be those that are portable. It should be lightweight enough to carry and put in a vehicle to take with you. The Cuisinart brand offers gas grills that have a removable stand and a locking lid. However, you also need to consider the overall weight. With the Cuisinart brand, it’s 60 pounds, but it can usually be lifted by one person.

Additional Features

Gas grills like the Cuisinart brand have a stand, which makes it easier when you don’t have a table or room for grilling. Other features to consider can include an ash tray to make it easy to clean up.

Dual burners are another option; cooking two different foods is easy.

We like temperature gauges and find that the best portable grills are those that make it easy to get precise temperatures while cooking and grilling.

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Comparison Table

If you don’t have a lot of time, we’ve compiled the full list of the best portable grills. You can quickly check stats and compare them yourself.

Portable GrillsCooking SpaceBTUsWeightReview
Weber Q 1200 Liquid Propane Portable Grill189 square inches 8,50030 poundsCheck Price
Cuisinart CGG 180 Petit Gourmet Gas Portable Grill189 square5,50020 poundsCheck Price
Char-Broil Deluxe Portable Liquid Propane Gas Grill190 square11,00010 poundsCheck Price
Weber Smokey Joe 14-inch Grill147 square 9.5 poundsCheck Price
Magma Products Connoisseur Series Compact Gas Grill108 square inches12,00016.9 poundsCheck Price
Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-up Propane Grill285 square inches20,00046.67 poundsCheck Price
Napoleon TravelQ Portable Gas Grill285 square inches12,00060 poundsCheck Price
Camp Chef Tahoe Deluxe 3-burner Compact Grill608 square inches90,00046 poundsCheck Price
Megamaster Propane Gas Portable Grill360 11,00014.42 poundsCheck Price
Giantex Propane Portable Tabletop Gas Grill266 20,00026.5 poundsCheck Price
Martin Portable Propane BBQ Gas Grill354 14,00020 poundsCheck Price
Coleman NXT Lite Tabletop Propane Portable Grill1688,50020 poundsCheck Price
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The 12 Best Portable Grills on the Market

1. Weber Q 1200 Liquid Propane Portable Grill – Best Overall

With the Weber Q 1200 Grill, you get enameled cast iron grill grates. We think that the cast-iron construction is best because they’re easy to clean and use all the time. The Weber brand of grills are often made of cast-iron, and you’re going to appreciate the side tables that come with it. That way, you can easily keep your prep tools in one place.

When you choose the Weber brand, you get plenty of space to cook your food. It’s possible to have multiple items there at once, allowing you to cook a full meal for up to three people.

We like that the burners get hot fast, and you also get even heat distribution. That’s part of the reason the Weber brand is one of the best choices. Even if you cook thick meat items, you don’t have to wait as long. Plus, there’s also a porcelain enamel coating on the grates, ensuring a more consistent temperature, regardless of where you put the food.

You’ve got full control over the burner’s temperature. The ignition is quick to start because it’s electric. The legs also fold down, allowing you to easily transport the grill where it needs to go.

9.5Expert Score
Takeaway

You can't go wrong with the Weber brand, and the Q1200 has everything you need without many of the issues of traditional grills.

Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Transportable, portable
  • Heats up quickly
Cons
  • Temperature regulator might fail with time

2. Cuisinart CGG 180 Petit Gourmet Gas Portable Grill- Best for Versatility

We really like the Cuisinart CGG 180 Petit Gourmet Grill because it can hold up to eight hamburger patties. You’re going to appreciate the porcelain-enamel cooking grate because it’s easy to maintain and clean. Plus, there aren’t any cold spots when cooking. This means that this grill offers even heat distribution.

We like the Cuisinart Petit Gourmet grill best because it’s compact enough to go anywhere. It’s easy to set up and breakdown, and most people can do it in about 10 minutes. Therefore, with the Cuisinart brand, you can start preparing food immediately.

Cuisinart grills are generally the best, and this one especially is. You can stand and cook because of the legs. There’s no need to bring along an extra table with this Cuisinart grill. Plus, the legs fold down, so you can transport it easily.

9.5Expert Score
Takeaway

Those who want to use their grill for many situations may prefer the Cuisinart brand. It's small enough to take anywhere!

Pros
  • Ideal size for camping and tailgating
  • Use on the countertop or with the legs
  • Quick assembly
Cons
  • Doesn’t have high BTUs compared to similar options

3. Char-Broil Deluxe Portable Liquid Propane Gas Grill – Best for Small Footprint

The Char-Broil Deluxe Grill is portable, so it’s easy to take with you wherever you go. Just fold the legs over the grill. They’re smaller, but the whole setup is similar to the Cuisinart brand in relation to BTU output and capacity.

We like that the legs go right over the grill lid because it locks that into place. These grills are going to stay closed while you’re traveling. Plus, the handles are heat-resistant. This means you don’t have to wait forever for the entire unit to cool down.

You’re going to appreciate the short cooking time and surface of the grill. It cooks roughly eight hamburger patties at once. With it, you get even heat distribution, which means it could be the best option on the market.

Those who want the best grill are sure to appreciate the materials used to make it. Steel is more durable than other options and can be used at high temperatures without damaging any of the components.

9.5Expert Score
Takeaway

Those who don't have any space at all can still appreciate the grill from Char-Broil because it's small. However, it has all the features you want!

Pros
  • Propane tank is easy to connect
  • Ready to go in a few minutes
  • Consistent heat
Cons
  • Premature failure of regulator possible

4. Weber Smokey Joe 14-inch Grill – Best Budget-friendly Option

If you want the best charcoal grill, then the Weber Smokey Joe Grill might be right for you. It features a plated steel burner and has plenty of space for cooking. This also shortens your cooking time because you can get more done at once.

We do think this could be the best charcoal grill because it looks like a fire pit. The Weber brand is always top-notch, but this one is very easy to use and clean. You can heat it up fast, which means everyone’s going to think you’re the best griller out there.

You’re going to appreciate that the Weber brand is highly durable, but it’s also compact. It even comes with a burger press so that you can make uniform patties. One of the best features of these grills is that they can sit on a countertop, on the ground, or on a table. That means you can take them anywhere.

9Expert Score
Takeaway

Those on a tight budget are sure to appreciate the Smokey Joe because it's compact and doesn't cost very much.

Pros
  • Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
  • Fully assembled
  • Topside dampers
Cons
  • Not enough depth for briquettes
  • Difficult to clean

5. Magma Products Connoisseur Series Compact Gas Grill – Best Style

The Magma Connoisseur Series grill might be the best option out there. It’s going to be easy to use, making cooking on it fun and exciting. The legs fold away, so you can put it in the trunk of your car or back of the truck bed effortlessly.

We like that the lid locks into place when you transport it. This means you’re not going to have things rolling around in the back. Plus, the handle on the lid allows you to carry it in one hand.

There’s always even heat distribution with these grills because the radiant plate snaps out. If you’re grilling something, this means you don’t get any hot or cold spots. Any fat and grease from your food go into a special grease tray, which also locks into place on the grill.

The thing we like best is that the valve for the propane tank swivels. Therefore, you can connect it regardless of where you’re situated. This also gives you control over tank placement, making it suitable to use on a boat or in other tight spaces.

9Expert Score
Takeaway

Though we wonder about the quality of the product, it is designed to be taken with you. Plus, it has many features that are sure to please an avid griller.

Pros
  • Swivel valve
  • Easy to clean body
  • Easy to transport
Cons
  • Could be better-quality hardware

6. Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-up Propane Grill

The Coleman RoadTrip Grill offers powerful heating capabilities. Therefore, it is going to heat up fast and stay hot. Where cooking time is concerned, this means that you get perfectly cooked food that meets all of your needs and expectations.

Could this be one of the best grills out there? We think it might be because there aren’t any cold/hot spots in the meat or food. You’re going to appreciate the push-button ignition on this grill. It’s called Insta-start, meaning it fires up the moment you press the button.

All you have to do is connect a 1-pound propane cylinder to use this grill. We like that it has three burners, making it one of the best options on the market. That indicates you can achieve the right settings to cook any item that you want.

8.5Expert Score
Takeaway

Anyone who likes uniqueness can appreciate this product. It rolls along behind you for easy transportation to the campsite!

Pros
  • Included water pan helps keep things clean while preparing foods
  • Large cook surface
  • Portable and easily transported
Cons
  • Pull-out table handles might break

7. Napoleon TravelQ Portable Gas Grill

You’re going to really like the Napoleon TravelQ Grill. It’s quick to assemble, which means that you can start using it almost immediately. We like the scissor cart aspect of the grill because it folds down so that you can quickly move it around.

These grills might be the best out there because you can cook different things easily. Plus, the cooking time is shortened because everything heats up easily.

We like the grill grates included because they help it maintain a more consistent temperature. The two burners work at different temperatures, which means you get appropriate heat distribution, regardless of what you’re cooking or when.

Maybe the best part is the high BTU output, which means the cooktop heats up quickly. In fact, there’s also a big surface for cooking. You can actually cook a complete meal for four people all at one time.

It even comes with the hose needed to connect the propane tank to the grill. This saves you from having to buy more stuff.

8.5Expert Score
Takeaway

While it does need some assembly, it isn't going to take long before you're grilling up a storm. It does sit lower than other models, but that can often be remedied.

Pros
  • Hose included for propane tank
  • Durable materials used
  • Maintains consistent temperatures
Cons
  • Sits low; hard to use if you’re tall

8. Camp Chef Tahoe Deluxe 3-burner Compact Grill

With the Camp Chef Grill, you are going to find that it is much larger than other portable grills out there. This means it could be the best choice for you. Even though it’s so large, it’s still easy to move the grill where you want it to be. We also like that you can remove its legs, allowing it to fit into your car trunk or anywhere else.

With the stand, these grills stand about 30 inches tall. Therefore, it’s about the same size as a kitchen stove. There’s also a 3-foot hose for your propane tank. This means you’ve got more flexibility for where you put the tank.

You get more than one cooking grate, making it easy and fast to heat up your grill. This also means that you can shorten the cooking time needed to make your food.

With the extra cooking space, you get even heat distribution and can cook plenty of food for an entire family. With all of that said, we think this could be the best grill out there. You’re especially going to like the burner housing, which means the wind doesn’t kill the flame. There aren’t going to be cold spots during the process, even when preparing vegetables and large cuts of meat.

8Expert Score
Takeaway

If you want flexibility to go anywhere and grill, the Tahoe from Camp Chef is ideal. There are so many things to like about it, and you can cook for a large crowd, too.

Pros
  • Travels easily
  • Easy to clean
  • Plenty of space for all your food
Cons
  • Can get quite hot, might not be suitable for certain foods

9. Megamaster Propane Gas Portable Grill

If you want the best grills on the market, we think the Megamaster Grill might be ideal. The surface is quite large, which means you can cook more things on it at once. This actually shortens your cooking time because you can put all the meal ingredients on at the same time.

We think it’s quite similar to the Cuisinart brand because it’s small and compact. However, it doesn’t come with a stand.

Though it’s only got one burner, it holds up to 17 burgers. Because of the top-rated cooking grate and high BTU levels, you get more even heat distribution.

This grill is quite compact, so you can go anywhere with it. The burner is made using stainless steel. Therefore, you can clean it easily and don’t have to deal with rust or corrosion. That means you can use it for many years and enjoy the food you make.

8Expert Score
Takeaway

Whether baking or grilling, the Megamaster has you covered. Though it can be harder to control the temperature with it, it's highly versatile and is going to cook your food.

Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Versatile and can be used almost anywhere
  • Can bake with this product
Cons
  • Hard to control temperatures

10. Giantex Propane Tabletop Gas Grill

When it’s time to get a transportable grill, we think the best option might be the one from Giantex. We like that it’s shiny and sleek because of the stainless steel construction. However, you’re going to appreciate that you can clean it fast. Once it cools, you just have to wipe it down.

Though the grill is slightly smaller than similar options, you still have plenty of room to cook. It’s about 20×13 inches. When you grill, it often shortens the cooking time, too. Therefore, if you must cook in batches, you may not have to worry about the cooked foods drying out or getting cold.

These grills allow you to cook enough for about four people to eat. This way, you can prepare a full meal without as much effort.

It only weighs about 26 pounds, so it’s quite lightweight. You can probably carry it alone, but it can be slightly awkward to do that. However, it’s going to fit in the backseat or the trunk of your car.

The propane hose is 40 inches long, giving you flexibility as to where you set the tank and how to connect it. Plus, you get even heat distribution, so you have perfectly grilled food every time.

7.5Expert Score
Takeaway

Those who like stainless steel and the shine it offers are sure to appreciate the Giantex brand. Though it's a little heavier, it cleans up fast and can cook large amounts of food.

Pros
  • Ideal for an RV
  • Clean it fast
  • Cook for many people at once
Cons
  • Slightly heavier than other similar styles

11. Martin Portable Propane BBQ Gas Grill

Consider the Martin Gas Grill if you want something that could be the best for you. It offers a high BTU output, and we like the U-shaped burner included. This ensures that there is even heat distribution and that all areas on the grill remain at the same temperature. That way, everything is steady throughout the process.

In fact, cooking is easy on these grills. It heats up quickly, which means you don’t have to wait forever before you can cook your large cuts of meat. There’s also an adjustable temperature feature. That way, you can see what heat level you’re at and what you might need if things aren’t cooking fast enough.

The legs on this product fold down, so it’s easy to carry the grill. Plus, you can set it in your trunk without fearing that it is going to fall over. That means it stays protected while you’re transporting it.

We like that it comes with a grease tray. You can collect all the fat and moisture, which makes it easier to clean later. You’re going to like that it has a spacious grill area. You can actually fit enough meat to feed six or more people, depending on how much they eat and other factors.

7.5Expert Score
Takeaway

If you need to cook for many people and keep food warm, the Martin brand is right for you. It heats up fast and has all the features you could want without the hassles.

Pros
  • Warming rack included
  • Temperature control features
  • Heats up quickly
Cons
  • Must place grease tray perfectly to reduce leakage issues

12. Coleman NXT Lite Tabletop Propane Portable Grill

We think that the Coleman NXT could be the best portable gas grill on the market. It’s ideal for many outdoor activities, including tailgating and camping. It has significant BTU output, which means it is going to heat up quickly and maintain the right temperature at all times.

Maybe the best thing here is that the surface is always piping hot, so you get full consistency each time you use it. You can put the food anywhere on the grates, and it’s going to cook quickly and efficiently. Plus, you can remove the grates if you want and use griddles instead. They aren’t included, but you can purchase them separately. This allows you to cook breakfast foods like eggs or pancakes.

The Insta-start button ensures that you can start the grill without any effort. You don’t have to carry matches or lighters with you to get it going.

Since it uses propane, it’s easier to get the grill fired up and ready to go. However, the connection hose isn’t very long, so you’ve got to make sure it’s positioned correctly.

While it is small, this adds to its convenience, especially for a small family. You can store it almost anywhere in the kitchen and easily get to it when you need it most.

7Expert Score
Takeaway

Whether you're out camping or at home, you can connect this grill to the LP tank and cook for many people. Though it's a bit wobbly, it rounds out our top products nicely.

Pros
  • Cleans up easily
  • Little set-up time required
  • Temperature control
Cons
  • Wobbly legs
  • May need to replace screws with time
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FAQs

Can You Use Natural Gas with a Propane Grill?

Gas grills often require propane or natural gas. You can make conversions to either to switch them out. However, you need a licensed gas technician. This is the best option because they are professionals and can help you set up the grill easily.

Is It Safe to Grill Using a Rusty Grate?

No, if the grill or grate is rusty, you should not use it for grilling. The rust can come loose and stick to the food. Minor rusting may not be an issue. Just clean the cooking area of the grill before grilling on it.

How Much Heat Output Should a Portable Propane Grill Have? What about a Portable Charcoal Grill?

The best portable gas grills are those that have a large number of BTUs for the cooking area it offers. Generally, if the grill provides 300 square inches for cooking space, you need at least 18,000 BTU.

Charcoal grills don’t have BTU listings. The heat output is based on how much charcoal you put in the grill. The best portable charcoal grill is one that gets hot and stays consistent. Weber is an excellent option, and the Smokey Joe offers excellent temperature control and high heat. Consider the Weber brand if you want a grill that utilizes charcoal, as it’s easy to use each time you want to grill.

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Conclusion

Typically, we lean toward gas grills when choosing a winner. The best gas grills have a variety of features, offers even cooking, and makes grilling fun, even when you’re away from home.

Portable grills are ideal if you like camping, tailgating, or go to someone else’s house where they don’t have a grill. We’ve talked extensively about the best gas grills based on cooking area, portability, materials, and much more. The best grill could be the Cuisinart brand, but we also like Char-Broil and Weber. Choose the one that meets your needs, and make life easy. Happy grilling!

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