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Best Charcoal Grills Under $100: 6 Barbeque Grills on a Budget

Grilling doesn’t always have to be an expensive hobby, and to prove it to you we’ve listed some of the best charcoal grills under $100. While these are likely going to be on the smaller side, with many of them falling into the portable category, they’re still effective and efficient cooking tools. Unlike charcoal grills in the $500 range, these grills are going to be more stripped-back, basic pieces of equipment without all the added bells and whistles.

They’re also going to be more suited to grilling for small groups rather than massive outdoor gatherings. That being said, they will still be able to withstand some very hot temperatures and give your steaks a beautiful sear.

So if you’re looking for a grill you can take camping or hiking, or just want something small that you can use in your backyard during warm summer evenings, keep reading. We’re going into detail about the best charcoal grills you can get for under $100.

Editor’s Choice for Best Charcoal Grill Under $100: The Char-Griller Patio Pro

Char Griller Patio Pro

In terms of budget barbeques, Char-Griller knocks it out of the park with the Patio Pro. Compact, well-designed, and featuring a sturdy construction and collapsible prep space, this grill is packed with useful features and ideal for small patios or balconies.

Ranking Table: Our 6 Best Charcoal Grills Under $100

Charcoal Grills Under $100Pros, Cons & BBQ Digest Award
Char Griller Patio Pro

Char-Griller Patio Pro

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Editor’s Choice

+ Sturdy, high quality steel construction
+ Relatively large grilling area
+ Comes equipped with cart and wheels for easy mobility

– Legs can be a bit wobbly depending on the surface  
Weber Go Anywhere Charcoal Grill

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

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Best Portable Grill

+ Functional rectangular design for easy transport and storage
+ Made from a reputable bbq grill brand
+ Ideal for camping, hiking and other activities

– Doesn’t have the biggest primary cooking area  
Weber Smokey Joe Portable Charcoal Grill

Weber Smokey Joe Portable Grill

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Best Minimalist Grill

+ Small and lightweight
+ Made by a reputable bbq grill brand
+ Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl for durability and heat retention

– Grilling plate doesn’t have a handle for coal access
Char-Griller Table-top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box

Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box

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Most Versatile Grill

+ Can operate as a table top grill and an attachable smoker for larger Char-Griller barrel grills
+ Sturdy stainless steel construction
+ Slide out draw provides easy access to coals for stoking or replenishment

– If you decide to attach the grill to another Char-Griller model, the process is irreversible

Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill

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Best Lightweight Grill

+ Weighs just 2lbs making it an ideal portable grill
+ Four sturdy legs for stability
+ Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid for longevity and heat retention

– May not be big enough for some grillers  
BEAU JARDIN Premium Charcoal Grill

BEAU JARDIN Premium Charcoal Grill

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Best Value For Money

250 square inches of primary cooking surface
+ Porcelain-enameled steel construction for durability and heat retention
+ Good value for money

– No side tray for food preparation  

A More Detailed Look At The Best Charcoal Grills Under $100

Char-Griller Patio Pro – Editor’s Choice

Char-Griller Patio Pro Outdoors

The Char-Griller Patio Pro is the ideal grill for a small patio, backyard or balcony. And while the grill is housed in a compact frame, it can accommodate surprisingly large meals with 250 square inches of primary cooking space. This grill can easily fit a whole chicken or cook eight decently-sized hamburgers and still have space for veggies on the side.

It uses cast iron cooking grates in order to both spread heat evenly and ensure that whatever is being cooked comes away beautifully seared. In terms of construction, the Patio Pro is extremely tough. Built from heavy-duty steel, powder-coated and with a double steel bottom, it’s designed to withstand high temperatures and last for many seasons.

For a grill of this price it also comes with some surprisingly useful features. The side drawer slides out and allows for easy charcoal replenishment, and the collapsible side shelf is ideal for preparing food. You can raise or lower the temperature of the fire thanks to the side air vent which allows for increased air circulation.

Unlike other grills on this list, the Patio Pro also utilizes a small cart which allows you to move it around your backyard with ease. A lower wire shelf offers an ideal location to store charcoal when not in use.

If you’re on a budget but still looking for high quality, the Char-Griller Patio Pro won’t let you down.

Features at a glance:

  • 250 square inches of primary cooking space
  • Cast iron cooking grates
  • Side drawer for easy charcoal replenishment
  • Ideal for small decks or patios
  • Features Stay Cool wood handle
  • Side shelf for food preparation
  • Double steel bottom
  • Side air vent for increased circulation
  • Wheels make this grill easy to move

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill – Best Portable Grill

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill Outdoors

If you’re an avid hiker, camper or fabled van-dweller, then the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill is an ideal way of bringing small, high-quality barbecues with you. Lightweight, compact and rectangular in shape for easy packing, the Go-Anywhere Grill can go, well, anywhere. It’s compact enough to fit in the back of your car, but with 160 square inches of primary cooking space, roomy enough to grill for two or three people.

Weber has a history of creating some of the best barbeques the world has ever seen, and the Go-Anywhere grill is no different. While it’s not exactly going to be able to compete with their range of kettle grills, it will still offer you a portable, comparative experience.

It comes equipped with plated steel cooking grates in order to create distinctive sear marks on whatever you decide to throw at it. The plated steel legs allow you to elevate the grill from the ground and protect the terrain below. You can even control the temperature and airflow using the two dampers built into the lid.

Features at a glance:

  • 160 square inches of primary cooking area
  • Durable plated steel cooking grate
  • Lockable lid for easy portability
  • Rectangular shape is ideal for packing and transport
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Plated steel legs
  • Tuck-N-Carry lid lock
  • Porcelain-enameled lid retains heat and won’t rust or peel
  • Dampers allow for easy temperature and air control

Weber Smokey Joe Portable Grill – Best Minimalist Grill

Weber Smokey Joe Portable Grill Outdoors

As the second Weber entry on this list, the Smokey Joe is proof of the company’s abilities to make proficient grills of all sizes. Lightweight, compact and very easy on the wallet, the Smokey Joe is the ultimate companion grill for a couple or small groups. Whether you’re going camping, tailgating, or just want an extra piece of kit in your grilling arsenal, the Smokey Joe delivers on all accounts.

If you’re expecting a grill to cook for a huge party, don’t be deceived. This grill makes no bones about the fact that it’s small. But even though it’s small in stature, it’s still about to comfortably grill about five burgers or three steaks over its plated steel cooking grate.

The bowl and lid of the Smokey Joe are porcelain-enameled to help protect it from the outdoor elements. And while it won’t rust or peel, it will retain heat beautifully. Three sturdy little legs elevate the grill off of the ground, and a small ash pan will catch any ashes for simple disposal and clean up.

For a small grill, there’s also a surprising amount of heat control thanks to the aluminium dampers. Decide how much airflow you want inside the grill, or shut it off completely with one small motion.

Essentially the tiny cousin of its more famous kettle counterpart, the Smokey Joe delivers all of the quality and performance that Weber has come to be known for. If you’re new to grilling, don’t have much space, or simply don’t want to spend a fortune on a grill, you can do worse than the Smokey Joe.

Features at a glance:

  • Holds up to five burgers
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl for durability and heat retention
  • Dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside your grill
  • Durable plated steel cooking grate retains heat and is easy to clean

Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box – Most Versatile Grill

Char Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill Outdoors

Char-Griller is a brand known for their quality and innovation, and the Tabletop Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box exemplifies this perfectly. At first glance it appears to be simply a small, attractive table top grill with a unique design. However, this grill also functions as an attachment to a Char-Griller barrel grill for Texas-style horizontal smoking, or as an additional grilling surface.

With 250 square inches of primary cooking space, this is a surprisingly roomy portable grill. If you happen to own a Char-Griller barrel grill, it’s also a considerable amount of extra grilling or smoking space. The grill utilizes cast iron cooking grates in order to retain heat and provide beautiful sear marks to whatever foods are grilled on it.

While Char-Griller is known for their quality and attention to detail, this little grill still impresses with a surprising number of features. The removable ash pan, for example, allows for easy clean up once you’re finished grilling.

The Stay Cool hood handle means you’ll never burn your hand during operation, while a sliding draw provides easy access to the coals should you need to stoke them or refuel. You can also control the flames using the two adjustable dampers by increasing or decreasing the available airflow.

For such a versatile grill, it’s impressive that the price tag isn’t higher. It’s worth noting, however, that if you do decide to attach this grill to a barrel grill as a smoker, you won’t be able to reverse the process. You won’t be able to use it as a table top or portable grill again, but you will gain a powerful tool in your grilling and smoking arsenal.

Features at a glance:

  • 250 square inches of primary cooking space
  • Cast iron cooking grates
  • Sliding drawer for easy access to coals and ashes
  • Stay Cool hood handle
  • Removable ash pan for easy clean up
  • Offset for Texas-style smoking
  • Attaches to all Char-Griller barrel grills
  • Use as a table top grill or horizontal Texas style smoker
  • Heavy steel construction and powder-coating finish

Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill – Best Lightweight Grill

Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill

Cuisinart’s Portable Charcoal Grill proves that Weber isn’t the only company who knows how to make a quality kettle grill. Propped up on four sturdy legs, this little grill can be set up just about anywhere to deliver a fantastic grilling experience. It weighs only 2lbs, making it the ideal grilling companion for backyard barbeques, camping, picnics and any other adventures.

With 150 square inches of primary cooking space and utilizing a chrome-plated cooking grate, Cuisinart’s Portable Charcoal Grill is able to cook between four and six hamburgers comfortably. The dual venting system allows for easy charcoal management and temperature control, and the enamel-coated firebox ensures that fires can reach the desired temperature.

This grill also comes with three secure lid locks to allow you to transport it safely without making any sort of mess. As far as the best charcoal grills under $100 go, this one is hard to beat if you’re looking for something that you can throw in your car and take on an adventure. 

Features at a glance:

  • 150 square inches of primary cooking surface
  • Chrome-plated cooking grate provides even heat distribution
  • Dual venting system allows for ultimate charcoal management and temperature control
  • Three secure lid locks for safe transportation
  • Compact and lightweight construction
  • Enamel-coated firebox and ash catcher for safety and easy cleaning

BEAU JARDIN Premium Charcoal Grill – Best Value For Money

BEAU JARDIN Premium Charcoal Grill

The Beau Jardin Premium Charcoal Grill proves that you don’t need a massive budget in order to enjoy a quality grilling experience. Priced very modestly, this kettle grill throws down with the best of them, burning hot without burning a hole through your pocket.

With 255 square inches of primary cooking surface and an equally-sized steel cooking grate, there’s very little that this grill can’t handle. The bowl, grill and lid are constructed from thickened 1mm porcelain-enameled steel for increased rust resistance and even heat distribution. The plated steel charcoal grate is built to withstand the heat of even the most intense flames.

You can easily control the temperature and airflow to the grill thanks to the built-in dampers. There’s one on the lid and one of the bottom of the bowl for precision adjustments.

The grill is built on four sturdy legs for superior stability. If you need to move it around your backyard, you can do so easily thanks to the two durable wheels. And once you’re done grilling, use the adjustable ash catcher for simple and easy ash disposal.

Features at a glance:

  • 255 square inches of primary cooking surface
  • Steel cooking grate with handles for easy handling
  • Porcelain-enameled steel construction
  • Adjustable dampers on the lid and at the bottom of the bowl
  • Insulated handles with anti-scalding material
  • Durable wheels with thickened material
  • Four sturdy aluminium legs
  • Adjustable ash catcher

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I arrange my charcoal when I grill?

This question depends on whether you want to grill with direct or indirect heat. If you’re grilling with direct heat, you want your charcoal spread out in an even layer on the bottom of your grill. If you’re grilling with indirect heat, move your charcoal to one side of the grill, and keep your food on the opposite side of the cooking grate.

How do I control the temperature of the fire when grilling?

You can control the temperature and heat of your grill by using air dampers that most grills come standard with. By increasing or decreasing the airflow available, you can feed or starve the flame of oxygen and therefore raise or lower the temperature. You can stem the flow of air altogether by placing the lid on top of your grill; after some time the fire will die completely.

What’s the best way to take care of my grill?

In order to ensure that you get the most use out of your grill and that it lasts for more than a few seasons, there are a few things that you can do:

  • Scrub the grill after use while still hot to remove fats and other bits of meat
  • Remove the charcoal tray from the bottom and dump the ash out
  • Use dish soap and a brush to clean the inside of your grill after use
  • Cover the grill to prevent rust and damage

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