Best Charcoal Grills Under $200: [Reviews + Buyer’s Guide]

If there’s something inexplicable that appeals to you about grilling with charcoal, but you’re not willing to shell out a fortune for the privilege, don’t worry. We understand that the urge to grill is one as old as time, so we’ve put together this list of some of the best charcoal grills under $200. Cooking over a fire is the ultimate pastime, so if you’re strapped for cash or unwilling to spend a lot, you can still participate with these inexpensive grills.


Editor’s Pick for Best Charcoal Grill Under $200: The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman

Char-Broil is a name to remember in the grilling game, and with their TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill, they’ve proved that they create exceptional grills at all price points. Built in a classic Kettle shape, this grill features Char-Broil’s patented TRU-Infrared cooking technology for precise control over the grilling experience.


One of the great things about a charcoal grill is that, unlike a gas grill, it’s fairly low maintenance and the cooking process is quite straightforward. Essentially a sturdy firebox on legs with a lid, it lacks (nor needs) the more intricate features found on expensive gas grills, and so won’t cost you an arm and a leg. That being said, for under $200 you’ll still be able to find a charcoal grill that can perform adequately and ensure that your steaks always emerge seared.

Credit card in hand, let’s take a look at some of the best charcoal grills under $200.


Ranking Table: Best Charcoal Grills Under $200

Best Charcoal Grills Under $500Pros, Cons & BBQ Digest Award


Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill

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Editor’s Choice


+ Attractive kettle design Equipped with TRU-Infrared cooking technology and no-fall-through cooking grates
+ Requires less charcoal than conventional kettle grills

Lack of secure handle makes moving the grill around slightly awkward


Char-Griller AKORN Jr. Kamado

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Best Kamado Grill


+ Compact design for easy mobility
+ Durable and sturdy steel construction
+ Triple-insulated for heat retention and less charcoal consumption

Might not be big enough for some grillers


Dyna-Glo Compact Charcoal Grill  

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Best Compact Cart Grill


+ Large cooking area and warming rack
+ Adjustable smoke stack and side dampers for good airflow
+ Adjustable charcoal tray and front access door for easy fire manipulation

Lengthy assembly time


Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Portable Charcoal Grill

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Best Portable Grill


+ Heavy duty steel construction
+ Lots of airflow and temperature control
+ Height-adjustable charcoal tray

Doesn’t have the largest cooking surface


Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill

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Best All-Rounder


+ Height-adjustable coal tray
+ Large amount of primary and secondary cooking space
+ Front access door for easy fuel replenishment or stoking

Can be difficult to assemble


Kingsford Barrel Charcoal Grill

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Best Barrel Grill


+ Massive primary cooking surface
+ No-frills, straight forward grilling process
+ Collapsible side table and bottom storage shelf

Lacks features found on more expensive grills

A More Detailed Look At The Best Charcoal Grills Under $200

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill

If you’re looking for a grill that performs exceptionally without a huge price tag, then the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill should be your first choice. With 360 square inches of total cooking space and a tall lid, there’s not much that this grill can’t accommodate. Whether you’re looking to grill a dozen burgers or an entire chicken, the Kettleman handles all meat with ease.

The Kettleman isn’t simply a means of containing a fire. There are a number of well-thought out and intricate design features that place it head and shoulders above other models.

For example, the grill features porcelain-coated cooking grates that help distribute evenly. By preventing food from being able to fall through into the flames, these grates all but ensure that flare-ups (and by extension burn spots) are a thing of the past.

The Kettleman also offers precision control of the grilling process thanks to its adjustable damper on the lid, as well as its 360 air inlet on the bottom. This means that you can always adjust the airflow to the fire to achieve the exact desired temperature and intensity.

The construction of the Kettleman is also noteworthy. Unlike other kettle grills which necessitate either holding the lid or putting on the floor while checking on food, the Kettleman’s lid is hinged. The grill also features a removable ash bowl that makes cleaning up a simple process without any mess.

Features at a glance:

  • 360 square inches of  total cooking surface.
  • Porcelain-coated cooking grate keeps food on top and prevents flare-ups.
  • Hinged lid with mounted temperature gauge for ease of operation and temperature monitoring.
  • TRU-Infrared cooking technology allows for even cooking and greater temperature control.
  • No-fall-through cooking grate prevents food from falling into the flames.
  • Adjustable damper and 360 degree air inlet for temperature and air control.
  • Removable ash bowl for simple clean-up; engineered to operate with less charcoal than others.

Char-Griller AKORN Jr. Kamado – Best Kamado Grill

If you don’t have a lot of space or are looking for a more portable grill, then look no further than the AKORN Jr. Kamado by Char-Griller. Not only is this grill the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, but it’s also packed with tons of innovations and useful features.

To start with, the AKORN is incredibly well-built. It’s constructed from 22 gauge steel, finished with powder-coated steel and triple insulated. This means not only a veritable tank, but will also channel and retain heat more efficiently, requiring less charcoal to get the job done.

It features a dual damper system which lets you control airflow from the top and bottom of the grill for great temperature control. Likewise, the built-in temperature gauge lets you know how hto the interior of the grill is at glance for precise control over the grilling process. Dumping ash is a dream thanks to the easy dump ash pan which simply detaches from the bottom of the grill.

With 153 square inches of primary cooking area, you’re obviously not going to be roasting any whole pigs. However, the grill is compact enough that if you decide that you want to move it, all you have to do is latch the lid shut, pick it up and move it to its new location.

Features at a glance:

  • 153 square inches of primary cooking area
  • Cast iron grates
  • Insulated design means more heat uses less charcoal and less airflow means insulated heat for juicy meat
  • Easy dump ash pan for fast and simple cleanup
  • Constructed from 22 gauge steel; finished with powder-coated steel
  • Dual dampers for precise temperature control
  • Built-in temperature gauge for accurate heat measurement
  • Lockable lid for easy transportation

Dyna-Glo Compact Charcoal Grill – Best Compact Cart Grill

The Dyna-Glo Compact Charcoal Grill offers high quality, performance and versatility. It’s the ideal grill for a small patio or backyard, but with 381 square inches of primary cooking space, can still handle most meals comfortably. It also comes with a 165 square inch warming rack, ideal for toasting buns or keeping food at serving temperature until everything is ready.

In terms of performance and features, the grill features a charcoal tray adjustment crank that allows you to raise or lower the coals in relation to your food. This means that you’ll be able to instantly control how much heat your food gets exposed to for ultimate control over the grilling process. You can further control the temperature thanks to the adjustable smoke stack, as well as sliding side dampers which allow for increased or decreased airflow.

The grill comes with porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates, which are ideal for distributing heat evenly. They also produce an incredible, distinctive sear that helps lock in the natural juices of food being cooked.

If you need to access the fire to distribute coals or add more wood, you can do so easily thanks to the steel access door at the front of the grill. There’s also a collapsible side table for easy food preparation that can be folded away for convenient storage, and a built-in thermometer for added temperature control.

Once you’re finished grilling, you can easily dispose of the ashes with the large removable ash pan at the bottom of the grill. You can also store all of your charcoal and grilling accessories on the bottom shelf for next time.

Features at a glance:

  • 381 square inches of primary cooking surface
  • 165 square inch warming rack
  • Large removable ash pan for easy clean ups
  • Porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates
  • Collapsible side table for food prep
  • Bottom storage shelf for charcoal and grilling accessories
  • Adjustable charcoal tray for ultimate fire control
  • Steel access door allows for quick fire replenishment or stoking
  • Built-in, stainless thermometer for accurate temperature control
  • Smoke stack and adjustable flu for temperature and flavor control

Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Portable Charcoal Grill

If portability without compromise on quality is something that’s important to you in a grill, then Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Portable Charcoal Grill won’t disappoint. Constructed from heavy-duty steel including thick, cast-iron cooking grates, this grill is, in addition to being easy to move, almost indestructible.

It’s not the biggest grill in the world, however with 218 square inches of cooking space, you’ll still be able to comfortably grill and sear a couple of steaks. But for its small stature it does come with a few useful features that you might find on more expensive grills.

For example, the height-adjustable charcoal tray means you can modify the heat your food is exposed to effortlessly. Likewise, the lid-mounted smoke stack and large air dampers give you a lot of control over the airflow and internal temperature of the grill. A lid-mounted thermometer will also let you know exactly how hot the interior is so you can more accurately gauge the temperature of your food.

If you decide that you want to move the Rambler, you can do so easily thanks to the sturdy side-handles. This makes the Rambler ideal for taking with to the campsite, throwing in the back of your truck or tailgating, or grilling directly in your backyard.

Features at a glance:

  • 218 square inches of primary cooking surface
  • Heavy-duty steel construction
  • Thick cast-iron cooking grates
  • Height-adjustable charcoal tray
  • Large air dampers allow for accurate airflow control
  • Full-size, removable ash pan makes for easy clean up
  • Built-in temperature gauge
  • Lid-mounted smoke stack
  • Sturdy side-handles for easy mobility

Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill – Best All-Rounder

Capable of grilling huge meals, the Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill is the ideal cooking tool for large backyard barbeques. With 393 square inches of primary cooking surface and a 205 square inch warming rack, there’s little chance that anyone will go hungry or food will go cold.

The grill uses porcelain-coated steel cooking grates in order to distribute heat evenly, seal in natural juices and produce a beautiful sear. You can easily regulate the temperature thanks to the easy-lift charcoal pan adjustment system as well as the smoke stack and side dampers. If you see that your fire is running low or you’d like to spread the coals more evenly, you can do so easily from the front loading door.

A lid-mounted thermometer ensures that you have greater control over the cooking process, and two handy side tables allow you to prepare food directly at the grill. Once you’re finished grilling, cleaning up is a breeze thanks to the pull-over draw ash pan that can simply be slid out, emptied and then reinserted for the next barbeque.

Features at a glance:

  • 393 square inches of primary cooking surface
  • 205 square inch warming rack
  • Porcelain-coated steel cooking grates
  • Easy-lift charcoal pan adjustment system
  • Front loading door with cool-touch handle design
  • Two side dampers for enhanced air flow and temperature control
  • Pull-out drawer catches ashes for easy post-cookout clean-up
  • Built-in lid thermometer

Kingsford Barrel Charcoal Grill – Best Barrel Grill

If you’re looking for a no-frills, utilitarian grill that does the job well, then look no further than the Kingsford Barrel Charcoal Grill. Stripped of all extraneous features, the Kingsford is designed to do one thing and one thing only – contain a massive fire. With 793 square inches of primary cooking area and utilizing one solid cast iron cooking grate, there’s pretty much nothing that this grill can’t cook.

While it is bare in terms of extras, there are a couple of features worth mentioning. The collapsible steel side shelf allows you to prepare food at the grill but will fold away when not in use. The bottom storage shelf is ideal for storing charcoal and other grilling accessories.

A lid-mounted smoke stack lets you adjust the airflow for precision temperature control. It also comes with an integrated thermometer so you know exactly how hot the inferno under the lid is.

While this is not a portable grill by any means, moving it around the yard is easy thanks to the integrated wheels.

Features at a glance:

  • 793 square inches of primary cooking area
  • Cast iron cooking grate
  • Collapsible metal side shelves and bottom storage rack
  • Wheels for easy transportation
  • Thermometer for precise temperature control

How to Choose the Best Charcoal Grill Under $200: A Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to buying one of the best charcoal grills under $200, there are a lot of factors to consider. It goes without saying that you want your grill to last you beyond a season or two of grilling, so it might make more sense to invest in a grill at the higher end of the price tier.

But now that you have a budget in mind, how do you choose between kettle-style grills, cart-style grills, combos and everything in between? Like most appliances or tools, it all depends how you intend to use it. Think carefully about how often you plan on using it, the amount of space you have at home, the types of gatherings you expect to have and the number of people you plan to cater for.

Let’s take a look at a few factors worth keeping in mind.

Portability

Many of the grills below $200 are going to be portable. Think about if you plan on going camping or tailgating, or if you intend to stick to your backyard barbecues. This will largely determine how portable you grill will need to be.

Size

Closely linked to portability, the size of your grill is going to be a huge factor. Not only do you need to think about how many people you plan on grilling for, but the size of your garden or patio will also need to be considered. Smaller grills are great for balconies and apartments, whereas you will need quite a bit of space for some of the more massive grills on this list.

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