Best Charcoal Grills Under $300 [Reviews + Buyer’s Guide]

You want a charcoal grill without spending the equivalent of an engagement ring, however, you also don’t want the cheapest, lowest quality grill on the shelf. In that case you’ve come to the right corner of the internet. We’re going to look at some of the best charcoal grills under $300, a solid mid-range price point that contains high quality grills without the hefty price tags.


Editor’s Choice for Best Charcoal Grills Under $300: Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Perfection is easy to aspire to, and not something easily achieved. But if near-perfection took on a physical form, it might look something like the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill. The gold standard in grilling, the Kettle Grill is known the world over for its high performance, utilitarianism and incredible design.


The process of grilling with charcoal is exceedingly simple. Essentially you just need a fire, something to contain that fire, and a grate to place on top of that fire. Anything extra is an added bonus, and because of this simplicity, you can usually get a decent grill without hurting your wallet too badly.

That being said, you don’t want to go too cheap. A low quality grill is going to rust, won’t retain heat properly, and could even be dangerous in the long run. We’ve vetted our list to include only the best grills in this price range that deliver the highest quality grilling experience.

And with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best charcoal grills under $300 currently on the market.


At A Glance: Our x Best Charcoal Grills Under $300

Best Charcoal Grills Under $300Pros, Cons & BBQ Digest Award


Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

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Editor’s Choice


+ Massive grilling area
+ Iconic design
+ One-Touch ash removal system

Doesn’t have the sturdiest legs  


Weber Performer Charcoal Grill

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Best Kettle Grill


+ All the same features as the original Kettle grill
+ Massive work space for food prep
+ Sturdy cart with durable wheels and lid-holder

No gas ignition despite being relatively expensive    


Char-Griller Outlaw

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Most Massive Grill


+ Massive primary and secondary cooking areas
+ Sturdy, durable construction
+ Two wheels for easy maneuverability

May not over the same longevity as other grills on this list  


Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill

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Best Infrared Charcoal Grill


+ Makes use of Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared technology
+ No-fall-through grate for increased heat retention
+ Hinged lid for streamlined operation

Awkward to maneuver around    


Dyna-Glo Signature Heavy-Duty Barrel Charcoal Grill

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Most Robust Grill


+ Massive cooking area
+ Heavy duty construction
+ Can be modified into a grilling and smoking combo

Offset smoker has to be purchased seperately  

A More Detailed Look At The Best Charcoal Grills Under $300

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill – Editor’s Choice

If you can only have one grill in your life then it should probably be the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill. Developed by Weber in 1952, the grill’s design has barely changed since its inception, and is now a global phenomena that almost anyone will recognise – and for good reason. Not only is the grill’s design iconic, but it’s incredibly functional too.

With 363 square inches of primary cooking surface and a lofty lid, you can grill just about anything short of a whole pig comfortably. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl are designed to retain heat and prevent rusting, and can withstand extremely high temperatures. You can also regulate the temperature with the aluminium dampers, while the handy heat shield protects the handle of the grill and prevents it from getting too hot.

The Kettle grill also comes with a few extra features not found on the original model. A built-in lid thermometer, for example, gives you more precise control over the cooking process, while the One-Touch cleaning system makes emptying ash an effortless task. The integrated lid hook means you’ll never have to rest your lid on the ground while grilling, and the accessory hooks are ideal for hanging up your grilling tools.

When it comes to grilling performance, aesthetic and iconic status, it’s hard to beat the Weber Original Premium Kettle Grill.

Features at a glance:

  • 363 square inches of primary grilling space
  • Hinged cooking grate for quick and easy coal replenishment
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Rust-resistant aluminum dampers
  • One-Touch cleaning system with high-capacity ash catcher
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat and prevent rusting
  • Integrated lid hook allows you to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
  • Cooking grate is hinged for easily adding charcoal while grilling

Weber Performer Charcoal Grill – Best Kettle Grill

The Weber Performer Charcoal Grill is the Kettle Grill all grown up. It has all of the features which made the original grill famous including 363 square inches of cooking space, a hinged cooking grate, a porcelain-coated body and lid, and built-in lid thermometer. It also comes standard with Weber’s One-Touch cleaning system for easy ash removal, as well as the aluminium damper which helps regulate air flow and heat.

But it also has much, much more.

Whereas the legs and stand of the original are somewhat flimsy, the Performer has been upgraded with a solid, hefty cart for added stability. It comes with a large side table allowing you to prepare food directly at the grill. Likewise, the lid-holding mechanism has been improved upon to allow you to simply slide the lid into a holding position.

While the original Kettle grill is mobile, the wheels leave something to be desired. This issue was addressed and fixed with the Performer, as it features 8-inch rubber-molded wheels that also for easy maneuvering anywhere in your backyard.

If you’re someone who loved the original but wish it just had a few more extra features, then the Performer is definitely up your alley. Still under the $300 price point, it’s an ideal grill for almost grillers of all levels.

Features at a glance:

  • 363 square inches of primary cooking area
  • Hinged cooking grate for quick and easy coal replenishment
  • One-Touch cleaning system for easy ash disposal
  • Built-in lid thermometer displays internal temperature
  • Integrated side table for additional space and food prep
  • Porcelain-coated lid and body for heat retention and rust prevention
  • Aluminium dampers for adjustable air flow and heat control
  • Lid holder keeps your lid off the ground with a simple sliding motion
  • Durable 8-inch rubber-molded wheels for added mobility

Char-Griller Outlaw – Most Massive Grill

The Char-Griller Outlaw proves that sometimes, size does matter. With 725 square inches of primary cooking space and 338 inches of secondary cooking space, the Outlaw is criminally large. Utilizing cast iron grills for heat retention and flavor enhancement, there’s pretty much nothing that the Outlaw can’t grill or smoke comfortably.

Constructed of heavy gauge steel and powder coated, the Outlaw is solidly built to ensure longevity and durability. And while heavy, the large round legs provide ample support, and the attached wheels ensure easy maneuverability. 

More than simply a massive firebox, the Outlaw allows for precision control of the cooking process thanks to adjustable grates. Simply raise or lower the grates to bring you food closer or further away from the flames. There is also a heat gauge built into the hood allowing you to always keep an eye on the temperature of your food.

Not one to skimp on additional space, the Outlaw also has front and side shelving for food preparation and grilling accessory storage, as well as a bottom shelf to store charcoal. If you’re planning on hosting a massive gathering or BBQ and don’t want to shell out loads of cash, you could definitely do worse than the Outlaw.

Features at a glance:

  • 725 square inches of primary cooking space
  • 338 inches of secondary cooking space
  • Heavy gauge steel construction and double bottom
  • Airtight flanged hood with heat gauge
  • Cast iron grates provide even heat distribution
  • Adjustable fire grate for easy clean up and heat control
  • Front and side shelves for food preparation and accessory storage
  • Lower shelf for charcoal storage
  • Easy dump ash pan

Char-Broil Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill – Best Infrared Charcoal Grill

While Weber’s Kettle grill has set the gold standard for charcoal grilling, Char-Broil’s Tru-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill certainly gives it a run for its money. With all the features of a Kettle grill including a removable ash-pan and a large, adjustable damper for precise heat control, it also has some engineered extras.

To start with, the Kettleman utilizes Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared cooking system that allows for amazing temperature control and the ability to cook your food evenly. The infrared heat helps prevent hot and cold spots on the grill’s cooking surface and facilitates faster cooking and less fuel consumption.

They’ve also improved upon the cooking grates. Whereas other grates allow food to fall directly into the flames, the Kettleman uses a porcelain-coated no-fall-through cooking grate that always keeps food on top. This not only helps cook the food evenly but also reduces flare-ups by preventing grease and small bits of food falling into the flames.

The operation of the Kettleman has also been streamlined. For example, the grill features a hinged lid which props open and allows the griller to tend to the charcoal and food with both hands and without leaving the lid on the ground. Once you’re finished, simply lower the lid to its original position; you can even latch it shut during transportation.

Features at a glance:

  • 360 square inches of primary cooking space
  • Infrared porcelain-coated cooking grate distributes heat evenly and prevents flare-ups
  • Hinged lid with mounted temperature gauge for ease of operation and temperature monitoring
  • Removable ash bowl for simple clean-up
  • 360 degree air inlet for increased air flow
  • Adjustable charcoal grate for bringing charcoal closer to food as needed
  • Engineered to operate with less charcoal than others.

Dyna-Glo Signature Heavy-Duty Barrel Charcoal Grill – Most Robust Grill

The Signature Heavy-Duty Barrel Charcoal Grill by Dyna-Glo is a powerhouse of a charcoal grill that can easily accommodate massive meals. With 675 square inches of primary cooking surface and porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates, you can expect high performance and delicious, smoky food every time.

This grill is designed to streamline the grilling process and the features reflect this. For example, the Cool-Touch spring handle which allows for safe and easy lid handling, or the side access door that makes replenishing wood or charcoal effortless. Likewise, the analogue temperature gauge lets you know precisely how hot the grill is and provides additional control over the grilling process.

You can also prepare food directly at the grill thanks to the steel front, fold-away workstation.

Dyna-Glo’s grill is also modular, and can be modified into grilling and smoking combo with the additional purchase of Dyna-Glo’s offset smoker. The smoker neatly attaches to the side and provides you with the ability to not only sear steaks, but also churn out some low and slow barbeque. Not only does this mean that you don’t have to purchase an independent smoker, but it also just looks extremely badass.

If you’re looking to expand into smoking territory at some point in the future, then this grill is the way to go. It’s also worth mentioning that it also comes with a grill cover that will help protect and extend the life of your grill for years.

Features at a glance:

  • 675 square inches of primary cooking space
  • Cool-Touch spring handles for safe lid handling
  • Side access door for easy fuel replenishment and ah disposal
  • Porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates for superior heat retention
  • Analog Temperature Gauge allows for precise control over the cooking process
  • Steel front workstation for easy food prep that collapses for convenient storage
  • Compatible with the Dyna-Glo offset smoker

How to Choose The Best Charcoal Grill Under $300: A Buyer’s Guide

In order to help you make the best possible decision when shopping for one of the best charcoal grills under $300, we’ve put together this buyer’s guide. If you want some advice on slightly higher end charcoal grills, check out the link, otherwise keep reading below.

Size

One of the main factors that is going to inform your buying decision is size. It’s important to know how many people you intend to grill for once you have your grill.

If you’re only planning on using your grill to make family meals or for small gatherings, a Kettle Grill will do. However, if you intend to throw the largest backyard barbeques then a barrel grill from Char Griller or Dyna-Glo is the way to go.

Temperature Control

It goes without saying that when you’re using a charcoal grill, you’re playing with fire. Unlike a gas grill, there is no immediate way of lowering the temperature by the turn of a dial. But charcoal grills do come with dampers and other ventilation in order to increase or reduce the air flow to a fire.

Of course, some do this better than others. If you’d like more precise control of the size and temperature of your fire, ensure that it is equipped with adequate ventilation.

Durability

Charcoal grills, like gas grills, are put under some pretty trying conditions. Between exposure to intense heat and having to withstand the elements, there are some pretty powerful forces that can weaken and even destroy a grill that’s not adequately constructed. It’s important, therefore, to consider durability when buying a grill.

There are different parts of a grill that will rust or weaken first – in particular the cooking grates and dampers. Ensure that your grill is constructed from quality build materials and has protective finishes on all surfaces and joints. Some grills also come with a cover, so you may want to capitalize on those deals when possible.

Ease of Use

How complex do you want your grilling process to be? For some, all they need is a firebox to contain a flame and a cooking grate, and they’re ready to go. Others, however, want endless features that will streamline and enhance the grilling process.

Of course, the more complicated the grill, the higher the cost. So in the end it just comes down to how minimal you want your experience to be.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I wait to put food on the grill after lighting the coals?

Once you’ve lit your charcoal, sit back and have a beer. It’ll take about 20 to 30 minutes for the charcoal to burn down into a usable ember. If you put your food on before this, you will definitely char it to a crisp.

Ensure that you turn every coal so that it gets exposed to the fire. Once most of the charcoal has turned white and there are no longer any visible flames, spread the coal and place the grate on top.

You can test if the fire is ready by holding your hand above the coals for about five seconds. If you can’t do this, give the coal five more minutes and try again.

How do I quickly kill the flames?

The fastest way to put out a fire is by using water. However, this is going to create a lot of smoke and will likely turn the ashes into a sooty mud that’s no fun to remove. If you have time, the best way to kill the flames is simply to cut off the air supply by closing the lid as well as the dampers.

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