What’s better than getting your family and a few friends together over some barbeque and chilled drinks on a lazy summer afternoon? If you have space, the company, and basic grilling knowledge; all you need is a barbeque grill.
You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg or have a spacious back yard to put together a cookout. We have reviewed the best charcoal grills under $200 that will transform your back yard into the perfect spot for a cheerful and hearty get together.
1. Char-Broil 580
2. Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch
3. Char-Griller E06614
4. Weber 51060001
Great value for your money and a perfect choice if you are looking for a large charcoal grill that works well for a budget price.
- Cooking Area: 580 sq in
- Build Material: Steel
- Weight: 68.3 Pounds
A well deserved first place in our review of charcoal grills under $200 is the Char-Broil Charcoal Grill, 580 Square Inch. This grill combines the size and features of premium-priced models at a fraction of the cost.
The grill measures 28 x 43 x 47-inches which is quite big at this price range. You get 400 square-inches primary grilling area and an additional 180 square-inches warming rack. There is a temperature gauge mounted on the lid to keep an eye of the interior temperature.
The dedicated charcoal access door allows you to tend to coals quickly without losing too much heat. The adjustable height charcoal pan allows you to control the temperature.
The main downside of this grill is the low-grade construction. This is a large grill that weighs a mere 6.8 lbs so you can tell that it is far from being a heavy-duty grill. Still, this is great value for your money and a perfect choice if you are looking for a large charcoal grill that works well for a budget price.
- Great value for money
- Generous cooking space is enough for large parties
- Rear wheels for easy transport
- This model is not durably constructed
Weber Original Kettle 22-inch
A versatile grill that will handle indirect heat cooking, smoking, and you can even add attachments for rotisserie cooking.
- Cooking Area:363 square inches
- Build Material:Percelain
- Weight: 32.3 Pounds
Weber is a world-renowned barbeque brand and you can hardly go wrong with our second pick in this review of the best charcoal grills for under $200.
This Original Kettle is an entry-level unit with enough grill space to cook for up to eight people. The unit is easy to put together, is compact, and relatively lightweight so you can take it camping or tailgating. Though the grill is light enough to carry, it has two rear wheels for easier transport.
There is a hook to hold the lid while using the grill so you don’t have to put it on the ground which is a small but very thoughtful feature. There is a handy measuring cup to determine how much coal you need and the temperature gauge on the grill lid helps to keep an eye on the heat.
The downside is this Weber does not come with an adjustable height coal tray which limits your temperature control. This missing feature also means you have to take the meat and grate off the grill to add coal. Otherwise, this is a great value for money grill that is well built and practical to carry with you.
- Temperature gauge to monitor heat
- Enough space to cook for up to 8 people
- Portable grill with rear wheels is easy to transport
- Coal tray is not height adjustable
The grill is very well built for a budget unit and works splendidly for grilling, smoking, and baking.
- Cooking Area: 153 sq in
- Build Material:Ceramic
- Weight: 37 Pounds
This Char-Griller E06614 features the classic Kamado egg shape and traditional short legs so you will need a table or bench to get to work. This model doesn’t use the traditional ceramic which can be expensive and instead sports steel construction. Even so, the triple-insulated grill has an impressive heat output with up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
The E06614 is a portable unit that comes with carrying handles if you need to take the grill with you camping or tailgating. There is a temperature gauge on the lid to keep an eye on the heat and 153-square inches of cooking space.
The main downside is this model has limited cooking space and will grill for up to four people. The temperatures can also get very high and it can be difficult for an inexperienced user to estimate the correct cook times.
This is still the best value for money grill in this review and definitely worth it for someone looking for a Kamado style grill but doesn’t have the budget for a ‘real’ one.
- Excellent insulation and high heat output
- The portable unit is easy to carry, transport, and store
- Easy assembly
- You can use this grill as a smoker
- Stainless steel cooking grates aren’t as good as cast iron grates
- Not very sturdily built
Blackstone 3-In-1 Kabob
If you are on a budget this grill that will give you a good variety of cooking options, from grilling, smoking and making kabobs.
- Cooking Area: 60 sq in
- Build MaterialPowder Coated Steel Frame
- Weight:93 Pounds
The Blackstone 3-in 1 Kabob Charcoal Grill – Barbeque – Smoker is certainly a one of a kind grill on the market. You can do a traditional charcoal barbeque, adjust the vents to use it as a smoker, or hook it up to power to use the motorized shish kebob/kebab feature.
The built-in thermometer on the lid allows you to monitor the temperature inside the grill. The heavy-duty skewers are great for making shish kebabs/kebobs and ensuring that the skewers cook evenly.
The mesquite charcoal bed raises and lowers so you can get your hot coals to the prefect position and control the temperature. The unit is also decent sized with a generous interior space thanks to the 3 section grilling grates. You can make your kabobs and grill simultaneously.
The downside of this Blackstone is the paint comes off easily and doesn’t seem quite able to withstand high temperatures. The top lid is also quite heavy and the grill can feel unstable and ready to tip over with the lid open.
Otherwise, this is a great combination grill if you like to grill, smoke, and skewer often.
- Combination grill, meat smoker, and shish kebob skewer
- Motorized rotisserie ensures skewers cook evenly
- Temperature gauge lets you monitor the heat
- The adjustable charcoal tray offers temperature control
- Paint cannot withstand high heat and flakes easily
- The heavy lid may make the grill unstable when open
This grill comes highly recommended for someone who needs a functional grill for entertaining large parties at a bare minimum price.
- Cooking Area: 545 sq in
- Build MaterialStainless steel
- Weight: 77 Pounds
The overall grill size is H 51.3″x D 27.36″ so it doesn’t take up too much space in a small back yard. The primary cooking area offers 381 square-inches of cooking space and a secondary warming rack providing 165 square-inches of real estate. The porcelain-enamel grates are good for grilling.
The grill features two rear wheels, storage shelf under the grill box, and a side table to prepare your meals. There are also hooks for hanging your utensils.
The main downside is this grill feels a little flimsily built. It is definitely not a grill that you want to leave outside permanently. It is also a heavy grill which makes transport and storage difficult.
This is still quite a good charcoal grill if you intend to spend the bare minimum for a compact yet spacious grill.
- Generous 545 square-inch total cooking area
- Crankshaft to raise charcoal tray allows temperature control
- Back wheels are convenient for transporting the unit
- The relatively poor quality build does not withstand constant exposure to the elements
- The heavy unit can be cumbersome to transport in and out of storage
Best Charcoal Grill Buyers Guide
Why Should You Get a Charcoal Grill
It is not always obvious why you should choose a charcoal grill over, say, a gas or electric grill.
The first thing that comes to mind is getting that beautiful sear on your burgers and steaks. The sear isn’t just nice to look at but actually enhances the flavor of the meat. You simply cannot recreate the smoky flavor of charcoal-grilled meat with a gas or electric grill even when using wood chips.
Charcoal also cooks meat slowly and over a prolonged period which allows it to stay moist and tender. The slow cooking process also separates the fat from the meat by liquefying the fat – translating to fewer calories.
Finally, charcoal can reach a very high temperature which is great for getting a sear and ensuring that the meat is cooked well inside. Charcoal grills certainly require more work to keep the fire going and can be difficult to manage temperature but the results are often worth the extra effort.
What to Look for in a Charcoal Grill
There are many grill options on the market ranging from well know brands to obscure cheaply made brands.
Knowing what to look for is even more important when considering charcoal grills under $200. You get what you pay for after all but with the right knowledge, you should be able to get a good grill with a small budget.
The correct size grill depends on your mobility needs. If you want a grill for the back yard then a large-size grill will allow you to cook for more people. Smaller portable grills are great for camping and tailgating.
The cooking surface is also proportional to the grill size. Smaller grills are generally cheaper but limit the numbers of people you can cook for in one go.
There are a variety of features that allow you to control the temperature inside the grill. Dampers or vents are good for venting and exhausting which help to maintain even temperature. At least two dampers are ideal in this case.
Adjustable-height coal tray also lets you control how close you want the hot coal to your food. You can increase or decrease the amount of heat coming into contact with the cooking surface by either raising or lowering the coal tray.
Finally, a temperature gauge on the grill lid is a useful feature for keeping an eye on the temperate and allows you to estimate cooking time more accurately.
Grills are typically used outside and often in uncovered areas so you want a grill that will withstand consistent outdoor use. Heavy-duty grills are the best for outdoor use and can be left outside year-round with just a weatherproof cover. Cheaper grills are better stored away in the garage when not in use or during inclement weather.
EASE OF USE
Charcoal grills require a considerable amount of effort to cook so any feature that makes your work easier is welcome. A hinged cooking grate or dedicated door allows you to add charcoal without having to remove the food or grate.
A removable ash catcher makes cleaning up easier; shelves are convenient for storing cooking accessories, while side tables are handy for preparing your food right next to the grill.
Just because you have a tight budget doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy outdoor barbecues on a capable grill. The Dyna-Glo DGD381BNC-D Compact Charcoal Grill is a perfect option if you do not want to spend an extra dime than is necessary for a functional grill.
The Blackstone 3-in-1 Kabob Charcoal Grill – Barbeque – Smoker is a good option for the versatile cook. It cooks kabobs and smokes meat in addition to grilling.
If you require high-temperature grilling then the Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr Kamado Grill is the best option on our list. Finally the Char-Broil 580 Square Inch Charcoal Grill is the closest you are going to get to a large premium grill for under $200.