Not all charcoal grills are created equal which is the reason why you find grills for under $200 and others costing upwards of a thousand dollars. A grill need not be expensive to be good but there is a clear relationship between price and quality.

More expensive grills generally tend to be better. They have more features to make your work easier, have better heat control and retention to make cooking more precise, and many more advantages.

With that said, you can still get a good grill for under $200. The Dyna-Glo DGD381BNC-D Compact Charcoal grill is one such model.

The thing to remember about inexpensive grills is to set your expectations appropriately and you won’t be disappointed.

Dyna-Glo DGD381BNC-D Charcoal Grill

This grill comes highly recommended for someone who needs a functional grill for entertaining large parties at a bare minimum price.

  • Cooking Area: 545 square inches
  • Weight: 77 pounds
  • Price Range:$$

Setting up the grill

The Dyna-Glo DGD381BNC-D is a large unit which is surprising at its price range. The unit is best assembled by two people, preferably by people who have at least basic DIY experience.

The instruction book is quite clear although you will need to go through it a few times to fit all the parts correctly.

It should take roughly 30 minutes to set up the grill assuming it is two people with basic assembly experience doing the job. It could take up to an hour or more doing this alone.

Premium Looks & Aesthetics

This Dyna-Glo is quite nice to look at with is black powder paint finish. Its barrel top, complete with temperature gauge, makes it look like something a professional chef would use. The side shelves are certainly convenient but also add to the professional aesthetic.

Honestly, it would be difficult for someone to tell that this Dyna-Glo costs under $200 if they didn’t already know.

The Dyna-Glo in Use

The first thing you notice when grilling is the generous interior cooking space. You get 381 square-inches of primary cooking area and additional 165-square inches on the warming rack. You can easily cook 28 standard burgers at a time which is great if you are entertaining a large party.

  • The charcoal tray is attached to a hand crank that allows you to move the heat closer or further away from the meat. Temperature control is useful in a charcoal grill since you can’t just turn down the heat like with a gas grill.
  • The porcelain-enamel grates are good quality and get hot enough to give your steaks that nice sear. There is a dedicated access door to load more charcoal so you don’t lose too much heat while adding coal.
  • Finally, the side table at end of the grill is convenient for prepping or resting cooked meats before serving. It really is like having your own little outdoor kitchen, complete with a rack at the bottom of the grill to store your utensils.

Key Specifications

  • Category: Charcoal Grill
  • Dimensions: 51.3 x 27.4 x 50.1 inches
  • Weight: 77 pounds
  • Cooking Area: 545 square inches
  • Adjustable flue: Yes
  • Built-in thermometer: Yes
  • Color: Black
  • Charcoal Tray: Adjustable

What did we like?

There are a lot of things to like about this Dyna-Glo especially considering its price. Some of its best features include:

Temperature control

Many cheaper grills do not have a dedicated access door for loading coal. You have to take off the cooking grate to add coal which is tricky especially with a hot grill. The Dyna-Glo has a separate door just for loading coal.

You also get a built-in thermometer on the grill cover to monitor the heat and a crank-adjustable coal tray to direct the heat how you want. Cooking with charcoal is tricky so any control you can get over the cooking process is always welcome.

Prep and Storage Areas

The side table on the grill is great for prepping your meat or allowing it to rest before serving. The side table eliminates the need of having extra tables outside especially if you have a small back yard. The storage shelf at the bottom of the grill allows you to store your important cooking accessories where you can reach them easily.

Large Grill

Getting a grill this size for under $200 is a steal and almost hard to believe. You can cook for large parties without any problems. A small grill may be portable but it also means spending more time in front of the grill when cooking for many people.

Great Value for Money

You can sum up this grill in one phrase – good value for money. You get a large grill with many premium features at a very low price. This is also a grill that you can replace easily; not that you will need to. It’s not the best-built grill as you will see in the next section but you can still expect it to serve you reliably for years to come.

What did we not like?

No piece of equipment is perfect which is also true for the DGD381BNC-D.

Relatively Poor Quality Build

It is hardly surprising that a large grill for under $200 is not exactly the sturdiest unit. Much as this model is marketed as a heavy-duty grill, there is doubt about exactly how heavy-duty.

You certainly don’t want to leave this grill outside in inclement weather. This is a grill that should be stored in the garage, porch, or another enclosed area when not in use.

Cumbersome to Transport

Related to the previous point, you will need to keep this grill in a covered area when not in use. It is a heavy grill after all and moving it can be cumbersome even with the resin wheels.

Final Thoughts

The best way to appreciate this grill is to look at its price. For under $200 you will be getting a large grill with plenty of premium features including transport wheels, side table, storage compartment, built-in thermometer, removable ashtray for easy cleanup, and more.

The unit could certainly have been made from more durable materials but that would only raise its price and defeat the purpose of having an inexpensive grill. Overall this grill comes highly recommended for someone who needs a functional grill for entertaining large parties at a bare minimum price.