Best Tabletop Charcoal Grill for Camping: 2017 Top Picks and Buying Guide
If you are searching for the best tabletop charcoal grill for camping, read the rest of this guide and I will help you come up with the right choice. For sure, you will be overwhelmed with the long list of alternatives. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you can pick just any product. At all times, you should look beyond price and perform a thorough research before coming up with a final decision.
What is the best option available in the market? What are the most important factors that should be considered? To know more about how you can pick the right portable tabletop charcoal grill for your needs, keep on reading and be enlightened on how to make the right purchase.
Benefits of a Tabletop Charcoal Grill
When looking for a grill that you can usefor camping, there are many choices that are available, such as those that are powered by electricity and gas. So, why would you choose a charcoal grill? Here are some of the benefits that you might find to be convincing:
- Cheap Price: Compared to electric and gas portable grills, charcoal grills have cheaper price, making it the perfect alternative for budget-conscious buyers.
- Maximizes Flavor: Another good reason to use charcoal grill is because it results to a smoky flavor. You can also consider adding wood to make the flavor more robust.
- Portable: Charcoal grills are also impressive because they are portable, especially compared to electric counterparts. There is no need for a source of electricity, allowing you to use it anywhere.
- Affordable Price: If you are budget-conscious, you might also want to consider a portable charcoal grill as it comes with an affordable price.
- Simple to Operate: This type of grill comes with minimal moving parts. It can be assembled in a snap. It is user-friendly. There is also a minimal tendency that its parts will require a replacement.
Source of Heat for Tabletop Charcoal Grill
There are two types of charcoal that can be used for your portable grill:
Lump Charcoal: This is the preferred option for barbecue purists because it is charcoal in its most natural state. It also lights faster and produces a higher level of heat. Temperature adjustments will also be easy. However, it can be inconsistent because of having small bits. It is also expensive and it burns quick.
Briquettes: If you are looking for something that is cheap but reliable, on the other hand, this will be an excellent choice. Maintaining consistent temperature will be easier and it is also a good thing that it will burn for longer period. However, it may produce a foul smell and it also takes longer for it to light.
Essential Factors to Consider
When looking for a small tabletop charcoal grill, in this section, we will tackle some of the mot important things that should be taken into account.
One of the first things that you should do is to look at the features of the charcoal grill. Here are some of the most important:
- Ash Catcher: This is important as it will minimize the mess created on the top of the table. Ash can be automatically channeled in the bottom of the grill.
- Electronic Ignition: This is common in newer and higher-end models. With the latter, there is no need to manually light the grill as you can do so with a push of a button.
- Hinged Grate: It is another design element that should be given emphasis. This will make it easy to access the bottom of the grill without having to lift the surface.
Your tabletop charcoal grill should not be too large. Remember, it is meant to be placed on the top of the table, which is why it should be compact. Make sure that the cooking area is enough for everyone who will be going on the camping trip with you.
It is important to consider the materials used in the tabletop grill because it will be indicative of its overall quality and durability. The material used in the grates is one of the most critical. Cast iron and stainless steel are some of the best, which are known for their ability to transfer heat efficiently. Others may think that aluminum is great, but it is not actually a good choice because it burns quickly and can result into having burnt food.
Ease of Use
In general, a portable tabletop charcoal grill is easy to use. As it has been earlier noted, this is because they have minimal moving parts. However, it is still important to note that one product can be different from the other. Choose one that comes with a simple design. It should not only be easy to use when grilling, but it should also be effortless to clean and maintain.
Because you are looking for one that can be used for camping trips, it is also important to pick one that has minimal weight. This should not be a significant addition to your camping gear, especially if you intend to do a lot of walking on the way to your destination.
Top Picks for the Best Tabletop Charcoal Grill for Camping
If you still have no idea which one makes a great choice, below are five of the products that we can highly-recommended.
Among other things, the rugged design is one feature that makes it my personal favorite within the product category. It might be a bit heavier than most of the other products mentioned below, but it is still portable. The best thing is that it is durable. It is not easily prone to dents and other external problems.
The grill is made from heavy-duty cast iron, which can also offer excellent protection from external weather conditions. To add, it is treated with vegetable oil to make it offer a higher level of protection.
Design-wise, you might love the fact that it comes with a coal entry door on the front of the unit. This will make it easy for you to add charcoal when needed, unlike in the case of other models wherein there is a need for you to remove the grate.
You might also like the versatility of this grill as it comes with an adjustable height, allowing you to modify it in two different positions.
Lastly, it has a stable base that will make sure it will remain in its steady position in different surfaces. This is one thing that is essential for your safety.
- Rugged construction
- Stable base
- No cover
It has a cooking surface with a size of 160 square inches. Some might think that it is a bit small, but for a portable grill, this should be more than enough. This means that it will take minimal space in the table.
One of the things that you might love about this grill is the design of the handle. It is large enough to fit even larger hands. It is made from glass reinforced nylon, which is not only durable, but can also remain cool as you grill.
Another design element that is worth noting is the pivoting legs, which can be stowed away when you need to transport the grill. With this, if you are looking for one that is portable, you might want to include this in your list.
When it comes to the grate, on the other hand, it is made from steel and is coated with triple nickel. This makes it easy to clean.
Lastly, this tabletop charcoal grill comes with a convenient cover that will allow you to protect it from wind to avoid wasting the charcoal and will also minimize the smoke that comes out of the grill.
- Compact and portable
- Made by a trusted brand
- Well-designed handle
- Small cooking surface
- May take a while to heat up
Compared to most of the options for a portable charcoal grill, this has a round shape as others are rectangular. However, this should not be too much of an issue as its performance can be impressive.
One feature that I personally liked about this product is the nylon handle, which isglass-reinforced. It has an ergonomic shape that makes it easy to hold. It also stays cool regardless of how long you have been grilling.
When it comes to quality, you might also like how it is coated with porcelain enamel. This coating is an excellent feature because it can resist fading and rust. This will make it last for a longer time without worries that there will be visible external damages.
Lastly, the product comes with an industry-leading warranty. It is backed with a 10-year warranty from the manufacturer, which can provide you with peace of mind knowing that your satisfaction is guaranteed.
- Durable construction
- Easy to clean
- Vents can be prone to clogging
- Legs are flimsy
One of the reasons why I like this for the best tabletop charcoal grill for camping is its foldable design. You can have it collapsed when it is packed, which is exactly the reason why it will be easy for you to bring it in your camping destination.
The grill is made from food-grade stainless steel. This might not be the best in terms of weight since it is heavy. Nonetheless, its quality is hard to match. Stainless steel is an excellent material when it comes to durability, providing you with the assurance that the product will demonstrate an extended lifespan.
To make it even more portable, the grill is also inclusive of a carrying bag. This will make it easy to organize all the parts and easily take them with you as you go.
- Comes with a folding design
- Compact size
- Durable construction
- Surface can easily go hot
- A bit heavy
With this charcoal grill, you will enjoy 157 square inches of cooking space, which will be more than enough for a small group. After all, portable charcoal grills should not be too large.
If you are looking for versatility, this is another option you might find to be impressive. One thing that I liked is how it has cooking grids that can be adjusted in three different positions. You can adjust it depending on how well-done you want your grilled treats to be.
In addition, I also loved the design of the handle. It is made from wood and can be protected from too much heat. This will make it easy for you to lift the grill in an instant when there is a need to add more charcoal.
Another smart feature that you might like in the product is the smart vents. There are two of them at the bottom of the grill. You can adjust its opening to control the amount of air that gets inside. This will also let you control the burn rate of the charcoal.
- Ergonomic handles
- Durable construction
- A bit heavy
- Rough base casting
Anyone who has bought a tabletop charcoal grill will tell you one thing – looking for the best is never an easy task. There are many options with different features. Each manufacturer will most probably try to lure you by saying that they have the best product in the market. However, do not just believe what they are saying. You should be responsible enough to conduct your own research to differentiate the possibilities.
So, what is the best tabletop charcoal grill for camping? This is not an easy question to answer. From the five products mentioned above, if there is only one that I can recommend, it would be Lodge L410 Pre-Seasoned Sportsman’s Charcoal Grill. It may not be the lightest in terms of weight, but it is rugged, user-friendly, and efficient.