Best Charcoal Grills under $300 – Top Picks and Reviews

person grilling charcoal barbecue

First of all, you must know that Charcoal grills are used for outdoor grilling because they smoke. The difference between a $300 charcoal grill or more, is the cooking area. The charcoal grill in a limited budget has less cooking space means it can hold fewer burgers, steaks or meat. The temperature control in a charcoal based grill is not easy as compared to its counterpart gas grills. The best thing about these grills is you can increase the temperature 10 fold as compared to other grills which cook food faster and better grilled.

Whether you are planning to have a barbeque party with your friends or you love preparing grilled foods for your family, purchasing a charcoal grill will be a great investment. Charcoal grills are very popular because they provide the best smoky flavor, which you can’t get when you are using other grills. This is mainly because charcoal provides real flames which gives your food an extra layer of flavor.

Additionally, charcoal burns at very high temperatures and this allow you to sear lamb chops or steaks easily. If you are on a budget, finding a good unit may not be easy. However, that should not worry you because we have reviewed the best charcoal grills under $300 to save your time and money. Apart from price, we also considered the durability, rating and the best features to ensure that the products we have picked will give you the best value for your money.

Here are some essential factors before making a buying decision:

  • Size of the grill – Anything above 300 square inches cooking area + side grates will fit in any family.
  • Cooking needs – Do you want yourself to cook only hot dogs and burgers or meat, steaks as well? Which depends on what size you opt for.
  • Temperature control – Do you want a grill with a built-in thermometer or not?
  • Ease of cleaning and use – Obviously after eating delicious food, cleaning is the biggest hurdle.
  • Safety matters – Everyone loves to eat charcoal grilled smoky flavor food, but make sure the grill is safe enough to cook.

A Quick Comparison

Model
Price
Cooking Area
Weight
Ratings
Top Pick

Char-Griller E16620
Char-Griller E16620


Check Price


314 in2


90 lbs


4.9/5

Weber 15301001
Weber 15301001


Check Price


363 in2


66 lbs


4.8/5
Best Value for Money


Char-Griller E2828
Char-Griller E2828


Check Price


580 in2


81 lbs


4.6/5

Royal Gourmet CC1830F
Royal Gourmet CC1830F


Check Price


438 in2


57 lbs


4.3/5

Kingsford GR1031
Kingsford GR1031


Check Price


793 in2


73.5 lbs


4.2/5

5 Best Charcoal Grills under $300 – 2019


1. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Charcoal Grill – Best Overall

One of the reasons that made Char-Griller E16620 be our top choice is that it is made of quality material like cast iron cooking grates, porcelain coated steel for the interior finish which makes it out top pick. It’s a definitely heady duty which means you can use it multiples times in harsh conditions.

The moving cart is made from tubular steel a strong material (which makes it decorative). It also comes with reliable wheels to take it from one place to another with ease. One best thing about wheels is you can lock them.

As it’s inside finish is porcelain coated which means it is insulated hence able to retain more heat without using a lot of charcoal. This insulated design doesn’t allow air to come in means that you will get juicy and tasty foods. Being airtight it will provide you constant temperature in the range from 200 – 700 degrees Fahrenheit. After you have put your food on the cooking grate, you can lock the lid for safety purpose while cooking near kids.

It’s 314 square inches cooking area is great for a large cut of meats not forgetting the 133 square inches warming rack which you can remove if you want. You will also find that it comes with 2 foldable metal shelves for storage. There are 3 hooks are also provided on side shelves for utensils hooking. The sliding adjustable damper which allows you to keep the heat under control while releasing some heat for different kind of foods.

A removable dump ash pan is located below the cooking area which is easy to remove and clean. The temperature heat gauge is also included at top of the cooking lid for keep checking the temperature while cooking. Although, it’s not quite perfect.

Pros:

  • Long Lasting Durable
  • Easy cleaning and ash disposal
  • Lighter lid than ceramic
  • Holds temp for long time
  • Air tight – use less charcoal

Cons:

  • Bit Heavy
  • Thermometer in the lid is not accurate

2. Weber 15301001 Charcoal Grill – Runner-up

Weber 15301001 is another small charcoal grill which is easy to spot due to its inimitable design. It comes with an inbuilt lid thermometer which allows you to adjust the heat easily. You don’t need to open the lid when adjusting the heat. Instead, you can easily do that by adjusting the dampers.

Weber 15301001 is another exceptional charcoal grill which is easy to spot due to cool design. It comes with an inbuilt thermometer placed on lid which allows you to check the temperature while cooking. You don’t need to open the lid for adjusting the heat. It also includes a damper on top of the lid which you can adjust to control the heat inside the grill for cooking different items. What we also liked is the thermometer is pretty accurate as compared to our no. 1 Pick.

About the cooking space which is much bigger 363 square inches, you can easily place 13 burgers or a large piece of meat. Weber has also provided a char basket below the cooking grate to add charcoal and manage it efficiently. This cooking grate can withstand high temperature up to

For easier carrying, it comes with shield hands which prevent the lid handle from getting hot. On top of the lid, they have provided a lid holder for easy to remove and place the lid. It is very easy to clean since it uses a one-touch cleaning system which swipes charcoal ash and debris into the high capacity ash catcher. And from there you can remove the ash catcher and dump the ash.

This is the best thing we like in this grill the Foldable extra workspace. This is very strong and can handle heavy utensil pretty easily. On the left side of the side rack, they have provided 3 hooks for hanging the grilling tools.

This is the only grill with 4 (2 Small and 2 Big) long-lasting rubber wheels. Just make sure to move it with ease while moving it on grass as rubber wheels don’t work good on grass.

Additionally, it has a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid for maximum heat retention. With this unit, you won’t mind about rusting because it has a rust proof finish which also allows it to withstand harsh conditions like in rain or winter season.

We really liked it how it takes very less space after folding side rack.

Pros:

  • Removable ash collector
  • Folding side table
  • Thermometer works great and is accurate
  • Easy to assemble

Cons:

  • Smaller cooking area
  • Poor quality wheels

3. Char-Griller E2828 Charcoal Grill – Best for The Money

If you are searching for a value for money charcoal grill that has a large surface area, Char-griller E2828 might be what you need. It has a large surface area of 580 square inches cooking area and a 270 square inches warming rack. This means that the total surface area is 850 square inches which are enough for preparing foods for your friends and family.

If you are searching for a value for money charcoal grill that has a large surface area, Char-griller E2828 might be what you need. It has the 2nd largest cooking are on out top 5 list. With that much bigger area, you can easily place two very large turkeys or three smaller, 25 burgers at once as compared to out 2nd pick. The warming rack is also bigger in size than any other grill.

This grill is made from Heavy steel construction which makes it 2nd heaviest in our list of top 5 products. Being made from steel means it is long-lasting. The cast iron cooking grates gives the food the best finish and keep the temperature high for foods.

It also includes grid removal tools to add more charcoal while cooking. An ash damp pan is also added which you can remove it while cleaning.

It has ample storage area since it features a front sauce/spice rack where you can keep spices or sauce, side shelf made from wood where you can hang tools and it has a shelf at the bottom where some small utensils or other things can be placed. This means that you will be able to keep all the necessary items within your reach.

Pros:

  • Consistent heat
  • East Temp Control via Built in thermometer
  • Pre-seasoned cast iron
  • Bigger Cooking Space

Cons:

  • It’s not airtight
  • Wheels are not quality

4. Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill – Most Lightest

Royal Gourmet is a well-known brand and they provide a cheap and quality charcoal grill for those who are on the ultimate tight budget. The cooking grates are made of porcelain steel wires for maximum heat retention but it doesn’t hold the heat very well. These grates may not hold the heat well but they provide equal heat distribution to give you juicy and tender meat.

Because it’s a Charcoal grill so you need to add charcoal at times. For that lifting, handles are included on the side door for adding charcoal which makes your work easier when adjusting the temperature. You can add 5 lbs of charcoal at once which is enough to generate

The easy to read thermometer is also added on top of Lid to check the temperature with an adjustable vent under the right side grill which helps in controlling the air flow.

Moreover, it comes with a 179 square inches swinging warming rack which provides additional space for cooking. Only thing is this grill won’t be delivered to you with warming rack installed, you need to do it yourself.

For easy movement around your backyard, 2 long lasting wheels are also included. There is also an underneath and front rack where you can store different items. Setting it up is a straightforward process and it’s also easy to clean.

One thing we didn’t like that while using Side Offset smoker, paint start coming off although it is awesome for cooking.

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Takes time to heat
  • Side smoker is awesome

Cons:

  • Hard to control the temperature
  • Made of cheap material

5.    Kingsford GR1031-014984 – Biggest Grill

Kingsford GR1031-014984 is a heavy-duty grill that you can find under $300. It is among the rare grill that you can rely on to cook for a large group since it has a large cooking area of 793 Square inches.

Kingsford GR1031-014984 is a heavy-duty charcoal grill less than $300 which you can use multiple times in harsh conditions. This grill has the largest cooking area of 793 square inches which means you can grill food for a bigger family and a large group of friends.

You can take this grill from one place to another with its reliable and durable wheels.  With its sturdy cast iron grates, this unit can grill up to 35 burgers at once. Due to its bigger capacity, it is best for those who have large families and it is also a perfect choice for barbeque parties.

With its inbuilt thermometer, you can use the right temperature for different kind of foods like burger, steaks, or meat. You can also use its warming side shelf for hosting, and also melting cheese or other items. A bottom storage rack is still included where you can still other important items.

One thing we didn’t like about this grill is it doesn’t have a gripping point on side shelf which makes it difficult to move even after having durable wheels.

Pros:

  • Heavy Duty
  • Warming tray is awesome
  • Cast iron cooking grates
  • Adjustable vents and ash pan

Cons:

  • Prone to rust quickly
  • Cleaning out the ash is pain

Conclusion

We all know that charcoal bbq grills are a bit expensive due to their amazing performance. However, this article has proved that you don’t need to break a bank in order to get a good grill. With less than $300, you can still get a unit that will serve you for many years. We understand that most cheap charcoal grills are made of cheap materials which makes many people shy away from buying them. However, all the products that we have features are made of heavy-duty materials just like the high-end models.

We recommend Char-Griller E16620 as it has a large surface area and comes with different features to ensure that you get the best results when cooking. If you are still not convinced, you can check their rating on Amazon and you will clearly see that they all have so many positive reviews from customers. If you want some value for money which has fewer features in less price that our top pick, check Char-Griller E2828 from the same brand.

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