First of all, you must know that charcoal grills are used for outdoor grilling because they smoke.
The main difference that you can expect to find 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 other meats.
The other big difference in price points will be the ease of temperature control. The temperature control in a charcoal-based grill is not easy as compared to its counterpart gas grills, but the good news is you can increase the temperature 10 fold as compared to other grills. This will allow you to grill your food faster and better.
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 gas grills. This is mainly because charcoal provides real flames which gives your food an extra layer of flavor.
Additionally, charcoal grills burn at very high temperatures and this allows you to sear lamb chops or steaks easily.
If you are on a budget, finding a really great 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.
Best Charcoal Grills Under $300 At A Glance
1. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Charcoal Grill – Best Overall Charcoal Grill
First off, to learn more about what a kamado grill is, you can read up in our article on the best kamado grills.
These grills provide a really cool grilling experience. A little big smoker, a lotta bit grill, and a heck of a good grilling method. These charcoal grills retain heat and moisture incredibly well through thick walls — porcelain-coated 22 gauge steel, in the case of this model — which leads to a superior moist and flavorful finished product.
The AKORN grill offers a total of 314 sq in of cooking space with a 133 sq inch removable warming rack, there is ample space in this grill given the price range.
With a built-in temperature gauge, folding side shelves with tool hangers, cast iron cooking grates (which help retain an even heat surface), and sturdy wheels for mobility, this grill offers just about all of the features of a much higher priced grill but in an affordable package.
This Kamado design allows cooking temps of about 200-700 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why they’ve also included a locking lid for safety!
The dump ash pan is removable for easy cleanup, and the sliding damper makes heat control a breeze.
2. Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw Charcoal Grill – Best Large Grill
This grill comes with a reliable built-in thermometer in the lid and easily-adjusted dual dampers on the lid for excellent temperature control.
It also has a pretty cool design. Instead of just a side shelf like most grills offer, either a gas grill or charcoal grill, this one also has a front shelf where you can temporarily place things like seasonings while using the grill.
You’ll find the massive 950 sq in cooking area (725 sq in primary, 225 sq in warming rack) to be plenty of space for larger families. It can fit up to 38 burgers at a time!
3. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill – Best Classic Grill
It’s hard to go wrong with the classic Weber Original Kettle grill. With 363 square inches of prime space for cooking, it’s plenty for most families.
A nice Weber touch is the hinged cooking grate, which makes it easy to add charcoal in the middle of cooking to keep the coals hot.
This grill’s porcelain-enameled lid and bowl are ideal for heat retention, rust prevention, and anti-peeling.
4. Royal Gourmet CC1830RC Charcoal Grill – Most Versatile and Budget-Friendly
Royal Gourmet is a well-known brand and they provide an inexpensive 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 4+ lbs of charcoal at once which is enough to generate plenty of heat.
The easy-to-read thermometer is also added on top of the Lid to check the temperature with an adjustable vent under the right side grill which helps in controlling the airflow.
Moreover, it comes with a 184 square inches chrome-plated warming rack which, combined with 443 sq in of primary cooking space, provides ample room for grilling on a budget.
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 was that while using the side offset smoker, the paint starts coming off. That said, it is awesome for cooking, and at this price point we can’t be too critical.
5. Dyna-Glo DGN486DNC-D Heavy-Duty Charcoal Grill – Best Value
You’ll find this option to be a truly heavy-duty charcoal grill, made from porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates and durable steel on the exterior.
You can easily control the temperature with the adjustable charcoal tray, and adjust the heat with the steel smokestack. The smokestack has an adjustable flue.
Maintaining the charcoal is as easy as opening the steel front-access door or by sliding the cooking grates aside.
You’ll be able to cook for everyone with 686 sq in of total cooking area — nothing to laugh at for sure!
The durable cart design features side shelves and a storage basket, plus 8-inch wheels for excellent maneuverability.
You’ll clean up the ash in no time with the removable easy-dump catch pan.
6. Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D Dual Zone Premium Charcoal Grill – Best Overall – Runner Up
With a solid total cooking area of 686 sq in, you’ll be the king of the cookout.
This grill features a tray adjustment system, allowing you to raise and lower the coals for fine-tuned temperature control and cooking flexibility. Combined with the ability to side-load charcoal and porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates, this unit makes for an excellent grilling experience.
Final Thoughts on Best Charcoal Grills
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 a budget of $300 or less, 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 the Char-Griller E4822 Akorn Charcoal Grill as the best charcoal grill under $300, as it has a large surface area and comes with many 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 a similar value for the money that has fewer features for less price than our top pick, you might check out Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw from the same brand.