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 burns 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.
8 Best Charcoal Grills Under $300 in 2021
- Weber 15301001 Performer Charcoal Grill
- 363 sq in.
- 43.5 x 42 x 29 in
- Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill
- 447 sq in.
- 45 x 31 x 47 in
- Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw Charcoal Grill
- 1063 sq in.
- 49 x 50 x 29 in
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 grills retain heat and moisture incredibly well through thick walls — ceramic, in the case of this model — which leads to a superior moist and flavorful finished product.
The AKORN grill offers a total of 447 sq in of cooking space, which is ample for just about any size family.
With a built-in temperature gauge, folding side shelves with tool hangers, cast iron cooking grates (which help retain an even heat surface), sturdy wheels for mobility, and a built-in temperature gauge, this grill offers just about all of the features of a much higher priced grill but in a seriously affordable package.
This airtight design allows cooking temps of about 200-700 `F, 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.
This grill is definitely right at the top of the price range, but that’s a trade-off many people are willing to make for the Weber name. If you know grills, you know that Weber really does make some of the best, for truly reasonable pricing!
This grill comes with a reliable built-in thermometer in the lid and easily-adjusted dampers on the lid for excellent temperature control.
It also has a pretty cool design. Instead of tiny side shelves like most grills offer, either gas or charcoal, it has its own sort of large built-in worktable. This makes fitting larger platters of food for larger crowds a much easier thing to do!
You’ll find the 363 sq in cooking space to be ample for larger families. You can efficiently manage the charcoal amount via the provided char basket below the cooking grate.
Small “extra” features of this grill include a heat shield to keep the handle for the lid from getting too hot, a one-touch cleaning system, and the fact that the workspace folds.
With the porcelain-enameled bowl and lid for excellent heat retention, you don’t need to worry about durability. But that’s likely of little concern as this grill offers Weber’s awesome 10-year warranty!
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 our 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 give 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.
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 airflow.
Moreover, it comes with a 179 square inches swinging warming rack which provides additional space for cooking. The only thing is this grill won’t be delivered to you with a 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 a side offset smoker, paint starts coming off although it is awesome for cooking.
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.
Not only does this high-end yet affordable grill look unique, but it truly is unique just about all around!
This is a combo charcoal grill and smoker that offers 300 sq in of cooking area. The grill itself detaches from the base easily, which makes it a great option for both backyard and on-the-go as a portable charcoal grill.
The most unique feature of this grill that you won’t find on many others is that it is constructed of cast aluminum. This means is will not rust. How many other grills can say that?
If there excellent heat retention and temperature precision of the aluminum body isn’t enough of a selling point for you, you’ll also enjoy a nice 10-year warranty with this grill purchase.
The temperature is easily controlled via their patented 4-point venting system. This allows for the grill to be used in a 2-zone cooking system (ie direct and indirect cooking).
The air-tight seal allows you to maintain a steady temperature between about 180-750`F, one of the best ranges you’ll find in any charcoal grill and smoker on the market.
With an impressive total cooking area of 816 sq in, you’ll be the king of the cookout.
This grill features a dual-chamber configuration. The removable steel firebox divider lets you increase or divide the cooking space depending on how much of the cooking area you need.
With double-walled construction, you can expect good heat retention for maintaining temperature.
You’ll find this grill as the top choice on our list of best charcoal grills under $200, and there’s a good reason for that.
While it’s incredibly affordable, it’s also incredibly functional, full-featured, and an overall excellent choice grill at 363 sq in of cooking area! And don’t forget Weber’s famous 10-year warranty.
The one-touch cleaning system is a definite selling point. The ash and debris gets swiped into the removable ash catcher, for easy cleanup.
Maneuverability and portability are top-notch with large wheels and a weight of only about 37 lbs.
The grill has a special lid hook to hand the lid when not in use. Combined with the heat shield, you’ll be totally ready to master the grill with this setup.
Some other features that compete well on this higher-end list are a hinged cooking grate to easily add coals during cooking, a built-in temperature gauge, and tool hooks on the side handles.
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 E16620 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 asimilar value for the money which has fewer features for less price than our top pick, you might check out Char-Griller E2828 from the same brand.