Grilling with charcoal is a special experience. It delivers excellent heat and imparts a delicious flavor to the food while also being a great and social way to cook. It need not cost you a fortune and we will bring you the leading options for the best charcoal grill under $100.
Our Top 9 Best Charcoal Grills Under $100
There are many great charcoal grills but finding a quality option under $100 is a bit more challenging. That being said, there are many brilliant options and after extensive research, we have found them.
We looked at all aspects of the most popular models and considered the brand reputation, the materials, build quality, effectiveness, ease of use, and a range of other factors. We read multiple consumer reports, feedback from customers, reviews and other sources to bring you the very best charcoal grills under $100.
The overview table highlights the key features of each model before we go into the specifics of each option. We then look at some guides to help you make the right buying decision and answer a few frequently asked questions we came across while researching the leading grills under $100.
- Dimensions 25 x 22.5 x 39.5 inches
- 363 square inches of cooking space
- Steel structure
- Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
- Aluminum ash catcher
Weber has a proud tradition of quality durable grills that goes back as early as 1952. They have a distinguished reputation for effective grills that work well and last. Despite the great value for money, this model option has the typical Weber design and quality that many have come to know and love.
What makes this charcoal grill so effective is the classic Webber design as well as the materials. A porcelain-enameled bowl and lid combined with the shape and design allow for powerful even heat and easy cooking with excellent heat retention. Another benefit of the materials is that they add to the durability of the steel grill.
The cooking grate is also highly durable and does not stick. Another benefit is the handles that feature shields to protect you from the heat below. The dampers are easy to adjust and will allow for precise heat and perfect grilling with minimal effort.
There is very little not to like about this quality Weber grill. It is a popular and highly-rated option. It is well made from quality materials and functions effectively. As it is a budget model it lacks some of the more sophisticated features and a few people found it slightly tricky to assemble. That being said, it is an outstanding product and we recommend it with full confidence.
- Trusted and well-established brand
- Quality workmanship
- Durable steel construction
- Good heat retention and distribution
- Able to handle high temperatures
- Effective and accurate venting for precision cooking
- Sturdy wheels
- Easy to clean
- The aluminum ash catcher is rust-resistant
- Some found the assembly to be a bit tricky
- Basic features only
- Dimensions 45.3 x 26.8 x 48 inches
- 800 square inches of cooking space
- Stainless Steel
- Smoker functionality
- Temperature control vents
Royal Gourmet has made a convenient and user-friendly charcoal griller with the CC1830F. It grills perfectly and also works extremely well as a smoker which is an awesome advantage. The smoking feature makes it extremely versatile and offers another way to make delicious meat, poultry, and other foods.
The grill is easy to assemble and it takes minimal effort to clean. It is relatively compact yet still offers a large cooking area and it has decent temperature control for succulent perfectly cooked food.
A small number of people found the paint to bubble or peel. While this is not ideal it could be related to how it was set up and used however it should not happen. Some people found the lid to be on the heavy side. Apart from these minor issues, this is clearly a quality grill that is well-loved by many people and we have no hesitation in recommending it.
- Vast cooking area
- Easy and convenient to use as a smoker
- Easy to assemble
- Cleaning is quick and easy
- Good temperature control
- Some found the paint coating to peel or bubble after a while
- A few people found the lid to be heavy
- Dimensions 31 x 21 x 44 inches
- Weight 50 pounds
- 250 square inches of cooking space
- Cast iron cooking grates and side drawer
- Powder coating
Despite being a compact unit that should fit well in smaller spaces, the Char-Griller ER1515 still gives you a generous amount of cooking space. Not only that but it has a handy storage rack on the side for spices, cooking utensils or food. It weighs only 50 pounds and has sturdy wheels making it easy to move from place to place.
The grill is made from tough heavy-duty steel making it robust and durable. The powder coating looks good and offers additional protection. It is easy to use and a breeze to clean. The double bottom ensures good heat control for easy and even cooking.
Although it is extremely highly rated there were a small number of complaints. A few people were not impressed with the lid fit which they found to not seal perfectly and some said that it drips grease or collects grease. Despite these small issues experience by a few users, based on the popularity we highly recommend this model.
- The wheels make it easy to move
- Durable heavy-duty steel
- Convenient side trays for storage
- Value for money
- Some found the lid to be a less than perfect fit
- There were complaints of grease dripping or collecting in the grill
- 240 square inches of cooking space
- Plated steel cooking grate
- Weight 22 pounds
- Porcelain-coated steel construction
- Top and bottom aluminum dampers
Another great product from trusted brand Weber is the Jumbo Joe. This charcoal grill is a compact tabletop version of their classic kettle grills. It can sit comfortably in a small patio or can easily be taken with you when on an outdoor adventure, tailgating or a trip to the beach. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this grill. Although compact it has an 18.5″ diameter cooking area.
It is well made from quality materials as you expect from Weber. The lid and bowl are porcelain-enameled for even heating and easy consistent cooking. You have good control over temperature thanks to the effective dampers. The dampers are aluminum making them rust-free.
The lid also features a lid handle with a protective heat shield. Another handy feature is the Tuck-N-Carry lid lock. This not only makes it easier to use and move but also functions as a lid holder. This means you need not put the lid on the ground.
The cooking grate is plated steel which will help to prevent food from sticking as you grill. Below the grill is an effective ash catcher made from aluminum. This keeps the grilling process neat and makes it easy to clean up when you are done.
This is a popular well-loved portable grill. The only real concern is that given the compact size the lid clearance makes it unsuitable for larger cuts of meat. We recommend this grill without any hesitation provided you are aware that you will not be able to cook a large roast on the grill.
- Light, compact and highly portable
- Great temperature control
- Solidly built from tough durable materials
- Non-stick plated cooking grate
- Heatshield on the lid handle
- Handy Tuck-N-Carry lid lock
- Durable ash catcher
- The lid is not high enough for certain cuts
- Some question the durability compared to other Weber products
- 160 square inch of cooking area
- Weight: 14.53 pounds
- Porcelain-enameled base and lid
- Heat retaining plated cooking grate
- Lid lock
Weber never fails to impress with design and quality. This is another great option that is super-light and compact making it the perfect portable grill for traveling. It has the usual quality and heat-retaining base and lid as well as the dampers for quality heat control. The cooking grate is a tough plated steel for durability and minimal sticking. This will allow you to grill your food to perfection anywhere anytime with minimal effort.
Another feature that improves the portability of this grill is the lid lock. This keeps it securely in place for easy transport. One of the best things about this grill is that it is quality at a super affordable price. You will battle to find a comparable portable grill in this price range.
This is the perfect traveling charcoal grill and most people rave about it. The only drawback is that space, especially height, is limited. You will not be able to cook for large groups or roast a large bird or cut of meat. If you want a portable and effective grill for your adventures we strongly recommend this model.
- Ultra-compact, light, and portable
- Lid lock for easier mobility
- Precise heat control
- Good build
- Quality materials
- Easy to clean
- Outstanding value for money
- Limited height
- Too small for large gatherings
- 250 square inches of cooking space
- Weight 40 pounds
- Offset design for easy smoking
- Durable solid steel construction
- Adjustable dampers
Char-Griller also offers a great portable charcoal grill that is also well priced. It is made from durable steel and designed to give you many years of grilling enjoyment. It is not only a quality charcoal grill but also functions exceptionally well as a smoker. It will work with other Char-Griller barrel grills for succulent and tender smoked treats. It has an offset design to allow for Texas-style smoking.
The design is highly versatile and allows you to switch from one cooking style to the other quickly and easily. Although this is an extremely compact and portable grill it still gives you a decent 250 -square inch of cooking space.
The sliding drawer design makes it easy to remove the ash and waste for easy cleaning and hassle-free operation. For convenience and safety, it has a Stay Cool handle. The cast-iron cooking grates are effective and durable.
Char-Griller is a quality brand and this is a durable grill that is portable and easy to use. The vast majority of customers love this model and the only complaints were from a handful of people that had assembly issues or found the fit less than perfect. Apart from that, we recommend this grill with complete confidence.
- Highly durable
- Compact and portable
- Great for grilling and smoking
- Easy to assemble and setup
- Sliding drawer to clean ash and coal with ease
- Accurate and easy heat control
- On the heavy side for a portable grill
- Some found certain part did not fit perfectly when assembled
- Dimensions 15.25 x 15.25 x 8 inches
- 256 square inches of cooking surface
- Weight 41 pounds
- Adjustable height
- Heavy-duty plate steel
Often the simple things in life are the most effective. This is an example of a very basic grill that is easy to use and extremely effective. Everyone enjoys the experience of grilling in a park and now you can own your own park-style grill to have this convenience wherever you go.
If you want a lot of features this is not for you. If, however, you want a user-friendly portable grill that will not cost a fortune this is certainly worth a look. It is not going to last forever but is convenient and handy. It will give you many years of grilling pleasure for minimal investment.
- Super easy to use
- Fully adjustable height
- Sturdy solid materials and construction
- Some found it to rust after some time
- Very basic
- Dimensions 17 x 14.2 x 14.5 inches
- Nickel-plated steel cooking grate
- Steel Charcoal Grate
- Ash catcher
- Smoker functionality
As you can clearly see, Weber produces a wide range of quality grills, many of them under $100. We are big fans and we are not alone. They are one of the most popular brands on the market and this is thanks to their good reputation for quality products that are durable and work well.
Apart from being a quality compact product, the 10020 Smokey Joe comes at a remarkably low price. This makes it essential gear for small spaces or any outdoor fun. As the name suggests, this highly versatile grill functions perfectly well as a smoker.
The grill also features the classic Weber “Tuck and Carry Lid Holder” which is safe, neat and convenient. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl ensure good heat conduction and even and easy cooking. No matter what you choose to grill, it will be easier on a quality product such as this. It also has the typical Weber aluminum dampers which are durable and make heat control simple and easy.
It is very hard to fault this amazing grill especially when you consider the low price. There were one or two people that battled with the ventilation and airflow and some said it should have side handles. Other than that, the vast majority of people were highly impressed with the value for money and great quality. We certainly recommend this model if you want a compact portable grill on a budget.
- Great value for money
- Ultra-light and compact
- Works well as a smoker
- Tuck and Carry Lid Holder
- Ash catcher is rust-free
- Easy to assemble and set up
- No side handles
- Some customers were disappointed with the ventilation/airflow
- Dimensions 45 x 12.8 x 26.8 inches
- Weight 13.5 pounds
- Stainless steel construction
- Cast iron griddle
- Foldable legs
This is a foldable grill that offers plenty of cooking space yet can pack up into a compact unit that is easy to carry and transport. The lightweight design and folding legs allow you to take this with you where you want to do some decent grilling.
It is solidly built from quality stainless steel with a cast iron non-stick griddle. This makes it durable as well as easy to clean. The height is easy to adjust according to the heat and what you are cooking. It can handle extremely high heat with no problems. The air vents allow for good heat distribution and make it easy to use. It has a handy storage rack for even more space and convenient side handles.
This is a popular option and most people only had good things to say. There were some complaints but not many. One or two people found some of the edges to be sharp and potentially dangerous. Some thought that the build and materials were not as durable as other options available. At the price and for the convenience of portability we recommend this model.
- Non-stick iron grill pan
- Foldable and portable
- Easy to adjust the height
- Handy storage rack
- Stable and sturdy
- Good ventilation and temperature control
- Can handle high temperatures
- Value for money
- The durability might not be as good as many other models
- Edges could be sharp and dangerous
When selecting the best charcoal grill under $100 there are many great options to choose from. There are, however, some models that will work better for your needs so you need to choose wisely. We take a look at a few of the important factors to consider before making your decision.
This is important for a number of reasons. Better materials mean greater durability and also enhance performance. Look for a charcoal grill made from quality materials that will not bend, buckle or rust. More solid materials make the grill heavier so one has to balance durability with portability according to your needs.
The Weber grills are generally well made from quality materials that last. The Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro is made from robust steel that will last many years of grilling enjoyment.
The quality of the cooking grate is also important. A quality model will be non-stick, retain some heat and offer good durability. The Weber Jumbo Joe and Weber Go-Anywhere both feature quality non-stick cooking grates.
Related to the above point, durability is important. Even though all of these grills are well-priced, you still want to get a good few years out of them. Look at the workmanship, quality of materials as well as the reputation of the company. Rather spend a bit more on a grill that will last more than on one you will have to replace every season.
Cooking surface size
Consider your needs and how many people you intend cooking for. Generally speaking, the more portable the grill, the less the cooking surface. That is not always the case. The foldable ISUMER grill is highly portable yet still offers a good cooking area. The Weber Jumbo Joe is another compact option that also offers a large cooking surface.
Another challenge with smaller portable grills is that often the lid is not high enough for a large roast. Consider the type of food you intend cooking to ensure the dome height is sufficient for your needs.
In order to grill evenly and with ease you need good heat control. Charcoal grills are good at this but some models perform better than others. The quality of the materials, as well as the airflow and vents, make all the difference.
The Weber models with a porcelain-enameled base and lid are good at keeping consistent and even heat. The vents on these models as well as others such as the Char-Griller Box are great for precision heat control. This will ensure food is succulent and cooked to perfection.
Airflow is essential for a good cooking experience on a charcoal grill. The better you are able to control it the easier it will be to cook according to your needs.
If you only intend to use the grill on the patio or in the yard this is not a major issue. A portable grill is awesome as it allows you to take it with you if you go tailgating, camping or on other adventures. It needs to be light and compact in order to be portable. This will give you great enjoyment.
Practical and durable wheels will make your grill more convenient. You might want to move it due to the weather conditions, the visitors or other reason and decent wheels make this easier. Both the Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro and the Weber 741001 have excellent wheels.
Many charcoal grills can do more than simply grill. Those with a lid, like the Weber options or the Char-Griller E1515 Patio Pro, are great for doing roast cuts of meat, poultry and other meals including pizza. This makes them extremely versatile.
Another option that is great at times is the ability to use your grill as a smoker. For a uniquely delicious flavor and texture, smoking is a great option for many types of food. The Royal Gourmet CC1830F and the Char-Griller Box both have an outstanding smoker feature.
Ease of cleaning
One of the potentially painful aspects of charcoal grilling is cleaning the grill after use. Some are easier to clean than others. It all depends on the design, materials and the finish of the grill. The Weber 741001 and 121020 Go-Anywhere are both super easy to clean.
While researching the best charcoal grill under $100 we came across a number of frequently asked questions. You might have been wondering about some of these yourself.
This very much depends on the design of the grill. It all starts, however, with the amount of charcoal used. The amount of fuel will determine the heat potential. More fuel naturally means more heat, all other things being equal.
On open grills, the height will determine the heat intensity. You can raise or lower it according to the heat of the charcoal and the type of food you are grilling. With domed grills or those with lids, you will need to use the air vents to regulate the heat. Close the vents if you want less heat and open for more heat.
Many people battle to get the fire going. After a bit of experimentation and practice, it should be easier. A few tips will make the process easier. Firstly, you want to use quality charcoal. This is not only easier to light but also lasts longer and more consistent.
One can use lighter cubes or firelighters to start the fire. The good ones are non-toxic and odorless and will not impart any unpleasant flavor on the food. Another handy tool is a chimney starter. It is a simple cylindrical device that contains the coals making them faster and easier to get going. Once they are burning correctly simply pour the coals out into the base of the grill and add more if necessary.
No, the more basic open grills will not function as a smoker. Those with domes or lids are suitable for smoking but if you want to cook in this style it is best to look for one that has been designed with smoking in mind. It is a great way to cook certain foods and imparts a great flavor.
We have only reviewed the leading options for the best charcoal grills under $100. They are all excellent options depending on your needs. One model did, however, stand out as the clear winner. The Weber 741001 Original Kettle is an exceptional choice as it is solidly built from quality durable materials and works exceptionally well. It is user-friendly, easy to clean and cooks like a dream. In this price range, it is one of the finest grills available.
Give some thought to your needs and how you intend to use the grill in order to find the very best option for your needs.