Reviews You Can Rely On

The 6 Best Portable Grills of 2022

We tested portable grills from Camp Chef, Weber, Cuisinart, and more to find the best products
Best Portable Grill of 2022
For this update, we purchased seven new models. Pictured here are the new propane and pellet models.
Credit: Ross Patton
Friday November 11, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Over the past seven years, our experts have bought more than 25 of the best portable grills to test side-by-side. This updated review highlights 15 of the top options to help you cook up delicious meals, even while on the road. We design objective tests to evaluate important features like output power and then back up those assessments with real-world cooking experience. We've tested these grills at tailgate parties, backyard BBQs, picnics, and on camping trips, cooking hundreds of meals to date. The result? An experience-based, comprehensive review of the best portable grills on the market.

We've tested hundreds of products in our camping kitchen reviewsincluding the best camping tables and top camping coffee makers for your outdoor forays. We also have reviews highlighting the best camping stoves and much more.

Editor's Note: Our review of the best portable grills was updated on November 11, 2022, to remove any discontinued products and to add new models from Coleman, Camp Chef, Weber, and Hitchfire Forge.

Top 15 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 15
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Awards Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award 
Price $120 List
$84.99 at Amazon
$180 List
$156.86 at Amazon
$397 List
$397.00 at Amazon
$259 List
$259.00 at Amazon
$71 List
$71.00 at Amazon
Overall Score
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Pros Well insulated, gas efficient, sturdyLightweight, easy to carry and clean, legs can stay folded or extend into two different heights, fuel efficientFast warm up, efficient on fuel, amazing steaks, clean operation and transportExcellent heat retention, convenient side tables, consistent ignitionSturdy, simple, good sized coal bed and grill space
Cons Poor control of heat range, quick deterioration of grill surfaceDoesn't grill super hot, lid latch can be finicky, can be slightly unstable if not on a solid level surfaceMixed windy performance, no slow-cooking function and poor medium-rate cookingLess portable due to weight and lack of latching lid, hot even on lowest settingHandles get hot, vents are hard to adjust, requires more preparation than gas grills
Bottom Line With a lot of heat output from a single burner, this compact powerhouse specializes in high-temperature grilling at a fair list priceThis grill is easy to carry, simple to set up, and easy to useIf you know you like infrared grilling at home, consider this for your portable choiceFrom folding side tables to easy to clean cooking grates, this thoughtfully designed model makes grilling on the go fun and easySimple and highly effective, this portable charcoal grill will help you show-off your pit cooking skills away from home
Rating Categories Cuisinart Grillster Cuisinart Petite Go... Solaire Everywhere Weber Q 1200 Weber Go-Anywhere C...
Output Power (25%)
7.0
4.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Control (25%)
3.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Portability (20%) Sort Icon
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Cooking Area (20%)
4.0
4.0
4.0
6.0
4.0
Wind Resistance (10%)
8.0
6.0
3.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Cuisinart Grillster Cuisinart Petite Go... Solaire Everywhere Weber Q 1200 Weber Go-Anywhere C...
Total BTU 8,000 5,500 14,000 8,500 N/A
Weight (pounds) 13 pounds 15 pounds 15 pounds 31 pounds 12 pounds
Cooking surface area (inches) 148 sq in 145 sq in 135 sq in 189 sq in 140 sq in
# of Burners 1 1 1 1 N/A
Grill material Enameled steel Porcelain-Enameled Cast Iron Stainless Steel Porcelain-Enameled Cast Iron Plated steel
Packed Size (inches / cu ft) 20.5" x 12" x 10.2" / 1.5 cu ft 16" x 16" x 9" / 1.3 cu ft 21" x 8" x 13" / 1.3 cu ft 15" x 26" x 14" / 3.2 cu ft 14.5" X 21" X 12.2" / 2.2 cu ft
Piezo Ignitor Yes Yes Electric Electric No


Best Overall Portable Grill


Weber Q 1200


70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Output Power 7.0
  • Control 8.0
  • Portability 6.0
  • Cooking Area 6.0
  • Wind Resistance 8.0
BTUs: 8,500 | Weight: 31 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent heat retention
Convenient side tables
Durable construction
Cast iron grilling surface
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy for this type

Weber has a reputation for building grills that gracefully blend cooking performance and reliability, and that tradition is rolled into a portable package with the impressive Weber Q 1200. Although it is not the most powerful when measured in output power alone, the design of this grill allows it to efficiently and effectively reach ideal searing temperatures within just minutes of preheating. The highlight of this top-quality construction is the porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates, which comfortably retain the heat evenly distributed by the U-shaped stainless steel burner underneath. Simply put, this model let us grill with more precision, predictability, and control than most of the other models we bought and tested.

Although this portable powerhouse reaches top temperatures with ease, it is more difficult to learn how to harness the heat of the grill surface for foods that require more low-and-slow cooking. Though this model excels in the tabletop or tailgate setting, its relatively heavy weight and bulky packed size — combined with the lack of a latching lid — make it less than ideal for cooking far away from the car or campsite. But if you hope to regularly grill up delicious meals while on the road, the Weber Q 1200 is an accessible portable grill that is sure to appeal to both novice cooks and professional chefs alike.

Read more: Weber Q 1200 Review

best overall portable grill
Though slightly lacking on space, this grill has ample power to cook up any meal you can dream up.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Best Wheeled Portable Grill


Coleman Roadtrip 285


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Output Power 8.0
  • Control 8.0
  • Portability 5.0
  • Cooking Area 7.0
  • Wind Resistance 8.0
BTUs: 20,000 | Weight: 47 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Even heat distribution
Three burner system
Easy assembly
Big Wheels
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy
Less portable than many

The Coleman Roadtrip 285 offers the cooking performance of your typical backyard grill in a portable package. There are three individual burners – a main burner that reaches across the entire grill from side to side, and two additional burners on each side. This configuration is specifically designed so that the heat zones overlap. The result is top-notch control coupled with incredibly even heat distribution. The Roadtrip 285's instructions are clearly written and all tools required for assembly are included, making this model a breeze to put together. It's easy to convert between travel and cooking mode, and the large wheels and long handle make it our favorite wheeled model to move around.

If you're looking for a compact model to fit in the trunk of a smaller car or one that'll take up minimal space while it's not in use, the Coleman Roadtrip 285 is not the grill for you. This grill is bulky compared to many other portable grills we've tested, and relies heavily on its wheels for transport. At 47 pounds, it's not very fun to lift much further than in and out of a truck bed. The weight and bulk definitely detract from its overall portability. But this grill makes up for deficiencies in portability with top-tier grilling performance and easily earns our recommendation for a large-sized portable grill.

Read more: Coleman Roadtrip 285 Review

best wheeled portable grill
The Coleman Roadtrip 285 offers backyard BBQ performance in a form that is transportable and perfect for your next picnic or tailgate.
Credit: Ross Patton

Best Bang for Your Buck


Cuisinart Grillster


57
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Output Power 7.0
  • Control 3.0
  • Portability 8.0
  • Cooking Area 4.0
  • Wind Resistance 8.0
BTUs: 8,000 | Weight: 13 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
High heat output
Gas-efficient
Well-insulated
REASONS TO AVOID
Poor control of temperature range
Relatively small cook surface

For the size and price, it may be tough to find a compact grill more powerful than the Cuisinart Grillster. Not only is it incredibly fuel-efficient, but this portable powerhouse reaches peak temperature within a matter of minutes after clicking the piezo lighter. A lightweight steel lid and three insulating walls give it the ability to both block wind and retain heat, allowing you to cook in less-than-ideal weather. This model cools down almost as quickly as it heats up for a quick get-away, with a locking lid and enough space to store one-pound gas canisters. It also sports an easy-to-carry handle.

The Grillster is great at searing steaks and other high-temperature cooking, but it is tough to control the overall range on this rip-roaring grill. Unless we were aiming for blackened chicken or blistered peppers, we rarely found ourselves using anything more than the lowest gas setting. Although it is compact and portable, there is a tradeoff with its smaller grilling space. Petite and sure-footed, the Grillster is the perfect companion for a picnic for two, no matter the location.

Read more: Cuisinart Grillster Review

portable grill - best bang for your buck
Who says you can't cook with uneven footing? This grill proved its portable capability, performing nearly anywhere on any surface.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Best Portable Pellet Grill


Camp Chef Portable Pellet


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Output Power 7.0
  • Control 9.0
  • Portability 2.0
  • Cooking Area 9.0
  • Wind Resistance 9.0
BTUs: N/A | Weight: 82 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Digital controller
Dual digital temperature probes
Electric ignition
REASONS TO AVOID
Extremely heavy
Requires AC power
Long warm-up time

In recent years, pellet grills have exploded in popularity. There is no mystery as to why – pellet grills offer the control of a household kitchen oven but produce the flavor and texture of charcoal grills and wood smokers. Traditionally, they are not the type of grill that you'd want to tote along with you on an RV trip or to tailgate the big game, but the Camp Chef Portable Pellet changes that. With a bit of clever design, this model collapses to a size that can be wheeled around and transported into spaces that are a fraction of the size of where most pellet grills can fit. The controls for this grill are digital, allowing you to select the exact temperature you need for the cut you're cooking. If the controls weren't precise enough, there are two digital thermometer probes so that you know exactly when your meat's internal temperature has reached the perfect point. There's no need for piezo buttons, a lighter, or starter fluid with this grill because the ignitor is electric.

Some of the things we love the most about the Camp Chef Portable Pellet tie directly to its weaknesses. Not only is the ignitor electric, but so is the auger that feels pellets from the hopper into the grill, which means that this grill needs to be plugged into an AC outlet. If you're at home, in an RV, or have a decent power bank, this isn't much of an issue. But for folks that like to go completely off-grid, this model isn't going to work for you. Much like charcoal grills, pellet grills take some time before they're ready for cooking and the Camp Chef Portable Pellet takes a while to warm up. Lastly, this model is really heavy compared to most of the portable grills in our review. The wheels are helpful, but it's not very fun to drag this grill very far from your vehicle. Despite that, we loved cooking with this portable pellet grill – it is the perfect addition to an RV setup.

Read more: Camp Chef Portable Pellet Review

portable grill - best portable pellet grill
The Camp Chef Portable Pellet is about as transportable as this genre gets, and offers top-tier cooking performance if you're able to power it.
Credit: Ross Patton

Best Portable Charcoal Grill


Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Output Power 6.0
  • Control 7.0
  • Portability 6.0
  • Cooking Area 4.0
  • Wind Resistance 7.0
BTUs: N/A | Weight: 12 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
Sizeable coal bed
Affordable price
Well-insulated, cast iron construction
Charcoal grilling advantages over gas
REASONS TO AVOID
Relatively bulky
Vents are hard to adjust without gloves
Charcoal grilling isn't for everyone

For the fans of pit-cooking out there, we offer up the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill. This well-built barbeque is an innovative take on the manufacturer's classic design, incorporating their enameled, cast-iron construction into a convenient, compact package. The rectangular basin can hold a coal bed that is both deep and evenly spread. A plated steel top grate settles securely into place thanks to deep-seated insets cast into the grill frame, so you can easily adjust heat zones without fear of dropping your whole meal into the coals.

We cannot guarantee that the Go-Anywhere will boast the same heat output as its gas-powered competitors — that's up to you and your coal-stoking abilities. There is certainly a learning curve to mastering different heat zones, but cooking over charcoal potentially offers an accuracy that cannot be matched when cooking with gas. The tightly fitting vents are tough to adjust without gloves, and it takes time to skillfully manage these adjustments for perfect airflow. But we can assure you that with practice, this portable grill can allow you to master the art of cooking over an open flame and produce delicious food in the process, even on the go.

Read more : Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill Review

portable grill - best portable charcoal grill
Slow roasting some dry-rubbed, curry-chicken to perfection.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Best Infrared Option


Solaire Everywhere


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Output Power 8.0
  • Control 6.0
  • Portability 7.0
  • Cooking Area 4.0
  • Wind Resistance 3.0
BTUs: 14,000 | Weight: 15 lbs
REASONS TO BUY
High output power
Fast cook times
Compact design
REASONS TO AVOID
No cooking lid
No "low and slow" cooking

The Solaire Everywhere infrared grill is a unique product on our roster and performs very well in a few categories. First, it is very small and compact, and its construction is tight and carries quietly. Most importantly, the high-powered ceramic "flameless" burner that sits below a carefully designed grate of v-shaped bars cooks steaks better than anything else in our review. Heat can be very high and is delivered rapidly. For those excellent cuts of red meat that require nothing more than a touch of flame, this is the best portable grill on the market.

You don't get this uncompromising high-heat cooking performance without some drawbacks. The Solaire Everywhere is quite specialized. First, the grill top is small, with space for only one or two steaks on it at a time. Next, it is very expensive. Finally — and this is the most significant issue — the low-heat performance is virtually nonexistent. The heat options are adjustable, but they would best be described as "High" to "Extremely High." Further, the lid is only for portability; you cannot close it while cooking. Steaks are prepared very, very nicely, but other foods are nearly impossible to cook well.

Read more: Solaire Everywhere Review

portable grill - beneath those head-sized ribeyes you can see the glowing orange...
Beneath those head-sized ribeyes you can see the glowing orange Solaire heating element. This is what sets the Everywhere apart from the rest.
Credit: Rosie De Lise

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
72
Coleman Roadtrip 285
coleman roadtrip 285 portable grill review
$320
Editors' Choice Award
71
Camp Chef Portable Pellet
camp chef portable pellet portable grill review
$500
Top Pick Award
70
Weber Q 1200
weber q 1200 portable grill review
$259
Editors' Choice Award
60
Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal
weber go-anywhere charcoal portable grill review
$71
Top Pick Award
60
Solaire Everywhere
solaire everywhere portable grill review
$397
Top Pick Award
59
Camp Chef Portable BBQ
camp chef portable bbq portable grill review
$180
59
Char-Broil Grill2Go X200
char-broil grill2go x200 portable grill review
$200
58
Char-Broil 240 Portable
char-broil 240 portable portable grill review
$115
58
Cuisinart All Foods Roll-Away
cuisinart all foods roll-away portable grill review
$280
57
Cuisinart Grillster
cuisinart grillster portable grill review
$120
Best Buy Award
56
George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor 15+
george foreman indoor/outdoor 15+ portable grill review
$110
55
Cuisinart Petite Gourmet
cuisinart petite gourmet portable grill review
$180
40
Cuisinart Portable Charcoal
cuisinart portable charcoal portable grill review
$30
39
Hitchfire Forge 15
hitchfire forge 15 portable grill
$549
38
Weber Smokey Joe 14
weber smokey joe 14 portable grill
$46

portable grill - we got a wide variety of testers to help assess each model at...
We got a wide variety of testers to help assess each model at campgrounds across the West.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Why You Should Trust Us


Our thorough testing process began with scouring the internet for the latest and greatest products across the portable grill market. Next, we narrowed our selection to create a manageable yet comprehensive list of the best products available. We bought all these products at retail cost to allow us to conduct an extended, objectively honest, and comparative review. These review editors rigorously assessed these grills and distributed them to friends to gather a fresh perspective. Throughout the intensive testing phase — which lasted months — we grilled piles of food, measured temperatures, grilled out in heavy winds, and burned through gallons of propane and piles of coal, all in the pursuit of an authoritative review of the best portable grills on the market.

We break down the overall score into five key metrics:
  • Output Power (25% of overall score weighting)
  • Control (25% weighting)
  • Portability (20% weighting)
  • Cooking Area (20% weighting)
  • Wind Resistance (10% weighting)

We tasked long-time OGL review editor Jed Porter with heading up our analysis of portable grills. When you ask Jed's friends what his favorite food is, they'll likely answer either "chips and salsa" or "meat." Jed regularly cooks 1-2 meals a day outside over an open flame, near and far, rain or shine. At various times throughout his career as a mountain guide, he has catered for groups of up to 20 hungry, adventurous clients. Adding more expertise in this category are Aaron Rice and Ross Patton. Aaron has worked in-and-around kitchens for the better portion of a decade. As a wilderness instructor, he has also taught many a hungry teenager the art of creating delicious meals with small stoves. A long time ago, Ross's dad was the head chef at the Steak Pit, arguably the best place to get a perfectly seared filet mignon in all of Utah. After learning how to grill from his dad and following his footsteps, Ross worked in the kitchens of several restaurants in the Lake Tahoe area. All three reviewers tapped into a network of friends and family who also happen to be culinary experts: from culinary arts professors to professional chefs to BBQ business owners.

Firing up some charcoal for side-by-side testing.
Firing up some charcoal for side-by-side testing.
In addition to the grill BTU rating specs, we used an infrared...
In addition to the grill BTU rating specs, we used an infrared thermometer to track temperature increases over time.
For obvious reasons, this is one of our favorite product categories...
For obvious reasons, this is one of our favorite product categories to test.

Analysis and Test Results


A portable grill could be just mobile enough to load it in and out of your truck bed with a friend, or it might be compact enough to fit inside a large backpack. Such a wide range of sizes and shapes of "portable grills" presents a real challenge to our testers, but that's why we take time to analyze the entire marketplace and select the best options available today. We then put ourselves in your shoes and put each model through an array of creative real-life cooking scenarios. This helped us evaluate each product's overall performance and function, as well as the finer details and relative strengths and weaknesses, to help you pick out the best possible portable grill to meet your needs.


Value


The value of your portable grill depends on your cooking needs and your intended usage. A basic, more affordable grill might get you through a backyard bash, but a more expensive product will tend to last longer, even under more rigorous or extensive use. Simple grilling, like burgers and dogs, can be done on any portable grill. But if you would like the option to sear a steak and slow-cook chicken on the same grate, you'll likely only find such features on higher-quality models. Similarly, the least expensive grills don't offer the maximum heat output nor the control to cook more complicated foods.

The Economics of Coal vs. Propane vs. Pellets
While the all-natural allure of charcoal might be viewed as a more sustainable option than propane, these grills tend to burn through coals pretty quickly. This is an important factor to consider when choosing a grill, particularly considering the cost of replacement fuel. Classic charcoal briquettes are the most common, but we recommend all-natural lump charcoal, which may be harder to start but burns hotter and offers a higher-quality flavor without any additives or chemicals. Pellets are generally sold in 20-pound bags and cost a bit more than a similar-sized bag of charcoal, but they are dense and efficient. In our testing, we found that we can cook at least five times as long with a standard bag of pellets, including an all-day smoke or two. The cost of all three options can depend on your geographic location, fuel prices, and supply chain issues.

Grill size isn't necessarily tied to value — in fact, some of the smallest grills in our review are among some of the most expensive. When considering carrying dimensions, grilling surface, and overall performance, the more average-sized grills tend to fall into a more reasonable price bracket. There is a broad range of prices in this category, but two of the lower-priced models stand out. The Cuisinart Grillster has the power you need to sear steaks, but due to its lower-end price point, it lacks the overall control of better grills. The Char-Broil Grill2Go is slightly more expensive but cooks with the quality of an infrared burner and includes additional features like a thermometer built into the lid. If you're looking for a larger propane grill, the Coleman Roadtrip 285 is more of an investment but performs on par with many non-portable patio grills. If you're ready to jump into the pellet world, it's going to cost you – these types of cookers are not cheap. That said, the Camp Chef Portable Pellet's price is fairly reasonable considering its top-notch performance.

portable grill - lining up grills side-by-side to test the backyard ultra-classics...
Lining up grills side-by-side to test the backyard ultra-classics, hamburgers and portabella-burgers.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Output Power


For this metric, we had to consider how different methods of heat production compared among different grills across the board. For gas, we looked at the number of BTUs (British thermal units) each product generates. For charcoal, electric, and pellet options that cannot be measured the same way, we drew upon evidence from testing and an infrared thermometer to measure internal grill temperatures. We also factored in the number of burners of each product, how well the grill body insulated heat and the volume of the coal bed.


In the realm of larger portable propane grills, the Coleman Roadtrip 285 is a cut above the rest when it comes to output power. At 20,000 BTU, this model puts most of the others to shame. U-shaped burners are fairly common with this grill type, but the way the Roadtrip 285's burners are configurated distributes the heat around the oval-shaped grill surface more evenly than other models we've tested.

portable grill - when you think of three burners, this is not the configuration that...
When you think of three burners, this is not the configuration that comes to mind. The burner design on the Coleman Roadtrip 285 distributes heat very evenly, even in strong winds.
Credit: Ross Patton

For smaller gas-powered grills, the Weber Q 1200 puts out a rather modest 8,500 BTU — not the most in our review, but with an efficient U-shaped burner and an insulating lid, this grill offers top cooking performance. The least powerful model is the Cuisinart Petit Gourmet that manages only 5,500 BTUs, but keep in mind that it only weighs 15 lbs and has half the cooking area of the bigger units. Even with its lower output, the Petit Gourmet didn't have a problem grilling anything we wanted, it didn't take any longer to cook than the other contenders, and it used the least amount of fuel. This points to an issue in assessing just the raw BTU score: a certain amount of heat over a smaller surface area will be hotter than the same amount of heat spread across a larger surface area.

portable grill - u-shaped burners, as found on the weber q 1200, are the design of...
U-shaped burners, as found on the Weber Q 1200, are the design of choice to efficiently deliver heat across the extent of a grill surface.
Credit: Aaron Rice

On the charcoal side, insulation plays a much more important role in output power and efficiency. The Cuisinart Portable Charcoal and Weber Go-Anywhere are very similar in terms of coal bed volume, but the Go-Anywhere scores much higher thanks to its cast iron construction.

portable grill - while we couldn&#039;t rely on btu-ratings for charcoal grills, our...
While we couldn't rely on BTU-ratings for charcoal grills, our reviewers utilized an infrared thermometer to accurately test the temperature of these grill surfaces.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Our lone soldier pellet grill, the Camp Chef Portable Pellet, took a bit longer than expected to heat up. However, once it reached the desired temperature, we were very impressed by how even and steady the temperature remained. The flame from the pellet fire heats a large plate that simultaneously distributes heat and directs grease to the grease bucket. As a result, this model retains heat very well. There's no need to worry about having to add coals or switch out propane canisters with the Camp Chef Portable Pellet – you can simply top the pellet hopper off while the grill is in operation.

portable grill - the camp chef portable pellet offers a quicker startup process than...
The Camp Chef Portable Pellet offers a quicker startup process than charcoal and more heat output than many propane models.
Credit: Ross Patton

Effective Heating
Higher BTUs produce more heat, but it is challenging to determine the heat output from the BTU rating alone. Grill size, construction materials, and design all contribute to how much heat will be produced on the actual grilling surface.

Our ranking of heat output also considered each manufacturer's BTU reporting, grill surface area, and lid sealing and construction. For the most part, the scoring of the heat output follows manufacturer claims, but we made some exceptions based on our observations. For instance, while the Weber Q 1200 only claims 8,500 BTUs, in practice, it operates at hotter temperatures and maintains that heat over a larger cook surface compared to other similar models. The infrared-cooking capability of the Solaire Everywhere puts out 14,000 BTUs and confidently sears a steak faster than anything else.

portable grill - we enlisted professional bbq caterers liz bazzano and ryan...
We enlisted professional BBQ caterers Liz Bazzano and Ryan Weidenbach from Dubbs BBQ to help assess these compact wonders. Their input was illuminating and helpful.
Credit: Rosie De Lise

Control


Control is the criteria that most distinctly separates the highest performers from the rest of the contenders. For gas and electric, this metric was scored based on how many burners each product has and whether they can be adjusted to high, medium, and low temperatures. For charcoal, we assessed how easy it was to maneuver the coal bed to create heat zones. For pellet grills, we studied the user interface and considered the details of the startup and shutdown process. We also considered if the grilling surface presents a consistent temperature throughout, whether it includes a thermometer or push-button ignition, and how well both perform. There are advantages and disadvantages to a grill surface that naturally presents different temperature zones.

portable grill - the george foreman indoor/outdoor 15+ may offer a huge grilling...
The George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor 15+ may offer a huge grilling surface, but can only be operated on a single heat-setting. Notice that while the onions were just beginning to nicely char, our burgers were over-browning to a crisp.
Credit: Aaron Rice

If you're cooking only one type of food that covers the entire grilling surface, then you will want to have consistent heat throughout. If you are cooking a variety of foods all at once, you might prefer different temperature zones. To test the distribution of heat across a grill, we grilled different food types in different corners of the grill.

portable grill - the heat distribution of the char-broil 240 grill is not...
The heat distribution of the Char-Broil 240 grill is not particularly even, likely because the distribution cap does not extend to the farthest reaches at either the front or back.
Credit: Aaron Rice

To illustrate this, we cooked plain white bread and photographed the result to help visualize the distribution of heat across these grill tops. We also took into consideration whether the lid was big enough for closed grilling, how easy the grease trap was to use, remove, and clean, and if the regulator provided a snug or loose fit.


The clear champion of this section of our assessment is the Camp Chef Portable Pellet. The digital controller goes far beyond the accuracy of any mechanical knob. If you can operate the controls of a modern kitchen oven, then this model is a no-brainer. This grill can be set from "low smoke" to "high smoke", and for temperatures ranging up to 550 degrees. When you've chosen your desired cook temperature, all you have to do is confirm a start sequence and a timer pops up on the digital display, letting you know exactly how many seconds you have until the grill is ready to be loaded with food.

portable grill - the digital controller on the camp chef portable pellet grill is...
The digital controller on the Camp Chef Portable Pellet grill is more akin to a kitchen oven than most portable grills.
Credit: Ross Patton

Once the grill is going, the Camp Chef Portable Pellet's internal thermometer and the computer then take over to regulate the flow of pellets into the burner. This process keeps the grill temperature remarkably close to the chosen setting. If all this tech hasn't impressed you yet, this model also has two digital meat thermometers so that you can watch temperatures in real time. With this grill, barring some sort of unexpected mishap, you will likely never overcook a tri-tip again.

portable grill - the camp chef portable pellet has two digital meat probes that...
The Camp Chef Portable Pellet has two digital meat probes that display a live view of your food's internal temperature.
Credit: Ross Patton

The Coleman Roadtrip 285 tops the list of our favorite propane models when it comes to grill control and temperature regulation. There are three dials that control the different zones, but all of those heat zones overlap. The middle dial controls a burner that spans the length of the whole grill, while the other two dials control an additional burner on each side. With all of them on, it evenly heats the entire cooking area. The Roadtrip 285 produced better results from our white bread heat mapping test than any other grill we've tested.

portable grill - it would be very difficult to beat the white bread heat distribution...
It would be very difficult to beat the white bread heat distribution test results produced by the Coleman Roadtrip 285.
Credit: Ross Patton

The Weber Q 1200 is another solid model in this category due to the adjustability of its control knob and a sound electronic ignition system. We appreciate the naturally non-stick porcelain-enameled grilling surface and that the cast iron grates distribute a consistent temperature across the entire cook surface. The domed lid of the Q 1200 has plenty of clearance for closed grilling, the grease trap is easy to remove and clean, and the integrated thermometer helps regulate internal air temperatures with impressive accuracy.

portable grill - single-burner options, like the cuisinart grillster, often don&#039;t...
Single-burner options, like the Cuisinart Grillster, often don't afford the same amount of control over temperature zones as other multi-burner grills.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Of the one-burner grills, the mid-sized models offer a wide range of control options. On all that we currently include in the review, the knob and regulators allow a clearer and wider range of burner output. Control, then, is mostly a function of burner shape, grill shape, and the relative interaction of these two features. Large burners, relative to the grill size, distribute heat more evenly to the grill top. We found the u-shaped burner of the Camp Chef Portable BBQ to be one of the best single burners in our review. The large surface of the Cuisinart All Foods Roll-Away gives the cook multiple heat zones to work with while grilling. The infrared burner of the Solaire Everywhere heats the entire grill surface to about the same temperature. This is good for cooking lots of one type of food, but not so good if you're hoping to cook different foods at different rates.

portable grill - building an intensely hot coal bed, that can later be spread out to...
Building an intensely hot coal bed, that can later be spread out to create individual heat zones, is a critical skill in mastering the art of charcoal grilling.
Credit: Aaron Rice

It is important to mention here that cooking with charcoal is very different from cooking over a gas burner. Charcoal is an active heat source, meaning that it can be adjusted — stoked to increase heat or smothered to decrease it — but requires constant care to regulate temperature. The upside is that the potential for control is very high because charcoal gives you virtually unlimited ability to manage various heat zones across the grilling surface. The downside is that this control is not guaranteed: there is a significant learning curve to master this technique, and it's more difficult than adjusting the dial of a gas grill.

portable grill - notice the three different heat zones possible with the weber...
Notice the three different heat zones possible with the Weber Go-Anywhere charcoal grill. From the left: medium heat to evenly brown the steak; high heat to blister peppers; low heat on to caramelize the onion.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Among the charcoal models, the Weber Go-Anywhere scores top marks for control. Thanks to a relatively deep basin, we were able to build and stoke a substantial volume of coals to achieve the exact heat we desired. Since the area of the basin exactly matches the surface area of the grill, we were then able to spread out those coals to create targeted heat zones.

Charcoal grills are the top choice for many grill enthusiasts, but...
Charcoal grills are the top choice for many grill enthusiasts, but this type of cooking can take years to master. Pictured here are two Weber models -- the Go-Anywhere and the Smokey Joe 14.
Smaller charcoal grills like the Weber Smokey Joe 14 can run out of...
Smaller charcoal grills like the Weber Smokey Joe 14 can run out of heat if you don't time your cooking just right.

The Cuisinart Petite Gourmet is one of the smallest grills in our tests, and the size does affect control. This model has an elongated burner beneath a rectangular grate. It has a fairly uniform temperature, but the shape of the grate and burner gives you the option to move your food around to different temperature zones in case you are needing some range for different foods.

portable grill - the camp chef portable bbq grill in action.
The Camp Chef Portable BBQ grill in action.
Credit: Rosie De Lise

Portability


To determine scores in this metric, we loaded each product into vehicles, took them to picnics and campsites, and grilled gratifying culinary concoctions. When on these excursions, we took into account things like the overall size, weight, construction materials, and availability of wheels, stands, or lid latches. We also evaluated how secure or not secure they were, noisiness during transport, and cleanliness on the ride home.


The Petit Gourmet has telescoping legs that fold up neatly, and it's easy to carry in one hand. The Solaire carries cleanly and easily like a small suitcase. Models like this are easy to carry into the park to find your ideal picnic spot. With any grill, cleaning them before transporting them will lead to less mess.

portable grill - even though the weber q 1200 neatly folds up (albeit into a...
Even though the Weber Q 1200 neatly folds up (albeit into a not-so-compact package), the lack of a lid latch is perhaps more annoying than anything when considering the portability of this grill.
Credit: Aaron Rice

The 31-pound Weber Q 1200 is still surprisingly portable due to its useful handles. Special mention should be given to the fact that it can be purchased as a tabletop model (like we did) or can easily be integrated into a separate wheelable, folding stand for enhanced parking lot convenience.

portable grill - during a long-distance drive that included mountain passes and...
During a long-distance drive that included mountain passes and washboard dirt roads, most grills stayed in place, but the Cuisinart Portable ended up upside-down.
Credit: Aaron Rice

The most notable portability attribute of the Char-Broil Grill2Go is that one can fit three propane canisters inside its closed lid during transport. None of the other top-rated grills have space beneath their lids for even one canister. This is nice when space is tight, and it's just convenient. And who would be using a portable grill if space weren't limited?

portable grill - the char-broil grill2go x200 is unique in that, for transport, you...
The Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is unique in that, for transport, you can carry fuel cans inside the lid. We like this. Surprisingly few others allow this.
Credit: Jediah Porter

If you're looking for a larger model, the best way to get the weight off your back is by going with a wheeled model. The Coleman Roadtrip 285 has large wheels that handle fairly rough terrain and a long handle, so you don't have to hunch over while hauling it.

portable grill - the coleman roadtrip 285 is not the easiest grill to move, but the...
The Coleman Roadtrip 285 is not the easiest grill to move, but the large wheels and long handle certainly help.
Credit: Ross Patton

Rounding out the bottom of the list for this metric is the Camp Chef Portable Pellet. This model is really heavy compared to the others, and it has a short handle. You also have to lay it on its back to convert it from travel to cooking mode, which is not ideal. But if you want a pellet grill for tailgating or base camping, this is still your best option.

portable grill - the legs on the portable pellet fold up, but the process is not as...
The legs on the Portable Pellet fold up, but the process is not as easy as some of the other wheeled models we've tested.
Credit: Ross Patton

Cooking Area


Scores in this metric were determined by the size of the cooking surface, the surface material, and any coatings, whether the grill has any side tables or any other added features. Additional features and functions include a grill grate that can be turned over and made into a skillet or bonus features like a warming rack or smoker tray. We also took into account how simple or challenging each contender was to clean.


If you're looking to cook a whole lot of food at once, you can't top the Camp Chef Portable Pellet. Between the main grill and the upper shelf, this model offers 500 square inches of cooking space. If you like the idea of grilling large hunks of meat on one shelf while roasting veggies on the other, this is the grill for you.

portable grill - between the main grill and the upper deck, the camp chef portable...
Between the main grill and the upper deck, the Camp Chef Portable Pellet has tons of cooking space.
Credit: Ross Patton

The single-rack model with the largest grilling area is the Coleman Roadtrip 285. As the name describes, it has an impressive 285 square inches of cooking space. Our team found that this is plenty enough room to cook for a good-sized backyard BBQ or backcountry base camp.

portable grill - the coleman roadtrip 285 was lots of room for lots of tasty food.
The Coleman Roadtrip 285 was lots of room for lots of tasty food.
Credit: Ross Patton

Another standout in this category is the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor 15+, which has one of the largest cooking areas included in this review and can uniquely transition from cooking on the back porch to the kitchen table.

portable grill - we loved the novelty of george foreman indoor/outdoor grill for its...
We loved the novelty of George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor grill for its ability to cook an entire meal outside, and then move onto the table for a Hibachi-style fajita night.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Wind Resistance


Does the burner blow out in the wind? Does the lid get easily slammed shut? Does the grease trap fly away? Is the whole system sturdy? These are all things that were taken into consideration when scoring all the contenders for this metric.


The design of the Camp Chef Portable Pellet is practically unaffected by wind. The burner is deep within the tub of the grill body so it's protected by the walls of the grill, the heat distributor, and the lid. We smoked a rack of ribs on a pretty nasty fall day at an elevation of 7,000 feet in central Utah and had absolutely no issues with wind.

portable grill - we used the camp chef portable pellet to grill this rack of ribs in...
We used the Camp Chef Portable Pellet to grill this rack of ribs in high desert winds for 10 hours -- the ribs were perfect, and the winds had no effect on cooking performance.
Credit: Ross Patton

If you're in the market for a propane grill and you don't want to worry about your flame getting blown out, our top recommendation is the Coleman Roadtrip 285. We found that between the multi-hole design of the burners and the way that they are recessed into the tub of the grill body that this model's flames are very hard to extinguish. We were also impressed by the Camp Chef Portable. This Camp Chef model has a stable cooking surface that prevents any wind from getting through to the grilling grate. Wind resistance was another particularly strong aspect of the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor, whose electrically heated cooking surface seemed completely unfazed by convective heat loss, as far as we can tell.

portable grill - the performance of the george foreman&#039;s electric grill plate is...
The performance of the George Foreman's electric grill plate is basically impervious to wind, and all of the food is protected beneath a gigantic lid.
Credit: Aaron Rice

The Cuisinart All Foods Roll-Away scored the lowest in wind resistance. We grew frustrated at the number of times we had to re-light this model in high winds. The Weber Q 1200 comes with a disposable aluminum drip tray insert that you can place in the more permanent drip tray. This is nice for aiding with cleanup, but it's not very wind-resistant, so it usually ended up on the ground after flying away in windy conditions. This can be remedied by doing away with this disposable part or just by putting a rock in it.

portable grill - the shallow body of the cuisinart all food roll-away results in a...
The shallow body of the Cuisinart All Food Roll-Away results in a frustrating lack of wind resistance.
Credit: Valentine Cullen

Conclusion


All that now stands between you and mobile grilling is your final choice and a big pile of grillable grub. Crack that first tailgate can, ponder our comparative assessments, and pull the trigger on an excellent portable delicious-making machine. None of our choices are poor options, and all can facilitate memorable dining experiences. We are proud of the work we've done to hash out all the options and are honored to be a small part of your transient culinary journey.

portable grill - what better occasion to &quot;force&quot; a spring picnic than grill testing...
What better occasion to "force" a spring picnic than grill testing. A family event, comparing grills and eating good food in March in Drictor, Wydaho.
Credit: Rosie De Lise

Ross Patton and Aaron Rice


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