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Best Small Grill

Updated On July 11, 2020

Whenever you think of a grill or a grill party, you think about a massive device that takes up a lot of space, lets you cook quite a few burgers at once, and is unwieldly to handle if you’re a one-person operation. But that doesn’t have to be the case, because you can find plenty of compact option out there as well. There are small grills that work just as well, yet don’t take up as much space, and are generally more budget friendly.

That being said, at this point there are just so many options available that choosing a model that works good for your needs and requirements is a tricky task to say the least. Well, we’re here to help. Not only will we show you how to choose the best small grill, but we’ll also give you 7 great options that you can choose from. They range from extremely small, compact grills, to some larger ones that are still compact for what they offer, and have tables that fold down to make them even smaller.

But, let’s not waste any more of your time. Let’s dive right into the options, and then we’ll take a look at some of the things you should know when you’re choosing your grill. We’ll talk about how they’re powered, how you can transport them, and we’ll mention a couple of brands, too. 

Short on time? Here's a quick roundup of our top 3 picks and why you need them!
Product
Photo
Cost
Pros
Link
*Best Overall

$$$

Get an excellent grilling experience on this 380 square inch cooking space grill with 10 years warranty. 
*Runner Up

$$

Just plug and grill! Straight forward grill with a decent 190 square inch cooking area powered on 1560 watts.
*Also Great

$$

Very portable and compact. Great for picnicking, camping and outside grilling. Offers 285 square inch cooking space.

Best Small Grill : Top 7

Best Overall

People who want a compact grill but are serious about their grilling should definitely take a look at Weber’s Genesis II lineup. It sits right above the entry-level Spirit series, and comes with a few interesting functionalities that you will find useful over time.
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  380 square inches
  • Portability: Fair
  • Weight: 140 lbs.
The Genesis II E-210 LP is a liquid propane grill with two burners, which gives you a total of 380 square inches of cooking space. There’s also a 114 square inch tuck-away warming rack overhead, too, which does come in handy every once in a while.

However, the hallmark of the Genesis II is definitely the GS4 grilling system. The two burners are high performance and extremely durable, made of stainless steel, and they come with porcelain enameled flavorizer bars. There’s also the grease management system that significantly reduces flare-ups, and will make cleaning up and grease removal really easy. And you’re also getting Weber’s Inifinity ignition that starts the grill instantly and keeps the burning under control. It’s also backed by a ten year warranty, which is pretty impressive. (1)

Add to this the fact that you have porcelain enameled cast iron cooking grates, as well as compact side tables with integrated tool hooks, and you’ve got yourself an overall excellent grill. It’s also compatible with Weber’s iGrill3 digital thermometer system which lets you monitor your temperatures from your smartphone, which is an innovative feature. Overall, it’s a great grill. 
Pros
  • 10 Year Warranty
  • Porcelain-Enameled, Cast Iron Cooking Grates
  • Infinity Ignition
  • GS4 Grilling System
Cons
  • Known to have packaging and delivery issues
Best Compact

Even though the Genesis II we just spoke about is pretty compact, if you want the best small grill that’s extremely portable, you should be looking at the Q1400 electric grill, also by Weber. The Q series are their portable options, and the Q1400 specifically is one of the more powerful options you’ll come across. Even though compact, it’s a pretty powerful option, so let’s take a closer look at it.
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  189 square inches
  • Portability:  Excellent
  • Weight: 28.5 lbs. 
The first thing you should know about the Q1400, is that it’s electric, which means that you can just plug it in and grill away. It warms up within minutes, which is more than you can say about gas or charcoal grills. It comes in the box fully assembled, and that’s how you store it as well, because it takes up very little space.

You’re looking at a 1560W electric heating element, and a total cooking area of 189 square inches. This might not seem like too much at first, but when you consider that you’re looking for the best small grill, it’s actually pretty nice. You get cast-iron cooking grates that are porcelain-enameled, as well as a body and lid that’s made of cast aluminum. This makes it a pretty durable and very well made option that’s going to last you a good while. If size is a priority, the Q1400 electric grill by Weber is definitely one to go for – you’ll love it.

Pros
  • 6ft Grounded cable
  • Porcelain-enameled, cast-iron cooking grates
  • Compact and lightweight
Cons
  • No thermometer
  •  Takes time to heat up
Best Collapsible 
Moving away from Weber for a moment, the Coleman RoadTrip LXX is an excellent compact option. It’s got one big thing going for it – it is collapsible, which means that storing it and carrying it around every once in a while should be absolutely no problem, because when completely folded, it’s really, really small. 
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  285 square inches
  • Portability:  Great
  • Weight: 50 lbs. 
However, fold it out, and you’re looking at a very usable grill that’s ideal for camping and picnicking, or taking along with you when you’re going to a buddy’s barbecue party and you want some additional grilling options. It’s powered by propane, and you can expect around 20,000 BTU per hour across a grilling surface that’s 285 square inches. For a small grill, this is actually pretty respectable. You also have the two prep surfaces to the sides, which add a bit more room for making your meals. (2)

Another interesting thing is that the RoadTrip LXX allows you to swap the cooktops, and switch out the grill grates for a griddle and stove option, which you can buy additionally. You also get an instastart button that’s going to ignite the grill without a match or lighter. This is a propane grill, so you should be prepared with a propane tank, but that’s also something you can take along with you. Overall, if you’re in need of a collapsible grill that functions as a full size one, this is a great pick. 
Pros
  • Thermometer Included 
  • InstaStart matchless
  • Collapsible, with wheels
  • Removable cast iron grates
Cons
  • Difficult clean up
  • Fragile gas hook up
Best Value

When you think about a small grill that you can use in your backyard, going for a two-burner model might end up costing a good amount of money if you want to keep things compact. However, some people just don’t want to spend that much money, and the Classic 280 by Char-Broil is a great pick for such people. It comes at a very reasonable price, and gives you tremendous value when you consider all the functionality you’re getting out of it. 
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  280 square inches
  • Portability:  Good
  • Weight: 43 lbs. 
To begin with, as the name implies, you’re looking at a total cooking space of 280 square inches, which is basically all porcelain enameled grates. This makes them durable and easy to clean, which is pretty neat for a grill at this price. You also have two stainless steel in-line burners which gives you a decent heat output and will result in tasty food anytime you want it. The steel lid and the firebox are both porcelain enameled, which helps them resist the elements, but also makes sure that the heat remains inside and doesn’t escape out.

You’re also looking at two metal side shelves that are 12 by 13 inches, and will give you a bit of space for either storage, or food prep, whichever is more convenient to you. Oh, and lest we forget the piezo ignition system that starts things up in a fast and reliable manner. Overall, this is an excellent grill that gives you plenty of functionality at a very reasonable price.
Pros
  • Piezo Ignite
  • Porcelain-coated steel lid & firebox
  • Easy to clean
  • Two metal side shelves
Cons
  • Hard to assemble
Best ​Charcoal

Yes, we’re back to Weber – what can we do when they’ve got some truly excellent grills? But the Smokey Joe is going to be our last one by Weber, we promise. It’s certainly a contender for the best small grill, especially if you’re looking for that authentic charbroil taste that you can only get from a charcoal grill. 
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  14 inches diameter
  • Portability:  Very Good
  • Weight: 10 lbs. 
So, what are you looking at? Well, to begin with, this is a very durable grill that’s very well made. It will last you a good while, and carrying it around shouldn’t be too much of a problem either thanks to the construction. It’s also fairly lightweight, which is another benefit.

Both the bowl and the lid are porcelain enameled, which ensures they won’t peel or rust, but even more importantly, they retain heat very, very well. You do get dampers, though, so you can regulate the temperature inside, which means that even with a simple, wallet-friendly grill, you can get just the right temperature.
​​ 
The cooking space is pretty good. At 14”, you can have four to five burgers, depending on their size, all cooking at the same time. They’ll be laying on a steel cooking grate that’s pretty durable and fairly easy to clean. All things considered, you won’t get a better charcoal grill, especially not at this price, when you’re looking for the best small grill. The Smokey Joe is the one to go for. 
Pros
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Porcelain-enameled lid
  • Plated steel cooking grate
  • Aluminum ash catcher
Cons
  • Small cooking space
  • No added features
Most Versatile

When you first look at the GGR50B, you might think that it’s a pretty conventional grill. However, this is anything but conventional, because you’re looking at an extremely versatile grill that has a lot of adjustability and options, and comes at a fairly reasonable price. 
Quick Summary
  • Cooking Space:  240 square inches
  • Portability:  Great
  • Weight: 21 lbs. 
First things first, you have about 240 square inches of grilling surface, which is pretty impressive for a grill that’s actually compact. This is about fifteen servings, which is more than enough for a family, and could even cut it for a smaller party. It’s all covered in a George Tough Nonstick Coating, which is very durable, and incredibly easy to clean. With it, you won’t need any butter or oil, and you’ll get an excellent taste to your food, even though this is an electric grill.

The stand is removable and weather-resistant. This means you can set it up on your kitchen countertop and cook inside, or you could set it up on your backyard patio, and enjoy a grill party. To add to the versatility, you’ve also got adjustable temperature control with a temperature probe. You can choose from five heat settings and you can get things just right for the meal you’re cooking.

Here's an article that explains every temperature you need to know to achieve best possible results while grilling. 
 
All things considered, if you need an indoor/outdoor grill that’s pretty versatile and allows you to set it up in a variety of ways, the GGR50B is definitely one to look at, especially at the price it comes at. 
Pros
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • Easily removable stand
  • Lightweight
  • Heats up quickly
Cons
  • Hard to clean
  • Short Cable

The Buyers' Guide

Unless you’re well experienced in this regard and know exactly what you’re looking at, you’ll find that the grills above vary quite a bit from one another. And the first thing you’ll notice is that they all use different types of “power”. We put that in quotes because “power” is usually reserved for electricity. But aside from electricity, we have two other types of grills here.

First up, we’ve got charcoal grills. They’re the ones to go for if you prioritize flavor, because such a grill will give you that smoky taste in the food that makes barbecued meat unforgettable. It’s best when you have both the time, and the space for it, because it’s actually a pretty slow way of cooking. It also emits quite a bit of heat, too, which doesn’t make it exactly friendly when you’ve got a bunch of kids running around it in your back yard. These are also some of the more budget-friendly grills, so opting for charcoal will save you a bit, too.
Charcoal Grill
Next, there are gas grills. They’re the most common choice at the moment, because you get a flavor that’s similar to charcoal grills, but you get most of the convenience of an electrical grill. They’re powered by either natural gas, or propane, and the flame they produce is strong and hot. It sears meat in a manner that’s really similar to charcoal. Like charcoal, they create quite a bit of heat, so you should be careful when using them. They do cook rather quickly, and they don’t emit smoke like a charcoal grill does. They also have the benefit of being pretty portable if you have a tank, but if you attach them to a natural gas line, they aren’t exactly portable.
Last but not least, we have electric grills. They’re not exactly traditional, but they’re becoming increasingly popular, because they’re a pretty healthy, and easily accessible way to grill. Unlike a charcoal grill, or a gas grill, you only need an outlet to use an electric grill, and they heat up in mere minutes. Their sizes vary from compact options for yourself only, to massive outdoor setups that are good for parties. And while they’re incredibly convenient, some people don’t really love them because they don’t really recreate that classic charbroiled taste when you’re grilling, and takes away from the experience.
Now, we did include options for each type, so it’s mostly personal preference which one you go for, as you’re the one that’s going to be using the grill and tasting the food.
Aside from the “power”, you also have another important decision to make – do you get a compact home grill, or do you go for a portable one? Something like the Weber Genesis II E-210 we mentioned is rather compact for what it’s made for, even though it’s not too small. On the other hand, you’ve got the Weber Smokey Joe, which is incredibly compact and you can easily take along with you. 

Wrapping Things Up

At the end of the day, what the best small grill is for you is mostly personal preference, and it depends on what your idea of a small grill is. If you’re looking for something to take along with you, go as small as you can. If you want something for your back yard, but you want it compact, a two burner model with folding tables could be just right. All you need to do is make up your mind and order!
Best Overall

People who want a compact grill but are serious about their grilling should definitely take a look at Weber’s Genesis II lineup. It sits right above the entry-level Spirit series, and comes with a few interesting functionalities that you will find useful over time. 

References

(1) GS4 Grilling System- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRhCpNZLV-E
(2) BTU Explained - https://www.essentialhomeandgarden.com/what-is-btu/

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About the author 

Albert Thompson

Albert hails from Kentucky where grilling is a lifestyle. He brings with him his years of experience in the cooking sector and the product sector, but dont let that fool you, he practices what he preaches and enjoys a big rack of ribs every weekend.


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