How to Choose a Charcoal Grill?

When buying a charcoal grill, you want a competent cooker but you also want it to last. What to look for when there are so many to choose from?

Choosing the Best Charcoal Grill isn’t as simple as picking the most important, shiniest, most awe-inspiring model on the market. There’s plenty to think when looking for the Charcoal Grills, but we don’t want you to do it alone.

Grill Master Randy is as good a guide as we can think of for this method, so we asked him to explain everything you need to know when shopping for the top gas grills today

A charcoal grill is basically a kettle grill that comes with a lid, cooking grid, charcoal grid, lower chamber, and venting system. As the lower chamber is where the charcoal is held, that’s why the grill is given the name charcoal grill.

There are a few more reliable ways to enjoy a beautiful summer day than to whip out your charcoal grill and impress your loved ones with your grilling skills.

Anyway, that is easier said than done. What to look for when buying a charcoal grill? Grilling is an art, which, like any other, takes effort, time, and the right grilling techniques to get right.

Which is better? Charcoal vs Gas Grill

Checklist: Before Choosing a Charcoal Grill

Look for a model with a tight-fitting lid, flaps, and well-adjustable vents. 


To maintain the temperature in the grill, you need to adjust the special dampers. A large amount of air above the coals will allow the fire to burn more strongly. Restricting the airflow will ensure low temperatures and slow cooking.

  • Choose a model with a special door for adding charcoal or with special grates.

What for? 

The temperature of quality charcoal reaches a maximum after 20 minutes and it begins to decrease sharply after 1.5 hours.

When cooking requires a long-simmering, you will have to add charcoal. A door or grates will allow you to add charcoal without removing the dish from the heat.

  • Size and shape matter! Pay attention to them.


Charcoal briquettes burn at the same temperature, and the size and shape of the grill will determine how heat is concentrated and dissipated. 

Most barreled grills can cook many foods at once, but on a thin charcoal layer. Suitable for making hamburger patties or sausages. 

Kamado-style grills have deeper charcoal bowls. Thanks to their shape, they concentrate heat if you need high temperatures. Or they slow down the burning rate and keep the temperature low if you close the dampers.

  • Choose a model with a movable coal bed or cooking grates with the ability to raise and lower them.

What for? 

It’s simple – if food is close to charcoal, it dries faster and can burn before it is cooked. A movable platform and grates with a handle will help you tame the fire and control the heat.

  • Choose a grill design depending on the capabilities of your wallet.

If you want to start creating good memories with your family, friends, or colleagues, the best charcoal grill is all you need.

Grilling is an art, which, like any other, takes effort, time, and the right grilling techniques to get right.

Related: 2 Burner Gas Grill under 300

Type of Charcoal Grills

  1. Classic round
  2. Barrel – resemble a barrel turned on its side
  3. Made of ceramics in Kamado style

Fig. 1. Classic Round Barbecue

round barbecue

Pros :

  • Take up less space than other types
  • Allows you to create a large layer of charcoal due to its tapered shape. You don’t need to add charcoal during long cooking. 

Cons :

  • Most cook less food than barrel grills.
  • Three-legged models are not as stable as four-legged grills.

Fig. 2. Barrel grill

barrel grills
 Barrel grill


  • More food is cooked at the same time than classic kettles or Kamado-style grills.
  • Some models have useful features such as a door for adding charcoal or adjustable cooking grates.
  • Most have a removable ash pan.


  • Uses more charcoal than other types of grills.
  • It is difficult to prepare “long recipes”.

Related: 4 Burner Gas Grills under $300 & $500

Fig. 3. Kamado style


  • Most are airtight and allow better temperature control. 
  • The deep, narrow shape allows for a larger layer of charcoal for high-temperature sealing or extended cooking.
  • Designed for long-term retention of heat – some models can cook for 8 or more hours without adding charcoal.
  • Precise temperature control thanks to dampers. Have a wide temperature range.
  • Minuses: Expensive – some models cost almost 300,000 rubles.
  • Heavy ones – especially those made of ceramics.
  • The usable cooking surface is often less than that of a classic or barrel grill.

What else do you need? 

The most important aspect of any charcoal cooking is the ease of use. 

How to pick a Charcoal Grill ?

Choosing a charcoal grill is an exciting undertaking, but we know it can quickly become confusing.

And when we say we know, we absolutely mean it — our experts have tested every kind of charcoal pit on the planet!

Our charcoal grill buying guide wraps up with a brief explainer of our grill classes, which separate models based on quality, performance, and features to give you a clear picture of what type of pit best fits your lifestyle.

Height-adjustable cooking grates

These grates allow food to be lifted and lowered – the equivalent of turning off the burner on a gas grill. You can place food close to roasting coals or farther away to cook chicken breast without charring the skin.

Removable ash pan = easy cleaning

Charcoal cooking can be messy. All ash, coal residues, and grease will accumulate on the bottom of the grill. But models with a removable ash pan are the easiest to clean.

Door for adding charcoal during cooking

Charcoal reaches its peak temperature 20 minutes after ignition. To further maintain the high temperature, add charcoal while cooking. It is much easier to do this through a special door or grilles with reclining segments.

Several ventilation flaps

The heating in a charcoal grill depends on the amount of charcoal and the airflow. More air helps to burn coals, creating higher temperatures. A grill with two vents gives you the flexibility and temperature control you need.

Wheels on each leg

Charcoal grills are often inferior in strength to the best gas grills. The presence of wheels on each leg makes it easy to move the grill and not injure it.


Sizes of charcoal grills range from super-small travel grills ideal for camping trips and tailgates to full-size grills and smokers capable of cooking at volume.

For the most manual, and most “traditional” grilling experience, choose a charcoal grill.

Related : 3 Burner Gas Grill under 300

Quick Safety Tips for Charcoal grill

Got some quick safety tips for you:

  1. Do not add lighter fluid to charcoal that is previously hot or warm.
  2. Nevermore leave your grill unattended
  3. Do not use gas, kerosene, or other high explosive fluids as an alternative. Only use charcoal starting fluid.
  4. When taking out the fire put the lid on top and close the vents so the coals burn out completely.
  5. After grilling, let the ashes and residue cool down for at least 48 hours before cleaning.


There is one important factor among all your style & size choices. You need to make sure it has cast iron grill bars, no aluminum bars. This is very important. Quality grill bars will give better marks and food will stick less.

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