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The 5 Best Portable Grills
When you go camping, the best portable camping grill can elevate your ability to grill great food. Having a portable grill can significantly improve your vacations. Instead of having to settle for packed meals or spending big at a restaurant, you can just fire up your portable grill and cook good food like you always do. Read our portable grill reviews & ratings to find the best portable grill today.
In This Article
Best Choice: Weber Portable Liquid Propane Grillin Black
The Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill is the best portable grill because it provides you with precise heat control on porcelain-enameled grates, with a large grill surface for the size.
The Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill is a great portable grill when you want to cook outdoors. What’s the secret to grilling perfection? Having great ingredients certainly helps and it would also be ideal if you have a good recipe to follow. Still, the biggest difference-maker in my opinion is simply having a grill that gives you complete control over the cooking process.
That’s precisely what you’re getting from Weber’s Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill.
This grill features infinite control burners that allow you to adjust the heat level to right where you need it to be. Other grills have a similar feature, but it’s worth pointing out that the infinite control burner works exactly as intended here. You don’t have to keep the burner on full blast throughout the cooking process. Once you’re done searing whatever it is you’re cooking, you can dial back the heat and rely on the porcelain-enameled cast iron grates to get you to the finish line.
Those grates are also easy to clean, which is always a nice feature to have for such a large portable grill. This grill offers 189 square inches of cooking space, which should be sufficient for most of your grilling needs. Notably, this portable grill has some good height on it even with the lid closed. You should be able to cook on the rotisserie thanks to that.
- Grill provides you with complete control over the heat
- Porcelain-enameled cast iron grates are easy to clean
- Grates also hold heat well
- Grill remains tall even with the lid closed
- Attaching smaller gas cans to this grill can be tricky
Premium Pick: Nepoleton 29.5-Inches TravelQ Pro Portable Propane Grill
The Napoleon TravelQ Pro 285 Propane Grill is the best portable grill because its massive cooking surface for the size also comes with porcelain-coated grate bars, plus a powerful heat source with two burners that empowers you to cook whatever you want while camping.
The TravelQ Pro 285 Propane Grill from Napoleon is a fine example of a portable grill that doesn’t skimp on the cooking surface. Portable grills may not be able to house as many of your favorite foods as some of the bigger machines on the market, but you can still find variants that provide plenty of cooking space.
This grill provides 285 square inches of usable cooking space, and there are 2 burners to ensure that you can grill everything at the same time. Similar to the Weber grill above, this Napoleon creation also features plenty of height. You should be able to cook whole chickens and other larger cuts of meat inside of it.
The cast iron grids that are coated with porcelain work well when it comes to holding on to heat. They pair well with the size of the grill and make it easier for you to cook plenty of food within a smaller window of time. It’s a minor feature, but the well-designed knobs also help with exercising better control over the grill’s performance.
- Provides 285 square inches of cooking surface
- Equipped with porcelain-coated cast iron grids
- Knobs are easy to use
- Some of its parts are not very durable
Best Value: Weber Go-Anywhere Portable Gas Grillin Black
The Weber Go Anywhere Gas Grill is the best portable grill because its ultra-compact form lets you take it absolutely anywhere, no matter how light you need to travel. At just 13.5 pounds, you should have no problem taking it with you camping.
Even among portable grills, the Weber Go-Anywhere Gas Grill stands out from the pack because of how easy it is to carry around and transport. The Go-Anywhere grill takes portability to the next level so you can grill anywhere, no matter how light you need to pack.
At just 13.5 pounds, this is definitely one of the lightest portable grills available today. Some portable grills even weigh thrice as much as this Weber creation. This is the kind of grill you will have no trouble taking anywhere you go. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this is also one of the more affordable portable grills. This item is a suitable emergency purchase if your usual grill acts up just a day ahead of your trip or if you need a grill but are tight on space.
As you probably might have guessed, there are some areas in which this grill is lacking. For one, you’re not getting a lot of cooking space. A 160-square inch cooking space is something you can work with, but you will probably have to cook in multiple batches if you are preparing food for more than two people. Even considering those issues, this is still a portable grill that presents a great value proposition.
- Very easy to carry because of its weight
- One of the more affordable portable grills
- Features porcelain-enameled cooking grates
- Small cooking space
- Ignition may malfunction at times
Runner Up: Weber Portable Liquid Propane Grill
The Weber Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill is the best portable grill because it offers a powerful BTU and respectable surface area, all while maintaining a compact shape that allows you to easily take it on the go while camping.
This may not come as a surprise, but the Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill from Weber is another great portable grill for camping. This grill has a cooking surface of 189 square inches, with a powerful BTU for cooking. Just as the first Weber featured on this list, this grill has a porcelain-enameled cast iron grate that allows for precise temperature control and easy cleaning. That means you can enjoy the benefits of porcelain-enameled cast iron grates if you decide to purchase this Weber grill.
Weber’s Q1200 grill is slightly taller than this grill, but the Q1000 is still capable of providing the space you need while staying compact.
The biggest difference between this grill and the one reviewed earlier is the amount of control they give you over the temperature. The Q1200 excels in that department and that’s a big part of the reason why it ended up as my top pick. In contrast, the Q1000 grill struggles when it comes to temperature control. You may have a tough time cooking your food the way you want to because of that. The Q1000 is another solid offering from Weber, especially for people who need something even smaller than the Q1200 from our top pick.
- Features porcelain-coated cast iron grates
- Grill is tall enough to house larger pieces of meat
- Struggles with temperature control
Honorable Mention: Coleman Portable Propane Gas Grill for Camping & Tailgating
The Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill is the best portable grill because it offers a versatile and customizable approach to grilling with replacable grill grates, griddles, and more, all while being portable and easy to use.
Last up, we have the RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill from Coleman. This is yet another item that doesn’t let the fact that it’s portable get in the way of it providing a sizable cooking surface. The 225-square inch cooking surface should be more than enough to cook burgers and other grilled favorites for you and your friends.
I love that you can quickly swap out the cooking surfaces on this grill. If you’re preparing a sauce, you can take out the grilling grates and replace it with a stove grate. During breakfast time, you can also remove the grill grates and replace it with a griddle suitable for flipping pancakes. Do note that the additional cooking surfaces are sold separately.
The manufacturers tout the fact that this grill offers two independently adjustable temperature zones. While it is true that you can adjust them separately, lighting up even just one burner still heats up the whole grill. The adjustable zones would have been better if they covered separate portions of the cooking surface. The ignition may also not work as intended all of the time. There’s a lot to love about this Coleman grill, especially its versatility and how easy it is to customize the grill for your own needs.
- Cooking surface measures at 225 square inches
- Grates can be easily swapped out
- Grill is completely assembled out of the box
- Ignition does not work as expected every time
Features to Consider for the Best Portable Grill
Now that we’re done talking about some of the top portable grills you can purchase right at this moment, let’s take some time to discuss other important matters. To be more specific, let’s talk about the factors that can greatly impact the quality of the portable grill. Keep the following factors in mind while you’re out shopping so that you can find the best portable grill.
BTU ratings are stats you’ll encounter constantly while you’re shopping for the best portable grill. Some regard the BTU rating as the most important consideration if you’re trying to determine how a specific grill will perform. Others veer in the opposite direction by saying that BTU ratings are completely meaningless and that they have no bearing on the quality of the grill.
So, which is it? Should you pay attention to BTU ratings or can you just ignore them?
BTU ratings can indeed be indicative of the type of performance a grill can provide, but they are far from the only considerations that matter. According to The BBQ Depot, other factors such as the amount of cooking space provided by the grill, how it’s designed and even what kind of burners it uses also affect its overall performance.
The site also notes that BTU ratings are most helpful if you are comparing two grills of the same size. In that scenario, the grill with the higher BTU rating will be able to get hotter faster. To sum things up, the BTU rating is not something you should ignore altogether, but it’s also not the only stat to consider if you want to get an accurate read on how well a specific grill works.
Amount of Cooking Space
It’s a given that portable grills won’t be able to offer as much cooking space as their more conventional counterparts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to settle for a surface that’s no bigger than a frying pan. The great thing about the portable grills on the market today is that they manage to give you a decent amount of space despite their smaller frames. You can even find portable grills that offer more than 200 square inches of cooking area.
Having 200 square inches to work with is certainly helpful, but it’s not a prerequisite for the best portable grill. You should still be able to work properly if you have around 170 square inches of cooking space. The lower limit for cooking spaces is 160 square inches. If you dip below that, don’t be surprised if you encounter some difficulties with cooking time.
Along with the amount of cooking space, you should also take a look at what type of cooking grates or grids are installed on the grill. In my opinion, the best portable grill should feature porcelain-coated cast iron grates.
According to Lowe’s, those grates are remarkably durable and rusting is not an issue for them either. The other benefit of having porcelain-coated cast iron grates on your grill is that they excel at heat retention. You can cut down on your fuel consumption by making use of the residual heat on the grates to cook your food.
If you can’t find a grill with porcelain-coated cast iron grates, you can settle for those that are equipped with porcelain-coated steel grids. Porcelain-coated steel grates are best for cooking foods with sticky glazes, but they are a bit lacking in the durability department.
Space for Grill Accessories
When using the best portable grill, space is important, which is why it’s important to take into consideration if you can fit your various grill accessories with your grill. Many portable grills don’t need to be propped on a grill stand, but be aware of the ones that do so you can plan to bring it along or decide that will take up too much space.
You should also know whether or not you have the space to fit your BBQ gloves, grill cover, grill cleaning brush, and your grill tool set, or even if you can fit a fuel tank or charcoal for grilling in your compact space. Test the space you plan to store your grill and accessories before you leave so you know whether or not the space is viable.
Benefits of Using Portable Grills
Portable grills hold a few advantages over the larger options. First off, they are obviously easier to travel with. Many of them will even be able to fit inside your car with no issue.
You should also look for portable grills if you don’t have a lot of available space at home. Portable grills will allow you to maximize what room you do have and as soon as you’re done cooking, you can also place them into storage easily.
Some people also prefer portable grills because of how affordable they are. Consumer Reports notes that even the pricier portable grills cost around $250. The high-end versions of other grill types can cost well over $1000.
Precautions When Using Portable Grills
Even if you’re using the best portable grill, you should still take the proper precautions to avoid any accidents while cooking. Here are some of the safety measures to follow:
- Make sure the portable grill is firmly established on a flat surface.
- Avoid grilling near items that can easily catch fire.
- Use the provided container to catch the grease or provide one yourself.
- Check the fuel lines thoroughly to see if there are any leaks.
- Keep the grill’s lid closed when it gets windy.
- Be aware of how much space you need to grill safely.
If a portable grill doesn’t seem like the right grill for you, there are a few other options for you to consider. When you’re looking for the best camping grill, you could also try a pellet grill, an offset smoker, a kamado grill, kettle grill, smoker grill, natural gas grill, or even a charcoal grill. All of these options are great picks, but they tend to take up more space than the best portable grills.
I would honestly be glad to use any of the items reviewed above during my next vacation, but since I can only choose one as my favorite, I’m going with Weber’s Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill.
The number one reason why I regard that as the best portable grill is because it simply makes cooking my favorite foods easier. The grill allows you to precisely control the cooking temperature. Because of that, cooking the food perfectly becomes a much more manageable task.
I also love the fact that it has porcelain-coated cast iron grates and that it offers plenty of cooking space. The aforementioned Weber grill is proof that even a portable creation can deliver big-time performance, which is why we have to rank it as the best portable grill.