Do you want to know why people love using charcoal grills?
Because nothing beats the delicious, smoky barbeque smell and flavor that can only be made possible through charcoal grills.
Whether you’re having a backyard BBQ, birthday party, or any kind of outdoor recreational activity, it’s always important to have a robust and reliable charcoal grill at your disposal in these situations.
With there being many types of charcoal grills, all with different prices in the market, how do you know which one you should get?
That’s why we came up with this list of the best charcoal grill under 500, so you can find the type of charcoal grill that fits your burger grilling, steak smoking needs!
So put on your grilling apron and grab your tongs as we get started with this list.
- Top 7 Best Charcoal Grills Under 100
- 10 Best Charcoal Grills Under 200
- Top 7 Best Charcoal Grills Under 300
Best Charcoal Grill Under 500
1. Weber Original Kettle Premium 26 Inch Charcoal Grill – Best For Large Quantities of Food
People often say that size doesn’t matter, but when it comes to grills, it matters a lot. If you want to grill your burgers, hot dogs and all of your sides in one go, then the Weber Original Kettle Premium 26 Inch Charcoal Grill might just be the one for you. With its 508 total square inches of grilling surface, you can fit large quantities of food (ex: about 19 burgers) at once and grill them all together.
The grill also has a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl which is great for retaining heat so you can grill for hours on end, thus saving more in the long run. Its premium quality stainless steel grate is hinged, which means that it’s a lot easier for you to add charcoal when needed. The stainless steel also increases the grate’s overall durability and heat retention.
Other added features such as the convenient lid holder makes it so that all you have to do is slide the lid over to the side – you don’t have to place it on the ground or have it take up space on the table. The lid also comes with a built-in thermometer so you can easily keep track of the internal temperature of the grill and make the necessary adjustments to the heat. When you’re done grilling, you can make use of Weber’s One-Touch™ cleaning system feature that makes charcoal ash cleanup so much easier by simply swiping all the unwanted debris into a high-capacity, removable ash catcher.
Unfortunately, although the grill’s cleaning system is advertised to be “easy-to-use”, it may actually be a lot harder to pull off. For starters, trying to get the chunkier coals to fall into the ash catcher might be difficult to some users due to the swiping motion that needs to be done. In addition the ash catcher is also very difficult to take off and put back on. With how heavy the grill is, you’d expect it to have a more solid support structure made out of better materials. That’s why the grill’s thin aluminum legs make it feel a little wobbly to use, especially when moving around.
However, if you can look past these small inconveniences and focus on the grill’s sheer strength in grilling capacity, then this charcoal grill is definitely a solid choice, especially considering it’s the cheapest one on the list.
|+ Huge grilling capacity, perfect for cooking all your food at once
+ Features such as lid holder, built-in thermometer and the hinged grill grate adds convenience.
+ One-Touch™ system and removable ash catcher makes for an easier cleanup process.
|– Flimsy aluminum legs might make the grill feel a little wobbly when using it, especially when you try moving it around
– The cleanup system may be harder to use than advertised due to the awkward swiping motion and difficulty in removing/putting back the ash catcher
2. Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch – Best For Easy Charcoal Fires
If you loved the Weber Original Kettle, then we feel you might like its upgraded version, the Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch. Although it doesn’t boast the same capacity as the previous entry on this list, it still has a modest 363 square inches of grilling surface – to put that into perspective that’s about 13 burgers or so.
The grill has a 22-inch porcelain-enameled lid and bowl which ensures that it can retain your desired heating temperatures. It also has the same convenient features of the previous entry on this list such as the intuitive lid holder, the One-Touch™ cleaning system and removable ash catcher, and the built-in lid thermometer. As for the steel hinged grate, there is also an option for you to take it out in order to have more ways to cook.
The defining feature of this grill, however, is the electronic Touch-N-Go ignition system which allows you to have burning briquettes in minutes with just a simple push of a button. This feature works great for people who love to be in charge of grilling, while also having time to interact with the people around them.
You can pair this with the removable backlit LCD timer that comes with the grill and set your timers for preheating and grilling sessions in order to maximize the time you actually spend with your friends and family.
In addition, the grill also comes with a work table next to it that can be used as extra work space, just in case you find yourself needing to do some extra prep work. The table and bottom shelf allows you to keep your plates, tools, seasonings and almost anything you need just within arm’s reach for easy access.
Despite that, it can be seen that previous models of weber grills, in comparison, had better quality builds using higher quality materials. More specifically, certain parts of the grill such as the ignition system are prone to breaking due to being made out of plastic as well as the ash catcher being very difficult to use in a way that it requires you to have strong hands in order to press on the handle correctly.
The Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill might be a great choice for you if you focus on the fact that the main components of the build are solid and provide you with so much more convenience, while looking past the minor parts of the grill that have certain quality issues.
|+ Touch-N-Go ignition system allows for charcoal fires to be set up in a few minutes without the need for lighter fluid, all with just a single push of a button
+ Includes convenient features such as the One-Touch™ system and removable ash catcher, lid holder, built-in thermometer, LCD timer and bottom shelf
+ Comes with a work table which can be used as extra work space
|– Previous models of Weber grills may have higher quality materials and better builds in comparison to this grill.
– The cleanup system may be harder to use than advertised due to the awkward swiping motion and difficulty in removing/putting back the ash catcher.
3. Weber Performer Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch – Best Value
The Weber Performer Premium Charcoal Grill is almost identical to the Weber Performer Deluxe in terms of features and dimensions, but the main difference between the two is that the Performer Premium does not have the Touch-N-Go ignition system that the Performer Deluxe has. So if you’re alright with starting charcoal fires on your own without the help of the automated ignition system and want the best value for your money, then we think that this grill will fit your exact needs. Not only does this grill provide you with the same functionalities and features of the Performer Deluxe (excluding the ignition system), it comes at a much cheaper price.
Unfortunately, this model also has some parts that suffer from being made out of thinner and cheaper materials. But if you think you can look past the grill’s lack of an automated ignition system and some parts being made out of lesser quality materials, then this is an overall solid choice that provides a lot of value considering its price tag.
|+ Provides you with the best value (Cheaper version of the Performer Deluxe)
+ Includes convenient features such as the One-Touch™ system and removable ash catcher, lid holder, built-in thermometer, LCD timer, work table and bottom shelf
|– Previous models of Weber grills may have higher quality materials and better builds in comparison to this grill.
– It doesn’t have the Touch-N-Go ignition system that the Performer Deluxe has
4. PK Grills PKTX Outdoor Portable Aluminum Charcoal Grill and Smoker – Best For Portability
If you’re the type of person who just likes to bring your grill around with you everywhere you go, then we think you might absolutely love this grill. The PK Grills PKTX Outdoor Portable Aluminum Charcoal Grill is built with functionality and portability in mind. This grill can easily fold down for easy transport – just stick a bag of charcoal in it, fold it down, throw it in your truck and you’ve got yourself a delicious grilling session waiting to happen anytime. It’s great for camping trips, going to fishing/hunting cabins, picnics and more.
The grill is made out of thick durable aluminum that conducts heat efficiently as well as providing you with an airtight seal that maximizes your ability to control the temperature. The high quality aluminum makes sure that your grill is protected from rust, breakages, and burn-outs.
With 300 square inches of grilling surface, this grill can handle a modest amount of food at a time while making use of its 4-Point venting system which allows for excellent airflow in and around the grilling capsule. 2 zone heating is made possible thanks to the consistent airflow which means you can either cook hot and fast or low and slow with this grill. The grill also boasts a durable side shelf with a cup holder and a lower shelf which provides you with more storage and working space.
However, it’s still one of the smaller ones on this list. This grill is meant to be for those people who want to bring their grill around, but if you’re using it as a mainstay backyard grill, you can get other bigger grills at a cheaper price. It also doesn’t have any cleanup system, so you have to manually scoop out the ashes everytime you want to add or replace the charcoal in the capsule while other grills have more elaborate and useful cleaning systems.
That doesn’t change the fact that this grill is of high quality and provides you with what it advertises. If you plan to travel alongside your charcoal grill in order to have roadside BBQ everywhere you go, then we think you should get the PK Grills PKTX Outdoor Portable Aluminum Charcoal Grill and Smoker.
|Best for portability – just fold it up and take it everywhere you go
Made of high quality aluminum that allows for better heat retention and control while protecting against breakages and rust
The 4-point venting system allows for 2 zone cooking
|It’s one of the more smaller grills on this list, not ideal for your mainstay backyard grill It doesn’t have any cleaning system which means you have to manually scoop out ashes every grilling session|
Charcoal Grill Buyer’s Guide
Charcoal grills are one of the best things you can buy in order to enjoy an outdoor recreational activity or event by making great food. That smokey barbeque flavor can’t be reproduced by gas grills and can only be achieved by a high quality charcoal grill. Whether you want your charcoal grill because of the intense flavor it imbues in your cooking, or because you want to save more in the long run by not having to replace fuel tanks, there are a lot of things for you to consider before making your choice. Although charcoal grills aren’t exactly complicated pieces of technology, there are many types of grills all with different sizes and prices. Here are a few things you should consider when making your purchase:
Buying a charcoal grill is quite an investment, which is why you’d definitely want it to last for a long time. Make sure you pick out a grill that is made out of high quality materials such as ceramics, stainless steel, and more. The thickness of the grill is important because not only will it drastically affect how efficient the grill is in retaining heat, but also thinner grills are more flimsy and less robust than the thicker ones.
There are different sizes of charcoal grills and each has its own purpose. Before making your purchase, you should first determine whether you want your grill to be a mainstay at home or if you want to think about bringing it with you during family trips and such. The sizes of grills can vary a lot anywhere from 300 – 1400 square inches. Just pick one out that fits your personal needs.
Charcoal grills come in different designs. Some are static that come with built-in stands while others are designed to be used on tabletops. Depending on where you want to place it, you should choose your charcoal grill accordingly.
Some charcoal grills offer you a cleaning mechanism that makes for easier ash cleanup, while others do not. If you’re not a fan of manually scooping out ash from your grill or dumping it upside down in order to get all cleaned out, then you should probably find a charcoal grill with an easy-to-use ash cleaning system.
Other Charcoal Grill Accessories
There are some charcoal grills that come with more accessories than others, it is up to you to determine which of these features and accessories are important and which you can skimp out on. Some accessories such as attachable side trays, grate cleaners and tool containers can really help you improve your outdoor grilling experience.
There are several types of charcoal grills in the market, all of which have their own unique style, design, and durability. Depending on what your needs are, you might prefer one kind of grill over the other. However, for this particular list, we determined that the Weber Performer Premium Charcoal Grill – the best charcoal grill under 500 will provide you with the most value because of how much it offers you.
It almost has all the convenient features of the Performer Deluxe such as the work table, lower shelf, LCD timer and ash catcher, while also being a lot cheaper. The only downside is that it doesn’t have the charcoal ignition system, but that should be a minor problem that you can fix. Regardless, every man (or woman!) has the grill of their dreams, and only you can find out what you really want.
- Best Charcoal Grill Under 500
- 1. Weber Original Kettle Premium 26 Inch Charcoal Grill – Best For Large Quantities of Food
- Charcoal Grill Buyer’s Guide