UPDATED FOR 2018
Do you love the flavor of charcoal grilled food, but also fancy the convenience of gas grilling? You can have the best of both worlds with a gas and charcoal grill combo.
Yes, that’s right. One grill, two abilities: cooking with either gas or charcoal or, in most cases, even both at the same time if you wish.
Gas & Charcoal Combo Grill – The Contenders
At the moment the market is not exactly flooded with choice when it comes to charcoal and gas combo grills. It is a bit of a niche market, as most people prefer to use separate grills.
Those who do use combo grills seem quite pleased with the result. I managed to track down four models for you.
Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Gas and Charcoal Grill
Char-Broil has brought an innovative new idea to the gas and charcoal grill combo market with the Gas2Coal grill. Unlike most other combo grills, this one doesn’t have two separate cooking areas for gas and charcoal. Instead, it uses a stainless steel charcoal panel to convert the cooking area to charcoal, while using the gas burners to ignite the charcoal on the panel.
So, switching from gas to coal is as easy as putting a panel on top of the gas burners. Of course, the obvious drawback of using the same cooking space for both gas and charcoal is that you can only use one cooking method at a time.
– no tool conversion from gas to charcoal
– 540 sq inch total cooking space
– stainless steel burners
– porcelain-coated cas-iron cooking grates
– 40,000 BTU main burners
– 12,000 BTU side burner
Those are some great features, with plenty of heat and cooking space, making this a fine gas grill in its own right. The addition of charcoal capability, and how easy the conversion is, makes the Gas2Coal a very attractive option.
Add other standard features like electronic ignition and a lid-mounted temperature gauge and this versatile grill offers a lot of value. Not having a door panel on the front to access the propane tank is a slight inconvenience if you like to park your grill against a wall, but otherwise the Char-Broil Gas2Coal provides a wonderful way to get the best of both grilling worlds.
Dyna-Glo Dual Fuel LP/Charcoal Grill
Slightly smaller in cooking area than the Char-Broil, but with a sturdier construction, quality manufacturer Dyna-Glo makes a compelling offering, with a total of 952 square inches of cooking area.
On the gas side you get a heavy duty porcelain enamel covered cast iron cooking grates and a temperature gauge. You get two u-shaped main burners offering a total of 24,000 BTU, which is an adequate spread of heat for this size.
On the charcoal side you get a 10,000 BTU stainless steel charcoal ignition burner and an adjustable charcoal tray. Handy towel and tool hooks are present.
A few minor annoyances take the shine of perfection off the Dyna-Glo:
– the charcoal basket doesn’t fit as tightly as it should perhaps and appears to be a little flimsy
– the wheels are too small for smooth rolling on anything other than a perfectly level surface
– takes a while to assemble
Most buyers are willing to overlook these factors in favor of what they feel is a well constructed combo grill that produces great results, and the product has a 69% customer satisfaction ratio, which is just short of the 70% margin which I consider to indicate a good product.
Char-Broil Combination Charcoal Grill and Gas Grill
The Char-Broil gas and charcoal grill combo is a beautiful piece of work, with sleek lines and a practical layout. It offers a total of 1,006 total square inches of cooking surface, split into two equal sized 503 square inch cooking areas for gas and charcoal respectively.
The gas side gives you a 3 burner grill with a total of 36,000 BTU, with an additional 12,000 BTU side burner. It features porcelain-coated cast iron grates and a temperature gauge. At first glance this may sound like too little heat for such a large cooking area, but the grill does a good job and we couldn’t find any customer complaints about the cooking ability of this unit.
On the charcoal side you get a removable ash pan, an easy access door, a temperature gauge and a very handy charcoal grate with a crank adjustable height. The porcelain coated cooking grates are perhaps not the right choice for charcoal, as they won’t give you the same level of heat transfer that you’ll get with cast iron or stainless steel grates.
Overall the Char-Broil Combo Grill is a decent piece of equipment for the price, butt he less than stellar 65% customer satisfaction ratio it maintains points to potential problems. It doesn’t use the best parts available, and some bits are flimsy, but for the huge cooking area it offers and the competitive price you should expect a few compromises. Lifespan is a concern and you’ll need to look after this grill really carefully.
Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill
At the bottom of the price scale comes the Char-Griller 5050, a gas and charcoal combo grill that will only set you back as much as a single Weber Platinum charcoal grill.
It offers you a huge 1,260 square inches of total cooking space, split evenly between the gas and charcoal sides.
To heat all of that up you get a decent 40,800 BTU across 3 gas burners, with a 12,000 BTU side burner. A stainless steel heat gauge helps you keep an eye on things and you get porcelain coated cast iron grates. The charcoal side features adjustable grate height to help you control the heat on your meat.
The great features unfortunately can’t quite make up for what you’ll be getting: a fairly cheaply constructed budget combo grill. The first glaring issue we picked up was that many people reported excessive rust on the item starting inside the first 3 months in some cases. The overall craftsmanship on this product is just not up to scratch.
Other small issues abound with this product:
– no bumpers around the grates which make it easy for food to slide off
– joints that don’t fit tightly cause food residue to drip on the propane tanks
– low quality wheels make moving difficult
– when you raise the lids grease drips off the back
– rust prone
The overall opinion suggests that this is a good budget grill that will last you about 2 years, although with painstaking maintenance you may get a little more out of it. The fact that it is so rust prone doesn’t make it suitable for use in humid, high rainfall areas.
When it works, it works fairly well. The gas burners in particular heat up fast and gets the job done admirably. You can buy a firebox for the charcoal side to turn it into a smoker.
In practice this is not a bad grill, but the shoddy construction lets it down, it’s a bit messy and leaky and you’ll have to do a lot of maintenance to keep it from rusting. Set your expectations to “budget quality” and you shouldn’t be disappointed though.
It you can afford it at all, try one of the other units we reviewed on this page.
The Char-Griller 5050 scores around a 56% customer satisfaction ratio, which is on the low side.
The best of the grills on offer here is the Char-Broil Gas2Coal. It is not a big lumbering piece of equipment, with decent build quality and an easy way to switch between gas and charcoal. Unless you’re cooking for large amount of people, I’m happy to trade the lack of a two separate cooking areas for the space saving and convenience of easier mobility.
Out of the rest, all the grills have some flaws. Build quality and lifespan are concerns across the board. The Dyna-Glo Dual Fuel is probably your best bet out of them all if you want a grill with two separate cooking areas.