Let’s get grillin’! This roundup is all about the best charcoal grills under $200, an exciting price segment that gives you some great options.
I tried to cover a wide spectrum of grills without making the choices overwhelming. If you want massive cooking space, I got you. If you want portability, I got you, and everything in between.
Again, this is not an exhaustive roundup, but there are some standout performers that have proven high in the popularity stakes represented here.
- 1 Best Charcoal Grills Under $200
- 2 Best Charcoal Grill Under $200 – Final words
Best Charcoal Grills Under $200
Tuck in, have a read, and click through and buy the one you feel will best meet your needs.
1. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
The Weber Original Kettle Premium is still one of the best charcoal grills your money can buy. In fact, you can hardly go wrong with it, so if you’re in any doubt, just go grab it. It’s got plenty of cooking space, great features and is built to last.
A few nifty features include the One-Touch cleaning system which blows the ash down into the ash catcher for easy removal. We hate cleaning up after ourselves, so the easier this is, the better. The Kettle Premium ticks a big box.
Weber has also added tool hooks and a nice little hook on the lid, meaning you don’t have to stand around with the thing in your hand while checking on your food.
Just hook it to the rim of the grill and let it hang, bro. Then grab your beer with one hand and turn the meat with the other like a real pro.
I think I just made a rhyme there. Ahem.
The 363 square inch of cooking space is plenty. The lid is 7.5 inches high, which means you can fit some big, bulky stuff under it should you need to. Add a lid mounted thermometer and the classic Weber damper to control your temperature and you’re good to go.
Available in black, copper and green.
Similar models to consider:
– Weber Original Kettle Grill
Coming in at just shy of $100 the Original Kettle is still great value. It lacks the enclosed ash catcher, tool hooks and thermometer of the Premium, but otherwise gives you the same cooking space and quality.
If you don’t care for bells and whistles and are happy to use the classic open aluminum ash pan at the bottom, then save yourself 50 bucks and get this instead of the Premium.
– Weber 14501001 Master-Touch Charcoal Grill
This is much the same as the Original Kettle Premium in look and features, but comes with a tuck-away lid holder where you just slide the lid off and it stays put until you’re done, as well as the Gourmet BBQ System cooking grate, which allows you to fit attachments like a pizza stone, sear grate, griddle, poultry roaster etc. into the center of the grate.
So, for $50 extra (compared to the Kettle Premium) the Master-Touch certainly opens up some options for you with the Gourmet BBQ grate system. Keep in mind though that the attachments need to be purchased separately.
Worth the extra? Only if you want to turn your kettle grill into a gourmet cooking station. If you’re happy with just slapping meat on the grill, stick to the Original Kettle or Premium Kettle.
This is probably the best charcoal grill under $200 purely for its versatility, although once you start buying all those attachments the price tag increases considerably.
2. Original Po’ Man Charcoal Grill
It may not look like much (a trashcan to be precise) but the Original Po’ Man charcoal grill has won itself almost a cult following among charcoal lovers.
The package is pretty straightforward: 1 round grate, two skewers and a drip plate to spread some smokey flavor around.
The Po’ Man is more of a slow cooking smoker than a true charcoal BBQ grill, but it does deliver great results. It’s also a nice autopilot grill that you don’t have to keep your eye on all the time. Fire it up, put your meat on the grill or skewers and let it do its thing.
The vertical space you get it perfect for hanging your meat on skewers and letting them slowly cook and smoke. There is a heck of a lot of space inside this thing.
I haven’t tried, but the company claims it can hold 10 half slab of ribs, and I’m inclined to believe that. That’s a lot of food in one go, perfect for a get together where you have to feed your whole starving extended family in one go.
In the image below you can see the inside layout clearly: fire down at the bottom, then your coal box, then the drip pan, grate and skewers up top.
If you’re in a rush to get your food done, look elsewhere. If you don’t like the idea of your neighbors seeing you rummaging in a smoking trash can for food, look elsewhere.
The Po’ Man is a unique grill that offers great value and pleasing results.
3. Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill
Geez, you’d think Char-Griller could maybe think up a shorter name for their nifty little grill. I guess they had to make sure you know it’s a Kamado style grill. Anyway, I’ll just call it the Akorn Jr. for the duration of this review.
Kamado style grills are certainly hot property (pun, see) and for good reason. These things tend to be solidly built and can sear as well as they can smoulder or smoke if you want to go slow.
The Akorn Jr. indeed sports both top and bottom damper adjustments, so you can suck in plenty of air if you want some quick and serious heat so get those steaks sizzling. You get some handy suggestions for damper adjustments with the grill.
At just about 37 pounds it isn’t too big a hassle to move around either, and easier to carry than wider grills. The cooking area is on the small side though, with just 153 square inches of primary space.
The ash pan detaches completely from the grill for easy cleaning.
The Akorn Jr. is a fine Kamado style charcoal grill, perfect for tailgating, camping etc. thanks to its compact size and easy portability.
Heat distribution and control is very good, making this a versatile performer well worth your consideration if the comparatively smaller size is not a problem.
4. Char-Broil Charcoal 780 Grill
Party time! Bring the whole immediate and extended family and pull in some hungry looking folk from the street because Char-Broil has once again produced a budget grill that can feed a small army.
The massive 780 square inch (total, split 540 and 240 primary and secondary) charcoal grill from Char-Broil certainly packs a lot of value if you’re in the market for something huge, but your budget is stretched to its limits already.
The primary cooking is 540 square inch cast iron grate (four separate grate panels), while the secondary cooking space is a 240 square inch porcelain-coated warming rack.
There are some nice features for such a cheap grill. The charcoal pans allow great airflow, assisted by multiple dampers on the lid as well as the charcoal basket.
The height of the charcoal pans can easily be adjusted to further assist in getting the right heat. A door at the front of the charcoal basket allows further management.
At the bottom of the grill you have a storage tray, and two side tables gives you even more place to put plenty of both handy and useless stuff.
Cleaning is a drag, man, and Char-Broil tries to make it easier with a completely removable charcoal pan and a slide out drawer. Definitely helps to make this painful process easier.
A frequent problem with this grill though is that many of its parts arrive bent or damaged. Char-Broil needs to improve their packaging. These things are hard enough to assemble without getting tripped up by damaged components. These units also need careful maintenance as they seem to be a bit rust prone.
Fully assembled though, this is certainly good value for money of you want to go big.
Best Charcoal Grill Under $200 – Final words
So, which of these do you get? The Weber Kettle Premium is still a fail safe option, as ever. The build quality is hard to beat and the cooking space decent enough for most purposes. The Master-Touch delivers excellent versatility options, so don’t forget to look into that one.
The Original Po’ Man is a beast of its own, and if you want something a little different, it’s a good call. Probably more suitable to smoking and slow cooking than outright grilling though, so keep that in mind.
The Char-Griller Akorn Jr. is an impressive little performer, and for the RVers and campers it is a fine choice with fantastic heat damper control. Pity it’s a little on the small side, but plenty good enough and you’re not going to invest in something like that if you want a big old backyard grill anyway.
And finally the Char-Broil 780 is exactly the one to fill that small budget, big backyard BBQ gap.
For my money, the Weber Kettle remains a great middle ground and is easily one of the best charcoal grills under $200, with some excellent specialist grills from other manufacturers around it to cater for more specific needs.
Also check out my roundup of the best gas grills in this price range for more options.