Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: February 12, 2021
GrillGuru is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Not all top-rated grills are as good as they are described. However, we found five of the best charcoal grills, and as a bonus, they are all affordable. If you’re ready to diversify your cooking and want a charcoal grill to really amp up your culinary arts, then stay with us as we present our findings.
The best charcoal grill under $300 will be one that is made to last. The five models we found are all durable and made from the best qualities. However, they all have different features. Some are better suited for a small family, while some will be at home at a family reunion. There are some grills that will keep you organized with side shelves and accessory hooks and others that are more compact and portable. We’ll walk you through each product, so you know exactly who it is meant for. No matter what your grilling needs are, there is a charcoal grill on our list that will make you the envy of all your friends.
Those looking for a charcoal grill under 300 dollars will be pleasantly surprised with our Editor’s Choice. The Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D has a large cooking area of 686 square feet. You can grill quite the feast for your whole family. In fact, you can cook 24 hamburgers, all at the same time.
The Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D is perfect if you like to stay organized while you grill. It has two side shelves and a nice bottom rack to keep all your condiments on. There are also plenty of features you’ll enjoy, such as the heavy-duty wheels and the stainless-steel temperature gage.
What we liked: The Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D is solidly built. The fact it has organizational areas is a nice touch, and the stainless-steel elements are great. The material is not only nice to look at it, but it makes it easier to clean your grill.
As for the area where you place your charcoal, it features a heavy-duty door. The door won’t allow heat to escape, making your fuel more efficient and easier to control.
Furthermore, the cooking grates are made from cast iron. These retain heat, allowing you to create juicy, delicious food.
What could be better: All of the elements of the Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D do make it hard to assemble. While the instructions are good, there are a lot of steps. Expect to spend a few hours putting your grill together. You also don’t want to cut corners as each step is crucial to the overall craftsmanship.
When you talk about grills, the king manufacturer has to be Weber. However, most products in their wheelhouse are quite expensive. This is why it’s so nice to find a charcoal grill under 300 dollars that has the Weber brand name attached to it.
The Weber 14516001 is a convenient charcoal grill made for all settings. It is small enough for a balcony while versatile enough for a large backyard. Whether you want to use it as your primary grill or as a supplementary grill, it will work wonders.
It has a total cooking area of 363 square feet, which, while not the largest on our list, is certainly still adequate.
What we liked: One of the nicest features of the Weber 14516001 is that it only weighs 37 pounds. This is really light, which means you can easily move it around. The two large back wheels also make it very portable.
The Weber 14516001 has some nice elements. It has a space to put the lid, so you don’t have to worry about it getting dirty on the ground. It also tool hooks to hang your accessories.
Furthermore, the grill has a one-touch cleaning system. Simply press a button, and you no longer have to worry about scrubbing.
What could be better: Really, there is very little to fault with the Weber 14516001. The only minor issue is that the assembly instructions are simply pictures and not written words.
Those looking for a bit of extra flair will really enjoy the Char-Griller E56720. It comes in three colors, black, red, and blue, so you can match the grill to your own personal flair.
With 477 square feet of cooking space, there’s plenty of room for all your grilling needs. There are two metal shelves that fold down when not in use. This is a nice feature if you’re short on outside space. As for construction, the double-wall insulation means heat is held in nicely.
What we liked: The Char-Griller E56720 is all about convenience. From the shelves that drop down to the ash pan that is easy to dump, this is a quality charcoal grill. Furthermore, the construction of the Char-Griller E56720 is really precise. While the outside is made out of a powder coated steel, the inside features a porcelain coated steel. The design enables your charcoal to not loose heat, thus saving you money in the long run.
Another aspect that is nice about the Char-Griller E56720 is its size. Even though it has great cooking area, the overall design means it doesn’t require a large footprint. This is a great option for balcony grillers.
What could be better: Unfortunately, the thermometer that comes with the Char-Griller E56720 might not be the most accurate. This is often the case and if you find your meat just isn’t cooking as you would think it should, you may need to buy a separate, more high-end thermometer.
Those wishing they could combine the gloriousness of a charcoal grill and a smoker will be incredibly impressed with the Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D. In addition to the grilling area, you get five racks to further smoke your food.
This is a hefty machine, as it weighs 124 pounds. However, it does have two solid wheels on its base, so it can be moved around.
For construction, the Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D is bathed in a matte black. It is made out of coated stainless steel and can really be described as the best charcoal grill with smoker under 300 dollars.
What we liked: The Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D is a well-crafted device. One of its nicest features are the cool-touch handles. You don’t have to worry about burning yourself as you check on the meats you’re smoking.
Another nice feature is the stainless-steel temperature gauge. It has a smoke zone area on it which will tell you the ideal temperature for smoking your favorite meats.
The five racks in the smoker mean you have plenty of room to do large quantity smoking. Furthermore, the charcoal grill is large enough to craft the perfect meal.
What could be better: As should be expected with a charcoal grill and smoker combo, the Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D is very large. It measures 58 inches in width so you will need a decent amount of space to store the unit. Unfortunately, it isn’t detachable so if you’re short on space, this isn’t the product for you.
Sometimes you want the smoky taste of charcoal infused into your food and sometimes you want a cleaner taste. Instead of purchasing two separate grills, you can have it all with the BLOSSOMZ Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal/Gas Grill. It has two sides to it and you can power one with propane and one with charcoal.
There is a total cooking area of 557 square feet, which is split almost evenly between the two sides. There is also a warming rack, which again is split mostly evenly between the sides.
What we liked: Not having to decide on cooking methods and better yet, not having to purchase two different products is a real bonus. It saves you time, money, and space. The controls on the BLOSSOMZ Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal/Gas Grill are very easy to use. You can easily figure out how to control the grill and have everything hooked up.
The looks of the BLOSSOMZ Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal/Gas Grill are also impressive. With a matte black finish punctuated by stainless steel controls, this is a very sophisticated-looking grill.
Even with the large footprint of the grill, there are still two side shelves to place your tools on. There is also a rack underneath the grill for more storage space.
What could be better: The BLOSSOMZ Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal/Gas Grill is quite large. It measures 64 by 50 inches and weighs over 100 pounds. This is not a balcony grill. Furthermore, you may want to assess how often you will use each side. If you don’t think you’ll be using a lot of either propane or charcoal, then it may be better to just pick one fuel source.
Things to Consider
Take your grilling experience to a whole new level. A charcoal grill is a fun toy that can add a bit of diversity to your backyard cooking. And what’s even better is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a decent product. To help you discover the perfect charcoal grill under $300, please consult our Buying Guide.
Features to consider when choosing a charcoal grill under $300
There are many impressive charcoal grills, and a nice selection that you can find under $300. When trying to decide which grill will work for you, be sure to take into consideration these important features.
Cooking area: primary and total
One of the most important features of any charcoal grill is how large a cooking area it provides. Basically, this is the amount of grill space you can use to cook all your scrumptious food. The biggest consideration, however, is to remember that you don’t necessarily have to buy the largest grill.
If you are cooking for just a few people, then a smaller grill is perfect. If, however, you like to entertain large groups, then a larger cooking area is definitely a must.
The one product on our list that is a bit deceptive is the Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D, which states it has 1,382 square inches of cooking area. However, most of this cooking area actually refers to the give grilling racks it possesses.
Grilling is about temperature. You need the right temperature to cook delicious food, and sometimes that temperature needs to be lower and not direct heat. A warming rack is essential to backyard grilling. It allows you to rest your meat in a warm place, cook food in a slower manner, and allow all your food to be ready at the same time.
With a charcoal grill, a firebox is where you place the charcoal and light it on fire. A firebox is made with durable materials, so the heat stays in, and the surfaces don’t break down. Sometimes the firebox can only be accessed by removing the top grate, which is the case with the Weber 14516001. Other models, such as the Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D, has a separate firebox. You can access the charcoal via a heavy-duty door. This is a nice option as it better allows you to control the temperature of your food. It’s also very easy to access.
With your firebox, you will want an easy way to clean the ashes. Charcoal burns down, and you should remove the ashes after every use.
The grates on a charcoal grill can often be overlooked. After all, they are an essential part that comes standard with any grill. However, there are a few things to consider. Grates come in different materials. Stainless steel, chrome, porcelain, and cast iron are all common.
Look for grates that are easy to clean. You will want to scrub the grates after each use in order to get rid of any stuck-on food and especially any grease.
Cast iron and stainless steel are generally the best materials. They are extremely durable, easy to clean, and will last for quite some while. Just be sure to perform regular maintenance to expand their lifespan.
If your grill is still working well, but you notice your grates have started to warp, or are no longer easy to clean, you can look into replacing them. It’s better to contact the manufacturer than to try to find a grate that will fit your grill. This can be hard to do, and it’s better to spend a few extra dollars to get a replacement grate that fits perfectly.
Grilling takes a lot of elements to perfect your meal. As such, it’s always nice when there are side tables next to your grill. These allow you to place bowls, plates, and utensils. If you don’t have any side tables, you will need to find another surface next to your grill, which can become quite cumbersome.
If you love organization, then there are some models to look for. The BLOSSOMZ Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal/Gas Grill has two side tables for plenty of extra storage. The Char-Griller E56720 is also a unique option. It has two side tables that fold down when not in use. This is a nice feature as it frees up space, especially if you are working on a small balcony.
If you feel like you need even more storage space, there are few charcoal grills that offer a lower rack for storage. The Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D has two side shelves and a lower rack. Because there is no need to store a propane tank, the entire bottom is an extra wire shelf.
At some point in its lifetime, you will have to move your charcoal grill. Whether it’s when you set the grill up or if you want to move it to storage for the winter, moving a grill can be hard work. Having wheels greatly helps with this task. Thankfully, all of the charcoal grills on our list have wheels. They have a wheel/peg system so you can pick up one side of the grill, wheel it, and then place it down and not have to worry about the grill moving away.
While some people have giant backyards and no shortage of space to place their grill, others need to be more mindful of what they purchase. Understanding your grill’s dimensions is incredibly important. Be sure to think about where it will be placed before you purchase a grill and definitely before you set it up.
If you’re short on space, an egg-style charcoal grill might be more appropriate. These have a smaller footprint and thus are better for balconies. The Char-Griller E56720 is a nice option. It measures 45 x 31 x 47 inches. Another similar grill is the Weber 14516001, which measures 24 x 29.5 x 42 inches.
If you do have a lot of space, then by all means consider a larger charcoal grill. With a larger footprint comes a larger capacity for cooking food. The BLOSSOMZ Dual Fuel Combination Charcoal/Gas Grill is one of our larger options. It measures 64 x 49.8 x 28 inches.
Another grill that needs a lot of space is the Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D. It measures 58 x 45.5 x 24.9 inches. However, it is also very tall, which isn’t measured, so be aware that the tall smoker will need ample headroom to accommodate its five smoking racks.
What are you planning on doing with your charcoal grill? Will it be left in one place, carted away for winter, or even transported to a campsite? All these questions need to be answered when thinking about how much your new charcoal grill will weigh.
There are some models that are meant to be portable. For example, the Weber 14516001 only weighs 37 pounds. It is lightweight enough to be placed in a car and used while camping.
On the other end of the spectrum are some pretty imposing charcoal grills. The Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D, which is a combination grill and smoker, weighs a whopping 124 pound. You definitely don’t want to be moving this around.
However, there are plenty of models that fall in the middle. The Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D weighs 84 pounds, which is a nice, happy medium.
Weight is also a consideration when assembling your new charcoal grill. If you are having it delivered, you will need to move the box, or boxes, to your backyard so you can set it up. If your grill is especially heavy, be sure to enlist a friend with help moving and setting up your grill.
While all of the charcoal grills on our list are priced under $300, some have more features than other. For example, the Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D has cool-touch handles. You don’t have to worry about burning your hands as you add more charcoal or check on your savory meal.
Another nice feature is when there are accessory hooks. When you grill you’ll need a pair of tongs, possibly a brush, and maybe a large turning fork. All these take up space, and when you have hooks on the side of your grill, you can be much better organized.
Despite its name, a charcoal grill can accommodate other fuel sources. This includes wood pellets and chips. However, you may want to add some charcoal in with the wood pellets, to make sure you get the right temperature. Depending on what type of grill you have, you can always experiment with different ratios.
One of the steps most people forget about charcoal grills is seasoning them. While you can still grill if you forget this step, remembering it will really add to the flavors you are creating. To season your grill, start by cleaning it. Remove any cooked-on meat and grease. Let the grill plates air dry. Once dry, you can add oil to the grill. Then, you will need to cook the grates, which can take an hour or two.
Charcoal grills can be quite large and heavy. Therefore, they are usually stored outdoors, even in the winter. However, if you can, it’s always best to store your grill inside when it isn’t in use. If you can, place your grill in shed or garage. This will protect your grill from the elements so that it doesn’t rust or break down. If you don’t have enough space then the next best option is to purchase a grill cover. A cover will keep rain and snow off your grill as well as protect it from dirt and debris.
Get ready to grill with one of these impressive charcoal grills. Our Editor’s Choice is the Dyna-Glo DGN486SNC-D. It is powerful, has plenty of cooing area, and looks great, too. For those wanting a budget choice, be sure to consider the Weber 14516001. Not only is it made by one of the leaders in grill technology, but it works well, too. This smaller Weber is perfect for all sizes of patios. Our final pick for the best charcoal grill under 300 is the Char-Griller E56720. This grill features double-wall insulation. You can keep maximum heat inside this grill. Jazz up your grilling experience with one of these quality charcoal grills.