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: January 20, 2021
GrillGuru is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Outdoor grilling has always been fan and exciting and nothing beats a perfect charcoal grill. Charcoal grilling is unique because it sears meat to perfection and adds a sweet smoky flavor to it. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy tasty and healthy meats grilled on charcoal. Finding the best affordable charcoal grill is the challenge as not all of them are as good as they are advertised. The market is saturated with multiple brands and models that choosing one can be a hell of an experience.
We rounded up a list of some of the best charcoal grills under 100 bucks. Some of the crucial features and parameters we considered in our choices include wheels, high quality materials, cooking area sizes, ease of cleaning, side shelves, and convenient warming racks. They all determine the durability, efficiency and convenience of the charcoal grill. For instance, it is easier to move a grill with wheel from one place to another. The cooking area size affects the amount of meat you can cook at a go.
Weber is a famous brand highly preferred for its superior quality and reliable charcoal grills. Their grills are widely available, inexpensive, and easy to store. The 441001 is no exception as it is packed with features that offer unmatched convenience and efficiency.
Right off the bat is the ultra-durable cooking grate that is easy to clean and retains heat for consistent and even grilling of your foods. Even more, it has a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl with superior heat retention. It ensures your foods cook evenly and consistently.
The porcelain-enamel finish not only gives it an aesthetic appeal but also prevents rusting, cracking or any possible heat-induces damages.
For both direct and indirect grilling, you can arrange charcoal on the fuel grate which has a remarkable capability of withstanding high temperatures. The most exciting thing about this grill is that you don’t have to open its lid to control the temperatures. You can simply close the dampers, to cut off oxygen supply immediately and extinguish the coals.
Other convenient features include a heat shield that prevents the handle of the grill’s lid from getting too hot and durable wheels that allow you to move the grill across the yard easily. It also has a convenient lid hook that allows you to hang the lid on its side during use, instead of placing it on the ground.
What we liked: This grill has all you would need for an easy and fun grilling experience. Essentially, it is super easy to clean thanks to its one-touch cleaning system that allows you to swipe ash and debris into the ash-catcher without much hassle. Its durable build and convenient wheels make it a worthy buy.
What could be better: This grill couldn’t be any better.
Any grilling professional or enthusiast is familiar with Cuisinart. It is a popular brand because it produces well-built and nearly indestructible products. The CCG190RB is one of their rare gems. It offers more than you’d need for the best grilling experience at an incredibly affordable price.
If you prefer the taste and smell of charcoal grilled foods everywhere you go, this should be your go-to choice. It has an impressive compact build that can fit in your backpacking or camping luggage neatly. It also weighs a mere 2 pounds, thus not a hassle to haul around. Also, its lid locks tightly to avoid creating a mess when you are on the move.
Another thing worth noting is that this grill is perfect for grilling a small meal. Its 14-inch grate has about 150 sq inches of space which can hold up to 4 or 6 burgers at a go. This makes it a fantastic choice for a small couple, a single person or a small family to enjoy some grill delicacies in their small balcony or backyard.
What’s more, you can trust the grill to last you a good one owing to its robust construction. Its firebox is enamel coated for added strength and ability to withstand the harshest grilling conditions.
You can achieve your most desired tastes by cooking your foods at the correct heat. The dual venting system allows you to cook slow or low or up at very hot temperatures.
Cleaning is not much of a hassle either as the ash tray has been made easily accessible.
What we liked: The grill is small but mighty. It is easily portable and is made to last with high-quality materials. Cleaning it is also a breeze and you don’t have to hurt your pocket for it. Its affordable price point makes it a great choice for trail travelers, single people or small families that are looking to spend a nickel and dime on a charcoal grill.
What could be better: Some users have complained that the grill doesn’t get hot enough to cook some foods effectively.
This is another excellent option if you have decided to wet your feet with grilling. The Char-griller E1515 is one of the best affordable patio charcoal grills out there that save on space. It is carefully designed to suit your grilling needs whether you are a beginner or a seasoned grill chef.
The grill has a tough steel construction and cast iron grate that can stand the test of time. It is also powder coated to increase its resistance against corrosion and add to its longevity. It offers ample grilling space of about 250 sq inches that can easily fit a whole chicken or 6 kebabs with tomatoes and peppers on the side.
The grill weighs 50 pounds but has wheels that aid in moving it from one point to another. It has a compact build that is ideal for tiny spaces. Plus, it features a convenient side shelf on which you can place your extra burgers or ingredients. The storage rack underneath the unit is also a convenient solution for your big bag of charcoal.
With this grill, you can forget the gruesome experience of lifting out greasy grills or tipping them over to clean up. You only need to pull out the ash pan and dispose of the ash.
What we liked: If you’d love some good home-grilled meats and you have a small space, you can opt for this compact patio charcoal grill for unmatched convenience. It is built to last, easy to move around and pretty simple to clean.
What could be better: The grill doesn’t feature a grease hole so the grease from food collects and drips on the sides of the grill
We couldn’t get enough of Weber as it is a brand that doesn’t compromise on quality. The 121020 Go-anywhere is hands down the best portable charcoal grill on the market. If you love to bring a taste of home wherever you go, then it should be your prime pick.
The grill comes in an attractive rectangular design that can easily fit in the back of most cars. It is also compact and lightweight and its lid locks perfectly for easy transportation.
What’s more, the grill features an ultra-durable plated steel cooking grate that does a good job retaining heat and is incredibly easy to clean. Its porcelain-enameled lid and base also retain heat for optimal cooking of your foods. The finish also reduces its chances of rusting or peeling.
Although it is petite in its build, the grill offers ample cooking space of about 160 sq inches which can hold up to 6 burgers that are made with a Weber burger press.
What we liked: This is the ultimate portable grill that balances top-notch functionality and quality build without compromising on aesthetics. It allows you to control the temperatures easily with the dampers and is super easy to clean. Assembling it is also pretty simple thanks to the interactive assembling instructions found on the BILT app.
What could be better: The grill can easily melt the surface you place it on and since its body is too shallow, the burning coals are placed too close to the meat.
Weber yet again! This one is a small but mighty model. Weber outdid themselves with this charcoal grill’s design. it is compact enough to bring along anywhere yet you can cook virtually everything on it.
The grill is adorned by a porcelain-enameled aluminum lid and bowl that retain heat pretty well. The elegant finish gives it a classic look and also prevents it from corrosion and heat-related damages. Its compact, lightweight design makes it easily portable.
With the 2 aluminum dampers, you can control the temperatures in the grill without a hassle to avoid undercooking or overcooking your foods.
Portable grills are usually hard to clean but this grill is an exception. It comes with an aluminum ash catcher that you can easily pull out whenever you need to dispose of the ash.
What we liked: The grill is compact but can cook a decent amount of food at once. You can grill up to 5 burgers on the 147 sq in. cooking space. It also features nylon handles with reinforced glass for added convenience and safety during grilling.
What could be better: This near perfect grill has only one glaring flaw which is the difficulty in opening and closing the lower vent disc.
Any grilling beginner looking for an extremely affordable charcoal grill with a laid back design can make the most out this Amazon Basics grill. It doesn’t have lots of bells and whistles like the other portable options on this list but it does the job just as well.
The tabletop charcoal grill comes in a lightweight and compact build that you can easily move around. Its sleek black paint color is high-temperature resistant thus cannot peel easily. Its integrated venting system controls the heat effectively allowing you to achieve desired tastes of different foods.
It is a fantastic option for backpacking, cookouts or camping. Unlike most portable units, it offers a large cooking area of 250 sq inches.
Interestingly, you can convert the tabletop grill into a side firebox and attach it to a larger charcoal grill to create a smoking chamber for smoking food to flavorful perfection.
What we liked: With a 1-year warranty, this is one of the best portable charcoal grills under 100 bucks. Cleaning it is eazy-pizzy thanks to the convenient ash-collecting tray that you can easily pull out. Plus, it is backed by a 1-year warranty.
What could be better: The grill doesn’t come with assembly instructions which can be frustrating for newbies.
This is a fantastic option for anyone who has a small or medium sized family and is looking to enjoy home grilled foods. It offers unmatched convenience with a myriad of features. It is designed to help you achieve the most flavorful recipes without a hassle.
The grill comes in a fairly good-looking design with a shiny and durable enamel coating. Other than elevating it overall appearance, the coating prevents rusting, peeling or any heat-related damages allowing you to grill in various conditions.
With 354 sq inches of cooking area, you can cook a lot of food at one go. Plus, it comes with a warming rack that will come in handy when you don’t have much time left to dinner-time.
For added convenience, the grill features a bottom rack on which you can place your bag of charcoal, tools or condiments. What’s more, you wouldn’t struggle moving it from place to place thanks to its durable wheels.
What we liked: This is quite the bargain given it offers nearly everything you would need for a fan and comfortable grilling experience like the premium options. it is incredibly lightweight and portable with a lot of convenient features that make a whole difference.
What could be better: This grill has not even one flaw.
This is one of the most durable compact charcoal grills on this list. It boasts a sleek compact design that prioritizes your comfort and convenience.
The grill distinguishes itself with a sturdy build. It has a firm material and frame structure and a highly thickened bowl material. The porcelain-enameled bowl and lid are great heat retainers. They offer consistent and even grilling.
The most outstanding feature on this grill is the super-thickened grate that can withstand any amount of heat. Plus, it remains steady during grilling as the bowl’s wide design gives it maximum support.
Another convenient feature is the thickened insulated handle with anti-scalding sheet that makes it easier and safer to handle the grill.
You can control the grill’s heat using the adjustable air vent located on the side of the handle. Further, the grill feature 2 thickened wheels for easy transportation when you are grilling in the outdoors.
Clean up is a breeze thanks to the convenient ash catcher. It has airflow holes that allow enough air through lighting up the charcoal effectively.
What we liked: There is no better way of immersing yourself in the smell of barbecue and the sound of crackling charcoal than with this remarkably affordable grill. It is easy to assemble and large enough to cook food for more than 2 people. Its multiple convenient features like 2 handles and extra storage shelf at the bottom set it apart.
What could be better: There aren’t any serious complaints about this grill so far.
ISUMER is not the most popular brand but there’s a lot to like about this charcoal barbecue grill. Its pocket friendly price point and laid-back design makes it one of the best charcoal grills under the 100 dollar mark.
The grill is made for open top grilling anywhere. You can choose to sit it down or place it on a table top. It comes in a lightweight and compact build, thus a perfect option for tailgating, camping, park picnics, backpacking or cookouts.
You can trust it to last you a lot more years to come owing to its stainless steel construction. It is super easy to assemble and disassemble in case you need to store it or fit it in your travel bag.
You can adjust the grill’s height and balance to suit your needs. Each of its 4 legs has a floor mat that prevents it from slipping. Its surface is also incredibly easy to clean as the stainless steel is highly resistant to rust, corrosion and food stains.
Essentially, the grill has double air vents on each end for optimal temperature control. It also has an adjustable vent that controls heat intensity and enhances maximum air circulation throughout the grill.
What we liked: the grill assembles and disassembles easily, thus a perfect travelling choice. Its top-quality stainless steel build is not only durable but also simple to clean. The fact that you can adjust its height and balance is an added bonus as you will be able to grill at your best comforts. The bottom line is, this ISUMER grill, though from a small brand, is an excellent grill for the money.
What could be better: The grill has no room for improvement so far.
Things to Сonsider
For you to get the most out of your investment, there are a few crucial considerations you must make. This segment has all the pro tips you would need to choose the best charcoal grill under 100 dollars including the essential features that make a good charcoal grill.
Features to consider when choosing a charcoal grill under $100
A charcoal grill under 100 dollars shares a few things in common with a grill under 500 dollars. Just because it is cheaper, doesn’t mean you should compromise on quality. Here are some of the key features that great one must possess:
Overall dimensions and cooking area
The grill’s dimension and cooking surface area is key to a great grilling experience. There isn’t a one size fits all, therefore, ensure you choose a grill size that meets your needs.
A smaller grill of about 160 sq inches to 200 sq inches is ideal for you and your partner or small family but it wouldn’t suffice when you need to entertain many guests. A grill with over 350 sq inches like the Kingsford OGD2001901-KF is ideal for entertaining a small gathering as it can cooks a lot of food at one go.
These determine the grills longevity and ease of cleaning.
The most common materials used to make charcoal grills below 100 dollars use stainless steel, cast iron and coated steel. Stainless steel is super-durable and extremely easy to clean. Coated steel is durable and resistant to rust and corrosion.
Be sure to go for a grill with a cooking grate made of porcelain-enameled cast iron for longevity and superior heat retention.
For flavorful and adequately cooked foods, you must choose a grill with proper temperature control. Ensure that it has an adequate venting system. Some models like Weber 441001 feature dampers that only need closing to cut off oxygen supply and reduce the temperature. This is super-convenient as you won’t have to lift the lid every other time.
The lid is a critical part of a charcoal grill. It plays a huge role in controlling the heat of the grill. For instance, it is best to leave the grill open when grilling thin cuts of meat. For thicker cuts, it is best to leave the lid closed so that the heat builds up evenly and intensifies to cook the meats consistently.
Nothing as bad as cold grilled food. Sometimes, especially when you are entertaining many people you have no choice but to serve your grilled foods cold because you can’t take off whatever is cooking from the grill to warm food. A warming rack will save you some time and energy as well as allow you to serve dinner on time.
Some charcoal grills come with a smoking chamber that allows you to cook food slowly at low heat.
Side table and hooks
These are key to a convenient grilling experience. A side table allows you to place your condiments, extra food and tools creating more space on the grill’s surface. Hooks allow you to hang the grill’s lid conveniently instead of placing it on the ground.
Ash removal should be an easy task. Go for a grill that has a straightforward ash removal system. An ash drawer, tray, pan or chamber that simply requires pulling out to dispose the ash is the best.
If you love to bring the taste of home on your adventures, then you must choose a highly portable charcoal grill. Ensure it is compact and lightweight so it can easily fit in your luggage. It should also be easy to assemble and disassemble like Isumer BBQ Grill. The lid should close tightly to avoid creating a mess during transportation.
Ease of cleaning
Grease and food pieces can fall onto the grill when cooking. The ash chamber, pan or drawer also gets filled up with ash after every grilling session. These increase the necessity of regular cleaning of the grill. Therefore, be sure to go for a grill with an easy to clean surface like stainless steel and porcelain-enamel. As for ash removal, a drawer or pan that you can pull out to dispose the ash is the most convenient.
Some grills can be thrown in the dishwasher but it is highly recommended that you hand wash and dry your charcoal grill.
Warranty comes in handy when you encounter any trouble using the charcoal grill because of manufacturing defects. Choose a grill that has a generous backing on the parts of the grill. Some manufacturers offer up to a full year’s warranty on the entire grill or some few parts. The longer the warranty, the better.
You can easily open the grill’s lid and spray the hot coals with water from a water bottle. Be sure not to douse the coals to avoid possible warping of the grill due to a scalding steam. Stir the coals continuously when spraying them with water and repeat the process until all of them are cool.
After removing the ash from the grill, you can wipe its surface with a piece of cloth before hand washing it with soapy water and a brush or dish cloth. After scrubbing off food stains from it, rinse with clean water then leave it to dry.
Choosing a charcoal grill under 100 dollars isn’t a walk in the park as there are many considerations to make on top of all the confusing options available on the market. With all the hints and tips on this guide, you should be able to choose one that suits your needs and is within your budget confidently. You can also avoid the hassle of going through all the options by settling on any of the top-rated products on our list.
Our best recommendation is the Weber 441001. It has an elegant design, is easy to clean thanks to its one-touch cleaning system and features a convenient temperature control system. The grill can hold up to 9 burgers and can easily be moved from one place to another with its durable wheels. Our second best choice, the Cuisinart CCG190RB is an excellent grill for the money. It is perfect for a small family, couple or single person. It is also one of the best portable models as it weighs a mere 2 pounds.
Our third choice, the Char-Griller E1515 is the best charcoal grill under 100 dollars that you can buy to use in your patio. It features a convenient side shelf and stay-cool wood handle that enhances your grilling experience. It also has an extra storage shelf where you can place your grilling tools, condiments or bag of charcoal.