Best Portable Grill for Camping

Best Portable Grill for Camping [2021 Buying Guide]

Ever wish you could get that smoky flavor on your burgers at your next camping trip or tailgate party? Due to space limitations, it can be a challenging to bring a full-size grill with you camping.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for portable grills.

As the name suggests, portable grills are designed for minimum space and ease of transport. With the latest technologies and features, portable grills actually fare pretty well against their full-sized counterparts.

Here, we will list our picks of the best portable grills available in the market today: from really compact ones to larger, more versatile models.

What is the Best Portable Grill?

Our top pick for the best portable grill is the Napoleon TravelQ 285 Portable Grill.

It is a convenient, fast-heating propane grill made of really high-quality materials. It can generate 12,000 BTUs of heat fairly quickly and the produced heat is evenly distributed.

However, if you are still not sure whether the Weber Q2200 is the right choice for you, below we will  discuss 9 other great options below.

Let’s begin right away with the #10 best portable grill available right now.

Top 10 Best Portable Grills for Camping

#10. Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch

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Key Features

  • Decent grilling space can hold up to eight burgers on it
  • Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
  • Convenient carry handle for easier transport
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • The Tuck-N-Carry lid lock doubles as a lid holder to avoid placing the lid on the ground
  • Dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside your grill
  • 3D interactive assembly instructions for this product are available through the free BILT app.

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Small, lightweight, and portable
  • Heavy-duty and durable Weber construction
  • Steel charcoal grate
  • Easy assembly
  • Excellent temperature control
  • 10-year warranty
  • Include ash catcher and tuck&carry lid holder for convenience

Cons: 

  • Relatively heavy at 18 pounds

Our Verdict

The Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe is a portable charcoal grill weighing 18 pounds, so it’s not the most compact portable grill out there, but at the same time, you’ll have pretty decent cooking space with around 15 inches of inside diameter.

It is pretty easy to set up and you wouldn’t need more than 15 minutes to put together this portable grill, and you’ll only need basic hand tools to assemble it.

Easy to transport and store, and is one of the best portable grills available in the market today.

#9. CUISINART CGG-180T CGG180T Portable Propane

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Key Features

  • Portable gas grill with 145-square inch grilling area
  • Foldable legs
  • Cooks 8 burgers, 8 steaks, 6 to 10 chicken breasts, or 4 pounds of fish
  • Powerful 5,500 BTU stainless-steel burner and even-heating porcelain-enameled grate
  • Aluminum legs and stabilizing feet set up in seconds; integrated lid lock keeps lid secure
  • Pronounced briefcase-style carrying handle; weighs 13.5 pounds

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Compact size while offering pretty decent grilling space
  • You can set it up just about anywhere with its foldaway legs
  • Easy to set up and store
  • Very light, easy to transport anywhere
  • You can use it as a free-standing grill or as a tabletop, very versatile

Cons: 

  • The handle is made out of plastic, might melt due to high heat
  • The lid may pop open when carried around

Our Verdict

The Cuisinart CGG-180T is a portable propane grill that is pretty compact but has a decent cooking surface area of 145 square inches, enough to cook a few burgers and a couple of sausages during one grilling session.

It can only reach 5500 BTU of heat, but you can reach up to 500° F after about 5 – 10 minutes on a high setting. Compact but powerful.

#8. Coleman Fold N Go + Propane Grill

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Key Features

  • Propane portable grill
  • Delivers 6,000 BTUs of heat across 105 sq. in. of grilling surface
  • Portable folding grill with built-in handle for easy transport and storage
  • PerfectFlow technology ensures consistent performance even in extreme conditions
  • Removable dishwasher-safe cooking surface and grease tray for easy cleaning
  • Adjustable horseshoe burner for precise temperature control and even heating

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Very portable and lightweight
  • Easy to clean after use
  • Pretty decent heat, can deliver 6,000 BTUs of heat
  • Can be stored standing up for easier storage

 Cons: 

  • You’ll need a surface to put it on, which isn’t always available when camping

Our Verdict

The Coleman Fold N Go + is a portable propane grill that folds up smaller than a briefcase, and its compact size is probably its biggest selling point.

As a result of this portability, however, you’ll also get a pretty small cooking space, but the grill is surprisingly big enough for grilling a decent amount of meat at a time.

There are also some neat features like the insta-start pushbutton ignition, as well as the Perfect-Flow technology that can keep the heat steady on the burner.

You can easily remove the tray that collects the grease to clean it after each use, and the grate is also easy to remove and dishwasher-safe.

#7. GoBQ Portable Charcoal Grill

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Key Features

  • Folds down to 17% of its volume to easily fit in a backpack, drawer, or an overhead compartment.
  • Made of flame-resistant, silicone-coated fiberglass
  • Lightweight, only 9 lbs total weight
  • Cools down 7x faster than metal with its heat-resistant fabric base and body
  • Easy to set up and use right away, no tools required
  • 14” x 14” grill surface

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Decent looking
  • Cools down really fast, so you can pack it almost instantly once you’re done cooking
  • Easy to pack and set up
  • Lightweight, only 9 lbs, but also durable
  • Folds to be very compact

Cons: 

  • Needs a lot of charcoal to start
  • Might generate too much heat for your needs, being a charcoal grill

Our Verdict

The GoBQ Grill is a portable charcoal grill and is one of the best portable grills available if you are a purist looking for charcoal grills for that smoky flavor.

It is a favorite among campers because you can fold the unit down to only 17% of its total volume, and only weigh 9 pounds.

Albeit being pretty lightweight and compact, it can give you a 14” x 14” cooking space.

The downside, however, is the fact that it is powered by charcoal, so there’s no way to control the heat and you might get the temperature too high for your needs.

#6. Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Portable TRU

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Key Features

  • Portable, built with travel and camping in mind
  • 200 sq. inches of cooking space with stainless steel grates
  • High-impact frame with legs and carrying handles
  • No flare-up TRU-Infrared cooking system
  • Features a lid-mounted temperature gauge to easily monitor and control the temperature. Push-button ignition for easy starting.
  • Compatible with 1lb propane tanks, which connect directly to the side of the grill. (Propane sold separately).

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Solid, heavy-duty construction
  • Small and lightweight
  • Propane fuel, easier to control than charcoal
  • Can reach high grilling temperatures with ease

Cons: 

  • Cooking temperatures might get too hot if you are not careful
  • Limited temperature control features

Our Verdict

The Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is a portable gas (propane) grill with a cast aluminum shell, making it a lightweight and compact grill that is also pretty durable.

However, it features limited temperature adjustment features and can run very hot even on low settings, so you’ll need to be a bit more careful not to burn your meals.

A decent overall pick if you are looking for a compact and lightweight portable gas grill.

#5. Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler Portable Charcoal Grill

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Key Features

  • Heavy-duty stell construction, very durable design
  • Cast-iron grates for that signature, perfect sear
  • The height-adjustable charcoal tray lets you grill with high heat or low heat
  • Large air dampers allow for accurate airflow control
  • Full-size, removable ash pan for easier clean-up
  • 218 sq in cooking surface
  • Sturdy side handles for easy transport

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Features a professional temperature gauge for temperature control
  • Adjustable charcoal tray with large air dampers for airflow control
  • Large 218 sq in cooking surface
  • Easily removable ash pan
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Glow in the dark temperature gauge for use in lower light

Cons: 

  • The grill is relatively heavy and doesn’t have any wheel, so it can be difficult to transport
  • Back wall of the grill may flex after prolonged use

Our Verdict

The Oklahoma Joe Rambler isn’t the most portable grills available, and in fact, it’s quite heavy.

However, it can be a decent pick for those who absolutely need the authentic flavor and experience of charcoal grilling. You get a height-adjustable charcoal tray to control the heat, and you also get a professional-grade temperature gauge.

Durable and sturdy, and arguably the best portable grills if you are looking for a heavy-duty charcoal grill that is still relatively portable.

#4. Northfire Propane Infrared Grill-Single InfernoGo

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Key Features

  • 16 x 10 x 14 inches in dimensions
  • This heating mechanism can instantly heat the grill to around 1500 degrees Fahrenheit with a single click of the ignitor control.
  • Brilliantly engineered grates that have a unique “V” design
  • Easy maintenance with removable trays and grates, dishwasher-safe
  • Four removable racks with a simple user mechanism

Pros and Cons 

Pros: 

  • Innovative design, easy to use and clean
  • Heats up quickly, you can cook your meals almost instantly
  • Instantly climbing to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (ideal for cooking steak)
  • Durable stainless steel material
  • Push-start ignition, easy to use

Cons: 

  • The hose is slightly short
  • This is the most expensive portable grill on the list
  • The included instructions could be better

Our Verdict

The North Fire Inferno is a portable propane/infrared grill, allowing it to generate 1500 degrees F (800 degrees C) almost instantly in just a matter of minutes, ideal for cooking steaks, burgers, and fish.

It is really user-friendly: simply push the ignition button and it’s set. Has four removable racks so you can cook more than one meal simultaneously.

Compact and portable, yet is pretty versatile and powerful. One of the best portable grills for camping.

#3. Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill

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Key Features

  • 280 square inches total cooking area
  • Stainless steel burner can generate 12,000 BTU per hour
  • Porcelain-enameled, cast-iron cooking grates
  • Electronic ignition with a built-in thermometer
  • Two folding work tables
  • Dimensions – Lid Closed and Tables Out (inches): 15.5″H x 51.4″W x 19.5″D
  • 3D interactive assembly instructions for this product are available through the free BILT app.

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Portable and compact, ideal for camping for 2-4 people
  • Cast-iron cooking grates, high quality with a split grid and is porcelain-enameled
  • High-quality material with a strong, durable build. Has cast aluminum lid, heat-resistant glass-reinforced nylon frame, and stainless steel burners
  • Foldable side tables with decent quality

Cons: 

  • Only have one burner, so might limit overall use
  • Relatively heavy at 42 pounds

Our Verdict

The Weber Q2200 has 280 square inches cooking surface, pretty decent for a portable propane grill. Has an easy-to-use push-button ignition, and can reach 12,000 BTU.

The D-shaped burner heats up very quickly and the heat is very evenly distributed.

Made of really high-quality materials including the cast-iron grates, and has foldable side tables which can be useful in some scenarios. In our opinion, one of the best portable grills for camping.

#2. Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill

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Key Features

  • Up to 20, 000 BTUs of grilling power and 285 sq. In. Of cooking area
  • Now with 3 independently adjustable burners for enhanced temperature control
  • The water pan catches cooking grease and is removable for easy cleaning
  • 2 durable side tables for resting utensils and sauces; integrated thermometer for accurate temperature monitoring
  • Ignition for push-button, matchless lighting

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Portable once folded up with two large wheels and a built-in handle
  • Can be stored upright
  • Push-button ignition system for matchless ignition
  • Large cooking surface (285 sq in)
  • Interchangeable cooktops, you can easily switch between cast iron grill grates with griddles for other dishes

Cons: 

  • Might not generate enough heat for certain meals
  • Legs are quite wobbly

Our Verdict

The Coleman RoadTrip 285 is very easy to set up, and it uses propane from a 1-pound cylinder as its primary power source.

Despite being fairly compact, it can produce up to 20,000 BTUs with its three burners, and you can adjust the temperature according to your needs.

Has a fairly big cooking space of 285 square inches (to put it into context, enough for about 14 normal-sized burgers).

#1. Napoleon TravelQ 285 Portable Gas Grill

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Key Features

  • The TravelQ features 2 individually controlled stainless steel tube burners, 12,000 BTU’s, and 285 square inches of total grilling area capable of grilling up to 19 hamburgers at once
  • Napoleons iconic cast iron cooking grids provide even heat, prevent food from falling through, and create beautifully distinctive sear marks
  • Professional grilling in a portable package; perfect for camping, tailgating, parties, and small outdoor living spaces
  • Two separate burners provide precise temperature control while using the TravelQ Portable Gas BBQ, so that you can do anything from gentle roasting and smoking using indirect heat, to high heat searing
  • Whether you are traveling, tailgating, or barbecuing in the back yard, the windproof design prevents the weather from hindering the preparation of your next meal
  • The cast aluminum lid is built high enough for roasts and whole chickens
  • Folding legs make it easy to set up or store the TravelQ in second

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Easy to store and transport
  • High-quality components, durable and easy to maintain
  • Can use both small and large propane sources
  • Easy to clean after use
  • Jetfire ignition system, allowing us to quickly light the two propane burners without matches or lighter

Cons: 

  • The included wheels are wobbly at certain terrains
  • Lid is relatively shallow and there’s no lid damper

Our Verdict

The Napoleon TravelQ features a 285 square inch cooking surface, so it’s pretty big, and can generate 12,000 BTUs of heat while being pretty consistent in maintaining heat.

Has two propane burners that can be controlled independently, so you can grill a meal over low heat then roll it over to the other burner set to high heat.

Very versatile, and made of high-quality components so it’s also very durable. One of the best portable grills for camping available.

How to Choose The Best Portable Grill?

So, how can we identify the best portable grill to buy for you? Below we will discuss some parameters that you should put into consideration:

Fuel Type: Propane vs Charcoal Portable Grills

With full-sized barbecue grills, we can choose between three different types of fuel: charcoal, gas, and electric.

However, for portable grills, we will limit our discussion to charcoal and gas (propane) grills, since electric grills require sufficient power (Amps) which is obviously difficult to find when you’re camping.

Historically, charcoal grills are a popular choice, and people still swear by their authentic smoky flavor. However, gas grills also have their benefits, namely cost and convenience, and they have become more popular in recent years.

Charcoal portable grills

The main benefit of using charcoal grills is the classic smoky flavor produced by the charcoal.

However, charcoal emits smoke, which would also mean it produces carcinogenic cancer-inducing compounds into the surrounding air and the food.

Also, it takes more time to cook with charcoal than electric or gas portable grills, and you’ll need an adequate space since it creates a lot of smoke and heat.

Typically they are also less compact than the electric or gas counterparts.

Pros of charcoal grills: 

  • Give foods that signature smoky and charbroiled flavor
  • Typically more affordable than gas grills
  • Produce really high heat, can sear meat and vegetables quickly
  • Can create that caramelized exterior due to its high heat

Cons of charcoal grills: 

  • Produce smoke, which can be dangerous carcinogens
  • Can require a lot of charcoals in the long-run
  • Takes longer to generate heat
  • Can’t be turned off, and hard to adjust temperatures
  • May not be permitted in certain locations

Gas Portable Grills

Portable gas grills are fueled with propane-fueled tanks, and gas grills are nowadays more common than charcoal-fueled grills.

Propane grills are typically larger than charcoal alternatives since they’ll need to accommodate the propane tank. However, they can still generate a lot of heat and smoky flavor without generating carcinogenic smokes.

Typically they also offer more features like controllable heat levels, side burners, rotisserie setups, and more.

Pros of gas grills: 

  • Typically offer more features than charcoal portable grills
  • Can produce authentic barbecue flavor
  • Generate heat quickly, so can cook food quickly
  • Does not emit carcinogens

Cons of gas grills: 

  • Typically not as portable as charcoal grills
  • Propane tanks can be dangerous if not handled well
  • Typically require more space to store it

Size of Cooking Surface

The size of the cooking surface of the portable grill is a major consideration when choosing between different portable grills.

If you are going to feed your group of more than 5 people, then you’ll need a portable grill with bigger cooking surfaces.

Also, you should consider what the grate is made of and whether it has a non-stick coating. Some portable grills also offer more than one burner so you can, for example, use a girdle on one side and a cast-iron on the other.

Consider all of these features and especially the size of our cooking surface.

Weight

Pretty self-explanatory: the heavier the portable grill is, the harder it will be to transport the grill during camping. The best portable grills can be folded into a suitcase-sized container with good handles. Some also include wheels for even easier transportation.

Any legs and extra components should be contained within the folded shape, so it’s going to be easier to pack it in the car.

BTU

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit, and 1 BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat or cool 1 pound of water by 1-degree Fahrenheit.

If your portable grill’s BTU is too high, then it may burn through fuel quickly and may have poor heat retention. Vice versa if the BTU is too low, it might have slow preheat and recovery times.

You’d want 80-100 BTUs per square inch of the grill’s main cooking grate.

Conclusion

Selecting just one best portable grill for camping out of the ten in this list is indeed a very daunting task.

There are so many different products available in the market, and each product offers its unique features, portability, cooking surface size, and other unique benefits.

For our absolute best pick, although admittedly this is very hard, we’ll go for Napoleon TravelQ 285 Portable Grill due to its high-quality build, high heat production that is also evenly distributed, and well-rounded overall performance.

However, that’s not saying the others on this list are bad products. We are confident that based on our tests, these ten portable grills  we have reviewed are indeed the best choices you can have in 2021.