Anyone who is familiar with the brand Weber and its classic charcoal kettle design, along with the company’s reputation and long warranty will agree with our choice of the Weber Original Kettle 22” for one of the best charcoal grills under $200.
Praised by both amateur grillers as well as professionals this classic grill performs much better than cheaper charcoal grills and competes with more expensive models competitively.
We’ve considered several charcoal grills for our review, some small and portable for camping or picnics and some a bit larger for patios, backyards or larger gatherings.
We narrowed the list down to five popular charcoal grills. In our opinion, these five grills are the best charcoal grills for the money.
This guy is a rugged, heavy duty Cast Iron charcoal hibachi-style grill that is perfect for camping, tailgating, and outdoor events.
The draft door regulates the heat fairly well, and coals are accessible via the flip-down door. It has 2 adjustable heights that are easily changeable.
Both the grates and grill body are seasoned so it is ready to use right out of the box, but will need to be maintained with a bit of oil for longevity.
This grill gets VERY high reviews (4.8 stars with over 1100 reviews) but the portability of hauling around a 27lb cast iron grill may be daunting for some.
Value for the money
Some rusting issues
Tough to clean
Issues during shipping (damaged parts)
The Original Kettle charcoal grill has all the best features of more expensive Weber grills without any wasted frills.
This grill features 363 square inches of total cooking space, a 22-inch-diameter plated-steel cooking grate, porcelain-enameled bowl and lid with glass-reinforced nylon handles and rust-resistant vents.
The kettle design is perfect for grilling, searing, or smoking enough food for a large family.
Now, step up to the Original Kettle Premium and one of its best features is the “One-Touch” cleaning system, which makes cleanup hassle free.
As you rotate the handle, the three blades in the bowl move ash through the vents in the bowl and down into the ash catcher. The aluminum ash catcher lifts out for easy ash disposal and cleaning.
The fully enclosed ash catcher keeps ashes from blowing around and is easily detached for quick and clean ash removal. This not only makes cleaning out the bowl a breeze but also helps keep you cooking longer by preventing the build-up of ashes that blocks vents and suffocates the fire.
In addition to providing a quick and easy way to clean the bowl, the One-Touch cleaning system also acts as a second damper. The same vents that allow ash to fall easily out of the bowl help bring oxygen up to the fire.
Closing the One-Touch cleaning system and the top damper allow you to choke out the fire easily.
There are 3 Kettles in the Original series:
The Weber Original Kettle 18” for smaller spaces;
the Weber Original Kettle 22” (which we reviewed); and
the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22” featuring the Aluminized steel One-Touch cleaning system with removable, high-capacity, aluminum ash catcher, and your choice of three colors: black, copper, or green.
Simple to use
Easy to maintain
Large cooking area
10-year limited warranty
Ash removal piece too small
Lid tends to not fit after a while
Weber's Smokey Joe grill is the timeless, take it anywhere, nomadic grill at the right price.
Simply designed and easy to fire up makes this little fella perfect for beach cookouts, tailgate parties, and car camping.
The Smokey Joe comes in two sizes so if you need a little more cooking surface then check out the Weber Jumbo Joe 18” with the same great customer service, construction, and reliability with a bit of extra cooking surface.
(As a bonus when you purchase this grill Weber throws in a 31-page owner's guide filled with cooking tips and time-tested recipes for grilling everything from pork chops to bratwurst to Cornish hens. That’s nice!)
Ease of use
Good temperature control
10-year limited warranty
No handles on body
Thin metal on body
Hard to move when hot
The Go-Anywhere grill is compact, durable and has lots of grill space. It is great for use on a back porch, apartment balcony or for car camping.
Boasting 160 sq/in of grilling area, there’s more than enough cooking space to feed 1-4 people.
The legs fold up to lock the cover in place making for easy carrying & storage.
This is a great little grill that will keep you grilling for years to come.
Ample cooking area
Folding legs lock lid in place
10-year limited warranty
Price high for small grill
Lid and side handles get very hot
Not as durable as other Weber grills
There are 3 Char-Grillers in this series:
Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro - the smaller version that is perfect for 1-3 people.
Char-Griller 2-2424 Table Top Grill (& Side Fire Box) - can be just a tabletop grill or used as a firebox on the 2123 to turn it into a smoker. (For the price of this and the 2123 Wrangler, you get a grill and smoker for under $200!)
Char-Griller 2123 Wrangler Grill / Smoker (reviewed here) - bigger than the Patio Pro and can be turned into a smoker with the purchase of a firebox.
This charcoal grill is prefect for larger families or backyard parties. The Char-Griller 2123 Wrangler features 635 square inches in total grill space, 435 square inches on the main grill and 200 on the warming rack.
Cast iron grates make for even heat distribution, and the grill is made of heavy-duty steel for lasting durability.
The Wrangler features three shelves for storing utensils, spices and sauces. It has an airtight hood with heat gage, as well as an adjustable fire grate.
With the Char-Griller, you actually get a grill now and later, with the purchase of the firebox, you could turn the grill into a smoker.
Plus, the Table Top can be used independently as a small, portable grill, which is very convenient.
Easy to clean
Good customer service
Easily start fire
Good temperature control
Larger cooking area
There are many features and accessories to accompany your new charcoal grill, so here are a few things to consider when looking for the best grill for the money.
If heat is not distributed properly across the grill, the food will cook unevenly or not finish cooking at the same time.
Each grill is different. With trial and error, you can learn your grill and adjust the heat accordingly, but more even distribution of heat will make grilling easier from the start.
Grills can come with a number of different amenities. The more amenities added, the more the cost. Some amenities to the reviewed gas grills are:
Many of these budget-friendly charcoal grills don’t have the added amenities, though some do. You’ll need to bump up your budget a little if you want all of these amenities with your grill.
Cooking surface area can be a big deciding factor. If you will be grilling for five or more people regularly, you may want to go for a larger grill. You can definitely cook enough for 1-4 people with the smaller grills or if grilling occasionally for larger groups you could grill in batches.
Another thing to consider is how and/or where you want to use your grill.
Will it be stationary on your patio? Or do you plan to take it with you car camping, tailgating, etc.?
In that case weight factors into the decision, as well as ease of transport. Does the lid secure? Do the legs fold up?
Knowing the answers to these questions before you begin your research can help narrow down your search.
Because of it solid construction, easy maintenance, long warranty, and the company’s reputation, we’ve picked the Weber Original Kettle 22” for the best charcoal grill for the money.
Anyone who is familiar with the brand Weber and its classic charcoal kettle design, along with the company’s reputation, will agree with our choice of this traditional classic.
However, if you are looking for a great car camping grill and don’t mind the weight of a 27 lb. cast iron grilling machine, the Lodge Sportsman Charcoal Grill is a solid choice.
Whichever of these charcoal grills you choose, they’re all great charcoal grills for under $200.