Ever craved a hot meal while camping outdoors? Or worse, wanted it but couldn’t get your hands on one? If you have been in this situation, then you know how reminiscent a hot meal is at the camp. Well, then what is a better way to get a hot meal than with a grill? We understand the value of a grill to an outdoor camper. Above all, we know how hard it can be to get one from the market regardless of the huge variety available. It is for this reason that we bring you carefully researched reviews of the best camping grills. The list is highly credible and here’s why. We have brought together camping grill reviews from actual users. So, can trust the information you find here. Besides, you also get a reliable buying guide in case you don’t find your best choice from the list we review.
Table of Contents
- Our Camping Grill Picks
- Camping Grill Buying Guide
1. Cuisinart CGG-200 All Foods Grill
Heat Power: 12,000BTU
Fuel: Propane gas
Cooking Surface Area: 240sq.In
This is a portable camping grill from Cuisinart with great appearance. It is a tabletop gas grill with a lot of cooking area of 240 square inches. Besides, it also comes with a modular grill surface that features removable panels.
The CGG-200 has a 12,000BTU heat power and twist-start ignition system for an easy start. Its stylish design features a stainless-steel burner and a cooking grate. It features a cast-iron with a porcelain enamel coating construction. When it comes to ease of use, the CGG-200 comes highly recommended. Its removable panels make it easy to clean. It also has a compact size for easy storage and transportation without taking up much space.
- Easy to use and clean.
- Enough cooking real estate.
- No need for matches thanks to the twist-to-start ignition.
- The hot plate gets hot and could easily burn your hand if you’re not cautious enough.
2. Blackstone Propane Table Top Grill
Heat Power: 12000 BTU
Cooking Surface Area: 260sq.inch
Fuel: Natural Gas
The Blackstone tabletop grill is convenient and portable camping gear. It comes in handy for tailgating, camping, and road trips. Also, it comes with an inbuilt electric igniter and uses propane as a source of fuel. It is easy to store. This is because it allows you to turn over the griddle top and use it to cover the body thus saving on space. Once you finish using the grill, cleanup is as simple as wiping with a paper towel. The best part about this grill is it doesn’t need too much attention. So, you have the time to enjoy the views as you wait for the meals to prepare.
- Delivers a spacious cooking surface of 260 square inches.
- 12000BTU cooking power offers fast and even heating.
- It does not come with a dedicated storage bag yet it is bulky.
- It does not have a unique and appealing design.
3. Weber Smokey Joe Portable Grill
Heat Power: Charcoal grill
Cooking Surface Area: 14” wide
The Smokey Joe is a portable charcoal grill with a diameter of 14 inches. It delivers enough cooking space for up to 4 burgers. What is more, this grill does not just grill burgers, you can use it for just about anything. It comes with premium rust-resistant aluminium dampers. These control the temperature in the grill and a plated steel cooking grate. And, the best part is the insulated lid handle. You also get to enjoy long-term use. This is because of the durable porcelain-enameled lid and bowl which retain heat.
- Uses charcoal, which is a natural source of fuel.
- Use of materials that are good at retaining heat.
- The dome-shaped lid is great for retaining heat and enough smoke.
- Does not have advanced features like automatic ignition and side panels.
4. Weber Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill
Heat Power: 8500BTU
Cooking Surface Area: 189sq.In
Fuel: Liquid Petroleum Gas/Propane
The Weber portable grill is one cookware you cannot afford to miss in your camping gear. It is a one-burner stainless steel grill with a cooking power of 8500BTU. Still, it manages to give a good performance even with its 189 square inches of cooking surface area. The grill build material features a cast aluminum lid and body. The cooking grates, on the other hand, have a cast iron material with a porcelain enamel coating.
Start without the use of matches using the push-button ignition system. As if that is not enough, the grill also has a temperature control setting to regulate the burner valve. This portable grill uses liquid petroleum gas as the source of fuel. Unfortunately, you have to buy the gas cylinder separately.
- Matchless ignition.
- It is compact hence utilizing small packing space.
- 8500BTU heat capacity is less for a 189sq.inch grill.
- One needs to buy the gas cylinder.
5. Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow PT300B Propane Grill
Heat Power: 10000BTU
Cooking Surface Area: 288sq.inch
Fuel: Propane gas
Another portable grill from Masterbuilt manufacturers. This one has a total cooking surface of 288 square inches. Additionally, it has a single burner with a cooking power of 10,000BTU. And, the best part is that the burner is U-shaped. This ensures maximum distribution of heat for even cooking. Transporting the grill is easy thanks to the folding legs and the lid that locks safely in place.
Starting the grill is as easy as pushing a button, which lights the burner in a matter of seconds. The grill has a chrome-coated warming rack and cooking grates. Both made from stainless steel. It uses propane gas as the source of fuel although the canister is bought separately.
- High cooking power.
- Push-button ignition.
- Easy to transport & durable
- U-shaped burner for even distribution of heat.
- Single burner limits multiple uses.
- The propane gas cylinder is sold separately.
6. Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Small Gas Grill
Heat Power: 5500BTU
Cooking Surface Area: 145sq.inch
Cuisinart makes the best portable grills for camping and the CGG-180T is not an exception. It is a single burner type of grill. But this doesn’t get in the way of its performance. This grill offers a 145-square-inch cooking surface with a 5500BTU cooking power. This is just about the amount of heat and space perfect for 8 burgers, 6-10 chicken breasts, 8 steaks, or four fish pounds. Its porcelain-enamel coated grate ensures even distribution of heat for even cooking. The grill is not only powerful. It is also compact and easy to carry. This is because of the briefcase-style carrying handle and the aluminum legs that fold away for stability.
- Highly portable.
- Uses easily available propane.
- The legs provide stability in any terrain.
- Features twist-to-start ignition.
- It is too small and this affects the cooking surface area.
- It has less cooking power.
7. Coleman Fold N Go + Propane Grill
Heat Power: 6000BTU
Cooking Surface Area: 105sq.inch
This is a minimalist single burner cooking grill ideal for outdoor campers. It is a folding grill that comes with an integrated handle for easy carrying. That is not all. The grill’s cooking surface measures only 105 square inches. Yet it delivers powerful cooking power of 6000 BTUs. The burner is the shape of a horseshoe to enhance the even distribution of heat. And, you don’t need matches to start the burner thanks to the InstaStart button. As if that is not enough, the grill uses propane gas, which is easily available. As far as ease of use is concerned, the Coleman Fold ‘n’ Go comes highly recommended. The cooking surface is both removable and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
- Dishwasher safe equipment.
- Temperature controls allow you to have precise heat for various meals.
- The built-in handle makes it easy to carry.
- The propane cylinder is sold separately.
- It has a small cooking surface area and less cooking power.
- The Top 6 Things to Consider When Buying a Camping Grill
- Camping Grill Using Tips
- Differences Between Grill and Stove in Camping Area
- Frequently Asked Questions
Do you want to pick the best camping grill? Then pay attention to the following things the next time you are on the market for a new camping grill.
This refers to the strength of the flames the burner delivers. The unit of measurement for heating power is the British Thermal Unit (BTU). Generally, grills with a higher BTU value perform better than those with a lower value. They achieve this by cooking in a short time. However, such grills cost higher and they consume fuel at a much higher rate than the ones with a low BTU value. When choosing a new camping grill, pay attention to the heating power rating. Buy one with a reasonable heating power. This helps to avoid any disappointments that could arise at the campsite.
More often than not, camping grills with high BTU values have more than one burner. But you can still find a few single-burner models with a high BTU value. High BTU value does not always translate to better performance. Sometimes the high heating power could be a disadvantage. For instance, it could cause the food to overcook or even burn. Also important is the distribution of the heat. Pay attention to the shape and design of the burner. U-shaped burners promote even distribution of heat. Therefore, they ensure whatever you are grilling is evenly done.
Cooking Surface Area
The cooking surface is an important thing to consider when buying a camping grill. Its unit of measurement is the squared inches. A large surface area in the cooking area is an advantage. It means you can grill multiple or large portions of meals at a time. Decide on the appropriate cooking surface area based on the size of your camping team. The more the members of the team, the bigger the cooking surface area you will need to meet your cooking needs.
It is also important to note that the cooking area determines the rate of fuel consumption. Large cooking areas consume fuel at a faster rate than the ones with a small area. Therefore, put this into consideration. Remember that you do not need a large cooking area if you are going to be camping alone or less than three people. Camping grills with large cooking surface areas may offer lots of cooking surfaces and fail to deliver in other areas. Choosing just the right size of the camping grill can help a lot to stay on the budget. Most of these features cost a lot when they come in large sizes and quantities.
Source of Fuel
Camping grills use a whole lot of fuel sources. But, most use gas, and a few use charcoal. Gas grills can use different types of gas although the majority of them in the market use propane. It is both affordable and easy to access. You can still find some gas grills using Liquid Petroleum Gas to fuel the burners though they are not that many. Just like propane, LPG is also accessible with ease and does not cost much. The gas comes in small cylinders that are easy to carry and dispose of. The main advantage of gas fuel is that it is easy to light. And, it doesn’t need too much storage space and transportation effort.
The only downside to gas fuel is that it runs down fast. Especially if you use a grill with a high BTU rating. This is where charcoal fuel beats gas. Not only is it cheap but also takes longer to deplete. However, you’ll spend a little longer getting it to light, which is not a good thing for an outdoor camper. The storage and transportation cost for charcoal fuel is higher than that of gas. You’ll need large storage space and transportation is a hassle given its bulky nature.
An ideal camping grill is one that is sturdy and durable. The type of material that makes the grill determines its durability to a great extent. You’ll want to look out for the type of material the cooktop is made. This determines the heating ability. Steel tends to dominate in the cooktop department. It is affordable yet it delivers great performance. However, this doesn’t mean that steel is the best material for the construction of camping grills. Others include aluminum and ceramic and their price point is way higher than that of steel.
Each material of construction has its ups and downs. While steel is a durable and rustproof material, it does not compare to aluminum. Aluminum is great at heat conduction and is lighter than steel. However, it is not as cheap. The high conductivity of aluminum makes it less likely to retain heat for long after turning off the grill. Ceramic, on the other hand, is good at both conduction and heat retention. This means it allows for faster cooking and retains heat for a long time after turning off the grill. It is important to look at the heat conductivity and retention ability of the material. Also pay close attention to the material’s ability to withstand weather elements.
This refers to the ease of transportation from one point to another. Things that ease transportation of a camping grill include weight, size, and design. A portable camping grill should weight just enough for one person to carry with ease. All the reviewed qualify as camping grills. This is because they are lightweight and one person can carry without any problems. Size is the second factor that determines portability. A portable camping grill is compact enough to fit in small storage space. Transporting a compact camping grill is easy as it will not take up the packing space of the other camping gear.
When it comes to design, a portable camping grill has an integrated handle for easy carrying. If you are looking for a portable camping grill, you cannot ignore this feature. It can be such a hassle carrying a grill without a dedicated handle. In the worst-case scenario, you might end up destroying the grill by dropping it on the ground. So, the next time you are on the market for a new camping grill, make sure you pick a portable one. A lightweight, compact, and most importantly, one that comes with an integrated handle. This will save you a tone of hassles when transporting the grill to and from the campsite.
Advanced Features and Accessories
The advanced features in a camping grill are ideal for outdoor camping. While camping outdoors, lots of kitchen items won’t be present at the campsite. It would be such a nice thing if you can find most of the accessories in a grill. Pick a camping grill that is versatile in the sense that it can prepare a wide range of meals. It should also have accessories like side panels, shelves, and multiple burners. These help to eliminate the need to carry a lot of kitchenware.
More features to look for are an automatic ignition system and temperature controls. The auto-ignition feature eliminates the need for matches when lighting the grill. As for the temperature controls, they come in handy when you need to select a specific temperature setting for a specific meal. The lack of this control negates the benefit of a high-powered grill. Also, pick a grill that will work will work with alternative fuel sources. If it is a gas grill, it should allow you to connect alternative gas cylinders other than the one that comes with the package.
Follow these tips to get the best out of your camping grill.
Lighting the Grill
Open the lid/hood of the grill before lighting. This helps to prevent the accumulation of gas under the lid as this could be risky. The gas tank, usually a 20-pound cylinder, is mounted on the side of the grill. Now turn on the gas supply valve to allow flow from the gas tank to the burner.
Turn on the first burner to the highest setting and then push the ignition button. Do this continuously until the burner lights then do the same for the other burners if it has multiple burners. Now you can close the hood/lid. Once all the burners are lit, go ahead and turn the heat to a low heat setting and allow the grill to preheat for 15-20 minutes. This is the time it takes for the propane grill to heat to cooking temperature.
Working with the Controls and Features
Take advantage of the temperature controls of the camping grill to prepare a wide range of meals. The controls ensure your meals do not overcook. For the best results, always refer to instructions of a recipe book to ensure you are cooking your meal in the correct temperature setting.
If the grill has multiple burners, you can prepare multiple meals at the same time. This helps to reduce the time spent on food preparation. Plus, there are great benefits that come with having all your meals prepared at the same time. Vegetables tend to get soggy if the time between when they are ready and the serving time is too long. Multiple cooking areas help to solve this because all the meals will be ready at the same time.
Stock up Enough Gas Cylinders
Propane gas grills tend to run out faster than usual. Plus, they are small in size. If you’ll be going to camp for more than just a weekend, it is advisable to pack a couple of extra gas cylinders. This way, you’ll have some backup in case the gas runs out in the most inopportune time. Alternatively, you can ready yourself to run to the nearest hardware shop for a refill or a trade-in of a full cylinder.
Economic Use of the Gas Grill
Practice energy conservation methods when using a camping grill. For instance, do not light it in the open. The blowing wind affects the performance of the heat to a great extent. If possible, only use the grill in the tent where it is free from the blowing wind. Ideally, have a shield to protect the grill. Not just the wind, it is important to protect the grill from other weather elements. Water droplets from rain or humid weather can accelerate rusting. You need to protect your grill from rusting regardless of what the manufacturer says about its anti-rust capabilities.
As a safety precaution, avoid leaving the gas tank valve open when not in use. This could increase the chances of a gas leak. Turning off the valve not only prevents gas leaks from happening. It also helps to save gas.
N.B: Avoid storing the grill while it is still hot. Take the time to allow it to cool before putting it away in its storage space.
While gas grills are easy to start, the same cannot be said about charcoal grills. With the following three methods, you can successfully light a charcoal grill. They include the chimney method, the pyramid charcoal, and the lighter fluid method and the use of matchless charcoal.
- To start the charcoal grill using the chimney method, start by pouring charcoal blocks into a vertical chimney. Now put fire starters at the bottom of the chimney then light them up. The charcoal blocks will be catching fire in a gradual process and as the fire ascends the chimney as the hot coals spread to the charcoal grate. It is after the charcoal grate heats that you can now put the grill grate in its position to start grilling.
- In the pyramid charcoal and lighter fluid method, start by stacking charcoal to form a pyramid. Then spray the lighter fluid and light them instantly. Now scatter the pyramid and put the charcoal grate back in position to begin grilling after the charcoal turns to ash white. It is advisable to never spray the fluid if the coals are already lit. This can cause an explosion.
- The use of matchless charcoal is the easiest method of starting a charcoal grill. It only requires stacks of charcoal and a fire starter or accelerant. You don’t need a fluid spray lighter on this one. Once the fire starter and stack of charcoal are in place, all you need to do is push the ignition button and your grill will be ready in 15 minutes.
Charcoal grills are favorite grilling options for many people. Especially those who enjoy the flavor-rich grilled barbeque chicken, steak, and burger. However, the hassle comes in on the cleaning part. The ashes leave a lot of mess. Either way, you can always get ahead by taking a few precautions along the way. Whatever you do, ensure you only dispose of the ashes when they are cooled. You are not trying to get burned. On the contrary, all you want is some nice grilled meals at the camp. That’s all. For now, follow these tips and you won’t regret even for a bit.
The following are the main differences between a grill and a stove in the camping area.
Related: Best Camping Stoves of 2021
- Working Concept
The first difference is in the working concept. The stove works by concentrating heat in a central whereas the grill distributes heat evenly across a wide surface. A stove cooks food by conducting heat through a skillet or cooking pot. The grill, on the other hand, does not use pots and pans to cook. Instead, you just place the food on the grilling grate and it will cook throughout the surface. This is because the grill distributes heat all around the food.
- Cooking Surface
The other difference is in the cooking surface. The cooking surface of a stove is designed to hold cooking pots and skillets whereas the surface of the grill holds bear food items.
- Amount of heat
The amount of heat a stove delivers is lower than that of a grill. Here’s why. The stove does not transfer heat directly to the food but the grill does.
The camping stove offers greater versatility than the portable grill. Think about the range of foods that you can cook on a camping stove. All you need is a pot, a pan or a flat griddle and you’re good to go. With the stove, you can fry, sauté, and boil. As for the camping grill, you only cook those meals that you can place on the wire rack or grill surface. This means you cannot boil, fry, or sauté.
- Ease of Cleaning
The ease of cleaning sets a major difference between these two cooking gears. Camping stoves are easier to clean than grills. This is because most of the cleaning is done on the pot, pan, or griddle. Camping grills are a bit more involving when it comes to cleaning. You will have to take it apart, clean the grate, metal plate and drip pan separately.
Camping stoves are easier to clean and versatile in terms of the range of cooking options. Camping grills are also must-have camping gear for a camper who enjoys a grilled meal. You can as well pick a hybrid combo that combines a grill and stove in the same unit.
The following are the questions that most customers ask about camping grills.
- Q: Which type of camping grill should I get?
A: The type of camping grill should depend on how much you are willing to spend. Electric and propane grills are more expensive than charcoal grills. But they have more advanced features, which justifies the high costs. You should always strive to remain within your budget to avoid interfering with your plans.
- Q: How do I clean a camping grill?
A: The cleaning process is also quite dependent on the type of grill. But the concept is pretty similar. Start by taking it apart and clean the grill grate and metal plate as well as the drip pan in a bucket full of warm water. Use a grill brush to clean under the hood ensuring you do not let water into the burner. Ensure everything is clean and dry before you assemble it back into place. Wipe the outside with a damp cloth and finish by buffing for a satisfying shine.
For more information: How to clean a camping grill
- Q: What is the most important thing to look for when picking a camping grill?
A: Apart from the basic requirements, the next most important thing would be the availability of accessories and features. This is because they are the things that dictate the kind of experience you get. Do not overlook things like the ignition system and side panels. Also, check if the internals parts are removable. These determine the ease of cleaning. A camping grill with removable drip pan, grates, and metal plates would be much easier to clean than one whose internals are non-removable. Buying dishwasher-safe camping grills would also be an added advantage.
A grill is a piece of ideal cooking equipment that you cannot afford to lack in your camping gear. The market has lots of options that can sometimes overwhelm you. Quite understandable, but this is not an excuse for not having a camping grill. This article outlines the best camping grills you can buy in 2020. Additionally, some deeply researched camping grill reviews accompany each listing to give you just a hint of what you are missing. Still, if the list is not sufficient for you, use the buying guide to help you pick a grill that works for you. That is not all, you also get tips on how to use and clean a camping grill. This is more than enough information you need to start you off.