Portable outdoor grills are handy to have, but the range of quality from one to the next is huge.
We decided to try a whole bunch out, keep an unbiased point of view, and see which of the many
grills we examined would come out on top. It took a while to find the best of the best, and there
were a few contenders, but the Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE ends up taking
Personally, I am a big fan of matchless lighting, which this Coleman provides. The heat is high
and the cooking is even. Specifically, though, we’re looking for portable outdoor grills, so how
does this fella score on portability? Well, you guessed it, it scores pretty damn good. It’s hardly
50 pounds and there’s a collapsible wheel stand, so that you can move it easily, and it still packs
up to be very compact to on a scale that’s best in class.
1. Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE
- Portable propane grill ideal for tailgating, picnicking, and camping
- Delivers 20,000 BTUs of heat across 285 square inches of grilling surface
- Swaptop interchangeable cooktops allow you to switch grill grates out for griddle and stove grates (sold separately)
Coleman is a trusted name, and is one of the first brands that comes to mind when it is suggested
that supplies for the great outdoors are required. This is a well priced grill with a whole lot of
value, and it is full of impressive features.
It wasn’t hard to set up at all, which makes this a great grill for a novice outdoor cook, but the
sophistication of the features makes it satisfying for the experienced griller, too. This Coleman
model also comes in various sizes, so that you can buy the one that best suits your needs and
wants. The top is changeable, and you can purchase different types of grills and griddles to
customize your experience.
For us, it wasn’t too tough of a decision to deem this the best overall grill, not only within its price
range, but the most valuable grill that promises the most bang for your buck in general.
2. Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
- The Weber Smokey Joe charcoal grill is an ideal portable grill for cookouts, tailgate parties, and car camping
- The glass reinforced nylon handle allows you to easily remove the lid as needed
- The cooking grate measures 14-1/2-inch diameter and is triple nickel-plated
Weber steps up to the table with a grill that we couldn’t help but like a whole lot. This old-school
charcoal beauty is totally consistent and reliable. Just looking at it, you’ve got a good idea of
what you’re going to get– when you consider that it’s made by Weber, you know it’s going to be
good, and the high quality, rust-proof metals used further this impression. This guy scores really
high on portability, as it is small and lightweight, weighing it at just 9.5 pounds.
Usually the downfall with Weber is a hefty price tag, but this portable outdoor grill does not suffer
from that particular setback, as it can typically be purchased for well under $50. Weber, being
such a respectable and self-assured brand, also offers a whopping 10-year warranty on this grill. It
doesn’t quite have the versatility of the Coleman, but if you’re looking for an inexpensive
charcoal burner, this has got to be your pick.
3. Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
- One stainless steel burner produces 12,000 BTU-per-hour to heat 280 square-inch total cooking area
- Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates and cast aluminum lid and body
- Fully assembled out of box
Speaking of Weber, this liquid propane grill takes the portable outdoor grill to the opposite side
of the spectrum than the Smokey Joe.
This is the hottest, heaviest, and largest grill of the whole group, and, in my opinion, is almost too
heavy-duty to be considered “portable”. In fact, the portability is where it starts to lose some
points. There is a cart that can come along, but it’s an extra purchase to an already expensive
grill. Still, if you’re looking for a big, bulky, and power single-burner, this is about as good as it's
going to get– and it’s a damn good grill.
It comes fully assembled, and it's simple to use. The propane makes the cooking temperature
easy to regulate, which is important, because this thing can really get cookin’.
I like this for tailgating, but I’m not going to say it's the most convenient grill for moving around a
whole lot. Still, quality is quality, and this Weber grill is absolutely full of it.
Why use a portable grill?
There are a few good reasons to go with a portable outdoor grill. The first one that comes to
mind is tailgating. As anyone who has been tailgating knows, it’s not healthy to watch sports and
drink beer without eating some fine grilled meat– that’s just science. A great portable grill is
usually quite compact and makes good use of space, which can be very important in all sorts of
A lot of folks living in apartments don’t have room for big, bulky barbecues, and the portable
outdoor grill can serve the same function without being a constant presence on your tiny
Personally, I like using mine for all sorts of outdoor activities, mostly camping and picnicking.
Sometimes it’s nice to have something dependable that runs on propane, rather than depending
on the campfire to cook everything.
Most run on typical propane canisters, such as these, which are very easy and convenient to
locate and purchase at gas stations, grocery stores, and all sorts of places that’ll sell you odds
and ends or outdoor supplies. If you’re looking to expedite the process, you can order 2 of them
on Amazon for $20, which is a pretty good deal.
What To Know When Purchasing a Portable Outdoor Grill
You should know what size you’re looking for. There’s no use buying something huge if you’re
only cooking for a couple, and you don’t want to end up with something tiny if you’re grilling for
the whole extended family. Also, figure out what your preferred heat requirements will be for the
kind of cooking you want to be doing– there’s no use buying something that really pumps out
high levels of heat if you’re not going heavy duty, and vice versa.
It’s important that you make sure you are getting the type of accessories you want and need,
whether those are packaged up with your grill, whether they’re features within the grill, or
whether you’re buying them as separate accessories.
Don’t forget to check the warranty and make sure that it’s something that you understand and
agree with. For me, this is sometimes the clincher when deciding between two products.
Finally, if your portable grill uses an electric lighter, this can be great, but it is a royal pain in the
rear end if the battery dies… A lot of grills can be started even if the battery is dead, so
generally I’d tell you to go with one of those options, as others make it damn near impossible to
start your grill if the battery is dead, and a new battery isn’t always immediately available when
you’re about to fire up a portable grill like this.