Best Affordable Beginner Charcoal Grill

Don’t have time to read, then skip to our top recommendation the Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18″.

We’ve all had to start at the beginning, right?   Whether you are on a tight budget or not wanting to invest a lot on this new experience, this will guide you through an initial purchase with your budget in mind.  All the grills below will run on charcoal as their primary heat source.

We will cover the following charcoal grills in this review:

Product Features
Weber Original Kettle 18 Inch Charcoal Grill Black
  • Holds up to nine burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • One-Touch cleaning system provides hassle-free ash cleanup
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
  • Durable plated steel cooking grate retains heat and is easy to clean
Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch Black
  • Holds up to eight burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
  • 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
Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
  • Holds up to six burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and base retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • The lid locks for easy portability and dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside your grill
  • Durable plated steel cooking grate retains heat and is easy to clean
Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill
  • Measures 19 by 10-1/4 by 8-1/4-inch
  • 2 Adjustable heights temper cooking speed; wash by hand
  • Draft door regulates heat; coals accessible behind flip-down door
  • Cooking grate measures 17-1/4 by 9-inch; seasoned and ready to use
  • Rugged, charcoal, hibachi-style grill made of durable cast iron

Before making a decision, here are a few things you may want to consider:

  • Do you like to take your grill to camp or tailgate?
  • Are you taking your grill to the park?
  • Do you live with limited space?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, certain grills are going to accommodate to your lifestyle more. In this article, I will be reviewing these grills by portability, affordability and overall value. 

Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill

  • 240 sq. in. grilling space
  • Aluminum ash catcher
  • Heat-shielded handle
  • Aluminum legs
  • Lid hook
  • Approximately 24 lbs.

This grill is the only grill featured in this article with long, attachable legs.  This can add an element of ease to your grilling, as you won’t need a tabletop or you won’t have to grill on the ground.  It also comes with wheels attached to the end of the legs for easier transport. Although a downside to having legs, even if they’re detachable, is that it could make the portability of this grill a little more cumbersome.  It has 240 square inches of cooking space, allowing you to fit roughly 9 burgers on the grate.  An added feature is having a hook to hang the lid.  Believe it or not, this is a very handy feature.

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Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

  • 240 sq. in. grilling space
  • Aluminum ash catcher
  • Locking lid for transporting
  • Heat-shielded handle
  • Lid holder
  • Approximately 18 lbs.

The Weber Jumbo Joe is very similar to the Weber Original Kettle, the primary difference being the Original Kettle has long legs.  The Jumbo Joe could be more accommodating to those who need to store their grill away, live in an apartment or would like to take their grill on camping trips, afternoons in the park or to tailgate.  The Jumbo Joe also comes with a lid holder attached directly to the grill for convenience.

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Weber Smokey Joe 14 

  • Approximately 150 sq. in. grilling space
  • Aluminum ash catcher
  • Approximately 10 lbs.

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The 14″ Weber Smokey Joe is a smaller and stripped down approach to the larger Smokey Joe above.   This is the smallest, lightest, and most affordable grill in this article. This grill will allow you to grill approximately 5 burgers.  This Smokey Joe does not come with a lid holder or a heat shield under the handle.   This may be the perfect grill if you are a first time grill buyer and wanting to test the waters, or if you need an ultra-light grill that you can take on the go or need to store with ease.  Just because it is the least expensive of the group, quality is behind the Weber name.  

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill 

  • 160 sq. in. grilling space
  • Locking lid for transporting
  • Approximately 14.5 lbs.

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The Weber Go Anywhere Grill was designed with portability in mind. With it’s rectangular shape and pivoting legs making it easier to load in your car, or even carry on the back of the motorcycle!  It’s the perfect grill for tailgates,  camping trips, or to stow away in the garage.  It grills approximately 6 burgers.  It weighs roughly 15 pounds, which is still lighter than the Jumbo Joe or the Original Kettle.  If portability is high priority, this grill is for you!

Lodge Cast Iron Charcoal Grill

 

  • Approximately 240 sq. in. grilling space
  • Cast Iron
  • Carrying Handle

The Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman Grill is the only fully cast iron grill on this list.  It has a surface area of roughly 240 square inches, and weighs a hefty 30 pounds. Although it comes with a handle for easier carrying, and the smaller  oval shape makes it less bulky than traditional grills.  Some people may be turned off by the weight of this grill.  It also does not come with a lid. This grill does, however, offer better heat retention due to being all cast iron, and is arguably more durable.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, my overall winner for the best affordable beginner charcoal grill in terms of value and portability is the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill.   Whether you are just getting into grilling, or are a seasoned veteran, this grill is small enough to accommodate your urban needs or on-the-move lifestyle.  However, if you’re ok spending a bit more and don’t need the portability, consider the Original Weber Kettle.

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Brian Canada

Brian Canada

Founder and creator of Big Grillin. Since early adulthood, Brian has enjoyed grilling and smoking a variety of foods. Brian’s mission is to share his grilling knowledge and help others enjoy grilling as much as he does.

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