Top 5 Best Charcoal Grill under $500 – Tips and Buying Guides in 2022
If you are looking for best charcoal grill under $500, look no further! We’ve got what you need.
When it comes to BBQ, I’ll never compromise on any essential features, and I believe there are others who share this sentiment with me. For this reason, I don’t hold back on spending a little more to purchase a grill that offers that extra flavor and convenience to make a pleasant grilling experience.
For further reading, here’s how to use a smoker box on a charcoal grill.
If you are thinking of purchasing a unit with 500 bucks, there are dozens of options on the market. So, you should be aware of the stress of window shopping and how confusing choosing the right unit can be.
However, we’ve done this hard part and compiled a list of the best charcoal grill under $500 offering great value for the money. Also, there’s a buying guide to ensure you never choose wrong.
What is a charcoal grill?
A charcoal grill is a traditional type of outdoor cooking equipment which uses coal or charcoal as a heat source. Charcoal grills are used for cooking various meats and other foods. The use of a charcoal grill requires the use of fire in order to create heat, which makes them different from most gas grills that rely on propane, butane or natural gas to cook food.
Charcoal grills generally incorporate an off-set firebox, allowing the heat source – usually coals – to be separated from the cooking area by some sort of barrier such as a fixed metal plate or adjustable rack system.
This arrangement not only allows for more effective heating than would otherwise occur with open flame, but also results in improved temperature control. This enhanced control is important when cooking over charcoal, to prevent food from burning.
Read more to discover the list of best charcoal grill under $500
Reviews of The Best Charcoal Grill Under $500 in 2022
Here are top rated charcoal grill under 500 dollars on sale
Top 1 – Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
The Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill is similar to the manufacturer’s Original Kettle 22. This model comes with an easy electric ignition system that allows users to light the unit up by touching it. This feature includes a small burner to light the charcoal from beneath the coal grate.
The charcoal grill offers a reasonably-sized 363 sq. inches of cooking space which should be plenty enough to cook up to 17 burgers at a time. Also, it includes a lid, porcelain-enamelled bowl, easily-removable LCD cook timer and a built-in lid thermometer.
For those who are concerned about how easy cleaning a unit can be, it’ll be good to know that Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill comes with a one-touch cleaning system including an ash catcher. This unit makes cleaning this unit after cooking a breeze.
Also, users shouldn’t experience any hassle moving charcoal under the cooking grate, thanks to two handy char-baskets which makes it possible to achieve cooler indirect and direct hot zones.
Another impressive thing to know about Weber 15502001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill is its aluminium vent which is rust-resistant, and a nylon lid handles to ensure you don’t get hurt using this model.
Even better, buyers can choose whichever colour they prefer from green to copper and black.
If you want to buy the best charcoal grill under $500, you can consider this knife set as your final choice.
- Easy to set up
- Easy touch-and-go ignition mechanism
- Large cooking space
- Quality build construction and impressive look
- Hassle-free temperature control
- Not lightweight like the Original Kettle variant
- No lid on the fuel bin
- Electronic Touch-N-Go with Propane Gas powered ignition system (propane tank not included)
- Dimensions - Lid Closed: 43.5"H x 48"W x 30"D | Weight: 91 lbs
- 22-inch diameter porcelain-enameled bowl and lid with a cooking area of 363 square inch
#2. Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill
Making it our list of the best charcoal grill under $500 is Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill. This unit is a favourite considering its large cooking size to handle small gatherings and sturdy construction to serve you for many seasons.
Plus, it works well with both charcoal and gas, which makes it incredibly versatile and portable. This means if don’t have to stop cooking because you ran out of coal for some reasons, you can easily get going with a gas tank.
This large unit offers the best of both fuel options. The manufacturer placed a Gas pro grill on the top (a smaller version though, but it does a great job). The grill comes with three-burner knobs to make sure you are cooking at the right temperature when using the gas option. Plus, it helps maintain the set temperature.
That’s not all about Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill. It comes with an electrical ignition mechanism using a knob to start the unit. There’s a side extension with a small gas burner to help make your sauces and keep your food warm.
The storage shelves come with storage shelves which won’t be an issue with this heavy-duty charcoal grill. Also, there’s a bottom rack to hold your skewers and cooking utensils.
- Two fuel options
- Easy-dump ash pan for easy cleaning
- Adjustable grate height
- Three burners offering 40,800 BTU
- Porcelain-enamelled cast-iron grates
- Easy to rust
#3. Weber Original Kettle Premium 26 Inch Charcoal Grill
Another spot, another Weber. The Weber Original Kettle Premium 26 Inch Charcoal Grill comes in shape to allow proper heat circulation and a 22-inch diameter to offer a whopping 363 sq inches of cooking space.
The grate includes a hinge, allowing users to easily added coals by lifting a small portion while cooking, which ensures you can keep cooking for long. It also has an ash catcher to quickly get rid of the burned charcoal, which is contained in the ash pan instead of all over the unit. This makes it a lot easier to clean the unit when you are done with cooking.
The glass-reinforced nylon handles shields you from the heat and ensures you don’t get hurt from an overly hot handle. Also, the aluminium dampers make it easier to adjust the level of heat. Closing the dampers extinguish the coals by cutting the oxygen supply after you are done cooking.
Furthermore, it comes with sturdy wheels allowing users to easily roll the grill when it’s cooking session or into storage after the period is over. Keep in mind that the component parts are not entirely sourced in the USA, though it’s built in the USA.
- Tuck-away lid holder
- One-touch cleaning system
- High heat retention
- Durable wheels
- Easy to add fuel
- Poor quality controls
- Your purchase includes One Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill in Black | 2 Char-Baskets & Stainless Steel Hinge Cooking grate
- Grill dimensions: Lid Closed – 42.9"H x 27"W x 33"D | Primary cooking area – 508 square inches | Lid weight – 15 lbs. | Stand-alone grill
- One-Touch cleaning system with high-capacity ash catcher provides hassle-free ash cleanup
#4. Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grill
The Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grill provides users with impressive functionality and features mostly offered on high-priced units without spending a fortune. The insulated double-wall steel construction makes this unit heat faster and uniformly, which helps seal in moisture and heat.
Some people reported that the Char-Broil Kamander is the best charcoal grill under 500.
Further, there’s a distinctive air intake design that allows users to be innovative and convenient air control for steady temperature for either low ‘n’ slow smoking to high-temperature cooking and searing.
And hold on, there’s more about Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grill. This model features an internal ash pan to easily removed from the top rather than having to open the bottom, which can result in air leakage.
This model comes with a 327 sq inch primary cooking space which should be enough for a group of four. It also comes with 142 sq. inches chrome-enamelled steel swing-out warming rack, which is adjustable. This cooking surface area makes this unit more versatile, as it allows you to smoke, grill and roast on a single cooker.
- Versatile cooker
- Easy airflow control
- Insulated dual-wall construction
- Integrated tool hooks
- Removable drip pan
- The brisket is flimsy
- Having trouble maintaining a temperature
#5. PK Grills PKGO Outdoor Portable Charcoal Grill and Smoker
This unit is a charcoal smoker, and grill comes in a distinctive capsule shape, four vents to ensure users find it easy to use this model for low and slow or hot and fast cooking.
The cooker is made from cast aluminium which makes it lightweight, durable and rustproof. Not just that, it helps conduct heat better than most grill made from steel. To assure users of quality, the manufacturer offers a 10-year warranty, which covers burnout, rust or breakage.
Plus, this unit comes with great portability which makes it ideal for tailgating, camping, picnics and beach days. The PK Grills PKGO Outdoor Portable Aluminum Charcoal Grill and Smoker is a perfect choice for ay non-flammable surface.
- Durable aluminium construction
- Easy to use
- Four vent system
- Heavy-duty hinge
- 300 sq inches
- Poor quality control
- CHARCOAL GRILL AND SMOKER COMBO - PK Grills charcoal grill with smoker packs a unique capsule shape construction and 4 vents system that make it easy to grill hot and fast or low and slow.
- CAST ALUMINUM CONSTRUCTION - Aluminum grills are rust-proof, durable, lightweight, and conduct heat 4x more efficiently than steel charcoal grills.
- PORTABLE GRILL - This PKGO outdoor grill and smoker’s small footprint makes it a great choice for use on any non-flammable surface. A great portable bbq grill for camping, tailgating grill, park...
How to Select the best charcoal grill under $500
When it comes to choosing the right charcoal grill, there are several different factors to consider. In this section, we’ll look at the essential factors to help you make the right choice for your next cookout.
The first thing anyone considers when trying to buy anything is the price of the unit. The good news is you can find a good charcoal grill in this budget range (500 USD). The most affordable option is a basic kettle grill, but for those with cooking space at priority, you should consider a barrel grill.
While other options are costing less than 50 USD, cooking space is one of the compromises for low prices. Also, you shouldn’t expect a sturdier build construction. You will often have to deal with scratches and rusting. Therefore, if you don’t love such tradeoffs, you should consider shelling out more cash.
What you intend using the grill for determines what grill to opt for. If you are looking to grill burgers and hot dogs, then you can go for any type of grill. On the other hand, for those looking for impressive cooking versatility, a kamado grill will be a better choice. This type of grill offers great flavour infusion and texture to your meat.
Further, bullet and barrel grills are an ideal option for anyone looking to cook slowly. Ceramic grills are equally suitable for cooking with tastier flavour. It allows users to bake whatever they want, including bread and pizza.
Charcoal Grill Size
The size of a unit is another top consideration you should bear in mind when making a choice. If the grill is used to feed at least four persons at a time, then you should lean more towards grill with ample cooking space.
You check out the product dimension to know the cooking space the grill offers. This information is readily available on the manufacturer’s website or checks the product description.
Taking a grill on camping or to the beach can make the experience a lot worthwhile if the unit is easy to carry. A portable and lightweight charcoal grill will not be a hassle and would easily squeeze into your trunk.
But for those without an intention of taking their charcoal grill on camping, then a larger, heavyweight model will work just fine for you.
Kettle and ceramic grills are great options for people looking for small-size units. They do not take a lot of space and can be placed just anywhere. On the flip, a ceramic grill is heavier and are supposed to be left at a particular spot. Plus, carrying them from one spot to another would be a real hassle.
Types of Charcoal Grills
Types of charcoal grills can be divided into three categories: kettle grills, ceramic grills and barrel grills.
Kettle grills have a lid, and are shaped like a kettle; the coals rest in the bottom of the grill and food cooks directly above them [the charcoal]. The lid is not air-tight [and] frequently has vents to allow for temperature control and smoke production.
They typically have moveable parts such as racks and lids that let you access your meat or control cooking temperatures, they can also hold more food than other types of charcoal grills.
Barrel grills are usually shaped like cylinders with one narrow end capped off (that where you load your fuel). The bottom of the grill is wider than the top which concentrates heat at the top.
There are no racks, so food either lies on a grate over the hot coals or sits directly on them. Barrel grills have thick walls which hold in heat, you can also adjust how much oxygen enters so they burn hotter or cooler depending on your needs.
Ceramic Grills are like traditional barbecue smokers; they’re made of heavy ceramic material that holds heat extremely well and retains moisture making them great for cooking low and slow (food that needs extended periods at lower temperatures).
They usually come with dampers to control airflow/temperature but otherwise don’t need many adjustments once you get them up to operating temperature. These are great if you want to spend a long time cooking, but aren’t good for quick grilling or searing tasks.
How to use a charcoal grill?
A charcoal grill is an excellent cooking device for many barbecuing favorites. As with any type of outdoor barbecue, there are some basic practices to follow to ensure your meal turns out perfect every time. While this article focuses on charcoal grills, the same tips apply to gas grills as well. The first step is learning how to use a charcoal grill properly.
Step 1: Prepare Your Fire
Before you begin, you must prepare your fire by setting up your coals in the bottom part of the grill. If you are using traditional briquettes, place them into the bottom mound that resembles a volcano shape or pyramid. You can also create an even bed by placing them evenly around the bottom of the grill.
If you prefer a more natural fire, simply use a small pile of natural hardwood logs and ignite them to start your fire. Treat these as their own separate coals since they can burn out much faster than traditional briquettes.
Step 2: The Time It Takes to Light Coals
After you have lit your coal or hardwood fire, it’s important not to leave the grill unattended for long periods of time. Depending on how many coals are being used under the BBQ, this could range from 5-15 minutes.
The best way is to determine if the bottom charcoal is fully lit by using an oven mitt or tongs while looking at all sides of the grill. You want the bottom layer of charcoal fully lit and covered in a white or gray ash coating. Again, this will be between 5-15 minutes depending on the volume of coals used.
Step 3: Heat Management
The next step in how to use a charcoal grill is managing your heat by adjusting the air supply coming from underneath the BBQ surface to allow for better airflow within the grill. This can be done using damper valves located at either end of your charcoal grill’s chimney stack, if it’s equipped with one.
When you see glowing red embers across the entire coal bed, keep pushing them toward the center until you have hot spots evenly distributed all around your coal bed. Now that you know how to use a charcoal grill, you can begin cooking your favorite food.
Faqs about charcoal grills
Are charcoal grills worth it?
Charcoal is the superior choice for those who want to keep their grill portable and prefer that smokey flavor, but don’t need as much heat.
One of my favorite features about a charcoal grill is how easily it can be packed up in comparison with gas grills which must always have some form or fuel source near by (even if only empty wood).
With coal you just light it on fire–the process takes less than 15 minutes!–and then wait until all evidence has disappeared from existence before carrying out your setup duties!
Are Napoleon charcoal grills good?
Portable gas grill with cast iron grates is better than any other charcoal or wood-burning models we’ve tested. A portable propane tank makes this the perfect accessory for tailgating at football games, camping trips, etc., as you can use it on uneven surfaces without worry of spilling fuel everywhere!
How bad is charcoal grilling for your health?
Charcoal is the enemy of your health if you’re cooking with it. When meat cooks at high temperatures, there’s a risk that carcinogenic chemicals will be released and increase cancer rates in those who eat lots of fatty foods such as burgers or steaks on hot summer days.
This sounds like common knowledge but some people don’t know how bad burning food can really hurt them later down the road!
There you have it – the best charcoal grill under $500. All you have to consider which one of the top 5 charcoal grills works best for you.
However, if you have trouble still choosing, check out the buying guide for clear direction on how to select the right product.