Deciding upon the best small grill that can fit into your desired place, and fulfilling your cooking needs, is not an easy task to do. You have to think about space and purpose, and above all about the food you prepare most often.
We have decided to test some models and give you the small grill reviews and give you the important info you need before you get one for yourself. Size, fuel, and durability are just a few things to be careful about. You can also find a detailed guide below, so feel free to browse and soak up as much as you want. Let’s dive in!
Who Should Buy a Small BBQ Grill?
It would be best to answer this question with: “Who shouldn’t?”. A lot of people enjoy grilled food, and the technology of today made it possible for everyone to enjoy a homemade burger every once in a while. We often think that only professional chefs get to use professional gear, but that is not exactly true. Small grills today, no matter the size and fuel type, are available to anyone. They bring a new dimension of flavor to your everyday cooking.
To be honest, people with big backyards and recreational spaces can afford a vertical offset smoker or outdoor gourmet griddle, but that doesn’t mean that a small grill isn’t welcome. After all, who says that homemade grilled food is reserved for sunny days only? A small grill can satisfy the need no matter if it’s snowing, raining or hailing outside, you can always cook.
Their size also makes them desirable as an addition to the kitchen appliance set. Many people have realized the benefits of cooking food without using extra oils or fats, and a grill enables just that. If you want to experiment with more exotic recipes and let the ingredients cook in their own juices, a grill is a great way to start.
The ease of use!
Small gas, electric, or charcoal grills are incredibly easy to use, and not that hard to master as well. Because of their compact size, and lack of heavy parts, you will be able to maneuver around like a pro chef. It comes as no surprise that people all around the world started replacing half of their stove burners for some version of a small grill.
Contrary to popular belief, small grills like these do not leave a nasty smell after usage. If by any chance, your kitchen has good ventilation, you will never feel the smell of burning at all. If not, crack open a window for a few minutes, and you are set. Gas grills have small exhaust gas concentration, and electric has none. Charcoal, on the other hand, are almost always better suited for the outside.
There are almost no downsides. They are usually smaller, with a smaller cooking surface than their outdoor counterparts, but what they lack in size they make up in portability, ease of use, cleanliness, and low maintenance requirement. We are not saying small grills are perfect, but sometimes being the only option for a lot of people, they certainly bring a lot to the table. However, we need to talk about some precautions, laws, and regulations before we go into the world of indoor grilling.
Location, location, location
Ok, before we delve deeper into how much space you need, or what kind of grill grate, we need to speak about the location where you intend to fire the grill at. Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before making the final decision:
- Do I want a stationary or a portable grill?
The answer to this question will be a deciding factor in the type of fuel your grill is going to burn. Stationary small grills can burn any fuel, but people usually opt-in for an electric, because of the lack of exhaust gases that other grills produce. However, if you plan to bring your grill on a camping trip, you would probably want to get a gas-powered or kamado grill model. The variables are plenty.
- Will I use the grill inside or outside?
Small grills are suitable to fit in any cooking environment. Check with the household members and decide on whether you want to use the small grill to cook on the balcony, in the patio or inside the house (usually the kitchen). After you have settled this, it is time to measure the surroundings of that location and see how you can fit your new grill in the best possible way, so it represents no nuisance but is completely within reach.
What kind of stuff will be surrounding my small grill?
This one is a no brainer. All you have to do is keep in mind that you are firing up a powerful heater that can go over 450 degrees Fahrenheit if needed. So, act accordingly, and just be careful about flammable stuff and chemicals around the place you plan to be your grilling corner.
What Can You Cook with a Small Grill?
The very best thing about small grills is that there are no exact limits. You can essentially prepare any type of solid food on a small grill (gas, electric, or coal), without the hassle of using unnecessary oils and fats. So, burgers, sausages, grill stakes, all kinds of fish, veggies, corn, you name it. The only thing limiting you is your imagination. With a recipe good enough everything is possible.
Small grilling appliances like these give you the commodity of grilled food, without big investments. Nevertheless, grilling, roasting, and searing are the main purposes. Some people modify their grills into smoke stations or smokers, but we do not advise that because there are far better appliances for that.
The strong suit of small grills is that you can prepare whole meals, juicy meats, and veggies. People often think of burgers only when someone mentions grilling, and that is far from the truth. Making food that is delicious and fun to eat at the same time, while staying healthy, is the goal here. Small grills are ideal for preparing various types of skewers, besides standard meat grilling of course. You can also add mushrooms to the menu, and don’t get us started on grilled greens and corn.
It has been proved over and over again that, when it comes to thermal food processing, grilling is one of the healthier options. There are no added fats or oils, and the grill itself doesn’t allow you to “over-butter” the ingredients, thanks to the grill grate shape.
Best Small Grills Comparison Chart
WEBER 10020 SMOKEY JOE 14-INCH SMALL CHARCOAL GRILL
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CHAR-BROIL 2-BURNER LIQUID PROPANE GAS GRILL WITH SIDE BURNER
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GEORGE FOREMAN GFO3320GM INDOOR/OUTDOOR GUN METAL ELECTRIC GRILL
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WEBER-STEPHEN 60010001 LIQUID PROPANE GRILL, TWO-BURNER, BLACK
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NAPOLEON TQ285-BL PORTABLE PROPANE GRILL, BLUE
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WEBER 51010001 Q1200 LIQUID PROPANE GRILL, BLACK
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COLEMAN ROADTRIP LXE PORTABLE PROPANE GRILL
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Best Small Grill Reviews (Updated List)
1. Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Small Charcoal Grill
To begin with, we have simple, traditional, charcoal fueled grill from Weber. It is considered to be a portable unit, is that you do not need to bring propane tanks or to provide an electric socket for it to work. The shape of the grate is circular, and the grate itself is made of durable plated steel, which can heat up pretty fast. Steel is known to be the material that needs the least maintenance, which is always a plus when it comes to portable compact small grills.
The heat is regulated via a venting system on top, which allows you to feed or starve the fire out of oxygen, in order to raise or lower the temperature respectively. The lid on top has a sturdy, heavy-duty handle, and below the grill itself, there is an ash disposal tray installed. The grill’s body is made of a porcelain-steel combination, which means that it is extra durable.
- Extra portable, weighing 9 pounds and not using outer fuel sources
- The body is coated with porcelain, adding to the heat capacity
- The grill grate is made of steel, which is easiest to clean an maintain
- Must be used outside, because it is charcoal powered
- The heat control venting system takes some time to master
- No additional surfaces around the grill
2. Char-Broil 2-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner
Coming up, we have another gas-powered small grill, impeccably designed with a black finish. This model also has a foldable design to increase its portability, however, there is a much-wanted addition on the side, in the form of a gas side burner, which can be used for cooking liquids. The grill itself has a set of two burners made of steel which are attached to the propane source. The burners are controlled via separated knobs, and ignition is done by a push of a button.
On the opposing side from the side burner, there is some additional prep space installed, in the form of a foldable mini-table. The material used to build this grill is mainly steel, coated in ceramics, and the grate itself is also made of steel. Portability is furtherly increased with a 2-wheels system for easier transport.
- The grill has an installed side burner, ideal for making side dishes, soups, and sauces
- On the other side, there is extra prep space, making grilling even more convenient
- The 2-wheel system makes the grill extra portable
- Using both burners and the side-burner at the same time can lower the overall temperature a bit
- The grill is made of a bit thinner material, making it cooldown faster, which is non-desirable with some foods
3. George Foreman GFO3320GM Indoor/Outdoor Gun Metal Electric Grill
A grill with a legendary name behind it comes off as the first electric model on our list. This George Forman electric grill is designed to look futuristic and traditional at the same time, with a robust round design and gray color finish. The grill can be put up on a stand, or you can simply remove the stand and put it on the counter/table. Temperature is controlled via a thermostat, and the grilling surface itself is made of ceramics.
The whole body weighs a total of 20 pounds, making the grill lightweight enough to be carried by hand with ease. Underneath, there is a grease drip tray which collects extra juices from your food, making it healthier and tastier.
- Ultra-compact design, with the option of putting the whole grill on a (provided) stand for easier outdoor cooking
- Cooking surface is ceramic-made, turning it into a war tray after the grill is turned off, keeping prepared food fresh for longer
- Built-in thermometer and thermostat give you absolute control of the heat
- This grill is made to fulfill and meet almost every regulation there is, making it perfect for apartments and condos.
- The grill is somewhat smaller than the rest from its class
- Grease tray must be emptied often, or it will overflow
4. Weber-Stephen 60010001 Liquid Propane Grill, Two-Burner, Black
Next up we have a really futuristic looking grill from Weber-Stephen. This model will satisfy the need for any grill master, even though it is considered a smaller unit. The body is built of steel, with two additional prep table surfaces on the sides. Additionally, on the right side, there is small hanging storage provided, for storing cookware or any helping tool you use while cooking. The whole body weighs a total of 140 pounds, and it is mounted on a foldable 2-wheel system, so it can be transported with no sweat.
Inside the grill box, there are 2 stainless steel burners, which are controlled by knobs, and they are ignited via the Infinity Ignition system. On top of the burners, there is a large porcelain-enameled cast iron grilling grate.
- Quite large for a small gas grill, provided with extra spaces for meal prep, and a super-effective 2-wheel transport system
- Separate grease drip removal system, better than the models from the same class have
- An optional feature which allows you to connect a Bluetooth thermal sensor for ultimate heat precision
- It is one of the more expensive models, but it delivers great performance and reliability
- The steel construction makes the grill body cool down quicker than ceramics
5. Napoleon TQ285-BL Portable Propane Grill, Blue
If you are looking for a solid small grill that’s portable and uses liquid propane as a fuel source, this Napoleon model might just be the one for you. They designed this model to resemble a suitcase when not in use, and for it to be ready to cook, all you need to do is open it and take the foldable legs out. Besides being really easy to carry, it weighs only 15 pounds, making it convenient for camping trips.
Do not let the weight fool you, because this small grill has a waved cast iron grill grate, enameled in porcelain. Having the same matter with cast iron griddles inside, it is already great for heat retention. The waved design only makes the heat stay longer, thus saving gas and time. Speaking of gas, this grill has a couple of stainless-steel burners, which are compactly fitted inside, and they do not ruin the portability feature of the model.
- Great portability due to a fuel source (liquid propane) and the suitcase design that can fit anywhere
- The grill grate is made of porcelain covered cast iron, and its wave design makes it extra efficient
- JETFIRE ignition module will always succeed in firing up the grill, no matter the environment
- The waved cast iron grill grate can be a bit tricky to the season due to its shape
- The cooking surface of this model can only help you prepare food for two people at a time
6. Weber 51010001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill, Black
Last on our list, is another Weber grill, but this time a bit larger and with a different fuel type. It is designed to give a serious feel with its matte black color finish, and its sturdy stand. The grill is intended to be used on the ground, and its stand is high above just enough to have a well-designed oil dispenser below. This grill model weighs just under 30 pounds, and carrying it around was no trouble at all. It is a good model for outdoor people who like to eat high-quality food on camping trips.
To furtherly increase on the portability of the model, the manufacturer went with a single stainless-steel burner inside, which is just enough to cover a couple of meals at a time. The burner comes with an easy-start electronic ignition module and a gas-controlling valve that controls the temperature.
- On the sides, even though this model has no tall stand, there are 2 foldable table surfaces that allow you to store spices while cooking
- The model is ergonomically designed and can be put on every surface, even on the ground
- The sturdy low-profile stand is extra stable, and allow you to cook with more vigor
- Because of the portability, this model has only one burner, which is not that great for serving more than two people simultaneously.
- The lid at the top of the grill looks and feels a bit clunky and lightweight.
7. Coleman RoadTrip LXE Portable Propane Grill
This top-rated small propane grill on our list is this luxury Coleman model. We were amazed by how much thought went into the sole design of this unit. It looks like a suitcase on wheels when it is in portable mode. The suitcase handle is pulled and acts as a non-moving table leg, with the wheeled side supporting the rest of the grill weight. Speaking of weight, this model weighs a total of 48 pounds, which is great considering all the things you get with the grill.
The grill has 2 separated burners, allowing 2 different heat zones, thus adding versatility. The heat is controlled via standard knobs, and the grill is ignited using an “instant-start” button. The grates are made of cast iron and ceramic combination, which is great for keeping the grill warm a bit longer because of the heat capacity.
- Separate burners that allow separate heat zones for cooking different ingredients at the same time
- Ultra-ergonomic foldable design makes transport incredibly easy
- Additional foldable table surfaces installed for various purposes
- Can be unstable on surfaces which are not leveled
- Weighs almost 50 pounds, but it makes it up in great portability design
Small Grill Buying Guide
Now that we’ve seen what a small grill has to offer, it is time to thoroughly go through the smaller more intricate details and specs you should get to know. We encourage you to use this as material to create your own customized checklist before deciding. Choices are plenty, and the competition is fierce, so let’s get to it.
When there’s a conversation about materials, people usually jump the gun and think that stainless steel is the pinnacle of cookware materials, but that is not necessarily true. Different materials can have different benefits, and ultimately, make the food taste differently. When picking cooking appliances for your home, never underestimate the power of materials, they will tell you a lot about the model’s durability, taste range, maintenance, and a lot more. So, let’s try and put it plain and simple:
1.1. Plastic parts
Plastic parts are usually used to make accessories and helpful objects around the grill. They are all that important when it comes to the core of grilling, however, if the model you have your eye on has a lot of these parts, maybe you should reconsider. If you intend to use your grill often, you should avoid plastic parts near the cooking surface at all costs. They will not exactly melt, but over time, these parts bend and lose purpose due to thermal deformity.
1.2. Stainless Steel
Ah yes, the bread and butter of cookware. You should aim at getting a model that has stainless steel housing which adds on durability and sturdiness. Steel has the issue of cooling down a bit faster than other materials, so sometimes more power or fuel needs to be used. Additionally, steel is easy to maintain, so not special seasoning is needed. Keep in mind that it can add a bit to the total weight of the grill, and diminish its portability by a small margin.
1.3. Cast Iron
Many cooks, chefs, and cooking enthusiasts, in general, consider the cast iron the best contact material to cook food on/in. You have certainly heard of famous skillets made of this material. When it comes to small grills, having a cast iron grill grate is a great way to start a wonderful learning journey. Cast iron gets better with age, adding unique flavors to your cuisine, however, it does come with a small price of maintenance. Cast iron is notorious for its maintenance procedures, or the lack of a single one at least.
1.4. Ceramics and Ceramic Coating
Definitely a great addition to any grill. It is somewhat uncommon to see pure ceramic parts on small grills, but the ceramic coating of the grate is always a welcome bonus. Ceramics, like cast iron, cool down slowly and make for an excellent thermal capacitor, meaning you will save a bit on fuel. The downside is the sensitivity of ceramic parts. They get damaged easier than metal ones, so extra caution is advised if you want your small grill to last for years.
2. Fuel Properties
This is the eternal dilemma among grilling enthusiasts: gas, charcoal, or electricity as a fuel source for small grills. When it comes down to it, it is actually all a matter of personal preference, and there is no right answer. Each fuel type has its own pros and cons, with coal being the least wanted with small grills.
2.1 Liquid Propane
We are all aware that liquid propane is the most used fuel source for cooking appliances, next to natural gas. When it comes to flavor, propane keeps it neutral, and it is great for recipes that require you to cook the ingredients a bit slower. The general advantage is that you get to control the heat a bit more closely than the other fuel types allow. Grills like these are usually connected to an LP tank of some sort and require a bit more safety when it comes to fire hazards.
2.2 Electric small grills
Electric heaters provide one thing better than any other: consistency. Their strong suit is always providing the same results when the switch is flipped. The food is grilled evenly, however, the settings usually do not allow for a lot of heat control. So, you will have to experiment a bit and get to know the small grill, to master the art of grilling on electricity. The greatest downside is that you will always need an electric outlet to plug the grill in. This is great if you intend to put the grill on a dedicated spot and not move it around, however, with some extension cords, anything is possible.
Lastly, we are going to touch the least popular fuel type with small grills. The sole reason why there aren’t that many charcoal small grills out there is none other that location. Imagine burning charcoal inside your kitchen. It would not be healthy or safe, and that is why people avoid it. There are options for patio and balcony grills that run on charcoal, but the rules and regulations often forbid it, because of the smell and the exhausts. Charcoal grills give the best zesty flavor to meat, but they are sometimes just too much when it comes to maintenance. Charcoals are generally popular in tabletop grills.
In the section above, we briefly touched on the topic of location. It is time to talk a bit about what you need to measure before you install your new small grill into your kitchen.
Even though these appliances are somewhat smaller than average cooking apparatus, we must never forget the fact that they are quite powerful. So, in order to keep everything safe and under control while grilling, the first thing you need to factor in your placement measurements is the space between the wall and the grill sides. Around the grill itself, you must leave at least 2 feet of extra space. This is mostly to prevent fire hazards, but it is also there to help you move around the grill while cooking.
Next, you need to plan where the cookware, utensils, spices, and ingredients are going to be held while the cooking is taking place. If the grill doesn’t come with dedicated space for those things, consider leaving some extra space for a shelf, or a smaller table, somewhere near.
And, of course, calculate in the dimensions of the model you want to get. If you follow these simple steps, there should not be any troubles with grill placement or usage in general.
When it comes to starting the grill, there are a few things to consider regarding both electric and small gas grills. This may seem like a small thing, but getting the grill to start properly is an important point in every cooking session.
4.1 Gas Ignition
If you opted-in for a small gas grill, you should always pay attention to how it is ignited. Pilot light, sparkers, or similar systems are always welcome. There are some models that require you to provide a system, and that is always a nuisance. Try and get a model that has an easy push-to-ignite system or learn other ways to start gas grills.
4.2 Electric start and cable length
To start an electric grill is always just a push of a button, but the problem with electric grills is that they need a wall socket to work. We just want to stress out the fact, and warn you to think about the socket that will service your grill: how far is it, is it in good condition, etc. Electric grills draw a lot of power in order to produce heat, and they can sometimes trigger the circuit breaker when starting. If you have a healthy electric grid inside your home, however, there is nothing to worry about.
5. Accessories and Additional Gear For Small Grills
It is always good to have some extra help in the form of cookware or helping surfaces around the grill. Anything the manufacturer puts in as a bonus is welcome, however, it would be best for you to discover the cookware that fits your cooking habits in the best possible way. After all, these are the tools that will help you get to flavor town. The most useful thing a grill can have onboard is foldable side tables, which you can use to put spices on or to keep your ingredients always ready to get on that grate.
6. Safety Regulations, Laws and Local Rules About Small Grills
Almost every district, municipality, or multi-family building has some sort of rules for grilling on a balcony or patio. Some even differentiate the rules depending on the fuel source. For example, most of the urban areas in the Western world do not allow liquid propane tanks of 20+ gallons to be used on the rooftops or balconies, due to fire hazard.
Before you start a detailed pursuit for the ideal small grill for your household, make sure to ask around and see the regulations that apply to your street, block, or district. You should not expect problems regarding this, however, it is always best to be safe than sorry. After all, these appliances are powerful, and their firepower is not to be underestimated, no matter the type of fuel they use.
FAQ About Small Grills
1. Is it safe to use a small gas grill in cold temperatures, as in during the winter?
If you decided to put your gas grill on a balcony or anywhere outside of your house, you will surely want to grill even during those cold days. The general rule is that liquid propane tends to lose a bit of its power in colder temperatures, due to depressurization of the gas itself. However, if the grill can raise the heat to a wanted level, there is nothing bad with grilling when its cold outside. After all, the temperature around you will increase as you cook, and it will become significantly warmer.
2. What can I do to stop a flare-up on an electric grill?
This is a common question due to the fact that water cannot be used to forcefully extinguish an electric grill, with the reasons being self-explanatory. Most electric grills today have some sort of flareup protection, but, if it does happen, do not worry, there’s a solution. In the case of a flare-up, the very first thing you do is turning off and unplugging the grill. Now, if your grill comes with a lid on top, you can stop the flare-up by quickly closing the lid. This will deprive the flame of oxygen which feeds the flame and ultimately extinguishing it.
3. How often should I clean my grill?
The opinions on this topic are divided among cooks all around the globe. Some say that a grill cleans itself by burning the dirt and the nasty stuff away. On the other hand, there are chefs that insist on cleaning the grill every time before AND after cooking. We suggest that you take both pieces of advice with a grain of salt, because there is no need to frantically clean your grill, nor should you leave it as it is every time. It would be best to clean the grill after use, just so you make sure the grease and all the juices are removed. This way you prevent bacteria from gathering on the grill and the grate during the time you are not using it. And, before the next time you use it, just dust it off if needed, and you are ready to go!
An extra few steps can be needed for cleaning of the gas-powered grills.
4. Can I attach a larger liquid propane tank, even if the grill comes with a small one?
Even though it is not recommended, this is common practice. You will need a fitting hose and a fitting extension, and it would be best to consult a professional if you are not sure what to do. Before doing a modification such as this, consider these two factors:
- If you modify the gas intake of the grill or do anything similar, you will have to consult the local laws and regulations all over again. There are always strict rules when it comes to fire hazards, and liquid propane is one of the most dangerous, if not handled properly that is. Ask a professional, and they will surely tell you what to do and how exactly to do it.
- Meddling with the original product increases the risk of damaging the grill, which increases the risk of voiding the warranty on certain parts. Modifications are always frowned upon from the manufacturer’s side, however, they are not that big of a deal if done properly. Consult the provided user manual for your model, and, if needed call the customer support and double check.
Learning how to grill, and prepare food in general, is a never-ending wonderful journey. And if you want to get really good at it, you must remember that the master good only as of the tools he uses. You should take some time and study our guide in order to pick the best small grill, so you can be sure you have the right tool for the job.
Everyone can agree that grilled food tastes the best, and there is no reason why we should be devoid of the chance to make it at home, just because we don’t have a huge backyard. And, of course, the health benefits are also there. No more super-greasy food dipped in fats just so it can cook in a frying pan.
We hope that we’ve succeeded in making this topic clear and transparent with our small grill reviews.