Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: July 28, 2021
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You also don’t need to spend a fortune to get a decent charcoal grill, though the cheaper ones aren’t always the best quality. If you’re in the market for the best charcoal grill under $200, we’ve done the work for you, selecting the top 7 models available for you to choose from.
When making our charcoal grill selections, we focused on some key features. All of the models in our reviews are made of high-quality materials to ensure long-lasting use. We also picked different grill sizes to accommodate both small and large spaces on your deck or in your backyard, plus adding portability into the mix. A few of the grills also have warming racks for even greater functionality. If you need the best charcoal grill under $200, check out our detailed product reviews and handy buying guide below.
The Dyna-Glo DGN405DNC-D has a ton of great features that make it the best grill for under $200. The cart is made of heavy-duty steel, with 2 side shelves, a bottom storage basket, and dual 6-inch resin wheels that allow you to easily move it into position.
On the front of the charcoal grill is a charcoal access door that makes it easy to add charcoal before and during grilling. The charcoal grate is adjustable, so you can customize it as needed for the perfect temperature. There are dampers on each side, a smokestack with an adjustable flue, and a stainless steel temperature gauge to help you maintain the perfect temperature. A removable ash pan lets you dump the ashes when you’re done grilling.
The dual cooking grates are made of enameled cast iron, which retains the heat, locking in the juices while giving your meat the perfect sear. The main grilling area is 568 square feet, giving you enough room for burgers, chicken, ribs, veggies, or anything else you love to grill. There is also a removable warming rack that adds a bit of extra space when needed.
What do we love it for? We loved the heavy-duty cooking grates and the steel smoke stack included with this model. The charcoal access door and an adjustable charcoal tray are also handy features.
What were we disappointed with? Though it isn’t difficult, the assembly on this charcoal grill can take an hour or more, depending on your skills in this area.
You don’t need a huge grill for camping, tailgating, or for cooking a backyard meal for two, as the Char-Griller E56714 proves. This model is compact and lightweight, with sturdy legs and insulated triple wall steel for the body, so it is durable enough to handle all of your travels.
This charcoal grill has a hinged lid with a damper on top and a built-in thermometer that allows you to keep track of the internal temperature at all times. On the bottom of the grill is a removable ash pan that makes it easy to dump out the ashes when you’re finished grilling. A second damper on this pan helps control the heat.
Inside the grill is a cast-iron cooking grate that locks firmly in place, giving you 153 square inches of cooking space. The hinged lid locks closed when needed to keep it airtight when cooking and prevent water from getting inside when it rains.
The heat retention this grill offers lets you cook with less charcoal, saving you money, even if you grill every day. It also comes in 5 colors, so you can choose the right color to suit your tastes.
Why are we impressed? We liked that this model is made of quality materials and comes in 5 colors. It is also compact and includes a removable ash pan to make cleanup a breeze.
What negatives must you be aware of? The holes for installing the handle may be misaligned, making it tricky to properly add the handle to the lid.
For some people, the best charcoal grill for under $200 has multiple uses. The Royal Gourmet CC1830S is a charcoal smoker and grill all in one great unit, plus it is built well with fantastic features.
This model is made of stainless steel painted black, with porcelain wire cooking grates. There are 3 grates, including the main one, the warming rack, and the smoker grate, giving you a huge area to cook on. Both the smoker and the main cooking area also include removable charcoal pans for easy cleanup. The main charcoal pan is also height-adjustable for perfect heat control.
There is a simple access door on the smoker firebox, making it easy to add more coals when needed. There is also an adjustable vent on the door and a smokestack, so you can adjust the airflow and smoke as needed.
For storage, there is a front and side tray, plus a rack at the bottom, giving you plenty of room to put all your cooking accessories. There are also a few hooks for hanging your cooking utensils out of the way. Dual wheels make it easy to move this compact, lightweight grill wherever you need it.
Why are we impressed? We liked that this offset charcoal smoker and grill combo has 3 cooking areas available, with adjustable airflow and multiple storage areas.
What negatives must you be aware of? The assembly instructions are a bit hard to follow, making it tricky to put together this charcoal grill.
Those in need of a small, portable charcoal grill with a great low price will love the Dyna-Glo DGSS287CB-D. Despite the low cost, this model is made of sturdy, durable materials that will last for years, even if you’re using it every day.
The body of this grill is made of heavy-grade steel, with short legs that allow you to place it on a table wherever you have space for it. The cooking grate is also steel, with a porcelain coating that reduces sticking while retaining the heat.
There is a sliding tray on the bottom that you can pull out to add charcoal quickly and easily. This tray also collects the ashes below the removable charcoal grate, making it easy to dump them when the grilling is done.
There are spring handles on the sliding tray and the lid, which stay cool during cooking. Side handles on the body of the grill allow you to move the entire piece as needed.
This little grill weighs just over 40 pounds, so you can take it with you anywhere. It also has a decent cooking area of 287 square feet, which is plenty of space for a family meal.
What are our favorite features? This portable grill has a durable construction, safe cool-touch handles, and a removable side pan for easy filling and cleanup.
What could be better? There is no thermometer on the lid of this model, so a separate one needs to be purchased to keep track of the internal temperature.
Those who prefer their charcoal grill to have a classic design with some modern touches will love the Weber 741001. This model has a rounded bowl and lid with a tripod leg system that the old-style grills used but includes upgraded materials and a few handy extras.
The body of the Weber charcoal grill is durable steel, with porcelain enameling on both the bowl and the lid to help retain the heat for faster cooking. There is also a damper on the lid to help with temperature adjustments during grilling.
On the bottom of the bowl is a handle that allows you to open it up and release the ashes. These are caught in the removable ash pan below for easy dumping when the ashes have cooled. This makes cleanup simple and easy.
Other great features include the handle on the side that doubles as a lid hook, the small shield below the top handle for heat protection, and the small storage rack. The light weight and dual wheels add portability for camping and tailgating.
What makes it stand out? We love the classic design and the durable build this model has to offer. It is also lightweight, making it easy to move, and is easy to clean when you’re done cooking.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? This model has no lid thermometer to monitor the temperature. The metal legs are also a bit thin, so you may need to treat them somewhat delicately.
When you think about the best charcoal grill for under 200 dollars, you may be picturing a tiny model. Those who need a huge beast of a grill will be shocked to learn the Char-Griller 2137 fits into this category, making it easy to cook huge meals for large families and groups of friends.
The 2137 charcoal grill has a heavy-duty steel construction with a powder coating that adds durability. The legs are large and round for steady support, with dual wheels to help you move this giant model wherever you need it.
This grill grate has a huge cooking area of 725 square inches and is made of cast iron, which helps heat your meat evenly with a great sear to lock in the flavor. There is also a 338-square inch warming rack for even more grill space.
The fire grate below the cooking grate is adjustable, so you can raise or lower it as needed for more or less heat. The built-in thermometer in the lid and side damper help you maintain the perfect temperature. A removable ash pan makes cleanup quick and easy. There are also 3 shelves for lots of storage space.
Why is it special? This large charcoal grill is made of durable materials that should last for years. It also features a huge cooking area, an adjustable fire grate, and 3 shelves for storing all your grilling items and accessories.
What are the flaws? This grill is quite heavy. The assembly instructions aren’t very clear, either, making it difficult to put the charcoal grill together.
Though technically a smoker rather than a grill, the Cuisinart COS-118 has a ton of great features that make it a great backyard cooking option. It is made of durable steel, which can handle a bit of rough use without falling apart. This model is also easy to assemble, so you don’t need to spend hours putting it together.
This charcoal smoker includes some handy extras for creating those perfect meals. There are 2 tiers of smoking racks that give you a combined cooking area of 512 square inches, allowing you to cook multiple items at the same time. There is also a porcelain-enameled steel water bowl to keep your meats well hydrated during the cooking process. A charcoal/ash pan rests on the bottom, plus can be used for wood chunks for your favorite smoky flavor.
The steel barrel design of the body distributes the heat throughout the smoker evenly. A door on the front of the smoker gives you easy access to the lower grate, water bowl, and charcoal pan. There are also dual air vents, a built-in lid thermometer, and a latching base for easy cleanup.
What do we love it for? We liked the 2-tier smoking racks, the dual air vent system, and the steel water bowl for moist, delicious meat. The Cuisinart COS-118 is also easy to assemble.
What were we disappointed with? There are no seals on the lid or the door, though these can be purchased separately to prevent the smoke and heat from leaking. The water bowl must be tipped a bit to remove it, possibly spilling if it is too full.
Not everyone can afford the high-end grills that cost a fortune. Luckily, being on a budget doesn’t mean you need to settle for a low-quality grill that falls apart before the grilling season is done. There are a variety of decent grills that cost less than $200, made of durable materials and different sizes to fit your deck or yard size, as well as the size of the group you’re feeding. Of course, to get the perfect model, you need to know what to look for. The sections below will help get you started.
Features to consider when choosing a charcoal grill under $200
When choosing a new charcoal grill for under $200, there are a few features you may want to consider. This will ensure that you’re getting the right one to meet your grilling needs.
Tabletop or standalone?
There are 2 options to choose from when picking a new charcoal grill. These are the tabletop models and the standalone grills. The tabletop models are much smaller in both the body and the legs. The benefit is that models like the Char-Griller E56714 are compact, so they fit nicely on small apartment balconies or decks. They are also portable, so you can take them camping or tailgating whenever needed without sacrificing too much space. They do have smaller cooking areas, though, so they aren’t great for large functions with a lot of hungry guests. You also need something to stand them on, like a table with a heatproof top to prevent scorching or burning.
The larger standalone models are more convenient since they have long legs that bring them up to your level. These grills also tend to have larger grilling areas, like the huge 725 square inches offered with the Char-Griller 2137. This size does make them more cumbersome, so they need more space to set up in your yard or on your deck, plus you can’t travel with them without a large truck bed or trailer to carry them wherever you’re going.
When trying to decide which one to buy, consider how much space you have available and whether or not you need portability with your new grill, then buy the one that fits your needs.
Cooking area: primary and total
The cooking area is another important feature to look into since this is where the grilling actually happens. The primary grilling area comes in a variety of sizes, from the small 153 square inches offered in the Char-Griller E56714 to a huge model with over 700 square inches to fit a couple of dozen burgers, a few racks of ribs, or enough chicken to feed a large group of friends.
There are also some models with extra cooking areas, like the Royal Gourmet CC1830S, which includes an offset smoker with an extra cooking area of 183 square inches, giving you even more room to cook if needed. Of course, not everyone needs a huge primary cooking area and even secondary ones, so be sure to consider how much room you’ll need for your regular meals and buy a model with the grill size you need.
Though not every charcoal grill under $200 includes one of these, a warming rack is a handy feature to have. These grates sit above the primary cooking area, well away from the direct heat of the charcoal below. This allows you to move the food that is already cooked onto the warming rack, keeping it from getting cold without allowing it to burn. This is handy since the alternative is to put the food in a separate container, like a pot or dish, which won’t keep them warm. Then, by the time the rest of the food is finished cooking, the stuff you took off first will be cold.
The firebox is the metal part of the grill where the fuel is burned to create the heat needed to cook your food. These areas need to be durable, withstanding the heat of repeated charcoal burnings without warping or corroding. Aluminum is a popular choice for fireboxes since it is cheap, durable, and resists damage from scratches, corrosion, or discoloration.
Despite all of the benefits of aluminum, all of the models in our reviews are made of steel, which looks great, even when painted, is strong enough to handle some rough use and travel, and lasts for years. This material also gives your grill a high-end look, though you do pay the price for that stylish appeal. Steel is more expensive than aluminum but will last for years, making it well worth the extra cost.
All of the fireboxes in the products we’ve reviewed are in the base of the grill, right below the cooking grates. The Royal Gourmet CC1830S also adds an offset smoker on the side of the main grill, which includes a second firebox that you can use for smoking meat or as a second grill area for those larger meals.
The grates included with the grill you buy need to be as durable and well-made as the rest of the unit. These are right over the heat, holding the food you’ll be putting into your body when the meal is cooked and brought to the table. Most of the models in our reviews include steel or cast-iron grates, both of which are strong and can withstand the high temperatures. Many grates also have a porcelain-enameled coating, which increases their durability while preventing the food from sticking, so they are easier to clean when the cooking is done.
Some grates are one piece while other grills have 2 pieces side by side, fitting perfectly together in the cooking area. Some models, like the Cuisinart COS-118, have 2 grills that are placed with one above the other, doubling the cooking area without expanding the size of the grill’s body. This is handy for those who need the cooking space but don’t have room for a huge grill.
Many grills on the market include a side table or two that are attached to the grill’s body. This gives you room to place the prepped food, spices, sauces, and utensils without bringing an extra table over to your grilling area. Some models have the tables fixed in place while others have fold-down tables, decreasing the size of the grill when you don’t need them. Either way, side tables are a handy extra on any charcoal grill model.
Wheels on a charcoal grill are another handy feature since they make it easier to move the grill around where you need it. Most models only have two wheels, so you lift the non-wheeled end and push the grill to the space you want it in. These are usually found on the larger grill models since these are a lot heavier and more difficult to move when you’re on your own. Grill wheels are commonly made of some type of plastic, so you do need to treat them a bit delicately to prevent breaking them.
The dimensions of the best charcoal grill under $200 tell you how much space the entire unit will take up on your deck, balcony, or in your backyard. The larger the dimensions, the more space you need, especially when you consider that you can’t place a grill right next to a wall or other structure to prevent heat damage. If you have limited space, a smaller grill is a must. Those with larger backyard areas will be able to choose any grill that they like.
You should also consider portability when looking at the dimensions. Are you planning on taking your grill camping or tailgating? If so, be sure to consider how much space it will take up in your vehicle or camper before buying one.
The weight of the charcoal grill you buy likely won’t be too much of an issue unless you plan to carry it around your yard to take it with you to football games or your favorite campgrounds. There is likely some assembly required on most grill models, so a heavy grill may need an extra hand or two for this process, especially when attaching the legs. Be sure to look into the weight, and where you’ll be using the grill, before you buy one.
Though the features we’ve described above are the most important ones to consider when trying to find the best charcoal grill for under 200 dollars, there are a few extra features that make a good unit even better.
A built-in temperature gauge, usually found on the grill’s lid, is handy since it helps you monitor the temperature during the entire cooking process. Adjustable air vents or flues are also handy, letting you adjust the heat level in the grill without opening the lid and losing too much.
Cool-touch handles prevent burns when you open the lid to flip your burgers or add something new to the grill. An ash pan is also a must for those who hate the messy cleanup. This pan catches the ashes as the charcoal burns, making it easy to dump them out when you’re done grilling. Side handles make it easy to move your grill around when needed.
Yes, you should clean the ash tray after every use. The ashes that collect could clog the charcoal pan, blocking airflow and preventing the charcoal from burning properly. Removing it after each use keeps the heat at the proper level and ensures that your grill or smoker is ready to go the next time you want to use it.
When grilling your meat, it is best to keep the temperature between 375 and 450 degrees. This will ensure that the meat is cooked through, adding those tasty, smoky flavors without drying it out or burning it. The high heat also shortens the cooking time. As for veggies, it depends on which ones you’re grilling. Onions, squash, and peppers grill best at about 550 degrees F at first but then lowered to 225 to 275 degrees F to finish cooking. Broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, or similar veggies should be grilled at about 400 to 450 degrees F.
The best and easiest way to clean the grates is to brush them off while they are still hot. You’ll need to be careful and wear protective gloves to prevent burning for this process. Brush both the top and bottom sides, dipping the brush in warm water if needed to loosen up stuck-on food. You can also soak them in a bucket of water and dish soap if needed.
There are dozens of great charcoal grills under $200, but there are a few on the market that have a bit more to offer than the rest. Here’s a second look at our top 3 choices.
Our favorite is the Dyna-Glo DGN405DNC-D, which has cast-iron enameled grates offering 568 square inches of grilling space. This model features a heavy-duty steel body with a charcoal access door, side dampers, a smokestack, an adjustable charcoal tray, and a removable warming rack. It also includes a removable ash pan, side shelves, a bottom basket, and a built-in temperature gauge.
The Char-Griller E56714 is a lightweight, compact model with 5 color options to choose from. It features cast-iron grates, dual dampers, a hinged lid with a lock, and a triple-wall steel body for excellent heat retention.
The Royal Gourmet CC1830S is a stainless-steel model with a large primary cooking area, plus an offset smoker for even more cooking space when needed. This model also includes a warming rack, porcelain wire cooking grates, 3 shelves, utensil hooks, and an adjustable charcoal rack for the perfect amount of heat.