Portable Grill Buyer’s Guide

Portable Grilling with FriendsA portable grill is a great option for anyone who wants the ability to barbecue on the go. They are great for small family who wants to picnic in the park or at the beach.

Campers who like to pack up and head out for the weekend on a whim find them handy. Tailgaters at the big game love them!

Even those who just don’t have much space, such as a small balcony or patio should consider a portable grill.

What Should I Know About a Portable Grill?

The main benefit of a portable grill is that it’s small, which makes it easy to move and store. Many models have features such like the ability to fold its handles inside itself after you’re finished using it, making it even smaller when storing it than when it’s set up and ready to cook your mouth-watering steaks.

The majority of models on the market are fueled by propane. Due to their size and portability, fueling portable grills with natural gas doesn’t make sense. Fortunately, propane cylinders are readily available at many stations, hardware and home renovation stores. The most common sizes of propane tanks available for your portable grill are 14.1 oz, and a larger 16.4 oz. These are also very small and easy to transport, but if you wanted to use a larger tank, such as a 10lb or 20lb tank, adapter hoses are quite often available so you can leave the tank on the ground while your grill sits on your table. Propane is also a fairly cheap fuel source, but the smaller the tank, the less economical it is to cook on your portable grill.

While there are other types available, such as charcoal or electric, (or propane) grills are far superior because unlike charcoal, they heat up almost instantly, and unlike electric, you don’t need to find an electrical outlet.


4 Points to Selecting a Perfect Portable Grill

  • Size Matters: How much room do you have for your grill, both in storage and in transport? Are you only using it in your back yard, but don’t have much storage space? Or if are you taking it with you on the road – how much room do you have in your trunk both for your portable grill and your propane tank?
  • Quality Translates to Results: Especially when it comes to shopping for grills, the adage, “You get what you pay for” definitely comes in to play here. If you want a compact BBQ that will last, you need to make sure it’s made out of high quality materials to ensure sturdy construction. While my first choice is to always look for cast iron, this material is heavier, making it more difficult to move around. Cast aluminum is a great alternative because it is lighter. I would recommend staying away from thin-walled steel, which often comes polished or enamel coated, as I find it can affect the quality of cooking on your portable grill.
  • Ease of Cleaning: Usually just by looking at the box, you can tell how elaborate the design is. If it looks like it’s a little complicated, such as a lid with sharp corners or unnecessary dimples, cleaning will be that much harder. Instead opt for a portable grill with smooth lines or a dome shape. Also make sure that it comes with a drip pan.
  • Heat: Without getting too far into what a BTU is, all you really need to know is the more BTU’s listed for a portable grill, the hotter it will get, and the quicker it can cook your food. While in a full-size grill, more BTU’s is better, it’s not as necessary in a compact version. After all, you don’t have to heat the same amount of space! Look for models that provide at least 8,000 BTU’s, but in my opinion, anything more than 20,000 BTU’s is overkill.


Your Options: Shopping for a Portable Grill

Now that you’re armed with some basic information on how to select your perfect portable grill, take a look through this site to see what’s available and which grill might work best for you.

You can visit my review page, where I give an in-depth analysis of my favorite portable grills, or see the Comparisons section to see all grills reviewed at a glance.


More Research
Check out this article about finding your perfect portable grill, or look further into the differences between gas and charcoal.