To us, life is utterly pointless without get-togethers, barbecue parties, and grilling sessions. Smoking and grilling are two words we love to hear, and that’s why we have decided to write this review, which includes some of the best charcoal smokers and some of the best charcoal grills. Basically, there are two mediums people generally use for barbecuing. Smokers are a relatively new concept while grills were used back hundreds of years ago.Let us give you a short insight into these two!
Charcoal Smoker vs. Electric Smoker
A charcoal smoker has a modern design, similar to an electric smoker! The first important thing in a Charcoal smoker is it’s range of temperature. A charcoal smoker can become blazing hot, so it would be difficult to maintain a certain temperature on it, especially a lower range!
Secondly, a charcoal smoker is difficult to use. You would have to pay special attention to the coals distribution. Only proper distribution would cook your meat well. But if we look at the positive side, a charcoal one is more portable, as it does not require an electrical power source to run!
On the other hand, an electric smoker focuses more on the technological side. If you have lesser experience, and want an easy to operate smoker, be sure to get an electric one. Being reliant on electricity and not coal, this smoker would easily maintain a specific temperature through a thermostat.
Furthermore, an electric smoker does not need components like vents and airflows, as it does not need ventilation due to being automated. If you want better portability, this smoker is not much convenient as it cannot be used in camping trips due to lack of power source.
Smoker vs. Grill
A smoker has a more sophisticated design, and usually these are bigger in size when compared with Grills. If you are an easygoing and patient person, a smoker would satisfy your needs. A smoker cooks at a slower rate, allowing the meat to have deeper, and a more defined flavour. Closing it down, a smoker is best suited for youngsters or people who prefer a modern looking build.
A grill on the other hand, takes up less space than a smoker. Portability is another factor which makes the grill a great choice for travelling with! A grill burns at a higher temperature, cooking the meat in lesser time and providing a smokier flavour. This is best suited for mid-old aged people who have prior experience in barbecuing!
List of Best Charcoal Grill Consumer Reports
Here are our top recommended good quality charcoal grills consumer reports reviews 2020.
- Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D Vertical Offset Smoker
- Char-Griller e16620 Akorn Kamado Grill
- Weber Original Premium 22″ Kettle Grill
- CHAR-GRILLER E1515 PATIO PRO CHARCOAL GRILL
- Royal Gourmet CC1830F-C Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker
- Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker
- Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill
1. Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D Vertical Offset Smoker
Dyna-Glo is a reputable brand when it comes to smokers and grills. This particular smoker has proven to be a massive success over the world. And due to this reason, we have proudly included this in the list of the best offset smokers.
Starting with the grilling area, this smoker has a total of 784 sq. inches. The build is powder-coated steel, making this smoker sturdy and long-lasting. This powder coating will also help prevent discoloration and paint peeling, a common problem in many smokers sold in the market.
The porcelain-enameled cooking chamber has proven to be very useful when cleaning the area after a smoking session. Moreover, this material would also aid temperature regulation. Another encouraging aspect of this smoker is being completely rust-resistant.
Thankfully, this smoker has a two-door design, which means you have a separate space for adding charcoal, and another portion to keep a check on your food. A design like this reduces heat loss and removes the worry of adding or removing charcoal during use.
Airflow and an ample number of vents is a significant factor when buying a good smoker. This smoker has a smokestack on the top, while on the bottom, there are two adjustable dampers. You would have excellent ventilation when using this famous smoker.
A built-in thermometer has been included, allowing you to monitor and control the temperature when necessary. To keep this smoker spick and span, there is a removable ash pan for you to dump the remaining coal in the trash after every use. Also, there are four adjustable grates in it.
However, the only thing we found lacking in this smoker is the water pan/bowl. As mentioned earlier, heat regulation is excellent in this smoker. Still, the addition of a water bowl could have made it perfect and unmatchable. If you are on a budget and are looking for a “best under $150” smoker, this smoker is the best available choice.
- Removable Ash Can
- Two-door design
- Rust free material
- Built-in thermometer
- Four adjustable grates
- No water pan
- Prone to discoloration
2. Char-Griller e16620 Akorn Kamado Grill
Char-Griller, a name well known in grills and smokers, is no less than other manufacturers out there. If you are looking for the best charcoal grills, we recommend the E16620 with our eyes closed. Char-Griller produces excellent barbecue grills in the industry.
Beginning with the grilling area, which is the most crucial aspect of the best charcoal grill, this grill comes with 448 sq. inches of cooking area. You can easily make burgers and patties for 7-10 people. It means if you are looking for a family-oriented charcoal grill, then this one could be an excellent option to consider.
There is a triple walled insulated steel build, which would keep the exterior of this grill cool, so if you have pets or kids around, you can have peace of mind. The design resembles much of an egg and provides uniform heat distribution.
The cooking grates are made up of cast iron, making them extremely strong. There is a little circle right in the middle of this grill, made explicitly for adding charcoal. The lid has hinges, so you can easily open it, taking a peek at the food while it’s cooking away.
To keep your things handy and organized, the Akorn Kamado has a shelf on each side. These shelves have four hooks on them for hanging spatulas, a towel, or any other utensil you might need during grilling. There is a removable ash catcher to discard the ash without the smoker getting dirty after every use.
For heat control, there are two dampers on this model. One is on the top while another one is at the bottom. There is also a removable warming rack. You can warm patties or buns on this rack while the meat cooks away.
At the end of the review, there is significant five-year security for rusting and burn through, while a one-year one has been provided for defective parts. This grill is famously known as the “best-insulated grill” due to the 22 gauge steel used in the build.
- Warming rack
- Side shelves with hooks
- Big warranty period
- Ash catcher
- No built-in thermometer
3. Weber Original Premium 22″ Kettle Grill
Weber is one of the oldest grill manufacturers in the race, with grills dating back to as early as the 1950s. For a brand this old, people have certainly developed a liking for their products. This egg-shaped design has not transformed over the years. Because it rightly serves its purpose: to provide the tastiest possible food in the best charcoal smoker.
The grilling area measures 363 sq. inches. With this much space, you can cook a large amount of food. We found that this grill can easily hold up to 12 burgers, which is quite a decent amount if you are buying it, keeping family in mind, or for get-togethers with your friends.
The lid and the bowl are porcelain-coated, which would keep them rust-free and help avoid a common issue found in many smokers, which is paint peeling. Being lightweight is another advantage of this grill; you can move it from place to place without being a burden.
The dampers are made up of aluminum, making them safe from rusting and allowing better heat control. Thankfully, an ash catcher is present in this charcoal grill placed right under the body. Otherwise, you would have to spend your time cleaning the grill to remove the remaining ash. A thermometer is also built-in, making monitoring the internal temperature less of a hassle.
A heat shield is present just below the heat resistant glass handle on the lid, making the surface calm and safe to touch. It would make keeping a check on the food much more effortless. For adding charcoal, there is a hinged door present. The lid and the body’s seal is tight, making this grill less susceptible to heat loss. If you plan on buying this grill, this would be a very wise option, keeping in mind this grill is “best under $200”.
- Ash catcher
- Thermometer built-in
- Aluminum made dampers
- Thermometer not very accurate
4. CHAR-GRILLER E1515 PATIO PRO CHARCOAL GRILL
Suppose you are a family oriented guy who loves traveling, camping, or grilling with your small family. This charcoal grill would be a lifesaver for you. This grill would not break your bank and would provide you a good grilling experience just like any other expensive grill would. This grill is so portable you can even put it in the hatchback car’s trunk quickly.
The grates are cast iron, which can be challenging and a better alternative to stainless steel. You would have to season the grates by smearing some oil on them before cooking. Otherwise, your food might stick, destroying its aesthetics as well as burning it. The advantage is that cast iron retains more heat than steel to get a better temperature on the right side. Cleaning these grates is tricky; you would have to scrub them hard to clean them after a grilling session.
You get a 250 sq. inch grilling area, perfect for a small family of 3 or 4. The build is heavy-duty powder-coated steel, which is reasonable considering this grill is a very budget-friendly one. There is a cool to touch wooden handle to check on the food while being cooked inside.
There are side vents to aid ventilation. On one side of this grill, you get a shelf that you can utilize to keep your essentials. Now we know just one rack is not sufficient, but considering the grills price, we are surprised that they have included a proper shelf after all. On the other side, there is a drawer for adding charcoal.
A removable ash pan makes it possible to discard the mess after a grilling session. The thing I loved about this smoker is a storage rack just below the body. We keep a charcoal bag here; whenever we want to add more, we reach out and take out some charcoal and then store the pack below again. There is no other “best family grill” like this one.
- Side shelves
- Storage rack for a charcoal bag
- Removable ashcan
- Cool-touch lid and handle
- Grates are unseasoned
- Difficult to clean
5. Royal Gourmet CC1830F-C Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker
Another smoker we have seen many people using at barbecue parties and even in their homes for personal use is the Royal Gourmet CC1830F-C. It is a hot-selling product and also one of the best charcoal smokers on the market.
This charcoal grill smoker has a shelf welded at the front to hold serving plates and sauce pots. As this is one of the best charcoal smoker grills, it also includes a warming rack, which comes in very helpful if you want to warm some buns or bread while your meat sizzles away on the grill.
With the 183 sq. inches cooking area, you could grill meat slabs/burgers for up to 10 people with ease. A big charcoal pan ensures that you do not run out of coal during your grilling session. We faced the problem of running out of coal during a grilling session many times with other smokers. Still, Royal Gourmet has been impressed with its charcoal pan.
There are 2 level adjustable charcoal grates; you can move them upwards or lower them according to the food you want to cook. Cooking grates are porcelain coated. To tackle the problem of paint peeling, the manufacturer has given a heat resistant paint to uphold the new look of your grill and smoker even with long term usage.
A built-in thermometer is present, so you do not have to risk burning the meat due to a lack of temperature measurement. Ashcan ensures that the ashes do not fall right into the grill, making it all messy and unclean. A side door is available for adding charcoal. A cool-touch handle is included to protect your hands from burning if you need to leave the heavy-duty lid to take a look inside at the food.
There is one adjustable vent given to ensure heat control. With this best charcoal smoker, you have a one year warranty, so you can have peace of mind when choosing this product. The Royal Gourmet CC1830F-C is the “best budget grill smoker combo” considering such a low price.
- Bottom shelf
- Charcoal bowl
- Heat resistant paint
- Built-in ashcan
- Built-in thermometer
- Warming rack
- Adjustable height charcoal grate
- The thermometer isn’t accurate.
6. Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker
You can never go wrong with this smoker. In our list, this is one of the best charcoal smokers out there. This smoker’s breathtaking design will not fail to impress you; the glossy black finish provides a premium look at a low price.
Starting with the cool to touch handle, which allows you to open the lid without risking burns or injury, this smoker has many other features you would love to know. A built-in thermometer gives you the ability to read the internal temperature so you can adjust it accordingly.
A porcelain enameled steel bowl ensures you get the longevity you are minting out the money for. The water bowl ensures you get improved temperature regulation. While Talking about ventilation and heat regulation, there are two dampers on this Charcoal smoker; one is on the lid, which is adjustable, while the other is at the bottom. With two dampers, you would get pretty decent airflow; maintaining the temperature would be much more comfortable, keeping these in mind.
There is a hinged door for adding charcoal; you can open the grate anytime and add more coal as needed. An ash pan also comes with this smoker, allowing the ash to collect at the smoker’s bottom for cleaning the smoker easier and saving time. Afterward, you can detach it to discard the ash.
The interior and the lid is porcelain-enameled, and there are two carrying handles on the sides of this smoker. You can grab these handles and move this smoker anywhere as it is light in weight too. A wood chip box rests on the top of the charcoal chamber. Two wire racks can be placed inside the main compartment; these would allow a decent amount of food to cook simultaneously.
Ending with the warranty and some accessories you get with the smoker, you get a significant 3-year warranty. The accessories include a sauce pot to serve any pre-made or your signature sauce in it. Aluminum drip trays are present, and the thing we liked is the smoker mats, which prevent the sticking of food on the surface. It is the “best portable charcoal smoker” available in the market without a very high price tag.
- Long warranty period
- Removable ash pan
- Wood chip tray
- Aluminum drip trays
- Smoker mats
- The thermometer isn’t accurate.
7. Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill
When you’re talking about a grill classy yet simple, you can never go wrong with Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch, one of the best charcoal grills in the market. A shiny black finish ensures you get the smart look you want.
Ventilation is a factor no one should overlook; it doesn’t matter if it is in the best charcoal smoker or the best charcoal grills. Ventilation is the heart of any grill, and without it, you would not be able to cook your meat perfectly.
Luckily in this charcoal grill, you get a vent at the bottom and one at the top. A dome-shaped lid would give very precise and even heat distribution, not forgetting that this lid has a heat shield built on it. Topped with a Nylon heat resistant handle, this duo would keep the exterior cool to touch, so if you have kids running about, they can safely play around without you being fearful.
A heavy-duty steel is embedded to ensure this grill lasts a decade. The top and the bowl are porcelain enameled. The company has provided three sturdy wheels on this grill for the ease of transporting and moving this grill, which means you can move it across the garden to serve food while it’s still fresh and hot.
An aluminum-made ash catcher serves two purposes. Firstly, it helps keep the grill clean by collecting the residue; secondly, because it is aluminum made, it is completely rust-free.
The bowl has a 10-year warranty for burn-through and rusting, while for the plastic parts, the company provides a five-year warranty. A further two year one is available for the plastic parts.
Ending with a few downsides, we have noticed in this grill; it does not have a thermometer. We have found the lid to be a little thin, lacking insulation and resulting in some heat loss. Considering such fantastic customer support and the considerable warranty period, we have given this the title of “best-warrantied grill”!
- Aluminum ash catcher
- Huge warranty period
- Heatshield and nylon handle
- No thermometer
- Thin lid.
Best Grill Buying Guide
Capacity: When shopping for a smoker or a grill, you should keep the size as the foremost priority. If you plan on using the smoker/grill for public events like weddings, parties, large gatherings, then choose one that can cook a large amount of food. On the other hand, if you are a family oriented person with a wife and kids, choose a compact and simpler one, so you quickly assemble it and store it away after usage. Also, a portable one would suit you best in this situation, so you can keep it in a car’s trunk and take it with you for camping or holidays.
Temperature Range: When looking for a smoker/grill with this viewpoint, you should read the manufacturer’s book to check how much temperature the model can achieve. You do not need to check the temperature range in sunny climates, as the smoker would quickly get sizzling hot in no time. But if you live in a cold area or a snowy one, for that matter, you should go for the most burning available smoker/grill. Temperatures ranging up to 400 would be best for a cold area.
Warranty: Another major factor to look for in a smoker is the company’s after-sales service. Typically, the after-sales service begins from one-year in some smokers while other manufacturers give up to 5 years of the contract. Always prioritize a smoker who gives at least two years of security, as many cheap smokers out there promise great smokers. Still, after using them for a few months, you start facing issues, but due to lack of any warranty, you cannot exchange or return them, wasting all your hard-earned money and time as well.
Affordability: Even if you are looking for a budget-friendly smoker, ensure that the price is not way too less. These smokers typically are a rip-off and will start creating problems right after a few uses. In my opinion, smokers who are good yet affordable start from 100$, so be sure to keep this as the minimum price whenever looking for a smoker.
Features: In the modern world, smokers and grills now have various components that make using them much more comfortable. For example, some smokers come with a built-in temperature controlling system, which is digital, so you have to enter the required temperature, and the smoker maintains it. Also, insulation is another major factor contributing to the meat’s hotness and tenderness, so be sure to get a well-insulated one and a feature-rich smoker if you have a big budget, as after features like these will make your life simpler.
After reading the review of the best charcoal grills and the best charcoal smokers, We are confident that you now have a clear idea of what to look for in a smoker and the different features each smoker/grill provides. We have written this review after analyzing thousands of customer reviews. After personally using each smoker, you can make a perfect decision when looking for a smoker or a charcoal grill.
All of the smokers mentioned above/grills are the most widely used and loved ones, so you can be sure that what you are getting is quality, not just rip-offs.
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