From small weeknight grilling gatherings to more outlandish and festive weekend affairs, get-togethers that take place outside and by the grill are much anticipated warm-weather events that all who are fortunate enough to have outdoor space should take part in. But if you don’t already own a grill and are looking to make your first great grilling purchase, the whole procedure can feel a little overwhelming.
Don’t worry though; we at The Daily Meal are here to help with any and all of your grueling grilling needs with this list of the best affordable grills as well as some of our top grilling-related stories — for some extra inspiration and advice!
To curate this list, we turned to our sister site BestReviews, a website that is devoted to buying and testing an array of different products in order to recommend those that they feel are the very best quality and value. We pored through their pages of recommended grills and looked at every kind of grill they had reviewed, from charcoal and propane grills to some excellent portable options that enable you to grill anytime and anywhere! There is a grill for everyone — and for every budget.
Best Reviews certainly has an extensive collection of tried and tested grills to choose from. We also searched Amazon and looked at those grills that were Amazon bestsellers and had the highest number of positive reviews. Along with a brief description of each grill (all the technical nitty-gritty) we have also included excerpts of some of the reviews (some of them lightly edited for clarity), which can offer insight into why customers love these grills as much as they do!
These affordable grills are all pieces of equipment that cost no more than $100, with many of them costing significantly less than that maximum amount. Just because you are grilling on a budget doesn’t mean you need to settle for anything less than a great grill. If you have all the money in the world, great, but for many of us that’s simply not an option, and it’s certainly is not a reason for anyone’s backyard barbecue game to suffer! Armed with some charcoal, some well-seasoned steaks and vegetables, and a simple grill, you can cook some wonderfully delicious things! Read on to learn about the best affordable backyard grills.
This simple, no-frills grill is great for taking on trip, is very portable and easy to clean, and, to top it all off, is incredibly affordable.
Reviewers on Amazon say:
“Near perfect for a small grill.”
“The 1980s Mercedes-Benz of grills.”
“Amazing capacity, well designed.”
Here is a simple grill that is low in cost but high in quality, perfect for grilling in your back yard, but light enough that you can easily take it on a camping trip.
One reviewer said, “Nice little grill to take on camping trips. The size, convenience, and ease of use of this product is mind-blowing. I have used this grill multiple times for personal use or a gathering with a small amount of friends. This is the first grill I have ever owned, and I'm glad to say it's a good one. This grill is easy to transport and is solid.”
This small rectangular grill — with 160 square inches of grilling space, steel legs, and a lid that includes a glass-reinforced handle that stays cool during cooking — is perfect for camping or tailgating.
Fans of this grill say:
“My urban family agrees that this is the best purchase we made last year. We live in a city and have no yard. Our opportunities for grilling come when we take it to a park or go travelling and we have adored languid afternoons in the park, and using it at rest areas for lunch while on tedious drives.”
“I've had this grill for a couple of weeks. It has met all of my expectations and more! I bought it primarily to do steaks and burgers. So far I have cooked scallops, shrimp, salmon, chicken legs, thighs, and wings as well as a 24-ounce ribeye and the burgers. The big surprise is how easy it is to go indirect. This adds the versatility. I fire up the chimney starter and I'm cooking in 15 minutes. Perfect for two people when you go indirect; up to four when you cook directly over the coals. I use a high-carbon lump charcoal that leaves very little ash. I am extremely pleased!”
This handy little grill can serve two functions, first as a portable grill and second as a side-mounted fire box when attached to a bigger smoker.
“Love it! Have used it as a tabletop grill quite a few times now. No paint chipping off of mine like others. Big enough to cook a lot of food at once. Great grill.”
“The best small smoker/grill on the market. you cannot find one better. This is my third one within a year of searching and buying and then being disappointed. Not this one. The little thing stands up to larger grills.”
With a hinged lid that seals well and opens easily, this Weber grill has a good-sized cooking service with good bottom ventilation and even heat across the grill surface.
“Well made and the perfect size! You can fit a whole rack of baby back ribs on this. It's well constructed and easy to assemble.”
“Love this little guy! I have had this grill for close to a year now and have definitely put it to the test... ribs, salmon, steaks, burgers, you name it. Great durability and heat distribution. Make sure you get the hinged grate as an accompaniment, makes redistributing coals a much easier process.”
“Perfect. Well built, easy assembly and great to cook on. Worth every penny.”
This stylish cast-iron grill is easy to assemble, simple to move, and great for small spaces, and it features 250 square inches of cooking space, a charcoal tray that is easy to use, with an easy to use disposal draw.
“Dollar for dollar you will be hard pressed to buy a better small barrel-shaped grill.”
“I love it — sturdy, small enough to easily clean and move it but large enough for a family of three. I used this grill for the whole summer and I have nothing bad to say about it.”
“This is a great little grill!! It wasn't that hard to put together, but most importantly, it cooks like a dream! I've had it for about six weeks now and have cooked on it at least once a week since I received it. I didn't need a big grill, but this little guy has enough cooking space to cook several steaks or a half dozen hamburgers at once, with room to spare.”
This grill offers 354 square inches of cooking space as well as a durable porcelain coating, a warming rack, wheels, and an air vent for better temperature control.
Fans of this grill say:
“I love this grill! The grill is a breeze to put together, made with quality parts, and cooks beautifully. The lid is hinged and has a built in rack which is a major plus.”
“The size is perfect for a family of four and has room to cook for company as well. The shape of the grill is better than a Weber, because it does not require as much charcoal and it has an easier venting system.”
“Easy assembly, easy to use. Affordable.”
Here’s a portable stainless-steel grill that uses a small one-pound propane cylinder and features 205 square inches of cooking area.
“Excellent grill!! Heats up nicely and cooks food perfectly! We bought this grill for our boat and it's just what we wanted. Would highly recommend it!”
“Oh man! This was both a want and a need so I bought it! Love it! Easy assembly. Cooks good. Easy to regulate the cooking temperature. On road or off — this Cookie is ready to satisfy any appetite!”
“Love it, heats up fast, and cooks with very even heat.”
Of this propane gas grill, with 280 square inches of cooking space and stainless steel in-line burners, people say:
“Not too big but just the right size for my needs, gets good and hot. I like the way the burners are set up two rows from front to back.”
“Hubby says this was the best investment we made all year. It came Thanksgiving weekend and he put it together in about two hours and we were ready to grill. Char-Broil is a name you can trust.”
Be careful though: It is not bear-proof. “Works great but not bear-proof! One week after I first cooked with it... a bear knocked my grill over and the plastic handle broke... gotta get a new handle.”
This pretty, hibachi-style cast-iron grill from Lodge features a grill surface of 17 ¼ by 9 inches and is compact and super durable.
With over 1,000 Amazon reviews, fans rave about it:
“Great grill! Love cast iron. Easy to clean, store, and use.”
“Best grill I ever had. Uses very little charcoal compared to other grills. Have had several hibachi-type grills in the past and all had non-iron parts that rusted and eventually disintegrated rather quickly. This grill has no such issues. The wire handle (not really necessary) and two bolts and nuts are all the parts that aren't cast iron, and they can easily be replaced if ever needed. Very little upkeep required. A quick spray with Pam before cooking keeps it seasoned very well. I expect it to last for years.”
“Awesome grill, built heavy. Well worth the $$$.”
This affordable grill cooks food evenly and is sturdy and easy to clean. An adjustable charcoal tray makes it easy to control the temperature and it has a handy fold-out shelf to use for prep.
“The grill is beautiful! I am a first-time-ever grill buyer and after spending a lot of time researching ended up buying this after seeing it in HD. It has the rustic look, character, and charm that other charcoal grills lack.”
“Assembly was easy. Makes great BBQ, we can't wait till the weather warms up a little bit more to start putting this bad boy to work all the time.”
“Easy assembly instruction. Cooks good, looks nice, and I like the temperature gauge. Cooking space was big enough for our family of four.”
This compact and sturdy gas grill is great for traveling. It has a 200-square-inch cooking surface with a stainless-steel grilling grate as well as a high-impact frame, strong legs, and convenient handle to carry it.
Users note that it does tend to run rather hot, but once you know how to use it, it is a great little grill.
“Does what it says it will do. However, like most everyone else has stated, it does burn HOT! It quickly gets up to around 600 to 650 degrees and we can only get it back down to around 450. Does steaks well, just have to watch very closely in order to not overcook them. We like ours rare and it's taken quite a while to get well enough accustomed to this bad boy not to overcook them.”
“This little grill is amazing! I bought it because I have a very small patio to use outside my condo, and it fits perfectly on my table. As others have said, this thing gets hot. And quickly too! You can easily shave a few minutes off your cooking time thanks to the infrared cooking. So far, I've cooked steaks and chicken and pork-chops on this thing and everything has come off great. Quickly and juicy! If you are looking for something to cook low and slow, this is NOT the grill for you. The lowest setting easily gets to 500 degrees in minutes. If you are looking for a portable grill that handles foods needing direct heat, or quick cooking, this is the grill you are looking for!”
This charcoal kettle grill has a 360-square-inch cooking surface, a hinged lid, and a removable ash bowl for easy cleaning.
Users certainly love this grill, saying:
“This grill gets much hotter faster than my old grill. They aren't lying when they save it saves you charcoal.”
“This is an absolutely awesome grill. I seldom write reviews, but I am very impressed with this piece of equipment. It cooks my steaks perfectly, like a high-end steakhouse.”
“Love this grill. I've had it for about two months and cook on it at least twice a week. Took a while to get the hang of the heat distribution, this grill gets much hotter with a lot less coal than most grills I've used. Works super well now that I've got the hang of it. Plenty of space to cook for a buttload of people, too.”
Last but not least in this list of the best affordable backyard grills is this classic kettle grill. It has 363 square inches of total cooking space, a 22-inch-diameter stainless steel cooking grate, and rust resistant vents.
Fans of this grill say:
“Love this grill. There's clearly a reason why Weber has not changed the basic design of this thing in half a century. It just works, and works well.”
“You cannot beat Weber for the quality and performance. This is a grill you can do it all with. I cook directly over coals and indirectly. Have done everything from whole chickens to burgers. One of my favorites is chicken breasts indirectly cooked. Tender and juicy.”
“Still the best ‘old-school’ grill out there, and for a reason. These things are bulletproof, and should last you 10-20 years with average care. Also, the parabolic shape puts heat on the meat, and coals fall to tray in bottom. Simple, yet highly effective.”
So there you have it, some truly great grill designs perfect for all of your outdoor grilling adventures! Now you have explored the best affordable grills, you must surely be curious to discover some of the best over-the-top backyard grills, right?
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