Best Camping Grills

Outdoor enthusiasts looking to cook some tasty grub while spending their time in the woods should consider investing in a camping grill. These grills come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many prefer propane models for their quick set up and ease of use. But, a true outdoorsman prefers to cook on an open flame, so we will take a look at both in our roundup of best-camping grills.

What to Look for in a Camping Grill

Maybe you have noticed that the terms camping grill and camping stove are seemingly interchangeable. That is a little bit of a misnomer because they are two different appliances. A camping grill cooks food with direct heat while a camping stove transfers heat to a pot or pan as a vector to cook food.

Our list of best camping grills features the former. But now that we have narrowed our search down to camping grill models only, what else should we look for? Size, portability, grilling surface, and type of heat source all vary by model and can impact the grill’s usefulness for camping.

Heat Source

Different models of camping grills use various heat sources. Propane is typically the most comfortable and most convenient to use. Propane grills take less time to heat up and hold a steady temperature that is easy to adjust.

Some prefer charcoal grills because of the smoke flavor that it imparts on the food as it cooks. But charcoal grills take time to prepare, which significantly adds to the time commitment of preparing meals. It can also be more difficult to regulate temperatures and make adjustments. For some, it is worth the trade-off to get an authentically great smoke flavor.

Portability

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a camping grill is portability. Tabletop units can be lightweight and easy to transport, but that is not guaranteed. More substantial grills can be cumbersome to haul, and it may be better to buy something on a cart.

Grilling Surface Area

Individual needs in a camping grill vary based on cooking habits. If you have a large family or tend to cook for several other campers, finding the largest portable grill is essential. If you are a lone camper or a couple, a large cooking surface is not needed. A smaller, lightweight solution is a better choice for individuals and smaller families.

Cooking Performance

Again, performance is another metric that can vary widely depending on the user. For burgers and brats, you may not need the extra bells and whistles. But culinary masterpieces crafted on a portable grill are a different story.

BTU ratings, burner control, and wind resistance all affect the performance of a grill. The BTU rating is a measurement of how powerful the grill is. It might be tempting to look for the highest BTU rating and pull out your wallet, but if your palate prefers simple meals, then a high BTU rating might not equate to the best value for your situation.

Burner control and cooking zones determine how easy it is to cook on the unit. This is particularly useful when preparing meals containing different foods like burgers, brats, and vegetables in the same meal.

Selecting the best camping grill is largely dependent on personal preference. The size and type of meals will dictate the features that are necessary for an enjoyable cooking experience.

Best Camping Grills Under $250

Weber Liquid Propane Tabletop Grill

Weber offers the ultimate solution for versatile, portable grills that work as a portable camping grill with disposable LP tanks. The same model can use a hose adapter for a 20-pound tank at home. The cast-iron construction offers a highly durable model that is still lightweight enough to be portable, making it perfect for a camping grill.

What We Like:

  • Racks are interchangeable with griddle plates.
  • Push-button ignition and easy control valves for ease of use.
  • Porcelain-enameled cast-iron grates.
  • Perfect size for a family of 3-4 people.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May not put out enough heat or possibly be prone to regulator defects.
  • LP Canisters are a little challenging to connect.
  • Push-button igniter doesn’t work that well.

Coleman Portable Stand-Up Grill

The Coleman Portable Stand-Up Grill is as close to a full-size grill as you will get at the campground. With 20,000 total BTU’s, it is a powerhouse camping grill that provides up to 285 square inches of grilling space. It has three adjustable burners for precise temperature control.

What We Like:

  • Push-button ignition.
  • 3 Year Warranty.
  • Swappable Cooktops.
  • Folds up for easy transport.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Lid latch is a little flimsy.
  • Bigger grill creates a bigger mess to clean up.
  • Temperature control on higher settings is a little off.

Best Camping Grills Under $100

Wolf Grizzly Backpack Grill

For ultimate portability and an authentic open-fire cooking experience, the Wolf Grizzly Backpack Grill is a great option. It is a lightweight and portable grilling option that folds flat for transport and weighs just 2.2 pounds. It is made from high-quality stainless steel that can withstand high temperatures from direct exposure to campfires. This grill is height-adjustable for use with a variety of heat sources including wood fires, charcoal, and portable fire pits.

What We Like:

  • Holds up to 30 pounds, great for cast iron.
  • Adjustable height.
  • Stainless-steel construction.
  • Uncomplicated two-piece set up.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Questionable value.
  • A little flimsy for the claim of a 30-pound capacity.
  • Portable fire pit has to be purchased separately.

Coleman Party Grill

The Coleman Party Grill is a portable propane grill that delivers 8,000 BTUs of grilling power. It is equipped with Perfectflow technology to allow consistent heating for an optimal cooking experience. The detachable legs fit inside the grill for easy portability. This grill offers 122 square inches of cooking space and lasts up to two and a half hours on one propane cylinder. The grill is easy to clean, and all detachable parts are dishwasher safe.

What We Like:

  • Push-button starter.
  • Easy to take apart and clean.
  • Heats fast and cooks evenly.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Temperature controls are a little finicky.
  • Grate is a bit unstable.
  • Domed shape makes it easy for foods like hot dogs to roll off.

Overall Best Camping Grills

Cuisinart Petit Portable Grill

The Cuisinart Petit has the size of a portable grill with the function of a full-sized grill. This tabletop model cooks evenly with a capacity for up to eight burgers or hot dogs or six chicken breasts. It has a powerful, 5,500 BTU stainless steel burner with porcelain-enameled grates.

What We Like:

  • Removable, dishwasher-safe grates.
  • Multiple colors to choose from.
  • Aluminum, fold-down legs.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Grease-trap is poorly designed. 
  • Burner output drops off over time.
  • Uneven cooking can be a problem.

Camp Chef Big Bass Grill

The Big Bass grill is a powerful 30,000 BTU grill with an impressive 608 square inches of cooking space. It is the largest grill on our list, great for cooking for a crowd. It features matchless ignition, bottom burner with extra wind protection, and seasoned cast iron grill plates. It comes easy to set up and use within a few minutes, and the legs are detachable for storage and transportation.

What We Like:

  • Adjustable heat knobs.
  • Extra utility shelving.
  • Seasoned cast-iron grill plates.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • No propane storage.
  • Has a tendency to rust so it won’t hold up much longer than other models.
  • Automatic ignition is prone to failure.

Conclusion

All-in-all, the Weber Liquid Propane grill is our top choice. The manufacturer is a well-known company that knows grills inside and out. All of the grills on our list offer a push-button ignition system so lighting them is a breeze. But where Weber comes in first is the versatility.

One unit is adaptable for use with portable LP tanks while camping or with larger propane tanks at home. You can get the most use out of a single purchase with this Weber grill. It also offers the option for interchangeable griddle plates so the same appliance can serve as both a grill and a griddle as needed.

It is conveniently small in size, designed as a tabletop model, which makes it great for camping. But it is still large enough to cook for a family of three or four people. It may not be the best option for those who want to cook on the open flame of a campfire, but considering that most campers prefer the ease of use of a propane grill, it is our clear winner.

The best choice for a camping grill depends on individual preference. Some grills are designed for ease of use and comfort in modern luxury camping, like the Cuisinart Petit. Other grills, like the Wolf Grizzly Backpack grill, are designed for ultra-portability and campfire cooking. It is essential to consider individual needs when choosing a new camping grill. One user may love the idea of a full-size grill on a platform while another man loves a rack that goes over the campfire.