The Best Small Outdoor Grills

The Best Small Outdoor Grills

Just because you only have a petite patio or postage stamp-sized balcony doesn't mean you can't enjoy the delicious smoky flavors of grilled food. Today's small outdoor grills come in a variety of fuel types and sizes but share one thing in common: the ability to whip up mouthwatering burgers, steaks, veggies and more with maximum flavor and minimal space. We fire up the top best small outdoor grills to discover which are hottest when it comes to performance, features and value.

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Best Small Outdoor Grill Buying Guide

Fuel type: 

Choose between charcoal, gas and electric. Charcoal infused food with smoky flavor but takes time to heat up and cleanup is messy. Gas is convenient but can lack flavor. Electric is easy to use indoors or out but grilling performance can be limited. The Cuisinart CGG-180T Portable runs on gas, the Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill on charcoal.

Temperature control: 

Whether you want to gently cook vegetables or sear steaks, good temperature control is key. Look for multiple burners/heat zones on gas/propane grills and adjustable vents on charcoal grills. 


Common materials for grates include cast iron, stainless steel and enameled steel or cast iron. Cast iron retains and distributes heat well for great grilling marks and flavor, but it requires maintenance. Stainless steel is durable and easy to clean. The George Foreman GGR50B Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill uses nonstick coated plates.

Build quality and durability: 

Look for sturdy construction with rust-resistant materials like stainless steel or porcelain-enameled steel. Check that the grill feels stable and secure, especially if portable. Higher-end grills will typically last longer.

Ease of assembly: 

If you're not handy, look for a grill that is easy to put together out of the box. Check manufacturer specifications for estimated assembly time and whether tools are included.

Grilling accessories: 

Consider what additional tools and accessories you might want, like grill brushes, tongs, spatulas, skewers, etc. and if they are included or will need to be purchased separately.


Small outdoor grills can range in price from under $100 like the Cuisinart CGG-180T Portable just costing around $30 to $500 or more for premium, high-performance models. Set a budget in advance based on the features you need and how often you anticipate using it. You can often find good deals on last season's models.


A longer warranty, especially of 2-5 years or more, is reassuring that the grill is well-made and will be supported if any issues arise. Check what parts/labor are covered.

Safety features: 

Look for grills with integrated safety features like cool-touch handles, grease management systems to control drips, automatic shut-off if the grill overheats, and stable/non-tipping designs. Propane grills should have leak-detectors.

Side burners or work surfaces: 

Additional side burners or work surfaces can be useful for warming sauces or vegetables, allowing you to cook more than one item at once. But keep in mind they may take up more space.


1. Do I need to assemble the grill myself? 

Many grills come partially or fully assembled, but check the manufacturer's specifications to see what's included. If assembly is required, make sure you have the necessary tools and technical skills, or pay for professional assembly if offered.

2. How long will it take to heat up? 

Heating time will depend on the grill's fuel type and BTU rating. Charcoal grills take 20-30 minutes to heat up as the coals ignite and spread, while propane and electric grills heat up much faster, in 5-10 minutes. Higher BTU ratings will typically mean faster heating.

3. How much can I cook at once? 

The grilling area size determines how much food you can cook at once. A larger primary grilling area means you can cook more burgers or vegetables simultaneously, but a smaller grill may be sufficient if you're only cooking for 1-2 people or willing to grill in batches.


When the weather warms up and you get the urge to grill, you don't need a huge backyard to satisfy your BBQ craving. As our reviews show, there's a wealth of compact grills that bring the sizzle without the sprawl. Whether you're a diehard charcoal fan, prefer the convenience of gas or want an electric grill you can use just about anywhere, it's easy to find a small grill that's sized right for your space but delivers big on taste. So fire it up, flame on and get grilling—even with a small outdoor area, cooking in the great outdoors has never been so doable or delicious!

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