The best charcoal BBQ

Nothing can beat the pull of a charcoal BBQ, so here are the very best to choose from.

Coal bbq

by Jade Moscrop |

Ah, summer. Beer gardens, paddling pools, chasing the sun around the garden, and, of course, a charcoal BBQ. While we can't rely on the weather, the one thing we can definitely count on is that British people will be BBQing, come rain or shine.

Although holidays abroad are back on the horizon, most of us will be living it up in our gardens, which means that there's some work to do. Investing in a patio cleaner, gazebo and some practical garden furniture is a must, along with the ultimate summer cooking appliance - the best charcoal BBQ.

If your old one has seen better days, been left out in the rain all winter (guilty) or you're buying your first charcoal barbecue, we've rounded up the very best-rated products to see you through. You'll also be wanting a chimney starter to get your charcoal lit in the most timely fashion.

Keep reading for our buying advice, plus the must-have accessories to make summer BBQs a breeze.

Best charcoal BBQ UK

Weber 14402001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Best overall
Weber 14402001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
Amazon

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This Weber kettle barbecue takes the top spot on our best charcoal BBQs list, due to its plated steel cooking grate, good surface area, and durability. It holds up to 13 burgers, has a built-in lid thermometer, and won't rust, due to the porcelain-enameled lid and bowl.

Specifications
Steel-plated cooking grate
363 inches of cooking space
Hinged grate
Aluminised steel one-touch cleaning system
High capacity removable ash catcher
Porcelain-enamelled lid and bowl
Rust-resistant damper
All-weather wheels
Built-in lid thermometer
Limited ten-year warranty
Dimensions: 100.3 x 57.2 x 68.6cm
Weight: 32.3lbs

Review: "Shipping was fast and the grill arrived before the expected date. Even though I had minor troubles assembling the three legs of the base, overall I am very satisfied with the product. It works very well, as expected from a Weber product, and in my opinion, it is made of quality materials for a reasonable price. I was able to cook meat and other meals with ease. If you are new to charcoal grills or you are a daily charcoal fan, I really recommend this grill."

CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue

Top pick
CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue
Amazon

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If you like to cook a lot of food or have a large family, this XL grill from CosmoGrill will leave you delighted. It heats up quickly, without the need for masses of charcoal, plus the crank handle allows you to adjust the heat efficiently. The vents are placed in all the right places to allow brilliant airflow, and it has a lid thermometer for ease.

Specifications
XL grill
Portable due to wheels
Cool tray with a crank handle
Warming rack
Easily removable coal ash tray
Lid thermometer
Easy to clean
Dimensions: 124 x 66 x 113cm
Weight: 25kg

Review: "Really pleased with this, bought it a couple of months ago and have now finally managed to use it a few times. The build was easy, took a while but straightforward enough. The coal tray is great, it's nice to be able to adjust the heat without having to struggle with moving the rack up or down like on different BBQs, and the side trays with plenty of hooks make cooking for large parties easy. There is loads of room for meat, which is awesome, as we always cook too much. Would definitely recommend this grill."

Weber Smokey Joe Premium Charcoal BBQ

Best portable charcoal BBQ
Weber Smokey Joe Premium Charcoal BBQ
Amazon

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BBQs on the beach are one of life's great luxuries, and this portable grill from Weber is the perfect match. At just 4.4kg, it's super lightweight, so can accompany you on all your adventures. It holds up to five burgers, which is plenty for an impromptu BBQ. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl help to retain heat, while ensuring no rusting or peeling. This one is a chic navy blue, but you can also get it in black, red, ivory white, smoke grey, and spring green.

Specifications
Carry handle
Compact and lightweight
Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl
Tuck-N-Carry lid lock doubles as a lid holder
Dampers for easy temperature control
Easy to clean
Dimensions: 43 x 41 x 46cm
Weight: 4.4kg

Review: "I've used this 4 or 5 times now and I'm really happy with it. There are 3 of us and it's a good size for that. I bought the ivory coloured one and it looks fantastic. Really nice quality, and sturdy. Super easy to use with the briquettes, and easy to clean. I haven't had the occasion to take it outside of the garden yet with the recent lockdown, but it's light enough and a good size to be portable and easy to move. I like the way there's a metal piece that goes over the handle to stop it from opening when it's not in use. I expect I'll take it on days out with me."

George Foreman GFKTBBQ Charcoal BBQ

Best budget-friendly BBQ
George Foreman GFKTBBQ Charcoal BBQ
Amazon

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This George Foreman grill is a great budget option, which is easy to put together and should serve five people with no issues. You don't get all the bells and whistles of some of the other, more expensive models, but it gets the job done.

Specifications
45cm diameter cooking area
Rust and dust-resistant
Wheels for portability
Chrome plated grill
Grease collection tray
Adjustable lid vent
Enameled bowl
Cool-touch handles
Wire storage rack
Integrated thermostat
Dimensions: 60 x 114 x 98cm
Weight: 7kg

Review: "The bbq was simple to assemble, I think I put it together in 20 minutes. I've used it twice since I bought it, and cooked for 6 of us without any trouble. The only downside is that I think it's not high enough, I'm 6ft and I have to stoop over to cook on it."

DANCOOK Kettle BBQ 1600

Recommended
DANCOOK Kettle BBQ 1600
Amazon

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Simple in design, the Dancook kettle charcoal BBQ is made from stainless steel and aluminium, making it strong and sturdy. The extra-thick chrome-plated grid is ideal for holding larger cuts of meat. Temperature control is simple via the three air vents, and the ash collection bowl is easy to empty and clean.

Specifications
40cm diameter cooking area
Stainless steel and aluminium
Extra-thick 6mm chrome-plated grid
Three air vents
Patented liner
Easily transportable
Fifteen-year warranty on stainless steel parts, two-year warranty on all other parts
Dimensions: 89 x 57 x 60cm
Weight: 8.6kg

Review from Amazon: "This is the second Dancook I've bought, I gave the first one to a son when we were downsizing. That was over 8 years ago and it's still in perfect working condition without RUST. Easy to keep clean, after each cook brush the grill to remove any cooked product or fat and place the grill in the dishwasher. My only suggestion to improve the product would be to offer a smaller charcoal hearth as sometimes the lump wood charcoal is in such small pieces that they fall through into the ashtray."

Texas Oil Drum Charcoal BBQ

Best for large gatherings
Texas Oil Drum Charcoal BBQ
Amazon

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With an iconic look, this oil drum BBQ from Homebase fits a whopping 20 burgers at a time, so it's ideal for larger gatherings. The steel hood also makes it a great fit for roasting, baking and smoking.

Specifications
Steel hood
Porcelain steel wire cooking grill with sliding function
Chrome-plated warming rack
Wheels for easy moving
12-month guarantee
Dimensions: 93 x 64.5 x 90cm
Cooking area dimensions: 71 x 35.3cm

Argos Home American Style Charcoal BBQ

Best BBQ design
Argos Home American Style Charcoal BBQ

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This large BBQ from Argos will help you to feed up to 15 people, and it has that classic BBQ look. The front door makes it easy to add coal, instead of lifting it off the grill. The adjustable charcoal tray is a real godsend, allowing you to stay in control of the temperature at all times. It's well-built, but it will take some time to assemble - make sure you have two people on-hand.

Specifications
Steel construction
Ash catcher
Warming rack
Crank handle for heat control
Dimensions: 113.5 x 102 x 71cm
Cooking area dimensions: 42 x 58cm
Weight: 26.18kg

Review: "Really beautiful and classy. Definitely worth the price. The only thing to consider is having someone help you assemble the BBQ as it is a two-person job. Unfortunately, the manual is not as clear with the images on some steps so it did take us a couple of hours to assemble it. Overall looks as advertised and definitely unique and plenty of space to put everything from utensils to the food. Love it."

Must-have BBQ accessories

Discovered the BBQ for you? Don't forget to shop for these BBQ essentials to make life easier, as well as ensure your BBQ is kept in good nick.

Instant Light Charcoal 12kg (12 x 1kg bags)

Recommended
Instant Light Charcoal 12kg (12 x 1kg bags)
Amazon

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This top-rated bumper pack of instant light charcoal will see you through the summer, whether it's a spontaneous BBQ or a planned one.

Velway Gas Grill Cover Barbecue Cover Heavy Duty BBQ Cover

Best BBQ cover
Velway Gas Grill Cover Barbecue Cover Heavy Duty BBQ Cover
Amazon

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Keep your BBQ in great quality by covering it up once the summer is over.

GQC 10PCS BBQ Grill Tool Set

Best tool set
GQC 10PCS BBQ Grill Tool Set
Amazon

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Every BBQ needs its own set of tools, and this popular set has everything you need.

HG 138050106 Oven, Grill and Barbecue Cleaner

Best BBQ cleaner
HG 138050106 Oven, Grill and Barbecue Cleaner
Amazon

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Once you're done, give the grill a once over with this handy cleaning product from HG to keep it looking good for next year.

Charcoal BBQ FAQs

What size charcoal BBQ do I need?

As well as knowing how many people you're cooking for, you should also bear in mind the types of food you'll be cooking, as well as how much storage space you have to prepare and hold food.

According to Argos, these are the general size guidelines:

• Two - four people: 1800cm2 cooking area

• Six people: 2000cm2 cooking area

• Eight people: 2500cm2 cooking area

Charcoal vs gas BBQs

The age-old question - which is better, charcoal or gas?

For a more authentic, traditional BBQ experience, charcoal is the best choice for you. It delivers on unique flavour, is an affordable way to BBQ, plus many prefer cooking on charcoal.

Charcoal can take a little while to heat up, as you wait for the embers to become the correct temperature for cooking on, but patience will give you the succulent burgers you crave.

Gas BBQs are more expensive, but they make up for that with convenience and confidence. You will need to buy a gas canister (propane or butane), but the heat can be controlled more easily and food will be cooked more evenly.

Ultimately, the choice is yours.

Check out our pick of the best gas BBQs here.

Jade Moscrop is the Deputy Editor for What's The Best, specialising in lifestyle topics. She also writes for Closer, Heat, and Grazia.

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