With summer now in full force, we're finding more ways to spend time outdoors and make the most of those long evenings, and what better way to do so than to cooking up a treat on a charcoal barbecue? They're often more affordable than their gas counterparts, plus, they add that delicious smoky taste to whatever it is you're cooking!
Whether you want hamburgers, sausages, or some grilled vegetables, a charcoal BBQ will add that extra something special. However, there are many variations out there, from large to small and value to high end, so to help you pick, we'll guide you through the considerations and introduce our favourites available to buy online from Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, and more!
In addition to giving your food that great smoky taste, charcoal barbecues tend to be more affordable than gas styles, so you may be able to go bigger than you thought! There are a few points to consider as well as size, though, so think about where you want to use your BBQ, and how many people you'd like it to feed, whilst browsing the guide below.
When you're first looking into charcoal barbecues, you're likely to notice that there are a few main types. Each one serves its own purpose, and you will find that each has its own benefits. Whether you buy a barrel, a kettle, or a portable charcoal barbecue, you can be sure that with our guidance it will fit your needs perfectly.
A barrel barbecue effectively looks like a huge steel drum sliced in half. They are perfect for larger quantities of food, because they offer such a spacious cooking area, and they also give you the option to smoke your food too.
The bottom half of the barrel is for the coal with a flat grill for your food, whilst the top half forms the lid which can either be left open or closed to keep your food toasty warm.
You will find, however, that barrel barbecues can tend to be pricier than their alternative models, so they're likely to appeal to those willing to make more of an investment for the long term.
A good alternative to the barrel barbecue is the kettle grill. Kettle models are smaller, more affordable versions of barbecues that are to become a permanent fixture in your garden. Their circular shape is good for balancing and retaining heat, and if they come with a lid, the lid is normally designed to reflect the heat in the barbecue.
Although they are smaller than their barrel counterparts, kettle barbecues are rarely very portable, so you may want to look onwards if you are looking for something to take with you to the beach or park.
Providing that it is authorised (and we strongly advise that you verify this beforehand), there can be nothing nicer than enjoying a barbecue in the great outdoors. However, the disposable BBQs can be unreliable in terms of allowing you to control the cooking temperature, and they are often not as good at giving your food that smoky flavour.
In these scenarios, we recommend looking into a portable charcoal barbecue! They are essentially more lightweight versions of their kettle or barrel counterparts, and compact enough to be taken on the go.
We would caution, though, that the cooking space will be smaller, and that sometimes you may still find some difficulties in reaching the same heats available on the larger sizes as they are made of lighter metals.
Not every charcoal barbecue will come with a lid, but we advise that you look for models that do, as it allows for safer storage and it expands your options for cooking.
For larger barbecue models that are likely to be spending long periods of time outside, or stored in a shed or garage, a lid will ensure that the cooking area (the grill) is protected from the elements.
Moreover, a lid allows you to choose between cooking with direct heat (when the lid is not in use) and cooking with indirect heat or a combination of the two (when the lid is in use). It is also a good idea to close the lid when you are aiming just to keep your food warm, as it will retain the heat that was being produced from the grill.
Although it may seem somewhat obvious, we strongly advise considering the size and weight of your barbecue before you buy. Product pages will generally list all of this information so you can make the most informed choice. You will be able to measure the space you intend to use for your BBQ, but we advise looking into the grill area, too.
The area for the grill (generally measured by diameter for kettle or round models, and by length and width for square or barrel models) will indicate how much you can cook at once, although of course this will depend on what you are cooking and the size.
We recommend ensuring that your barbecue has at least a diameter of 35 cm (or 35 cm x 50 cm for square models) to easily and equally feed a group of five. If your household or typical garden gathering consists of more or fewer people, you can adjust your requirements accordingly!
If you are planning for your charcoal BBQ to be a permanent fixture in your garden, then you may not need to worry about its weight. On the other hand, if you are planning to regularly bring it inside for storage, or even more so, if you are planning to take it on trips with you, you should definitely aim for a more lightweight model.
Although we would advise against anything less than 5 kg, as this is likely to be too flimsy for long periods of cooking, we recommend keeping anything that you are going to be moving regularly under 10 kg, or it may be too cumbersome.
Now that you know the essentials about charcoal barbecues, we are sure you are eager to see what is currently available to purchase online. Let us introduce you to our top ten picks for charcoal BBQs to get cooking this summer!
|Dimensions||23 x 42.5 x 34.7 cm|
|Cooking Area||26.7 cm|
|Accessories Included||Integrated bamboo tray|
|Dimensions||116 x 66 x 113 cm|
|Cooking Area||52 cm x 30 cm|
|Dimensions||84 x 57 cm|
|Cooking Area||40 cm diameter|
|Dimensions||98 x 114 x 60 cm|
|Cooking Area||37 x 69 cm|
|Dimensions||68 x 73 x 73 cm|
|Cooking Area||61 cm diameter|
|Accessories Included||2 wood shelves, stainless steel grid, dual function metal top, snuffer cap, tel-tru thermometer|
|Dimensions||90 x 60 x 71 cm|
|Cooking Area||48 cm diameter|
|Dimensions||122 x 73 x 175 cm|
|Cooking Area||57 cm diameter|
|Accessories Included||Integratable aluminium ring for cooking pizza|
|Dimensions||25 x 60.5 x 60 cm|
|Cooking Area||57 x 57 cm|
|Accessories Included||Weber accessories available separately|
|Dimensions||116 x 117 x 92 cm|
|Cooking Area||92 x 44 cm|
|Accessories Included||4 piece toolset with apron and mitt|
|Dimensions||25 x 60.5 cm|
|Cooking Area||57 cm diameter|
Big Green Egg
Everdure by Heston Blumenthal
Compact 57 cm Kettle Charcoal BBQ
Classic Barrel Outdoor BBQ Smoker
Go-anywhere Portable BBQ
Charcoal Kettle Pizza BBQ
Kettle Charcoal BBQ
Extra Large Nest BBQ With Wood Shelves Bundle
Drum Charcoal BBQ
Charcoal Smoker and Grill
Outdoor Multifunction BBQ Smoker
CUBE Portable Charcoal BBQ
A Straightforward, Easy-To-Assemble Mid-Sized BBQ
A Budget-Friendly Barrel With Bonus Extras
Compact, Portable, and Ideal to Take on Trips
A Food-Lovers BBQ That Doubles as a Pizza Oven
A Great Kettle Grill for Family Meals
An Extremely High-Quality BBQ to Feed Plenty of Guests
Experience Authentic Cooking With This Reliable Barrel Barbecue
A Quirky and Versatile Charcoal BBQ
A Multi-Functional Smoker and Grill
Small, Stylish, Easy to Use and Aesthetically Pleasing
|Dimensions||25 x 60.5 cm||116 x 117 x 92 cm||25 x 60.5 x 60 cm||122 x 73 x 175 cm||90 x 60 x 71 cm||68 x 73 x 73 cm||98 x 114 x 60 cm||84 x 57 cm||116 x 66 x 113 cm||23 x 42.5 x 34.7 cm|
|Cooking Area||57 cm diameter||92 x 44 cm||57 x 57 cm||57 cm diameter||48 cm diameter||61 cm diameter||37 x 69 cm||40 cm diameter||52 cm x 30 cm||26.7 cm|
|Weight||12.4 kg||17.3 kg||6 kg||14.5 kg||7 kg||111 kg||16.5 kg||8 kg||17 kg||7 kg|
|Accessories Included||-||4 piece toolset with apron and mitt||Weber accessories available separately||Integratable aluminium ring for cooking pizza||-||2 wood shelves, stainless steel grid, dual function metal top, snuffer cap, tel-tru thermometer||-||-||-||Integrated bamboo tray|
Wondering how else you can step up your grilling game? Celebrate one of life's simplest, yet arguably most delicious, pleasures with our suggestions for top quality barbecue essentials.
Whether it's burgers, steaks, veggies, or even pizzas, you can ensure that your summer is memorable with meals enjoyed directly from the grill. With our considerations and our top ten picks, why not treat yourself to a charcoal BBQ!
Author: Hannah Kato
PC and cameras
Home appliances and electronics
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones