The best kettle grill

Electric Grills, Griddles & Skillets

Make sure to set up your kettle grill on a stable, even surface so it doesn’t wobble or shake when the coals are lit.

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Which kettle grills are best?

There’s something about the flavor a charcoal grill gives burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and steaks that just can’t be matched. A kettle grill is a classic option for charcoal grills because its shape helps distribute heat evenly. Its lid encourages the heat to circulate around the food for more effective cooking and prevents flare-ups from any errant grease. Closing the grill traps the smoky flavor from the coals, too, which gives your burgers and other grilled favorites that signature charcoal-grilled taste.

Having trouble choosing a grill? Our buying guide provides all the tips you need to find the best kettle grill for your backyard. We’ve included some specific product recommendations, including our top choice from Weber, which is extremely sturdy and can fit more than 10 burgers at a time for large groups and parties.

What to know before you buy a kettle grill

Size and shape

Kettle grills are available in a range of sizes. Small tabletop models are generally 12 inches in diameter, while the largest grills measure as much as 48 inches. The larger the kettle grill, the more food you can prepare at a time. Some models are even large enough to feature a grilling cabinet to provide storage space for plates and utensils.

All kettle grills feature a rounded lid with a dome shape, which helps with even heat distribution and allows for more consistent cooking temperatures. The bowl portion of the grill is also rounded to encourage the heat to circulate around the food. A kettle grill’s round shape allows the ashes from the burning coals to fall to the bottom, so the temperature stays consistent during cooking.

Materials

Nearly all kettle grills feature rust-resistant metal on the majority of their components. However, the handles at the side of the grill bowl and lid top are usually wooden or another heat-resistant material.

What to look for in a quality kettle grill

Vents

A kettle grill should have vents in its lid as well as the bottom of the bowl. You should be able to open and close the vents in various increments to control the cooking temperature and airflow around the coals.

Legs

If you opt for a tabletop kettle grill, it typically features three legs. A larger freestanding grill usually has four legs to create a more stable base. Some larger grills also have wheels on the ends of the legs to allow you to roll the grill if you need to move it.

Ash collector

High-end kettle grills often have a compartment or attachment beneath the bowl where you can dump cooled ashes. You then only have to empty the collector into a heat-resistant container for quick and easy ash removal.

How much you can expect to spend on a kettle grill

You can pay between $25-$425 for a kettle grill. Tabletop models go for as little as $25-$45 but expect to spend $45-$90 for a basic freestanding grill. For a larger grill, you usually pay $98-$280, while a premium kettle grill with plenty of special features can go for as much as $290-$425.

Kettle grill FAQ

Q. How should I clean a kettle grill?

A. When you’re finished grilling, close the grill and let the charcoal burn off any cooked-on debris. Use a nylon or wire grill brush to scrub the debris off the cooking grate. Allow the ashes to cool completely, then dump them into a fireproof container for disposal. Every so often, clean the grill’s interior with a steel wool sponge and soapy water to remove any dirt and cooked-on debris.

Q. How do I use the vents on a kettle grill?

A. When you want to increase the grill’s temperature, open the top, bottom, or both vents to up the airflow within the grill. When you want to lower the heat, close the top, bottom, or both vents to decrease airflow around the coals.

What are the best kettle grills to buy?

Top kettle grill

Weber’s Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch

Weber’s Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch

Our take: An outstanding kettle grill with a classic design, excellent cooking performance, and true durability.

What we like: Allows you to control the heat distribution within the grill. Boasts incredibly sturdy construction. Can fit as many as 13 burgers at a time. Offers a one-touch cleaning system and ash collector.

What we dislike: Assembly can be difficult.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Top kettle grill for money

Beau Jardin’s Charcoal Grill, 17-Inch

Beau Jardin’s Charcoal Grill, 17-Inch

Our take: A simple, affordable kettle grill that’s an excellent value for the price.

What we like: Serious quality considering the price. Assembles and cleans easily. Compact design allows for easy storage. Ideal for camping.

What we dislike: Not large enough for most families. Grill sometimes arrives with parts missing.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth checking out

Kingsford’s Charcoal Kettle Grill, 22.5-Inch

Kingsford’s Charcoal Kettle Grill, 22.5-Inch

Our take: An affordable grill that cooks extremely well but isn’t quite as impressive as other models.

What we like: Earns rave reviews for its cooking performance. Offers easy assembly and excellent durability. Design allows you to use less charcoal.

What we dislike: Made with relatively thin steel. Assembly instructions are somewhat confusing.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

 

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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