Camping is one of the most fun outdoor activities you can do over the summer! However, most campers I know say figuring out a method to cook food is annoying. Sometimes fires are not allowed at the site, and other times you cannot cook what you want on top of a campfire.
While grates are sometimes included, there’s not a lot you can do about the temperature of a fire. That’s why we recommend purchasing a camping grill. It’s one of the handiest pieces of camping gear you can include in your outdoor overnight kit.
There are a lot of camping grills on the market today, and the quality and prices vary so widely it can be hard to make a choice. To save you time, we have put together a list of the 7 best camping grills. We’ve also included a guide on how to choose and answered the most common questions.
Best Camping Grills
Our reviews of the best camping grills along with a detailed buying guide below to help you make the best decision in choosing the right camping grill for you.
Coleman Gas Stove | Portable Propane Gas Classic Camp Stove with 2 Burners
- 20,000 BTU’s
- 4.1 x 21.9 x 13.7 inches
- 11.95 pounds
- Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill
Have you ever seen the dark green, two-burner camping stoves? Then you’ve seen the Coleman portable propane gas stove. This is one of the most commonly purchased camping stoves in the United States, and the inexpensive price tag is one reason.
The block panels on the side allow you to light the grill in even the wildest of winds, and PerfectFlow technology keeps the stove lit. You can use both a 12-inch and a 10-inch pan at the same time, so keep this in mind when choosing cooking utensils.
- Separate temperature control for both burners
- Rust-resistant cooktop
- Fuel Efficient
- Non-removable lid
- Difficult to adjust the flame to simmering temperatures
- Wide spaces between bars on the grill
- Coleman Gas Stove
- Cooking power: Up to 20,000 total BTUs
- 2 adjustable burners: For precise temperature control
- Wind-blocking panels: Shield burners from wind
- Pressure regulator: Pressure-control technology for consistent performance, even in extreme conditions
Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill
- 5,500 BTU’s
- 16 x 16.5 x 13 inches
- 13.5 pounds
If you are looking for a small, sturdy gas grill to bring to your campsite, this Petit Gourmet Cuisinart might be right for you. The aluminum legs provide stability, and the lid locks for safety. Fold it up like a briefcase, and you easily carry this portable tabletop grill to hike-in sites.
With a 145-square-inch grilling area, this amazing cooktop can hold up to 8 burgers. It’s perfect for camping trips with friends and family. Furthermore, you can use either the smaller screw-on propane or the included fitting for a 20-pound tank. Now you can stay outside for days at a time!
Would you believe there is also a stove? This Cuisinart can configure up to two burners, so you can grill and boil at the same time!
- Porcelain-enameled grate for even-heating
- The surface under the grill does not get hot
- Heats up and cools down quickly for maximum portability
- Dishwasher safe grill top, drip tray, and burner covers
- Dome is shallow – too shallow for a whole ham
- Quick cool-down means cooktop does not hold heat long
- Runs hot and the grill itself gets very hot
- Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet
- Portable gas grill with 145-square-inch grilling area and foldaway legs
- Cooks 8 burgers, 8 steaks, 6 to 10 chicken breasts, or 4 pounds of fish
- Powerful 5,500 BTU stainless-steel burner and even-heating porcelain-enameled grate
- Aluminum legs and stabilizing feet set up in seconds; integrated lid lock keeps lid secure
Coleman Propane Grill | RoadTrip LXE Portable Gas Grill
- 20,000 BTU’s
- 33.8 x 13.5 x 19.1 inches
- 48.5 pounds
The Coleman RoadTrip Portable Gas Grill stands on its own and would be great for a parking lot barbecue. It’s also great to use on a camping trip for that exact same reason! No longer do you have to worry about there being a picnic table or flat rock to hold your tabletop grill.
Afraid you can’t carry the grill to your campsite? Don’t worry. With two wheels on one side and a handle on the other, anyone can pull this cooking machine into their spot. Did we mention the one tool you need to attach the wheels is included?
There are 285 square inches of surface to cook on, so invite everyone over! Or, grill a feast of veggies, steaks, chicken, sausages, and burgers all for yourself!
- Collapses to make transport easy
- Set up finished in 4 easy steps
- Cast-iron and porcelain surfaces are easy to clean
- Interchangeable cooktop with griddle (not included)
- Once clamps are undone the whole thing collapses
- Poorly designed removable handle
- Runs hot
- Coleman Propane Grill
- Portable propane grill ideal for tailgating, picnicking, and camping
- Delivers 20,000 BTUs of heat across 285 square inches of grilling surface
- Swaptop interchangeable cooktops allow you to switch grill grates out for griddle and stove grates (sold separately)
- Instastart button ignites grill without the need for a match or lighter
Blackstone Grills Tailgater
- 15,000 and 20,000 BTU’s
- 52 x 24x 38.5 inches
- 75 pounds
Have you ever wished a griddle/grill/stovetop combo? Today, your dream has come true. Introducing the Blackstone Grills Tailgater. While great to use at a tailgating event, it’s even more fun to use while staying overnight in the great outdoors
When primitive camping, there are no guarantees the ground you’ll be setting up on is even. There are no campsite hosts raking your gravel when you are out in the middle of nowhere. This 3-way combo has 4 adjustable legs to keep your cookware even.
- 2 independently controlled burners (stainless steel and cast iron)
- Cast iron grill grate and cold rolled steel griddle plate
- Easy to clean
- Can sit outside in bad weather without rusting
- Grill clips are not attached, making them easy to lose
- 1 AA battery required
- Open and visible drip tray
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Weber Liquid Propane Grill
- 8,500 BTU’s
- 14.5 x 27 x 16.5 inches
- 28 pounds
There is a lightweight, portable option for those of you that prefer an out-of-the-box assembled grill. The Weber Liquid Propane Grill boasts 189 square-inches of cast iron, porcelain covered grates. This is a whole 44 square-inches more of cooking space than the Petit Gourmet Cuisinart!
The push-button ignition is perfect for those with a fear of lighting a traditional gas stone, and the removable catch pan makes clean up a breeze. Not to mention the included foil pans that reduce the time it takes to clean out the fat. We recommend this grill for up to four people!
- Easy to clean grates
- Fully assembled
- Cast-aluminum lid and glass-reinforced nylon body saves from any drops and falls
- Highly portable
- Grill requires preheating time of 10-15 minutes
- Uses only small propane tanks (14.1 or 16.4 ounces)
- Adaptor for larger propane tanks is sold separately
- One stainless steel burner produces 8500 BTU-per-hour to heat 189 square-inch total cooking area
- Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates and cast aluminum lid and body
- Fully assembled out of box. Dimensions - lid closed (inches): 14.5H x 27W x 16.5D inches
- Push-button ignition and infinite control burner valve settings. Fuel type - Liquid Petroleum Gas (disposable cartridge sold separately)
Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove
- 30,000 per burner/60,000 BTU’s total
- 34 x 9.5 x 16.25 inches
- 30.5 pounds
The Camp Chef Explorer Stove looks like it sounds: there are two cast aluminum burners set atop 4 adjustable legs. Never fear uneven surfaces again. Not to mention the 32-inch high adjustable legs are also detachable for use on a flat surface! Perfect for use on a picnic table.
This is the most powerful camp stove on the list, and it also has the largest cooking area. You and your closest 10 friends will enjoy countless camp meals on this 448 square-inch cooktop.
If you are a chef, you will appreciate the manufacturer’s attention to detail on the temperature control. Additionally, the stove can be elevated to a height of 29 inches for even the tallest food connoisseur.
- 3-sided windscreen protects the flame from the wind for an evenly cooked meal
- Available accessories: pre-seasoned Dutch ovens, griddles, barbecue box and griddle, and professional grill box, Italia artisan pizza oven
- 30-foot hose for larger propane tanks and also fits small tanks
- Hot griddle melts painted logo on the left wind guard
- Plastic fittings
- No piezo (push button) igniter
- Sooty residue leftover on pots
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Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
- Charcoal grill
- 12.2 x 21 x 14.5 inches
- 14.5 pounds
The Weber 121020 charcoal grill is a lightweight, portable grill that’s easy to take with you wherever you go. Weber is well known in camping circles for making grills that are built to last.
There are 160 square inches of grilling space, which translates into room for 6 burgers comfortably. It’s perfect for preparing meals for a small group of people and the compact size means you don’t have to use a ton of charcoal. The rectangular shape has a couple of vents on top and two on the sides, easily allowing you to adjust the temperature as you cook.
The plated steel legs fold up and lock the lid in place for transportation and the porcelain coated cookbox means it will stand the test of time. The top lid can hang on the side of the grill to block wind and gives you a place to keep it so it doesn’t get lost.
- Top lid locks
- 6 vents in the charcoal chamber
- Easy to clean
- Easy to store
- Limited height
- No removable bottom tray
- On the small side
- While spending most days on your way to somewhere else, the Go-Anywhere portable charcoal grill brings a taste of home wherever you go. The lid locks for easy portability, and its rectangular shape fits perfectly in the back of most cars.
- Holds up to six burgers made with a Weber burger press
- Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
- Porcelain-enameled lid and base retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
How to Find the Best Camping Grill: Your Buyer’s Guide
When deciding on the best camping grill for you, a buyer’s guide is a lifesaver. There are so many different options, it can even be hard to know what to look for. We learned the hard way that there are 5 factors to consider when making your selection.
Size of Grill
The grills on our list come in many different sizes. So, how do you know which one to choose? One factor to consider is how much room you have in your vehicle once it’s packed full of camping gear. If you don’t have a lot of space, think about purchasing one of the tabletops.
Another consideration that goes hand-in-hand with size is weight. Light grills are best for hike-in campgrounds. If you can drive to your site, weight isn’t as big of a deal.
Finally, think about how many people will be on the trip. If you are going with a large group, you should consider purchasing a larger grill. Larger grills equal larger cooktops, which equal more food being cooked at once!
Since the cooktops of our recommend grills are made of similar materials, the cooking performance comes down to temperature control. When choosing, think about what you like to make when you are out in the wilderness.
Do you cook mostly hamburgers, hotdogs, and kebobs? A grill with less precise temperature control should satisfy the crew. For steaks and more sophisticated foods, a fine-tuned knob is a must.
Keep in mind multiple burners are best for temperature control. Additionally, a lid is a nice addition that prevents fire flare-ups and assists with even cooking.
Type of Fuel
Butane: Butane can be used for a propane grill, and weighs less than propane. The only downside is that butane freezes under 32 degrees Fahrenheit. However, these days, Iso-butane is all the rage. It doesn’t freeze until 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
Propane: Heavier than butane, propane is much more versatile. This fuel can be purchased in small canisters measured by the ounce, to large tanks weighing 50-pounds.
Charcoal: The greatest benefit to cooking with charcoal is the classic, smoky flavor. At the same time, it takes longer to heat up and more attention to grill evenly. This is the least expensive option, as well as the most portable.
A BTU is a British Thermal Unit. It measures how much energy heats a pound of water to 1 degree Fahrenheit. Even though different grills could have the same initial output, there are other factors that play into the final BTU. These are the size, materials, and design.
You might think you need a ton of BTU’s, but that simply isn’t the case for most camp chefs. Once again, think about what you like to cook. Also consider the cooktop materials, whether or not there is a lid, and the amount of burners.
Essentially, a small BTU number doesn’t mean greater cook time.
Number of Burners
As we mentioned earlier, the number of burners influences how well you can control the grill’s temperature. However, this factor also determines what you can cook and how quickly you can cook it.
More than one burner is a lifesaver if you have food that requires different temperatures. Think about it. Bacon and eggs require different heat levels, as do pan-seared steak and mashed potatoes!
The larger products on our list have the option of multiple burners, griddles, barbecue boxes, and grill plates. However, more than one burner allows you to use more than one of the cooking options.
Can I use grills at every campground?
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to use all grills at every campground. The rules vary by park, but it is safest to check on the official website before packing up your grill.
Additionally, if there is an elevated level of fire danger, you will not be allowed to have any camp grill with open flames such as charcoal grills. Propane is usually safe, but once again you should check online for alerts.
Are propane and butane safe?
Propane and butane are as safe as the person using them. Almost 17,000 people went to the emergency room for grill injuries in 2012. This doesn’t have to be you!
To make sure you keep yourself and your family happy and healthy, it is best to follow the safety guidelines for propane and butane use.
How do I clean the grill?
The type of cleaning required depends upon the type of grill.
Charcoal grills are more difficult to clean. It requires a grill brush, aluminum foil, bristle brush or putty knife, paper bags, fork, and soap and water. This video from the experts details how to clean a charcoal grill from start to finish.
Gas grills are easier to clean, no matter what type of gas is used. They require a grill brush, bristle brush or putty knife, and soap and water. This article outlines the whole process, including burner tubes and grill grates.
Is gas better than charcoal?
Neither is better than the other, but both have their own positives and negatives. The answer is really a matter of personal opinion, but we’ve put together a list of positives and negatives to help you decide.
- Can use during campfire bans
- Easy to use
- Easy to clean
- Heats up faster
- Propane tanks and refills get expensive
- Less portable
- Less affordable
- Flare-ups are a hazard (but totally preventable!)
- Classic smoky flavor
- More affordable
- More portable
- Gets extremely hot for a nice sear
- Can’t use during campfire bans
- Harder to clean
- Takes longer to heat up
- More difficult to find and adjust the cooking temperature
What size propane cylinder do I need?
The size of the propane cylinder is determined by the type of attachment on the grill. All of the propane grills on our list are able to accommodate sizes 14.1 ounces and 16.4 ounces right out of the box.
In addition, all of the propane grills on this list can also take on the larger 20-pound and up sizes. However, only the Camp Chef Explorer comes with the necessary attachment. Never fear! They are easy on the wallet.
A camping grill is a fantastic way to enjoy the summer and show off your outdoor chef skills! The purchase doesn’t have to be expensive, the use doesn’t have to be difficult, and the grill doesn’t have to be heavy!
There are many different grills for camping on the market, and we hope our list of the best 7 has helped you in your search. Whether you choose gas or charcoal, tabletop or legged, you won’t be disappointed with the tasty results.