A small-sized, portable grill means convenience during transport and a solution for those with limited space.
I like to travel and I often spend time camping, which was all the more reason for me to create a guide to portable grills. I have really gone through numerous types of compact grills throughout my life, so I have quite an experience on the matter.
In this guide I’m going to focus on portable gas grills, helping you choose the right model for your situation.
It’s a pretty broad topic, which is why, besides creating a list of the best portable gas grills, I have also prepared a lot of tips for beginners. I really encourage you to check them out if you are completely new to the topic and don’t know what to pay attention to before the purchase.
The 3 Best Portable Gas Grills Reviewed
Throughout my entire long history of grilling, I have come across a very large number of grills. I made use of that experience by finding for you what I believe to be some of the best portable grills. My suggestions are pretty diverse, so I know that they will work in different situations.
1. Weber Q 1200
My favorite, the go-to option for every situation and place.
I take it along to go camping or on any other type of trip and I know that it works just as great in household conditions, where the space is pretty limited (an apartment with a balcony or a small terrace).
Weber Q1200 is a high quality portable gas grill that offers decent capacity and great functionality. If you need a little more room then check out the bigger Q2400, which despite the significant difference still remains compact.
A huge advantage is availability of separately sold accessories that significantly enhance the grill’s possibilities or the comfort of cooking. For example, the Q Portable Cart, which thanks to folding can also be easily brought along on a trip.
To make menu more diverse, I recommend buying the Weber Q Griddle, which occupies half of the cooking surface, the other half is still the grill grates. Such solution makes it possible to simultaneously prepare delicious grilled food plus sides that enrich the whole meal (fried eggs, veggies or even pancakes).
It only has one burner of unorthodox shape that covers majority of the cooking surface. In practice it quickly allows to cook and to achieve very high temperatures.
I love steaks, and this is one of the few portable grills that make it possible to prepare great steaks with beautiful sear marks (see it in action).
Cleaning is not a problem either, all of the grease and juices go straight onto a tray under the grill. Once you’re done cooking, all you have to do is empty the tray and you’re done – fast, easy and effective.
On top of that, I have to commend how the entire construction is made and the functionality. Weber Q1200 is a very solidly made grill that comes with all the essential features.
The side shelves offer a lot of work area whereas the two side handles plus one on the lid ensure convenient transport.
I know that it costs quite a lot compared to competitive options, but it is worth this price. I really recommend it for those who travel a lot, as they will appreciate not only the grill itself but also the separately sold accessories.
The grill is relatively big and compact at the same time, making it possible to quickly fold/unfold the stand’s legs.
Coleman RoadTrip 285 is an option for those who cook a little more food. It has 285 square inches of the main cooking area divided into two parts.
Each of the halves has separate grill grates that you can replace with a separately sold griddle. With use of accessories, you can enjoy grilling on one half and cooking with griddle on the other.
Beside the solid grill grates and griddle, it is also possible to even buy stove grates separately. All of that makes RoadTrip 285 a very versatile grill the properties of which are very useful away from home.
It has three independently controlled burners, the main one covers the entire surface whereas the remaining separate ones are reserved for one half of the grill each. By starting all three, you can achieve a high temperature very fast.
It’s a compact propane grill so it couldn’t do without adequate handles that enhance the convenience during transport.
The integrated legs are stable enough when unfolded, providing cooking comfort like on a big, stationary grill.
Sadly, I can say from experience that “complicated” constructions like this have one major downside. Larger risk of malfunctions than when it comes to very simple grills such as Weber Q.
Of course I’m not saying that it is poorly made, quite the opposite, it’s a fairly solid grill, but I’m slightly concerned about durability of individual elements in a long run.
Tired of regular grilling? A perfect alternative is Blackstone Tablet Top Grill, which has a griddle instead of grill grates.
The flat surface offers wider possibilities of preparing more wholesome and diverse food. Besides standard meat from a grill, you can grill a lot of small things such as eggs, assorted small vegetables or pancakes etc.
A griddle has no empty spaces so you don’t have to worry that something will fall inside the grill while cooking.
A properly designed plate has a hole where all the grease and juices go. Located under the hole is a tray or some container that can be removed and emptied any time.
It is important for the hole to be in the right spot to prevent grease from accumulating. In case of Blackstone everything is exactly the way it should be, which makes cleaning easy and effective, and the problem of accumulating grease is nonexistent.
It has two separately controlled burners which makes it possible to simultaneously grill something like veggies on one half and meat on the other.
A strong advantage is a very huge cooking area, there are whole 330 square inches available. If it’s too much for you and you need something smaller, there is also a 17 inch version available.
It’s a fairly simple yet solidly built grill that is among the durable ones.
Its price is relatively low compared to a typical grill so I recommend it as an alternative, additional cooking tool when camping.
A small downside to many might be the fact that it’s a table top grill. It means no stand plus necessity to provide adequate surface that is safe for high temperatures.
Tips for buying new portable gas grill
Not every portable grill is the same, which is why it’s better to carefully analyze your choice so that you don’t regret your decision later.
Budget – The price range is pretty huge so it’s better to define your maximum budget right at the start. It will allow you to pick the right grill faster without wasting time on analyzing models that are above your budget.
Cooking area and weight – Think carefully how much food you are planning to cook, take the number of people into account. Being too big makes a portable grill difficult to transport due to its size and weight.
Cooking style – You only want real grilling or maybe you’d like to try something new. A great alternative to standard grill grates is a griddle that introduces a lot of freshness and possibilities.
Handles – Even the most lightweight grill is not convenient to transport if it doesn’t have adequate handles for carrying. Another useful thing are additional handles that can be used to move a hot grill around while cooking.
Lid lock – Comes in handy, especially when carrying the grill in hands or transporting it in the car. Lack of such protection results in the risk of the grill lid opening on its own. It leads to a situation where everything hidden under the lid gets out (grill grates, grease tray, food remains etc).
Accessories – You value functionality, especially when away from home? Pay attention to what each manufacturer offers besides the standard features. Among my favorite accessories are a stand and a griddle, of course it only applies to selected brands.
Warranty – Nobody wants their grill to break down soon after the purchase. That’s exactly what a warranty is for, protecting your investment from this kind of situations. Manufacturing defects do happen, so if you’re paying more for a grill it’s all the more reason to pay attention to the warranty.
Grill vs Griddle
The only right choice for a typical grilling enthusiast are solid grill grates.
The characteristic grates construction is effective at transferring heat, while the open space makes it possible for grease to drip freely and for flames to directly interact with the food. Grill grates also have one more very valuable advantage, they make it possible to create sear marks on the food surface.
A griddle is a flat surface the advantage of which is the ability to grill even the smallest foods. You don’t have to worry that something will fall inside the grill like with grates. On top of that, flat surface makes it possible to grill things like eggs or pancakes.
I have a huge experience in cooking away from home and I have to admit that the best solution in my view (as a grilling enthusiast) is a portable grill with typical grates and a separately sold griddle.
I love typical grilled food combined with interesting sides prepared on a griddle. Such combination makes it possible to prepare a very diverse and wholesome meal.