How to Begin Buying a Charcoal Grill

If you’ve decided on a charcoal grill for your next outdoor kitchen purchase, you’ve come to the right place. This detailed guide will help you as you begin your search to find the best grill for your needs.

With so many options to choose from, the buying process can seem daunting at first, but don’t worry! With our extensive product knowledge, helpful staff and years of experience, we’re here to assist you every step of the way.

Types of Charcoal Grills

Traditional charcoal grills aren’t the only grills that use wood as a fuel source. Types of charcoal grills include:

  • Kettle-style Charcoal Grills
  • Built-in Charcoal Grills
  • Kamado Grills
  • Pellet Grills
  • Smoker Grills

In this article, we'll be covering more traditional charcoal style grills. For more information on the other types of charcoal grills, check out these helpful articles:

What to Consider When Buying a Charcoal Grill:

  • Price Range
  • Size
  • Configuration
  • Wood Type

Charcoal Grill Price Range

Charcoal grill prices vary greatly, which means there’s sure to be something that fits your budget. Size, grill materials and extra features all play a part in the final price of the grill, so you’ll want to weigh your options to determine what factors are most important to your grilling experience.

Budget Charcoal Grills

Budget grills are a great grill option for anyone looking to have the easiest, most economical grilling experience possible. Grills in this range will likely be made from aluminum rather than stainless steel, and features will be lacking, but if all you want is a no-nonsense way to get the classic flavor of charcoal, look no further.

Average Price Range: Under $400

Mid-Range Charcoal Grills

Mid-range grills offer a step up from entry-level models. These grills typically contain more stainless steel in their construction, larger sizes and possibly some extra features like rotisserie kits or adjustable charcoal beds. Whether you’re looking to upgrade from a budget grill or you just have a little extra cash on hand for your first grill purchase, it’s tough to go wrong with these models.

Average Price Range: $400-$2,000

Luxury Charcoal Grills

A luxury charcoal grill will make you the envy of your neighbors, family and friends at your next get-together. These grills offer everything you could ever want in a charcoal grill, including large sizes, ultra-durable construction and aesthetically pleasing designs. These are the grills for anyone who refuses to buy anything less than the best.

Average Price Range: $2,000 and up

Charcoal Grill Sizes

When deciding what size grill you’ll need, you’ll want to take into account the size of your space and the number of people you’ll typically be feeding at one time. If you host parties or family get-togethers often, you’ll want to make sure you can feed all of your guests at once. However, if you’ll usually just be feeding a few people at a time, an oversized grill will be less efficient and may take up space you could be using for something else.

Keep in mind, too, we’re referring to the main grilling area when we talk about widths. The overall width of the grill may be larger depending on the way it’s constructed.

Small (<24”)

Small grills are great for small spaces like apartments, townhomes or condos. They’re also an ideal option if you’re only serving a few people at a time.

Medium (24” to 30”)

Medium grills offer added versatility with their additional grilling space. They’re great if you typically only cook for smaller groups but you’d still like the option to cook for slightly larger groups as well.

Large (>30”)

Large grills offer ample space to cook large quantities of food or even multiple types of food at once. You can also use the extra space to take advantage of additional cooking methods (like indirect grilling). If your house is the go-to spot for family get-togethers or neighborhood parties, an extra-large grill may be just what you need.

Charcoal Grill Configurations

The best grill configuration for your space will depend on the size of your space as well as how you plan to use the grill. Does your grill need to move around or can it stay in one place? Will you be adding additional appliances? Do you want to be able to store your grill for the winter? These are all questions you’ll want to ask yourself.


Freestanding grills offer more versatility than their built-in counterparts. These grills typically feature an all-in-one design with integrated storage and are usually easy to move around as needed. Traditional charcoal kettle grills also fall into this category.


Though less common than built-in gas grills, built-in charcoal grills are becoming more popular with more brands offering these models. Though you won’t have the same mobility as a freestanding grill, you’ll be able to design your outdoor kitchen space around these impressive centerpieces.

Types of Wood to Use with Charcoal Grills

One of the best parts of cooking with charcoal is the ability to change the flavor profile of your food based on the wood being used. Different species of wood can deliver unique taste notes to transform your favorite recipes.

This helpful chart lists some of the most common options, but feel free to experiment as you wish.

Wood TypeFlavor ProfileGreat For
AlmondNutty and sweet with little ashPoultry
AppleSweet and fruityChicken, Pork, Ribs
CherrySweet and fruityChicken, Pork, Ribs
HickorySweet and strongBeef, Pork, Ribs
MapleSweet and subtleChicken, Fish, Pork
MesquiteStrong, earthy and smokyBeef
MulberrySweet, tangy and berry-likeBeef, Poultry
OakTraditional smoky flavorBeef
PecanSweet and mildBeef, Poultry, Ribs
WalnutStrong and bitterBeef, Pork, Ribs

Get Help from an Expert

We hope you’ve found this buying guide helpful. Before you go, be sure to check out our tips for how to cook on a charcoal grill. You’ll find plenty of information to help you get the most out of your new investment.

If you need more assistance with your search for a grill, get in touch with our grilling experts. You can contact us by phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time or any time via email. We’re here for you!

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