The 11 Best Small Grills for Yards with Limited Space

Best-Small-Grills-For-Yards-With-Limited-Space

Not everyone wants a huge, sprawling grill, and not everyone has the room to accommodate one.

Sometimes less is more when it comes to grilling, and with today’s collection of the best small grills, we have something for apartment dwellers, those looking for travel grills, or anyone who doesn’t grill that often and just wants a small, manageable solution.

Luckily, just because you’re buying a small grill, that doesn’t mean you need to compromise when it comes to performance or build quality.

If you’re unsure what to consider when you’re comparing grills in this class, we’ve got you covered.

  • Fuel source: You can find small grills in a variety of types. For some purists, there is no substitute for a charcoal grill. There is nothing to rival that smokiness imparted by cooking with charcoal, although it’s messy and not suitable for use indoors. A gas grill uses liquid propane to deliver a seamless grilling experience, albeit at the expense of that authentic BBQ taste and aroma. If you want convenience plain and simple and you have access to a power outlet, consider a small electric grill. There’s no right or wrong choice of grill, only the right grill for you
  • Cooking surface area: The total cooking surface area of grills is expressed in terms of square inches. Glance at the features tab of each small grill we review today to compare them easily like-for-like. All you need here is enough grill, don’t obsess after cooking space you won’t use
  • Portability: All of the small grills we review are reasonably portable, but some make better travel options than others
  • Materials and build quality: Look for small grills made from cast aluminum, ceramic, stainless steel, or powdered steel. Cooking grates will often be made of cast iron coated with porcelain enamel. You also find many stainless steel cooking grates, another good option, if not quite as effective as cast iron
  • Ease of cleaning: Look for small grills that make your life easier with removable components that are easy to clean. Broadly, charcoal grills will be the messiest, with both liquid propane and electric grills offering a much less hands-on experience. Again, all that counts here is buying in line with your needs

OK, if you keep these simple pointers in mind when you’re navigating our collection of the best small grills, you should find the right one for your needs with ease.

Dive in!

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The 11 Best Small Grills

1. Our #1 Pick: Kamado Joe Jr Charcoal Grill

Kamado-Joe-Jr.-KJ13RH-Charcoal-Grill-13.5-inch-Blaze-Red

Features

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 285 square inches
  • Dimensions: 30.25 x 19.19 x 16.13 inches

Our overall favorite in today’s showcase of the best small grills comes from industry heavyweight Kamado Joe. Kamado Joe is famous the world over for its upscale kamado grills, but the Joe Jr allows you to buy into this brand at a fraction of the price.

Despite its compact footprint, this weighty unit tips the scale at over 75 pounds, so it makes a great choice for permanent installation in the yard, but a poor travel solution.

The ceramic build comes with double walls for improved insulation and heat distribution. The shell will lock in all the heat and ensure that your food is cooked consistently and evenly throughout.

Throw your food onto the stainless steel cooking grate for that unbeatable smokiness you can only achieve with a charcoal grill. You get almost 300 square inches of surface area, making the Kamado Joe Jr one of the strongest performers in this regard.

The integrated temperature gauge allows you to monitor the internal temperature of your grilled treats.

Finished in a vibrant red, the Joe Jr will make a striking statement on your patio or deck without dominating a smaller space. This is hands-down one of the best small grills you’ll find, and you’ll also be rewarded with a surprisingly spacious cooking surface area.

Things We Like

  • Highly insulated body
  • Stainless steel cooking grate
  • Sits on cast iron stand

Things We Dislike

  • Some quality control issues flagged

2. Weber LP Grill

Weber-51010001-Q1200-Liquid-Propane-Grill,-Black

Features

  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Cooking area: 189 square inches
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 40.9 x 24.6 inches

If you prefer cooking with gas to charcoal, Weber make a wide range of grills in this class, including this small liquid propane model ideal for anyone working with space constraints.

As you would expect from a truly compact grill, you’ll need to take a hit when it comes to capacity. At just 189 square inches, this Weber works best for singles, couples, or small families.

The chassis and lid of this grill are made from cast aluminum, giving you a lightweight and portable travel grill as well as a back yard cooking solution.

Cooking grates are cast iron treated with porcelain enamel. This material and coating ensure the grates are non-stick and easy care, while also distributing the heat all over your food with no hot and cold spots marring consistency.

Tweaking the temperature couldn’t be easier thanks to the infinite control burner valves at your fingertips.

Firing the grill up is a first-time, every time deal due to the seamless electronic ignition system. Kiss goodbye to scrabbling around for matches or a lighter when you’re camping and get right down to grilling instead.

A pair of folding shelves come to the fore when you’re prepping or serving food, and you can push them back out the way when you need more space.

Overall, this is a highly effective small grill and one of the most portable on our shortlist, but you won’t get the greatest cooking surface area at your disposal.

Things We Like

  • 8500 BTU rating
  • Push-button ignition
  • Infinite control burners

Things We Dislike

  • Small cooking surface area

3. George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Grill

George-Foreman,-Silver,-12+-Servings-Upto-15-Indoor/Outdoor-Electric-Grill

Features

  • Fuel type: Electric
  • Cooking area: 240 square inches
  • Dimensions: 22.2 x 20.5 x 13 inches

World champion boxer George Foreman put his name to a line of grills that have sold tens of millions of units the world over, so what makes these grills stand out?

Firstly, you get a double-duty appliance here that’s equally at home in the kitchen or out in the yard. This is a corded electric grill, so you’ll enjoy all the convenience associated with this grilling method.

The grill is mounted on a stable stand when you need to take it outside, or you can use it as a neat and compact tabletop grill indoors with the legs removed.

Cooking grates are treated with a proprietary non-stick coating that garners favorable reviews from legions of satisfied consumers.

A temperature probe baked in has 5 different settings, so you can grill with set-and-forget ease and the confidence your food will be safely and thoroughly cooked all the way through.

 The only real complaints in a sea of positive user testimony concerns the supposed difficulty of cleaning this grill. This set aside, you’re getting one of the best small liquid propane grills you can find, and it comes from a brand you can trust.

Things We Like

  •  Use in the yard or in the kitchen
  • Efficient non-stick surface
  • Apartment-approved

Things We Dislike

  • Quite tricky to clean

4. Weber Electric Grill

Weber-52020001-Q1400-Electric-Grill

Features

  • Fuel type: Electric
  • Cooking area: 189 square inches
  • Dimensions: 23.5 x 27 x 20.5 inches

Weber makes a deep bench of grills in all types and many sizes. For anyone sold on the convenience of electric grills, this dinky 20-inch grill makes a smart bet.

If you hate the idea of tasky assembly, this grill comes good to go right out the box.

Weighing less than 30 pounds and occupying a very small footprint, this grill makes a superb choice for tailgating, camping, fishing, or RV trips. All you’ll need is a power outlet and you’ll be cooking with push-complete convenience.

The body and lid are made from a lightweight but durable cast aluminum, while you’ll benefit from cast iron cooking grates. This material has first-class insulation and heat distribution qualities. The grates are coated with a porcelain enamel that inhibits food splatter, too.

Controlling the temperature couldn’t be easier thanks to the infinite control burner. The robust 1560-watt heating element means there’s ample firepower in reserve.

The only blowback we encountered in a shower of positive user reviews concerns the difficulty of cleaning this grill. Do you due diligence here and consider whether this is a deal-breaker or no biggie.

Things We Like

  • Porcelain-enameled cooking grate
  • Completely assembled right out the box
  • Infinite control burners

Things We Dislike

  • Need to clean grill regularly

5. Char-Broil Performance Series Cabinet Grill

Char-Broil-463673519-Performance-Series-2-Burner-Cabinet-Liquid-Propane-Gas-Grill

Features

  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Cooking area: 400 square inches
  • Dimensions: 24.5 x 42.9 x 44 inches

Char-Broil has a hard-won reputation for producing outstanding grills that are priced reasonably keenly considering the showstopping performance.

This cabinet grill is spacious, but it still qualifies as a small grill due to its slender build and reasonably lightweight nature. The wheeled cart arrangement also makes it super-simple to shift this grill around the yard.

The dual-burner configuration allows you to create a flexible cooking environment, and the total heat output of 24,000 BTU places this grill head and shoulders above most of the opposition in this area.

You get a fantastic 400 square-inch cooking area. This is split across primary and secondary areas, giving you even greater flexibility when you’re grilling.

Shelves on either side of the grill are ideal for serving or prepping your grilled snacks.

Aside from some gripes about the woeful instructions with this grill, almost all reviews sing its praises, both in terms of performance and user-friendliness.

Things We Like

  • Twin burner rated at 24,000 BTU
  • Stainless steel lid
  • Accessory storage cabinet

Things We Dislike

  • Terrible instructions

6. Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

Weber-Jumbo-Joe-Charcoal-Grill-18-Inch-Black

Features

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 240 square inches
  • Dimensions: 19.75 x 20.5 x 19.75 inches

Next up in our quest for the best small grills comes the Weber Jumbo Joe. Despite the name, this is a compact and lightweight grill that makes a seamless fit for grilling in the yard or out on the road.

This is a superlight alloy steel grill you’ll find a cinch to slip in the trunk of your car. The lid is lockable to prevent any unwanted spillages in transit.

Despite the space-saving dimensions of this grill, the 240-square inch cooking surface translates to enough room for up to 8 burgers. This might leave you wanting for a large cookout, but you’ll have enough capacity to feed a small family.

No other cooking method can rival charcoal for imparting that authentic BBQ taste, and once you master the simple learning curve, you’ll soon be cooking like a pitmaster, even if you’re a relative newcomer to grilling.

Things We Like

  • Enough space for 6 to 8 burgers
  • Easy to adjust temperature
  • Impeccable brand image

Things We Dislike

  • Hard to turn top vent

7. NOMADIQ Portable Gas Grill

NOMADIQ-Portable-Propane-Gas-Grill

Features

  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Cooking area: 226 square inches
  • Dimensions: 25.6 x 16 x 7.5 inches

NOMADIQ delivers a liquid propane grill that’s certified safe for use indoors or outdoors, making this another highly versatile grilling solution.

Quick and easy to assemble out the box, all you’ll need is a canister of liquid propane and you’ll be cooking with total ease.

The push-button electronic ignition removes combustion from the equation and guarantees a first-time start every time, perfect when you have hungry and impatient kids crying out for burgers.

The cooking surface area of 226 square inches gives you enough latitude for a small family.

Create twin cooking zones thanks to the twin burners onboard. These are rated at 5000 BTU apiece, giving you plenty of power on demand.

As an added kicker, this powerful but small grill is currently available at an aggressive discount, so act quickly to grab yourself the best bargain of the summer.

 Most users seem very satisfied with this LP grill, but we found some complaints about the grill struggling to hit higher temperatures with confidence. If you frequently cook at scorching hot temperatures, we would suggest exploring some of the other small grills above and below.

Things We Like

  • Ideal for use indoors or outdoors
  • Assemble in less than a minute
  • Powder-coated steel

Things We Dislike

  • Struggles to achieve high temperatures

8. Cuisinart Portable Grill

Cuisinart-CGG-180TB-Portable-Propane

Features

  • Fuel type: Liquid propane
  • Cooking area: 145 square inches
  • Dimensions: 18 x 7.5 x 12 inches

Cuisinart is a trustworthy name in the kitchenware space, and this portable grill shows the versatility of this brand, as well as their commitment to quality on a budget.

This is one of the smallest grills we review, and this means two things. Firstly, if you need a travel grill, you’ll find few better options. The small footprint and lightweight nature of the grill makes it a first-rate portable option. Secondly, this space-saving nature forces you to take a hit on cooking area, so make sure the 145 square inches on offer meet your needs.

The alloy steel build is rugged enough to withstand plenty of rough and tumble on the campsite and in the trunk of the care.

The cooking grates on this grill are made from porcelain-enameled cast iron for outstanding grilling.

 You mount the grill on a stand that’s easy to assemble and disassemble, while providing a stable foundation for grilling when it’s locked into place.

Things We Like

  • Compact and superlight
  • Easy to set up and break down
  • Rugged foldable legs

Things We Dislike

  • Issues with build quality

9. Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman

Char-Broil-TRU-Infrared-Kettleman-Charcoal-Grill,-22.5-Inch

Features

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 360 square inches
  • Dimensions: 29.9 x 27.4 x 14.8 inches

Char-Broil produce some great grills and with this TRU-infrared model, you’ll experience fewer flareups than when cooking with other methods. The charcoal grill comes in a traditional kettle shape and offers you the ability to create exceptional grilled food every time.

The cooking grate measures 22.5 inches across and gives you a total surface area of 360 square inches, much more space than most of the opposition in this class of grill. Coated with porcelain enamel, you shouldn’t find your meat sticking to the grate, and you should also find the removable grate is a snap to keep clean.

The air damper mounted in the lid lets you manipulate the airflow and temperature with ease, so don’t let the perceived difficulty of cooking with charcoal put you off embracing this rewarding cooking method.

The ash tray slides out, removing the other barrier of entry and eliminating messy cleanup.

Overall, this is one of the best small grills for larger families needing more cooking surface area without a hulking and heavy grill.

Things We Like

  • Fewer flareups with infrared
  • Generous cooking surface area
  • Easy to keep clean

Things We Dislike

  • Quite tough to access coals

10. Weber Original Kettle Grill

Weber-441001-Original-Kettle-18-in-Charcoal-Grill,-Black

Features

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 285 square inches
  • Dimensions: 30.25 x 19.19 x 16.13 inches

As you’ll see by now, Weber has a stranglehold on small grills, and this classic kettle grill shows why they have so many fans the world over.

This 18-inch grill makes a neat fit for small yards, patios, and decks. Not only is the grill compact and lightweight, but the wheeled cart streamlines transportation further.

The lid and bowl of the grill are made from porcelain-enamel, so heat is retained admirably and distributed evenly across your food.

Using charcoal for fuel, you’ll impart your grilled favorites with that unmistakable smokiness only achievable with a charcoal grill.

The cooking grate is made of plated steel, giving you great grilled food in an easy-care package.

Things We Like

  • Unbeatable brand heritage
  • Retains heat efficiently
  • Plated steel cooking grate

Things We Dislike

  • Fire grate tends to rust out

11. GoBQ Portable Grill

GoBQ-Portable-Charcoal-Grill

Features

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 196 square inches
  • Dimensions: 14 x 6 x 8 inches

Last but by no means least in our curated collection of the best small grills comes from a lesser-known brand, GoBQ. If you’re prepared to take a chance on an unknown, what do you get for your money?

Well, the key selling point here is the way this grill folds down to just 17% of its original size and packs away into a travel bag. If you want a portable grill, they don’t come much more portable than this.

Made from a fire-resistant fiberglass treated with a silicone coating, your food won’t end up smeared all over the grate.

The cooking grate rolls out and into place, then you simply load on your charcoal and get grilling. Setting this grill up and disassembling it is the work of minutes, with no special DIY skills called for.

The grill is also designed to cool down quickly, perfect for anyone on the move.

Weighing under 10 pounds but providing you with the means to cook for a small family or friends, this is one of the best small grills and it’s super-portable, too.

Things We Like

  • Folds down to one-fifth of size
  • Enough food for a handful of people
  • Roll-up grate

Things We Dislike

  • Cannot control heat effectively

FAQs

1) What regulations govern grilling outdoors?

Laws and regulations will vary according to the municipality. Some localities prohibit the use of barbecues on wooden decks. Other localities insist you maintain a safe distance from the nearest structure. To use New York City as an example, electric grills are good to go anywhere at all. Charcoal grills are not permitted on rooftops or balconies, and you may not store 20-pound tanks of liquid propane on the roof or balcony of a multi-family residence. Beyond this, you’ll need to consider the landlord or condo owner if you are renting. You should also, of course, adhere to safe grilling practice.

2) What are the benefit and drawbacks of a propane grill?

On the plus side, you can get a propane grill going near-instantly. Most of the best grills of this type come with push-button electronic ignition. Temperature control is seamless. All you do is regulate the amount of gas reaching the grill, resulting in fewer flareups and less chance of burning or excessively charring your food. LP burns cleanly without producing too much smoke, so it’s safe to grill indoors with a gas grill. These grills also cool down quickly and don’t leave you facing messy cleanup duties. On the downside, propane doesn’t burn as hot as charcoal, so you won’t get that trademark smokiness that you get with the best charcoal grill. Initial costs are also higher with a propane grill.

3) What are the benefit and drawbacks of a charcoal grill?

The primary draw of cooking with charcoal is that authentic BBQ taste no other cooking method can replicate. Charcoal is also widely available and cheaper than buying liquid propane. The amount of smoke generated with as charcoal grill makes them entirely unsuitable for indoor use. Using a charcoal grill is also remarkably messy, so you’ll need to account for this and make sure you’re not put off with the thought of cleanup.

4) What is direct grilling?

Direct grilling involves placing your food on the grill grates directly above the full force of the source of heat. This can be gas, charcoal, or hardwood, or it could be the heating element in an electric grill. You can grill almost all types of food directly over fire, from meats and veggies to hot dogs, fish, and seafood. When you grill directly over an intense heat, this will sear the food and coat the exterior with a delicious brown crust packed with flavor.  If you try steaming or boiling foods, you simply can’t achieve the same effects as when you cook directly. The same applies to stir-frying or microwaving. Broiling, roasting, deep-frying, and sautéing are the only other cooking methods that can also deliver a seared crust and a smokiness.

5) What is indirect grilling?

Indirect grilling involves keeping your food away from the source of heat. You grill these foods slowly and off to one side of the grill, typically positioned over a drip pan with the grill covered. BY grilling indirectly, you reap a number of benefits. Firstly, indirect grilling slows the cooking process down. This avoids the abomination of chicken with charred skin while remaining disturbingly pink in the center. Since the food never touches the heat source, grilling in a covered grill is comparable to oven roasting your food. By using indirect grilling, you’ll get two temperatures in one grill. Use the direct side of the grill for searing and the indirect side for cooking your food slow and low. As a final kicker, indirect grilling also minimizes the likelihood of flareups. Fat will drip away from the food and into the drip pan rather than splattering all over hot coals or briquette and creating a potential smoke and fire hazard.

Conclusion

For anyone who pitched up here at Hempen Hill today without any idea about how to find the best small grills, that should have changed by now.

Focus on finding the perfect sweet spot for you between cooking surface area and portability. With this in place – and that should be easy thanks to our reviews – all you need to consider is what fuel type makes the best fit. With most small grills, that comes down to a choice between liquid propane, charcoal, and electric.

Take a moment to bookmark our blog before you head off today and pop back soon for more great grilling content daily.

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