Best Small Grills For Small Spaces Review Guide For 2023
Best Small Grills For Small Spaces Review Guide For 2023 – Just because you live in a small apartment doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy authentic grilling in your yard or on your balcony. Particularly with a top grill from this list!
This article will help you determine what to look for in the best small grill for a small-space grilling solution. We’ll cover features you want, and some you don’t. Also, we’ll touch on rules and regulations for barbecuing in small spaces, shared spaces, urban environments, and other highly restrictive environments.
Ultimately, we will narrow down the field of contenders to a few grills that we think are among the best on the market for you to choose from. For each model, we’ll identify the pros and cons, and make recommendations for the best units for particular situations. The end goal is to get you grilling as soon as possible in your small(er) space.
Barbecuing in a small yard, or on a diminutive patio or balcony can be a challenge. Still, there are ways for townhome, condo, and apartment dwellers to enjoy the taste of fresh barbecue in their own spaces. Since we firmly believe in the universal and inalienable right to grill, we’re going to help you find your cooker today. To see more keep reading our Best Small Grills For Small Spaces Review Guide For 2023.
Kamado Joe Junior Grill
If you’re not familiar with the kamado style of grill, I suggest popping over and reading our feature on the best kamado grills.
If you are familiar with them but know you haven’t got room for one of the monsters, you could consider one of the smaller options available.
One of the leaders in the kamado segment is Kamado Joe.
There are three different sizes of Kamado Joe: The junior, the classic and the Big Joe. The Joe Junior is compact enough to fit on a patio or balcony, but can still cook a dinner for a couple or small family.
Grill space is limited to 148.5 square inches (it’s 13.5” in diameter), but that’s still enough to cook four burgers, or 2 steaks at once.
You can even slow cook – because that’s what a kamado grill is best at – a 12-pound turkey, or any chicken you can get your hands on.
While you might be tempted to step up to a medium sized classic, think carefully about your space, and about moving it around. While the extra 108 square inches of cooking surface would be great, it’s also 188 pounds – that’s 120 pounds heavier than the Junior.
Having a Kamado Joe Junior at your disposal really opens up your barbecue options. Not only can you quickly cook up direct heat staples like the aforementioned burgers and steaks, but you can also go low ‘n’ slow smoke a rack of ribs or maybe a small brisket. And how many balcony-size grills can do a whole chicken or turkey at once?
For such a small cooker, a Joe Junior can set you back a fair penny – over $500 MSRP, but with a built-in thermometer, 304 stainless steel cooking grates, ceramic heat deflector, grill gripper and ash tools.
It’s also exceptionally well made and will provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Just be sure it suits your needs; if you’re not into low ‘n’ slow, this maybe isn’t the grill for you.
Overall dimensions in inches (WxDxH): 16” x 22” x 20.75” (without stand)
- Premium 13.5″ Ceramic Grill with Cast Iron Stand
- Thick-walled, heat-resistant shell that locks in smoke and moisture at any temperature
- Cast-iron air vent for temperature control
- 304 Stainless Steel Cooking Grate
- Built-In Temp Gauge
- One of the most versatile ways to cook available – You can grill, smoke, roast and bake.
- Fantastic build quality and lifetime warranty on ceramics.
- Cooks very evenly
- Efficient heat retention and fuel usage (saves money in the long run!)
- Easy to clean
- Relatively expensive compared to grills of this size – But you get what you pay for!
- Ceramic a bit fragile compared to steel grills.
Weber Original Kettle 22-inch
I have to tell you, the Weber website isn’t the easiest to navigate. You’re welcome for us doing the research for you.
Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like getting back to the roots of a thing. For barbecuing, that means glowing embers of wood. Well, since you can’t build a fire pit on a deck or terrace, charcoal is your best option. For many, the charcoal barbecue is the epitome of the backyard cookout.
The Weber Original Kettle is a classic charcoal grill, the kind many of us remember from our childhoods, and which plenty of grillers still love today. The design has changed little over the years, and with good reason – you don’t fix it if it ain’t broke! It still appears high in my list of modern time, great charcoal grills!
Weber makes all kinds of charcoal grills, but the Original Kettle is simple, effective, and compact. It’s everything you’re looking for in a small-space grill.
This model is a 22” unit with 363 square inches of cooking surface. That’s pretty hefty for a ‘cue that takes up fairly little space! If you need a smaller kettle, there’s an 18” version, but we think sticking to the 22” maximizes versatility.
There are plenty of features to love on this grill, including the ash catcher in the stand and the easy-to-open bottom chute. The triangular stand should offer good stability – that’s something Weber prides itself on – and you can hang the lid on a side handle when you don’t need it. There’s even a heat shield below the lid handle to keep your hand safe.
All exterior parts are rust-resistant, but I always suggest buying a cover if you’re going to store it in an exposed location.
By the way, as a writer, I do love the copy on the info doc provided on the site, especially the “durable, all-weather wheels.” That’s ad-speak for, “plastic.”
Of course, there are some things to not like about this grill. For instance, there’s no thermometer. I know this is a lower-cost unit, but would it detract that much from the profit margin to add a simple gauge like that?
There’s no workspace, either, save for a small shelf down at the bottom of the stand, though I think that’s more for structural rigidity than for stashing your accessories.
All in all, this is an excellent option for those who want a basic charcoal grilling experience, and don’t want to drop a lot of coin on a ‘cue.
Overall dimensions in inches (WxDxH): 25 x 22.5 x 39.5
- Stay true to the modern version of the kettle that started it all—the Original Kettle, invented by Weber’s founder, and loved around the world. Its ultra-durable, porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat, while the dampers easily adjust for precise temperature control. With a One-Touch cleaning system for easy cleanup after a long day of grilling, the Original Kettle will always be the grill built for everyone
- Holds up to 13 burgers made with a Weber burger press
- One-Touch cleaning system provides hassle-free ash cleanup.Removable, aluminum ash catcher
- Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl Retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
- Use the lid hook to avoid placing the lid on the ground while grilling
- Dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside your grill
- 3D interactive assembly instructions for this product are available through the free BILT app.
- Classic, proven design.
- Large cooking space in a small-ish footprint.
- Can be used to smoke and grill (admittedly after a learning curve…but it’s all on this site 🙂 )
- Easy ‘one touch’ cleaning system.
- Hinged grill grate to reload charcoal without having to remove the hot grates.
- Good warranty
- Thermometer on the opposite side to the lid vents can result in inaccurate readings.
- 3-leg design can be a bit unstable – keep children and pets away!
Best Small Gas Grills
If you want to avoid the mess of charcoal, or simply wish to enjoy the quick starting convenience of gas, here are three of the best small models on the market.
Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Gas Grill – Amazon’s Choice
Sometimes, the only requirement we have of a product is that it be good enough to do the job. We don’t need bells and whistles, fancy features, or even superior workmanship. If that’s how you feel about barbecuing, the Classic 280 might be the right choice.
No doubt about it, this is a stripped-down, basic, low-cost gas grill. It has two burners (20,000 BTU total), which means you can set up separate temperature zones and expand your grilling options.
Push-button ignition makes firing up the grill easy, and I love the over-sized lid handle that keeps your fingers away from the heat.
The lid and firebox are porcelain-coated steel, and the burners are stainless steel. Above the burners you’ll find porcelain-coated wire grates, providing a total cooking space of 280 square inches. That’s plenty for a small family or group; expect to be able to cook a dozen small burgers at once, or several steaks.
There’s even a shelf on either side of the cooking area for you to prep food and rest your spices and utensils. As an option, you can order this barbecue with a side-burner in place of the left shelf.
What you don’t get is a thermometer, which is an unfortunate omission. There’s also no warming rack. The stand, which does have wheels, seems rather flimsy, and I can readily imagine it flexing and twisting as you roll. Still, the whole thing weighs less than 43 pounds, so perhaps it’s all that’s required.
As I indicated at the beginning, this is a no-frills grill and isn’t meant for a serious griller. The lack of lid depth and absence of a thermometer will keep you from doing anything but fairly basic grilling.
If that’s ok with you –maybe you just want to do dogs and chops and wings and stuff- then this may not be a bad investment. It’s a budget-friendly barbecue on an open flame from a brand name you know.
Overall dimensions in inches (WxDxH): 26 x 16.9 x 17.7
- 280 square inches of cooking space over porcelain-coated grates
- Two stainless steel in-line burners for cooking performance;Assembly Required
- Porcelain-coated steel lid and firebox stand up to weather and the elements
- Metal side shelves measure 12-inches w x 13-inches l providing extra storage and prep space
- Piezo ignition system for fast and reliable startups. Cooking System: Convectional
- Great value for the price.
- High heat output for quick and convenient grilling.
- Easy to maintain and keep clean.
- Ample cooking space for a couple or small family.
- Side shelves are great for a work space and to hold tools / sauces / rubs.
- No built in thermometer, so will need to purchase one 3rd party.
- Some users complained of complicated assembly
- May only last a few seasons (you get what you pay for)
Fuego Element F21C
If your space is truly compact, but you’re not willing to forego either real flames or a grill large enough to cook for a family of four, the Fuego Element F21C may be the grill for you. If you value having a really cool looking grill, this is definitely the grill for you!
I’m awarding huge style points to this futuristic looking grill from Fuego. A former Chief Designer for Apple designed this LPG-burning grill. That helps explain why it looks so different from standard propane barbecues. With its cylindrical design, the Element looks like it might blast off into space at any moment.
The cylinder cleverly hides the LPG tank and connection in the most space-friendly way possible. The whole thing, including the wheels, is no wider than the grill itself; the whole thing is just 21”x21”. So, you get a decent size grill (346 square inches) with a compact footprint.
Thanks to the circular burners, and the design of the lid, this little ‘cue can get to 500F in just 5 minutes. Remarkably, you can establish two temperature zones, enabling you to sear and then finish on lower heat just like on the big boys. The heavy-duty grate (15 pounds of cast iron) maintains even heat, and will hold up to frequent usage.
Since it’s on wheels, it should be easy to move around. This is ideal if you don’t have room to leave a barbecue in one spot all the time – just roll it out for grilling, then slide it back out of the way when you’re done. With the tank neatly stowed underneath, you’re not tethered to a natural gas line or electrical outlet, meaning you can grill wherever you have room.
Helpful features include a residue tray for catching grease run-off and a thermometer built into the lid. The lid is not hinged, but it will sit neatly in or hang from either handle. It would have been nice to see a work surface attached, but I recognize that would detract from the design aesthetics plus add size.
Honestly, this grill looks so great, it might be worth having, even if you don’t have a small outdoor living space. If oversized outdoor kitchens or smokers with trailer hookups aren’t your thing, a Fuego could be just the grill for a style-conscious, casual barbecuer.
Overall dimensions in inches (WxDxH): 21 x 21 x 46
- Designed in California by former Apple Chief Designer Robert Brunner and winner of Vesta’s Best Gas BBQ & Spark Design Award
- Reaching temps of 500F in just 5 mins & up to 650F with a 15lb porcelain-enamel cast iron grate that provides massive heat sink for amazing sear marks
- Compact 21” x 21″ footprint perfect for small patio/balcony and 346 sq. in. cooking surface with ability to grill 12 quarter-pound (4 1/2″ Dia.) burgers
- Featuring push button electronic ignition, hinged tank storage access door, easy roll mobility, built-in lid thermometer & easy clean residue tray
- Assembly time of less than 30 mins with the use of only 14 screws and 21,000 BTU/hr. burner system good for up to 50 (20 minute) cooking cycles
- Great-looking, eye-catching design.
- Heats up quickly and cooks well in windy conditions.
- Small footprint with decent grill space and capacity.
- Good build quality, should last many years.
- Easy to clean.
- No storage, work surfaces or tool hooks, so will likely need a separate table to go with it.
- Not exactly wallet friendly – but again, quality costs!
Best Small Electric Grills
If you’re looking to go electric, perhaps due to regulations not allowing charcoal or gas in your apartment, then the following two grills are the pick of the bunch.
George Foreman GFO3320 Indoor/Outdoor Grill
Though the infomercials may have been laughable (I think that’s the point of infomercials), I can tell you from personal experience that the George Foreman grill is actually a pretty good product!
I’ve “grilled” all kinds of small cuts of meat, burgers, wieners, and sausages on this little device, and I’ve always been pleased with the results. Part of the trick is to manage your expectations – this isn’t a competition-grade smoker! But, when true grilling hasn’t been an option, I still prefer the Foreman to a frying pan.
If your local regulations prevent you from using any charcoal or gas grill, you can still enjoy a simulation of the barbecue experience by cooking outside with the GFO3320
Really, this is just a GF grill on a stand. Conveniently, it readily detaches from the stand so you can grill indoors, too, or take it on the road. Because it is essentially a ridged frying pan, it comes with those benefits, too; it has a non-stick ceramic coating, it heats evenly, and you can take the cooking surface off to clean it.
For such a low-profile piece of equipment, the grill surface is fairly large at 240 square inches. You have very precise control over how hot it gets, and the built-in thermometer lets you know if you’re at the right temperature.
Of course, everyone knows the George Foreman Grill diverts grease and drippings away from the meat, and this model is no exception. The grease flows to holes in the center of the grate and down to a drip tray. You don’t get smoky flavoring from the drippings, but you’re not frying in your own grease, either.
Is it really barbecuing? No, I won’t pretend that it is. Is it better than no barbecue at all? I think so – at least you can cook outdoors, and enjoy the weather and the social aspects of grilling. If you don’t absolutely have to have an electric grill, don’t get one. But the option is there if there’s no other choice.
Overall dimensions in inches (WxDxH): 20 x 19.5 x 11 (without stand)
- 15+ Servings – It’s barbecue time! The 240 square inches of circular grilling surface lets you make over 15 servings for large groups of people
- Apartment-Approved – Your landlord will love this grill just as much as you do. The fully electric system gives you high-quality grilling with no charcoal, no propane, and no flare-ups
- Adjustable Temperature Control – Perfect heat is the secret ingredient. The temperature probe lets you choose from five heat settings to get the best results on any kind of food
- Temperature Gauge – No more guessing games. The temperature gauge on the grill cover gives an accurate heat reading so you can guarantee awesome results
- Premium Ceramic Coating – Time for an upgrade! Ceramic is the key to our improved nonstick coating. It’s 5x more durable*, stain- and fade-resistant, and free of PTFE and PFOA Fat-Removing Slope – It’s the sure sign of a George Foreman Grill. The sloped grilling surface helps remove up to 42% of fat from meats for lean, tasty meals
- Drip Tray – The dishwasher-safe drip tray collects excess fat and grease so you don’t have to. How nice is that?
- Removable Stand – Don’t let the weather keep you from the glory of grilling. The easy-to-remove stand takes you from patio to countertop in no time
- Large enough to cook for 15 people.
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
- Unique sloped surface drains fat away from the food as it cooks.
- Easy to clean non-stick surface
- Detachable stand – Resulting in your typical George Foreman grill we all know and love.
- Power hungry – not easy on your electric bill.
- It tends to be easier to use when NOT on the stand.
Best Small Grills For Small Spaces Buyers Guide For 2023
What to Look for in The Best Small Grills:
Let’s start by going over some of the features and factors to consider before you make the plunge and drop the coin.
Remember the old carpenter’s motto, “measure twice, cut once”? The same applies here; do your homework and buy the right grill the first time.
Of course, you never want to buy anything you know is a piece of junk, unless you’re entering into a demolition derby.
While a small-space grill may not see as much service or disagreeable weather as a full-size barbecue, you still want something that’s going to last.
Assess your needs before you buy:
- How often will you be grilling?
- What kind of weather/environmental conditions will the grill be exposed to?
- Where will it be stored?
If you know your grill is going to get heavy usage, you want parts made of solid, durable materials that are well put-together. If it were going to be outside and uncovered most of the time, give some thought to rust resistance.
Unlike grillers with conventional spaces, if you have a small yard or balcony to work with, you may not get to choose your fuel type based on personal preference.
It may be necessary to choose what is allowed by your municipality or property owner. Make sure to check this.
Charcoal is, understandably, forbidden in most apartment and condo buildings, or anywhere with a lot of wood.
Unextinguished coals are an apparent fire hazard. Although most purists prefer a charcoal grill, make sure you do your research before you settle on this kind of grill.
Propane, or Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) allows you to have an open flame, but without the issue of needing to extinguish a solid fuel.
LPG tanks and grills are available in many sizes and can be very convenient – certainly they’re a leading choice for campers and tailgaters. Tanks must be stored when not in use, and some regions have strict rules about LPG storage.
A rare choice for small spaces, but certainly convenient when available. You won’t see this on a balcony anywhere, but where allowed, it could be set up in the small backyard of, say, a townhome.
Be sure to hire a gas fitter who has all the necessary certifications to work in your area, and be sure to check out our guide to the best natural gas grills available today.
You might think of this as a last resort, but it’s a viable alternative when no conventional options are allowed, or practical.
Although it’s not the same as cooking over a fire, at least it’s still cooking outside – you can even make grill marks!
Before rushing out to buy an electric grill for your balcony, though, ensure you have a suitably located outlet. You don’t want the cord to be a tripping hazard – an electric grill can leave a burn mark on your skin just as readily as a gas or charcoal BBQ!
Take a look at your space and think about where you’re going to be able to set down your utensils, spices and sauces, and the food itself before it goes on the grill.
If there’s nothing handy, and no place to put a table or shelf, think about whether you might need a grill that has some shelves or hooks.
If you have somewhere in mind to place your new barbecue (make sure it’s solid, steady, and not flammable), then you won’t need to worry about a stand.
However, if you do need a self-supporting grill, look for one that’s sturdy and not prone to tipping.
If you think you’ll be moving it around much, wheels are a must – even a light grill starts to seem heavy after shifting it about a few times.
Size is perhaps the most critical factor to consider. Trying to shoehorn an oversized grill into a tiny space is impractical and possibly dangerous.
Measure your space and think about how people will move around the grill. You don’t want to risk rubbing up against a hot grill while trying to get to your chair.
You might try cutting out a piece of cardboard as a template to determine how large a footprint is practical/safe to work with.
Small grills and accessories don’t always go hand-in-hand. But, just because you’re going with a more modest grill, that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to go without any perks.
Give some thought as to how you will use your grill and what you’ll be cooking. For example, if you’re just flipping a few patties or rolling some sausages, you won’t need a battery of hooks for hanging all your utensils. Try to find one with the features you actually need, but be prepared to compromise to get a grill that fits in your space.
There’s no substitute for experience, so it’s worth looking at what others have to say about a grill before you make your choice.
All of the grills we’ve selected have been favorably reviewed overall, but nothing is ever perfect. It’s good to read through comments and see what situations have given positive results, and what circumstances may have led to a negative review.
Don’t make a judgment based on star ratings alone! Often, people will leave a bad review just because there were shipping issues, and these are seldom a reflection of the quality of the barbecue itself.
Consider carefully before deciding how much to spend on a barbecue. Think about how often you plan on using it, and what you’re going to cook on it.
If you plan on making a few burgers a couple of times per season, there’s no need to break the bank on a luxury barbecue. But, if you really want to get grilling some gourmet stuff on a regular basis, you might wish to loosen the purse strings just a bit.
Well, what do you say? Feeling a little better about your personal space now? As you can see, there is a grilling option for just about any situation, no matter how tight it is, or how hopeless it may seem. Thanks for taking the time to read our Best Small Grills For Small Spaces Review Guide For 2023.
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