Best Charcoal Grills of 2024 to Elevate Your Backyard BBQs


There’s something undeniably nostalgic about grilling over charcoal. It screams childhood but dates even further back to our earliest ancestors, who first harnessed the power of fire. We’ve been perfecting the art of grilling ever since with the best pellet grillsgas grillssmokers, and even portable grills. The best grills of today would shock our survivalist predecessors. 

Today’s common practice of grilling has evolved from open fires to raised metal containers with a grate to support the best cuts of steak and vegetables. Charcoal grilling—which uses charcoal briquettes as the fuel source—achieves a similar result to cooking over a fire with less hassle while preserving that primal char and smoky flavor. Here, we’ve tested and selected the best charcoal grills of 2024.

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Our lineup begins with Kamado Joe Konnected Joe, the best charcoal grill overall. Equipped with a ceramic, thermal-regulating shell and built-in automatic electric heating element that ignites the charcoal, this refined kamado-style cooker includes an internal fan to regulate temperature, so your smoky grilling session is hassle-free and perfect every time.

Read more of the greatest hits from our 2024 Grilling Awards, including the best griddles, best pizza ovens, and best grill tools—plus pro tips on how to clean a grillhow to grill a steak, and where to find the best mail-order steaks.

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Best Charcoal Grill Overall: Kamado Joe Konnected Joe  The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe charcoal grill is our pick for the best overall charcoal grill.

Clay Abney

Kamado cooking isn’t new. And while I’ve cooked on a plethora of grills over the last few decades, this was my first foray—so I had a lot of catching up to do given its historic roots. The earliest kamado grills (going back about 3,000 years) were clay ovens that originated in China. The present-day variety has been refined to become the de facto egg-shaped cooker it is today.

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Overall Impressions

Unlike many grills that require a lot of assembly upon unpacking, Konnected Joe was unpacked, assembled, and ready for the recommended initial burn in under an hour. The hardest part of the assembly was removing the large ceramic portion from the box—which is a two-person job.

For us charcoal purists, we know the routine of crumpling old newspaper at the bottom of the charcoal chimney, adding briquettes, then lighting and monitoring to ensure the charcoal is indeed lit. Fortunately, Konnected Joe has a built-in automatic electric heating element that ignites the charcoal while an internal fan assists in supplying air for both igniting and assisting in regulating the internal temperature. 

The heavy ceramic construction of the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe fire bowl helps keep heat in.

Clay Abney

This can be achieved via the outside control panel on the Konnected Joe or the Kamado Joe app. Both options allow you to start the grill, set the temperature, and adjust and monitor it while standing nearby or away from the grill. Once lit, the grill preheated to my desired temperature in 10 to 12 minutes (depending on the temperature selected)—significantly less time than I’ve waited when using conventional charcoal grills utilizing the chimney starter method.

Monitoring the activity while grilling, from either the control panel or the app, was easy and accurate. Typically, when opening the lid of conventional grills, the temperature plummets, then has to re-climb once closed. I saw very little fluctuation as the grill regulated the temperature extremely well, thanks to the insulated ceramic walls.

I cooked a variety of meats and vegetables over the course of a month. Being able to control the temperature consistently allowed me to achieve the desired results time and time again.

Final Verdict

Among the best charcoal grills, this one stands alone. The brand offers a variety of kamado-style grills from the Joe Jr (offering 13.5 inches of cooking space) up to the Big Joe (24 inches) and the 3-tier Divide and Conquer Flexible Cooking System, with 11 options in between.

Charcoal grilling a variety of food on the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe is super-fast, easy and foolproof.

Clay Abney

I’ve been grilling for over 25 years, and this is by far the best experience I’ve had from the moment this grill was assembled to savoring the myriad foods that have touched its grates. Whether you’re an expert griller or a novice, the Kamado Joe’s auto-start, fan, digital control panel, and handy app will make the experience seamless and virtually foolproof. Being able to control the temperature range from 225 degrees (low and slow) to 700 degrees (searing the edges over extreme heat) was ideal for creating the ultimate cooking experience with one tool.


  • While heavy, the grill’s wheels allow for easy mobility, and two of them are locking wheels
  • Efficient heating
  • Lots of control via the app
  • Very easy to use
  • 2-Tier Divide and Conquer Cooking System
  • Minimal fuel usage
  • Easy assembly despite weight of the ceramic portion


  • Price could be a deterrent, though this isn’t the most expensive in the brand’s lineup
  • Heavier weight requires two people for assembly
  • Small ash tray
  • If needed, adding charcoal can be chore
  • More fragile than aluminum and steel grills

Key Features and Tech

This 18-inch diameter ceramic grill provides over 250 square inches of cooking space. Under the dome, the grill has the potential to utilize the 2-Tier Divide & Conquer Cooking System for cooking various foods at different temperatures. Like a chimney, the Kontrol Tower top vent maintains consistent air setting during dome opening and closing. Despite the grill’s overall weight, the Air Lift Hinge significantly reduces dome weight making it easy to open and close. When necessary, integrated lifting handles make loading and unloading the grill easier, while the heavy-duty, powder-coated steel grill cart comes with two locking wheels for fluid movement with the ability to lock in place.

Digitally, the grill comes with an Automatic Fire Starter (AFS) button for easy ignition of the lump charcoal. The Digital Kontrol Board provides temperature graphing, alerts, and multiple cook modes while the Kamado Joe app allows you to set temperature and time, monitor meat probes, and discover new recipes remotely. The Kontrol Fan automatically maintains your desired temperature from 225 to 700 degrees. Finally, the grill’s Automatic Cook Mode allows for digitally connected cooking or the ability to select Manual Cook Mode for a traditional, unassisted kamado grilling experience.

  • Cooking area: 250 square inches
  • Size: 47 x 48 inches
  • Weight: 216 pounds
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime on ceramic parts, 5 years on metal parts, 3 years on electronics, 2 years on miscellaneous parts
$1,699 at home depot

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Best-Looking Charcoal Grill: The All New Original PK300 The All New Original PK300 Charcoal Grill

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With a history going back more than 70 years, the PK Grill rose from the ashes that destroyed the original facility to reemerge in the late 1990s when an original grill was discovered at a yard sale. Conducting heat more efficiently than steel, the cast-aluminum capsule creates the optimal chamber for even heat distribution. The All New Original PK300 features the same construction as the Original PK, but in an upgraded retro design featuring an additional three inches of working height, radial vents at the top and bottom, more shelf space, and a rust-proof cart design. The grill comes with a 20-year warranty, which means they’re truly built to last.

  • Cooking area: 315 square inches
  • Size: 37.4 x 42.8 x 16.2 inches
  • Weight: 60 pounds
  • Warranty: 20 years
$525 at pk grills

Best Budget Charcoal Grill: Weber Original Kettle Premium Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

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Much like the original kettle grill, this budget-friendly iteration features much of the grill’s DNA but with improved features and enhanced performance. Due to its relatively small size and weight, Weber Original Kettle Premium is an ideal option for transporting to the campsite or for tailgate grilling. A hinged cooking grate allows for easily adding charcoal during grilling, while the porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat for a consistent temperature and even cooking. The grill’s One-Touch cleaning system entails a high-capacity ash catcher for hassle-free ash removal. Integrated hooks allow for holding the grill lid as well as tool storage while grilling.

  • Cooking area: 363 square inches
  • Size: 39.5 x 22.5 x 27 inches
  • Weight: 37 pounds
  • Warranty: 10 years on bowl/lid, 5 years on cleaning system/plastics, 2 years on parts
$219 at weber

Best Gravity-Fed Charcoal Grill: Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900 Oklahoma Joe’s Tahoma 900 Charcoal Grill

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Fairly new to the charcoal grilling scene are gravity-fed, or auto-feed, grills. They’re set up with a hopper on one side, similar to a pellet grill, that holds a chute of charcoal which gets fed down onto a grate. This pile of coals is then lit on fire at the bottom and controlled by an electric fan and sensor to dial in whatever temp you’d like. This simple shift brings the flavor, smoke, and fire of charcoal grilling into the future with the ability to use Wi-Fi and a fan to make charcoal grilling easier and more hands-off.

The Oklahoma Joe’s gravity-fed Tahoma 900 charcoal grill is new to the scene, but we think it’s the best out there in the category—bringing together Oklahoma Joe’s solid construction, easy-to-use controls, and inexpensive price to lure gas or pellet converts back into charcoal. Features we loved after experimenting with it for a few weeks include the wide temperature range of 225 to 600 degrees (providing a low-and-slow and sear-worthy heat), simple app set-up and navigation, the 347-square-inch upper warming grate, and large charcoal hopper. Plus, you still get to play with fire with the Tahoma, since to get it going you’ll need to light it up.

  • Cooking area: 553 square inches
  • Size: 28.5 x 50 x 54.5 inches
  • Weight: 278 pounds
  • Warranty: 2 years on grate/emitter, parts, lid/firebox
$700 at oklahoma joe's

Best Moderate Splurge Charcoal Grill: Weber Performer Deluxe 22” Weber Performer Deluxe 22” Charcoal Grill

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Here’s the Original Kettle Grill reimagined. With the iconic style of the 22” kettle grill, this enhanced grill is packed with features to take your grilling to a new level. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl as well as the One-Touch cleaning system and ash catcher carry over, though this expanded model features so much more. The Weber Performance Deluxe 22” cart style grill also includes a weather-protected storage container for storing charcoal, a work table for food prep or holding tools and seasonings, and an electronic Touch-N-Go gas ignition system that allows for igniting charcoal with the push of a button.

  • Cooking area: 363 square inches
  • Size: 43.5 x 48 x 30 inches
  • Weight: 216 pounds
  • Warranty: 10 years on bowl/lid, 5 years on cleaning system/plastics, 2 years on parts

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