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Top three best charcoal barbecues

We round up our picks of the top-scoring charcoal barbecues to help you find the best smoky grill for all your outdoor cooking needs.

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The best charcoal barbecues are well-designed, easy to use and, most importantly, give you delicious outdoor-cooked food full of tender juices and smoky barbecue flavour.

The worst we’ve tested take an awfully long time to get to cooking temperature and are a real pain to assemble and move.

We’ve pulled out our top three charcoal barbecues from our tests in the table below. We also list the models you’re better off avoiding.

For a full line-up of the best and worst barbecues of all types, head to our barbecue reviews.

In this article:

Best charcoal barbecues 

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For succulent, smoky food, this high-quality kettle-style barbecue is a great choice. It’s easy to use and comes with plenty of useful features, including adjustable air vents, a temperature gauge and a removable ash collector.


It may be towards the pricey end of the spectrum, but this charcoal barbecue’s cooking ability is sure to impress. It’s easy to use and cooks delicious, chargrilled food. The cooking area is a little on the small side though, so it isn’t ideal for feeding big groups.


This is a superb classic kettle charcoal barbecue which is reasonably priced and has plenty of helpful features to make cooking easier. Most importantly of course, it cooks delicious barbecued food, so we're happy to recommend it as a Best Buy.

Not seeing the right charcoal barbecue for you? Browse all of our Best Buy barbecues.

Charcoal barbecues to avoid 

Fortunately, our tests are so far yet to discover a Don’t Buy charcoal barbecue. It’s worth being aware of the two lowest-scoring charcoal models, though, as your money can be better spent elsewhere:


The large cooking surface of this American-style barbecue suits it to feeding a big group of guests. Although our tests found it to be pretty good at grilling, it takes a very long time to heat to cooking temperature and it's a bulky and difficult-to-move barbecue.


It's far from a Don't Buy, but this is the lowest-scoring charcoal barbecue we've tested. It's actually fairly decent given its cheap price, but it doesn't have a very high quality build and you can't control the heat, which gets very hot indeed.

Useful charcoal barbecue features 

Here are three of the most useful features to look for when buying a new charcoal barbecue:

  • Air vents - these can be used to control how hot your coals burn and how quickly they burn through.
  • Warming rack - an internal shelf for keeping your food nice and warm once it’s cooked through.
  • Ash collector - a removable shelf or tray helps make cleaning your barbecue much easier after use.

For more advice on choosing the best barbecue for you, head to our barbecues buying guide.


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