Best budget BBQs for al fresco cooking without the hefty price tag

Smokin' hot barbecues that don't cost the Earth.

Best budget BBQ for fun in the sun

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

It's time to flex those outdoor cooking skills and bust out your budget BBQ or outdoor grill as nicer weather is just around the corner. Entertaining in the garden is an affordable way of treating family and friends to a mouth-watering feast. For gardens big and small, the best budget BBQs are a sure fire way to create authentic smoky barbecue flavours without blowing the budget.

A year or two ago we may have included disposable BBQs in a guide to budget barbecuing. But so many supermarkets and local councils have banned them that it looks like they're fast becoming a relic of pre-environmentally conscious times. An initial ban was due to disposable BBQs being a fire hazard during the extreme temperatures of summer 2022. In addition, they also give off carbon monoxide which is lethal if it's inhaled in an enclosed space.

Best budget BBQ at a glance

Best budget BBQ for the environment: Summit Alfresco Smokeless BBQ – View on Amazon UK
Best budget hybrid BBQ: Argos Home 2 Burner Gas And Charcoal BBQ – View on Argos
Best budget Kamado BBQ: Go Kamado Grill 13 inch – View on Amazon UK

Whether you are looking for a charcoal BBQ, gas or hybrid barbecue we've found budget options to suit your cooking needs. In addition, there are some superb table-top BBQs that provide a reusable alternative to the outmoded disposable BBQ. Finally, if you fancy getting creative and want to try out some recipes that utilise an outdoor smoker - we've got you covered too.

Best budget BBQs

Best budget hybrid BBQ

Premium Dual Fuel Charcoal and Gas Combi BBQArgos

You get the best of both worlds with the Argos Home 2 Burner Gas And Charcoal BBQ - functionality and price. This unique hybrid comes in at £300 and allows you to cook with both gas and charcoal; meaning you get the speed and ease of gas and the flavour of charcoal in one convenient grill. The design of this BBQ is sleek and stylish, with a matte black steel exterior. Plus, it has added features that every BBQ enthusiast will love, such as thermostats on both hoods, a storage shelf, wheels for portability, hooks for utensils and tea towels, and even a spice rack. One thing to note is that only the regulator for propane gas is included, so if you prefer butane or have some leftovers from an old gas grill, you'll need to purchase a regulator separately.

Customer review: "This BBQ is perfect for us, we love the possibility of cooking two ways, the size and how it looks are great. Plus it is easy to assemble too. Just so happy to have it."

Pros

  • Comes with wheels
  • Suitable for both propane and butane gas
  • Both a gas and charcoal grill

Cons

  • Not as sleek as other models

Best budget Kamado BBQ

Go Kamado Grill 13 inchGo/Amazon

Neat and perfectly formed, this 25.5cm diameter grill teams a classic ceramic shell with fish-scale texture and standout detailing at a brilliant price. Adjustable top dampers, a stainless-steel grill and a sturdy crate make it perfect for smaller households.

Customer review: "Build is what you'd expect, solid and heavy. But, it's small enough that moving it is easy. Grill has the expected features and vents. Temp is in F and C. Nice little feature is the screen on the bottom vent opens all the way, making cleaning easier."

Pros

  • Amazing value for a kamado
  • Easy to clean
  • Well made

Cons

  • Small cooking surface

Best budget BBQ for portability

Uten Portable BarbecueUten/Amazon

Do you only have a small garden or patio area? This Uten Portable Barbecue will allow you to BBQ on a budget like never before. Gone are the days of having to buy disposables. Sure, you won't be grilling with this one straight away, but if you can last a couple of extra minutes, you'll find this is a versatile piece of kit. It's easy to fold up, making it perfect for any outings with family and friends. Offering near-unbeatable value for a family-size charcoal BBQ, the Uten is rust-resistant, and it has a good amount of space to grill on. It'll earn its money back in repeated usage in no time.

Customer review: "This BBQ was bought last minute for this year's camping trip. Worked better than I was expecting, and the only downside I could really level at it would be that the cooking mesh 'stretched' a little in the heat from the coals. This wasn't a big issue, it just meant that sausages required positioning so that they didn't roll around at all."

Pros

  • Amazing value
  • Easy to fold
  • Family-size

Cons

  • Conductive metal gets hot, so take care

Best budget George Foreman BBQ

George Foreman GFKTBBQ Charcoal BBQGeorge Foreman/Amazon

A household name for grilling, the George Foreman Charcoal BBQ is no exception and is a great budget option. It offers great convenience with two wheels for portability and compact size for easy storage. It's simple to put together and should be able to serve a hungry group of five - perfect for larger cookouts. It has an integrated thermostat to help you maintain optimum cooking temperatures, and while you might not get all the features as with some of the more expensive models, it certainly gets the job done.

Customer review: "The drip cup (I think) is great for getting rid of ash without having to turn the BBQ over. Quality isn't that of a Weber but for the price, it's well worth it."

Pros

  • Temperature gauge helps maintain optimum cooking temperature
  • Wheels for easy portability
  • Lid with cool touch handles

Cons

  • Some reviews have commented that it's a bit flimsy

Best gas budget BBQ

Argos Home 2 Burner Gas BBQ with Side BurnerArgos

Up your BBQ game this summer with this highly affordable 2 Burner Gas BBQ with Side Burner from Argos. Designed with a compact and organised set-up featuring wheels and a convenient foldable side table, you can feed up to eight people with ease. It also comes with a handy storage shelf for keeping ingredients close by when cooking up a storm. It gets a big thumbs up from us, and if you were hoping for more burners, there's a four-burner option available from Argos too.

Customer Review: "Compact barbecue but perfect for our needs. Plenty of space on the grill for cooking several items. Easy to move around the garden as required. Easy to assemble and very good delivery.”

Pros

  • Perfect for feeding 6-8 people
  • A compact and organised design
  • Good value, portable and convenient

Cons

  • Self-assembly
  • Not as sturdy as expected

Best budget BBQ for the environment

Summit Alfresco Smokeless BBQSummit/Amazon

The Summit Alfresco Smokeless BBQ is a mini grill that uses minimal charcoal. It's ready to use in five minutes and can cook enough to feed six people. It delivers those unique BBQ flavours on a budget and has the benefit of being portable and convenient. The USB or battery-operated fan allows you to control the heat intensity. Also, the handy carry case means it's never a hassle to take with you on a day trip or even just down the road to your local park. Compared to a disposable BBQ, this is a much better choice for the environment as it produces low smoke emissions. It's also a good option for large groups as it stays cool to the touch, so reduces the chance of accidental burns.

Customer review: "This is the best and easiest BBQ I've ever used. I'm taking mine on holiday, as you can fit all the bits and cooking tools (not included with the BBQ) inside the BBQ and it has its own carry bag. As an added bonus, it's so so easy to clean. It also remains cool on the sides and underneath, so much so, that you can cook on a plastic table."

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • By far the most portable product of its kind that we recommend
  • Requires 85 per cent less charcoal than a conventional BBQ

Cons

  • Small capacity, so you might have to cook in rounds or bring other non-BBQ foods

Best budget BBQ smoker box

RoseFlower BBQ Smoker BoxRoseFlower/Amazon

This is an accessory that provides smoky flavours; essential if you want authentic BBQ tastes and aromas but you're limited to a gas BBQ. The RoseFlower BBQ Smoker Box is made of thickened steel that's corrosion-resistant and can withstand high temperatures. The hinged lid on this box makes it easy to switch out your wood chips if needed. Dishwasher safe, as well as reliable, sturdy and heavy-duty. If it's not time for you to splash, put on a smoker grill, add this to your current gas or charcoal BBQ.

Customer Review: "Worked pretty well. Put on gas BBQ and it cooked spatchcock chicken superbly."

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Practical
  • Portable

Cons

  • No wood chips included

How we chose the best budget BBQs

All of these budget BBQs have been hand-selected by our team of Modern Gardens shopping experts. We carefully considered the fuel type, functionality, and of course, cost, in our selection of the best. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching budget BBQs to make it easier for you to find the very best, and we'd never recommend a product we don't believe in.

Where possible, we also test and share the latest and best products you should know about. And with help from Modern Gardens Magazine, Garden News and Garden Answers, we share expert gardening knowledge to help you get the most from your product.

FAQs:

What's the alternative to disposable BBQs?

Ditch the disposable BBQs and invest in an excellent quality portable table-top BBQ instead.

Smaller portable BBQs used to be known as ‘instant’ low-cost disposable BBQs – you could just turn up, light up and then dispose of them after one use. They have proved to be terrible for the environment, scorch grass, pose a health threat and are ironically difficult to dispose of. This is why table-top BBQs have seen a rise in popularity.

What are the benefits of a gas BBQ over a charcoal BBQ?

The main benefit of a gas BBQ is that you can start cooking almost immediately, you just use an ignition switch and away you go. Factors like being easier to cook with and reducing the risk of burning your food are other plus points. However, if you want that true smoky BBQ flavour, charcoal may give you a more desirable outcome. If you want the best of both worlds, opt for a hybrid BBQ.

How do I choose a gas BBQ?

Are you looking for a gas BBQ that will cook up family feasts? Or do you want something small and compact? Think about how many people are in your household and the size of your garden to determine what size BBQ you should go for. The more burners a BBQ has, the larger it will be. They also allow you to cook more food at once. If you have a large household or like having gatherings, then they could be useful.

Additionally, you’ll need to think about where you will store your BBQ in the colder months when not in use. Do you have a shed? A garage? If it’s a table-top BBQ you may even have somewhere inside the house to store it.

Can a gas BBQ catch fire?

Whenever you're using a gas BBQ, you should always ensure you have an extinguisher, gloves, and safety equipment with you. Without proper cleaning, grease can ignite a fire. If this does happen, immediately turn off your BBQ.

What to read next:

Best portable BBQ for cooking away from home

Best Kamado grills to take BBQs to the next level

Essential BBQ tools you need to become a grill master

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Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for Modern Gardens, specialising in garden trends. When she's not flexing her mow-how, Natalie is a successful artist and illustrator.

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