Nothing says spring and summer more than the smell of a freshly lit outdoor grill, whether you're a seasoned pro or a grilling novice. And now that we can begin to use our gardens more and spend the day at the local park or beach, everyone is on the hunt for the best charcoal grill setups. Plus, we can't wait to tidy up our gardens and entertain guests at home with our favourite summer pastime.
However, BBQ grills can be a huge investment, with some models costing way more than many can afford. Even though shelling out on a gas BBQ or hybrid BBQ can be worth it in the long run, charcoal BBQs tend to be cheaper to buy and are generally smaller and easier to store away in the winter months.
Best charcoal grill under £100 at a glance:
• Best premium charcoal grill under £100: Weber Compact Kettle Charcoal Grill Barbecue - Buy now on Amazon UK
• Best barrel grill under £100: VonHaus Barrel Charcoal BBQ - Buy now on Amazon UK
• Best small grill under £100: Weber Smokey Joe Premium Kettle Charcoal BBQ - Buy now on John Lewis
• Best grill under £100 for gatherings: Argos Home Trolley Charcoal BBQ - Buy now on Argos
In this buyer's guide, we bring you the best charcoal grills under £100, because serving up a tasty grilled feast shouldn't have to cost the earth.
Best charcoal grills under £100
Best premium charcoal BBQ under £100
Currently, on sale for a little under £100 (normal price £115), this Weber Compact Kettle BBQ
- Movable and sturdy wheels
- Heat resistant lid
- The height of the grate isn't adjustable so you have to get your timings right
Best barrell BBQ under £100
Barrel BBQs are great for those wanting to cook for large families, as the extra space means you
- Easy to move about
- Good for cooking a lot of food
- Instructions are a little vague
Best BBQ under £100 for gatherings
A little different from other BBQs that have lids, this party BBQ comes with chrome-plated
- Variable height racks
- Loads of storage
- It is large so worth keeping in mind for storage
Best value BBQ under £100
Argos never disappoints, and this Charcoal Kettle BBQ is an absolute steal. This durable BBQ has a
- Great value
- Handy shelves
- Very low for taller people
Best temperature control BBQ under £100
This trolley BBQ features a quality porcelain coating and is able to withstand temperatures of up
- Temperature control
- Fiddly to assemble
Best smoker BBQ under £100
Small and practical, this Upright Smoker can be used as a fire pit, a grill, two grills, or a
- Loads of cooking options
- Small and compact
- No reviews
What size charcoal grill BBQ do I need?
When looking for a budget buy you're limited on options, but it's still good to know exactly how many people you can feed with your new charcoal BBQ.
According to Argos, these are the general size guidelines:
Two - four people: 1800cm2 cooking area
Six people: 2000cm2 cooking area
Eight people: 2500cm2 cooking area
For those BBQs under £100, you're likely to find more compact options; great for taking on the go but not so good for cooking a great deal of food at once. That being said, we've found a couple of fab options that'll accommodate the family cookout without the risk of anyone going hungry.
What coals shall I use on a charcoal grill?
Coals play a huge part in getting your BBQ nice and hot, but they also make a difference to the taste of your food. You'll find two types of charcoal for grilling: Briquettes and hardwood lump charcoal.
Briquettes are the more popular and cheaper option, providing a long-burning heat that’s great for grilling larger pieces of meat. Hardwood lump charcoal is much more about the flavour and burns hotter, less evenly, and more quickly than briquettes. Depending on what type you use, it will come through in the food that you cook. Hardwood lump charcoal is great for quick cooking, say if you're just cooking a few sausages and burgers.
You can find out more on the best BBQ fuel, and the best types of coal and briquettes, in our BBQ fuel guide.
How to light a charcoal grill?
From using fuel, kindling, or chimney starters, there are loads of ways to get a BBQ going. Here are a few tips we've found along the way:
• Set up an open space, away from fences or trees.
• Try and buy good-quality sustainably produced charcoal.
• If it's windy, arrange your charcoal in a stack and put balls of newspaper or natural firelighters (such as wood shavings or wool) between the charcoals.
• Wait until the coals have stopped smoking to start grilling. If you want direct heat, wait for the coals to be glowing white hot with red centres. For indirect heat, wait for ashy white coals.
• How you arrange your coals will give you different heat zones and more control over your barbecue, make sure you know whether you need indirect or direct heat to cook your food. Indirect is great for things that cook more slowly.
What to read next:
Discover everything you need to know to make your outside space look fantastic, quickly and
Hannah Mellin is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for Modern Gardens. She has been working in the Journalism industry for over a decade and has written for an array of brands. When she's not writing, researching or testing products, she's renovating her Victorian terrace, tending to her houseplants and chilling in her jungle garden with her sausage dog Waffle.