Best tabletop BBQs for ease and adventures in 2024

From small camping stoves to battery powered BBQs and then some.

best tabletop bbqs

by Hannah Mellin |
Updated on

Outdoor grills can be known for being big and bulky, which may be why choosing the best tabletop BBQs could make life easier for smaller families, those who are space-constrained, and people who love to enjoy a camping trip. Smaller portable BBQs used to be known as 'instant' low-cost disposable BBQs – you can just turn up, light up and then dispose of them after one use. They have proved to be terrible for the environment, scorch grass, and are, ironically, difficult to dispose of. This is why tabletop BBQs have seen a rise in popularity.

To help you find the best tabletop barbecue for your needs, we've enlisted the help of Modern Gardens contributor Jill Morgan, who offers some handy advice. She praises the tabletop grill for being compact with a small clean-up, therefore ideal for "a quick lunch, an impulsive weekend breakfast or an impromptu supper on a surprise sunny evening." Not only that, but a smaller tabletop option will be a great way to cook for two, prep appetisers or keep the vegetarian or vegan food separate from the meat, says Jill.

Best tabletop BBQ at a glance:

Best value tabletop BBQ: Argos Home Table Top Charcoal BBQ - View on Argos
Best gas tabletop BBQ: Nexgrill 2 Burner 19" Gas Table Top BBQ Grill - View on Amazon UK
Best for home and away: Weber Q1000 Gas Grill Barbecue - View on Amazon UK
Best all-in-one tabletop BBQ: Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill and Smoker OG701UK - View on Amazon UK

Not only do they provide efficient grilling, but they're simply made for smaller spaces, whether a tiny balcony or a leafy terrace. Lucky for you, the designs are simple and user-friendly, some models come equipped with a skillet for a breakfast feast. It's all about your preferences. If you opt for charcoal over an electric BBQ, you're not missing out on that "characteristic smoky atmosphere," Jill points out. She notes that: above all, make sure you keep your new piece of kit away from small, curious fingers and ensure that your outdoor dining table can handle the heat.

Tabletop BBQs are smaller versions of gas or charcoal BBQs that you can rest on a table and use again and again. They can be used at home, campsites, beaches, and parks, though you should always check council websites before grilling. Jill writes, "They open up a whole new world of small-scale garden entertaining." Perfect to share with friends and family. As the spring and summer months approach, we've rounded up the best tabletop BBQs to suit your needs, whether you want something simple and easy to carry or a permanent fixture for your garden table.

Best tabletop BBQs for your next cook out

Best all-in-one tabletop BBQ

Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill and Smoker OG701UKNinja/Amazon

This tabletop BBQ from Ninja was made for foodies and keen cooks. The easy-to-use outdoor grill uses electricity with an integrated smoke box for real burning wood pellets - no need for charcoal, gas or flames while still getting that lovely smokey flavour. A BBQ grill, smoker and air fryer in one, it has seven cooking functions: Grill, smoke, air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate, and reheat. Use it in the garden, on a balcony, caravanning or on a campsite - just make sure you have access to a power source.

Our review: "Not only is this appliance a game changer if you only have a balcony or tiny patio, but it offers easy, mess-free outdoor cooking no matter where you plan to cook – you just need access to power. Unlike hybrid BBQs or a small tabletop electric BBQ, this isn't just a BBQ/grill alternative; it offers multiple cooking functions. It can air fry, bake, roast, and it's a smoker, too."

Read our full Ninja Woodfire grill review

Pros

  • Weather resistant for outdoor storage
  • Includes Woodfire Pellet starter park
  • Amazing functionality

Cons

  • You will need to be within reach of a power source

Best value tabletop BBQ

This handy little table-top BBQ from Argos will grill meat, fish, and veggies to perfection. Even though it looks sleek, the lid doubles up as a chopping board, which is ideal for camping or picnics. However, we would strongly not recommend this to be used on grass or sand.

Customer review: "This is a fantastic little portable BBQ. Works very well and is very easy to assemble. Easy to clean when cool. Great value for money."

Pros

  • Comes with a lid that can be used as a chopping board
  • Sturdy
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Instructions were hard to understand
  • Doesn't come with a bag

Best gas tabletop BBQ

Nexgrill 2 Burner 304 Grade Stainless Steel 19" Gas Table Top BBQ GrillNexgrill/Amazon

If you're more of a gas BBQ connoisseur, this stainless steel Nexgrill includes two 304-grade stainless steel 'U' shaped burners and an automatic push-and-turn ignition system. To prove that you can BBQ in any place at any time, the box has foldable legs for ease of storage.

Customer review: "Fantastic bit of kit. Really easy to set up, and a quality build. No doubt it will last for years."

Pros

  • Includes removable fat tray
  • Foldable and easily portable
  • Clean and easily kept tidy

Cons

  • May scratch easily

Best luxury tabletop BBQ

Big Green Egg Large Egg BBQ & Eucalyptus Wood Table Bundle with ConvEGGtorBig Green Egg/John Lewis

Not everyone needs a large BBQ that stays in one spot for years, but size shouldn't mean you compromise on quality. The ceramic Big Green Egg charcoal barbecue combines age-old BBQ techniques and state-of-the-art technology to offer incredible strength, durability, and heat insulation. The large Egg BBQ is perfect for friend and family barbecues. It creates powerful flavours, has excellent temperature control and moisture saturation for tender cooking. This bundle includes a large acacia wood table and table nest, with transporter wheels so you can move it around any space.

This Egg comes with a ConvEGGtor, a clever ceramic insert that turns your Egg into a convection oven for baking, slow-cooking, smoking and roasting outdoors.

Pros

  • Incredibly well made, will last years and years
  • Heats up in minutes
  • Can slow cook, roast, smoke and even bake
  • Looks great

Cons

  • Heavy

Best small tabletop BBQ

LotusGrill Standard Portable Smokeless Charcoal BarbecueJohn Lewis

Ready to cook in under five minutes, this standard-sized LotusGrill barbecue gives you authentic charcoal-cooked flavours without all the smoke. Its patented fan system regulates the airflow for optimum grilling, and it comes with a temperature control knob. Perfect for beach BBQs and camping. Or, if you want to simply grill some hotdogs in the summer. Requires 4 x AA batteries (included). Suitable for cooking for up to five people.

Customer review: "Great little bit of kit. The first time I lit it, I used too much starter fluid and found it a bit tricky to pop the charcoal starter unit on top. In subsequent uses I used a circle dollop around the size of a £2 coin, and as soon as that's lit pop the unit straight in. It's worth greasing the grill rack before cooking directly on top. I'm really pleased with this grill - and it stays so cool underneath - you can place it on a wooden bench or sturdy camping table without any worries.

"I love the bag, we pre-filled the charcoal burner with briquettes before our last camping trip, and shoved the whole thing in the car- after we'd used it- there is minimal waste- and the ash is all burnt down to powder so easily to dispose of. Wish I'd bought this years ago - I'm never buying a disposable BBQ again!"

Pros

  • Fan system
  • Small and light
  • Comes with carry bag
  • Choice of colours

Cons

  • Requires batteries

Best for home and away

Weber Q1000 Gas Grill BarbequeWeber

Available in a choice of stylish colours, Weber continues to be a favourite in the BBQ arena with their Q1000 tabletop BBQ gas grill. With a cast iron lid and body, food is evenly and consistently cooked with a decent sizes cooking area for burgers, sausages and more: Staples of the summer picnic BBQ. We also love that there's the option to buy this BBQ with or without a stand. Perfect if you're a keen outdoor cook home and away or don't have the space for a garden table.

Customer review: "I'm a female who's is completely useless at setting anything up. I have no patience for instructions and I break everything. This is quite frankly brilliant. Easy to set up, easy to use. In love with it. I bought a small metal smoke box & hickory chips which worked really well to add smoky flavour to the gas grill. Bye bye charcoal hello wood smoking. I feel very American now yeeehaw cowboys! Such a great buy. You need one in your life. Just press order, it won't disappoint. In fact….. I feel like I'm in Texas rather than Cumbria!"

Pros

  • Excellent heat retention
  • Compact with large cooking space
  • Easy to control temperature

Cons

  • Legs will cost extra

Best tabletop BBQs for larger cookouts

Argos Home Table Top Charcoal Smoker BBQ-BlackArgos
Price: £25 (was £28)

www.argos.co.uk

If you're after a tabletop BBQ that can still cook a mighty amount of food, this one from Argos is a great size and is amazing value. It has a built-in thermometer which means you're always in control and is made from black steel.

Customer review: "First off, it's not a bbq, it's a smoker. I think the other reviewer may have made a mistake buying this thinking it was a bbq. First off, there are no instructions on how to work it, only how to put it together. Luckily I know a bit about smoking. The hot coals to believe the vent in the metal tray (with some wood chips) and the meat goes above the flue on the right and you control the temperature with the vents. I first cooked some chicken thighs, it took a few hours and I had a thermometer in the chicken. They cooked perfectly. If you want a small tabletop smoker to experiment with then this is great, it's not a bbq though!"

Pros

  • Surprisingly lightweight, given the size
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Good quality for the price

Cons

  • More of a smoker than a BBQ

Best camping tabletop BBQ

Cobb Pro - Table or Portable Outdoor Barbecue , Cooking System, Stainless Steel - 32 cmLakeland

Cobb BBQs not only look great, but they are also an all-rounder as they can roast, bake, fry, grill, and smoke food. This setup is great for camping as the Cobb has rubber, non-slip feet and holes in the dome to ensure even ventilation. Perfect for small spaces as it needs just 8-10 briquettes, about 300g of charcoal, or a Cobb CobbleStone to cook almost anything.

Customer review: "Clean(ish) & easy. Leaves you looking for excuses to have a barbecue. In fact, it doesn't quite perform as a barbecue, it's a cross between barbecue and baking if you use it as intended. That reduces fuel use radically over a conventional barbecue. The steel bowl bakes to a brown which a dishwasher can't wash, but that's not serious in practice. You can use the aluminium insert if you're fussy. The grill surface is aluminium with Teflon so there's the potential to damage it at 500C - remember to leave it open if there's no food in there."

Pros

  • Amazing reviews
  • Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
  • Not just a BBQ
  • Comes with carry bag included

Cons

  • Not many features for direct grilling

Best versatile tabletop BBQ

George Foreman GFSBBQ1 Portable Gas BBQGeorge Foreman/Amazon
Price: $226.75

Renowned for its kitchen grills, George Foreman has taken their knowledge outside with this portable tabletop BBQ powered by gas. With legs that keep the BBQ elevated for your garden table or grass, it'll prevent scorching and allow for better heat circulation. Compact and lightweight, this versatile grill will help you to cook precisely with an integrated temperature gauge, and you can get going from the outset with gas, hose, and regulator included.

Customer review: "Handy and light, easy to put away when not in use. Good quality, much better than our previous gas grill with a stand."

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to clean
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Some found the hinges to be a little lightweight

How we chose the best tabletop BBQs

All of these tabletop BBQs have been hand-selected by our team of Modern Gardens shopping experts. We carefully considered portability, size, and functionality in our selection of the best. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching tabletop BBs 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 is the difference between a tabletop and a portable BBQ?

Tabletop BBQs are made so that they can either sit or stand on a table, and they are normally sturdier and smaller than portable BBQs that can come with longer legs. You will need to check whether your chosen tabletop BBQ can rest on a table whilst cooking, as some may need to rest on bricks.

What is the easiest BBQ to use?

If you're not a frequent BBQ user and are just after a small tabletop BBQ for the summer, charcoal grills tend to be the most simple to use. Not only do they give a gorgeous smokey flavour to your cookout, but they're also more affordable and just require charcoal to get cooking. It may take longer to reach the correct temperature, but that's all part of the experience.

However, if you have the budget, you may find a gas BBQ more convenient. The heat can be controlled more easily for an even cook, which might instil you with a bit more confidence too. However, you will need a gas canister.

How can I ensure safety when using a tabletop grill?

Thanks to Jill Morgan, we have some pointers. Your dining set needs to be "stable, strong enough to support the grill and constructed from sturdy material that won't melt or conduct heat." Plus, when your outdoor cookout is in full swing, you're likely to have prepared summer salads, pitchers of botanical drinks and utensils. Jill recommends ensuring that you have plenty of room to accommodate everything else you intend to include in your spread.

According to Jill, some tabletop BBQs have a hinged lid, but if you're allowing guests to pick from your smoky selection, opt for something easily accessible by all - but not too accessible. After all, you want to avoid any burnt fingers. Luckily, some designs are "doubled skinned, which makes them cool to touch even while cooking", which is ideal for children.

Are portable BBQs any good?

The ones we've recommended above are! Portable, tabletop BBQs give you the freedom to grill anywhere and work just as well as larger scale options, the only downside is that they offer a smaller cooking surface.

What should I look for in a portable BBQ?

Portability! Check the weight of the BBQ to ensure you'll be able to carry it. Do consider the type of fuel you'd prefer. If you opt for a gas-powered option, then you also need to carry the cannister. Charcoal BBQs give you a smokier flavour, but charcoal can be messy to transport.

Where do you put a portable BBQ?

Somewhere safe! A stable garden table is the best option for home use, and thanks to the legs most tabletop BBQs have, is a safe choice. You can always place the BBQ on bricks for even more heat protection. Concrete or paving slabs are a super-safe choice. It's not recommended to place such BBQs directly on grass. Some companies, like Weber, sell protection mats specially designed to be placed under your BBQ.

The best hybrid BBQs for spring and summer cookouts

Best BBQ brands for grill completists

Our pick of the best smoker grills for your cookouts

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Hannah Mellin is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for Modern Gardens, A Modern Kitchen, Yours and Take A Break. She has been working in the Journalism industry for over a decade and has written for an array of brands including John Lewis, Daily Mirror and Grazia. When she's not writing, researching or testing products, she's renovating her Victorian terrace and chilling in the garden with her sausage dog Waffle.

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