Charcoal BBQs for an authentic flavour and cookout

The best charcoal BBQs to buy for garden gatherings and dining al fresco.

Veggies and meat on charcoal BBQ

by Eleanor Weaver |
Updated on

Nothing beats the pull of a charcoal BBQ where you can dine al fresco and enjoy the sight, sound, and scent of the barbecue crackling away. And, of course, who doesn't love catching up with family and friends around the warmth of an outdoor grill, come rain or shine?

No matter the food on the barbie, a charcoal BBQ can handle it, and some may even go as far as saying meat tastes far better on a charcoal BBQ. Whether you prefer meaty burgers, roasted vegetables, veggie burgers, or tasty kebab skewers, this piece of kit will take your grill experience to the next level with smokey flavours and smells that scream summer with delicious authentic char.

Best charcoal BBQ at a glance

  • Best for large gatherings: Argos Home Extra Large Charcoal Oil Drum BBQ - Buy now on Argos

It's the ultimate garden cooking appliance. Whether you're looking to buy your first charcoal barbecue or replace a gas grill or hybrid BBQ that's seen better days, we've rounded up the very best to bring the holiday experience to your garden. We've made sure to include some great BBQ deals - at all price points.

We've also included buying advice and the must-have tools and accessories to help make your BBQ a breeze.

Best charcoal BBQ to buy in the UK

Best overall

Weber Compact 47cm Charcoal BBQ

Rrp: £113.10

Price: £89.00




  • Durable and weather-proof
  • Heat it easy to control
  • Easy to buy accessories


  • The height of the grate isn't adjustable

Best for large families

CosmoGrill Outdoor XL Smoker Barbecue

Rrp: £149.99

Price: £139.99
Alternative retailers
Wayfair UK£234.74View offer


If you consider yourself King of the BBQ and enjoy cooking a lot of food (or have plenty of mouths


  • Easy to clean
  • Bottle opener is a nice touch


  • Large in size

Best portable charcoal BBQ

Weber Smokey Joe Premium Charcoal BBQ
Price: £99.99


Super lightweight, compact, and with easy-carry handles, this barbecue is the perfect companion


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean


  • Legs can't be folded down

Best budget-friendly BBQ

George Foreman GFKTBBQ Charcoal BBQ
Price: £39.99
Alternative retailers
Robert Dyas£39.99View offer
Wayfair UK£88.59View offer
Dunelm£99.00View offer


A household name for grilling, the George Foreman Charcoal BBQ is no exception and is a great


  • Simple to use
  • Great value
  • Compact, so easy to store


  • Doesn't have a lot of features

Best for durability


This Dancook Kettle Charcoal BBQ is simple yet sturdy in design with stainless steel and strong,


  • Extra grid is great for cooking
  • Strong
  • Easy to clean


  • The charcoal hearth could be bigger

Best for large gatherings


With an iconic look, this oil drum BBQ from Argos is a great size, boasting enough room for


  • Side table is really handy
  • Great for large families and gatherings


  • No shelf

Best BBQ design


This charcoal BBQ has been designed with convenience in mind, with everything you need to make for


  • Easy to move
  • Heat control


  • Hard to assemble

Charcoal BBQ FAQs

Got a burning, or BBQ sizzling, question? Hopefully, we've answered them below...

What else do I need for my charcoal BBQ set-up?

As well as the BBQ itself, you're going to need some must-have essentials to make sure BBQ season gets going without a hitch. These accessories will help keep your BBQ in its best condition and help you get your grilling underway.

Best chimney starter

Weber Chimney Starter

Rrp: £33.90

Price: £33.90


Don't wait forever for your coal to light! Simply fill your charcoal Weber Chimney Starter with


  • Lights a charcoal BBQ faster
  • Extremely well reviewed
  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy


  • None

Best charcoal offer

Topline Supagrill 18 x 850g Bags Instant Light Lumpwood Charcoal
Price: £51.95


This top-rated bumper pack of Topline Supagrill instant light charcoal will see you through the


  • Lights fast
  • Consistent burn
  • Retains heat


  • Some customers comment that the coals are small and can fall through the grate

Best BBQ cover

Velway Waterproof Heavy Duty Barbecue Cover

Rrp: £16.51

Price: £11.99


Keep your BBQ in great quality by covering it up once the summer is over. This Velway Waterproof


  • Durable material
  • Water-resistant


  • The cords that secure this cover can come loose in rough weather

Best BBQ tool set

GQC 10PCS BBQ Grill Tool Set
Price: £13.99


Every BBQ needs its own set of tools, and this popular set of 10 has everything you need. The GQC


  • Value for money
  • Comes with a storage bag
  • A complete set of BBQ tools


  • Some customers have commented that the metal is thin

Best BBQ cleaner

HG 138050106 Oven, Grill and Barbeque Cleaner

Rrp: £6.50

Price: £6.50


Once you're done, give the grill a once over with this handy cleaning product from HG to keep it


  • Effective
  • Works fast


  • Can cause skin burns and eye damage if mishandled

What size charcoal BBQ do I need?

The size of the BBQ you need depends on the storage space you have available to store your grill. Plus, you should consider the number of people you intend to cook for. It'll also be worth considering the types of food you'll be cooking, as bigger grills suit long skewers or larger meats.

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

Woman at charcoal BBQ
©Photo: Getty Images

Which is better, charcoal or gas BBQ?

Ultimately the choice is yours, but for a more traditional BBQ experience and unique smokey flavour, we'd have to recommend charcoal for an amazingly authentic taste, whether you're a meat eater or a veggie.

Charcoal is a more affordable way to grill compared to gas BBQs. But it's worth considering that a gas grill can offer more convenience. The heat can be controlled more easily, and the food will be cooked more evenly.

It may give you more confidence in cooking, as a charcoal BBQ will take longer to reach the correct temperature, but many prefer cooking on charcoal regardless and prefer to not use a gas canister.

How to clean your charcoal BBQ?

Postal Barbecue has shared their top guide to cleaning your charcoal grill, cleaning a Weber Kettle Charcoal BBQ similar to those on our list! That'll help you deep-clean your BBQ when the time comes to remove that ash, burnt food bits, and caked-on, burnt-in grease.

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Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Homes & Garden Product Editor for Modern Gardens, specialising in outdoor furniture, décor, and tools. She's always looking out for inspiration online for stylish and affordable designs, and enjoys spending time in nature.

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