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Comparabooblog | March 29, 2017

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Your Guide To Buying a Portable Grill

Coleman Portable Grill Weber Portable Grill
Yehuda Posnick

If you enjoy camping, you’ll want some way to cook. You could roast food over a campfire. But a portable grill can give you almost all the amenities of cooking in your house. And many of them have special parts and accessories to ensure that barbecue flavor that you can’t get when you cook at home. A portable grill is more convenient in many ways—it doesn’t become a permanent fixture of your backyard, as do the larger grills. You can find affordable portable grills that work on charcoal, electricity, or gas. Here is a guide to some of the best portable grills on the market.

Coleman 9949-750 Road Trip Grill LXE

Coleman 9949-750 Road Trip Grill LXE

Portable Grill Types

  • Charcoal GrillsThere are portable grills that run on charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal. You place the charcoal at one of the preset levels, to get the desired level of heat. There are a series of dampers (covers for the holes in the bottom of the charcoal receptacle) which can be opened or closed. Opening the dampers allow air in, so that the coals flare up. Closing the dampers slightly will let less air in, and thus lower the heat of the coals.

  • Electric GrillsThese are not strictly “portable”, because they require access to a power source, to plug in the grill. Some run off wall current (that’s good for cooking on your patio or in your backyard), while others also allow you to plug the unit into your car’s or SUV’s 12V cigarette lighter. This uses an infrared coil to cook.

  • Gas Grills—These are grills that run on propane. You have to buy propane tanks separately. They come with a piezoelectric igniter, that provides the spark without a need for batteries or matches.

Weber 50060001 Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill

Weber 50060001 Q1000 Liquid Propane Portable Grill

What People are Saying

Based on all the consumers’ reviews we’ve scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

  • Easy cleaning: The Weber charcoal portable grills generally have an ash catcher underneath, to catch the ash from the coals. This makes it easier to clean. You may want to use grill mats, which will reduce clean-up time, and ensure that the food cooks more evenly. Lining the inside with aluminum foil will also help.

  • Height of the grates: It is important to note how high the grates are from the heat source—whether electric, gas burners, or charcoal. If the food will not be very far away from the heat source, the number of BTUs of the grill will not be such as factor.

 Useful Tips for Shoppers

  • Lid with temperature gauge: The Char-Broil and Weber portable grills have thermometers built into the lid, to display the temperature inside. If they don’t have a temperature gauge, you might want an infrared thermometer that will tell you when the grill has reached the desired temperature.

  • Collapsible wheels: The Coleman Roadtrip LXE Grill is on a kickstand which collapses into a handle with a set of wheels. You can roll it around, much like a suitcase.

  • Alternating cooking surfaces: Grills aren’t only for barbecuing. Some of them allow you to change the cooking surface, so that you use it as a portable grill, or a frying pan, or a stove grate.

  • Warming area: Some grills, like the Char-Broil Portable Patio Bistro Gas Grill has a warming area. You can use it to keep cooked food warm, or to toast bread.

  • Number of BTUs of heat: The heat of a grill, or of any heating device, is measured in British Thermal Units (=BTUs). One BTU raises the temperature of a pound of water by 1° Fahrenheit. The Coleman Roadtrip LXE Grill provides 20,000 BTUs of heat. (But users say that there is no need to use that much heat on small grills.)

  • Size of your grill: The size of the rack is a gauge of how much you can cook on your grill at one time. For example, a 14” grill will allow you to cook 6 hamburger patties at once. So pay attention to the size of the grill’s cooking area.

 Top Brands

Coleman is an American company started by W.C. Coleman in 1905 in Brockton, Alabama. He originally started manufacturing gas lamps, but soon expanded to outdoor gas stoves, and then eventually to an entire line of outdoor recreation products: tents, sleeping bags, camping furniture, backpacks, and more.

Cuisinartwas founded by Carl Sontheimer in 1971. Their original product was the food processor, but they now make a wide assortment of kitchen products: broilers, toasters, ovens, coffee makers, cookware, bakeware, and more. They are now a brand of the Conair company.

Char-Broil—was established in 1948, and has its headquarters in Columbus, Georgia. They made the first backyard charcoal grill. They have made grills with a number of innovations, using infrared technology or oil-less frying.

Weberwas started by George Steven in 1951, who made the first Weber kettle grill. His grill was made with a curved bottom to increase the distance of the coals from the food being barbecued, and a lid to keep the heat inside. They now make gas, electric and charcoal grills, that are sold worldwide, and their headquarters are in Palatine, Illinois.

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