On the water, the last thing you want is that cold turkey sandwich from the cooler at lunch.
A grilled burger or perfectly charred hot dog and a beer is where it is at. Or steaks all around if you’re a high roller.
When looking for the perfect grill on the lake, river or an afternoon cruising the bay, a sturdy and dependable propane grill is your best bet.
We’ve put together a list of our favorites that are tried and true sea-worthy grills to accompany you on any water adventure.
This list is a compilation of our favorites with a complete spec breakdown to help narrow the field so you can become the tailgating king.
If you’re grilling on a boat, there are two undeniable factors at play: 1) You don’t have a ton of space and 2) Its going to get a little bumpy at times.
You’re going to need a grill that can perform in tight quarters without dominating the space and that is sturdy and stable enough to hold it’s ground if you experience some unexpected chop or wave action.
The Weber Q2200 is an undeniable performer that can handle both challenges no problem. It’s durable, lightweight enough to be portable and offers the option of sitting on a table top or if you have the room, it’s own cart.
The cooking area on the Q2200 is a solid 280 square inches with the stainless steel burner output at 12,000 BTUs – among the most powerful for this size. The cooking grates are the same as on Weber’s bigger grills: porcelain-coated cast iron for even heating and a long cook life.
Ignition is push button electronic for a quick and easy start and the lid features a built-in thermometer.
Weber gets that grilling is an experience so the Q2200 has two folding work tables, one on each side for prep and to hold a pile of hot dogs fresh off the grate while you finish off some burgers. This is a great feature if you’re on a smaller craft without table space to work with.
Construction is cast aluminum, which keeps it light and portable.
I also appreciate that you have the option to purchase and switch in an optional griddle, which is a great add-on if you’re a regular outdoorsman and want to use the Weber to bust out some pancakes and eggs to start the day.
If you plan to use this grill off a tabletop, you can purchase the optional cart base for a little added flexibility.
This is a solid grill that performs like it’s bigger Weber counterparts and is a reliable, no regrets pick if ‘re seeking something you can depend on for a consistent, easy cook.
What we love about the Coleman is that while it is a stand-up portable grill, it has an especially slim profile and sturdy base that makes it a perfect fit for tight spaces.
While this isn’t going to be a great option for a small outboard fishing boat, this is a really solid pick for a speedboat size or larger vessel that can accommodate sacrificing a couple feet of floor space.
With up to 20,000 BTUs of grilling power and 285 square inches of cooking area, the Coleman RoadTrip makes a great option for grillers on the go who don’t want to sacrifice too much power for portability. Its size means you can grill a lot of food at the same time, perfect for group adventures.
It also has three independently adjustable burners, compared to most portable grills that only offer one or two. It also has an integrated thermometer for regulating the temperature to achieve that perfect sear. Also useful is the Coleman’s push-button ignition that lights the grill without matches; just one less thing to worry about when you’re out on the water.
As any boater knows, one of the most important aspects of a portable grill is that it’s easy to clean. The RoadTrip has an easy-access water pan to catch cooking grease, which is removable for hassle-free cleaning.
The Coleman is also surprisingly room. It offers two side tables that slide out for your utensils and drinks so it really gives that great portable kitchen experience, while still allowing you to maximize space where needed.
What I really love about the Coleman is that it’s sturdy. Just because something is portable doesn’t mean I want it to feel like it could collapse mid-barbecue.
But that’s exactly what it can do: when you’re done grilling and cleaning up, the Coleman folds right up and can be stored upright to fit tight storage spaces until your next trip. From there, it’s easily portable on its two wheels.
The scissor legs mean you can just fold it up and roll it out like a suitcase if you’re going to pack it off the boat and store at home.
This little Smoke Hollow powerhouse advertises itself as the only smoking tabletop grill on the market, which makes it an easy choice for anyone who wants smoking capability while out on the water. No sweat if you don’t usually smoke your food – the Smoke Hollow is still a great choice as a typically operating portable grill.
At 16 inches tall, 19.5 inches wide, and 25.5 inches deep, the Smoke Hollow is small enough to store, even in tiny, cramped boat holds. It also makes it easy to pack in our out if you prefer to store int he garage until you’re ready to head out again.
It doesn’t have the option to stand up independently like our #1 or #2 picks, but it’s great for setting on a heat-resistant tabletop and won’t take up much space.
The Smoke Hollow features a whopping 367 square inches of cooking area. That’s big enough to smoke up some serious rib racks or pork tenderloins (or both at once!). You can also use flavored woodchips in the Smoke Hollow’s porcelain-coated woodchip pan for a little extra zest.
The smoke tray burner smokes at 3,500 BTUs, and the Smoke Hollow also has two 6,500 stainless steel vector burners. The three burner system gives this little guy great versatility in switching between smoking and grilling needs. You can operate the grill from 175° to 600°.
The wire cooking grids are porcelain coated for even heating and simple cleanup. It also includes a chrome-plated wire warming rack, which is something many portable grills don’t feature.
I always prefer not having to carry as much propane with me when I’m out for the day. The grill design uses convection-style cooking for better fuel efficiency.
It’s also a priority for gear to fold up quickly and easily to minimize packing time. The Smoke Hollow stands on three legs that fold in and a locking hood for convenient transport and storage.
Unlike some of the other boat-friendly grills on the list, this grill requires a fair bit of assembly. However, it’s worth it to have a reliable smoker that is ready for any boating adventure.
The MPG 300S from Masterbuilt is a newer addition to the portable grill scene and it’s one of my favorites for boat grilling.
It’s a tabletop style with a low profile offering both folding legs AND side tables for smart and slim storage. The side tables are great for giving you a little room to prep and rest cooked food as you’re churning it out. This is especially convenient when your space is already tight.
In terms of size and power, you’re working with two 6,500 BTU stainless steel burners with porcelain-coated wire cooking grates and a chrome plated wire warming rack. Total cook space is a respectable 345 square inches, which is a great range for feeding a small, hungry group.
As an added bonus, it includes a wood chip tray with a 3,500 BTU smoke burner for a little extra flavor and versatility.
I love how sturdy this little grill is and how well designed it is for adventures on the go, even on the water.
For smaller vessels that just don’t have the space for a standing grill or even a large tabletop style, this ultra-portable, petit Cuisinart is practically pocket sized.
The CGG-180T is not a full size grill shrunk down. If you’re looking for a more traditional experience, then you need to re-visit one of our top 3 models, but what we do love about this grill is that it is the ultimate space saver, performs reliably and fits pretty much everyone’s budget.
Total grilling area is 145 square inches (I warned you, it’s a little guy), with a single 5,500 BTU stainless steel burner. I know that reads pretty small, but let’s break it down to terms we all understand: that’s the equivalent of 8 burgers, 8 steaks, 6-10 chicken breasts or 4 lbs of fish. Respectable, right?
Like the Weber, it offers porcelain coated cooking grates for consistent heat distribution, and an aluminum body to keep it light and easy to carry.
The whole unit folds up briefcase style and could easily fit in a handled grocery bag – it’s that compact.
I like this grill best for small fishing boats where you’re enjoying a lazy day on the river but still want to enjoy a hot, juicy meal. This isn’t going to impress your die-hards grill bosses, but it is a killer space-saver that heats up quick (600 degrees in under 10), and won’t empty your wallet.
If you’re looking for a bit of an upgrade in size and power on the CGG-180T, the 200B is a great option with a little extra prep space.
I’m a huge fan of the functionality of the folding size shelves and extra-sturdy base on this model and if you don’t require the micro-size dimensions of the petit version, this model is a perfect boating companion.
So what’s it packing under the hood? You’ll find an extra powerful 12,000 BTU single stainless steel burner with a twist-start ignition for quick start ups. The cooking grates are porcelain enamel coated cast iron and especially easy to clean and maintain.
You won’t find a built-in temperature gauge, so you’ll need to plan ahead with a separate one, but in all other ways this functions like the bigger grills.
This is an ideal size and set up for pretty much any boat size and a great pick if you tend to feed a slightly larger crew on your outings.
I call this grill from Giantex the “baby beast” – it is powerful and compact and offers a really easy cooking experience. It does top out on the higher end of the price range for boat-worthy grills but if you have the budget to spend, this is a great option.
So what are you getting? The Giantex is almost as roomy as the Weber at 266 square inches of cooking space. It offers 2 stainless steel U-shaped burners, a little unusual for a table top, with 20,000 BTUs of combined power.
The dual burners offer a little more flexibility and fine-tuning than some of the other options on our list, which is why it ranks high.
It’s constructed of 430-stainless steel for maximum durability and longevity. It’s easy to clean and offers foldable legs with a locking lid so you can carry it suitcase-style by the handle.
The cooking grates are heavy-duty stainless steel and heating is even and consistent. It cooks like the big boys, looks shiny and professional like the big boys, but can easy be stowed in a in a small storage cabinet or packed on and off the boat when needed.
The baby beast is a solid pick for grill enthusiasts who want the big grill experience while enjoying the water.
If you love the infrared technology of some of the bigger grills, but need it fun size, then the Char-Broil Grill2Go is a great portable pick for any size boat.
The Char-Broil boasts an infrared, no flare-up cooking system. It has one burner with 9,500 BTUs, this does make temperature control a little harder, but the tradeoff is its powerful punch when grilling. Even for its small size, the Char-Broil still offers 200 square inches of grilling space on a stainless steel grate for easy cleaning.
The Char-Broil folds down easily and is highly portable. It has two heat-resistant side handles for easy pick up and moving, as well as a main handle and latches that allow you to carry the grill around like a briefcase. The exterior looks like it’s ready to head into battle so you know it can handle whatever crazy boat conditions you might face.
The Grill2Go weighs less than 20 pounds, but is as durable as it looks with a high-impact frame and aluminum lid. You can lug it around without worrying about damaging delicate parts and it’s footprint on your vessel is going to be tiny. This is comparable in size to the Cuisinart and a top pick for small spaces.
This compact grill easily becomes multi-purpose if you buy the (separate) griddle or stove grates to swap out for the grill, giving you a pretty great range of functionality in one small item.
The Coleman NXT Lite delivers 8,500 BTUs across 168 square inches, meaning it can get hot relatively quickly. It has one burner, so you there is a little less temperature control as with the others. It does not have an inbuilt thermometer, so you’ll need to monitor temperature by using your own.
The Coleman also has a removable drip tray and porcelain-coated steel grates for easy cleaning. Like the others on this list, it also features a push-start ignition.
The Coleman is compact and powerful enough without the bells and whistles. It comes in at the lower end of price points on our list, so if you’re looking for good value, this is a reliable, wallet-friendly pick for boat days.
This sweet little two-burner Pit Boss grill might look small, but actually features 275 square inches of cooking surface, and that’s getting up there with the big boys! The two burners offer 10,000 BTUs each for 20,000 BTUs of total power.
In terms of portability, the Pit Boss Grill has folding legs and a latching hood. It doesn’t have a carrying handle, but it’s lightweight enough at 27 pounds to pick up and carry when cool.
Like the other grills, the Pit Boss has a push-turn ignition. It also includes a built-in thermometer.
It also offers a stainless steel exterior and cooking grids, which adds to the long-term durability, even with rougher handling on a boat.
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I am a grill freak! It's hard to pick my favorite thing to grill, but if I had to choose... it is still a tie between pork ribs and a juicy beef burger. I am currently grilling on a Weber S210(I live in a small space) but my dream grill is definitely a summit. Those things are bad ass. Anyways I would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question below!