Looking for that easy, big grill experience but don’t have the space for a hulking 6 burner?
We’ve been there and we’ve found answers.
There’s a reason people buy a small grill. And it’s not because they like taking longer to cook their steaks.
They don’t do it because they enjoy the frustrations of their bbq struggling to heat to the right temperature as soon as a breeze has the audacity to gatecrash the party.
They definitely don’t do it because they welcome the smirks from their buddies, and the side comments regarding the relative output of a baby grill vs. the power of their latest behemoth.
No, the vast majority of grillers looking for a small grill do so because they are short on space, NOT on expectations.
Small grill cooking doesn’t have to be a matter of total compromise. Sure, you’re going to be working with fewer burners and you’re not going to have that sweet rotisserie kit, but the basics shouldn’t be sacrificed.
I’ve put together a list of my favorite small grills for small spaces or grillers on the move, all of which live up to the expectations you would have for a grill of ANY size.
The original Spirit is the first grill I ever purchased and I was blown away by the hallmark Weber cooking experience delivered in a smaller package. The Spirit II is a newer, upgraded version of the original that delivers an even higher level experience.
What Weber has done especially well with this grill is sit down and consider, “What does the best small gas grill need to have, what does it need to do, and what can we live without?” And I think they’ve nailed it.
With the E210, Weber took the top, core features of their larger grills and engineered them to fit in a neat, compact mini version that still packs a power punch. The Spirit delivers 26,500 BTUs with 450 sq inches of cooking space and 90 inches of warming rack. This grill provides solid, even heat to every inch.
Weber added in their new Gs4 grilling system, with two burners, each supported by stainless steel, top quality tubes. These tubes aren’t your typical burner tubes. They won’t rust quickly, or damage easy and leak gas. They are in fact, specifically designed to be durable and they actively limit the effects of rust agents.
Even with just two burners, the Weber really feels like a portable outdoor kitchen. It comes with reasonably sized drop down tables on both sides (more room to layout food) that fold down for easy storage. Both tables are equipped with 3 sturdy hooks to hang your tools (pans, spatulas, knives, etc.).
You can also expect to enjoy Weber’s exclusive Flavorizer bar system, porcelain coated cooking grates (designed for quick cleaning), and the new infinity electronic ignition system.
What really signifies that this is a Weber grill is how evenly it cooks and how quickly. I’ve used the Spirit to cook just about any kind of meat you can think of: steaks, burgers, dogs, ribs, chicken breasts, chops, etc. It cooks all of them evenly (no random cold spots) and delivers a killer sear. Heat time is quick, usually 10 minutes, tops.
The E210 doesn’t come equipped with a side burner. While I occasionally like to use one, it’s not a deal breaker and is a pretty minor. If your main concern is space, then this shouldn’t be a major deterrent for you.
The Spirit II has a solid 4.4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon with over 175 reviews.
I was trying to come up with the right word to describe this compact offering from Char-Broil, when my buddy hit the nail on the head: Muscular.
That sums it up perfectly. The Char-Broil is a little powerhouse of a grill and a more budget-friendly option than the Weber Spirit if you’re shopping for a small space.
The Performance delivers a 2-burner set up, like the Weber, but with slightly less power at 24,000 BTUs. Total cooking space is 300 square inches with the addition of a 100 square inch swing away warming rack for toasting buns or keeping a rack of hot dogs primed and ready for eating.
The cooking grates on this grill are also porcelain coated, like the Spirit II, which makes for easy clean up and even grilling. The Flavorizer bars are a Weber hallmark, so you won’t see those here, but you can expect an electronic ignition system for quick and easy start-ups.
The grease pan is also removable on this grill for easy cleaning and maintenance.
The lower storage cabinet is easily big enough for the propane tank (side-mounted on the Weber), along with any accessories, and the side tables fold down to reduce the footprint when not being used. The lockable casters – a must, especially for those with restricted space – mean it can be easily wheeled away after everyone’s been fed.
The reviews for the Performance on Amazon are pretty stellar, ranking 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 160 reviewers.
This Weber may be little, but it is mighty, which is why it snags a spot on our 10 best list despite being a more compact, single-burner grill.
Weber is known for making the best home grills on the market, and this petite little powerhouse lives up to the name. Features include a single 12,000 BTU stainless steel burner, 280 total square inches of cooking space, porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates, a cast aluminum lid, and an easy-start electronic ignition system.
The side tables conveniently fold down and are just big enough to do a little prep work. The Q 2200 also offers an infinite control burner valve and is lightweight and portable.
It can sit either on a tabletop or you can add on the optional frame to make it a more permanent, stationery grill.
For budget grillers, Char-Broil is where it’s at. If price is your top concern, this basic model from Char-Broil delivers for your wallet but still performs reliably and offers up a solid, easy cooking experience. Not all small, budget grills are underperformers and this model proves it.
It’s worth keeping in mind you’re not going to see a ton of stainless steel and a fancy lower cabinet on this design. What you will enjoy is 280 square inches of primary cooking space and the same quality porcelain-coated grates you see on many of their other models.
The two stainless steel in-line burners pump out 20,000 BTUs of power with even, consistent temps across the board. You’re still going to enjoy a convenient Piezo push-button ignition, but notably missing is a lid-mounted temperature gauge.
There are two metal side shelves for prep and storage of critical tools and the steel lid and firebox are both porcelain-coated to weather the elements without any special maintenance required. The grill is mounted on two sturdy casters so it’s easy to reposition in your yard or patio space.This is a solid, entry-level grill that’s a good beginner pick if your looking to maximize space and minimize dollars spent.
The first time I saw the Fuego FELG24C, I wasn’t sure if I should cook on it or send it up into space.
It’s the brainchild of a former designer from Apple and it’s a definite stand out on this list for it’s circular design and innovative tech approach to grilling.
In terms of heat, like it’s name suggests, this grill really brings it. The main selling point for the Fuego is that it heats up to 500 degrees in justb 5 minutes. Thanks to its dual zone heating system, the Fuego gives you the option of cooking just on the outer burner for lower temp, slower cooking, or to turn on the second burner to make full use of the 700 degrees of heat it can produce.
The design makes very good use of space, and there are no hotspots at all, so you can cook perfectly on every inch of the space it provides. The round grill is deceptively large, and you can fit 10-15 burgers on without issue. This is a great grill for the more tech-minded griller who doesn’t have or need much space.
This is one of our top grills for the under $300 category, but as a 3-burner grill is also JUST qualifies for the small grill list too.
The Char-Griller delivers a lot of power of those 3 burners, about 40,000 BTUS, with a very roomy 438 square inches of primary cooking space. It also offers a warming rack for close to 200 extra square inches.
Porcelain coated grates make for easy cleaning, and you’ll also see a 12,000 BTU side burner for additional prep. As is standard with all the grills on this list, the ignition system is electronic and easy to use.
The Cusinart is a solid, less expensive alternative to the RoadTrip from Coleman if you’re looking fot a portable option to hang with your on-the-go lifestyle.
This is a VERY small grill at just 145 square inches, which can accommodate about 8 burgers or 6-8 chicken breasts in one go. The single burner offers 5,500 BTUs and porcelain coated cooking grate.
The construction on the Petit Gourmet is somewhat lacking compared to the other options, comprising mostly aluminum and plastic, but for the price, you’re not expecting all stainless. It’s also the smallest option on this list and a great pick if you literally need something that could fit in a large handbag.
If when you think small, you also think portable, then this little tag-along grill from Martin is a nice little option in the budget-friendly category.
This is a single-burner model, with one U-shaped burner pumping out 14,000 BTUs of power. The cooking grids are porcelain-coated for even heating and quick maintenance. The total cooking space is 354 square inches, which includes the warming rack.
First and foremost this little model is designed for convenience with folding support legs to make it easy to pack-up and take along on a tailgate or camping trip, sturdy side handles, a push-button ignition, removable grease tray for quick clean-ups, and a retractable warming rack for keeping burgers warm or toasting buns.
The lid is made of quality stainless steel with a mounted temperature gauge for easy monitoring.
Even though this is one of the smaller options on our list, the quality of materials and design is noteworthy and its a grill you’ll enjoy busting out on trips or a quick backyard grill session.
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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!