No one wants the hassle of trying to drag a heavy grill to the campsite or park for a cookout.
Thankfully, tabletop grills are a portable alternative. They can be propped up on an elevated surface and used to cook the same foods as a regular standing grill.
If you have a very small space available for grilling and only need to cook for a small family, then a tabletop grill might be exactly what you need.
Read on to learn more about these grills plus a variety of other options.
The Best Tabletop Grills Reviewed
These are the best tabletop grills you can buy. Where and how you plan to use your new grill will dictate the best option for you.
While you can’t beat food cooked over charcoal in the great outdoors, some places won’t allow you to burn charcoal, so we’ve included plenty of options, including a pellet grill and griddle.
1. Best Budget Tabletop – Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
Read our full Weber Go-Anywhere review.
There’s something about cooking with charcoal at the park or beach that just feels right.
It’s all about relaxing and taking the time to do it right.
When it comes to charcoal grills,
They also sell the popular Smokey Joe which shares the same iconic round Kettle design as a lot of their other grills, but for the best tabletop grill, we’re going with the Go-Anywhere.
The rectangular shape works better when placed on a table, and this grill is a little more portable with foldable legs.
This tabletop grill has 160 in.² of cooking space which is enough to grill two medium-size steaks or 6-8 pieces of chicken at once.
What we like:
- Porcelain-Enamel and Steel Materials – This tabletop grill is built to last. The grates are made of durable steel, and they retain heat very well while being easy to clean. The lid is porcelain-enameled to also retain heat and also resist resting or peeling even after a lot of use.
- Three Handles – The
WeberGo-Anywhere is equipped with handles that make for easy transporting from place to place.
- Locking Lid – The locking latch is great for securing the grill for moving around, even if you haven’t finished cleaning it yet. There’s also a hanger installed on the side of the grill; you can use this to create a wind barrier during blustery days.
- Temperature Dampers – Integrated temperature dampers let you manage the cooking time of your food. This negates one of the largest difficulties of cooking with charcoal.
What we don’t like:
- Handles Can Get Super Hot – The handle is made of plastic, so it can heat up and give you a nasty burn if you are cooking with a lot of charcoal. Use bbq gloves or a rag when picking up.
- Low Grate Height – This is mostly a good thing as you can grill burgers and hotdogs fast, just be careful when filling the grill with charcoal as the cooking grates don’t have any height adjustments and your food will naturally be very close to your charcoal source.
It’s hard to go wrong with either the Go-Anywhere, Smokey Joe or even the Jumbo Joe.
They have virtually identical ratings. The Go-Anywhere earned a runner-up spot in our best portable charcoal grill roundup.
The Smokey Joe and Jumbo Joe are great if you need a bit of extra space, but we love the simple design and square shape of the Go-Anywhere.
The grill seals up nicely and keeps any ash or drippings contained during transportation.
2. Upgrade Pick – Nomad Charcoal Grill & Smoker
Read our full Nomad review.
If you like the idea of grilling with charcoal, but are put off by the flimsy legs and hot exterior of the
The unique suitcase-style design makes the grill easy to transport, and because the exterior doesn’t get hot, you can set the grill up virtually anywhere.
The Nomad is the safest charcoal grill we’ve tested.
When using both sides of the grill you get 425 total square inches of cooking area which is plenty to cook for my family of five. Temperature control is done via two sets of air vents.
The grill grates are magnetic, so you know they are set in place and won’t move around when traveling.
What we like:
- Great build quality
- Highly compact and portable
- Use as a grill and smoker
What we don’t like:
- Expensive, with premium-priced accessories
- Limited space for smoking large meat cuts
I’ve left my Nomad sitting out in the rain and snow many times, and the weather hasn’t left any noticeable marks.
3. Best Electric Tabletop Grill – Weber Lumin
Read our full Weber Lumin review.
While we aren’t normally fans of electric grills, we’re willing to concede they’re a good option for a tabletop grill.
We tested out the new
With a max temperature of 600°F you shouldn’t have any issues searing steaks, burgers and veggies.
The smoke infusion function really sets the Lumin apart. Just remove one of the grill grates and add the dry reservoir in the space and fill it with a handful of wood chips. We made some chicken breasts that had a great smokey flavor.
If you need to cook somewhere that doesn’t allow gas or charcoal, or just want the safety and convenience of electricity, the Lumin is a great choice.
4. Best tabletop pellet grill – Z Grills Cruiser 200A
Read our full Z Grills Cruiser 200A review.
So far we’ve focused on charcoal and gas tabletop grills, but there is a growing market of pellet grills in this category.
While pellet grills used to be big and bulky, they have come a long way in recent years with companies like Traeger offering compact, suit-case style pellet grills.
The Cruiser from our favorite budget brand Z Grills gives you 202 square inches of cooking space, almost 50 more than the top-ranked
The 8lb hopper is small compared to full-sized pellet grills but is more than enough for you to cook for hours. Unlike many tabletop grills we’ve looked at, this one is capable of cooking a pork butt or brisket low and slow.
You can run this grill off standard power, but chances are you’ll want to power it on a 12-volt DC plug in your vehicle or via a generator.
What we like:
- Light and portable – Light enough for one person and small enough to easily fit into your vehicle.
- Consistant temperatures – We didn’t notice any major temperature swings during our testing
- Hopper capacity – The 8lb. hopper holds enough pellets for roughly ten hours of cook time
What we don’t like:
- Small cooking surface – With such a large hopper, you do lose some cooking real estate.
5. Best Gas Tabletop Grill – Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
If you don’t want the hassle of cooking with charcoal, or want to make sure you can use this grill anywhere (some places don’t allow cooking with charcoal) then the Q2200 from
You can buy a cart and use it as your regular home grill if you have a small family, and then pop it in your trunk for a picnic or tailgate.
This grill has 280 in.² of cooking space and a wide frame. It’s one of the most stable tabletop gas grills you’ll find thanks to its curved legs and low center of gravity.
There are a few different sizes in the Q series. For a detailed comparison check out our Q1200 vs Q2200 guide.
What we like:
- Extendable Tables – The Q2200 is equipped with dual folding tables that extend on either side. While these are made of durable plastic, they’re heavy-duty enough to carry a decent amount of weight. They’ll also give you plenty of space to prepare food or move completed burgers off to the side for new patties.
- Porcelain-Enameled and Cast Iron Grates – These grill grates perform better than many full sized grills.
- Stainless Steel Burner – This burner can put out 12,000 BTUs of heat per hour. But the big draw is the stainless steel material, which will stop it from obtaining rust damage even if moisture gets down onto its surface.
- Easy to Start – The grill has an electronic ignition and a built-in thermometer. Firing up the grill and getting right to work is quick and efficient. Keeping tabs on the temperature of your food inside is made convenient thanks to the thermometer.
What we don’t like:
- No Adaptor for Full-Sized Propane Bottle – This is a bummer since you’ll have to stick with smaller propane tanks unless you want to spend a little extra for the adapter.
6. An expensive but nice option – Solaire Anywhere Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill
The Solaire gives your infrared grilling in a super portable, well-designed grill.
You get 155 in.² of cooking space, running off 1 pound propane cylinders for fuel an optional adapter for connecting larger tanks.
The grill heats up super fast. Usually reading to go in 3 munites.
What we like:
- Stainless Steel Construction – Stainless steel is one of the best materials for durability. It has rust-resistance properties, too. Most of this grill is either made of it or coated with it. Even the grilling grids are made of stainless steel.
- Fuel-Efficient – This grill uses propane to heat up its infrared cooking surface. This uses a small amount of fuel each time. Your lifetime costs will be relatively low as you won’t be refilling the propane tank quite as often as you might expect.
- Fast Cooking – Another advantage of the infrared cooking style is that it tends to cook very quickly and run at very high heat. It’s excellent for searing burgers and hot dogs in rapid succession.
- Carrying Bag Included – It’s a small touch, but the inclusion of a carrying bag increases this grill’s value for money. It gives you a nice option to transport it alongside your grilling tools and accessories.
What we don’t like:
- Can Easily Become Too Hot – The efficient heating can be a downside rather than an advantage if you don’t pay attention to the temperature and end up burning the table or cloth beneath.
- Grate Shape is Odd – The grates used by this grill are in a “V” shape that is supposed to improve the flavor of your foods. Unfortunately, it makes the grates harder to clean than ones traditionally shaped.
Do you need infrared on a portable grill? Probably not.
However, if you have a smoker or pellet grill that struggles to sear at really high heat, it’s quite handy to have an infrared grill on hand for cooking steak.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
7. Best Tabletop Griddle – Blackstone Tabletop Grill
The griddle style can actually be a bit more versatile for camping than traditional grills grates.
The flat grill surface opens up a lot of food possibilities that you wouldn’t work on a regular grill.
This griddle offers 330 in.² of cooking space and cooks without an open flame or grates like other grills. The griddle surface removes the chance of flare-ups and helps your food retain its flavorful juices.
If you want to learn more about this type of grill we have a guide to gas griddles.
What We Like:
- Grease Management System – This grill has a rear grease channel that draws grease away from your food. It lets you easily clean up your station after you’re finished cooking.
- Uses Two Burners – Each burner is responsible for heating up half of the cooking surface. So it’s perfectly possible to cook foods at different temperatures. Or you can leave one side at a lower temperature to keep food warm while the other does the heavy lifting.
- Lots of Space – The Blackstone Grill has 330 in.² of cooking area. That’s plenty of space to cook a full meal for several people or churn out burgers and hotdogs for a larger group relatively quickly.
What we don’t like:
- Wind Negates heat – This griddle suffers if you cook in windy conditions. The heated surface relies on a static environment to reach its maximum cooking temperature. So try to use this indoors or in a sheltered spot if the weather outside is rough.
- No Handles – Transporting this griddle would be a lot easier with the inclusion of some handles. As it stands, you can only move it once it’s been cooled down since your fingers are likely to brush up against the cooking surface one way or another.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
What to look for in a tabletop grill
In the next section, we’ll take a look at some of the important factors when choosing which grill to buy.
You might also want to consider a Hibachi style grill which we cover in a separate guide.
Obviously, one of the most important considerations when buying a tabletop grill is the portability offered.
Even if you plan on using the grill predominantly at home, a portable grill will be used more frequently if it’s easy to take out of storage and setup.
Luckily tabletop grills are almost all designed to be lightweight so you can prop them up on tables without too much trouble.
But some grills offer additional useful features like handles and foldable legs for extra portability.
In particular, you should try to find handles that are made of some durable material that won’t melt as the grill becomes hot during cooking.
Cheap plastic handles are best avoided.
You should also try to find portable grills with foldable legs. Legs that can extend and contract make storing and propping up your tabletop grill easier than otherwise.
This can be especially important if you don’t have a lot of space to store your tabletop grill and need to squeeze it into a shelf. Being able to fold the legs up onto its underside is a great feature.
Some tabletop grills also come with foldable side tables, again to improve storing options, or locking lids. Being able to lock your lid is a great safety feature.
You can prevent charcoal or the grates of your grill (if they are removable) from falling out if you need to move the grill to another location quickly.
If you enjoy grilling food while on a camping trip, we have a whole post dedicated to the best camping grills, which can also boast great portability features.
Weight and size
Before settling on a grill, check out its weight and think about whether or not you’ll be able to easily carry it from your truck to the cooking site.
Some tabletop grills are perfect for crowded picnics and can share a lot of space with other tools or cooking spreads. Others require a lot of space to be used to their maximum effect, featuring extendable side tables or just wide cooking surfaces.
There’s no one perfect weight or size for a tabletop grill. It all depends on your preference and what type of cooking you’ll be doing. Larger sizes are better for serving more people or making more food at the same time, of course.
Don’t forget to think about the fuel type of a given tabletop grill. There are two main types you’ll find: charcoal and propane. Both types will require you to carry some fuel with you to your cooking site.
Charcoal tabletop grills impart a particular flavor to their foods that some chefs really enjoy.
Most tabletop propane grills come with a tank sized perfectly for their chassis already, but a few require you to buy adaptors for larger tanks if you want to cook for long uninterrupted stretches.
Propane grills make temperature control easy. But there are plenty of charcoal grills with temperature control features, as well.
The choice is ultimately your own, as neither charcoal nor propane is 100% better than the other.
This is a timeless debate so if you want to learn more check out our full gas vs charcoal guide.
A third option to consider is pellet, which gives you some of the flavor of cooking with wood without many of the downsides.
How to use a tabletop grill safely
This video shows the
Tabletop grills can be excellent for cookouts at campsites. Or they can be great for bringing your excellent grill skills to your friend’s backyard on game day.
But there’s a trick to using tabletop grills safely that regular grill users don’t need to consider.
Tabletop grills have to be used on certain surfaces in order to be used safely. Most tabletop grills become extremely hot, and this ambient heat can cause issues depending on the surface you are using to cook.
Our product tester wanted to see how well his plastic picnic table would hold up to the heat from the
Metal is a perfectly safe cooking surface. It would take heat far in excess of what a tabletop grill can produce in order to damage the metal in any significant way.
This makes tailgates or picnic tables that are made of metal perfectly fine for use with tabletop grills.
However, be aware that some metal is painted with a cheap colored film. This paint may flake off or melt to some degree if exposed to the high heat of a typical grilling session.
Wood surfaces are also usually fine for tabletop grill usage. Picnic tables and surfaces of similar thickness are usually made of wood.
This wood won’t easily catch fire even under the high heat of the tabletop grill. It’s still a smart idea to put a small grease catcher beneath the grill to stop the wood from staining, though.
The most worrisome surface to use with a tabletop grill is plastic. Plastic tables, like those frequently used for backyard cookouts or for camping trips, are at a high risk of melting. They can’t be exposed for long to the high heat of a tabletop grill.
Melted plastic can make the cooking surface unstable and cause the grill to tip over, potentially causing a bigger mess or a big accident.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, melted plastic releases chemicals into the air that are toxic when inhaled.
You also should never put a tablecloth beneath any tabletop grill cooking surface.
Most fabrics are easy to burn under enough heating power. Even thick clothes should be avoided. Only bare surfaces should be beneath a tabletop grill. Designated grease catchers are alright, too.
You can always look into specially made tabletop grill tables. These are usually lightweight and portable to be used in conjunction with most tabletop grills.
You’ll likely find yourself frequently taking your tabletop grill from place to place.
So it might be worthwhile to purchase a cooking surface that is guaranteed to be safe to use. This is more consistent than relying on tables at your location or the equipment of your host.
Wrapping it up
There are many excellent tabletop grills. But the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill is a great example of an all-around choice product. It has excellent portability features, like a locking lid and three handles. These are combined with high-quality construction materials for great results.
Overall, your ideal tabletop grill will depend on your preferences and budget. Whatever you choose, good luck and happy cooking!