There are not too many people who do not like outdoor cooking. But there is a large group of people who do not need one of the large grills. All they need for their way of grilling is a small grill.
There are many grills to choose from. Some are cheap grills and others are what you could call high end grills and it all depends on your personal preference and budget what you choose.
We can divide small barbecue grills into three main categories
Click to jump straight to each topic
Click on a category to see our recommended brands and models.
Advantages of small grills
Small grills have some advantages over large grills
- Heats up fast
- Easy to store
- Fairly cheap
How much grill space do you need on your small grill?
The size of your grill is determined by 2 things.
- How many people do you grill for
- What you will grill on it
You can imagine that if you cook for a large crowd or family you need more cooking space than when you are cooking for just two people or just for yourself and a small BBQ grill might not be the best choice then.
You can also imagine that if you grill only a few burgers, hot dogs, or steaks you need less grill space than when you cook and grill vegetables on the same grill.
There is an easy way to figure out how much grill space you need by following this rule of thumb.
For a meal with meat and veggies, you need about 72 square inches per person. Just multiply the number of people in your family by 72 and this will give you the square inches you need to look for. This makes most small grills in general only good for smaller groups of people if you grill a full meal on it.
There is also a rule of thumb for if you just use a small grill for hamburgers and hotdogs.
The rule of thumb for this is that you need 20 square inches per hamburger and of course, hot dogs even need less room.
This makes small grills more suitable for this kind of grilling.
Now we have figured out how much grill space we need it is time to look at what kind of fuel we like to use,
Small propane grills
The opinions about propane gas grills are still divided into two camps. People who say that the food does not taste good compared to charcoal grills and people who say that they do not taste the difference.
A small propane gas grill is most of the time also a portable gas grill and can be used as a camping grill and even can be considered the best grill for an apartment balcony also. Many people like the Weber Q grills because they are a combination of portable camping grills and can be used as a stationary grill with the available Weber grill carts.
I personally like an infrared grill and if you got no idea what it is you can read this post on what is an infrared grill I wrote a while ago.
The one I use is the grill 2 go and I like it very much for my grilling. It gets hot and cooks great burgers and other meats. It has a little learning curve but after that, the meat comes out perfectly.
You can click on this link and read all the portable gas grill reviews we did already.
That leaves open the question of what is the best small propane grill. As I mentioned it all depends on your kind of grilling and needs.
For use at home, I would go for a little better quality because you probably use it more there. If you just use it on the campground go to your local Lowe’s or Home Depot and find a cheaper one.
My experience is, however (Yes, I did buy those cheap gas grills) that they don’t last too long. That is why I invested in a little better quality and also because you can most of the time get spare parts for better brand portable grills.
Small charcoal grills
I personally like the durability of a cast iron charcoal grill and I am thinking about buying the lodge sportsman grill because of this reason. You can read my review by clicking on that link.
I can however imagine that you would like a little cheap camping BBQ grill to take with you on your camping trips.
The one I would recommend looking at is the Weber smokey Joe grill if you like quality and still a decent price this Weber kettle grill is a good choice.
With a 14-inch cooking grate, this Weber will give you enough grill space and with the folding legs, it is still very portable.
If you are looking for them I wrote also about mini charcoal grills.
small electric grills
Electric outdoor grills we reviewed are becoming more and more popular as an alternative for apartment balconies because of the regulations and stipulations they most of the time have to the use of charcoal or propane gas in apartment buildings.
The higher demand made grill manufacturers no other choice than to make better quality.
Just like the propane, there are people who say the meat doesn’t taste good, but others mention it tastes great. The easy-to-use options of an electric grill is one of the main features of course. Plug it in and warm it up and you are good to go.
This type of grill is in my opinion not usable as a small camping grill because of the limited use of electricity on a campground most of the time.
I did several electric grill reviews that can be used as a small portable grill and the most popular is the Weber q2400 electric grill in my opinion since it got a 4.7-star rating from the users.
The second one is the Char Broil tru infrared 180 electric grill because of the good ratings and the fact you can also use it on a stand just like the Weber and this makes it more versatile to use in my opinion.
indoor grills used as a small outdoor grill
Although many sites tell you not to use any indoor grill outside I think that on a covered porch or even on a balcony you can use them if you are just careful with the extension cord you probably have to use.
I did a lot of looking at what I think are the best indoor grill brands and reviewed many models if you are thinking that this might be an option for you.
In the future, I will probably do more electric grill reviews since there are more models becoming available and more people like to use them.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for these small grills for camping or balcony don’t forget that you also need some grilling accessories, and to keep your camping grill protected you still need a grill cover to keep it out of the rain and in this way it will last a lot longer.
I hope this post about small grills for camping and an apartment balcony helped you find the one that fits your situation and way of grilling. Feel free to leave a comment below if you find a small grill you like and we should review it here on the better grills website.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has run his own full-service restaurant for many years. Before that, he worked as a grill and buffet cook in some of the mainstream restaurants. With his experience using professional kitchen equipment, he is able to write expert reviews. You can read more about Eddie van Aken here.