Last updated on March 15th, 2022
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Sometimes you want to use a smaller BBQ than the full-size one on your patio. Perhaps you’re just grilling a few appetisers, maybe you’re at the park, possibly you live in a flat with only a balcony for the outside, or maybe you’re at the seaside in a caravan or tent. Wherever you are, tabletop BBQs fit the bill of being small, portable and easy to use.
My review presents the Best Tabletop BBQs – charcoal or gas fuelled. I list their pros and cons and features before giving my recommendations. My Buyer’s guide answers the age-old questions of how to control the heat in these BBQs and whether you really need a thermometer.
Best Pick – Charcoal
Best Pick – Gas
5 Best Table Top BBQs Review
1. Outsunny Portable Small Charcoal Grill Barbecue
Best Pick – Charcoal
The Outsunny Portable Small Charcoal Grill Barbecue is an almost spherical tabletop BBQ made of enamel-coated alloy steel in a matt black colour. It’s designed to be easily folded down and picked up, so you can travel easily with it to the park, a campsite or just to your back garden.
This is a tough BBQ. The body of it is protected to 600°C, just in case your charcoal fire gets away from you. The charcoal holder is easy to fill up with briquettes and then empty at the end of your grilling session. A mesh layer between the charcoal and the food stops flames from burning your food.
Above this is the 35cm diameter chrome grill to hold all your burgers, sausages and veg. The grill has fairly widely spaced rungs which give the heat ample opportunity to cook the underside of the food. While this is a good cooking idea, some online reviewers report that smaller pieces of food, such as mushrooms, tend to fall through the gaps into the fire below. Some online reviewers state that the grill doesn’t fit correctly and if you’re not careful, your food might slide off into the charcoal below.
Adjustable air vents in the lid and in the bowl of the unit let you control the heat produced by the burning charcoal by deciding how much air flows into the BBQ. The vent in the lid has three flow options, while the vent in the bowl (that goes directly onto the hot coals) has a sliding opening.
As there’s no thermometer on this unit, you have to play with the vents until you think you’ve got the correct cooking temperature. Or invest in a thermometer yourself.
The portable aspect of this Outsunny BBQ is that the legs fold up into the bottom of the unit and you can easily carry it using the semi-circular handle on the lid.
- Almost spherical-shaped charcoal BBQ made of black enamel-coated alloy steel.
- Body of this unit is protected to 600°C.
- Foldable tripod legs for easy storage and transportation.
- Anti-slip foot pads on the feet of the legs.
- Semi-circular handle for easy lifting when the legs are folded.
- Cooking grate is constructed of chrome with wide bars.
- Air vents are on the top and the side.
- Charcoal holder at the bottom of the unit is easy to clean.
- Dimensions: 36.5cm (diameter); 54cm (height); and 23 cm (height of legs); 34.6cm (grill diameter).
- Food is able to drop through the wide gaps in the grill.
- Food grill doesn’t fit well.
- No thermometer.
The Outsunny Portable Small Charcoal Grill Barbecue is one to look at if you know that you’re going to be travelling from place to place with your tabletop BBQ. The foldable legs flip up into the bottom of the unit and there’s a semi-circular handle on the lid to grab to carry it all. Although there’s not a thermometer on this BBQ, you have adjustable air vents in two places to closely control the flow of air and hence the heat coming off the burning coals.
The Outsunny Portable Small Charcoal Grill Barbecue is our choice for Best Pick – Charcoal in this review of tabletop BBQs.
2. Weber 1141056 Go-Anywhere Gas BBQ
Best Pick – Gas
The Weber 1141056 Go-Anywhere Gas BBQ looks like most other Weber grills – a shiny black rectangle standing on foldable stainless steel legs. In this model, the legs fold up and lock around the body of the BBQ and lid for easy storage and transportation. They also raise the BBQ body above the ground so you don’t destroy whatever surface the BBQ is on, especially your table.
Both the bowl and separate lid of this Weber BBQ is enamelled porcelain that’s durable and rustproof. The grill (41cm by 26cm) is steel that’s also overlaid by porcelain that distributes heat evenly for thorough grilling. The grill is large enough to hold a substantial meal for a few people. Instead of a grid, the grill is ridged with holes to let the flames through.
The glass-reinforced nylon handle with a heat shield on the top of the lid lets you lift the lift without burning yourself. However, as this model doesn’t have any side handles, this is also how you carry the BBQ. But to do this you will need to wait for the BBQ to cool down so you can lock the legs in place to hold the lid and body together. This may be an inconvenience depending on how quickly you want to get going.
This BBQ is designed for use with disposable gas cylinders – either propane or butane – so you’re not limited by a specific brand. Just connect the canister in the appropriate place on the right side of the BBQ body, adjust the gas flow by turning the infinitely adjustable knob and press the red electronic ignition switch. Instant BBQ heat.
You do have to guess or learn by experience how hot the burner gets as there’s no built-in thermometer. Or purchase one separately and place that on the cooking grid with the food.
- Black stainless steel gas canister BBQ in the traditional Weber style.
- Bowl and lid are enamelled porcelain.
- Cooking grill is porcelain-enamelled steel.
- Push button ignition via a red button.
- Use with disposable propane or butane bottles.
- Legs fold up and lock in place for easy storage.
- Handle with heat shield on the top of the lid.
- Dimensions: 53.4cm (width); 31cm (depth) and 36.9cm (height); cooking area: 41cm (width) and 26cm (depth)
- No side handles.
- Charcoal grate flimsy and warps.
Weber is a world-renowned brand for BBQs, and the Weber 1141056 Go-Anywhere Gas BBQ is designed especially for travel and taking with you outdoors. Its compact size lets it fit safely on a tabletop and the stainless steel legs raise it, keeping the surface below cool. We like that you use any kind of disposable propane or butane canister with this model; it frees you up to not worry about finding extra fuel wherever you are.
The Weber 1141056 Go-Anywhere Gas BBQ is our Best Pick – Gas in this Table Top BBQ review.
3. Enders Aurora Mirror Low Smoke Table Top Grill
The Enders Aurora Mirror Low Smoke Table Top Grill is definitely a tabletop BBQ because it’s a contemporary take on a traditional Japanese hibachi grill. Use this on your patio table to cook a meal for two people or appetisers for more.
This tabletop BBQ operates using a combination of charcoal and burning fuel gel (not included). You put the gel in the dish provided, light it and then put the metal ring of charcoal bits on top of that. The flames from the burning gel light the charcoal on fire. Turn the fan (batteries not included) on to move the air down and around and things start to heat up.
Don’t worry about the plastic bits on this BBQ melting as the charcoal and gel sit inside a reflective stainless steel pan and the grill is made of enamel-coated cast iron. You can see the glow from the coals and extra ambient light is provided by an LED light in the unit. This unit can definitely set a romantic vibe.
This BBQ doesn’t have a lid so everything is cooked within sight. If things are cooking too slowly, just turn the fan up, and down if things are moving too quickly. Sitting around the table and watching food cook in front of you adds to the evening’s entertainment.
Using the recessed handles on the sides of the BBQ, you can pick it up and move it somewhere else if you decide to move it to your sitting area. Just be careful if there’s food on the grill.
And don’t worry about fitting a traditional silver or black BBQ to fit into your outdoors décor. The Enders Aurora Mirror Grill also comes in a variety of colours including gold (above link), grey, copper and taupe.
- Long and low tabletop grill uses charcoal and burning gel fuel.
- Has an ambient LED light under the grill.
- Grill holds meal for two people.
- Cast iron grill is coated with enamel.
- Heat distribution up to the edge of the grill.
- Runs on batteries (not included) and can also be connected to a power bank.
- Recessed handles at the side for easy transportation.
- Proprietary E-FAN BBQ fan technology for distribution of heat.
- Reflector pan is constructed of stainless steel.
- Comes in a variety of colours.
- Dimensions: 47cm (width); 26cm (depth) and 13.5cm (height); cooking surface: 37cm (width) and 25cm (depth).
The Enders Aurora Mirror Low Smoke Table Top Grill is a low tabletop BBQ that sits comfortably between your guests as they watch their food grill. Using fuel gel and charcoal along with a battery-powered fan, this BBQ cuts down on smoke produced. It heats right up to the edge of the grill so no cooking space is wasted. There’s even an LED light under the grill to provide additional ambience at your gathering.
4. Fresh Grills Kamado Charcoal BBQ Grill
The Fresh Grills Kamado Charcoal BBQ Grill is an egg-shaped ceramic BBQ that’s finished in a black hammered finish. This makes it the most unique-looking BBQ in our review. And its cooking features are as high quality as its outside.
You can grill, smoke, sear and slow-cook in this BBQ using charcoal or wood as your fuel. The grill is large enough for up to eight burgers – that should keep your family well fed. Plus if you plan on slow cooking a chicken for your roast dinner, you can fit three of them standing upright in the body of this unit. And that’s plenty of protein for a gathering.
And with a temperature range of 10°C to 426°C, you can opt for long-and-slow cooking or quick charcoal grilling, and everything in between.
The designers of this BBQ have incorporated plenty of ways to keep the fire burning and the heat inside the BBQ. The air vent at the top of the lid lets you control the airflow when you’re cooking with the lid closed; the air vents in the bowl of the BBQ control the air directly onto the coals. More airflow equals more fuel burning and more heat.
The clamping band system on the hinged lid ensures that no heat escapes between the bowl and the lid. And there’s a sealing felt gasket all around the lid that also ensures a tight fit. The built-in thermometer in the lid lets you know how you’re doing with the heat inside.
- Egg-shaped charcoal BBQ in black ceramic with a hammered finish.
- Cooking functions are grill, sear, oven cook and smoke.
- Temperature range is from 10°C to 426°C.
- Powered by solid fuels including charcoal, wood chips and chunks.
- Grill is 40cm in diameter.
- Oven holds three chickens stood up on end.
- Built-in thermometer in the lid.
- Air vents at the top and the bottom.
- Clamping band system on the hinged lid.
- Handles are wooden on metal strips.
- Dimensions: 49cm (diameter) and 54cm (height).
The Fresh Grills Kamado Charcoal BBQ Grill is a great choice if you plan on smoking the food or slow-cooking it as well as the usual grilling. It’s large enough to hold plenty of poultry, roasts or ribs to feed quite a crowd so it makes the end result worth the wait. The huge temperature range encompasses all forms of outdoor cooking (including toasting marshmallows) so you can use your creativity for experimenting.
5. Campingaz Gas BBQ Attitude2go
The Campingaz Gas BBQ Attitude2go CV, Low-Smoking Portable Barbecue is a propane BBQ that runs on the CV 470 Plus gas cartridges. This model is in the traditional rectangular shape of a BBQ, with a silver stainless steel top and a black stand. It’s smart looking for any patio table.
On the right side of the unit is the EasyClic Plus system into which you just click the gas canister. The dial there opens the gas flow and the blue button is a piezo electric ignition switch. It’s straightforward to start this BBQ and get instant heat for cooking through the stainless steel burner.
All your food goes on the cast iron grill. The grill isn’t the usual grid as it’s designed to stop the flames from coming up from the burner below. Your food shouldn’t catch on fire or burn because it also prevents most of the fat from dripping down into the flames. Plus there’s a tray below to catch any grease that may get through the grill.
The lid is hinged and connected to the grilling part of the BBQ. You open it by using the full-length stainless steel handle along the front side. When raised, the lid acts as a wind shield on gusty days.
If you’re cooking with the lid closed, the built-in thermometer on the lid tells you the inside temperature of the BBQ that you can change by adjusting the gas flow.
- Propane gas BBQ in the traditional rectangular shape.
- EasyClic Plus system to easily add CV470 propane gas cartridge.
- Burner is made of stainless steel and puts out heat to the edges of the grill.
- Grill surface is cast iron with a built-in flame cover.
- Built-in thermometer in the lid.
- Lid is hinged to the body of the BBQ.
- Grease drip tray for easy clean-up.
- BBQ starts with a piezo ignition switch.
- No assembly required.
- Dimensions: 59cm (width); 36cm (depth) and 52cm (height).
The Campingaz Gas BBQ Attitude2go CV is a propane powered portable BBQ that works on any tabletop. Simply attach the CV 470 Plus gas cartridge and you’re ready to go. The cast iron grill is designed to keep any flames below it and hot grease above it, letting your food cook thoroughly in peace. The integral thermometer in the lid lets you know the temperature inside the BBQ when the lid’s closed.
This is a good BBQ to take camping with you or out for a day trip.
Buyer’s Guide for Tabletop BBQs
Our Buyer’s Guide gives an answer to the often-asked questions “How do I control the heat on a tabletop BBQ?” and “Do I need a thermometer?”
Do you have a charcoal or gas tabletop BBQ?
How you control the heat of your tabletop BBQ depends mainly on the fuel type.
This type of BBQ generates heat by burning charcoal bricks (or maybe wood pellets or chunks in some cases). In order to create fire, you need a constant supply of oxygen and you get this to the charcoal by ensuring a flow of air to the fuel.
This is where the air vents in the BBQ come into play. The vent in the lid is useful when you grill with the lid on, and the vents at the side of the bowl, which flow the air directly onto the coals, are useful however you grill. Of course, with the lid open, oxygen is always reaching the hot coals from the air, but a direct airflow has more effect on them.
To increase the temperature, increase the airflow and to reduce the heat of the coals, decrease the airflow.
If you need to add more charcoal during your grilling session, be aware that the new charcoal bricks will reduce the temperature of the existing fire. You need to plan your cooking times for this cooler period until the fire comes up to temperature again.
By gas, we mean propane or butane canisters for the tabletop BBQ. Controlling the heat is much easier with this type of BBQ, plus you get instant heat when you press the (usually electronic) ignition button.
Gas tabletop BBQs have a rotating knob that lets you control how much gas reaches the burner. More gas produces more heat, and closing up the knob a bit lets less gas through and reduces the heat. Instantly, there’s no waiting period. Most of these control knobs are “infinitely adjustable” which means that you can open and close them to whatever amount you want.
Do you need a thermometer?
Well, it depends. Since most built-in thermometers are situated in the tabletop BBQ lid, they’re only available to you when you grill with the lid on. If you mainly have the lid off when you’re BBQing, the integrated thermometer won’t be of much use to you.
And, the thermometer reads the temperature at the point where it’s set. This is in the lid, which can be quite a way from the cooking grill where the food is, and where you want to know the temperature. You have to ask yourself really how useful the temperature in the lid is to you.
If you feel that you don’t have the knowledge or skill set to just judge how your food is cooking, you could always buy a separate thermometer and keep it on the cooking grill for more accurate results.
Even if you already have a full-size BBQ, a tabletop version is handy to have for those occasions away from home or when you don’t need the full grilling power of your home BBQ. We cover both charcoal and gas-fuelled tabletop BBQs, highlighting the special usefulness of each. Whichever type you choose, BBQ food is available wherever you are.
Our Best Pick – Charcoal is the Outsunny Portable Small Charcoal Grill Barbecue. This is a highly portable BBQ with a strong and durable body.
The Weber 1141056 Go-Anywhere Gas BBQ is our Best Pick – Gas. It’s a compact BBQ that uses disposable propane or gas canisters that are easy to obtain.
If you decide that you really need a full-size BBQ, we can help there too. Check out our
5 Best Kettle BBQs – Charcoal Flavour and Grill Marks and our Top 8 Best Gas BBQs – Compare home Barbecues for all budgets reviews for information and recommendations.
Need some extra preparation space? check out my review of the best BBQ side tables here
And if you’re unsure about purchasing charcoal or a gas barbeque because of the flavour added to the food, we have something to say about that in our Which Tastes Better? Grilled Vs Charcoal BBQ Grilled Meat article.
Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API