Nothing sounds like summertime more than the sizzle of a juicy hamburger hitting a flaming hot grill. You can practically taste the delicious flame charred flavor when you hear that satisfying tssssss sound.
If you’re planning a day out at the beach, bringing along a quality beach grill is a great way to step up the experience. Instead of eating cold sandwiches from the cooler, you’ll be chowing down on tender and juicy steaks, burgers, pork chops, and chicken.
When it comes to grills for the beach, you’ll want one that’s portable, easy to transport, and can be set up on sand without too much trouble. When you’re already hauling beach chairs, tents, coolers, and other gear, you don’t want to be lugging along a full-sized 72” 6-burner propane grill.
Let’s take a look at some of the best propane and charcoal beach grills on the market, so you can grill in style while enjoying your day at the beach.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Beach Grills
- Best Overall: Coleman RoadTrip 285
- Best Charcoal Grill: Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill
- Best Tabletop Grill: Pit Boss Grills 75275 Stainless Steel
- Best Compact Grill: Cuisinart Propane Grillster
- Also Consider: Weber Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill
Best Overall: Coleman RoadTrip 285
If you’re looking for a highly portable and well-made beach grill, you’ll have a hard time beating this sturdy, feature-rich wheeled propane grill. It’s perfect for wheeling on and off the beach and features a large 285 square inch grilling area giving you plenty of room for meat, fish, veggies, and more.
Setup takes just a second, with sturdy quick-fold legs and wheels that pop into place in seconds. During transport, the entire grill folds flat, with the legs serving as a frame for wheeling the whole thing.
An instant start ignition button gives you matchless lighting, and temperature control is accomplished with 3 independently adjustable burners. The burners give you superb control – with the power ranging from 3,250 to 20,000 BTUs. This impressive performance means the grill also works well for cookouts, tailgating, or even as a backyard grill.
When it comes time to stash the grill away, the grill can be stored upright to fit in tight spaces until your next cookout.
- BTUs: Up to 20,000 total
- 3 adjustable burners
- Impressive 285 square inch grilling surface area
- Integrated thermometer
Best Charcoal Grill: Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill
While propane grills are convenient and easy to set up, nothing beats the flavor of good old-fashioned charcoal. A spacious 150 square-inch cooking surface is able to handle plenty of foods at a time, while still distributing heat efficiently.
The grill features four sturdy legs, giving it a strong and stable platform for grilling on the sand. Three secure lid locks on top of the grill allow for easy and safe transport over any distance.
Measuring 14.5 x 14.5 x 15 inches, and weighing just 3 pounds, it’s small enough to fit in the trunk of your car along with your other beach gear. An enamel-coated firebox and ash catcher increases safety and ease-of-use, while the dual venting system gives you total control over temperature.
- 150 square inch cooking surface
- Secure lid locks on top of grill allow for safe and easy transport
- Enamel coated firebox and ash catcher
- Dual venting system
Best Tabletop Grill: Pit Boss Grills 75275 Stainless Steel
Compact, lightweight, and portable, this well-engineered tabletop grill is a thing to behold. It features an impressive 20,000 BTU of total power, with each of the two burners providing up to 10,000 BTUs each. The grill boasts 275 sq. inches of cooking surface, giving you enough space for a serious cookout.
The all stainless steel construction gives the grill a professional and striking look, while the stainless grates give the portable grill comparable performance to a full-sized one. Folding legs and a latching hood make it easy to pack up and carry to and from the beach.
An integrated dome thermometer and adjustable burner knobs give you an accurate reading of the internal temperature, while the twist start automatic ignition means you’ll never need to stumble around for matches or a lighter again.
The grill weighs 27 lbs. making it ideal for throwing in the back of a car with the rest of your beach gear.
- BTUs: 20,000
- 275 square inches of folding space
- Folding legs and a latching hood
- All stainless steel construction
- Integrated thermometer and twist start automatic ignition
Best Compact Grill: Cuisinart Propane Grillster
If you’re looking for a compact beach grill that will fit just about anywhere, this 146 square inche enameled grill is the one for you. It features a respectable 8000 BTU single burner with a push to ignite start button.
The grill measures just 19 x 11.5 x 10 inches and weighs a sprightly 10 pounds, so it’s perfect for beach days, camping, tailgating, and more. A locking lid easily latches down into position, which makes quick and easy transport a breeze.
A drip tray for collecting drippings provides for easy cleanup, while a gas regulator monitors the level of propane in the tank. It’s set up to take compact 1 lb. propane tanks but can also handle 20 lb. tanks with an adapter.
The legs fold up into a collapsed position for easy storage, and the porcelain-enameled grate is dishwasher safe, so it can be cleaned without scrubbing and scraping away.
- BTUs: 8000
- Compact, streamlined, and easy-to-carry
- Locking lid, large carry handle, and folding legs
- Weighs just 10 lbs
Also Consider: Weber Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill
Yet another fantastic choice when it comes to compact propane grills, the Weber Q1000 is renowned for its portability, reliability, and ease-of-use. It features an 8500 BTU single burner with 189 square inches of total cooking area.
Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates along with a cast aluminum lid and body combine to create a highly functional and good-looking grill. Push-button ignition and infinite control burner valve settings give you total temperature control over the grill, while the split grates allow for a grate/griddle cooking combination.
The grill is set up to take compact 1 lbs. propane tanks, while an optional adapter hose allows you to hook up to a 20 lb. tank. Also keep in mind the grill works well as a boat, RV, camper, or balcony grill.
- BTUs: 8500
- Porcelain-enameled cooking grates
- 189 square inches of cooking area
- Push-button ignition and infinite control burner valve
How to pick the right beach grill
The right beach grill for you will depend on a number of different factors, including your available space, the number of people to cook for, budget, and personal preferences. Let’s take a look at some of these factors in further detail.
Probably the most important factor you’ll need to consider when picking out beach grills is portability. When you’re already hauling along beach chairs, towels, coolers filled with cold beverages, and more, the last thing you want is an unwieldy grill weighing you down.
If you’re looking for a larger full-sized grill, then you’ll probably want to look into wheeled grills. There are several well-made camping-style wheeled grills that fold flat during transport. This makes them the ideal choice for the beach, camping, tailgating, or anytime you want a fully functional grill on wheels.
Smaller tabletop grills also make a great choice for beach grilling, as they’re small, highly portable, and are easier to transport than full-sized grills. One thing to keep in mind when using a tabletop grill is that you’ll want a stable surface to place the grill on. A full table isn’t necessary, but something sturdy and flat like a log, large rock, sturdy cooler, or picnic table can all work well.
Gas vs. Charcoal
Gas or charcoal, which is best? Well, this is an age-old debate that’s been going on for as long as anyone can remember, but the reality is it comes down to personal preference.
Propane grills are highly convenient, and allow you access to instant heat on demand. There’s no waiting for the charcoal to heat up, and cleanup is minimal. On the other hand, they’re generally more expensive than charcoal and don’t provide that distinct charcoal-grilled flavor.
Charcoal grills are cheaper, provide an incredible charcoal flavor to anything you grill on them and don’t require a propane tank to operate. On the other hand, they take longer to set up, are messier, and require more cleanup than their gas-powered counterparts.
BTUs (British thermal units) are a form of measurement that measures energy output. One BTU refers to the amount of energy that’s needed to increase the temperature of a pound of water by 1° F.
When it comes to grills, BTUs will give you some idea of a grill’s heating capacity, but it’s not the entire story. BTUs only measure heating output but don’t take into consideration the heating surface area.
So, a compact grill with 8000 BTUs may have a similar heat output to a larger grill with 20,000. To get a better idea of the grill’s heating capacity in relation to its size, you can calculate the following formula:
Total BTUs / Primary Cooking area in square inches
This allows you to compare the heat output of grills with different surface areas. Generally, a BTU per surface are of between 75 and 100 is fine, but less than that and you may find that the grill is too weak.
Cooking Surface Area
Total cooking surface area is another important thing to consider. Of course, the more people you plan to cook for, the larger cooking surface area you’ll need.
On the other hand, the larger the cooking surface area, the larger and bulkier the grill will be. Finding a happy medium between the two can be tricky, but there are a wide variety of travel-sized grills that can fit the role nicely.
Most tabletop and travel-sized propane grills are set up to accept smaller 1-pound propane tanks. For beach grills, the smaller tanks work great and are super light and easy to transport.
Most of these grills can also be switched to use a larger 20-pound tank with a simple hose attachment.