If you’re short on time and just want to know what the best tabletop grill is, then we recommend the Weber Q1200 as the best one.
When most people think of grilling, they think of being at home on the backyard patio. Yet, you can enjoy this hobby at a picnic, camping trip, or during a road trip in the RV. To do this, it’s best to get a portable grill instead of strapping up a much larger one to your vehicle. We are talking about tabletops. We help you, in this article, to find the best tabletop grill out there.
In this article, we’re going to be reviewing the following grills:
- Cuisinart CGG-306 Chef’s Style Stainless Tabletop Grill + Cover
- Weber 51040001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill, Red
- Char- Broil Standard Portable Liquid Propane Gas Grill
- Pit Boss Grills 75275 Stainless Steel Two-Burner Portable Grill
- Fire Sense Large Rectangle Yakatori Charcoal Grill | Japanese Ceramic Clay Grill | Tabletop Grill for Backyard, Outdoor Cooking, Camping | Chrome Cooking Grill, Internal Charcoal Grate, and Stand
Things to Consider for Tabletop Grills
In making a selection, price should not be the only determinant. Choosing the wrong grill for you could cost you time or money later on. There are various factors to consider depending on your use case and preferences.
Tabletop grills use both gas and charcoal as a fuel source. Most people prefer gas grills for their ease of use as charcoal may take just a little more work. The choice is yours.
If you are new to grilling, you definitely want to check what fuel your desired grill operates on. You also need to know how to cook on it. When looking at propane grills, the number of BTU’s (British Thermal Units) show how much it can heat up. Adhere to the safety guidelines for using, moving, and storing a propane gas cylinder. Charcoal involves more clean up, but adds a special flavor to your food.
One wonderful thing about a tabletop grill is how easy it is to move it. You want to consider how heavy it is. What’s your tolerance and strength for lifting and carrying objects? These grills usually don’t weigh more than 40 or 50 pounds or so.
The table that you want to set it on needs to have the necessary weight capacity and be in good condition. or your tabletop will end up on the bottom.
Also, you have to consider the size of the cooking area. The bigger the grill, the more likely you can serve more people at one time. This depends on their appetites of course.
The type of grates that come with the product may affect the quality or aim of your cooking. There are cast iron, stainless steel, and porcelain-enameled grates. The porcelain-enameled coating covers either cast iron or steel as a base.
Cast iron grates are more effective at retaining and distributing heat. They take longer to heat, though. It can leave those beautiful sear marks on your food that make you feel like a professional. This grate weighs more than stainless steel, which heats up faster. Cast iron is relatively more expensive.
Stainless steel is easier to maintain than cast iron, but you shouldn’t slack off on cleaning.
You don’t have to rely on using a table to set your grill on if it has legs. Folding legs offer more convenience and help you for transporting or storage. They are great if you are going camping, picnicking, or taking a road trip in your RV.
It’s not ideal to be picking the grill up from its bottom and moving it around, so handles are necessary. Check for their durability. Otherwise, if it’s poorly constructed you could drop and damage the unit. More important, you could injure yourself or a loved one.
Some grills have two handles, one on each side. Others will have a handle on top and you can carry it like a briefcase.
There are some grills that have a very thin type of stainless steel. We find that if it’s too thin, the handles can heat up pretty fast as your grill gets hotter. Nonetheless, having gloves on or using a towel can protect your hands. Grills with wooden handles don’t have this problem too much. Wood does not conduct electricity.
The grill should have a safe and secure lid. You don’t want it opening up while cooking. That could affect the doneness of the food. If you’re driving with the grill in the back and the lid is faulty, you’ll probably hear clanking noises. You may further damage the lid in that case. Not only that, if you are using a charcoal grill, ash could fall out onto the floor of the car. Then, you’ll have two things to clean now. Great job (sarcasm).
We are all in a bit of a hurry these days. When dealing with a tedious task such as cleaning, we want it to be as easy as possible. We like to check for how easy it is to clean a particular grill. Definitely, you want to clean the grill after each use. Otherwise, there is more buildup on it that will take longer to clean later on. Keeping things clean is something within your control. It helps preserve the longevity of your product.
Along with cleaning for maintenance, we’re a big fan of warranties. You never know what may happen within the next 12 months. It’s better to have coverage than not!
Review Best Tabletop Grills
This Cuisinart gas grill heats up fast and when it’s hot, it’s really hot. Standard 20 pound propane tanks are recommended to use instead of a 1 pound.
It has two burners, each one kicking out 10,000 BTUs each. You shouldn’t have much of an issue with undercooked food. The indirect cooking method may be enough for you to cook your meal fast. The grill is reported to be able to reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be a negative as well. If you touch the unit at those temperatures, you could potentially bruise your skin.
The material is a rather thin stainless steel and it is easy to clean. You can throw it in your dishwasher. Most people should do fine carrying this grill as it is 22 pounds.
This tabletop is able to cook about 8 burgers and handles other meat well. Yet, you may not be able to fit an entire ham inside.
Grill has foldable legs, but the legs are not the most stable.
Dimensions (L, W, H): 21.5 x 19 x 15 inches
Weight: 22.04 lbs
Cooking surface: 275 sq. inches
- No assembly required
- Large grilling area
- Grates are good for large cuts of meat
- Includes cover
- Great for the backyard, camping, and RV
- Heats up fast
- High range for temperatures and double burner offers flexible cooking options
- Handle has some insulation from the heat, but it will still be warm
- Heat may be too much for some to handle
- The stainless steel material on this product has the potential to rust overtime
- The intense heat has warped the thin lid overtime, causing it to no longer close properly
- You can use a 1 pound propane tank, but must buy an adapter
Weber’s Q1200 weighs in at 26 pounds. The cooking grates are non-stick porcelain-enameled cast iron and easy to clean. You can just throw the grates in your dishwasher. These grates last a long time too. Some reports mention a small amount of rust develops at the bottom after several years, close to a decade.
This Weber model has 1 burner and heats up fast, kicking out 8500 BTUs. It can get up to 550 degrees in about 10 minutes, but does not surpass that. Complaints about heat are usually about not being able to get lower temperatures. You won’t be able to slow cook baby back ribs on this thing.
The foldable side tables are nice and sturdy, but remember to fold them out before cooking.
You can easily fit about 6 burgers or 6 chicken breasts on this grill.
For fuel, the grill connects to 14.1 oz or 16.4 oz disposable canisters for fuel. You should get the thin propane canisters of these sizes. Fitting the thicker canisters are more difficult. You are able to hook up a standard 20 pound propane tank to the grill, but you’ll need to buy the Weber adapter hose. Unfortunately, it’s sold separately.
Dimensions (L, W, H): 24.6 x 20.5 x 40.9 inches
Weight: 26 lbs
Cooking surface: 189 sq. inches
- Easy to assemble
- Lightweight, easy to carry
- Small disposable propane canisters may last from 4-5 hours
- The design does not allow the bottom to get too hot so no problem with setting it on the picnic table
- Heats quickly and evenly
- Need to buy an adapter hose to connect a standard 20-pound propane tank.
- The lid does not latch.
- Grill may not heat well when camping above 3000 feet elevation.
- Common issues with connecting small canisters to the grill. Thin type canister is recommended.
On the lower budget end of the spectrum, we have the Char-Broil Standard Portable Liquid Gas Grill. This product is about 10 pounds, so it’s lighter than most tabletop grills.
It produces 11,000 BTU’s of heat which is on par with the higher end grills of this type. You can cook about 8 burgers (6 large burgers). This particular model requires you to light it with a match, so it’s not as convenient as the other tabletop grills. The others have a push button start (auto-ignition).
The burner is suited for a 16.4 ounce or 14.1 ounce canisters. Yet, if you have an adapter you can hook it up to a 20-pound propane tank. There is a slight inconvenience with connecting the regulator to the burner. It seems that you have to turn the burner upside down to insert the regulator. Also, there is some difficulty closing the legs if the regulator is still attached.
Operating instructions will tell you to run the heat for about 15 minutes after assembly. This is before you start cooking food. Running the heat first burns the residue. For this product we say, clean and scrub the grill thoroughly first. If you don’t do the cleaning first, you may find black soot on your food despite running the heat for 15 minutes.
Dimensions (L, W, H): 12.3 x 24.1 x 15 inches
Weight: 10.1 lbs
Cooking surface: 190 sq. inches
- Low Budget
- Very lightweight
- Spacious and gets hot enough to cook for a small group
- Push-button start
- The handle can get too hot
- Not a sturdy build
- Connecting the regulator to the burner
Grill is stainless steel and connects with a standard 20 pound propane tank. With two burners each producing 10,000 BTUs, heat and fire is not a problem. This Pit Boss heats up quickly, but flares up a lot and if you are not watching over the grill, you can burn your food. Forget about slow cooking your food. On low, the heat is still quite high. To get a decent control on the level of doneness of your food, you can use an indirect cooking method.
There is plenty of cooking space, enough to cook at least 8 burgers.
This product weighs at 27 pounds which is bigger than our other tabletops mentioned here. It is still lightweight enough for the average person, making it easy to carry. Pit Boss is pretty sturdy.
The folding legs are a bit of an issue though as they may easily collapse. There is no locking mechanism for them.
Dimensions (L, W, H): 23 x 19.5 x 16 inches
Brand: Pit Boss Grills
Weight: 27 lbs
Cooking surface: 276 sq. inches
- Lightweight, but strong enough
- Large cooking space
- Quality cooking grate
- Good value for the money
- Easy assembly
- Flimsy legs
- Grill drips grease on the table and sometimes legs despite having a tray underneath
Fire Sense Large Rectangle Yakatori Charcoal Grill | Japanese Ceramic Clay Grill | Tabletop Grill for Backyard, Outdoor Cooking, Camping | Chrome Cooking Grill, Internal Charcoal Grate, and Stand
The Fire Sense is another low budget pick, great for yakitori grilling. Weighing 18 pounds, you’ll have no problem carrying this lightweight unit. It’s constructed of handmade clay. It’s a delicate creature and the clay will crack if it gets wet. We don’t consider this product very durable, but it does have it’s positives.
It cooks well, leaving good sear marks. You can cook chicken and steak on it, but it’s great for Japanese skewers. This little charcoal grill can handle 8-10 yakitori skewers at a time.
The clean up is easy as well. Wash the grate in the sink. Empty the coals and ashes out. Don’t use water on the clay. For any ashes that didn’t fall out, use a hard bristle brush to scrub them off.
Dimensions (L, W, H): 7 x 10 x 18 inches
Brand: Fire Sense
Weight: 18 lbs
Cooking surface: 157 sq. inches
- Heats up quickly
- Holds heat well
- Low budget
- Great for skewers
- Poor quality construction
- Clay will fall apart in the rain or exposure to water.
- Too small to cook a whole meal at one time.
The Lightweight Tabletop Champion
The Weber Q1200 is the winner here. It’s on the higher end of the budget, but it’s reasonable for the quality you get. The grates are porcelain enameled cast iron which makes for better heat retention. The grill gets pretty hot but does not have a bad habit of flaring up. We love the legs on this one as they are not a straight vertical. The feet are rubber which prevents them from getting too hot and sliding on slick surfaces. Weber even offers a portable cart, sold separately, that you can place the grill on.
The two low budget grills in this article don’t meet our idea of durability and longevity. We found the Weber Q1200 to have fewer problems compared to the others.