The best portable barbecues on test

Portable barbecues are a convenient middle ground between hefty grills and disposable trays. Here's our pick of the best travel, bucket and tabletop BBQs, tried and tested.

Chargrilled aubergines being cooked on a barbecue and served in a salad

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Portable barbecues make life easier for the space-constrained and gardenless. They also offer an economical alternative to wasteful disposable barbecues that scorch grass and are, ironically, difficult to dispose of. 

Provided you have the appropriate means to transport them – some of our choices would need to be taken by car rather than carried by hand – portable barbecues can be used on campsites, beaches and potentially in the park, though you should check your local council website first.

We tested pint-sized barbecues and scored them on ease of assembly, portability, heat retention and durability.

Read on to discover the results of our test. For over 400 buyer's guides, visit our reviews section and find reviews of charcoalgas and budget barbecues and much more.

The best portable BBQs on test

Berghoff portable barbecue on a white background

Berghoff tabletop barbecue

Portable barbecue with ingenius mat design

Best bits: ultra easy to carry and has a cork lid to double as a mat on grass
Cooks for: three to four people

This stylish Berghoff barbecue is lightweight, despite being made of sturdy carbon steel. The strong carrying strap is more than fit for purpose, then the cork lid cleverly doubles as a heatproof mat when using the grill on grass. When alight, the lid also acts as the vent to allow or prevent too much air coming into the firebox from the bottom. Read our full Berghoff portable barbecue review.


Available from: 
Amara (£149)
Amazon (£162.75)

Cobb barbecue on a white background


Cobb barbecue cooking system

Best multipurpose portable barbecue

Best bits: ultra easy to carry and a multitasker 
Cooks for: three to four people
Accessories: padded shoulder bag

This is a serious piece of al fresco cooking kit – not only does it barbecue food, it’s also suitable for smoking, roasting and pizza making. The design is sleek and futuristic, it requires minimal charcoal and the Teflon cooking plate is easy to clean. It's worth pointing out that as it doesn’t have traditional griddle grooves, our sausages rolled around and got a bit unruly.

 

Landmann Piccolino portable barbecue on white background

Landmann Piccolino portable charcoal barbecue

Best lightweight portable barbecue

Best bits: attractive colourway and very lightweight
Cooks for: three to four people
Accessories: set of tongs and warming rack

This barbecue is light as a feather and easily portable, but pretty solid and durable too. It’s really easy to pack away – the coal sits in a small bowl inside the base of the barbecue so all you have to do is remove this, throw away the remains and give it a quick wipe. Once in the box, it would easily fit under patio furniture or could be stored in a small cupboard.

 

 

Portable red tool box barbecue

Toolbox BBQ

Best novelty portable barbecue

 
Best bits: compact toolbox design, easy to store
Cooks for: four to six people
Accessories: no utensils included, but plenty of storage space to pack your own

This radiant and compact BBQ is shaped like a toolbox, folding out to reveal one large and one small grilling area, plus storage space for cutlery or grilling tools. It's super lightweight, has legs to stop it from burning the ground, and can cook a fair amount of food – even a spatchcock poussin (a whole chicken is pushing it slightly). Perfect as a gift for any handyman or woman if they're celebrating a birthday.

 

Available from I Want One Of Those (£49.99)
 

Green Lotus barbecue on white background

LotusGrill

Portable barbecue that heats up quickly

Best bits: super-speedy cooking time and compact shape
Cooks for: four to five people
Accessories: carry bag and batteries (for the fan)

If the worst part of barbecuing is waiting for your food, then this is the portable grill for you. The LotusGrill has a built-in fan, which helps the charcoal get to temperature in around five minutes. Compared to other charcoal barbecues, we couldn’t believe the ease with which you could cook – no need to coax the coals, simply fire it up and expect good heat for over half an hour. The charcoal is in an enclosed container, and with a fan going, you don’t get much in the way of charcoal flavour, but the efficiency and generous cooking area far outweighs this. 


Available from Amazon (£146.80)

Weber Smokey Joe barbecue on white background


Weber Smokey Joe Premium

Portable barbecue that's durable and reliable

Best bits: classic American barbecue design at its finest
Cooks for: three to four people
Accessories: none included

Comments: Weber don’t just do barbecues – they do epic, Tony-Soprano-friendly contraptions the size of small sheds. For those of us without acres of lawn, they also make this neat, dinky dome. The porcelain-enameled material is deceptively lightweight and extremely durable, with a handy lid that clips onto the side for protection against the wind, plus it’s a doddle to clean. We left ours outside, uncovered, for an entire winter and it barely diminished, despite considerable pummeling from the British weather.

 

Biolite pizza dome bundle on a white background

BioLite BaseCamp barbecue and pizza oven

Portable barbecue and pizza oven in one

Best bits: makes pizza too, very lightweight
Cooks for: 2-3
Accessories: USB charger & LED light

The BioLite is primarily a barbecue and camping stove (you can use the grill as a base to cook in a pot), with a pizza-making function being secondary if you buy the 'PizzaDome bundle' which we tested as part of our pizza oven review. The USB charger and LED light are handy additional features. It is very portable, so perfect for those who camp a lot. In its pack, it weighs around 10kg. Read our full BioLite BaseCamp review.


Available from BioLite (£399 for BBQ and pizza accessories)

How we tested portable barbecues

  1. How easy it is to put together: convenience is key here. We looked for models that can be assembled in minutes.
  2. Portability and storage: how easily the barbecue can be carried and how heavy it is, plus how well it can be stored in the long term.
  3. Design: we're suckers for nifty aesthetic flashes. 
  4. How quickly it cools down: we don’t want to be trapped in the park, sat around burning cinders until dawn.
  5. Durability and accessories: the quality of the metal and whether it comes with added extras.

Barbecue recipes and tips... 

The best barbecues for less than £100
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This review was last updated in July 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

What do you think of pick-up-and-carry barbecues? Let us know below. For everything you'll ever need for a flame-side session, visit our barbecue hub... 

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