• Easy to light and to use, simple to assemble, perfect size – strikes the balance between a big, effective cooking area without taking up too much space, fantastic heat coverage, great price


  • Poor quality – missing thread for a screw, very basic – no thermometer or tool storage

Argos Home Charcoal Oil Drum barbecue summary

This is Argos’ most basic oil drum BBQ – a surprisingly compact barbecue that delivers good results for a fantastic price point.


Read our full review of the best charcoal barbecues

How easy is it to assemble?

Unfortunately, most of this barbecue's parts come in plastic wrap. Otherwise, assembly is easy; all you need is a Phillips screwdriver. There are no written instructions, but the diagrams are easy to follow.

It is light and easy to move, despite lacking wheels. It’s simple to disassemble and store. However, one of the hinges for the lid hadn’t been threaded, which we needed to fix ourselves. This is quite a low-quality barbecue, but perhaps to be expected for just £40.

How easy is it to use?

Surprisingly, this barbecue is a joy to use, taking just 30 minutes to get to cooking temperature. The grill is 70cm from the ground, which suits a range of heights. The warming rack is effective for keeping sides like corn on the cob warm.

The most impressive but simple feature is the vents in the bottom basin by the coals. These feed oxygen to the fire from the sides and below, which makes this barbecue very efficient.

Unfortunately, this barbecue has no thermometer, tool storage or wheels. Like other barbecues of its kind, its drum design is a little tricky to clean. However, if needed, there is a £50 version of this barbecue that comes with tools and a cover, and a £75 version with a larger capacity and handy side table.

Cooking results

This barbecue cooks well, with good heat distribution all along its length. Though our potato chips weren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, lacking classic grill lines, they sealed, charred and cooked through well. Our courgette slices cooked through with wonderfully defined grill lines in just two minutes.

The barbecue was, if anything, too efficient for our aubergine tests, charring the outside before the inside had properly cooked. The spatchcock chicken was well cooked, with delicious charring, but again a little too efficient for its own good, producing chicken that was slightly too dry.


This is an exceptional barbecue for its price point, combining good food with a perfect size. As a capable oil drum barbecue for just £40, this is great value for money, especially when compared to much more expensive charcoal BBQs on the market. Great for students, those strapped for space, or those on tighter budgets.

You do get what you pay for: materials aren't to the highest quality and there's no extra features. However, overall, the efficiency of cooking and taste alone are worth much more than £40.

Available from Argos (£50)

Argos Home Charcoal Oil Drum barbecue Specifications

RRP: £150
Dimensions: 35 x 23.4 x 35cm. Grill 40.5cm
Warranty: two years
Materials: Stainless steel, powder-coated stainless steel and shock-resistant plastic

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