Straight to the Point
After testing seven portable grills for a variety of attributes, we found five models rose above the competition. The Cuisinart-CGG-750 Venture Gas Grill earned high marks for its camping-friendly design and was great at searing. The Weber Q1200 Gas Grill is a well-designed grill with efficient and accurate temperature regulation—and cast iron grates, for optimal char. Another pick from Weber, the Weber Traveler Portable Gas Grill is a no-frills model that’s great for novice grillers thanks to its low-tech temperature control knob. For a (slightly) pricier option, the Napoleon TravelQ PRO285X collapses “like a stroller,” and has heavy-duty wheels that can traverse rough terrain. And the Coleman RoadTrip X-Cursion 2 Burner Propane Gas Portable Grill is a “camper’s dream.”
If you’re not the camping, beachgoing, or apartment-dwelling type, you may see little value in a portable gas grill. But although the best stationary gas grills produce consistent, accurate heat, and offer the benefit of multiple temperature zones, portable grills take the cake for transportability, space-saving, and price.
Portable gas grills, which were originally marketed to campers and beachgoers, have evolved to include clever features, like built-in cutting boards and rolling wheels that make any on-the-go (or occasional) grilling experience easier. Curious about which portable grills were worth buying, we tested seven popular models from trusted brands. Although miniature gas grills cannot rival the temperature accuracy or stability of a standalone grill, we feel confident in recommending five models—our winners excelled not just in portability, but in performance, temperature regulation, ease of use, and cleaning, as well.
The Winners, at a Glance
- The Best Portable Grill for Beginners: Cuisnart-CGG-750 Venture Gas Grill
- The Best Tabletop Portable Grill: Weber Q1200 Gas Grill
- The Best Beach-Friendly Portable Grill: Napoleon TravelQ PRO285X
- The Best Portable Gas Grill on Wheels: Weber Traveler Portable Gas Grill
- The Best Large Portable Gas Grill: Coleman RoadTrip X-Cursion 2 Burner Propane Gas Portable Grill
- Assembly Test: We assembled each portable gas grill, timing how long it took to do so.
- Portability Test: We transported the grill, paying attention to how easy it was to lift and maneuver.
- Temperature Control Test: We used a probe thermometer to monitor the temperature of the grill as we fired it up and attempted to adjust the temperature.
- Onion Rounds Test: We placed slices of onions on the grill, noting how evenly they cooked.
- Burgers Test: We cooked burgers, noting how well they grilled.
- Fish Test: We cooked fish fillets on each grill, to see how well it handled a delicate food.
- Steak Test: We cooked steak on each grill, to see how each model performed at high heat.
- Usability Tests: After collapsing and opening up the grill a few times, we evaluated how easy it was to do so. Throughout testing, we also noted how easy the grill was to light, turn off, and clean.
What Is a Portable Gas Grill?
In short (hehe), a portable gas grill is a comparatively small grill that can be disassembled and transported for use beyond the griller’s own backyard. Typically, portable grills have smaller cooking surfaces and less powerful heat output than their standalone counterparts, as well as smaller or fewer flames and heat controls.
There’s no shortage of portable gas grill design options: some collapse like strollers, while others feature durable wheels for transporting over sand or trails. Some portable grills are petite, and shaped (sort of) like a briefcase which makes them easy to carry by hand and set up on a table or bench.
As with all gas grills, propane is used as a heat source (charcoal grills use either lump or briquette charcoal; for a deeper comparison of the two types of grills, check out our side-by-side comparison here.) To cook with a portable gas grill, you’ll need a small liquid propane tank; in the best models, these are easy to fill, attach, and detach. For the purpose of this review, we’ll be discussing gas grills exclusively, although we did review portable charcoal grills here.
Should You Buy a Portable Gas Grill or a Standard-Size Gas Grill?
The answer to this question is dependent on two key factors: how often you want to use your grill, and where you plan on firing it up. If you have a backyard or dedicated outdoor space and want to grill regularly, you should buy a standard-size gas grill. This category of grills is inarguably pricier than the portable types, with some top-tier picks costing in the thousands. But that higher price tag comes with a larger grill surface that encourages a great sear and has the hugely beneficial advantage of having multiple heat zones.
But if you’re not likely to grill frequently, a portable grill is a fine option. For one, it can be broken down or tucked away in storage (and it should be when not in use, to minimize weather-induced corrosion). Portable gas grills are also usually easier and more intuitive to set up, use, and keep clean, so they’re great for beginners, or anyone who doesn’t want to invest too much effort into cooking a few burgers.
Of course, portable grills are ideal for packing and taking with you: beaches, campgrounds, and tailgates are all prime options to make use of a gas grill. With even the top models coming in at around $500, they’re worthwhile purchases for any cook who wants to grill on the go.
The Criteria: What to Look For In a Portable Gas Grill
The best portable gas grills are easy to assemble and disassemble—including a simple method for attaching the propane tank and intuitive controls for lighting and regulating the heat. Portable gas grills should be designed with an eye toward minimizing the potential for accidents and hazards, like leaks and flare-ups. Of course, they should be either light enough to carry or feature collapse functions. In the case of “larger” portable grills, sturdy wheels and legs are key. We also favored portable grills with removable drip trays and efficient disassembly for low-stress cleaning. Finally—but just as important as all other features—portable gas grills should produce ample, consistent heat: enough to achieve attractive grill marks and avoid sticking on delicate food items.
The Best Portable Grill for Beginners
Cuisinart Venture Portable Gas Grill
Cuisinart is better known for kitchen appliances than grills, so it makes sense this petite model is designed with an eye toward food prep, not just grilling. It packs up neatly, with a wooden lid that doubles as a cutting board. It’s made for use with a small propane tank (and does not come with an adapter for larger tanks), which can be stored underneath the firebox when packed up. One tester noted that the cast iron grates produced enviably golden-brown sear on a steak, although the surface of the grill did not produce consistent heat, which resulted in burning in some places.
Minor faults aside, this “exceedingly beginner friendly” is “cute, functional, and just a delight to hold.” It is a super option for the fair-weather griller, or first-timer concerned with aesthetics. It’s also undeniably great for camping, due to its efficient packability and included cutting board.
Price at time of publish: $200.
- Dimensions: 13 x 16.25 x 10.75”
- Cooking area: 154 square inches
- Weight: 20.6 pounds
- Heat capacity: 9,000 BTU
- Special features: Comes with removable cutting board; has its own carrying strap; light enough to transport by hand
The Best Tabletop Portable Grill
Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill
Another tabletop option, this portable gas grill from Weber was a standout for our testers, who named it the winner of the group, and even noted its performance rivaled standard-size grills. “This thing could be priced even higher and I would buy it,” a tester noted, although at under $300, it’s attractively priced as-is.
It’s not “just” a portable pick, either. As one of the sturdier models we tested, one tested noted it was a good option for apartment dwellers and those looking to grill occasionally. It packs up efficiently, and when fully assembled has two wing-like side tables that are helpful for prep and tool storage. We particularly liked the nonstick coating inside the firebox, which made it easier to clean (a removable drip tray did, too). This grill is refreshingly easy to light, with an indicator button on the knob. It can also be lit with a match.
This grill excels at high-heat cooking, with testers praising it for its “truly” high-heat setting that produced steak that turned out “better than” one tester thought it would. Heads-up: although it’s a short grill, you can purchase a stand separately if you prefer to grill without the aid of a table.
Price at time of publish: $287.
- Dimensions: 20.5 x 40.9 x 24.6”
- Cooking area: 189 square inches
- Weight: 31 pounds
- Heat capacity: 8,500 TU
- Special features: Comes in multiple colors; has two prep trays that fold in when not in use
The Best Beach-Friendly Portable Grill
Napoleon TravelQ 285X Portable Propane Gas Grill with Scissor Cart
This slightly-pricier grill delivers on high heat. It also has a very generously-sized usable cooking area, making it ideal for grilling for a crowd (we’re thinking it will be popular with tailgators). It earned points for usability, with testers commenting on the ease of setup, propane tank attachment, and lighting. It’s also pleasantly easy to clean, thanks to foil inserts that can be used to line the removable drip tray.
Although a bit too large to be considered seriously for camping, the Napoleon also scored high in packability and transport—it collapses “like a stroller,” and has large, hefty wheels. A clip on the lid keeps everything in place in this beach- and apartment-friendly grill.
Two separate burners allow for multiple types of cooking (like searing and indirect heat), as with a standard-size grill. It gets hot and has, as one tester noted, “highly responsible” temperature control. In our tests, it produced “nice golden-brown” steak with “defined grill marks” and a “good crust.” During one test, even a delicate fish filet did not stick to the grates.
Price at time of publish: $549.
- Dimensions: 20.25 x 40.25 x 39.75”
- Cooking area: 285 square inches
- Weight: 50.5 pounds
- Heat capacity: 12,000 BTU
- Special features: Two heat control knobs for multi-zone cooking; collapsible legs
The Best Portable Gas Grill on Wheels
Weber Traveler Portable Gas Grill
This is one powerful portable grill. Add to that the spacious cooktop area (320 square inches), and the Weber Traveler is a great grill, period. It’s definitely on the hefiter side—we wouldn’t recommend strapping it to your back for a mountainside hike—but that makes it ideal for new and sometimes-grillers who don’t want to invest upwards of $1,000.
One tester noted that the fuel tank can be finicky to align (it screws in at a slight angle), but once the learning curve has been mastered, it’s easy to set up and use, thanks to the comprehensive owner’s manual. With just one knob and an ignition button, it’s intuitive to use straight out of the box, even for beginner grillers. Although its well-constructed legs make it a solid choice for grilling in any location, including questionably even terrain, it’s surprisingly nimble, with one tester praising it as a “great portable.”
As for performance, this model knocked it out of the park, with some of the highest scores we collected for heat regulation and we observed no flare-ups due to rendered fat. We recommend this grill to cooks who are interested in grilling for a crowd, as the XL surface area tends to lose heat quickly when accommodating just one or two pieces of steak or fish.
Price at time of publish: $449.
- Dimensions: 23 x 43.6 x 37.2
- Cooking area: 320 square inches
- Weight: 50 pounds
- Heat capacity: 13,000 BTU
- Special features: Can accommodate a full-size propane tank with an adaptor hose; has 3 tool hooks
The Best Large Portable Gas Grill
Coleman RoadTrip X-Cursion 2 Burner Propane Gas Portable Grill
The key appeal of this grill by the camping experts at Coleman is its stacked BTU capacity: 20,000 per hour. (For comparison’s sake, one of our top standalone grill picks has a BTU capacity of about 40,000). All that heat’s gotta go somewhere, so it’s no surprise this grill has two separate burners: a coveted feature among the more minimalist portable gas grills.
As you’d expect from such a powerhouse, this grill gets super hot and produced an “impeccably crispy” crust during our steak test. (“The sear and cook of this steak on this grill is what I would expect from a reputable resaurant's quality level,” one tester reported.) We also recorded minimal flare-ups and virtually no sticking—although the fish skin did tear a bit when flipped.
Although it has the power you’d expect from a pro-level grill, there are minimal variables to control and manage while cooking. That, combined with its cast iron pan-adjacent cooking quality, make it a familiar option for those just getting into grilling. (“This grill is accessible to the beginner while delivering results expected by the expert,” explained one of our testers.)
Ultimately, it’s the RoadTrip X-Cursion’s versatility (it can transform into a steamer with an additional attachment) and high-heat capabilities that earned it top marks. But if you’re looking for an ultra-portable grill you can pack on your back during a hike or long trek to the beach, we recommend one of the smaller tabletop options, instead.
Price at time of publish: $220.
- Dimensions: 19.1 x 32.2 x 12.3”
- Cooking area: 285 square inches
- Weight: 41.85 pounds
- Heat capacity: 20,000 BTU
- Special features: Has interchangeable cooktops (such as a griddle), which are sold separately.
- Coleman RoadTrip 225 Portable Tabletop Propane Grill: This tabletop unit from Coleman had some noteworthy features, key among them the ability to steam food. But it’s ultimately not ideal for large-format grilling, and too bulky to be considered “easy” to transport.
- Weber Go-Anywhere Gas Grill: Although we admired this grill’s affordable price tag ($89 at time of publish) and its lightweight tote-ability, Weber’s entry-level model is best suited for short-term use or primitive camping situations, rather than long-term or very accurate grilling.
How do you light a portable gas grill?
Once you have attached the liquid propane tank correctly to the grill unit, most portable gas grills feature a “click and turn” button for igniting the grill. Some of the grills we tested featured just one knob, used for both igniting the grill and controlling the strength of the flame. (Of course, to properly ignite any gas grill, you must ensure the propane tank is open).
How do you clean a portable gas grill?
As with all grills, you should scrub the grates thoroughly with a grill brush while the grates are still hot—this will minimize carbonized, crusted-on food that’s tough to clean later. But some portable gas grills come with handy removable drip trays, which collect grease and are easy to remove, wipe out, and wash clean. Some portable grills have dishwasher-safe components, although all we tested can be wiped down with a damp cloth, scrub brush, or even hosed down.
Are portable gas grills any good?
They sure are! Well-designed portable gas grills will produce evenly-cooked food with a solid sear and grill marks. During our testing, we even found some could rival standalone models for versatility. (The Coleman RoadTrip X-Cursion, for example, excellent in direct and indirect heat cooking methods, making a good choice for searing steaks and baking fish alike).
What’s the best tabletop grill for camping?
If you’re interested in a tabletop grill—one with shorter legs that can be setup on a picnic table or bench—you can’t do better than the Weber Q1200 Gas Grill. It’s incredibly well-constructed and sturdy, thanks to its bowed legs. Its strong, intense flame combined with cast iron grates produced one the best sears in our test, although it’s heavier than other models we tested, and slightly awkward to carry. We also really liked the Cuisinart CGG-750 Venture Gas Grill. It packs up tidily into a large lunchbox shape, and comes with a sturdy carrying strap. The detachable cutting board (which doubles as a lid during transport) is especially helpful for campers looking to streamline their packing list.