Weber Original Kettle Premium 22" Review

(From $149.00 Best)

This charcoal grill boasts a 10-year warranty and is almost universally admired for durability and ease of use. Consumers willing to sacrifice a few added features can save $50 with the basic model.

Weber Original Kettle reviews are almost exclusively laudatory. On the Home Depot website, nearly all reviewers give the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22" (starting at $149, Amazon) and others in the series a 5-star rating.

Reviews posted on Amazon are similarly glowing; consumers rave about the high-quality construction of this charcoal grill, especially compared with other low-cost models. One longtime fan of Weber grills considers this latest version an improvement on the older Weber One-Touch Gold, which already had very few flaws. The nylon handle on this model doesn't get hot and isn't prone to rust where it's attached to the lid.

The Weber Original Kettle Premium 22" features 363 square inches of cooking surface, a hinged grate to make it easy to add more charcoal, and a durable porcelain-enameled steel lid with a built-in thermometer. Weber's One-Touch cleaning system makes cleanup quick and easy, users say: Flip a switch and the ash from the bottom of the grill empties into the removable ash catcher.

Weber produces two cheaper versions of this already low-priced charcoal barbecue. The basic Weber Original Kettle 22" (starting at $99, Amazon) lacks two notable features that reviewers appreciate on the premium version: the hinged cooking grate and removable ash catcher. This model also dispenses with unnecessary frills such as a built-in thermometer. The Weber Original Kettle 18" (starting at $79) provides about two-thirds the cooking surface, with 240 square inches. Otherwise it sports the same features as the regular 22-inch model, including the One-Touch cleaning system and stationary ash catcher.

Virtually every buying guide on grills includes a recommended Weber model; the brand is all but synonymous with barbecue grills. Unfortunately most Weber grills are out of our price range, so this line is a welcome exception. Weber grills come with a 10-year limited warranty for the bowl, lid, and nylon handles and a two-year limited warranty for the grates and other parts, an indication that these grills are built to last.

The overwhelmingly positive reviews convince us that if you want a long-lasting, inexpensive charcoal grill, any of the Weber Original Kettle grills are top of the line. Although the premium model is our pick for best cheap charcoal grill, consumers willing to make do with a stationary ash catcher and no hinge on the cooking grate can save $50 by choosing the regular 22-inch model.

Char-Griller Grillin' Pro 3001 Review

(From $169.00 Best)

With 630 square inches of cooking space (including a warming rack), three burners with separate controls, and two smokestacks, users say this gas-burning grill outperforms many more expensive models.

This grill garners expert praise in a Char-Griller 3001 review on About.com for its heavy-duty construction and excellent value for the price. A vast majority of consumers posting reviews at Lowe's -- which number more than 250 and counting -- seem to agree with that assessment; the few detractors mention rust, grease and propane leaks, and problems with the ignition.

One notable negative review comes from AmazingRibs, where experts deride the construction but don't offer much specific feedback on this model. At the same time, many consumers comment on the quality and durability of the Char-Griller Grillin' Pro (starting at $169, Amazon). In reviews on Amazon, they praise this model for consistent heat across the three main burners, which have individual temperature controls. Although several had a hard time putting it together, once assembled, this a reliable grill that heats up and cooks food quickly, reviewers say. Several report it has withstood three years or more of heavy use.

The Char-Griller Grillin' Pro 3001 features porcelain-coated cast iron grates, dual smokestacks to keep the temperature even, and a thermometer for more accurate cooking. It offers a 438-square-inch primary cooking surface and cooking power of 40,800 BTUs, which helps it heat up fast and maintain a high temperature. Consumers say the grill is spacious and makes cooking effortless. They also note that the cooking grate has three separate pieces, which makes for easier cleaning. This model includes a chrome-plated warming rack.

Despite tough assembly, according to some consumers, and a thumbs-down from one expert source, this gas model seems solidly built with durable parts. It's easy to use, cooks evenly and quickly, and generally pleases users all around. This is one budget-friendly grill that should serve buyers well for years to come.

Huntington 30030HNT Review

(From $165.50 Good)

This gas grill boasts a total cooking surface of 430 square inches: one main burner with two heat controls and a warming rack. Reviewers say the simple, no-frills model heats up fast and cooks evenly.

A propane gas model, the Huntington 30030HNT (starting at $165.50, Amazon) impresses users with how easy it is to use and clean. Consumers also regard the grill as heavy-duty, durable, and very affordable. On Amazon, one reviewer writes that it's a solid entry-level grill with heat output that gets the job done. Although stock may be limited so far on the websites of big-box stores such as Lowe's and Walmart, the company confirms that this model is in production for 2016.

The Huntington 30030HNT has 430 square inches of cooking space including a warmer. One reviewer says the size is perfect for an apartment balcony. This grill is often identified as a "two-burner" model, but it actually has one burner with two controls, so users can control the left and right sides separately. The burner is powered by 30,000 BTUs (15,000 BTUs on each side). Reviewers report that the grill heats up fast and cooks very evenly. The grates are porcelain-coated, permitting less sticking and easy cleanup.

An expert reviewer at About.com has high praise for the Huntington 30030HNT. The standout feature for him is the cast aluminum body, which should enable this cheap BBQ grill to last considerably longer than its counterparts made of painted steel.

Not every user is a fan. One critical reviewer reports returning the grill before even getting it set up -- assembly seems to be the one downfall of this model. We read complaints of hard-to-follow instructions and poorly pre-assembled parts, although others report that the grill was easy to assemble. If putting it together is something of a concern, buy from a retailer where assembly is included.

Many consumers like the smaller size of the Huntington 30030HNT and find it a good option for a backyard or balcony. At the same time, the grill provides plenty of power to its main burner. This model doesn't come with a lot of frills, but an expert vouches for the solid construction and reviewers admire the heat control with the aluminum base, as well as the ease of use and cleanup.

Where to buy

Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill Review

(From $199.00 Good)

This grill impresses experts with a 365-square-inch cooking surface, a diffuser for more even heating, and a fourth leg for stability. User reviews are limited but often refer to sturdiness and reliability.

In a Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill review on AmazingRibs.com, the barbecue site's expert reviewer places this model (NK22CK-L) among the top 10 best value grills. He highlights a couple of key features that set this grill apart, even compared with an industry-leading Weber kettle. Whereas most competitors sit on a tripod, the Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill (starting at $199, Amazon) has a fourth leg for stability. A heat diffuser improves airflow inside the grill, evenly distributing heat and keeping the center from overheating. A vent helps regulate the temperature.

A customer review on Amazon likewise notes that the extra leg makes the Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill even more solid than a Weber. With a removable ash catcher, it's easy to empty the burned-out charcoal during cleanup. However, this reviewer notes that the pan can be tough to position correctly. With 365 square inches of cooking space, the Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill can easily handle as much food as the competition (up to 16 large burgers, according to the manufacturer). It has a hinged grate to allow users to add more charcoal during cooking. The kettle is constructed with porcelain enamel, and the lid hooks onto the side of the grill.

Even heat flow is a definite strength of the Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill. The heat diffuser is an uncommon perk and can be removed for cooking with higher heat. Based on the limited reviews posted online, it's clear that this grill impresses experts. Only time will truly test the durability, but we consider this charcoal grill a good bet. The manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty on the porcelain lid and bowl, 10 years on the plastic handles, and two years on all other parts.

Char-Broil 2-Burner Gas Grill Review

(From $80.00 Think Twice)

This basic gas grill has an even smaller cooking area (just 280 square inches) than some of the charcoal grills we looked at. It's also dogged by complaints of flare-ups and cheap construction.

Char-Broil 2 Burner Gas Grill reviews on Amazon and elsewhere suggest this grill (starting at $80, Amazon) is prone to flare-ups, and burned food seems to be the least of the potential consequences. One reviewer writes the grill flares up constantly and another reports an incident where flames coming out the front melted the knobs and control panel.

According to an expert at About.com, who reviewed a previous year's model exclusive to Sears, the only upside of this grill is the price. The temperature is decent but not even, and the thin body doesn't hold in heat. He warns of flare-ups and says the grill isn't built to last more than a season or two. A consumer reviewing the grill on Amazon in 2012 writes that soon after purchase, the grill experienced a total meltdown -- the reviewer came outside to discover the unit spewing flames, with the control knobs on the front panel already engulfed and nearly disintegrated.

The Char-Broil 2 Burner Gas Grill is a small, no-frills gas grill with 280 square inches of cooking area -- less than the charcoal grills on our list, which are smaller than most gas grills. This model's 26,500 BTUs heat two burners with grates made of porcelain-coated steel wire, which doesn't do much to hold in heat. The grill garners a few complaints regarding assembly in reviews on Amazon. Consumers call the instructions confusing and unhelpful.

While this grill has the most attractive price of any model on our list, it seems that consumers looking for quality must pay a bit more. Flames appear too frequently in reviews, and consumers and experts alike suggest that this grill isn't built nearly so well as some of its budget brethren.

Buying Guide

To many people, a warm evening, a nice patio, and the delectable smell of dinner cooking on the grill approaches perfection. Many top-end grills come in well over the $500 mark, and reviewers swear that the features, build, and durability of high-end grills are worth the high price tag. But frugal consumers can partake in this beloved backyard ritual without spending more than $200. Our research indicates that there are plenty of options -- both charcoal and gas-fueled -- that satisfy many users with their features and performance for a few summers, at least.

Cheap Grill Buying Guide

To many people, a warm evening, a nice patio, and the delectable smell of dinner cooking on the grill approaches perfection. Many top-end grills come in well over the $500 mark, and reviewers swear that the features, build, and durability of high-end grills are worth the high price tag. But frugal consumers can partake in this beloved backyard ritual without spending more than $200. Our research indicates that there are plenty of options -- both charcoal and gas-fueled -- that satisfy many users with their features and performance for a few summers, at least.

The first thing to consider is what kind of grill to buy: charcoal or gas (usually liquid propane with the cheaper models). Prices for cheap charcoal grills start at just under $50 and top out at $200. The budget price range for a gas grill is anywhere from $80 to $250, although we set a cap of $200 for this buying guide.

Our picks include two cheap gas grills, the Char-Griller Grillin' Pro 3001 (starting at $169) and the Huntington 30030HNT (starting at $165.50), and two cheap charcoal grills, the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22" (starting at $149) and the Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill (starting at $199). One model that didn't make our cut is the basic Char-Broil 2-Burner Gas Grill (starting at $80). It draws consumer complaints about assembly and durability, and reviews also raise questions about safety.

On the high end, charcoal barbecues range beyond $700 and gas models can cost upward of $1,000. The main difference between cheap grills and their upmarket counterparts is durability. Pricey grills are typically made of durable stainless steel, while budget grills are often painted steel or plastic and not quite as sturdy. Higher-end grills also tend to have more durable materials inside, whereas a cheap grill may chip, peel, or rust. Perhaps surprisingly, many consumers provide positive feedback on the lifespans of the best budget grills.

Charcoal vs. Gas Grills.

Gas grills are popular because they take less time to heat up than charcoal. They also provide more precise control over the flame and, thus, the cooking temperature. In one review posted on Amazon, a customer reports that his Char-Griller Grillin' Pro 3001 reached 500 degrees in two minutes and 675 degrees in eight minutes on a blustery day. If you expect to cook a quick meal on a charcoal grill, think again.

Inexpensive gas grills also come with features such as side burners and warming racks to make preparing food easier. The cleanup is simpler too: Just turn off the grill and clean the grate. With a charcoal barbecue, users must dispose of the ash and old charcoal (without getting it all over) and give the coals time to properly burn out.

In general, charcoal grills lack the convenience, heat control, and cooking speed of a gas grill. On the other hand, using charcoal briquettes (and perhaps wood) as fuel imparts an authentic smokiness undetectable with a gas grill. Many fans of charcoal grilling claim there is just no comparing the flavor. Another advantage: Charcoal grills generally take up less space than gas grills. They also tend to cost less up front, although experts say buying charcoal is pricier in the long run than filling a propane tank every couple of months. The barbecue and grilling site AmazingRibs.com goes into more detail on the pros and cons of charcoal vs. gas.

Infrared Grills.

Infrared technology is not new, but over the years it has remained a costlier feature. While gas and charcoal grills (like convection ovens) rely on heated air to cook the food, infrared grills direct heat toward a solid surface that sits below the grates, radiating infrared waves to the food above. This barrier also allows the grill grates to sit closer to the direct heat source, allowing for a super quick sear and minimizing charring caused by flare-ups. With this form of grilling, meats (and vegetables) tend to retain more moisture, because of the reduced reliance on airflow, which can dry out food. Infrared grills also claim to prevent hot and cold spots, cooking food more quickly and evenly.

While there's certainly a lot to recommend this barbecuing method, grills that employ it tend to be priced considerably higher and usually fall outside the Cheapism niche. A surprisingly low-cost addition to Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared line is the Kettleman TRU-Infrared 22.5" Charcoal Grill (starting at $107). A charcoal grill that uses infrared technology is a bit of a rarity. In this case, the grilling surface is a porcelain-coated steel disc, with raised grates and small slits between, that radiates heat. The experts at AmazingRibs.com insist, however, that even with these cutting-edge bells and whistles, the Char-Broil Kettleman doesn't entirely stand up to the classic Weber Premium and Napoleon Rodeo models.

Smokers.

Unlike a traditional grill, which cooks meat directly above the flame and exposes it to high heat, a smoker, whether it be electric, gas, or charcoal-powered, cooks meat at low temperatures in a closed, thickly insulated casing for even heating. Casings come in a variety of shapes and sizes -- from bullet to barrel, from egg-shaped to offset -- and one of the most popular types at present is the pellet smoker. Compressed hardwood pellets supposedly produce a more refined taste than charcoal, and pellet smokers are appreciated for their ease of use -- built-in thermostats and temperature controls let users just set them and walk away.

In general, smoking meat takes much more time than gas or even charcoal grilling. While true enthusiasts agree that the rich, complex, succulent flavor can't be achieved any other way, most people searching for a cheap BBQ grill simply don't have the time to devote to slow-cooking their meat, or the money to splurge on a dedicated smoker, which can run from $100 to $10,000 depending on the make, model, and amenities. Instructions from Weber can help you get started smoking on a standard charcoal grill such as our top pick, the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22".

Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table

(from $169.00)
Grill Type Gas
Cooking Surface 630 square inches
Grates Porcelain-coated cast iron
BTU 40,800 (12,000 for side burner)
Temperature Control 3 burners
Side Burner Yes
Warming Rack Yes
(from $149.00)
Grill Type Charcoal
Cooking Surface 363 square inches
Grates Plated steel with hinge
BTU N/A
Temperature Control Rust-resistant damper, temperature gauge
Side Burner N/A
Warming Rack N/A
(from $)
Grill Type Gas
Cooking Surface 430 square inches
Grates Porcelain-coated
BTU 30,000
Temperature Control 1 burner with 2 controls
Side Burner No
Warming Rack Yes
(from $199.00)
Grill Type Charcoal
Cooking Surface 365 square inches
Grates Heavy-gauge steel with hinge
BTU N/A
Temperature Control Air vents, heat diffuser, temperature gauge
Side Burner N/A
Warming Rack N/A
(from $80.00)
Grill Type Gas
Cooking Surface 280 square inches
Grates Porcelain-coated steel wire
BTU 26,500
Temperature Control 2 burners
Side Burner No
Warming Rack No
(from $)
Grill Type Gas
Cooking Surface 200 square inches
Grates Porcelain-coated stainless steel
BTU 10,500
Temperature Control 1 burner, infrared technology, temperature gauge
Side Burner No
Warming Rack No
(from $)
Grill Type Charcoal
Cooking Surface 360 square inches
Grates Porcelain-coated steel
BTU N/A
Temperature Control Infrared technology, oversize damper in lid, temperature gauge
Side Burner N/A
Warming Rack N/A

What We Looked For

Materials.

The material composition of the grill grates determines whether food tends to stick, as well as how evenly the heat disperses and, thus, how well the food cooks. Experts have the highest praise for porcelain-coated cast iron. Cast iron grill grates heat up quickly, hold the heat on the surface, and last a very long time. However, cast iron needs to be oiled to keep food from sticking too much. A high-quality porcelain coating serves the same function, cutting down on maintenance. Our top gas grill, the Char-Griller Grillin' Pro 3001, boasts porcelain-coated cast iron grates. It also has stainless-steel burners, which experts recommend as more durable than aluminum. The Huntington 30030HNT has a body made of cast aluminum, which experts say will last longer than painted steel. Our charcoal picks, for their part, have porcelain-enameled kettles that are strong and rust-resistant.

Cooking Surface.

Two-burner gas grills are common in this price range. Consumers can get a well-made grill by going with the smallest model in a line that would otherwise be out of reach. The trick is finding a good grill under $200 that's big enough to feed a crowd. Cheap grills typically fall between 200 and 700 square inches; the higher end of that range is generally reserved for gas grills. It's important to note that any side burner or warming rack is often counted in the cooking surface area listed in the specs.

Among our top picks, the Char-Griller Grillin' Pro 3001 reigns with a total of three burners and 438 square inches of primary cooking area. The rest is dedicated to the warming rack and side burner, totaling 630 square inches of cooking space. The 280-square-inch Char-Broil 2-Burner Gas Grill offers less surface area and no side burner or warming rack, features that consumers often mention in grill reviews (a version of this model with a warming rack is available). Charcoal barbecues tend to be smaller, although the best ones outpace the Char-Broil 2-Burner Gas Grill. Both the charcoal grills we recommend have more than 360 square inches of cooking space.

For grilling on the go, look to the Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 (starting at $110). This is a 200-square-inch portable gas grill with infrared technology designed to be thrown in the trunk for camping or tailgating. While most portable grills require charcoal, this propane model saves users from having to lug around a bag of briquettes.

BTUs.

One of the most prominent features of a gas grill is its BTU rating (specifically, British thermal units per hour). Manufacturers make it sound as though the grill with the most BTUs is the most powerful, but the size of the cooking surface must also factor in to any comparison. For example, the Char-Griller 3001, our pick for best cheap gas grill, features 40,800 BTUs for 438 square inches of primary cooking surface (minus the warming rack), or 93 BTUs per square inch. Our runner-up, the Huntington 30030HNT, has 330 square inches of primary cooking space (430 square inches total, including warming rack) and its two burners generate 30,000 BTUs, or about 91 BTUs per square inch. Experts say a gas grill should fall into a range of 80 to 100. Any lower and the heat output may not be sufficient; a higher number suggests an inefficient design that allows heat to escape.

Grill Reviews

Reviews for any given grill can be few and hard to find (especially for newer models). Vendors tend to favor a few particular brands and carry exclusive models, offering a limited choice of where to buy and limited sources of feedback from consumers. We pored over user reviews on the websites of retailers including Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, and Amazon. We also considered the recommendations of experts from AmazingRibs.com and About.com, where the site's grilling guru has been covering the industry and testing grills for more than 15 years. Cooking performance is the most common subject of the grill reviews we found, and durability is a close second. We also saw plenty of feedback on how easy (or difficult) it is to assemble, use, and clean each grill.

Cooking Performance.

Even heating is a fundamental "must have" in a top budget grill. Based on comments from consumers and experts, all our picks fare well on this front. Features such as a heat diffuser inside the Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle Grill and dual smokestacks on the Char-Griller 3001 are designed to encourage even heating. Reviews indicate they work as promised: For instance, the Char-Griller 3001 excels at temperature control, according to consumers posting on the Lowe's website. The thermometer is accurate, dedicated controls for each burner help prevent cold spots, and food comes out cooked to perfection.

Gas grills come with settings or dials that manage where and how high the flame is, providing precise temperature control. It's tougher to control the temperature with a charcoal grill, given that there's no mechanism for adjusting the size of the flame. As an alternative, they have dampers to control the temperature: Open the vents to let in oxygen to fuel the fire and close them to lower the heat. Some charcoal models feature adjustable grates that let the user dictate how close the food is to the heat source. The Char-Broil Kettleman grill's infrared design shields food from direct flames, and its cooking plate guarantees that smaller items won't slip through cracks into the fire.

Durability.

Reviewers appreciate the sturdy construction of the grills we recommend, declaring them more solidly built than their cheap prices might suggest. Weber grills enjoy a particularly good reputation for durability. There are things you can do to make a grill last longer, such as storing it in a covered area, using a grill cover for protection, and making sure the grate is oiled and cleaned after each use. When cleaning porcelain-coated grill grates, scrub gently with a metal-bristle brush. Don't use a metal scraper, because it will chip the porcelain.

Among hundreds of mostly positive reviews of the grills on our list, we noted a few that complain about issues such as rusting, leaks, flimsy wheels, and ignition problems. The Char-Broil 2-Burner Gas Grill is the subject of an alarming report on Amazon: A repeat buyer (who was happy with a previous version for five years) says flames flared out the front of this model and melted the knobs. Other consumers echo the reviewer's comments about flimsy construction.

Ease of Use.

While it's generally not difficult to use or clean the grills on our list, some models can be tough to assemble. Several reviewers have found the Char-Griller 3001 difficult to put together, with poor instructions, although others seem baffled by such complaints. Although the Huntington 30030HNT gets high praise in other areas, it also garners some complaints about assembly. On Amazon, one consumer says the so-called "pre-assembled" parts are not that at all.

Whichever way you cut it, charcoal grills are messier and more complicated to use than the gas variety. With propane, all you have to do is make sure there's fuel in the tank, turn on the burner, wait a few minutes, and you're good to go. Most charcoal grills require that you pile up the lump charcoal or briquettes, get them to ignite (this can be tricky), wait a good 20 minutes, then scatter the fuel.

Still, some demand more effort than others. The word "easy" shows up again and again in reviews of the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22", our top pick among low-cost charcoal grills. Consumers rave about the design, which includes the popular One-Touch cleaning system. A flick of a switch allows ash to fall into a removable pan. Both our top picks have hinged cooking grates for adding more charcoal while food is cooking.

Additional Products We Considered

Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Review

(From $110.00 )

This portable propane gas grill may be small, but it's mighty. A Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 review on Amazon reports that it cooks meat well, sealing in the juices without burning. Several others consider the unit sturdy and very high quality.

Consumers who have posted reviews on the Walmart website have nothing but good things to say about the Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 (starting at $110, Amazon). They admire how quickly it heats up, how evenly it cooks, and how well it travels, holding up to any bumps and jostles along the way.

The Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is a single-burner grill with 200 square inches of cooking space. It features infrared technology designed to cook evenly and prevent flare-ups. The cooking grate is porcelain-coated stainless steel. This portable grill has a push-button electric igniter and generates 10,500 BTU. Fuel comes from a 16.4-ounce disposable liquid propane dispenser, sold separately. It's a welcome option given that many cheap portable grills require a heavy bag of charcoal briquettes. Users can also purchase a hose and adapter kit for hooking the grill to a 20-pound propane tank.

With exceptionally positive user reviews and rugged construction, the portable Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is our top pick for consumers who frequently camp or tailgate, as well as apartment dwellers without room for a full-size grill.

Char-Broil Kettleman TRU-Infrared 22.5" Charcoal Grill Reivew

(From $129.00 )

Experts and consumers alike praise the Char-Broil Kettleman 22.5" Charcoal Grill (starting at $129, Amazon). The infrared technology is rare in charcoal grills, and those who have tried it find it impressive. One Amazon shopper writing a review of this cheap grill says it should be named the "Weber Killer" and prophesies that it will soon beat out that top-rated brand because the infrared technology cooks to perfection, the quality is right up there, and the ease of use is amazing. Consumers reviewing the grill at Lowe's make similar comments.

The experts at AmazingRibs.com are likewise impressed with this cheap charcoal grill. The only complaints they muster: The dampers don't work as well as the ones on the Weber model, and it's a little bit more complicated to save charcoal for next time -- something easily done with a Weber. Reviewers also say the ash tray is a little harder to empty. Other than that, and a few adjustments required when cooking, meats can be seared in a jiffy and users can expect even cooking without hot spots or flare-ups.

Infrared technology in a charcoal grill is all but unheard of, and that's what makes the Char-Broil Kettleman uniquely appealing. Instead of exposing meat to the heat from the charcoal, it has a porcelain-plated steel disc with small slats that allows the meat to sit very close to the heat without burning, releasing drippings, or charring on the outside while leaving the inside rare. The disc retains heat energy and radiates it outward to evenly cook food. It also reduces circulation of drying air, allowing meats to retain their juices. This technology also claims to require less charcoal to heat up because of the fuel's proximity to the grilling surface -- something reviewers note to be true.

Other standout features include the ability to smoke on the grill without buying any adapters, a convenient hinged lid, and a grilling surface that doesn't let food fall through. The slits in the steel disc are so thin that even the smallest pieces of seafood, meat, or vegetables stay put. A manufacturer's warranty covers the firebox and lid for 10 years, the ash pan for five years, and all other parts for two years.

We're impressed with many features in the Char-Broil Kettleman 22.5" Charcoal Kettle Grill, especially the infrared technology. Although critics say this model is not quite ready to unseat the go-to brands in charcoal grilling, we saw very few complaints from users. Give this cheap charcoal grill a try if you're ready for something new and willing to make a few adjustments to your cooking style.