Best barbecue 2021: our top picks of gas and charcoal BBQs

This BBQ season pick up the best barbecue for alfresco dining and evening entertaining, with our top picks from Weber, Char-Broil, Everdure and more

best barbecue
(Image credit: Weber)

If there's one summer essential we all need, it's the best barbecue. Not only do barbecues cook summer meals that are packed with smokey flavour, but they also allow you to dine alfresco with your friends and family. 

On hot summer days, the best BBQs will give you a welcome break from your kitchen, and in our best barbecue guide, we've featured some classic charcoal BBQs and gas models, too. Some of our options are clearly designed to impress, with immense burners that can feed as many as 12 people at once. Combine that with warming racks and side burners, and your garden party will be well catered to. 

Of course, for some it's tempting to go for a charcoal barbecue. With their classic kettle design, these barbecues are best suited to homes with small garden spaces, because they often take up less space and are simple to store. While ignition is less easy than with a gas barbecue, there is something charming about the smell and experience of lighting your charcoal for a classic smokey hot dog or flame-grilled steak. If this doesn't sound like your type of BBQ, check out our best gas barbecues guide. Otherwise, keep reading for our top picks for all types of grills. 

What is the best barbecue type for you? 

The best barbecues of 2021 by type

Charcoal barbecues

Many of us have fond memories of charcoal barbecues. Whether it's by the beach or in your own garden, a charcoal grill is a favourite for its lightweight design and classic BBQ flavour. Gas BBQs have tried to replicate this with various grill adjustments, but if you want something simple that can cook for a modest crowd, a charcoal barbie will give you those chargrilled veggies, just how you like them.

While they're less budget-friendly, many people also enjoy a kamado barbecue for slow-cooking. These sturdy barbecues are less portable and more of a permanent fixture in any garden, but their thick walls are designed to insulate for efficiency and slow roasting. 

Gas barbecues 

Because they offer easy ignition and give off a lot less smoke, gas barbecues are very popular right now. They typically offer anywhere from one to six burners, so there are many options for feasting in our guide. If you want to entertain this summer, gas BBQs are often the best pick. 

Hybrid barbecues

A hybrid combines both, which can offer a great versatility for those who like to switch it up. Some have different burners for gas and charcoal, while others allow you to pick a fuel type and utilise the entirety of the barbecue. 

Best charcoal barbecues 2021

Perhaps it’s the rugged and almost primitive nature that makes cooking on a charcoal BBQ such a treat. Gas options have risen dramatically in popularity over the past few years but if you are after that authentic smokey taste then you cannot beat a charcoal BBQ. From the pocket-friendly open grills to the outright extravagant American-style smokers, we round up the best charcoal BBQ’s to suit every budget

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Weber One Touch

Best charcoal barbecue
(Image credit: Weber)
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Weber One Touch

Best charcoal barbecue
(Image credit: Weber)

1. Weber One Touch E4710

Best charcoal barbecue: the classic charcoal barbecue

Specifications
Type: Charcoal
Dimensions: L118.1 x W71.1 x H121.9cm
Colours: Blaze red
Reasons to buy
+Reasonably priced+Ash catcher included+Lightweight+All-weather wheels+Tool hooks in-built
Reasons to avoid
-A smaller option-Only one burner

The traditional kettle charcoal barbecue is a classic for a reason. Take this one from Weber on the go with its tripod design and two rear wheels. 

For smaller families or small spaces, you'll find this barbecue more than capable of catering to your every need this summer. It's not the largest you can buy, but it maxes out on cooking space for the overall size with a 47cm diameter kettle. 

Available for around £200, we recommend the Weber One Touch E4710 for those who want a tried and trusted brand barbecue without the high price tag. 

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best barbecue

(Image credit: Weber)
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best barbecue

(Image credit: Weber)

2. Weber Compact Kettle Charcoal BBQ

Best budget charcoal barbecue: designed for tight spaces and budgets

Specifications
Type: Charcoal
Dimensions: 98CM H X56CM W X 63CM D
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+Weatherproof and rust resistant+An ash catcher to contain loose ashes+Easy to assemble+Durable and easy to clean+This deceivingly compact design can cook for up to 8 people
Reasons to avoid
-Small frame-Not for partying 

The Weber compact kettle BBQ not only comes highly rated, it is also an absolute steal for anyone on a tight budget. It’s neat, sleek compact design won’t take up too much space on a patio, however this deceptively small BBQ can actually cook for up to 8 people. 

Unlike some charcoal BBQ’s, the Weber Compact Kettle simplifies the art of cooking on coals and is ideal for anyone venturing into the world of fire and smoke for the first time.  So dust off the tongs and fire up the BBQ - it’s time to cook! 

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Kamado Joe bbq

Best kamado charcoal barbecue
(Image credit: Kamado Joe)
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Kamado Joe bbq

Best kamado charcoal barbecue
(Image credit: Kamado Joe)

3. Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill

Best kamado charcoal barbecue: ideal for serious outdoor cooking enthusiasts

Specifications
Type: Charcoal
Dimensions: L118.1 x W71.1 x H121.9cm
Colours: Blaze red
Reasons to buy
+Perfect for smoking from 225F all the way to searing at 750F.+Patented Ash Drawer – with a slide-out drawer, cleanup is easy. +Locking wheels for ease of movement.
Reasons to avoid
-It's an expensive option-At 85kg it's a hefty barbecue that's not designed for travelling

The Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill really is for BBQ enthusiasts that mean business. It may come with a hefty price tag but the Kamado Joe provides the ultimate barbecuing experience - from low and slow to rapid roast, it does it all. 

This charcoal barbecue has a multi-level half-moon cooking system to revolutionise your BBQ experience by allowing you the space to cook different foods in different styles at different temperatures—all at the same time.

It comes in a striking blaze red colour and the ash drawer makes it easy to remove ash when cleaning. 

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Rösle

Best barbecue for beginners
(Image credit: Rösle)
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Rösle

Best barbecue for beginners
(Image credit: Rösle)

4. Rösle 25001 Number 1 F50 AIR Kettle Grill

Best barbecue for beginners: this charcoal barbecue couldn't be easier to use

Specifications
Type: Charcoal
Dimensions: L86 x W62 x H48cm
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+Practical hinge lid+Rubber wheels to provide a sturdy base and for ease of movement+High quality performance+Durable kettle grill+Comfortable working height and large grill surface 
Reasons to avoid
-It's not the cheapest -The kettle design lacks larger grilling areas

Everyone has to start somewhere when it comes to barbecuing and the Rösle 25001 Number 1 F50 AIR Kettle Grill is a good place to start. With its easy to use ventilation system and built in ash removal container, the Rösle will have you flipping burgers in no time. Unlike other kettle grills, the Rösle comes with a practical hinged lid which means there is never the need to remove it, just flip it back and feast.

It comes partly pre-assembled to make it easy and fast to set up and once it's going you're not on your own. The simple AIR control system can be used at the turn of a knob.

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BergHOFF – Leo Carbon Steel Outdoor Tabletop BBQ

Best travel charcoal barbecue
(Image credit: BergHOFF)
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BergHOFF – Leo Carbon Steel Outdoor Tabletop BBQ

Best travel charcoal barbecue
(Image credit: BergHOFF)

5. Berghoff Tabletop Bbq

Best travel charcoal barbecue: designed for outdoor adventures

Specifications
Type: Charcoal
Dimensions: L35 x W35 x H22 centimetres
Colours: Black and white
Reasons to buy
+Sleek lightweight portable design with removable silicone carry handle+Grill on the go+Cork lid that doubles up as a heatproof mat+Sturdy drum design made from carbon steel+Clip on handle+Choice of two chic colours
Reasons to avoid
-Limited use in the garden-Expensive for its size

Take camp cooking to a whole new level with the BergHOFF portable barbeque. This miniature charcoal grilling machine may not pack as much of a punch in terms of grill space as its big brothers and sisters but it can really hold its own when it comes to portable outdoor cooking - in fact it is at the top of its class. 

Complete with a removable soft silicone carry strap and cork lid that doubles up as a heatproof mat, this perfectly portable BBQ is ready to go on any adventure. 

Whether you’re heading off for a relaxing day on the beach or a picnic in the park, the BergHOFF portable BBQ will become your favourite cooking companion.

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SMOKEY MOUNTAIN COOKER SERIES

Best slow barbecue
(Image credit: Weber)
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SMOKEY MOUNTAIN COOKER SERIES

Best slow barbecue
(Image credit: Weber)

6. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Best slow barbecue: ideal for fans of American low and slow barbecuing

Specifications
Type: Charcoal
Dimensions: H79.8 X W37.4 X D37.4cm
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+Available in 3 sizes+Integrated water pan and charring+Sleek bullet design+Tiered cooking area large enough to smoke-cook ribs and brisket at the same time+Built to last and comes with a 10 year warranty
Reasons to avoid
-Small grill size for the overall frame 

Fans of classic American barbeque know that it is all about the smoke when it comes to adding flavour to your food. The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker is perfect for rustling up stacks of smoked goodness - whether it’s succulent salmon, tender pulled pork or delicious smoked cheese, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is your new best friend. 

Not only does this stylish piece of kit add that classic smokey American flavour, it also comes in 3 sizes to suit your space and four rust-resistant aluminium dampers to help control airflow within the cooking chamber. This tried and true BBQ includes a built in water pan to help you regulate the temperature as well as two stacking grates giving you plenty of room to create a real Southern feast. 

Adding coal or maple wood to the charcoal chamber is made easy with a sturdy aluminium fuel door and the bars are close enough together to stop the crumbling coals or wood from falling through.

Cooking with gas

Gas barbecues are some of the best barbecues you can buy. They have easy ignition and all you need to do is hook them up to a bottle of gas to get the party started. No fiddly firelighting required! Typically these BBQs can be found in the states, where people love their convenience and have large enough gardens to accommodate the often generous size. If that sounds like you, opt for gas! 

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Everdure By Heston Blumenthal FORCE 2

(Image credit: Everdure)
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Everdure By Heston Blumenthal FORCE 2

(Image credit: Everdure)

1. Everdure By Heston Blumenthal Gas BBQ

Best gas barbecue: an iconic gas BBQ that's perfect for families

Specifications
Type: Gas
Size: H106.7 x W117.5 x D74.3cm
Colour: Mint, orange, charcoal
Reasons to buy
+Looks great+Family-sized design+Lockable castors+Lightweight frame+Variable flame control
Reasons to avoid
-Self-assembly required

Last year's standout gas BBQ; the Everdure By Heston Blumenthal FORCE 2 impressed across the board for its slick design and powerful cooking. Available in three colours - mint, orange and charcoal, and including accessories and a BBQ cover when you buy, there's everything you need to get the party started.

When off duty, this barbecue looks a treat, but it's a brilliant burner too. The ignition is ergonomic and it claims to fire up to temperature in five minutes, meaning you can cook in a hurry and not waste your gas supply as it heats up. 

The convection hood is extra high, designed to fit a 6kg turkey, so you can also use this gas BBQ for bulkier tasks than just a burger. The hood and grill plates are enamel coated, designed for easy cleaning. 

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barbecue

Best small gas BBQ
(Image credit: CharBroil)
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barbecue

Best small gas BBQ
(Image credit: CharBroil)

2. Char-Broil All-Star 120 B-GAS

Best budget gas BBQ: convenient and portable

Specifications
Type: Gas
Size: H110xW101xL64.6cm
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+Detachable from its base for tabletop use+Lighter than most+Side shelves fold away+Designed for balconies 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the largest cooking area-The frame is on the flimsy side

Electric ignition makes the Char-Broil All-Star 120 B-GAS easy to use, and it comes on a portable frame on four casters. This barbecue can also be taken out of the stand and placed on a tabletop, making it even more portable.

According to Char-Broil this BBQ was designed for balconies and small gardens. Its cooking area is 46cm in diameter which isn't huge, but it's certainly big enough for a few steaks.

Other thoughtful touches include the lid, which has an in-built thermometer, and the TRU-Infrared cooking system which claims to cut back on flare-ups and wasted gas. 

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bbq

(Image credit: Weber)
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bbq

(Image credit: Weber)

3. Weber Genesis II E-310

Best premium gas BBQ: cook up a storm for the whole family

Specifications
Type: Gas
Size: H158xW150xD79cm
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+A BBQ enthusiast's top pick+Cast-iron grates for added flavour+Connect the thermometer to your phone
Reasons to avoid
-An investment

The Weber Genesis II E-310 is one of the most popular barbecues around. Take it from Indy Best, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and other experts, this barbecue is as smart as they come. 

It does weigh over 65kg, so don't expect it to be a travel companion, but home grill-masters will find its 68 X 48cm cooking area sufficient for family-sized meals and garden parties.

The cast-iron, porcelain enamelled grates will lock in flavour and season over time, and you can pair it with the iGrill3 - an app-enabled thermometer. Now that's smart.

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John Lewis & Partners 6 Burner Gas BBQ

(Image credit: John Lewis)
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John Lewis & Partners 6 Burner Gas BBQ

(Image credit: John Lewis)

4. John Lewis & Partners 6 Burner Gas BBQ

Best family-size gas BBQ: a mighty model that can cater to a crowd

Specifications
Burners: 6
Size: H115.2 x W158.6 x D55.8cm
Weight: 80kg
Reasons to buy
+Feeds up to 12+Cut-out griddle for pizza stones and more+Side shelves for storage+Great value for such a large BBQ+Optional side burner
Reasons to avoid
-It could be tricky to store-Self assembly required

The John Lewis & Partners 6 Burner Gas BBQ is finished in sleek silver and has six burners as well as an optional side burner. It's somewhat reasonably priced given how vast this gas barbecue really is, and it can cater to up to (or over) 12 people at a time. The barbecue also comes with an in-built warmer shelf that will keep food warm while you're still grilling. The side burner can be folded away, acting as a shelf for storing plates and cutlery as you prepare your feast. 

With so many burners this definitely isn't a BBQ for those without much space, but if you can spare the room to store it you'll appreciate the fact that it comes with four wheels, and that the side shelves fold down to make it a little narrower. 

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Very 6-Burner Gas BBQ with Side Burner

Best large gas BBQ for the money
(Image credit: Very)
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Very 6-Burner Gas BBQ with Side Burner

Best large gas BBQ for the money
(Image credit: Very)

5. 6-Burner Gas BBQ with Side Burner

Best large gas BBQ for the money: who says a large grill has to be expensive?

Specifications
Type: Gas
Size: L55xW118xH97 cm
Colour: Grey
Reasons to buy
+Cooks up a feast+Lightweight frame+Six burners at a low price
Reasons to avoid
-Large space requirements

This generously sized barbecue has six burners and even a side burner. There's a warming rack inside the hood for keeping those burgers warm while you work on the rest of the meal, and each burner can be ignited independently. 

The BBQ also comes with two large wheels, designed to make transportation easier than ever. 

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best barbecue Campingaz Attitude 2100 LX

Best portable gas BBQ
(Image credit: Campingaz)
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best barbecue Campingaz Attitude 2100 LX

Best portable gas BBQ
(Image credit: Campingaz)

6. Campingaz Attitude 2100 LX

Best portable gas BBQ: take this option on family camping trips

Specifications
Type: Gas
Dimensions: 65 x 52 x 36
Colour: Black
Reasons to buy
+Two burners+Generous cooking area+Easy to store+Great for travels
Reasons to avoid
-Not large enough for feasting

If you’re looking for a family-sized portable BBQ, the Campingaz Attitude 2100 LX may be just the ticket. Thanks to its built-in carry handles, the BBQ is easy to transport, but it still has 58 x 36 cm of cooking space.

With all the convenience of a gas BBQ but not the same space requirements, this is a top choice for those who like to travel. 

Best hybrid barbecues 2021

Can't choose between the best charcoal barbecue or a gas alternative? Why not pick both. The best hybrid barbecues are surprisingly affordable given their versatility, and some even come with two cooking zones so you can operate different fuel types simultaneously. 

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Char-Broil gas2coal

Best premium hybrid barbecue
(Image credit: Char-Broil)
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Char-Broil gas2coal

Best premium hybrid barbecue
(Image credit: Char-Broil)

1. Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill

Best premium hybrid barbecue: our tried and tested top hybrid grill

Specifications
Type: Hybrid
Dimensions: 62.5 x 134.4 x 120.7cm
Colour: Black
Reasons to buy
+Side burner+Charocal tray is designed to prevent flare-ups+Warming rack
Reasons to avoid
-Arms can't be taken down for storage

Designed to run entirely on either gas or coal, you can switch out the Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill based on the dish you're cooking or simply your mood. 

The warming rack keeps food warm and can toast burner buns while you work on the main event, and there are two side arms (one with a side burner) to support you as you go. 

Ignition is convenient and electronic, and the charcoal tray makes it easy to clean and switch out the type of fuel you use. 

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Premium Dual Fuel

Best large hybrid barbecue
(Image credit: Argos)
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Premium Dual Fuel

Best large hybrid barbecue
(Image credit: Argos)

3. Argos Premium Dual Fuel Charcoal & Gas Combi BBQ

Best large hybrid barbecue: for entertaining or extravagant meals

Specifications
Type: Hybrid
Dimensions: H116, W139, D59cm
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+Cook with charcoal and gas+Different cooking areas can run simultaneously+Large and great for entertaining
Reasons to avoid
-Looks are lacking-Assembly takes time

Given its immense size, the Argos Premium Dual Fuel Charcoal & Gas Combi BBQ is very affordable. It's a bit lacking in the looks department, with a minimal frame and a side arm jutting out, but there's loads of room for storage and a range of convenient features. 

You can use the left burner for gas and right for charcoal, or run them simultaneously for the added convenience of cooking two types of meat at the same time. The front shelf is designed to hold condiments and oil for added ease of use. 

How to choose the best barbecue

Portability

Some barbecues are designed to be taken on the go. Whether you want to take it camping or simply make storage easier, opting for a lightweight barbecue with wheels or a removable base will make this easier.

Price

The best barbecue could cost as much as £1,000. Sometimes you'll pay even more for a professional-level option from a top brand like Weber or Kamado Joe. They can come in for under £100 though, so there really is a barbecue out there for every budget. 

Size

Cooking for a crowd? The more burners the merrier when it comes to entertaining. This will allow you to cook various dishes at once and cater to large groups all at the same time. Some come with warming shelves so you can still serve everything simultaneously, and others have side burners to prepare sauces and dips while you cook. 

Millie Fender
Millie Fender

Millie started writing for Livingetc in 2021. Specialising in indoor and outdoor cooking, Millie is always testing kitchen appliances like juicers, stand mixers, and pizza ovens. She loves finding renter-friendly ways of adding her own touch to living spaces, and browsing the property market for houses with larger kitchens.