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Grilling is a rewarding experience that creates good food, brings people together, and it’s just fun. While most people have their stationary grill safely tucked away in the backyard, the problem with these big grills is that they can’t go anywhere. What if you want to tailgate or grill on the beach? No way you’re lugging that monster of a grill with you.
Don’t worry, there’s an alternative that’s just as tasty. Portable grills are nearly identical to your backyard grill, the only difference is that you can carry them around with you. Most portable propane grills are less than 50lbs and work with a 1lb propane tank.
These grills come in two flavors: tabletop and cart-style. We’ll cover tabletop propane grills today and write about cart-style propane grills at a later time. Read on to find out what to look for and which grills are our favorites.
What is a Tabletop Propane Portable Grill?
A tabletop portable propane grill is exactly what it sounds like. These grills are usually around 50lbs or less, so one person can carry them, and they fit on a tabletop. Most of these portable gas grills have tiny legs, but they need to be raised up on a table or bench (unless you want to cook while sitting down).
Cooking performance largely depends on what you’re cooking. If you’re grilling burgers and dogs, then a portable gas grill gives you more than enough power. If you’re making steak, chicken, and other foods, then cooking performance is still great, but you’ll have to be picky about what you choose. The premium grills give you enough BTUs while the more affordable grills may not be enough.
Size is typically around 120 to 350 square inches, which is enough for two to six people respectively. Burner control depends on the grill. More affordable models don’t give you as much control while premium portable gas grills rival their stationary counterparts.
Tabletop Propane Portable Grill Pros and Cons
Portable Propane Grill Pros
- Go anywhere and grill up tasty eats
- Lightweight and large enough to cook for 2-6 people
- Surprisingly versatile; stronger units rival stationary grills
Portable Propane Grill Cons
- May have less burner control
- You need a raised surface to rest the grill on
- Not ideal for large parties or gatherings
Best Tabletop Propane Portable Grills
Here’s our favorite tabletop portable gas grills. We cover each model in detail to help you make your decision. Consider each one carefully. Your burgers depend on it!
Premium 1: Napoleon Grills TQ285 Portable Gas Grill
- Measurements: 19.2x24x14 inches, 285 square inches of cooking space, 25lbs
- Stylish red wind-deflective lid, made from aluminum and stainless steel
- Two independently-controlled burners, 12,000 BTUs each (24,000 BTUs total)
This portable gas grill cooks as good as it looks (and we think it looks sexy). Don’t let the attractive red cover fool you. This grill doesn’t just look stylish, it performs as well as a large stationary grill. You get power, control, and many premium features in a compact package.
There are two independently-controlled 12,000 BTU (24,000 BTUs total) stainless steel burners here and temperature control knobs on the front. Control each with ease and cook your meal to perfection. There’s a highly accurate thermometer on the lid for precision cooking. You get 285 square inches of cooking space, enough for 14-18 burgers.
The porcelainized cast iron grid provides excellent heating and a non-stick surface for meat, vegetables, or anything else you want to grill. You can swap out for a cast iron griddle if that’s more your speed. With all this power and precision you can bake, sear, roast, and smoke.
The Napoleon TQ285 is light at only 25 pounds. That’s due to the aluminum body. Handling is simple with the carry handle and the bottom legs snap and lock for easy portability.
We highly recommend this portable propane grill for all your on-the-go grilling needs. It’s got all the features you need with a stylish and functional body.
- Stylish, wind-resistant lid that holds heat and has a thermometer for precision cooking
- Enough space for 14-18 burgers with two independently-controlled burners
- Lightweight at 25 pounds and a convenient carrying handle
- Wind resistance is somewhat spotty when the lid is open, but still performs better than many other grills in this respect
Premium 2: Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill
- Measurements: 25.1 x 51.4 x 26 in, 280 square inches of cooking space, 42.5lbs
- Powerful stainless steel burner at 12,000 BTUs
- Folding side tables for more work space
Portable gas grills tend to have thinner materials to reduce weight, but Weber found a way to create a quality portable grill that’s only 42.5lbs. You get a stainless steel burner, porcelain-enameled, cast iron cooking grates, and a cast aluminum lid and body that are lightweight and highly durable. This is a portable grill that can take a beating and still hold heat like a champ. Expect even heating no matter where you place your burgers, dogs, or other tasty ingredients.
You get lots of power with 12,000 BTUs of heat and a large 280 square inch cooking space, making it one the best portable propane grills. That’s enough for 12+ burgers. Two folding tables on the sides make cooking a breeze and there’s a removable catch pan that gets all the drippings. An electronic ignition gets everything started with the push of a button. In six minutes you can expect the grill to reach a scorching 450 degrees.
Everything is powered by disposable LP cylinders. Connect either a 14.1oz or 16.4oz propane cylinder and you’re good to go. You can connect a 20lb propane tank with an adapter hose (sold separately). Disposable cylinders last about 2 hours when set to high, but you’ll often get much longer if you cook on medium. Speaking of which, you can change the temperature with a simple knob and there’s a built-in thermometer that tells you the temperature.
With a strong burner, professional features, and the work tables for extra space, this is a premium portable grill that you’re sure to love.
- The side tables are a wonderful addition, really increase your work space
- Very strong burner that can cook thick steaks, hardy vegetables, and anything else you love
- Quality materials that are durable, hold heat, and ensure even heating
- Single burner
- Very short legs, you’ll definitely need a raised surface to cook on
Best Value: Giantex Propane Tabletop Gas Grill
- Weighs 26lbs, made entirely from stainless steel
- Two independently-controlled burners, each 10,000 BTUs (20,000 BTUs total)
- Measurements: 22 x 18 x 15 in, 266 square inches of cooking space
The Giantex Tabletop Grill is a powerhouse that will give you tasty grill marks on any food you like. Whether at the beach in your backyard, this is a portable gas grill that will deliver tasty results. Despite its power, this is a lightweight grill at 26 pounds. The folding legs and locking lid make it easy to store while the carrying handle makes moving a breeze.
You’ll find the Giantex Tabletop Grill is as simple as it is versatile. Made for professional grillers, the whole body is made from 430 stainless steel. It’s durable, easy to clean, and makes food delicious. Assembly should take less than 10 minutes and anyone can put it together. The grill comes with a hose to connect 20lb propane tanks with ease. You’ll find a handy thermometer on the lid.
Twin burners are independently controlled with individual control knobs. The push-and-turn ignition means no matches needed. You’ll get a flame going in seconds and there’s a total of 20,000 BTUs of power here (10,000 BTUs per burner). There’s a control knob for each burner, so set one high, one low, or have them meet in the middle. Cook for multiple people on the large 266 square inch cooking surface.
When everything’s all finished, simply fold the legs back up and pack the grill away. There’s even a concealed grease trap that you can clean at your convenience. This grill is made for professional grilling on-the-go. From burgers and dogs to steak and vegetables, this grill can cook it all.
- Lightweight stainless steel construction, only weighs 26lbs
- Precision cooking with two independently-controlled burners
- Large cooking surface of 266 square inches
- Experiences a fair amount of flair-ups
- Legs don’t close flush
Affordable: Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Gas Grill
- Weighs 13.5lbs, has 145 square inch cooking space and easy-carry handle
- 5,500 BTUs and is ready in minutes
- Measurements: 16 x 16.5 x 13 in
If you’re looking to grill on-the-go without spending lots of money, then the Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Grill might be one of the best portable propane grills for you. It comes with enough space to grill for two or more people, is strong enough to grill burgers and chicken, and it’s incredibly light and easy to carry.
The grilling surface is 145 square inches, which should be more than enough for two to four people. You can cook 8 burgers, 6-10 chicken breasts, or 4lbs of fish. The porcelain-enameled grate ensures even-heating and it’s simple to clean. At 5,500 BTUs of power, this portable grill lasts for many hours while grilling meat to perfection.
Portability is one of the Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Grill’s strongest features. At only 13.5 pounds and measuring 16 x 16.5 x 13 in, this grill is simple for anyone to carry. It looks like a small briefcase and even has a briefcase-style handle for easy carrying. The legs require no effort to fold and lock, and the lid locks to ensure it doesn’t open while you’re carrying it.
While not the strongest grill, the Petit Gourmet Portable Grill excels in portability and is great for two to four people. If you want juicy burgers while tailgating or chicken on the beach, then this might be the grill for you.
- Extremely lightweight at 13.5 pounds
- Sets up in minutes and gets right to cooking
- Surprising amount of room considering the price, good enough for two to four people
- Grease trap has a small capacity
- Maximum heat is around 500 degrees, the other portable grills on this list are around 600-700 degrees
Tabletop Portable Propane Grill Buying Guide
Here we’ll talk about the most important features to look for in the best portable propane grills. Comparing each tabletop portable grill can be difficult without a guide, so our portable grill buying guide is here to lend you a hand. Be sure to consider your own preferences as they will help you make the final decision.
- Portability: All of these grills are portable, but some are heavier than others. Maybe you can’t lug 50lbs around by yourself, and that’s fine. Consider how much you’re able to carry. These grills are only convenient if you’re able to carry them around.
- Surface Area: Most tabletop portable grills offer around 120 to 350 square inches, but how much do you actually need? About 120 to 150 square inches is good enough for two people, 150 to 250 is good for four people and 250 to 350 is good for five or six people.
- BTUs: This is a measurement of how much gas is used when heating the grill. There are exceptions, but usually a higher BTU measurement is stronger and hotter. Portable grills sometimes have high BTUs to compensate for thinner materials being unable to hold heat. In general, look for grills with about 80 to 100 BTUs per square inch.
- Burner Controls: Portable propane grills may suffer from poor burner control. This largely depends on the exact model you buy. If you’re only cooking burgers and dogs, then this often won’t be an issue. If you need complete control of your cooking, then consider a portable grill with more control.
- Burner/Grate Material: In general, stainless steel is the best material available. It holds heat well, is highly durable, and lasts a long time. Brass and cast iron are good too and have their place, but stainless steel comes out on top.
The Best portable propane grills are fantastic for grilling on-the-go. Whether you love tailgating, cooking on the beach, cooking outside, or making burgers anywhere else, you’ll find that portable gas grills deliver delicious results each and every time.
If you need the best results and are willing to spend a little more, then we highly suggest the Napoleon TQ-285. It’s basically a full-sized grill shrunk down for portability and convenience. You get tons of power and lots of features. This is what the professionals bring for tailgating and camping trips. All the flavor and power without any sacrifices.
For those who want to spend a little less without sacrificing quality, the Giantex grill is a strong contender for grill of the year. Whether you’re a pitmaster looking to tailgate or an amateur craving strong flavors, this grill is powerful and dependable.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a highly convenient and portable grill. If portability is your main concern and you want a lightweight grill that can still cook juicy burgers and dogs (or steak if you’re up for it), then the Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Grill is your best bet. It’s smaller and weaker than the others, but it’s also the lightest and easiest to carry. Plus, it’s the most affordable by far and still produces tasty food.
It all depends on what you’re looking for. The Premium grills have the most power, Best Value has slightly less power but a better price tag, and the Affordable grill is the most portable while still having enough power for burgers and other common meals. Consider your needs and preferences and we’re sure you’ll pick the perfect portable grill.