Whether you are warm weather baseball tailgater, a crisp cold weather football tailgater, or a year-round car camper, it’s never a bad time to dust off your camping gear and head out into the great outdoors. But what if you don’t have an quick & easy grill ready to go?
That’s where these best portable gas grills come in! They’re perfect for tailgating or times when you want fresh grilled food (no electric grill here!) without having to deal with carrying heavy cookware around, managing a live fire, or dealing with a pellet grill. So take a look below at our top three (and one bonus) picks for this summer season!
Here are more details on each of the best grill options.
Best Overall – Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill
It’s finally warm out and you’re itching to get outside. But what if you don’t have a grill ready to go? The Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill might be your best tailgate grill option! A Coleman grill is the standby brand for camping & tailgating – and their new model comes through.
- GRILLING POWER: Up to 20,000 total BTUs
- 3 ADJUSTABLE BURNERS: With improved burner technology for more precise temperature control
- LARGE GRILLING AREA: 285 sq. inches
- EASY SETUP: Sturdy quick-fold legs and wheels
- THERMOMETER: Integrated design for accurate temperature monitoring
It has plenty of power, is easy to set up, and comes with an integrated thermometer for accurate temperature control & monitoring. Plus it won’t take up much space in the trunk or backseat of your car! Coleman is a go-to brand for many tailgating & camping equipment. The RoadTrip 285 is especially designed for quick set-up, good grilling area, and simple push-button ignition. If you want all of this for a good price, this is the best portable grill for you.
Best Tabletop – Cuisinart CGG-306 Chef’s Style Portable Propane Tabletop
If you’re looking for the perfect portable grill to take on your camping trips, tailgates, or backyard BBQs then check out Cuisinart’s CGG-306 Chef’s Style Portable Propane Tabletop Grill.
- One 10,000 BTU Burner
- 176 Square Inch Cooking Surface
- Easy twist start ignition; Lid has built-in temperature gauge
- High-end stainless steel cooking grate
- Works with a 1 lb. propane canister (not included)
This grill is lightweight and easy to transport with an adjustable handle and locking cover that makes it a breeze to bring just about anywhere. It also features a powerful two burner system that provides 10,000 BTUs of power with stainless steel grates that are ideal for cooking large cuts of meat.
The built in thermometer monitors the heat so you’ll always know what temperature it is while included features such as drip tray help catch all the grease from meats without having any fires! To top off this amazing product Cuisinart also includes a 3-year limited warranty, making this grill an awesome deal!
Best Upgrade – Napoleon TQ285XBL1 Propane Gas Grill
If you’ve ever wanted to have a BBQ anywhere, anytime without the hassle of carrying heavy cookware around or managing a live fire, then this is your grill. The Napoleon TQ285XBL1 Propane Gas Grill comes with an easy-to-store scissor cart that can carry up to 19 burgers at once.
- The TravelQ 285 with Scissor Cart allows you to bring professional grilling anywhere with a convenient portable package
- Ideal for tailgating, camping, and even barbecuing at home, the TravelQ 285 with Scissor Cart can cook up to 19 burgers at once
- Napoleons iconic cast iron cooking grids provide even heat, prevent food from falling through, and create beautifully distinctive sear marks
- Two separate burners provide precise temperature control so that you can do anything from gentle roasting and smoking using indirect heat, to high heat searing
- The cast aluminum lid is built high enough for roasts and whole chickens
This portable gas grill has two separate burners which allows you to do anything from gentle roasting and smoking using indirect heat, to high heat searing. The cast aluminum lid is built high enough for roasts and whole chickens. It also features Napoleons iconic cast iron cooking grids which provide even heat; prevent food from falling through; and create beautifully distinctive sear marks. If you’re looking for a quality portable gas grill made by a reputable company that will last, then this is it!
Best Budget – Broil King 952654 Porta-Chef 320 Portable Gas Grill
A portable grill is a perfect way to cook your food on the go without all of the hassle and work that comes with carrying heavy pots, pans, or firewood. And not only are they easy to pack up and take with you wherever you go, but they also let you enjoy fresh cooked meals no matter where you are! But which one should you choose?
- NOT YOUR AVERAGE PORTABLE GRILL - with 3 stainless steel burners that offer a total output of 18,000 BTUs, the Porta-Chef 320 offers up to 50% more power than comparable portable grills, letting the grill get hotter and allowing you to cook more on the go
- EASY PORTABILITY - folding resin side shelves, snap-in legs that easily detach and store in the frame of the grill, and pins that can lock the lid in place all make it so this grill can easily be packed up to take camping, tailgating, or even to the beach
- SIZE MATTERS - featuring 295 sq. in. of primary cooking space and a 135 sq. in. warming rack, this grill offers up more cooking space than your average portable grill letting you prepare entire meals on the grill, even when you're at the campsite
- FULL-SIZE BBQ TASTE ON-THE-GO - features typically only found on full-size gas grills create delicious, smoky BBQ flavors; heavy cast iron cooking grids for bold sear marks, and the Flav-R-Wave stainless steel cooking system for even heat & vaporization
- PROUDLY MADE IN NORTH AMERICA - with a 10-year cookbox warranty, 5-year warranty on the stainless steel burners, and 2-year warranty on all remaining parts and paint, rest easy knowing your grill will be ready to perform on-the-go for years to come
The Broil King 952654 Porta-Chef 320 Portable Gas Grill offers superior portability as well as a full-size BBQ taste for those who want it. With three steel burners that offer 18,000 BTUs each for a total output of 54,000 BTU’s this grill can get hotter than most other comparable models meaning there is more space for searing steaks, cooking burgers, or even making breakfast food on the go.
And with folding side shelves and locking lid pins this grill can be packed up in no time at all! For added convenience Broil King also made this grill easy to move around thanks to snap-in legs that you simply pull out, extend into place, then just lock the legs in by pushing a button and folding them back up. And with 295 sq. in. for primary cooking space you’ll have enough room to cook an entire meal, even when tailgating or camping at a campsite!
How To Choose The Best Portable Gas Grill Options for Your Tailgate or Trip
There are plenty of factors that go into picking the best portable gas grills for your tailgating or camping trip. Below are some important things to look out for!
There is nothing worse than getting to where you’re going and realizing that you can’t carry everything that you need to actually cook the food that’s on your grill. When it comes to portable gas grills, weight is key. You want something that’s lightweight so you can carry it from your car to where you’re going and set up a cooking area without assistance. This way, if all of your stuff isn’t there yet, at least the grill can be!
Ease of use
If you have a portable gas grill that you can’t set up by yourself, then it’s no good. You need something that will be easy to assemble and get going without assistance from other people.
This is a key factor in terms of whether or not you’ll be able to actually cook whatever food you want on the grill itself. If the BTUs are too low, your food won’t cook properly. Remember that no matter what grill you have, it’s going to be hot on the cooking area, but not hot enough to continue cooking the food once it has been taken off of the grill surface itself.
It goes without saying, but the best portable gas grills for tailgating or camping will be affordable while still being high quality and efficient. If you have to spend a lot of money just to get a grill that works well enough under your desired conditions, then you’re probably better off having a tailgate catered by someone else.
Most portable gas grills are able to heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but some can go higher than that. If you plan on cooking anything with a thick cut of meat (e.g., steaks), then the most important thing for you is how hot the grill itself can get. It’s no good if your steak is charred on the outside and still nearly frozen on the inside!
Portable gas grills should be well-constructed and sturdy. If they’re flimsy, you might find your food falling through the cracks when it’s on the grill surface itself. They should also heat up quickly and consistently, and stay hot once the food has been removed from them.
Safety Features & Grill Stability
If a portable gas grill doesn’t have important safety features, then it’s going to be a lot harder to use. Some of the most important safety features for a portable gas grill include:
- Thermal cutout
- Electronic Ignition / Piezo Burner
These two items will ensure that your portable gas grill doesn’t catch fire if you forget about it or leave it unattended for too long.
Grill stability is another key factor. If your portable gas grill doesn’t have thermal feet or an additional back leg, then you could find yourself with a lot of hot liquid toppling over onto your hand or food.
Size & Type
How much food do you need to cook at once for your tailgate party? How often will you need to use the grill? Knowing how much food each grill can hold and how powerful they are will help you decide if it’s truly a portable gas grill or not. Look at the cooking surface and any storage space to the side.
FAQs About Portable Gas Grills
Here are a few FAQs about Portable Gas Grills.
Are portable gas grills good?
Yes, portable gas grills are good. They’re a popular choice for grilling because they’re easy to use and you can take them with you wherever you go.
How does a portable gas grill work?
The same way a large, stationary gas grill works. The only difference is how it’s heated and cooked-with bottled or natural gas instead of by using a propane tank. A portable gas grill will also be able to fold down. It will have instructions depending on design.
Can I use a portable gas grill inside?
NO – you cannot use a portable gas grill inside due to exposure to carbon monoxide and toxic fumes. Portable gas grills are great for outdoor events like camping or tailgates outside. They provide some neat conveniences, like built-in tables and wheels, to make your life simpler. But they still run on an open flame with gas, so please don’t use them indoors.
How do you stand up a grill?
Most portable gas grills come with a stand that you can use to prop the grill up. If your grill doesn’t come with a stand, you can use a regular kitchen stool or chair to prop it up.
How high should grill be from ground?
The grill height should be about 6 inches from the ground. Higher is better though as long as the grill remains stable.
Is the front or back of a grill hotter?
For most designs, the front of a grill will show the most intense heat, while the side walls and back of the grill (called “the cool zone”) are less hot.
What do you put under a table top grill?
A portable gas grill should be placed on a solid, sturdy surface like bricks or patio blocks, with the gas hose and electrical cord positioned so you can plug it in.
Place a non-flammable, easy to clean surface under the grill to catch any grease. Do not put something that can burn, like paper towels.
Can you put a portable grill on a table?
In general, yes, a portable grill can be placed on a table. However, some grills come with attachments that make it unnecessary to do this. Always read & follow manufacturers’ instructions.
Just use common sense and look for any flammable materials (like a wood table). Make sure the grill is stable with nothing that could knock it down. Consider where grease will drop.
The best portable gas grills for tailgating and camping are lightweight, easy to use (no assembly required), affordable, and come with safety features like thermal cutout and electronic ignition. If you are more of a fan of charcoal, we have the best mini charcoal grills also. If you are looking to grill indoors as well, be sure to check out the best George Foreman type grills as well.