Trying to choose the best BBQ grills for small spaces is challenging. If you live in an apartment or condo, there are lease, insurance, and municipal fire safety restrictions that will inevitably limit your choices. Our goal with this article is to help you discover the best grill for your space limitations and grilling lifestyle.

We’ve rounded up 7 of the best small space BBQ grills. We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each one and include a buyer’s guide to help you find the best grill for your patio, balcony, deck or kitchen. Let’s get started.

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In this article, we will review our picks for the best small space grills:

How To Choose Your BBQ Grill

Grilling outdoors is one of the most popular ways to cook. And if you’re from Texas, like me, it’s in your culinary DNA. But if you live in a place that has limited space for grilling, there are a few things you need to consider before you buy your next BBQ grill.

Lifestyle

When you’re deciding on the type of grill you want, pay attention to how and where you intend to use it. If most of your grilling will be done at home, will you be cooking just for family or are you planning to use it for entertaining too? If you also want to use the grill indoors, then your focus should be on electric grills that are countertop friendly and smokeless.

Transportability and weight will also come into play as a part of your decision-making process. If you’re a single woman or senior, can you actually get the grill to your deck or patio by yourself, or is it too heavy to move? If it is, then wheels are a great feature.

Portable grills equipped with folding legs and wheels are also important if you do a lot of camping, tailgating or RVing.

Grilling Restrictions

When you rent an apartment, condo, or townhome there will be restrictions in your lease related to outdoor cooking. You will need to know if you’re even allowed to cook food on your balcony or patio, or if grilling is restricted to certain areas of the property.

In most municipalities, grills that produce flames are prohibited on balconies, decks, and rooftops. In Houston, where I live, portable barbeque pits and open-flame grills can’t be used on balconies or within 10 feet of combustible materials. That includes walls, roofs, and railings. They’re considered a major fire hazard.

Most complexes will have a community grilling space in a designated area of the complex. But who wants to cook behind someone who may have grilled something that you would never eat, like pork?

At the end of the day it’s up to the landlord or property owner to spell out these restrictions in your rental agreement. They will mostly take into account insurance risks related to the design of the building. 

If you are prohibited from using gas or charcoal, you may want to consider an electric grill. They may not deliver on that smoky flavor, but you can still enhance the flavor of meat and veggies with marinades and seasoning. Electric grills can also be used indoors — an added bonus! 

The bottom line is you have to check with your landlord or homeowners association to find out what type of grill you’re allowed to have. But in most cases municipal and state fire code restrictions will have the final say.

Space Limitations

Keep in mind that available space matters. 

Before you buy your grill, measure the space to see how much room you have for the grill, yourself, and any guests you want to join you while you’re cooking. Things can get tight pretty quick. 

One way to determine how big of a grill you can have is to take the grill dimensions and draw it out on a cardboard cut-out. Lay the template on the patio or deck floor and mimic the cooking process. This should give you a pretty good idea of how much room you’ll need to cook comfortably. 

💡 FYI : Most apartment decks are 4 feet by 10 feet compared to the average house deck at 10 feet by 12 feet.

Heat Sources

Open Flame Grills

Charcoal and gas grills fall in this category. Simply defined, they are grills where you ignite the fuel source (charcoal or butane gas) with a match or lighter. Most apartment and condo complexes ban open flame grills for balcony or patio use. That’s because they pose a greater fire hazard than an electric grill. 

As a rule, gas grills are more dangerous to use than charcoal grills. But charcoal grills are also risky because of the sparks and embers released into the air during the cooking process. 

If you use an open flame grill where you live always practice safe grilling.

Electric Grills

Electric grills are the best choice for aparment living. They’re versatile in that they allow for both indoor and outdoor use. In many cases, landlords will allow their use. However, there are still fire safety issues to consider.

They come in two varieties: the open grill/single grate and the contact grill. The open grill looks and works like a traditional grill while the contact grill has two grill plates that touch the food on both sides while cooking. (Think of the original George Foreman® grill.)

The benefits of using an electric grill are many:

  • They heat up quickly
  • They take up minimal space
  • They’re environmentally friendly
  • They are a healthy cooking tool
  • You can cook indoors and year-round, no matter the weather

The biggest drawback of cooking with an electric grill is you sacrifice that BBQ flavor. But you can overcome this by using a smoker box or tube. The other issue is the smoke they can generate when cooking certain oily or marinaded food. When you use them indoors, pay attention to the ventilation.

Grilling Safety

No matter which grill you choose, safety must come first. One bad day can ruin your life and endanger the lives of others. Close proximity living means we all need to take extra care.

Here are some quick grilling safety tips for you to take to heart:

  • Never step away from the grill when cooking
  • Electric grills should only be plugged into grounded outlets
  • Watch those cords; keep them out of pathways
  • Take care when attaching propane tanks to gas grills
  • Turn off the propane after use
  • Check gas grills for leaks or breaks
  • Clean your grill grates after each use to avoid grease buildups that lead to flareups
  • Never douse lit charcoal with lighter fluid

Our Small Spaces BBQ Grill Roundup

 

Weber Spirit II E-210 2-Burner Liquid Propane Grill

Product Overview

This beautifully designed two burner liquid propane grill is the next step up when you’re ready to toss out your old starter grill. The standout features include the Infinity Ignition System, Flavorizer Bars and Grease Management System — part of Weber’s GS4 Grilling System.

If you’ve ever had trouble with the igniter on your gas grill you will really appreciate the Infinity Ignition system. There’s no hassle with getting the grill to light. The Spirit II E-210 grill is heats up quickly, holds an even temperature, and has reliable and consistent ignition. The dual 26,000 BTU burners deliver a consistent performance. Fast preheat and great sear overall.

The Flavorizer Bars are angled, so when the juices drip off your steak they’re vaporized and the steam is recycled back into the meat. Mmmm. Mmmm good. It is small and compact, great for small decks and patios. Your propane tank connects to the right side of the grill and is easy to access. There is storage underneath the burners to place cooking trays and whatnot. Oh, and when you extend the side tables there are three hooks on each end to hang your tools on.

The Spirit II E-210 is at home in small spaces and moving it around is easy. It will probably take the average person about 2 hours to assemble. But the absolute best thing about this grill is that it comes with a 10-year warranty. OMG!

Pros Cons
Ten year Warranty Side tables may ‘flex’ if not tightened properly
Porcelain-enameled cooking grates Short grill lid
Folding side table with 6 tool hooks
iGrill 3 compatible
All weather wheels 
26,000 BTU burners
450 Square inches of cooking space over 2 burners
Open cart design

Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill

Product Overview

Weber’s Q1200 works great on the patio but is lighweight enough to haul in the back of your SUV or pickup for a trip to the beach or tailgate party.

There aren’t a lot of parts to clean. The grill has these ‘wing-like’ flip up side tables where you can put your spices. If you’re at a camp site you can sit the grill on a metal table or use the portable cart (accessory) with wheels to make it easier to move the unit around.

The unit has a split grate feature which allows for griddle/grate combo cooking. So you can grill pancakes and cook burgers at the same time if you like. The lid is high enough to cook big cuts of meat like roasts. It also has a built-in thermometer to take the hassle out of temperature monitoring. The Q1200 cooks evenly and retains heat well all across the grill surface.

Pros Cons
Grates retain heat/cook evenly Food sticks to porcelain grates*
Stainless steel burners Small gas canisters are hard to line up
Good grease management system
Excellent portability
Split grates
Great for small spaces

*Weber suggests you preheat the grill with the burner set to high for a few minutes and oil the food (not the grate) before putting your food on it to prevent sticking.

Weber Q 2400 Electric Grill

Product Overview

If you live in a place where charcoal and gas grills are prohibited, the Q 2400 is a little workhorse you should consider. It not only solves your available space problem, but may overcome grill usage restrictions for condo and apartment dwellers. 

You can place it on a table or get the portable cart (accessory). However, you may want to get the cart since the unit weighs just over 40 pounds; which can be a challenge for seniors. The bummer is the unit doesn’t have the flip out side tables for placing your cooking spices or BBQ tools. 

The electricity control knob is close to the underside of the handle. If you have large hands, this may be a problem. Also, the indicator light is hard to read in bright sunlight. 

The grilling surface is big enough if you’re cooking for 2 or 3 people. But if you want to use a smoker box it will take up some of the available space.

That said, the Q 2400 gets really hot for searing and imparts flavor comparable to most high end propane gas grills.

 

Pros Cons
6 foot grounded power cord Requires pre-heating
Cast aluminum lid and body No side tables
Removeable catch pan
1560-watt heating element
Perfect for condos and apartment cooking
280 square inch total cooking area
Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill

Product Overview

I bought one of these grills to take with me on camping and beach trips. I have owned several of the larger Weber kettles and was looking to mimic that cooking experience in a smaller grill. I was not disappointed.

You can add a substantial amount of food on this grill. If you love to cook with charcoal, this small grill delivers big flavor — a cooking powerhouse. The lid holder doubles as a cradle to store the lid out of the way when you open the top of the grill.

I suggest buying a temperature gauge thermometer to keep from having to open the lid, and a portable table to set the grill on while cooking.

Pros Cons
On-the-go portability Top vent slider gets hot during cooking
Tuck-N-Carry lid lock handle No temperature indicator
Large cooking surface
Built-in lid holder
Top/bottom vents and dampers 
Easy to assemble

George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill

Product Overview

This George Foreman 15 Serving Electric Grill is a multi-purpose grilling tool that is perfect on-the-go, on the patio or indoors. It is easy to assemble and has a small space footprint.

When the grill is set on the pedestal it is about 2.5 feet high without the lid. While the grill is sturdy enough for cooking, it is top-heavy so be extra careful around children or pets. They may accidently bump into the unit, and cause the grill to tip over. 

To help with cleanup, the grate is slanted to allow cooking grease and other liquids to drain into the pullout tray. 

I love that you can use the grill while indoors. The George Forman 15 Serving Electric Grill is fairly lightweight at 7 pounds so it can be easily placed on a kitchen countertop (large) or island. Just be prepared for potential spatters.

If you live in a condo or apartment that allows grilling on the deck or patio, you should be OK since it’s electric. The cool thing is you can also take it camping, tailgating, or to the beach.

Pros Cons
Indoor/Outdoor stand No hooks to hang grilling tools
Apartment/condo friendly No side tables
Lid vent for moisture control Vague temperature indicator settings
Nonstick grate coating for easy cleaning
Variable temperature control
240 sq. inch cooking surface
Even heating
Dishwasher safe drip tray

Cuisinart CGG-180 Petit Gourmet Portable Grill with VersaStand, Red

Product Overview

The Cuisinart CGG-180 Petit Gourmet Portable Grill with VersaStand goes anywhere you want to go and can grill in almost any environment. The telescoping legs mean you can put it on a tabletop or pull out the legs to allow for standup grilling. 

If you’re having a small get-together at home, this grill can accommodate enough food for about 4-6 people. It is small enough for a trip to the beach, fishing, or camping and will fit in the trunk of your car, RV, or boat. It weighs only about 17 pounds so lifting it shouldn’t be a problem for most people. 

✋ If you prefer, there is a strictly tabletop version (CGG-180T) where the legs fold under the unit and do not expand telescopically

Pros Cons
Small space friendly & portable Drip pan not secure
5,500 BTU stainless steel burners Requires seasoning before use
Use as tabletop or freestanding grill High winds can affect grilling temperature
160 square inch grilling area
Cooks food enough for 4-6 people
Needs no assembly

Char-Broil 17602047 Infrared Electric Patio Bistro

Product Overview

If you live in a place where you can’t use charcoal or gas grills then the Char-Broil Infrared Electric Patio Bistro is a good grill option. Assembly is pretty easy. When you unbox the unit, the smaller parts are well labeled and the instructions are easy to follow. The hardest part of putting it together will be attaching the legs.

You get about 240 sqare inches of cooking space along with with an 80 inch warming tray, which is more than enough cooking space for 8-10 burgers. The unit comes with a large front facing oven-style control knob and lighted display. The temperature gauge that’s mounted on top of the cover helps with heat control. 

Tru infrared means you get less flare-ups while cooking and meat that finishes with a nice crust. The porcelain grill plate is designed so food doesn’t fall through. Cleanups are pretty easy.

Underneath the kettle is a rack to hold food waiting to be cooked or aluminum foil, storage containers, and whatnot. Both side tables on the Patio Bistro fold down, creating an even smaller footprint.

Pros Cons
Food cooks evenly with less flare-ups Inadequate assembly instructions
Perfect size for apartments/condos
Oven-like knob temperature controller
 Folding side shelves for food prep
Lid-mounted temperature guage 
Warming rack included
Infrared gives nice crust to meat
Narrow grill plates prevents food from falling through
Easy to store

Conclusion

Deciding on which BBQ grill to get for your small space really comes down to where and how you live. Even if your landlord prohibits open flame grilling, there are many electric grills to choose from, and you don’t have to limit your cooking to just outdoors. 

Open flame grilling with gas or charcoal adds to your list of BBQ grill options. However, be sure to think about whether you want to limit yourself to at-home only grilling. If you enjoy an active lifestyle that includes camping, RVing, boating, or trips to the beach then portability will be a big factor in your decision making.