Portable Charcoal BBQs - Review & Comparison of Leading Brands

There are a limited number of portable charcoal BBQs on the market, as it still seems to be a novel concept. We've found a couple of products that might compare to the LotusGrill Portable charcoal BBQ that we sell.

But do they stack up? Well, not really. As you will see, the LotusGrill is by far a superior product, being lighter (very important in a portable BBQ), safer, easier to use, and easier to clean.

All the information for the following products have been taken directly from the manufactures or retailers websites, spec sheets, and user manuals. Though we trust the information to be correct, we have not tested all of the competing BBQs to verify it. Sometimes it's not what the manufacturers say, but what they don't say (or leave in small print in the user manual) that makes a difference. We really had to hunt around for this info! 

For a BBQ to make this list, it had to be:

  1. marketed as portable
  2. fuelled by charcoal*
  3. from a reputable brand (not a cheap knock off)

*Note: Charcoal is made from wood. It's not the same thing as coal (a sedimentary rock) which runs power stations.

The Portable Charcoal BBQ Contenders:

The award winning, German designed, efficient LotusGrill.

The Everdure CUBE, marketed by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.

Weber's range of portable charcoal BBQs. With the variants being mostly the same, only differing in size and shape, we've grouped them together.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's Park BBQ.

Charcoal BBQ Weight

Name Weight
LotusGrill 3.7kg
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal 8.1kg
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® 4.3kg / 6.7kg / 8kg
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ ???

When carrying a BBQ to your favourite picnic spot, those extra kilos make all the difference.  The LotusGrill is mostly made of stainless steel, whereas the other designs are made of (generally less expensive) porcelain enamel, which could explain their extra weight. 

Charcoal Barbecue Start Up Time

Name Start Up Time
LotusGrill 3-5 minutes.
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Not mentioned, likely very slow.
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® 15-30 mins, plus 10 mins preheating recommended (according to user manual).
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ 20- 25mins, according to website FAQ. 

Other than the LotusGrill, all of these designs are simply smaller versions of a normal sized charcoal grill, which means they take just as long to light up.  The LotusGrill however, with its innovative design and built-in electric fan, means that coals will be glowing hot within a few minutes.

Easy to Light?

Name Easy to Light?
LotusGrill Yes
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal No
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® No 
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ No

If you research the FAQs and user manuals of these products, some of the brands recommend a "charcoal chimney" which is a way of bunching up the coal pieces together so they light quickly.  Weber even has an in depth blog post on how to use it. But does it come included with the BBQ? No. And it still takes 10-15 minutes to light the charcoal, and then you have to pour the hot coals into the BBQ. Sounds safe guys.

Weber's Rapidfire Chimney Starter (compared to the LotusGrill, is anything but "rapid").

LotusGrill, on the other hand, has their version of a chimney, the charcoal canister, built into the design.

Diagram of the LotusGrill design which includes the charcoal canister. 

BBQ Exterior cool to touch?

Name Exterior cool to touch?
LotusGrill Yes
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Handles only. Heat resistant gloves recommended.
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® No
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ No, manual advises to "always wear barbecue mitts".

As you can see from the diagram above, the outside of the LotusGrill stays cool to touch thanks to its double-layered construction. Additionally, the charcoal burns inside a closed mesh container so nothing can fall out, even if you turn it upside down (or accidentally kick it over). Want to move the BBQ while the charcoal is still burning? This is no problem with the LotusGrill - but with the other BBQs, it is strongly discouraged.

A "Smokeless" BBQ?

Name "Smokeless"
LotusGrill Yes
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal No
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® No
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ No

Normal charcoal BBQs have the capacity to create massive clouds of smoke, and when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction (i.e. in your face), it's not pleasant. Smoke occurs when the melting fat from food drips down onto the coals. This also causes flame flare-ups. 

With the LotusGrill, the charcoal canister is covered. Fat drips down and is caught in the inner bowl, so there is little to no smoke created. Yet there's still enough charcoal aroma to add that smokey flavour that fans of charcoal grilling love. 

With the other designs, the grill is placed right on top of open coals. This equates to smoke. Lots of it. 

Ability to Adjust BBQ Heat Level?

Name Heat Control?
LotusGrill Yes - variable speed dial for electric fan.
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal No
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® Basic - vent in lid controls airflow.
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ Basic - vent in lid controls airflow.

The heat control on the LotusGrill is fantastic. The premium lump wood charcoal is very responsive to the flow of oxygen. With just a small turn of the electric fan speed dial, you can see the coals glowing and dimming before your eyes, just like dimming a light switch.

The others... well... the lids have vents? But what if you're not using the lid?

Dishwasher Safe?

Name Dishwasher Safe?
LotusGrill Yes
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal No
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® No
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ No

Who has ever heard of a dishwasher safe BBQ before?  Well LotusGrill has made one!

Carry Bag Included?

Name Carry Bag Included?
LotusGrill Yes
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal No (travel bag extra $178 from Bunnings)
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® No
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ No

Yep the LotusGrill is the only BBQ with a neat carry bag included. This is also great for storing the BBQ away in the back of a kitchen cupboard when not in use.  Heston Blumenthal's CUBE has a very expensive one you can buy separately, which is almost the same price as the BBQ itself. As far as we can work out, the others don't have one at all.

LotusGrill Carry Bag

The LotusGrill's convenient carry case included with purchase.

Portable BBQ Materials

Name Materials
LotusGrill Stainless steel and powdered coated steel.
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Porcelain enamel firebox.
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® Porcelain enamelled bowl and lid, Chrome-plated steel cooking grill.
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ Enamel, silicone trims.

The quality stainless steel components of the LotusGrill makes it lighter and dishwasher safe.  The others are made of enamel, which is vulnerable to chips. The metal underneath is mostly likely steel, which is heavier and could rust when exposed.

Chipped enamel on an old Weber BBQ.

Recommended Retail Price (RRP)

Name RRP
LotusGrill $249.95 for starter kit including 1kg premium coal, carry bag, ethanol gel, batteries and bonus food loops.
CUBE - Everdure by Heston Blumenthal $199, no extras. (travel bag costs an extra $178)
Weber® Smokey Joe®/Go-Anywhere™/Jumbo Joe® $109.95 / $129.95 / $169.00, no extras.
Jamie Oliver Park BBQ $159.95, no extras.

Interested? Click here to purchase the LotusGrill starter pack. Happy grilling!

Got Feedback? Please contact us and mention the "BBQ review plog post" so we now what you're sending feedback about.

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Reduction Revolution Pty Ltd (ABN 74 141 672 764) is an Australian-owned company focused on energy efficiency and sustainability.

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