6 6 Best Grills for RVs and Campers Reviewed [2020]

Posted on September 11, 2020 by Daniel Renfro in Appliances

The Quick Pick
Best RV Gas Grill
Napoleon TQ285-RD-1-A TravelQ 285 Portable Gas Grill
Best Electric RV Grill
Weber 52020001 Q1400 Electric Grill
Best Charcoal Grill for RV
Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill

There is just something about the smell of food cooking on an open grill that reminds me of every summer spent with my family touring the country in our trusty RV. Nothing tastes as good as grilled food eaten in the great outdoors. Ask anyone who has spent time traveling in an RV what they loved the most and they will most likely all say it was the freedom and the grilled food.

The masses of different portable RV grills available now tells me that I’m not the only one that loves grilling whilst RVing. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of portable grill types for RVs. Grilling and RVing simply go together hand in hand.

Not all grills were created equal and the one you choose has to suit your needs and your RV lifestyle. Sure, there are grill trends that come and go but what matters is that your portable grill completes the RV experience you hoped for.

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Factors To Consider When Choosing A Portable Grill For An RV

Fuel Type / Power Source

Picture this, you are happily pitching up your RV for the night overlooking a beautiful, secluded, bay as the sun begins to set. You fold out the camping chairs and get out your electric grill ready to cook. Then you realize, there’s nowhere to plug in the grill.

The fuel type for your portable RV grill is an important decision and just one of a few factors that need to be considered before you buy. There is the practical side of making sure the fuel source for your grill will be readily available wherever you go. Then there is also the preference side. For me, I’ve never quite got used to cooking with a gas grill. It doesn’t feel like the real deal but I get that some people prefer it for its ease and cleanliness.

Size & Weight

Smaller RVs, campers, and anyone who loathes traveling light, definitely need to consider size and weight when considering the best grill for them. If you have a large RV then storage might not be a huge concern for you. However, before buying, work out where in your RV your grill will live and check the space measurements to avoid a headache down the road.

Features

With so many grills available there is an abundance of features to choose from. It is easy to get carried away and choose a model that comes with kinds of bells and whistles when grill shopping. Decide in advance what grill features you really want and also what your budget is. Useful features include collapsable legs, built-in temperature gauges, and durable materials.

Ease of Cleaning

The last thing that anyone wants to do when they are on holiday is to spend hours cleaning. Look for a grill that is built with ease of cleaning in mind. Grills that are stainless steel or enamel-coated are some of the easiest to clean. Likewise, a grill with removable parts such as the drip tray is going to be easier to clean.

Types Of RV Grills

The most popular RV portable grill types across the states are gas (64%) and charcoal (44%). With electric grill design improving, these are popping up more and more on campsites but they have a lot of catching up to do. Here’s why these grill types are popular amongst RV owners.

Propane Grills

Propane grills (gas grills) overtook charcoal grills in popularity for a couple of reasons. First up, the heat of a gas grill is easier to control. The attraction of being able to turn the heat up and down as needed rather than wait for burning coals to reach the right temperature is a no brainer for a lot of grill fans. Cooking with gas is cleaner too with no fuel clean up after cooking. Gas grills are usually on the more expensive side but propane is generally cheaper than charcoal.

Charcoal Grills

On the other hand, classic charcoal grills still have a lot of fans too. Some RV owners wouldn’t be seen dead grilling on anything else. These old school campers can often be overheard asking ‘Is it even grilling if there’s no smoke?’ Charcoal does mean that you have to bring along bags of fuel that can take up space. Keep that in mind if you have storage limitations. There is the wait and clean up to consider too. Charcoal grills have to completely cool before you can empty them and put them away. If you’re in any way impatient, you might want to weigh up if you’re willing to wait or not.

Electric Grills

Electric grills make up less than 10% of RV portable grill sales in the US. They are gaining in popularity as more people turn to healthy eating. The biggest turn-off is for RVers who love dry-camping. Unless your electric grill works with a battery then it just isn’t feasible. From a space point of view, electric grills do tend to be more compact than gas and charcoal models. They also heat up quicker, much like your cooker at home.

How To Grill Safely On Your RV Trip

RV grilling is fun and relaxing and a great part of any road trip holiday. There are safety considerations that must be taken seriously no matter what type of grill you have.

With all grills, use them away from your RV or any buildings. Give all grill parts a clean before and after use. Remove excess food and grease that could build up and create problems next time you grill. With a gas or electric grill, you might be tempted to use it inside the RV when the weather is bad. Unless you have one that is specifically for indoor use, only ever use your grill outside.

The open flames of charcoal grills obviously bring a risk of fire. A dropped coal or toppled grill can quickly turn into a large fire. Especially if you are camped in a dry scrub or a forest area.

Avoid accidental fires by following a few simple steps:

  1. First, ensure that your grill is set up on a sturdy, nonflammable, surface.
  2. Next, fill a bucket or large device with water and set it close to hand just in case. Only use water on charcoal grills and never on gas or electric.
  3. Clear the area around the grill of anything that could catch fire and move anything that you might trip over out of the way.
  4. Lastly, let the coals completely cool after cooking and before disposing of them safely. Even the smallest ember can lead to a raging forest fire.

With any grill type, kids pose a concern for safety. The excitement of being on holiday, the joy of camping, and too many smores can all add up to over-excited kids running around the grilling area. I like to set up a boundary that the kids aren’t allowed to cross so that I can cook in peace and without worrying about one of them getting burnt. The same goes for pets.

Propane grills should never smell of gas. Like in the home, if you smell gas it is safest to move away from it and call the fire department. It could be that the connector or hose is not attached properly but if you are new to gas grills or at all nervous call the local department for help.

Useful RV Grill Accessories

Staying in the theme of safety for a beat, the number one RV grill accessory that you can not do without is a multi-use powder fire extinguisher. This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for gas, electric, and charcoal grills.

Now that you have invested in the best grill for your RV, its time to invest in some quality cooking tools. Look for a stainless steel set that includes tongs, skewers, a burger flipper, meat fork, and a good knife. If you like to marinate your grilled meat, then you will need a good basting brush too. Most of the available brushes now are silicone but it is possible to get natural bristles if you prefer them.

A bigger, and really useful, accessory that you might like to consider is a bumper grill arm. This is my kind of gadget. Think of it as an extension for your RV. Bumper grill arms fold snuggly into the back of your RV and stretch out to a safe distance when you want to cook. When there are no onsite grill spots or you don’t have room to carry an extra table just for your grill, these easy to install arms are just what you need.

Conclusion

You’re probably keen to run out and get your grill right now or at least order it online calmly from your armchair. Before you do, go and have a good look at your RV. Take a look at all the storage possibilities for the grill you’re about to buy. If you have a grill already, ask yourself what you did and didn’t like about it. You don’t want to end up with the same problems if you had an inadequate grill before.

If you are thinking about changing fuel type from your usual grill or using a type that you never tried before, ask a friend if you can try their grill. Take it for a test run for the weekend in your RV to get a good idea of its suitability for your needs.
Your RV is your home away from home and that is why it important that all of its features make you happy – even the grill. You will spend a lot of time with your portable grill and it will be central to your RVing so buying right is essential. Happy grilling.