Light drizzle, lukewarm lager and a scorched lunch: there’s nothing quite like a barbecue. Short on space? With the best compact BBQs, you don’t need a massive patio to roast an alfresco feast.
From petite pizza ovens to compact charcoal cookers, you’ll find barbecues below fit for the smallest of outdoor spaces. There’s even a grill which can hang from a balcony railing.
So whether you’re smoking a steak, searing some skewers or simply frying your famous fish fillet, don’t let limited space limit your patio party plans. Just add fuel, food and your favourite friends to feast on it.
Not all barbies burn the same way. Gas and electric grills offer switch-on convenience and intensity control, while charcoal and pellet burners can impart food with that fabled smokey flavour.
Most balcony BBQs have limited grilling space, but some sacrifice more than others. Roasting for three? Check the griddle capacity before splashing out on patties.
Seasoned backyard chefs can discern temperature by eyeball alone, but you don’t need sorcery to assess the heat. Poke with a probe or get a grill with a thermometer gauge.
A hot bottom is a hot ticket to scorched stonework. Some stoves have insulated bases, while others stand on fold-out feet – but you’ll still need to find a spot where radiation won’t singe the surroundings.
The best affordable compact BBQs
The simple sizzler: Weber Smokey Joe Premium
You don’t need an all-singing grill to get flavoursome food for two. Shopping for a simpler sizzler? Weber’s pared-back barbie combines form and function in a portable porcelain package. Good to go and for roasting at home, the compact cooker’s enamel coating keeps temperatures consistent while resisting rust. Swivel the lid to shield from windy weather, or lock the top when it’s time to travel.
The rugged roaster: Char-Broil Grill2Go
Miniature grills might be easier to manage, but offset flames can still lead to lopsided sizzling. Like your kebabs consistently cooked? This rugged gas barbie uses a ridged plate to evenly distribute heat from the stainless steel burner below. Hit the ignition, latch the lid and your skewers should roast just right. A temperature gauge tracks the Celsius score, too.
The good-to-go griddle: Primus Kuchoma
A packed lunch might be the pinnacle of portable sustenance, but you can’t beat freshly grilled grub. Get the best of both worlds with this portable barbie from Primus: a cookout you can carry, the compact Kuchoma comes equipped with a natty wood-trimmed handle for easy shifting. Simply latch the lid shut, grab the grip and take it to wherever your mates are. Connect a compact canister to the tuck-away cable and you’ll soon be searing on the non-stick grate.
The bijou barbecue: Everdure Cube
Some gourmet chefs cook food at the table. Give your picnic pals the same experience with Heston’s natty BBQ box. Neat and tidy by design, the bamboo lid doubles up as a prep board, with a storage tray beneath. Lined with enamel and clad in lightweight steel, the Cube’s built-in heat shield should also protect inquisitive fingertips while you fry.
The best mid-range compact BBQs
The two-in-one top: Campingaz Attitude 2100 LX
This tabletop gas BBQ offers a generous cooking space across two enamel-coated cast-iron grills. So far, so standard. What really makes the Attitude stand out is its Culinary Modular system: remove the grill ring on the left and you can fit a range of inserts – think pizza stone, roasting skillet or paella pan. So while your veggie skewers are sizzling on the right, you can have a bird broiling on the left. Whatever you’re cooking, a three-branch burner system delivers even heat all over – and when you’re done with your combo dish, a front-loading grease tray makes clean-up a cinch.
The cast-iron classic: Morsø Grill 71
Keeping a grill on the go since 1971 is arguably the ultimate slow-roast – but there’s a reason Danish maker Morsø hasn’t updated its freestanding grate in nearly 50 years. Crafted from enamelled cast iron, the iconic cooker is a lesson in understated simplicity: fill the pit with charcoal and drop your dinner on the grill. Meat can’t take the heat? Simply swing the grate to the side. Its compact footprint makes the 71 a perfect fit for any patio, while the accessible cooking plate means even reluctant scrubbers shouldn’t have much to complain about when it’s time to clean up.
The sci-fi stove : Ooni Koda 12
Styled like a landing craft from Dune, Ooni’s freestanding hangar is actually here to harvest your homemade pizza – and stone-bake it in 60 seconds. Fuelled by a canister, the futuristic oven fires instantly, before reaching peak heat in 15 minutes. And it’s no one-trick weapon: the Koda can also be dialled in to deal with a range of BBQ classics.
The blown burner: BioLite FirePit+
Stoke a standard firepit on your terrace and you’ll soon smoke out the neighbours. Drop wood or charcoal in the belly of BioLite’s FirePit+ and the only thing wafting over the wall will be the scent of sizzling sustenance. 51 air jets fan the flames for a smoke-free burn, while mesh sides radiate heat and reveal the cosy glow inside. Use the partner app to control intensity via Bluetooth, then attach the top grate to create a hibachi grill – sure to have some curtains twitching.
The best top-tier compact BBQs
The petite pizzeria: Gozney Roccbox
Homemade pizza isn’t perfect. Sure, kneading, spreading and sprinkling is fun, but you don’t get the ding-dong excitement of a delivery driver at the door. Solution? Slip a doughy disc into the mouth of the multi-fuel Roccbox, then send your friend to the front of the house. By the time they’re back from pushing the button, you’ll have a rapid-fired Napolitan better than any takeaway.
The portable pot: Kamado Joe Jr
Keen for succulent roasts but scuppered by insufficient yard space? You could craft a compact kamado grill from two ceramic plant pots and a bag of charcoal. Or for a diminutive solution that doesn’t require DIY, try this scaled-down dome. It’s hardly lightweight at 31kg, but a compact 53cm footprint means it can smoke on even the smallest concrete slab.
The plug-in platter: Morsø Balcone
A petite patio shouldn’t hinder your turn to host steak night. This lidded griddle can’t prepare a complete feast, but it’ll happily handle some mid-sized cuts. Powered by a standard plug, Morsø’s mini grill hooks over a balcony railing for space-efficient searing. And because it’s electric, you can also use it indoors – ideal if the clouds drizzle on your sizzle.
The briefcase broiler: Traeger Ranger
Even spies like the occasional cookout. And while this portable pellet grill won’t be mistaken for an attaché case, its latch-shut lid and sturdy shell make it mission-ready. The digital temperature control requires no decoding, while a 10 hot dog capacity should keep Q Branch happy. No time to fry? Use the Keep Warm Mode to maintain your meat’s heat.