When you’re on the open road, nothing can beat being able to cook your food outdoors in good weather while taking in the scenic view and chatting away with your companions. Any camper would tell you that having the best RV grill is an absolute must. It’s not just about being able to produce sizzling hot, mouth watering meals but also about that wholesome camping experience.
The world of RV camping grills surely is vast and diverse, with different types of grills offering unique pros and cons, so it might be bewildering. But worry not, as our handpicked list of the 10 best RV grill models with in-depth reviews will definitely give you something that suits your wallet and camping style.
There’s something for every camper, whether you travel alone or with your family, whether you need something small and easy to handle, or if you want an extra powerful grillhouse, or an all-purpose model for some sophisticated cooking. To help you compare different options with ease when shopping for the best RV grill, this comprehensive guide from RVing Trends also explains everything you need to know about portable grills for camping.
If you’re in a hurry, take a look at this quick list of our top picks for the best RV grills or continue scrolling to check on our full list with in-depth reviews.
The best RV grills for the money:
- Best Portable Gas Grill For RV Camping: Coleman RoadTrip LXE
- Best RV Charcoal Grill: Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere
- Best RV Mounted Grill: Flame King YSNHT500
- Best RV Tabletop Grill: Cuisinart CGG-306 Chef’s Style
- Best RV Grill for Families with Kids: Giantex OP3243
- Best Small Grill For Single/Couple Travelers: Weber Q1200
- Best For Large Groups: Camp Chef 3 Burner Stove Big Gas Grill
- Best For Minimalist Camping: Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet
What is an RV Grill and Is It Worth It?
There are campers who haul along the backyard grill used in their home on their trips, and if you’re tight on budget, this might be a temporary quick fix. However, if you’re on the road full-time or quite often, any seasoned travelers would recommend that you get the best RV grills made specifically for camping.
These small grill for RV are typically more lightweight with portability in mind, so that you can quickly load, unload, carry it around and set it up at your desired spot at the campground. Imagine grilling away in good weather in a scenic spot overlooking the lake while chatting with your companions – that’s camping at its best! The adventurous campers who travel off the beaten path to find the best view to set up camp would especially appreciate these portable grills.
Furthermore, the best RV grill are often designed with camping-specific features, such as extendable legs for extra portability and to eliminate the need for a separate table to put the grill on, or telescoping legs with wheels so you can easily move it around, even when you’re BBQ-ing on the beach, or with mounting brackets for securing the grill to the side of your motorhome.
Types of RV Grills
RV grills have come a long way, from the earliest, most traditional charcoal grills to the more convenient gas grills, to the latest, most advanced, fuss-free electric grills. They are so different, so which makes the best portable grill for RV really depends on your camping circumstances and cooking style, that is how you want your food cooked and whether you prioritize something safe and easy to handle.
RV Grills by Fuel Type
Before we go into the details for each type of portable grill for RV camping, here’s a summary table for quick comparisons:
|Charcoal Grill||Gas Grill (Propane or Natural gas)||Electric Grill|
|Portability and Durability||Portable|
Simple design, no moving parts, thus last long
More parts, more prone to wear and tear
|How food is cooked||Imparts distinctive smoky flavor|
Optimal char-broiled texture
|Sears food in a way close to charcoal grills||Does not impart smoky flavor and charring|
|Ease of Cooking||Take at least 30 minutes to light the coal and heat up the coal |
Little temperature control
Not suitable for windy condition
|Heats up fast|
Better temperature control: knobs
|Heats up the fastest|
Precise temperature control
|Handling and Safety||Produces a lot of heat, thus require large cooking space|
Emit harmful smokes
|Produces a lot of heat, thus require large cooking space|
Handling of gas canisters or tanks require safe practices
|Does not require large cooking space|
Easiest and safest to handle
|Cleaning and Maintenance||Messy|
Takes time for the coal to completely cool down
|Easier to clean|
Cool down fast
|Other pros/cons||Need to carry coal and lighter fluids||Need to carry canisters or tanks||Does not take up storage space for coal/fuel, but require power outlet or generator|
RV Charcoal Grills
Cooking results: When it comes to how food is cooked, nothing else can imitate how charcoal grills impart that distinct, mouth-watering smoky flavor and that beautiful, satisfying charred texture. This is the major selling point of charcoal grills, and why it will never become obsolete, despite its drawbacks and despite the availability of more convenient gas and electric grills.
Affordability, portability and durability: Apart from cooking results, traditional charcoal grills are the cheapest of all types, as they have a simple design with few parts. While the best RV grills in the gas-powered and electric categories can cost north of $100 up to $300, a solid charcoal grill will only set you back by around $30 to $40 (price-wise, take into account charcoal briquets price of some $20 to $25 per 20lbs bag). Their plain design also means that they are highly portable as well as less prone to wear and tear and technical malfunctions.
Troublesome handling: As for the downsides, coal is messy and troublesome to handle and clean up. You will need at least 30 minutes to light the coal and stoke them to get a big flame ready for grilling.And while the coal is burning, it produces a lot of heat, so tending to the grill in the hottest summer days might not be a desirable job.
Another drawback is that this type of grills are not made for windy conditions. Grilling with coal also takes some know-hows and practice to get the right doneness in less time without burning your food, as you have little control over the flame, unlike with the other two types of grills.
Troublesome cleaning: In addition to careful handling when grilling, charcoal grills for camping also require careful handling when you’re done. You need to wait hours for the coal to cool down completely before tidying up, then wait another 24 to 48 hours before you can dispose of them, as per the safe practices set by most RV parks campgrounds.
Health: Last but not least, one thing to note if you’re RV-ing full-time and will be grilling your food every week is charcoal imparts harmful carcinogenic compounds into your food, and you will be inhaling it as well.
RV Gas Grills: Propane OR Natural Gas
Cooking results: Despite not producing the exact charbroiled flavor and texture that a charcoal grill can, the best RV grill in the gas-powered category can replicate charcoal grilling quite well thanks to its big, strong flames that sears your food beautifully.
Handling: Big, strong flames also means that like a charcoal grill, gas grills require quite a large cooking space. Also, handling gas cylinders or tanks does require safe practices while handling or storing. Apart from that, this type of grill is safer and more convenient to handle than charcoal grills in all aspects. Firstly, they heat up faster and secondly, they give you more precise temperature control at the turn of a knob. In short, they don’t require some know-hows, safe practices and experience to produce good food like charcoal grilling.
Cleaning: Gas grills are much easier to clean than charcoal grills since they cool down fast and there’s no coal to get rid of.
Propane vs Natural gas: Gas grills for campers either run on propane (LP) or natural gas (NG). Propane grills and natural gas grills are configured slightly differently. One such difference is propane grills are purposefully designed with smaller orifices; this is where gas is released to be mixed with air to create the flame. This means even if other travelers have told you that a propane grill typically makes hotter and bigger flames than a natural gas grill – based on the fact that propane has more than double the BTU rating of natural gas – their power output is actually comparable.
Price, portability and durability: Gas grills for camping are made with portability in mind, but they are the bulkiest and thus less portable than charcoal and electric grills. In general, grills running on natural gas are slightly more expensive than propane grills. As for durability, since this type of grill is larger, heavier and has more working parts, it’s more prone to wear, tear and mishandling.
Refilling: Most RV gas grills are designed for use with a standard 1lbs or 14oz propane canister that screws onto the side or bottom of the grill. A more earth friendly option is using an adapter hose to connect your gas grill with a large 20lb tank. Or you can hook it up to your RV’s onboard propane tank, although this will limit the grill’s portability.
Refilling cost: Propane costs around $10 for a 1lb canister, or $40-$50 for a 20lb tank, or $3.00-$4.00 per gallon to refill at most major grocery and big box stores, plus some gas stations and certain hardware stores. Meanwhile, natural gas cost is $.50-$2 per 100 cubic feet or per 1 therm.
RV Electric Grills
Cooking results: Electric grills for camping have quickly gained popularity despite being the latest invention. Perhaps the only major drawback is that they will not deliver that unique smoky flavor and charred texture to your food. That said, electric grilling is by far the healthiest way to grill. Other than that, they are the safest to handle, plus they offer a quite fuss-free, enjoyable outdoor cooking experience.
Price, portability and options: This type of grills is more affordable than their gas-powered counterparts, although they also cost north of $100. Electric grills need to be connected to a power outlet, so the boondockers would need a generator or a solar system to run it. Therefore, despite being generally more portable than gas-powered grills, this very fact might limit the portability and versatility if you’re not staying at a conventional RV campground with hookups. As for designs and features, this category offers the largest number of choices, in terms of the number of burners, BTU rating, cooking area and more to suit from the single travelers to large groups.
Easy and safe handling and storage: Unlike the other two types, electric grills are super safe. They do not emit smoke and a lot of heat, thus do not require a large cooking space or a long list of safe practices while cooking and cleaning up. They are the fastest to heat up, within a few minutes. In general, electric grills are safest and easiest to handle, thus they are loved by families with small children as well as those who don’t have the time to clean and maintain the troublesome charcoal and gas grills. Another plus is they are perfectly safe to use indoors, so you can use it in your home or apartment when you’re not on the road.
RV Grills by Design
As the name suggests, this type of grill is not free standing but requires a table or surface of an appropriate height to place the grill on. You will need to haul along an extra table just for this, so that you can comfortably grill away. Otherwise, you might have to set up the grill eight too high or too low on whatever is available at the campground, which is not desirable. The best RV grill in the tabletop category often comes with insulated feet to prevent fire hazard, but this is not true for all models, so make sure you double check before committing to buy one.
A table top grill does come with certain inconveniences, that is the need to carry along a table to put the grill on, getting a model with insulated feet or otherwise placing an extra layer of insulation beneath the grill for fire safety. If you want a free standing grill that is also compact and lightweight so that you can conveniently set it up wherever, you should get the best RV grill with extendable legs. This type of grills would be roughly at waist height for comfortable cooking.
Another option for you if you don’t want all the troubles of setting up your portable grill on a safe surface is a mountable grill. This type of portable grills comes with brackets to mount right onto the side of your RV or slip into any standard rod holder. They only take seconds to set up and take down.
10 Best RV Grills For Camping: In-Depth Reviews
As with everything else, which model makes the best RV grill for your specific camping and cooking needs is a matter of balance of price, portability, cooking results, ease of control and ease of handling and cleaning.
So all depends on your priorities, but rest assured that there is something for everyone: high power output, large cooking area, more burners, freestanding or tabletop or mountable, cast iron grates for best flavor and texture or lower-maintenance grates, and more.
|No||Top Rated RV Grills||Prices||Our Ratings|
|1||Coleman RoadTrip LXE||$$$||*****|
|2||Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere||$||*****|
|3||Flame King YSNHT500||$||****|
|4||Cuisinart CGG-306 Chef’s Style||$$||****|
|5||Giantex OP3243 Portable 2 Burner||$$||****|
|7||Camp Chef 3 Burner||$$$$$||*****|
|8||Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet||$||****|
|9||Blackstone 1555 Tailgater Stainless Steel||$$$$$||*****|
|10||Pit Boss Grills 75275||$$||****|
1. Best Portable Gas Grill For RV Camping: Coleman RoadTrip LXE Portable Gas Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Freestanding propane grill with telescoping legs
- Number of burners: 2
- Power Output: 20,000 BTU per 285 square-inch of cooking area
- Weight: 48.5 lbs
- Material: cast iron grates
- Notable features: telescoping legs, sliding side tables, interchangeable cooktops (with griddle and stove grates, sold separately)
What it’s best for: Travelers who camp in various terrains
Why we love it:
Over 6,000 buyers on Amazon claim that this Coleman Roadtrip LXE is the best portable gas grill for RV around. All of its smartly designed parts and handy features will make it much more portable than what its 50lbs weight suggests.
The collapsible telescoping legs or wheeled stand allow you to even drag it over the sand when you’re BBQ-ing on the beach, and can be securely locked into position. When you need to put it away, the legs fold flat, and when coupled with the low-profile lid, the whole thing won’t take up much storage space. Such portability makes this model the best RV grill for the adventurous campers who take on different terrains and those who would like the flexibility to set up camp at the most scenic spot they find.
This propane grill also packs thoughtful features to offer a convenient and versatile outdoor grilling experience. The sliding side tables give you space to place your food, and a notable feature is the interchangeable cooktops that can be swapped for griddle and stove grates for all-purpose cooking (these are sold separately). You get a decent cooking area to cook for a party of 3 to 4, decent flames and cast iron grates with optimal heat transfer and retention for juicy meat with a nicely broiled texture. Thousands of campers have also testified on the ruggedness of this portable grill, so you’re getting an excellent deal for $180.
2. Best RV Charcoal Grill: Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Tabletop charcoal grill
- Cooking area: 160 square inches
- Weight: 13.45 lbs
- Material: plated steel cooking grates, porcelain-enameled lid and base
What it’s best for: Short trips, non-full time travelers, single or couple travelers who value the smokey flavor and charred texture of charcoal grilled meat
Why we love it:
While you can find many charcoal grills for around $30 to $50, the higher price tag for this Weber grill can be justified. With an impressive rating of 4.7 stars from some 5,000 buyers from Amazon, you know it’s gonna be worth the money. Firstly, you will love the plated steel cooking grates, which have been proven to deliver decent cooking results while being easy to clean and maintain. Coupled with the porcelain-enameled lid and base construction that will not rust, this grill will last you many trips on the open road.
This model is a tabletop grill with slender but solid plated steel legs, boasting a tuck-and-carry lock lid for carrying around and a small profile that will fit in the trunk of a compact car. That said, the 160 square inches of cooking area is more than sufficient for one or two people. This portable grill is the best RV grill for non-full time travelers who only go on shorter trips and thus will not be eating grilled food all the time. In this case, it’s quite worth it to sacrifice the convenience of a gas or electric grill for that distinct smokey, char-broiled meat that only a charcoal grill can deliver.
3. Best RV Mounted Grill: Flame King YSNHT500 Mounted RV Gas Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Mountable propane grill
- Number of burners: 1
- Power Output: 12,000 BTU per 214 square-inch of cooking area
- Weight: 23.2 lbs
- Material: Stainless steel burners and grates
- Notable features: upper grill deck, hanging rack ats as legs to make the grill free-standing, comes with hose to hook up to your RV’s onboard Quick Connect propane system
What it’s best for: Single or couple travelers who want easy and versatile cooking setup
Why we love it:
RV mounted gas grill comes with a bracket to mount right onto the side of your RV and locking retainer pins for a secure attachment, so you can set up your cooking station instantly once you arrive at the campground. Its major selling point that makes it the best RV grill in the mountable category is that the hanging rack can be used as legs to make the grill free-standing, giving you more options. This is among the most lightweight portable RV grills on the market, making it all around a versatile grill for many camping settings.
Another notable feature is the upper grill deck, which allows you to safely warm up food without burning them, or to cook different types of food at high heat and low heat at the same time.
4. Best Tabletop Grill: Cuisinart CGG-306 Chef’s Style Portable Tabletop Propane Gas Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Tabletop propane grill with folding legs
- Number of burners: 2
- Power Output: 20,000 BTU per 277 square-inch of cooking area
- Weight: 22 lbs
- Material: Stainless steel body, lid and cooking grids
- Notable features: built-in thermometer, 3-year limited warranty
What it’s best for: Campers with small children who prioritize a portabile, safe and low maintenance grill
Why we love it:
This model is clearly one of the most portable tabletop grills at only 22lbs. Delivering a safe and fuss-free cooking experience, this is one of the best RV propane grill in the tabletop category for families with small children who prioritize something safe, easy to handle and easy to care for.
While the stainless steel cooking grids do pale in comparison with cast iron grates when it comes to producing nicely charred meat, the full stainless steel construction makes this grill lightweight, less prone to rust, easy to clean and thus generally will last longer. Cuisinart’s 3-year limited warranty, on top of thousands of positive reviews, should speak volumes about the durability of this little grill.
And as for cooking results, thousands of campers have been pleasantly surprised by how this little propane grill cooks food evenly with a beautiful texture, even with extra large cuts of meat. The built-in thermometer and instant-start electronic ignition deliver precise temperature control with ease for better cooking results. With 20,000 BTU power output and 277 square-inch of cooking area, it offers a well balanced performance for parties of up to 4 people.
And if you’re familiar with Cuisinart, you will know that the brand always offers a multitude of compatible accessories that you can use with your grill for an upgraded, more wholesome outdoor grilling experience. The only catch for campers is that this model works with a 20lbs propane tank, which might to some extent limit its portability and versatility. That said, if you’re traveling full-time, using 20lbs propane tanks is much more earth friendly than the 1lb canisters, plus they are more convenient to refill.
5. Low-Maintenance Grill for Families with Kids: Giantex OP3243 Portable 2 Burner Gas Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Table top propane grill with foldable legs
- Number of burners: 2
- Power Output: 20,000 BTU per 267 square-inch of cooking area
- Weight: 26.5 lbs
- Material: Stainless steel cooking grids, lid and body construction
- Notable features: CSA approved, built-in thermometer, concealed grease collector, 40-feet hose
What it’s best for: Families with young children, or those who simply want to spend less time cleaning and more time exploring
Why we love it:
This is a lightweight and low-maintenance all-stainless steel RV BBQ grill for campers who need a fuss-free and safe portable grill for camping, for instance campers who travel with young children. The all stainless steel construction, including the cooking grids, makes this grill super easy to clean, less prone to rust and durable. Its light weight makes it easy to load, unload and set up at camp, which further contributes to its long lifespan, as testified by countless full-time RVers who have owned this grill for a few years. This is also among the few RV grills that receive CSA certification for quality and safety.
This grill is not particularly powerful with a power output of 20,000 BTU, yet it is consistently praised for its ability to heat up quickly and cook food evenly with decently big flames. In addition, the handy built-in thermometer gives you more precision to get desired results.
6. Small For Single/Couple Travelers: Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Tabletop propane grill
- Number of burners: 1
- Power Output: 8,500 BTU per 189 square-inch of cooking area
- Weight: 26 lbs
- Material: Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates, cast aluminum lid and body
- Notable features: large handles, built-in lid thermometer, removable grease catch pan
What it’s best for: Single/couple travelers
Why we love it:
Often bought together with the Q Portable Cart from the same brand, this Q1200 Propane Grill has amassed an impressive 4.8 stars rating from over 6,000 buyers from Amazon. It is one of the best RV gas grill, no doubt, particularly thanks to its ergonomic, durable and thoughtfully functional design that delivers a fuss-free, all around enjoyable outdoor grilling experience. This one-burner grill is more suitable for the single or couple travelers who wish to travel light.
Its 8,500 BTU power output plus the porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates deliver excellent cooking results, while the porcelain enameling makes it easier to clean the grates. Thoughtful features that every buyer appreciate includes extra large grip handle and ergonomic side handle, built-in lid thermometer, and removable catch pan. When juices drip off the meat, they funnel down into an angled grease catch pan that rests far beneath the cookbox to prevent the grease from catching fire.
7. For Large Groups: Camp Chef 3 Burner Stove Big Gas Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Free-standing propane grill with removable legs
- Number of burners: 3
- Power Output: 90,000 total BTU per 608 square inches of cooking area
- Weight: 85 lbs
- Material: cast aluminum burners, pre-seasoned cast iron grill grates
- Notable features: removable legs, folding side shelf, removable grill box, 3-feet adapter hose for 20lb propane tank
What it’s best for: Families or big groups
Why we love it:
Made for families and large groups, this little grill house is quite hard to match with 90,000 total BTU and a sizable 608 square inches of cooking area, plus a multitude of accessories and handy features to tackle any grilling preference. Such a power output, coupled with pre-seasoned cast iron grill grates and a specially designed heat diffusion system means you’re getting beautifully charred meat that’s perfectly tender and juicy on the inside. Cooking in windy conditions would not be a challenge either, thanks to Camp Chef’s patented Wind Baffle Burner Technology. It indeed is on the expensive side, but considering you’re getting this beast of a grill to cook for many people, it’s definitely a deal.
8. For Minimalist Camping: Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Propane Gas Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Tabletop propane grill with foldable legs
- Number of burners: 1
- Power Output: 5,500 BTU per 145 square-inch of cooking area
- Weight: 22 lbs
- Material: porcelain-enameled alloy steel grates, stainless-steel burner, aluminum legs
- Notable features: grill lid latch, ergonomic carry handle, spill resistant drip tray
What it’s best for: Single/couple traveler, short trips, minimalist camping
Why we love it:
True to its name, this “Petit” grill is probably the most compact and lightweight tabletop grill for camping out there, at merely 22 lbs and 145 square inches of cooking area, making it the best RV grill for the single or couple travelers who only go on spontaneous weekend trips or the minimalist campers who prioritize traveling light. You’re only getting 5,500 BTU and porcelain-enameled alloy steel grates, but this little grill box offers a good balance of everything for such travelers. As tiny as it is, it can handle at the same time about 8 steaks, or 8 hamburgers, or 6 – 10 chicken breasts, or over 4lbs of fish.
9. For All-Purpose Cooking: Blackstone 1555 Tailgater Stainless Steel 2 Burner Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo
At a glance:
- Type: Freestanding propane grill and griddle combo with foldable, adjustable legs
- Number of burners: 2
- Power Output: 35,000 BTU per 512 square-inch of cooking area (15,000 BTU stainless steel burner + 20,000 BTU cast iron burner)
- Weight: 75 lbs
- Material: cast iron grill grates, cold rolled steel griddle plate, 1 stainless steel burner + 1 cast iron burner
- Notable features: adjustable legs, 2 burners + 1 griddle with multiple setups
What it’s best for: Families, large groups with more sophisticated cooking requirements
This best selling RV grill griddle combo is ideal for campers who wish to cook more than one dish at the same time. This propane grill is freestanding with foldable and adjustable legs, so you can set it up level on any terrain and surface. Its major selling point is that it offers several different setup combinations for more sophisticated cooking while saving cooking time.
You can use the grill box and griddle at the same time, or remove both and use the two open burners for pots and pans, or keep the grill or the griddle on and have one open burner. Throwing on the grill box and using the 15,000 BTU stainless steel burner and/or the 20,000 BTU cast iron burner will give you 500°F plus of high heat cooking, or you can go for the griddle for some flat, low heat cooking. The cast iron grill grates will deliver that perfect char-broiled texture to your meat.
10. Low-Maintenance Grill: Pit Boss Grills 75275 Stainless Steel Two-Burner Portable Grill
At a glance:
- Type: Tabletop propane grill with folding legs
- Number of burners: 2
- Power Output: 20,000 BTU per 275 square-inch of cooking area
- Weight: 27 lbs
- Material: stainless steel body, lid and grid construction
- Notable features: built-in dome thermometer
What it’s best for: Travelers with small children who need a low-maintenance grill
Why we love it:
This compact, lightweight, safe to handle and easy to clean tabletop grill is the best RV grill for families with small children. While the stainless steel cooking grids cannot compare with cast iron grates, they deliver decent heat transfer and retention, and when coupled with some 20,000 BTU power output and the handy built-in thermometer, you can enjoy precise temperature control and pretty good cooking results. One thing to note is that this grill is designed to run on 20lbs propane tanks.
How To Choose The Best RV Grill: Criteria
In addition to choosing among the different types of RV grills, there are also a few other crucial criteria that you need to consider to pick out the best RV grill for your camping and cooking needs.
Power Output or BTU Rating
Like with your heater, a crucial specification for RV grills is BTU rating, which stands for ‘British Thermal Units’. The higher the BTU rating, the more heat a grill can produce. A related fact not many campers know is that the BTU rating also reflects how much fuel a grill will consume. Understandably, a grill that produces more heat will naturally consume more fuel to produce such a big flame.
When you’re camping, the size and weight of everything you bring along should be taken into consideration. That said, while a “portable grill” must be portable enough, you must balance that with a sufficiently large cooking surface that would allow you to comfortably and efficiently cook your food in a reasonably short time. This depends on how many companions you travel with. Big families typically require a large grilling area, so that ideally more people can tend to the food at the same time and you will quickly have sizzling ribs and an assortment of grilled vegetables to serve hungry children.
BTU Rating per Area of Cooking Surface
If you’re looking for the best RV grill that produces the highest heat over the same cooking area, you must divide a grill’s total BTU rating by its total cooking area. The derived number is more practical in comparing the power output of different models. The rule of thumb is the most powerful portable grill should deliver between 80 BTUs and 100 BTUs per square inch of cooking surface.
Materials of Grates
The first thing to note regarding grates is that the best RV grill, no matter what type, should have removable grates for fuss-free cleaning and maintenance. As for the materials, each offers unique pros and cons with regards to how foods cook on them, how long they will last and how easy they are to clean and maintain. Therefore, what makes the best RV grill all depends on your cooking and camping preferences.
Cast iron: In terms of cooking time and food quality, cast iron has long been considered the best material out there for cookware thanks to their unbeatable heat transfer and retention. The best RV grill with cast iron grates will give you beautiful and fragrant charred meat that is still perfectly tender and juicy inside. The only drawbacks are they are quite heavy and are prone to rust. If you can spare the time to properly care for cast iron, it will be worth it. In addition to cleaning your grill regularly, care for them like any cast iron skillet, that is periodically seasoning them with food grade oil after they have completely dried.
Stainless steel: In comparison, stainless steel is more lightweight, less prone to rust, generally easier to maintain than cast iron and is pretty durable. And while it cannot compare in terms of heat conduction, it is still better than aluminum.
Ceramic: Ceramic grills are something between cast iron and stainless steel. They are heavier than stainless steel but still more portable than cast iron, and you can particularly find some really compact models in this category. As for handling, they are prone to crack if abused. They offer good heat retention but are a bit slow to heat up, so they are ideal for slow cooking.
Aluminum: Among the different materials, aluminum grates offer the poorest heat transfer and retention and don’t last nearly as long as the other, as aluminum tend to burn out quite fast. On the upside, they are the most lightweight and easy to care for, so they might be suitable for families with small children who need something portable and low maintenance.
While the material of the grates play a crucial role in heat transfer and retention, the ease of temperature control while cooking is also dictated by the style of controls. Most modern RV grills come with dial-style controls, with which you can easily adjust the heat with a turn of the knob. Then there are two options: single or dual control. Single dial controls should be sufficient in most camping settings. However, should you be dealing with more sophisticated cooking that requires more precise adjustment of the flames, the best RV grill with dual control will enable you to set different temperatures on different sides of the grill for when you are grilling meat on one side and vegetables on the other, for instance. Optimal cooking temperature would help you achieve optimal doneness for the best taste and maximum retention of nutritions while saving cooking time.
Number Of Burners
In addition to grates material and the means for adjusting the flames, the number of burners also contribute to the ease and precision of temperature control. As the best RV grill are made to be as light and compact as possible, most of the portable models on the market come with one or two burners only. Single travelers or couples can comfortably cook with a single-burner model while for bigger groups, or if you simply want better temperature control and versatility, a dual-burner design would allow you to cook more than one pot at high heat at the same time.
These might be or might not be the deal breakers, depending on your cooking style and where you typically camp:
- Wind guard: When you’re cooking outside, you will find ensuring that your food cooks evenly is harder said than done, when the wind is always a factor. The best RV grill should have a wind guard to maintain the flame and even cooking temperature.
- Mounting Capacity: If you don’t want all the troubles of setting up your portable grill on a safe surface, mountable grills would be a convenient choice. This type of portable grills comes with brackets to mount right onto the side of your RV or slip into any standard rod holder. They only take seconds to set up and take down.
- Collapsible Legs: This feature would be extra desirable for the adventurous campers who travel off the beaten path and set up camp in any remote, scenic locations that they pass by. The best RV grill with collapsible legs allows you to easily carry your portable grill around and set it up at roughly waist height to cook comfortably without having to bring an additional table.
- Telescoping Legs: If you’re opting for a free standing grill with extendable legs, a model “telescoping legs”, which consists of two wheels on one side, would offer you more flexibility. It would be easier to move the grill around or pull it through sand when you’re BBQ-ing on the beach.
The market for portable grills for camping is vast and diverse, and you can find ample options for less than $100. While they might offer great value for money for the budget conscious campers or the first-time RV owner, any seasoned and full-time campers would recommend that you pay a bit more to get the best RV grill that will deliver a well-rounded performance, durability and an overall enjoyable outdoor cooking experience, typically somewhere between $150 and $300.
How (and Where) to Connect an RV Propane Grill
Your RV’s Onboard Propane Tank
Instead of using small standard disposable propane canisters (16 lb or 14 oz), you can hook up your portable propane gas grill to the onboard propane tank on your motorhome. This is most convenient since you can tap into an existing fuel source and it is also earth friendly, as you’re not throwing away piles of small canisters each trip. Here’s the principle for hooking up your gas grill to your rig:
1) your RV would typically has a propane pressure regulator to make sure the grill receives gas at a safe optimal pressure that’s not too high (which is very dangerous) or too low (which will take forever to warm up the grill)
2) your portable grill might come with its own pressure regulator, and
3) how you connect the grill depends on whether the grill does self-regulate, since if the gas have to pass through two regulators, the pressure will be too low and it will take forever to heat the grill.
There are two scenarios, and here’s how to deal with each:
If your RV grill does NOT have a regulator, it typically demands low-pressure propane to work. To make sure the gas is regulated before reaching the grill:
- If you only use the grill once in a while: Install a T-fitting between your rig’s pressure regulator and supply hose, then connect the grill off the T-fitting.
- If you use your grill often: Check if your RV has a standard Quick-Disconnect fitting, which uses special hoses so that you can directly hook up your propane grill. If it does, you just need to connect your grill directly to this system. Otherwise, install an aftermarket Quick-Disconnect fitting to connect to the propane tank on your rig and hook up your grill to this.
If your RV grill comes with a self-regulator, it typically demands high-pressure propane. You will have to get rid of either your RV’s regulator or the grill’s regulator so that gas only passes through one of the two. There are two options:
- If the grill’s pressure regulator is separate from the temperature control valve, it’s safe to remove the regulator. Then all you have to do is connect the grill to your motorhome’s Quick-Connect port. This way, propane gas only passes through the regulator in your onboard system.
- If the grill’s pressure regulator is not separate from the temperature control valve, the only option is to bypass your RV’s regulator. This means gas pressure will be regulated by the regulator on your grill only. To make sure the high-pressure gas won’t run through your rig’s regulator, install a T-fitting between your propane tank and regulator, then connect your portable grill to the T-fitting. This way, the gas will travel to your grill before reaching your rig’s onboard regulator, leaving only the grill’s regulator left to do the job.
Large-Size Portable Propane Tank
While hooking up your portable grill to your onboard propane tank is the most sensible choice if you use your grill often, less frequent grillers sometimes prefer using the standard 1-lb canister that simply screws onto the side or bottom of your RV grill as this method does not involve messing with connections and fittings.
Such a canister lasts only about 1.5 hours of cooking time on high heat on average. If you prefer longer cooking time with your portable RV grill and less waste to the environment, a better option is to switch to a large 20-pound propane tank. Such a tank will last you some 20 to 25 hours of high heat cooking.
Hooking up is simple: you just need an adapter hose to connect the grill to the propane tank and check if the connection is secure. And as the free-standing tank can be bulky, make sure it sits stable on a level surface.
RV Camping Grills: FAQs
1. Is an RV grill worth it?
There are campers who haul along the backyard grill used in their home on their trips, and if you’re tight on budget, this might be a temporary quick fix. However, if you’re on the road full-time or quite often, any seasoned travelers would recommend that you get the best RV grills made specifically for camping. Made with portability in mind, these grills are much lighter, more compact and so it would be a breeze to load, unload, carry the grill around and set up your outdoor cooking station in any scenic spot you like.
2. How to properly light an RV gas grill?
Due to the inherent risk associated with propane gas, there are several safety precautions you must religiously follow before, during and after grilling, as well as when storing your grill and propane canisters away.
Safety measures before and during grilling:
+ Always operate a propane gas grill outside in a well-ventilated area.
+ Before operating the grill, always test gas fittings for signs of leak.
+ If you place a tabletop gas grill on a wooden surface, before burning the lighters, make sure to put a layer of insulation between the surface and the grill.
+ Set up the grill away from potential sources of flammables and do not smoke while grilling as well as reminding your companions not to smoke near the grill.
+ Remind small children to stay away from hot grills and teach them about proper handling.
Safety measures after grilling:
+ Shut off gas controls and close the valve on the propane canister once you’re done grilling.
+ As with any type of grills for RV camping, before cleaning the grill and storing it away, give the grill plenty of time to cool down completely.
+ The grill itself: To protect the grill’s important components from dust, moisture, spider webs, insects and other contaminants, cover the burner air intakes and hose fittings with their corresponding protective fitting caps. Substitutes for these caps in case you’ve lost them is anything you can cover them with and fasten, like plastic bags.
+ Propane canister: Always put propane canisters in an upright position and secure them so that they won’t get knocked over. Store them somewhere dry with ventilation and cool or moderate temperatures. Also, keep them away from any potential ignition source as well as heat source, if you should not leave these canisters in a hot vehicle for too long.
3. How to properly light an RV charcoal grill?
Use charcoal lighter fluids for normal charcoal:
+ If you use normal charcoal, that is not “instant light charcoal”, the safest starter for lighting them is charcoal lighter fluids. Historically produced from petroleum, they are made from an alcohol or methanol base.
+ If you’ve heard of paraffin or kerosene, a charcoal lighter fluid is essentially a light refined grade of kerosene. That is to say using the unrefined, concentrated form of paraffin/kerosene to light charcoal is not safe, as well as other highly combustible fuel sources like gasoline.
+ Allow the charcoal lighter fluid enough time to thoroughly soak into the charcoal before lighting it. After using the lighter fluid, cap the bottle immediately and put it safely away from the grill.
But if you use “instant light charcoal”:
As their name suggests, Instant light charcoal briquettes already contain the right amount of lighter fluid, so you won’t need a starter to light them and won’t need to wait for the lighter fluid to soak into the charcoal. The briquettes will light instantly with just a match.
Substitutes for charcoal lighter fluids:
You can use rubbing alcohol or any high proof alcohol as fuel to effectively substitute for charcoal lighter fluids, just remember to let the rubbing alcohol burn out completely before cooking. Another cheap and simple trick is to use instantly flammable materials, like paper, or better yet ball up newspaper sheets and pile under your charcoal grate. If you prefer a slow, steady burn instead so that you can safely light your charcoals, take the bottom half of cardboard egg crates, put coals inside and light the corners of the crate.
Other rules for safety and effectiveness:
+ Pile charcoal into a dune at the center of your grill for optimal flame, charring and cooking time.
+ Once you’ve already lighted your charcoal, it is unsafe and not recommended to pour more lighter fluid on hot coal to try increasing the flame. Instead, open the vents typically found on the bottom of the charcoal grill. This will let more air in, thus making the flame bigger. If you want a cooler fire, just partially close the vents.
4. How to connect a BBQ grill to an RV’s onboard propane tank?
How to connect your gas grill to your RV’s onboard propane tank depends on whether your portable grill comes with its own pressure regulator. This is because most RVs with an onboard propane tank these days come with a pressure regulator to make sure the grill receives gas at a safe optimal pressure. If the gas has to pass through both regulators, the pressure will be too low and it will take forever to heat the grill.
Here’s two scenario and how to deal with each:
Case 1. If your RV grill does NOT have a regulator:
+ If you only use the grill once in a while: Install a T-fittingbetween your rig’s pressure regulator and supply hose, then connect the grill off the T-fitting.
+ If you use your grill often: Check if your RV hasa standardQuick-Disconnect fitting, which uses special hoses so that you can directly hook up your propane grill. If it does, you just need toconnect your grill directly to this system. Otherwise, install an aftermarket Quick-Disconnect fitting to connect to the propane tank on your rig and hook up your grill to this.
Case 2. If your RV grill comes with a self-regulator, there are two options:
+ If the grill’s pressure regulator is separate from the temperature control valve, it’s safe to remove the regulator. Then all you have to do is connect the grill to your motorhome’s Quick-Connect port. This way, propane gas only passes through the regulator in your onboard system.
+ If the grill’s pressure regulator is not separate from the temperature control valve, the only option is to bypass your RV’s regulator. This means gas pressure will be regulated by the regulator on your grill only. To make sure the high-pressure gas won’t run through your rig’s regulator, install a T-fitting between your propane tank and regulator, then connect your portable grill to the T-fitting. This way, the gas will travel to your grill before reaching your rig’s onboard regulator, leaving only the grill’s regulator left to do the job.
5. Who makes the best RV grills?
There are hundreds of models of RV outdoor grill out there, many of which are from lesser known brands. These brands might offer a smaller product portfolio, but this also means that they might have a laser focus on RV grills instead of producing a variety of offerings like the bigger manufacturers. If you come across a certain model from a smaller brand with good reviews that you think is a great match with your camping needs and budget, go for it.
Otherwise, if you want to spend as little time researching as possible, a safe bet is to start with best selling models from large household names like Weber, Cuisinart, Coleman, Blackstone, Pitboss, Camco, Ziegler, Traeger, Giantex, Napoleon, and Everdure. Each of these manufacturers make some of the best grill for RV camping with a proven track record, thousands of reviews for you to rely on, and generally desirable warranty and customer service.
6. Why does my RV gas grill have low flames and not get hot enough?
The most common reasons for your portable grill not heating up at all or very slowly and small flames are as follow:
Clogged orifices: This problem is the easiest to fix. Your gas grill’s orifices are brass fittings that screw into valves to control the amount of gas that flows into the burners. Over time, they can get clogged with dust, oil, grime and other contaminants, blocking the flow of gas on the way to the burner and thus leading to smaller flames. To fix this, you only need to periodically clean the orifices with a small brush and some cleaning agent.
Faulty pressure regulator: Try to reset the pressure regulator on your portable grill to see if it will function like normal. To reset the regulator, turn off the grill and then your onboard propane tank. After disconnecting the grill from the tank, turn the burner to high for a few minutes and turn them off. Hook up the grill to your propane tank and slowly turn on the gas. This should reset the pressure regulator and your grill should now heat up just fine. If it still barely heats up or produces very small flame, you need to replace the regulator.
Leaking propane tank: If your propane tank is leaking, the overfill protection device (OPD) that comes built-in with most portable gas grills these days will automatically reduce the gas pressure to reduce the flame for safety reasons. If you think this might be the culprit, try to pinpoint the location of the leak with the “soapy water test”: while your grill is burning, mix soap with water in a spray bottle and spray on all sides of the propane tank as well as the regulator hose. Visible bubbles will form on the leaky spot. Once you’ve identified the source of the leak, turn off the grill and propane tank and repair or replace the leaky item as soon as you have a chance.
Tripped OPD: If there’s no leak, the built-in OPD might have tripped and read that as a leak while there is none. If this is indeed the case, simply resetting the OPD will restore your grill back to normal operations. To do this, turn off the grill and the tank. Open the grill lid and turn on one burner on high for about 10 seconds and turn it off. Disconnect and then reconnect the hose to your propane tank. Now slowly turn on your propane tank to reset the values on the OPD, then test if you’re getting bigger flames.
7. Can you boil water on a portable grill?
As long as you’re using a metal pot or kettle with no plastic or wooden parts that can get burned, boiling water is possible and perfectly safe on charcoal, gas and electric grills alike. A handy tip is to shut the grill’s lid to heat up the pot faster.
8. What is the difference between a high pressure vs a low pressure gas grill for RV?
The main difference between these 2 types of gas grills is whether or not the grill has a built-in regulator. High pressure gas grills have a regulator while low pressure gas grills do not.
The actual burners and burner valves are all low pressure, a high pressure gas grill has a built-in regulator that takes the high pressure from propane source and turns it into low pressure for grill usage. In other words, with a built in propane regulator, a high pressure grill can be directly plugged into a propane tank or canister to use without any issues.
A low pressure grill, on the contrary, has no regulator which means the propane supply needs to be low pressure. That is, there needs to be a regulator already between the propane tank and the grill. Low pressure gas grills will only work when hooked up to your specific RV connections that already have propane regulators connected to them.
In terms of grilling performance, there is no difference between these 2 types of gas grill since that is always low pressure.