Charcoal Smokers and Grills

The 3 Best Charcoal Smokers and Grills Under $500 – Buying Guide

The best Charcoal smokers and grills, like everything else, have increased in price, so finding a good grill under $500 can be a challenge. After reviewing these grills, you can now find the grill that helps understand the similarities and differences to help you make an informed decision.

Charcoal Smokers and Grills
Charcoal Smokers and Grills

Frequently Asked Question

How much should I spend on the best charcoal smokers?

That depends largely upon your budget. Depending on how often you use your charcoal grill, you may have to purchase charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal for your grilling event. You will also need to budget for tools and other accessories

What Your Budget Allows

Your budget allows for a new grill, but only if it stays within your price range. Budgeting for your grill has shown you need one that helps you gain experience but also creates great flavor. The grills, I have selected are economical, features helping you create great flavor, and gain experience experience.

To help you gain the right knowledge for your grill, I have looked at price, durability, and portability to determine which grill suits your needs. This knowledge allows you to make an informed decision about affordability, durability, and portability along with features allowing you to smoke or grill like a pro.

This buying guide allows you to decide which grill best fits your needs. Reviewing each of these grills gives you the information to make an informed decision. Finding the grill that is best for you is my goal.

ImageNamePriceLearn More
Gravity Series® 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker$$$Learn More
B06WGZ9X26Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS962-CBO-D Barrel Charcoal Grill & Side Firebox$$Learn More
100Royal Gourmet CC1830SC Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker$Learn More
Best Better Good
best Charcoal Smokers
Masterbuilt Gravity Grill

Overview Of The Gravity Series® 560 Digital Charcoal Grill

Model NameGravity Series 560
Power SourceCorded Electric
Item Weight146.98 Pounds
Item Dimensions LxWxH24.65 x 54.13 x 51.97 inches
Fuel TypeCharcoal

Frequently Asked Question

How do I reset my Masterbuilt gravity 560?

Power off your grill and unplug it. You will need to wait 5 minutes before plugging it back in. This should reset your control panel. It would be a good idea to see if the error code has been cleared before grilling again.

Charcoal Smokers and Grills Meet Masterbuilt Gravity 560 Grill

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series® 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker has taken charcoal grilling and smoking to a new level. Today’s technology is coming to charcoal grills, this may help, with the added feature of setting your control panel for the right temperature so you can spend more time with family and friends.

Once you have set your timer, you will find that smoking is now easy, allowing you to spend more time with family and friends. The charcoal, wood chips, or lump charcoal are dumped into the hopper, and gravity does the work. You no longer have to worry about the heat on the Masterbuilt Series 560 grill.

Once you begin smoking your brisket, you no longer worry about reloading your hopper. This hopper holds enough charcoal to smoke for 12 hours without the need to reload. This helps your heat management when smoking your brisket. A popular saying among most Pitmasters is “if you’re lookin’ you ain’t cooking”. Keeping the lid of your cooking chamber closed also keeps the heat constant for more effective smoking and cooking.

The Masterbuilt Series 560 grill reaches smoking temperatures(225F) in as little as 7 minutes or searing(700F) in 13 minutes but; the Masterbuilt allows you to start smoking or searing faster than the competitors. This feature allows you to start smoking faster than its competitors. It will even maintain these temperatures while the lid is open, making for a more better grilling experience.

Once the lid is closed, there will be less charcoal dropped, allowing the temperature to lower back to the set temperature, allowing for a more consistent cooking temperature for grilling or smoking. Now that you have fewer heat management problems, you will have better-tasting food that is easier to cut.


  • Gravity automatically feeds the charcoal or lump charcoal into the fire while the fan maintains the temperature once the temperature is set.
  • The feature of setting the temperature gives you options you have never had before. Your anxiety about heat management is gone, once you have preset the temperature, it keeps feeding and cooking at the preset temperature.
  • Cold weather is no longer a problem, the temperature stays in the right zone due to the preset temperature. The settings on the temperature controller maintain a steady flow of heat while grilling for a better grilling experience.


  • The controller keeps turning itself off.
  • Bluetooth is hard to pair with the phone.
  • The firebox chamber needs to be redesigned since the grease keeps flowing into the fire chamber.
Dyna-glo Signature Series

Overview Of The Dyna-glo Signature Series DGSS962 Grill

MaterialPorcelain enameled steel
ColorBlack powder coat
Item Dimensions LxWxH67 x 34.5 x 60 inches
Item Weight169.4 Pounds
Dyna-Glo Signature Series

Grilling with the Dyna-Glo Signature Series has a series of options allowing you to grill what you desire. Grilling steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, and other foods for a quick family meal. You also have the option of smoking larger cuts of meat, These meats may include briskets, pork butts, chickens, and turkeys to create phenomenal flavors.

Porcelain-enameled grill grates can help reduce your food sticking to the grill. Another advantage is their weight, they are very light, which allows you to move them quickly. Another handy tip to prevent your food from sticking to your grates, take a paper towel, soak it with cooking oil then rub the oil-filled paper towel on the grill.


  • Evenly distributes heat for grilling and smoking.
  • Can handle large amounts for grilling.
  • Great for smoking ribs.


  • Hard to assemble.
  • Ash is hard to remove since there is no ash catcher.
  • May give inaccurate temperatures requiring the need to find a replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for charcoal to be ready?

It will take 10 – 20 minutes for your charcoal to be ready for grilling. That will depend mostly upon how you start the fire; using a chimney to start my charcoal, allows me to start grilling in about 15 minutes.

Overview Of The Royal Gourmet CC1830SC Charcoal Grill

Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker
Model NameCC1830R
Power SourceCharcoal
Item Weight48.1 Pounds
Item Dimensions LxWxH53.15 x 19.49 x 48.62 inches
Fuel TypeCharcoal

Charcoal Smoker And Grill From Royal Gourmet May Have Your Features

The Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker offers great value for those who need to gain experience on their journey to becoming grill masters. You can use either flavored charcoal, lump charcoal, or wood to grill with, for added flavor.

For a quick grill, such as steaks, you will want your grill temperature to be close to the 450F – 500F range for searing and getting those great sear marks.

For the best results, keep your temperatures in the range of 225F-275F, when smoking your meats, you will want to go low and slow for that rich smoky flavor to penetrate your meat.

The ability to add fuel while grilling is a plus, that is a benefit that makes a difference when grilling. Adding fuel at the right time makes the difference between a great grilling or a smoking experience.


  • Easy for one person to put together.
  • You can either grill or smoke, it just depends upon what you are cooking.
  • Smoker gives added value.


  • Metal is thin and dents easily.
  • It is hard to line up during assembly.
  • Missing some hardware for assembly.

Charcoal Smokers And Grills Are Changing

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series® 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker, in my opinion, has the best value of the three charcoal grills.

Having the ability to set the time and temperature for grilling, gives you the option of which grilling method you use, but will have the required amount of fuel for the job.

This video by Masterbuilt shows how easy it is to get your grill started:

You have the availability to grill anything for the required length to maximize flavor and tenderness. You have total control of what is grilled, as well as time to spend with family and friends.

Based on the size, functionality, durability, and cost the Masterbuilt Gravity Series® 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoke is the best grill for the money. It fits all the criteria with the bonus of letting you take control of your grilling experience.

Flavorful Grilling With Ease

Masterbuilt Has You Coved


20 responses to “The 3 Best Charcoal Smokers and Grills Under $500 – Buying Guide”

  1. Gail Avatar

    Thanks for this comprehensive review of these 3 BBQ systems. I must say that in the UK, where it rains quite a lot in the summer, we probably don’t get to use our BBQs as much as we’d like! However, I like the idea of some of the add ons although I think they may be a bit tricky to set up and they look quite bulky and large for a small garden. Are there other ones which would fit on a smaller patio that you’d recommend? 

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Gail,

      Thanks for reading my review. I understand the rain situation in the UK but you may want to read my post about the Roadtrip 285 Standup Propane Grill. It is on the website. It may have some of the features. It is also portable. If you wanted you could just fold it up until you needed it. Great grill. My younger brother had one for 7 years before he decided to upgrade.


  2. Tony Avatar

    Hi Jerry

    Thank you for the review. I have been looking for a smoker for a while now( after a delicious meal with friends) these all look like good models. I believe he had the Dyna-Glo Signature Series. He said you can’t rely on the temp gauges for perfect cooking, and to get a separate temp gauge. Would you agree?

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      HI Tony, 

      There are times when the temperature gauge may not work properly. I always have an extra on hand. I have gone through that with other grills and found having a spare is a good thing to have. However, in the event you do have one that is not working properly, contact them and have a new one sent to you. The research I have done shows that to be something that does not happen often.

      I am sure that you will be watching the Super Bowl. I hope you enjoy the game.

  3. Grace Avatar

    Hi Jerry

    I have followed the links to check the price of the three models and found out the top 2 have gone. The last one, the Royal Gourmet, is reasonably priced and honestly, the Cons do not sound too bad for me, so I will check that one out! Besides, we only have BBQ a few times during summer so no need to invest too much anyway hehe. I think it is a good choice for us!

    Thanks for your detailed review,


    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      I am sorry to hear that the other two grills in the review had sold out. At the time of my review there were several of each ready to be purchased.

      The Royal Gourmet is a good grill and should meet your needs with no problems. I hope that you and your family enjoy grilling this summer.


  4. Johnny Avatar

    As an Argentinean, I am a total fan of barbacues (we call them asados)! Looking at your article, what I can say is that when it refers to grills, one must spend a good amount of money, cause chep grills usually get rusty and that will affect your barbacues. I am crazy about the Gravity Series 500!!!

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      The Asado is King in Argentina. I understand that the traditions of the Adado are quite strong and are a great time. Cheap grills not only don’t last long but they don’t always grill the way they should. I would rather have a grill that costs more but I get a better grilling experience from it.


  5. Jannette Avatar

    Sometimes I prefer a Charcoal grill over a gas grill, that is why am here looking for a good Charcoal grill that will last longer than the one I had before. Think am going to go with Dyna-glo Signature as was going to choose Masterbuilt Gravity Series but the cons made me change my mind due to the timer turning off and not completing the cooking time. 

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      The flavor of the charcoal grill cannot be duplicated. There is that distinct flavor from grilling on a charcoal grill that keeps you wanting to repeat the process. You could ask Masterbuilt for some tips that would help with the problem of losing signal to Bluetooth. They may have found an easy fix.


  6. I have been on the hunt for a great charcoal smoker for a while (gift idea for sweetie), but I definitely have a hard budget that I’m not ready to surpass. I love that in addition to the basic smoking system, that there are also some smart technological features available to those who want to understand more about the workings of their smoker. Thanks for sharing these options to consider and help narrow down my choices to 3 good options.

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      I am glad you found the review helpful. Having a budget for a good grill is an exceptionally smart thing to do. This will allow you to weigh all the options you are looking for. I feel that you are on the right track.


  7. KuroGane Avatar

    hello , thanks a lot for the review , i have been looking for some good smoker grills .. i saw there is a lot of function of smoker grills that you reviewed , i am very new on this , what do you think i should be aware when purchasing a smoker grills ????? 

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      One of the first things to look at is how much space you have. If you only have a balcony or patio area then you may want one that is smaller but can handle the type of meat you are grilling. Another thing to look at is are grills allowed if you live in an apartment.

      You will want to look at the size of the grill. You don’t want one that is too large for your space. You will have to decide whether to use charcoal or gas. Buy one that fits your budget.


  8. Louise Allen Avatar
    Louise Allen

    Wow, I never knew there were so many barbecues to choose from! It definitely brings the kitchen cooking outdoors and these look amazing ! I love barbecued food and it really does make a huge difference to the taste when a decent one is used for cooking. They can be a headache to clean too so it’s good to know the pros and cons of each to help with your readers purchase. Thanks for sharing !

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy


      This is but a small sampling of the grills available on today’s market. Yes, today you can have an outdoor kitchen for use whenever your want. The grill is an important feature and choosing the right one for your needs is very important. If you don’t have all the information you may not make the right choice.


  9. Emmanuel Emmato Avatar
    Emmanuel Emmato

    I have the Royal Gourmet CC1830SC Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker, It is absolutely perfect. It is an ingenious utilization of space and Room. It is sturdy. It is light weight. And it is also Great value for the money. My husband and I couldn’t be any more thrilled!                                                                                                                     

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      The Royal Gourmet CC1830SC Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker is a great grill. It can cook almost anything and will last for many years. The offset smoker makes it a great choice for ribs or brisket. The price is just right for many people and is long lasting. Enjoy the Grill.


  10. LineCowley Avatar

    Hi there, As a South African who has a husband that will light the BBQ (or we call it a braai) at every possible opportunity, I am always on the lookout for for outdoor grill that are available. We do have a gas BBQ that needs to be replaced, and like to smoky taste that some one can get with some grills, so that is a factor. 

    I do like to look and pros of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series, but am worried about the fat or grease that runs into the fire chamber. Is that a big problem, or can one position the grill at a slight angel to prevent it happening? Thanks

    1. Jerry McCoy Avatar
      Jerry McCoy

      Hi Line,

      You should not have to worry about grease running into the fire chamber since the grease probably won’t reach it. It is offset so the likelihood is very small of that happening.

      Your husband will be very proud of this grill. He will be able to set the temperature and Bluetooth it to his phone to monitor. Another great feature, once the grilling is done replace the slide vent covers to cause the fire to go out. This will save you money on the charcoal. You won’t have to buy as much.


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