A camping grill is a great addition when you’re taking any trip into the great outdoors, and you can even use a small propane grill when you are cooking in your own backyard. There are a number of benefits to owning a smaller grill, as well as some compromises that need to be made. If you’re someone who doesn’t need a larger grill for basic home cooking, or if you take regular camping trips where a portable grill would be handy, then the Coleman NXT Lite is one of the grills that you should consider. It can be set on top of a picnic table or any sturdy and heat resistant surface, and it’s easy to use and provides good cooking results.
It’s time to take a closer look and see if this grill is right for your next purchase.
Key Product Features of the Coleman NXT Small Propane Grill
- Cooking temperature rated at 8500 BTUs
- 168 square inch cooking surface
- Push button allows for easy startup.
- Heat core proprietary technology for safer cooking.
- Compatible with cooking surface accessories.
- Small footprint and light for easy portability.
Assembly and First Impressions of the Coleman Small Propane Grill
When unpacking this Coleman NXT lite grill, one of the first things that you will notice is that the grill comes almost fully assembled, with only the legs needing securing with some included screws. You’ll be all set up in less than ten minutes, and if you’ve ordered a gas bottle along with your grill, then you’ll be ready to cook.
The grill has an attractive appearance in the familiar black and red Coleman colors. When fully assembled, it looks like a quality device that will be able to live up to outdoor cooking. Initial impressions of the materials are good, and after assembly everything feels well fitted and sturdy. Compared to some other inexpensive grills, the Coleman small propane grill feels like it will last for a long time, and that makes for an excellent first impression.
Who Was the Coleman NXT Lite Table Top Small Propane Grill Designed For?
If you’re somebody who loves outdoor cooking but doesn’t always need the large cooking surface that a regular standing grill can provide, then the Coleman will be a good option for you. Likewise, if you regularly take outdoor trips where you want to be able to grill your favorite foods, then the Coleman has been designed with you in mind.
Being lightweight (just 20.2 pounds) and portable, you can take this anywhere that you need to go. It can easily be stored in a recreational vehicle, a car, or on the back of a pickup truck. The cooking surface isn’t the largest that you will find on a portable grill, but it still provides enough space when you’re cooking for up to five people. Even if you are cooking for a larger group outdoors, then you could still use this grill while cooking your ingredients in batches.
If what you’ve been looking for is a quality portable grill but haven’t been satisfied by some of the entry level models, then the Coleman NXT Lite is a compelling alternative and it’s definitely worth a closer look.
Cooking, Usability, and Functionality
Before buying any grill you’ll want to know if it is easy to use. If you’ve used any type of gas grill in the past, then you’ll feel right at home with the usability of this model. With the included regulator it will connect to a portable Coleman gas bottle, and with an adaptor it could even be connected to a larger propane bottle if you have one. The regular control has three heat settings, and the lowest heat setting will usually provide the optimum amount of heat for most people. The higher settings work better if you choose to grill with the top open.
Some owners have mentioned that the grill can unexpectedly burn food the first time that you use the it. This can be attributed to the relatively high BTU rating for such a small grill. Although the grill looks small and appears like it wouldn’t be able to provide a high searing heat, the reality is that it can perform almost as well as a quality standing grill or even a charcoal grill. For any type of food that requires longer cooking time, such as chicken or vegetables like potatoes, make sure that you regularly check the food and alternate with the lid open and closed so that you can stay within the optimum temperature range. Unfortunately, this grill doesn’t have a built in thermometer, although most buyers would not be expecting one in this price range.
Having a lid on an outdoor portable grill is always a bonus, and this Coleman small propane grill takes things a step further by using a lid with a built-in hinge. This is a clear step up from the portable grill models that use loose lids. In many ways, the design of this grill is familiar to a George Foreman grill, so if you’re familiar with those models then you will feel right at home with the Coleman.
When it comes to the type of food that you can cook on the NXT, there are some limitations when compared to a larger grill. As you can probably imagine for a small and portable grill, cooking whole chickens, large roasts, and ribs or other large cuts of meat will be out of the question. This is not so much a negative for the product, but is something that is inherent to any grill of this size. For everything else, including bone in chicken pieces, small grilled pizzas, steaks, burgers, hot dogs, vegetables, and other small food items, the Coleman will provide ample space for solo meals or meals for small groups.
This grill also offers some expanded functionality in the form of some optional grate accessories, with one being a stovetop style accessory that will allow you to cook in a pan or a pot on top of your grill. For outdoor enthusiasts, having this type of versatility will mean that you won’t be overly limited, even when you are far away from the luxuries of your home kitchen.
Materials Used and Overall Quality
The construction of the Coleman NXT Lite small propane grill is a combination of steel and aluminum. For the price, these are the expected materials and overall it has a quality fit and finish that will give you confidence in the product.
Unfortunately, there are some issues with the legs that you will attach during assembly, and it will become evident that the sizing of the legs is not fully consistent. This can mean that there is a slight wobble when you’re cooking on a surface. While this doesn’t ever get to the point of the grill being dangerous or unstable, it’s something that Coleman should have addressed in the design and manufacturing project. Considering that some inexpensive grills use stable legs made from lesser materials, it feels like an unnecessary compromise.
Ignoring the legs, you’ll find the coated body materials, the quality grate, substantial handle, and hinges, to all be of high quality. The piezo electric lighter that is incorporated into the grill is well made, and Coleman’s claim that this grill will light every time is not an exaggeration. As long as you have gas in the tank, this grill will be ready to cook on first try, and that’s definitely an advantage over some other portable grills that don’t include an ignition system.
The burner used is also of high quality and does a good job considering how small it is, and how close it is to the cooking surface. The interior of the grill is coated to protect the metal from heat and also from grease and food debris that could become stuck, however, we do recommend using aluminum foil to line the interior, which will make the unit much easier to clean after your next camping trip.
Overall, you’ll find that there is high quality construction and excellent materials in use here, and the only real letdown comes from the legs of the unit. Looking at verified consumer reviews, the poorly aligned legs are not consistent to every unit, so this may not be a problem that you have to deal with. If Coleman can get on top of this quality control issue, then this will easily be one of the most well-made small propane grills in its price range.
Pros and Cons of the Coleman
Now that you’re more familiar with the Coleman NXT Lite and some of its key features, it’s time to find out what we found to be the best positives, along with some of the negatives of this small propane grill.
- High cooking temperature exceeds what most people would expect from a small grill.
- Interchangeable cooking surfaces (sold separately) make this a versatile camping grill.
- The hinged lid is an upgrade over the basic lids included on some other small grills.
- For the most part, material and construction quality is high.
- Assembly is simple and can be completed in a few minutes.
- No need for charcoal fuel to grill outdoors.
- Uses standard Coleman portable propane bottles.
- Construction quality is inconsistent with the legs, which can cause some rocking or wobbling when the grill is in use.
- The high temperature and close proximity of the burner to the food means that there is a slight learning curve to get the best results from this grill.
- No hose for connecting to a refillable propane cylinder.
Recommended Accessories for the Coleman NXT
Purchasing a small propane grill is an affordable investment, which means that you will have some freedom to get a few quality accessories that will make the NXT even more versatile and convenient.
If you already have a refillable gas bottle in your RV, or if you have one that you use for camping, then you can purchase the Coleman 5ft.propane hose and adapter. This will mean that you won’t need to use disposable propane bottles.
If disposable bottles are more convenient for you, then make sure you purchase original Coleman 16.4oz bottles. These are designed to work perfectly with Coleman products, and you won’t need a special adapter.
If you want to get the best out of your grill so that you can cook almost anything on your next camping trip, then you should consider the Coleman NXT Stove Grate. This open grate is perfect for cooking in a pan or pot, and allows for the heat to be directly applied.
Consumer Feedback for the Coleman NXT is Positive
You can learn a lot about a grill from what owners have to say about it, so it’s encouraging to know that the Coleman NXT Lite Table Top Propane Grill currently has a 4.3 / 5 average rating from online reviews, with 67% of all ratings being perfect scores. Owners like the simplicity, convenience, and excellent cooking ability of this grill. While some have mentioned problems with the legs not being fully aligned (as mentioned earlier in this review), most were willing to overlook this fact considering that it doesn’t pose any significant problems with safety or overall stability.
Final Thoughts and Recommendation
A small propane grill is a great appliance to have for cooking outdoors, even if you simply need a table top grill for your backyard. This grill is around twice the price of some entry level propane and charcoal grills, but it is also better in terms of overall construction and design. If you don’t need anything bigger then this is definitely a grill worth buying, and it still fits well within the sub-$100 range to make it an affordable camping or backup home grill.