If you’re looking for a versatile grilling solution that you can use at home and on the road, you’ve probably considered one of the many portable propane grills that are on the market.
Portability is a major concern for many consumers, especially those that want to save money by choosing a model that works as well on a patio or deck as it does at a campsite or tailgating event.
There are compromises when choosing a portable propane grill, but these could be easily overlooked, depending on your needs.
Let’s take a look and see if a portable propane grill is as good as a regular grill.
Size is one of the most obvious limitations when choosing a portable propane grill.
Most grills that are truly portable are designed to cook for two to four people at a time.
If you typically only cook for yourself or a small group of people, then this won’t be an issue.
However, if you want to cook for larger groups on holidays, parties, and special occasions, then you will probably want something bigger.
You can cook for groups using a small grill, but you’ll spend much more time cooking the food than you will be socializing and entertaining.
There are of course some portable grills that you can use for entertaining at home.
This Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill is one of the best options if you want portability but with enough surface space to cook for groups of up to ten people.
This grill has 285 square inches of cooking space and three individually controlled burners.
It’s not as small as an ultra-portable grill, but it is a lot more versatile.
The materials used to make a grill can influence durability.
Smaller portable grills typically use consumer-grade components that won’t last as long as some of the commercial-grade components found in regular grills.
Body materials are usually aluminum, thin stainless steel, or coated steel.
There are well-made portable grills (The Coleman RoadTrip is again a great example), but they’re not quite as durable as their home-based counterparts.
If you want a portable grill you will need to accept that it might need significant maintenance or complete replacement within five years of ownership.
Of course, the low cost of most portable grills helps to offset this issue.
Some of the smallest grills lack large hoods or surface areas to cook ingredients like large poultry cuts, whole birds, BBQ cuts of beef and pork, and other specialty ingredients.
Most at-home grills can cook with the hood down and some even have features like smoker boxes to infuse authentic flavor.
If you’re looking for versatility you won’t get it in a portable grill, however, you will have the freedom to take your cooking on the road, which is more important to many people.
The Bottom Line
Is a portable propane grill as good as a regular grill? It depends on what you’re looking for.
If you demand portability then yes, a portable propane grill is as good as a regular grill.
With models like the Coleman RoadTrip, you can even get an experience similar to an at-home grill.
However, there are compromises like materials, durability, and versatility.
If you’re willing to overlook these to get one grill that you can use at home, in the woods, lakeside, at a park, or anywhere you travel, then you’ll get a lot of value from a portable model.