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These Compact Grills Are Perfect For Burgers On Your Balcony — & Hello BBQ Season

Shutterstock/Marian Gentl

Whether you’re after the perfect sear on meat or vegetables, nothing holds a candle to the outdoor grill. But if you live in apartment, smaller spaces combined with building regulations can make alfresco grilling a bit of a challenge. The best grills for apartment balconies make things easier by offering a small footprint. You will need to follow your state's and building's grill rules, however, because some areas consider grilling on a balcony or patio to be in violation of fire codes.

Once you know what's allowed for your space, finding the perfect grill is a matter of personal preference (and budget), since there's a fuel source and cooking capacity for everyone. If it’s your first time buying a grill or you want to compare the types before investing in a new model, use this quick guide:

Gas

  • Pros: This is the most popular grill type. A propane (or natural gas) grill heats up quickly — typically within ten minutes — and has reliably good flavor, although it typically lacks the smokiness of charcoal.
  • Cons: They tend to be more expensive; you’ll also need to buy propane tanks, which is an ongoing expense, or have a hookup to natural gas line.

Charcoal

  • Pros: Many love this type of grill because it cooks hotter than gas, delivering the best outdoorsy flavor and sear.
  • Cons: It takes a bit of effort to properly heat the coals as well as safely extinguish them; for cooking time, it could take as long as 15 minutes for high heat or up to 30 minutes for medium heat. You’ll need to buy extra charcoal, and this type in particular might be banned by your apartment.

Electric

  • Pros: An indoor/outdoor flameless grill is ideal for anyone who can’t use charcoal or gas. They're the least likely to be verboten to apartment-dwellers.
  • Cons: You get solid grill marks and crisping but not any deep smokey flavor. But by that same token, they’re less likely to bother your neighbors.

You’ll find some of the best versions of each type of grill below, in a mix of portable and traditional models. These six grills come in the compact size apartment dwellers need with enough firepower to handle quick weeknight dinners and lingering weekend parties alike.

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

1
This Classically Compact Charcoal Grill With Easy Ash Cleanup
  • Dimensions: 25 x 22 x 39.5 inches (length by width by height)

If you're allowed to have one, this small charcoal grill serves up a large cooking space (there's room for up to 13 burgers), without taking up much room on your balcony — it's less than two feet wide. There’s a hook to hold the lid while you flip your food for that classic smokey flavor. The lid itself has dampers (air vents) for temperature control, and there are also vents in the base to fuel those coals while you cook. Weber then went one step further and added a built-in ash catcher underneath for easy cleanup at the end of the night (essential for apartment dwellers). Hand wash the grates if you want to have yours forever like this shopper: "I bought this grill to use on the balcony of my apartment ten years ago and took it with me, when I moved six years ago, to the patio of my house."

  • Available colors: 1
2
A Gas Grill With Retractable Legs That Packs Down To Fit In A Closet
  • Dimensions: 16 x 16.5 x 31.5 inches (length by width by height)

This portable gas grill functions as a countertop model and features stable extendable legs for an easy-to-use grill that’s built to adapt on the go. The twist-start ignition is simple to operate and there’s enough cooking space to feed four to six people easily. Travel-friendly features include lid-lock and a built-in suitcase-style handle for carrying. The enamel grill plate is dishwasher safe, too, adding another layer of convenience. "I live in an apartment and this thing is great," one reviewer prefaced. "It is small enough to fit on my balcony and in my spare closet, but big enough to grill two large t-bones at once. It folds up well and has a great handle, but it is rather heavy. Still, I can carry it back in with only one arm."

3
A Premium Collapsible Gas Grill That's Worth The Splurge
  • Dimensions: 30.25 x 19.19 x 16.13 inches (length by width by height)

For a full-sized version of a gas grill that's still small enough to fit apartment balconies, this one by Coleman has enough space to grill approximately 10 burgers, and features ingenious collapsible trays for more utensil and plate space when you need it. It attaches to a wheeled stand that can be folded flat to take up minimal space, whether you're storing it or toting it. It has three adjustable gas burners and a push-button ignition, with a built-in thermometer. The cast iron grill plates give an authentic taste and sear to your food, and are coated in porcelain for easy cleanup. You can buy separate plates for different cooktop options like griddles. "We live in a small townhome and this is perfect...It's easy to collapse for transporting but still sturdy and well built. Easy to clean and works really well," one review noted.

  • Available colors: 5
4
A Large-Capacity Electric Grill That’s Perfect For Indoor & Outdoor Use
  • Dimensions: 22.2 x 13 x 20.5 inches (length by width by height)

This pick has a sizable cooking area that can perfectly crisp up to 15 servings, making this electric grill a hassle-free full-sized version that's suitable for most apartment dwellers. It can be used with or without the stand, so you can even cook indoors using your countertop on rainy days. There’s a single temperature dial with five settings for straightforward use and the nonstick grates require less upkeep (they’re dishwasher safe). "Good for anyone in an apartment where gas/coal is not allowed. It doesn't take up too much room but the grill surface is big enough to cook," one shopper commented. "Heats evenly across the grill. Definitely gets hot enough to sear meats with no problem."

  • Available colors: 2
5
A Tiny Charcoal Grill That’s Also Good For Camping And Travel
  • Dimensions: 12 x 21 x 14.5 inches (length by width by height)

This small charcoal grill was made for tight spaces and taking on the go, with a rectangular shape that was built to fit neatly on narrow patios and in car trunks. This gives you more flexibility than a larger standalone version, but still has enough real estate to serve a group — it holds up to 6 burgers. The lid features the same built-in dampers and convenient lid hanger as Weber’s full-sized charcoal grill above. And the built-in stand locks into place over the lid during transport or storage to keep everything strapped together. "I love this guy. It's small but mighty," one fan raved, adding "The surface area looked small at first but it can fit a lot. Perfect travel size or for apartment balconies, it really doesn't take that much space."

6
This Countertop Grill With A Cult Following
  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 11.5 x 7.12 inches (length by width by height)

This Cuisinart grill is way to get some of those good grill flavors without the hassle of an intimidating outdoor set-up. This electric countertop grill has over 11,000 Amazon reviews from fans who love its multifunctional features that don’t skimp on quality while remaining easy to use and easy to clean. The plates can be interchanged to operate in many configurations. If you're using it as a classic grill, the floating cover means you can open it flat for extra space, and some reviewers noted it can easily cook four burgers. It also works as a contact grill and panini press, griddle, or a combination of the two for a total of five possible cooktops. The nonstick plates and removable grease tray are all dishwasher safe for fuss-free clean-up. Several shoppers noted this satisfied their grill cravings in strict apartment buildings, and one reviewer testified to its outdoor abilities: "We have since used it to BBQ on the balcony (does fish perfectly) make pikelets, pizzas, cook pocket bread, take it outside to fry anything that would make the house smell awful and anything else you can imagine."

7
Also Nice: This Quality Set Of Grilling Utensils With A Basting Brush

If you’re going to invest in a grill, you want to have the right tools for crave-worthy results. This set of grilling tools includes a spatula, tongs, extra-long grill fork, and a basting brush (hard to find in a budget set). The spatula has a serrated edge so you can check meat for doneness, and has a built-in notch that is magically a bottle opener, too. The tongs lock so they aren’t constantly popping open on you, and the basting brush features removable bristles made from food-safe silicone that’s so easy to keep clean. All utensils feature a loop on one end so you can hang them virtually anywhere and are made from heavy dishwasher-safe stainless steel. One fan remarked, "Greatly surprised with how solid and durable this set is! As well as how easy it is to keep clean and just how nice they feel to use. Not flimsy or weak, very strong and durable."