Need the perfect grill for your next camping or tailgating grilling adventure? Here’s everything you need to know to help you find the best portable grill for your RV.
Every camping party or tailgating party needs a good outdoor grill to go with it. The great outdoors is best experienced with barbecue, and this is best done with a portable BBQ unit that is reliable enough to depend on when you’re on the move.
At a Glance: Our Top 11 Picks
Weber Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill
It wouldn’t be a list of the best grills without a Weber on it, so it should come as no surprise that this grill features.
This modern grill has simplicity and practicality at its heart, making it perfect for taking on the go on your RV.
It has an easy ignition button to help you get going quickly, and has just under 200 square inches of space to help make enough room for a small party.
It has porcelain enamelled cast iron grates, making it extremely heat and power efficient. It also has a durable cast aluminum build making it heat efficient and durable in equal measure.
It has 8,500 BTUs, which is excellent for a portable grill. This makes it more than up to the task for burgers and large steaks, while not to much that it will rattle through your propane supply.
It weighs a surprising 28 pounds, making it easy to take on the go. It also comes fully assembled so it’s good to go the moment your open it.
A superb portable grill from a superb brand.
Cuisinart CGG-180 Gourmet
I feel like Cuisinart are underrepresented in a lot of best of lists but believe me, they know what they’re doing with small scale grills like the CGG-180.
This little unit is light, weighing only 17 pounds. This is as portable as they come.
Despite its modest size, it has porcelain enameled grates, making its use of heat fantastic. It has 5,500 BTUs of burner capacity, but because of its excellent heat retention and dsiribution, it uses this power much more efficiently than higher power models.
Are there any downsides to its easy portability? Its cooking surface is certainly a bit smaller than some others, measuring at 145 square inches. However this is still more than enough for cooking a few pieces of solid meat cuts on it.
If your priority is portability and ease for your RV, then this is an excellent model to consider.
Traeger Bronson 20 Portable Wood Pellet Grill
This is a braver entry as it’s not gas powered, but rather wood pellet.
For the uninitiated, wood pellets are growing in popularity due to their fantastic heat capabilities, as well as the meat they produce being of superior quality.
You do get what you pay for, so wood pellets do tend to cost more. Is it worth it though?
Ultimately we want fantastic tasting food, and here the Bronson doesn’t fail to deliver. The food off it tastes incredible.
It has the smokey flavors that we associate with good BBQ, with a woody taste that will feel right at home while eating by your RV.
Wood pellets might seem intimidating, but they’re actually fantastically easy to use. You simply apply the wood pellets, turn it on and set the temperature. It’s just as easy as gas while remaining much more faithful to ‘real’ barbecue.
You might have to refill the wood pellets during cooking, but that is a minor inconvenience compared to what you get in return.
It isn’t as light as gas models, but if you’re simply loading and unloading it onto the RV then this shouldn’t be a problem. It’s extremely durable and boasts enough cooking space to suit any small party.
A truly excellent grill.
Camco Olympian 5500
This compact grill is built with portability in mind, but manages to toe the line perfectly between convenience and good performance.
It’s designed to be compatible with your RV, with it able to connect to any low-pressure quick-connect propane outlet via the provided quick-connect hose. Within minutes you’ll have a fully functioning RV mounted grill.
Don’t worry if your RV doesn’t have this though. It can still be hooked up to a regular 5lb or 20lb propane cylinder.
Coleman RoadTrip LXE
Despite its modest size, Coleman’s RoadTrip LXE still manages to offer up an impressive 20,000 BTUs, making it one of the most powerful grills on this list.
Built on its own wheels and foldable stand, this grill doesn’t need a table surface and can be taken with you anywhere.
Solid enough cooking area, and will be more than enough for your RV or camping crew.
Flame King RV BBQ Gas Grill
The affordable Flame King BBQ/gas grill is made specifically for RV use. This little thing comes with a bracket that allows you to mount it to the side of your RV. Not only that, but sized at 22 x 11 x 17 inches and weighing about 22 pounds, this is one of the lighter and more compact RV grills on our list.
If you don’t want to hang this grill to the side of the RV, then you could use the hanging rack as legs and place the unit wherever you want.
The cooking capacity in the Flame King RV grill isn’t that high – just 214 square inches. However, because this grill boasts two cooking grates (main & warmer grates), it should provide you with greater flexibility in cooking and temperature control.
One downside in this grill is that it doesn’t have an integrated temperature gauge. Many people don’t rely on built-in thermometers and use their own, but if you don’t yet have a food thermometer, this may be a downside for you.
- Can be mounted to the side of the RV.
- 214 square inches of cooking space.
- Comes with two cooking grates.
- Doesn’t have a temperature gauge.
Masterbuilt PT300B Tabletop Propane Grill
The PT300B propane grill from Masterbuilt can’t be mounted to an RV out of the box, but it has a much higher cooking capacity – a whopping 288 square inches. Add to this the dual grilling racks, and you get not only a capacious but also versatile grill for RV use.
We also like the stainless steel build of the PT300B grill. This grill isn’t that much more expensive than the Flame King grill, but expect it to be more durable and have better build quality.
What’s also great about this gas grill is that it has an integrated lid thermometer. It won’t be as precise as a meat probe, but it should provide you with at least some guidance while grilling.
Of course, with nearly 300 square inches of cooking space, this grill isn’t small – sized at 32 x 19 x 33.5 inches, it’s perhaps not very suitable for compact RVs. It has foldable legs for added space efficiency, but it still is a pretty bulky grill.
Also, note that the heat output of this grill is just 10,000 BTU, while other grills on our list have about 16-20k BTUs. This is going to negatively impact how quickly the grill reaches the desired cooking temperature.
- 288 square inches of cooking space.
- Durable stainless steel construction.
- Has two cooking grates.
- Foldable legs.
- The BTU output is only 10,000.
Giantex Tabletop Propane Grill
This tabletop gas grill by Giantex features a remarkable combo of size and compactness.
On one hand, the cooking space here is 266.5 square inches – not much off of the space offered by the Masterbuilt PT300B grill. On the other, the Giantex grill is sized at just 22 x 18 x 15 inches, which makes it a much more space-efficient unit.
And thanks to its foldable legs, the storage of the Giantex propane grill shouldn’t be a big challenge.
What’s also notable in this grill is its heat output. The two built-in burners deliver up to 20,000 BTUs of heat, allowing for much quicker heating than in the PT300B grill. The burners may also be adjusted separately, allowing you to do multi-zone grilling.
And for durability, the Giantex grill also boasts a thick stainless steel body. All this beauty is priced a little steeply though – the Giantex propane grill is much less pocket-friendly than some other units our list.
- Grilling space of 266.5 square inches.
- Two burners with 20,000 BTUs of heat.
- Durable stainless steel body.
- Quite compact for its capacity.
- Foldable legs.
Coleman RoadTrip LXX Portable Propane Grill
As a non-tabletop unit, the Coleman RoadTrip LXX propane grill allows for a more traditional grilling experience. Aside from that, thanks to its design, it has a few handy features that some other grills on our list do not have.
How about two sliding tables that allow for more convenient food preparation? Or tool hooks to keep your utensils close by? These are fairly minor features, but they will nonetheless make grilling more convenient.
The cooking capacity of the RoadTrip LXX grill is also notable – this thing has 285 square inches of cooking space and 20,000BTU heat output delivered via a pair of burners.
Despite its large capacity, the RoadTrip LXX isn’t too bulky – when unfolded, it is sized at just 19.1 x 34 x 13.6 inches. It’s portable as well thanks to the pair of integrated wheels.
The weight of this grill is high though – weighing about 45 pounds, it may take up much of your RV’s weight capacity.
- Integrated side tables and utensil hooks.
- 285 square inches of cooking space.
- Heat output of 20,000 BTUs with two burners.
- Folding design and wheels for portability.
Megamaster 820-0033M Propane Grill
Finally, we have this propane grill from Megamaster. It has only 200 square inches of cooking capacity, but it’s also a very compact and lightweight unit – it’s sized at 20.3 x 19.1 x 15.9 inches and weighs about 19 pounds. So it’s very easy to move around and is very space-efficient.
Although pretty small, the Megamaster grill boasts remarkable versatility thanks to its two burners with a total heat output of 16,000 BTUs. For the size, this heat output is a lot. Plus, you can do multi-zone grilling with the two burners, though it won’t be as easy due to the small size of the grill.
The build in this propane grill is also pretty nice – made from stainless steel, the Megamaster grill is durable and looks pretty good too.
One downside in this grill is that it doesn’t have a lid thermometer. But again, this won’t be an issue if you rely on your own meat probes anyway.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Foldable legs.
- Durable stainless steel build.
- 200 square inches of cooking space.
- 16,000BTU output via two burners.
- Doesn’t have a lid thermometer.
Got a burning question you need answered? Check out our list of burning questions and answers to help you get on track to getting your new portable grill.
Gas, charcoal or electric?
When it comes to grills of all sizes, whether they be small portable ones you can take on the go, or large units to build into your garden, the first choice you need to make is whether you want to go electric, gas, or charcoal.
I would argue that for portable grilling, convenience and speed is key, so both gas and electric might be more appealing.
This isn’t to say that charcoal doesn’t have its place, so if you’re happy to wait 30 minutes for it to get going then you will enjoy the authenticity that the best charcoal grills provide.
How do I install a RV grill mounting rail?
Mount rail installation can vary wildly from brand to brand. Broadly speaking though, they tend to be simple to apply.
Any mount rail you buy should come with instructions, so always be sure to follow them as closely as possible. If you stray from this then you not only risk damaging your rail or grill, but also your RV.
How many BTUs do I need for a RV grill?
British Thermal Units (BTUs) are the amount of maximum power a gas grill can produce per burner (source). More often than not, these are given as a total between the grill’s burners.
BTUs are important not just to show off about the amount of power that your grill can emit, but are also a good indicator or how fast your grill takes to heat up, and also the range of temperature it can produce. If it has a good temperature range then it will give you greater flexibility in what you can produce, as well as be easier to use.
For a portable grill, don’t expect these to be too high in comparison to home grills, which tend to be between forty and eighty thousand units in total. Also keep in mind that a high BTU will mean that you burn through gas or propane faster, driving up your fuel costs.
However don’t sell yourself short, and also keep an eye out for whether the unit is being expressed per burner, or as a total.
As a rule of thumb, try to aim for between 80 and 100 BTUs per square inch of cooking surface on your grill. This should strike a good balance between power and fuel efficiency.
What grill surface area do I need?
Cooking surface size is where a lot of people can go wrong. They either overshoot and end up wasting money on unnecessary room, or underestimate what they need resulting in slower grilling as they can’t cook as much in one go.
As a guide, roughly 200 square inches will accommodate a dozen burger patties, allowing enough space between them to cook properly.
This same amount of space should allow room for three to four 10 ounce steaks.
Ultimately, about 100 square inches per person is a good guide to go by.
How do I hook up a propane grill to my RV?
While propane grills are primarily designed to be used with small propane canisters, they can be hooked up to your RV’s own propane supply.
This helps you make the most of space, as well as eliminate the risk of you running out of fuel midway through your barbecue. It’s great to reduce waste and costs too!
Locate your RV’s main propane tank. Usually this is towards the rear of the vehicle.
You will need to install a ‘Stay a While’ or ‘Extend-a-Stay’ tee unit (like this), which you add to the exterior propane pipe to allow you to use the propane supply almost like a faucet.
These units often come with a PSI regulator built in, which is designed to safely regulate pressure and gas supply.
Install a hose into the tee, feeding to your grill. To connect to your grill, you’ll need to use a quick connect, with one end on your pipe and the other fixed to your grill.
With the quick connect, you can easily connect the pipe and grill whenever you need them.
The guys over at The RV Geeks have put together a great set of instructions and diagrams to help you fix up your grill correctly.
The importance of grill build
Temperature consistency is key when it comes to all forms of barbecue. Uneven peaks and dips in temperature can harm your food, and in the case of meat even make it unsafe.
In my experience, two main factors can be at play for poor temperature consistency.
One is a poor chamber build. This can come in the form of either a thin shell, or leaks. Either can allow heat to escape, or cold air to come in, and disrupt the heat levels within your temperature.
The other is the grill surface itself. This is particularly common in gas grills, where the distribution of burners can result in flare ups and uneven temperatures across the surface of your grill grates.
Keep an eye out of porcelain enamelled grates. These are fantastic at transferring the heat from the burners more evenly across the grill grates (source), and have become more and more common place among modern barbecue grills.
Also look out for infrared burners. These tend to work in the form of a metallic sheet between the grates and burners, and work by absorbing the heat from the burners and heating your meat from there (source). It’s a fantastic system that helps avoid dreaded flare-ups from the burners.