It’s true that living in an apartment building has some drawbacks and the fact that you don’t have a yard where you can enjoy fresh air and do some specific outdoor activities is one of them. Grilling is a favorite activity for a lot of people that have a backyard and a very restrictive one if you live in an apartment.
However, if you have a balcony and you want to grill, there is a way to do so, so let’s dedicate today’s article to learning more about balcony grills and how to choose them.
Top 3 Picks
Best Portable Grill: Weber Q 2400 Portable 1560 Watt Electric Grill
With only 44 pounds in weight and a multitude of convenient features, the Weber Q 2400 grill is a true winner when it comes to portability.
Budget Pick: Coleman RoadTrip 285 Propane Grill
“Would I recommend: Yes, it is my favorite grill ever and I do recommend it.” (Customer review)
Best Natural Gas Grill: Broilmaster P3-SXN Super Premium Natural Gas Grill
The Broilmaster P3-SXN offers 45,000 BTUs of heat output, 695 square inches of cooking surface, and a quality cast aluminum construction that makes it perfect for grill enthusiasts and hungry families.
What to Look for in a Balcony Grill
Truth be told, there are plenty of limitations when choosing a balcony grill. Even if you have a large balcony, building regulations and codes will prevent you from using just any model, so you’re going to have to settle for a small grill. That being said, what are the features to look out for prior to making a purchase?
The size of the grill is super important. Most balconies have a very limited space to offer, which means you can’t just buy any heavy-duty grill and use it there. You are going to have to carefully measure the space you have available and pick a grill based on those measurements. Whenever you want to choose a grill for your balcony, you’re going to have to find the perfect blend between the size and the number of people you want to feed at once.
Next, consider the fuel source for your grill. As far as fuel is concerned, grills are divided into three main categories. You have your gas-powered grill, which can either be connected to a propane tank (that requires a refill/replacement once the tank is empty) or to your home’s gas pipeline (in which case you should call a professional to install the grill). Then, you have your electric grills, which are often the go-to choice because all you need is a power outlet to plug them in and you have access to an endless supply of “fuel”. The last category is made up of charcoal grills, which make every BBQ full of flavor and give your meat that special aroma. Even if it’s one of the most affordable choices, it’s also one that makes a lot of smoke, so it might not be the best option for a balcony.
The build of the grill is going to play a major role in its durability, so you need to pay attention to the materials used to make it. The body of the grill needs to be constructed from a material that’s rust and corrosion-resistant if it’s going to last you long. Stainless steel grills are the best choices if you want a grill that will live for many years. The quality of the construction for a grill extends beyond the body. The grates of the grill need to have a good build as well considering the high temperatures they will be exposed to. Choosing a grill with grates made with cast-iron coating or porcelain coating should suffice.
Portability is also an important factor, especially when you’re searching for a balcony grill. This is particularly important because you might want to store the grill away or move it to a new location, in which case portability definitely matters. The good news is that balcony grills are small, and small models are usually designed to be portable.
How to Style Your Balcony for Grilling
Styling a balcony for grilling is not easy considering the limited space you have to work with. We’ve put together a list of tips that might teach you how to style your balcony and make it the perfect grilling and dining space, but you have to always keep in mind that the size of your balcony is restrictive, so not all the tips we’ve added here might be applicable in your case.
- One of the best things about outside BBQ is the part where you can actually eat whilst enjoying fresh air. That makes seating an important part of planning your balcony space. For those of you with small balconies, a bistro setup with a small table and two chairs might do the trick. If you have a larger balcony, don’t be afraid to go for larger tables, depending on how much free space you have. Another option that might be convenient for those that lack space is folding chairs and tables.
- As far as storage is concerned, you want to take advantage of vertical space as much as possible, considering that balconies don’t really have a lot of floor space. Since you’ll be opting for a small grill, it won’t be equipped with that much storage, so you want to add shelves for storing your grilling tools and accessories. Also, maybe you want to consider making a small herb garden. That way, you can cook your grilled meals with fresh herbs and spices.
- As far as grills are concerned, you first need to know if your local building codes allow you to place a grill on your balcony. When you have the clear, it’s time to consider available space and size. Apartment balconies usually measure between 4 and 10 feet in depth and 6 to 14 feet in length. With the exact measurement of the balcony written on paper, think about whether you want low or high models. Low-profile grills might require some squatting in order to use them, which is not the most comfortable cooking position, but it might be the best option for your space. Hanging grills should be considered when you have banisters that you can mount them on.
- When you have covered grills, storage, and seating, it’s time to consider decor. You can really transform your balcony into the perfect space for grilling and eating outside when you choose proper lighting. First of all, you’re going to need enough light to cook when it’s dark or gloomy outside, but you also want to consider accent and decorative lighting. You can opt for string lights if you want to open up the space, or you can go for paper lanterns if you want diffuse lights with a soft glow. Don’t forget about plants either. Even if your balcony doesn’t enjoy that much sunlight, you can opt for potted plants that don’t need much light, such as succulents. Some other decor elements that you might want to consider induce wall art, wooden screens to separate the grill and seating areas, small balcony vertical gardens, and even neon signs.
Best Small Balcony Grill Ideas
We kick off this list with a Blaze grill that would be perfect for balcony use. It is built with a stainless steel exterior which makes it pretty corrosion-resistant. It is a gas-powered grill that can either run on one-pound propane tanks, but also includes an adapter for a 20-pound tank.
It is a model that’s both powerful and portable, offering 200 square inches of grilling area and equipped with a 12,000 BTU H-burner made from cast stainless steel. It is important to note that the unit does not support connection to a natural gas pipeline. Other important features include heavy-duty cooking rods, a lid that can be locked with front clasps, and a push-and-turn ignition system.
The Coyote Asado grill can be a perfect addition to your balcony because it has a quality construction and uses charcoal to cook your meats with that unique smokey taste. It is made from high-grade ceramic, which might be pretty unusual considering the multitude of stainless steel grills you see nowadays.
It is equipped with a 254-square inch cooking area that should give you enough space to prepare food for a couple of people. It has a dual-vent airflow system to grant you more control over the temperature. The heavy-duty casters allow for greater mobility. The side shelves are made from wood and can be folded whenever you’re not using them.
The Broilmaster P3-SXN grill is an outstanding choice for everyone looking for a quality natural gas grill. It has a cast aluminum construction and a cooking area of 695 square inches. The burner has a heat output of 45,000 BTUs which is pretty exceptional when you think of all that heat and all the different types of food you can prepare with it.
The unit is equipped with a stainless steel smoker shutter that’s excellent for roasting meats, and a stainless steel rack that can be retracted and expanded when you need more cooking space. The steel griddle that comes with this unit allows for more versatile cooking options, which is definitely a plus.
With a freestanding compact design, the Fuego natural gas grill might just be the right product for a small apartment balcony. It equips a cooking surface of 346 square inches, while the 22,000 BTU heat output works hand-in-hand with the grill’s capacity of reaching 500 degrees in less than five minutes.
It features a single dial control knob for the burner rings, and comes with a cast iron cooking grate that provides even heat distribution to cook your meat perfectly. It has a temperature range of 250 to 650 degrees, and there is also a built-in monitor that lets you know what temperature you’re cooking at. It comes with a removable residue tray for easy cleaning too!
If you’re interested in an electric grill, this Americana option might be just the right thing. It features a 1500-watt heating element that works with standard home outlets. The grill has some pretty impressive features, starting with the reflector pan that redirects heat to the cooking surface so that you can enjoy every little bit of heat that cooks food fast and perfect.
The cooking element has three positions. You get a rotisserie kit, two wheels for more portability, and foldable side tables for extra storage space. There is a wooden handle on the hood that stays cool even when the grill is running, eliminating the need for an oven mitt.
Weber is no stranger when it comes to quality grills, so it shouldn’t really surprise you that one of their products found its way in today’s list. This grill equips a 508-square inch cooking surface, combined with a construction that traps heat underneath the hood and provides even heat distribution.
While there are plenty of things we love about this product, one of the first things that stood out for us was the cleaning system that makes it super easy to care for this grill. It comes with a rotating handle that moves the ash in the vents and further down into the ash catcher, so that you can remove them whenever needed. The adjustable top vent is made from quality aluminum while the cooking grate brings forth strong stainless steel.
While there are plenty of good portable electric grills out there, the Weber Q 2400 is certainly one of those products that offer a lot of value for the money. The fact that you can take it with you camping or tailgating and then bring it back and use it on your balcony is just one of the many benefits that you get from this product.
There is a control knob that offers infinite heat settings, which is very convenient for cooking at precise temperatures. It is constructed with heat retention liners made from quality aluminum and they do a great job in preventing heat from escaping while also distributing it evenly across the 280 square inch cooking surface.
Another great option for those of you interested in portability at a really good price is the RoadTrip 285 by Coleman. It is available in different color options and has a design that makes it very convenient and user-friendly. It has a cooking area of 285 square inches and is powered by 20,000 BTUs that make this little grill more powerful than we expected.
It is equipped with side tables that expand the surface available for preparing food or placing your grill accessories while you’re looking. The ignition system works with a single push of a button, which eliminates the need for matches. There is a pan that collects the grease and can easily be removed and cleaned as needed.
The Cuisinart CGG-180 is a petit gas grill that looks adorable, occupies little room, and is perfect for covering basic grilling needs. Granted, it is not the beast you want when you’re making burgers for 6 people, but it can whip up a steak or two on its 160 square inches of cooking space.
It comes with a 5,500 BTU burner which gives a lower heat output if you were to compare it with the other models we’ve looked at today, but still pretty decent considering the price. It has a fast electric ignition system and a temperature gauge to let you know your cooking degrees. With only 17 pounds in weight, it is definitely one of the most lightweight models we’ve seen.
The last grill suggestion we wanted to talk to you about is this compact George Foreman grill which might not be very powerful, but it is still a solid choice coming from a respectable manufacturer. It has a removable stand that allows you to move the grill indoors if you want to. It features adjustable temperature control and gives you the possibility to select between five heat settings. It comes with a cooking area of 240 square inches and is constructed with non-stick coating.
What kind of grill can you have at an apartment?
There is no exact answer to this question because it really depends on the local building regulations in the area where you live. For example, the California Fire Code doesn’t allow any grill on apartment balconies because all open-flame cooking devices are prohibited.
What is the best small grill to buy?
The best small grill is the one that fits on your balcony and offers you the best value for the money. There are plenty of trustworthy brands to choose from, such as Char-Broil, George Foreman, or Weber.
Can you use a gas grill on a balcony?
This is another tricky question because when you decide to use a grill on your balcony, your safety and that of the other tenants is crucial. If you are allowed to use a grill on the balcony in the area where you live, there is also the matter of having the landlord agree with it (if you live in a rental apartment). Electric grills are a better option.
Is it illegal to grill on a balcony?
Generally speaking, it is legal to grill on a balcony, but the apartment building manager is allowed to prohibit the use of grills on balconies for safety reasons. It’s important that you check with your local authorities to see if you are allowed to grill on a balcony in your area. Even if you are, there are some standard safety rules to consider, such as not being allowed to use open-flame grills or place them within 10 feet of a combustible construction.
Whenever you’re invested in turning your apartment’s balcony into an outdoor cooking space, the first step is to make sure you’re allowed to do so where you live. Even if local regulations allow placing and using a grill on the balcony, you also need to be in the clear with the apartment owner (if you’re a tenant) and the building’s manager (that might prohibit the use of a grill for safety reasons).
When you’ve got these aspects out of the way, consider everything we told you about choosing a suitable grill and take a look at some of the best models that money can buy.