What Kind Of BBQ Can I Have On A Balcony?

balcony bbq grill

There’s nothing like food cooked on a grill, and just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you should miss out. If you live in an apartment or a condo, then your balcony may be the only ventilated space where you can cook outdoors. 

Of course, there are safety restrictions and laws that prohibit you from doing this. Ordinances in most cities state your grill must be more than 10 feet from anything that could easily catch fire, which isn’t great news for those with smaller balconies.

However, if you have a large balcony, or space somewhere else in your building then delicious, smoky food balcony bbq grills are possible! 

balcony bbq grill

Balcony bbq grill – The Best:

But what BBQ should you choose? Some BBQs are more suited to a restricted space like a balcony, and ultimately you’ll want one that is small, portable, and easy to set up.

Below, you’ll find some of the best BBQs for cooking on balconies, as well as answers to questions about the safety of barbecuing on balconies, and what type of fuel you should use.

Weber Smokey Joe 14-inch Portable Grill

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The Weber Smokey Joe 14-inch Portable Grill is essentially a mini version of the classic Weber kettle grill. 

Despite its size reduction, the 14-inch grill still has enough cooking space for four or five burgers, a couple of hot dogs, and onions all at the same time!

It is also able to accommodate large steaks, a rack of ribs, or a whole chicken – separately of course. 

Its heat-proof lid handle makes it safe to use, and dampers allow you to control the temperature of the grill. It also has a tray to catch ashes, and its 9.5lb weight makes it very portable.


  • Can cook plenty at once despite its small size.
  • Compact and lightweight for portable grilling.
  • Retains heat with its porcelain-enameled lid and bowl, and durable plated steel cooking grate.
  • Dampers that let you control the temperature easily inside the grill.


  • The heat has been reported to dissipate significantly when you put the lid on. 

Cuisinart Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill

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If you prefer gas over charcoal then this may be the grill for you! All you need to do is hook it up to a propane tank and ignite it. This grill would also make a great addition to a picnic table or a tailgate. 

The large porcelain-enameled cooking surface is easy to clean up, and the two foldable aluminum legs and briefcase-style carrying handle make it extremely portable. 


  • You can cook up to 8 burgers, 6-10 chicken breasts, or 4lb of fish on the 145-square-inch grilling area.
  • It has a powerful 5,500 BTU stainless-steel burner and a porcelain-enameled grate that heats food evenly.
  • The briefcase-style carrying handle makes the grill portable.
  • Aluminum legs and stabilizing feet make the grill easy to set up in seconds. 


  • Awkward to store as the feet do not fold flat.
  • Low heat output.

Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Cube Charcoal Portable Barbecue

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This grill is for all you kitchen gear nerds out there! As it was made by an actual Michelin-starred chef.

Made by the science-minded Heston Blumenthal, this grill has all the techy features you would expect, while being very aesthetically pleasing. 

Made of quality, lightweight steel this grill is portable and compact. It also features cool-to-touch handles, and a built-in heat protection shield for a safe, and easy grilling experience wherever you are. 

It also features an integrated food-grade storage tray and a roomy bamboo preparation board to store fresh coals for extra portability.

The removable grill, charcoal tray, and porcelain-enameled firebox are not only easy to clean, but guaranteed to last. 


  • This lightweight grill is portable and compact.
  • The integrated base plaque lets you grill on any surface evenly.
  • All-in-one transportable design.
  • Easy to clean.


  • Doesn’t come with a cover.

Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Propane Grill

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The thought of taking your grill to the park or the beach is fun, but the reality of it can be a real pain. Thankfully, the Coleman RoadTrip 285 just makes it fun! All you need to do is fold it up, and then pull it along like a wheely suitcase. 

It’s a propane grill, and once you’ve set it up, it lights with the push of a button. What’s more, it has 285 square inches of grilling surface. Not only is it great for a balcony bbq grill, but a handy addition to any camping trip. 


  • This grill has three adjustable burners with improved burner technology for more accurate temperature control. 
  • A large grilling area.
  • The sturdy, quickly folding legs and wheels make the grill easy to set up.
  • The push-button ignition means you don’t need a match to light it. 


  • Takes some time to clean up after use.
  • The water pan can be a bit messy and tricky to empty. 

George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill

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This electric grill is a great alternative if you’re not able to have open-flame propane or charcoal grills on your balcony. It has a large 15-serving platter that lets you comfortably cook several things at once. 

Meanwhile, the removal stand lets you pack the grill up and take it anywhere. The surface also has a slick, non-stick coating, and the removable plates make it even easier to clean up. 


  • The Patented George Tough Nonstick Coating is durable, easy to clean, and eradicates the need to cook with butter or oil. 
  • The Indoor/Outdoor removable stand lets you cook indoors if the weather turns bad.
  • Adjustable temperature control lets you choose from five heat settings to get the best results.
  • The high-quality grilling with no charcoal or propane makes it great for apartment cooking.


  • You may need to use an extension cord since the cord that comes with the grill isn’t very long.

Cuisinart Griddler

This is technically an indoor grill, but maybe a good pick for those of you who do not have a lot of balcony space but still want to grill.

A versatile grill, it has reversible plates so it can be used as a grill, a griddle, or a panini press. 

It also has a floating cover to adjust to the thickness of food and dishwasher-safe nonstick cooking plates that drain grease. This not only makes for healthier food but makes the cleaning process easier. 

As well as adjustable temperature tools, this grill also comes with gourmet recipes to try, and a scraping tool. 


  • Versatile 5-in-1 countertop unit that acts as a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle. 
  • Brushed stainless-steel housing and sturdy panini-style handle.
  • Removable and reversible 11” x 9” dishwasher-safe nonstick cooking plates. 
  • Adjustable temperature controls with indicator lights. 


  • The buttons on the grill plates are plastic and not so durable.
  • Despite a three-year warranty, you need to ship the entire product back if it is faulty and pay additional costs to get the grill repaired, or get a new one.

Buyer’s Guide

Before you buy a new grill, there are always things to consider such as size, and if any accessories come with it. Buying a balcony bbq grill is no different.

You could argue that factors such as size are even more important in this case, as you’re working with a smaller space. 

You should always do your homework before buying a grill, so let’s take a closer look at what you need to look out for. 

Build Quality

While a grill intended for smaller spaces may not be used as much, or face as many adverse weather conditions as a full-sized barbecue, you still need something that is going to last.

Before you buy, think about your needs and how you intend to use the grill.

Think about how often you will be grilling, what kind of environmental conditions the grill will be exposed to, and where you intend to store the grill when you’re not using it. 

If you plan on using your grill frequently, then you will want a grill that is solidly built and made of durable materials. If it’s mostly going to be outside and uncovered, then opt for a grill that has rust resistance.  

Fuel Type

Unfortunately, when it comes to grilling on a balcony then what fuel type you use will not be entirely up to personal preference. 

You may have to choose based on what is allowed by your municipality, or landlord. Before you make a purchase, double-check what the guidelines are.

Charcoal: This is often prohibited in most apartments and condo buildings, or anywhere with a lot of wood. 

This is because unextinguished coals are a fire hazard. Although a lot of barbecue enthusiasts like to cook over charcoal, make sure you do your research before buying this kind of grill.

Propane: Propane or Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) lets you have an open flame, without needing to extinguish a solid fuel. 

LPG tanks and propane grills come in plenty of sizes and are very convenient. It’s no surprise that this kind of grill is preferred by campers for how portable it can be.

Tanks need to be stored when not in use, and some regions have strict rules regarding LPG storage. 

Natural gas: This isn’t the popular choice for small spaces, but it is a convenient option nonetheless.

While this isn’t the best option for a balcony bbq grill, it is suitable for a small backyard in a townhome, for example. 

If you do opt for a natural gas grill, make sure you hire a gas fitter who has all the necessary certifications to work in your area. 

Electricity: This is often considered a last resort by barbecue enthusiasts, but is a suitable alternative when other fuel types are prohibited in your home or are not practical. 

Granted, it’s not the same as cooking over a fire but you can still cook outside with an electric grill, and you can still make those delicious-looking grill marks!

If I’ve swayed your opinion, one thing before you rush out and buy an electric grill: make sure you have a suitably located outlet.

The cord may be a potential tripping hazard, and you can still sustain burns on an electric grill as you would from a gas or charcoal BBQ.


This is the most important factor to consider. Trying to shove an oversized grill into a small place is impractical at best, and dangerous at worst.

Before you buy, measure your space and think about how many people will be around the grill.

You don’t want to run the risk of you, your guests, or anybody you live with brushing up against hot surfaces while you’re all trying to move around. 

A good tip is to cut out a piece of cardboard as a template to determine how large an area is and how safe and practical it is for a grill to go there.

Work Space

Before you buy a new grill, have a look around your workspace, and figure out where you’ll be able to set down your utensils, sauces, spices and the food itself before it goes on the BBQ.

If there are no readily available surfaces, and no place to put a table or shelf, consider buying a grill that has shelves or hooks for you to place all your equipment. 


If you have a solid, steady place to put your new barbecue that is not flammable, then you don’t need a stand. 

However, if you don’t have something like this then I recommend a self-supporting grill. When looking for a self-supporting grill, look out for ones that are sturdy and won’t slip easily. 

If you plan on moving the grill around your balcony, then wheels are crucial. No matter how light a barbecue is, it will feel heavy and cumbersome to move after you’ve shifted it around a few times. 


Small grills often aren’t loaded with accessories. But a modest grill doesn’t mean having to miss out on cool features and perks.

Consider how you’ll use your barbecue and what you’ll be cooking. If you’re just flipping a few burgers then a load of hooks for hanging utensils isn’t going to be essenital.

Accessories are great, but pointless if you don’t end up using them. Look for a barbecue with features you actually need and keep in mind that you may have to compromise to get a grill that fits your space.

Is it safe to have a BBQ on a balcony?

Yes, but there are very real risks when having a balcony bbq grill.

Home grills are responsible for more than 8,000 fire callouts each year, with almost 30% of these originating from a porch or balcony, so you must follow essential safety tips.

Charcoal does have the edge over gas for balcony barbecuing, but an electric grill has them both beat. This is because, with an electric grill, you don’t have to worry about any combustible materials.

Flare-ups are so rare they’re considered nonexistent, and in case of an emergency, you can easily unplug the grill from a power source.

An electric grill also produces no harmful gases while cooking. You can still cook at searing hot temperatures, or low and slow and still achieve that authentic BBQ flavor. 

To make your BBQ experience even safer, choose smaller charcoal or electric grills, and invest in a disposable fire extinguisher. 

If there are prohibitions in your city, or your landlord has rules against barbecuing on balconies, please take them seriously. 

Safety is the main issue with grilling in a small space. Many avoidable fires are caused every year by people barbecuing where they’re not supposed to. 

Can I have a charcoal grill on my balcony?

It all depends on what ordinances are in place in your area, but charcoal barbecues are the second-best opinion after electrical grills. 

However, they do require a lot of attention (you should never leave them unattended), and getting consistent and even heat from charcoal briquettes takes a lot of practice and finesse. 

Charcoal grills also don’t come with handy features like auto-ignition because you need to set up the stack of charcoal to get the desired heat – it’s a very traditional, back-to-basics kind of cooking! 

For those of you who have had plenty of experience with charcoal, you can set your grill up in a ton of ways, including creating hotter and cooler spots as you please.

Charcoal fans will also say that there is a notable flavor advantage to cooking with charcoal.

Charcoal is also safer than propane because there is no gas involved. If a flare-up occurs, you lightly douse the coals until they’re extinguished (always keep a hose nearby).

You also need to store your coals indoors in a dry and well-ventilated space. 

To make your charcoal grilling even safer, make sure that coals have completely cooled before you dispose of them wrapped in aluminum foil.

You should also never use lighter fluid when starting your charcoal grill. Using a Chimney Starter is a safer and more efficient way of lighting your grill.

Can I have a propane grill on my balcony?

While propane is usually considered a safe fuel for grilling, it’s not the best choice for grilling on a balcony. Cooking with propane means you run the risk of explosions, even when following all safety precautions. 

However, propane is certainly the easier fuel to work with. It’s delivered in disposable canisters or large tanks, and is available at many outdoor or camping stores, and is designed for single use.

These large tanks can be refilled but take up a lot of space. If you opt for a propane grill, find out where you can get your propane tank refilled near you. But once you’re all set up, propane grills are incredibly simple.

Before you buy a balcony bbq grill, make sure you have plenty of shaded areas to put a propane tank and check what local regulations are in place.

The best propane grills for apartments have easy ignition features and are pretty low maintenance. You can get grilling fast with one of these! 

Besides having to refill the tank, another issue with propane tanks is that it can be hard to gauge how much cooking time you have left, so you may end up with a grill with no fire in the middle of cooking.

Which grill is best for a balcony? 

In terms of ease of use and safety, my pick would be an electric grill. They’re easy to set up and cook with, they’re safe, and have little to no legal restrictions surrounding them.

Charcoal is a close second, but there are fire hazards associated with these grills and they may be prohibited in your area. Also, if you have neighbors close by then the smoke emitted from charcoal grills may be a nuisance. 

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