How to Buy an RV Grill | Buying Guide

White RV on road with red rock mountain in the background

Setting off for distant lands is as far back in American history as, well, American history itself. Every year, millions of Americans enjoy the pastime of hopping in their RVs, hitting the open road, and taking a break from the daily grind. Whether you’re heading straight for a favorite campground or carving out some personal exploration, there’s plenty of opportunity to bond with friends, family, or even a few good strangers over a hot grill and a cold beer.

That’s right: a hot grill. What? Who told you that you’d have to leave the grill mastery at home? We’ve got a copy of the highway handbook right here — there’s nothing in here that says navigating interstates and backroads in a magnificent vessel that towers above your fellow man means you can’t anticipate a succulent steak (or several) along the trip. For more information about the sizzling, sight-seeing sorcery we call “camper grills,” get ready to have your minds blown open below.

Benefits of Camper Grills

Filling out a terrific trifecta with boat grills and camping grills, the humble RV grill brings the spirit of cooking just about whatever you want, wherever you want, to your very own recreational vehicle. If that string of words didn’t move the needle on scooping up the best cooking surface this side of your vessel’s propane tank, then try on a few more of the top benefits for size. In fact, that’s a bonus benefit right there — they’re wonderfully travel-sized machines — but you see, we’re really attached to the base-4 thing on our benefits. Makes those icons pop!

  • RV

    Ripe for the Road

    Many campers don’t include much kitchen utility. With an RV grill, maintain your independence from fast food while enjoying fresh, on-the-go grub.

  • Entertainment dining

    Distinctive Dining for Nomads

    There’s something to be said about the experience. At the campgrounds, keep searing, smoking, baking, and more at your fingertips! (Not literally, we hope.)

  • Keep smells out

    Order Odors Outside

    Bring along the comfort of grilling while keeping lingering scents out of your personal space. Cooking gamey or fishy meat outside keeps living quarters fresh.

  • Entertainment dining

    Not Just For RVs

    Camper grills are just portable grills suitable for the RV lifestyle. That means they’re suitable elsewhere, which can squeeze out plenty of extra utility.

What to Look for in an RV Grill

Alright, time to get serious, because even the best RV portable grills have to stomach compromises somewhere. From the toughest grills with enduring construction to lighter grills prone to shorter lifespans, drawing a line in the sand may just send the tide elsewhere; you should know how that delicate balance teeters before making any steadfast commitments. So, before we get into the fun stuff, here are four major factors to think about any grill you’d want to bring onto your RV.

  • Grill Size and Available Storage

    Portability belongs on a pedestal when every square foot counts. But the grill alone won’t give you the bigger picture, and you’ll absolutely want to factor in the size factor of its fuel. Are weight gain or storage space your highest concerns? If so, you’re likely to find excellent value in propane gas or electric RV grills, which can either shrink the fuel storage or — in the latter case — eliminate it.

  • Stamina and Sturdiness

    Excited trekkers may be tempted to embrace lighter materials, but that thought usually lasts as long as the grill does. Then again, thicker and heavier material can easily be a necessary dealbreaker. Painted steel, cast aluminum, and ceramic grills generally weigh less; are you fine replacing them more often? Cast iron and powder-coated steel are heftier materials; can you commit to handling them day-in and day-out?

  • Weather and Wilderness

    Knowing the climates where you hope to take your RV camper grill goes far to start narrowing down choices. Gas historically struggles in windy environments, and propane RV grills haven’t yet triumphed over their mortal enemy: a stiff breeze. Coastal excursions must factor in harsh saline air, while frequent rain puts a damper on charcoal while making bricks of pellets. Do the campgrounds you’ve picked offer 110/120-volt outlets?

  • Features and Flexibility

    Isn’t pouring over features the fun part in picking just about any grill? We think so. From burner counts to pop-out shelves and programmable features, there’s a lot to love with RV grills. But we encourage you to remain flexible with quality-of-life demands; all the automatic lid locks and alarms in the world won’t help if a folding grill would’ve spared you endless headaches… Well, with one exception: the Magma Crossover Series cooking system. If you have the room for a few extra pieces, it’s practically a portable propane kitchen for your RV!

Choosing Fuel Type for Your RV Grill

As is so often the case, the best portable grill for RV living is the one you’ll use. (And the one you’ll use is the one that won’t elicit groans when you picture lugging it out.) The quickest way there is to discuss the various fuel types on offer. That choice will lay down immutable facts about the ease (or exertion) of fire management, weight and space, the taste of the food, and more. Is it any wonder we want you thinking about this one early?

  • Magma Crossover Single burner camping grill at campsite

    Propane Gas Camper Grills

    Rather save the adventures for the hiking trails? Then look no further than the rock-solid gas RV grill. Easy, dependable, and comparatively safer, this choice generally puts your cookout on cruise control. But straying from civilization means bumps in the road: propane runs out, and predicting when isn’t always possible. You’ll also need to decide if you’re carrying pricier and (generally) non-refillable 1-lb tanks for their portability, or their heftier cousins of the 20-lb variety. Even so, liquid propane takes the sweat out of controlling fire, so the hassle of storage and refilling can prove worthwhile.

    Shop Gas Camping Grills

  • KJ Junior at a camp cookout

    Charcoal Camper Grills

    Tired of hefty grills with intricate parts? Prefer to outsource every conceivable ounce of physics to the fuel itself? Welcome to charcoal. Charcoal RV grills not only chuck fallible components to the wayside — no flame tamers or valves here, folks — but they offer a satisfyingly primitive experience over crackling hot coals and delicious, smoky wood chip or chunks. Then again, charcoal insists you know what you’re doing; keeping the fire going, controlled, and stopped isn’t easy far from home, and improper ash disposal can draw wild attention. Plus, charcoal bags are heavy! But your inner primordial (and your tastebuds) will appreciate your hard work.

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  • Country Smokers portable pellet smoker being used

    Pellet Camper Grills

    The best pellet grills are built uniquely tough. Pellet RV grills bring that durability to, well, wherever you can park! Take the convenience of gas ignition, evoke similarly flavorful, smoky style from charcoal, and what do you get? A grill made to make you smile. They’re adept at a variety of cooking styles, and fire control is handled through versatile digital controls. Just like charcoal, however, those bags stay heavy. All those electrical components weigh down the machine, and you’ll need a standard 110/120-volt outlet — not always available. Solve those issues, and the convenience will reward you.

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  • Weber Q on a pedestal

    Electric Camper Grills

    Forget hefty fuel. If that sentence alone sold you, buy an electric RV grill — if you can guarantee access to a 110/120-volt source whenever you want something sizzling. For that reason, manufacturers have been slow to adopt the all-electric lifestyle. But there’s really little beating the convenience or safety of a lightweight, well-engineered piece of equipment that says, “Keep me juiced, and you’ll never look back.” Sure, they don’t smoke — if they do, you have problems — and it can be a hassle finding power, but they’re formidable yet painless machines. And hey: no open flames!

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How Will You Use Your RV Grill?

Think you’ve got your camper cookout companion sorted out? Not so fast! When we mentioned the presence of four factors to consider for your RV BBQ grill, we might’ve fibbed: there’s a number five, and it’s here. Lifestyles and resources are always subject to change, but you won’t want to pull the trigger until you’re confident in your anticipated use case. Even the best camper grill won’t be a great fit for you unless you can answer questions such as “How many Friday poker nights do I plan to skip at a time?”

  • Family camping and preparing food on the Magma Crossover camping grill

    Temporary Travelers

    Taking out the RV for a weekend jaunt to your nearest national park? Hitting the road for a week to travel along the coast? As a short-term sightseer, you may prefer the freedom offered by stronger camping grills that chew through fuel. After all, if that 35-lb bag of lump charcoal or 40-lb wood pellet bag will outlive your travels, why not literally weigh your options? If the premium of space is but a temporary concern, then grilling on more cumbersome RV grills could have you right at home – in a manner of speaking, anyway.

  • Adventure van overlooking a sunset over water

    Addicted to Adventure

    If ample journeys or the nomadic lifestyle are more your speed, pick more practically. Staying stocked on heavy, bagged fuel can put a damper on any extended trips, especially if you find your space tighter than not. Large propane tanks might not be the lightest, but they’re refillable at most grocery and hardware stores while often demanding less room. If you plan to keep near society’s edge, you might want to try your luck at electric camping grills. Good news, though: whatever the choice, you’ll fall into the steady routine not afforded to casual voyagers.

RV Grill Departments

Final Considerations

Aren’t the possibilities incredible? Push the pause button on life, hit the highway, and breathe in fresh air with fascinating sights before you. But before we send you on your merry way, we have a little leftover housecleaning — RV-cleaning? — to finally address. These parting sentiments should fill in a few gaps with food for thought. (Although if we’re talking literal food, our vote is on a battle box sampler from USA Premium Cuts.) Take a look below at general maintenance and start thinking about RV grill accessories, then get to planning your next big adventure. Happy exploring!

  • Camp Chef camping grill mounted to back of rv

    Magma Crossover RV Mounts

    Trailer hitch mounts make excellent use of a spare hitch. While mounting equipment itself doesn't often consume much room, every inch counts when you're traveling. And why not make wise use of your resources? Thanks to a trailer hitch grill mount, that unused component can become your staging area for camper grilling. Safety comes first, so we heavily recommend that you review all relevant owner's manuals (this includes your RV) to ensure nothing combustible will be within clearance limits of your cooking station. At time of writing, the Magma Products is our sole camping grills partner to design trailer hitch mounts — further making the Magma RV Crossover cooking system a sure win for nearly any trip.

    Shop Magma Crossover RV Mounts

  • Cleaning charcoal camping grill

    Keep Up With Upkeep

    A dirty grill at home is a hassle. A dirty grill in nature is a magnet for attention: insects eager to provide ecological waste management could arrive in droves, whereas wildlife may find itself summoned by the Ghost of Burgers Past. That’s why every meal should be wrapped up with a quick round of proper cleaning. Considering disease vectors, the chance for spoiled food, and general ickiness, we don’t suggest cordially inviting over a thousand new RV roommates. Electric and propane grills are a simple routine: burning away lingering grub, scrubbing grates, and wiping surfaces. For the other fuel types, well…

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  • Cleaning up ash from camp grill

    Properly Trash the Ash

    Then there’s this stuff. If you’ve cooking on charcoal or pellets, safe ash disposal after all cooks is mandatory; animal noses are far more sensitive to the drippings absorbed in those puffy flakes, and ash doesn’t play well with metals on a chemical level to begin with. When you’re done bringing your great backyard to the great outdoors, clear out the leftover powder and follow local rules for ejecting it from your life with prejudice. Then again, you could always resist the feature list — some RV camper grills offer a basket or ash catcher designed to lessen that burden.

    Shop Ash Cleaning Tools

  • Cast Iron camping cookware on camping grill

    Cookware for Campers

    And, just like that, we’re straight back to the fun! With clever planning ahead, every new component you add to your camper collection could provide further culinary options to your recreational repertoire. For a popular and practical choice, we suggest cast iron cookware, which rewards regular maintenance and seasoning with nearly unparalleled heat cooperation. If space savings rank higher on your to-do list, marine-grade Magma cookware is designed with square footage in mind; of course, what is a boat grill if not the RV grill of the sea? As with everything related to blazing the trail beyond your own backyard, plan your grilling ahead — then kit out your camper accordingly.

    Shop Camping Cookware

That’s it for us! We hope we’ve done our part to help you find your ideal RV grill so you can enjoy the taste of BBQ no matter where you’re trailblazing. If you have other questions about grills for camping beyond the backyard or need more help narrowing down your options, don’t hesitate to call our grilling experts at 1-877-743-2269. See you on the trail!