Don't buy disposable barbecues for your motorhome holidays – Practical Motorhome's expert suggests buying a £5.99 SunnCamp Compact BBQ instead!

Overview

The joy of buying disposable barbecues lies mostly in the opportunity for fair weather spontaneity, the cheapness and light weight. The actual cooking ability of these items is pretty low powered and inefficient. The cheaper the unit the less charcoal you seem to get, though we have to admit that at least they're usually pretty easy to light. If you're cooking more than a couple of burgers or sausages, you're a million times better off buying a small portable barbecue that you can reuse time and again.

This is particularly true if you're planning barbecues on tour during your motorhome adventures. So, what kind of reusable barbecue would we recommend? To discover which are the best portable BBQs in the UK today, we have tested a good variety of types and sizes, in a vast price range. Compare models with our Practical Motorhome BBQ tests here.

We have tried out both portable gas grills and charcoal barbecues. We were very impressed by some of the gas barbecues on test, because they do seem to deliver the most efficient cooking method. They're cleaner to use, quicker to heat up, fast to cool down and bring with them far less of a fire risk than charcoal fuelled grills.

For those who favour gas grills, we have also reviewed the Kampa Sizzle gas barbecue at £36.99, the Outwell Cervon Grill & Fire Pit costing £84.99, the large Kampa Caddy, at £190, and the Weber Go Anywhere, costing £103.

So why do people persist with charcoal BBQs at all? In a word – flavour! Sizzling your steaks, burgers, sausages, vegetable burgers on a charcoal grill gives the food wonderful charred edges and the smoke seems to lend another dimension to the unique barbecue taste. Gas grills can only imitate this by adding in 'vaporisers' and lava rocks to create a bit of a flash when some fat drips down. It's just not quite the same thing.

For those who favour charcoal-fuelled barbecues, we've tested the SunnCamp Compact BBQ, at just £5.99, the Outwell Cervon Grill & Fire Pit at £84.99, and the Weber Smokey Joe, £39.99.

So, will you be cooking on gas or charcoal?

When you first spot the SunnCamp Compact BBQ, you may well do a double take at the low price. How can any reusable barbecue cost so little? You may well wonder, but one thing is for sure, at this price it would be daft to buy a disposable BBQ, so we decided to put this little unit to the test, along with the rest.

If you think this SunnCamp Compact BBQ unit looks very much like a square saucepan with a handle, you’re not wrong; but we’d still much rather have this barbecue than a disposable charcoal example – here's why.

For a start, the top grille is tough enough to support food without sagging, unlike on throwaway models. And thanks to a clever folding mechanism, the BBQ only requires a tiny amount of storage space: it’s just 24 x 23.5 x 5cm.

For such a small unit, the 24 x 23.5cm grille area is impressive.

There is a minus point, though: the base sits just 2cm above the ground, and the unit leaks a bit of hot ash, both of which are less impressive. Campsites won't thank you for burning holes in their grass, and if you use this unit on a pebble beach the stones beneath will get dangerously hot, and could burn someone's feet after you have moved the BBQ unit from that hot spot.

Technical specs

Packed size24 x 23.5 x 5cm
Grill area24 x 23.5cm
Height from ground2cm
Size when in use24 x 23.5 x 10.5cm
Weight780kg

Verdict

If you were just about to fill the motorhome locker with disposable barbecues, stop right there! Buy a single cheap-as-chips SunnCamp Compact BBQ and a bag of charcoal and you'll save money as well as reducing the amount of landfill waste you're creating. It might be only a simple unit, but it's well designed, so we've awarded the SunnCamp Compact BBQ a four-star rating.

If you are prepared to spend a bit more on even better barbecues, check out all our Practical Motorhome BBQ reviews. We also have plenty more camping accessory reviews that are worth browsing before you buy new camping gear for your motorhome holidays.

Conclusion

Pros

  • As cheap as a disposable BBQ
  • Packs down small
  • Strong grille

Cons

  • Will scorch grass beneath
  • Leaks a bit of hot ash
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