Char-Broil 240 Portable Review
Cons: Loose regulator, lack of portable features, requires full build
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|Pros||Large cooking area, lightweight, affordable||Sturdy, simple, good sized coal bed and grill space||Well insulated, gas efficient, sturdy||Convertible for indoor/outdoor grilling, consistent temperature control||Inexpensive, lightweight, portable|
|Cons||Loose regulator, lack of portable features, requires full build||Handles get hot, vents are hard to adjust, requires more preparation than gas grills||Poor control of heat range, quick deterioration of grill surface||Tied to an electrical cord, no ventilation, “fat-removing” design||Cheap, poor insulation, wonky|
|Bottom Line||An affordable alternative that sacrifices power in an unsuccessful search for portability||Simple and highly effective, this portable charcoal grill will help you show-off your pit cooking skills away from home||With a lot of heat output from a single burner, this compact powerhouse specializes in high-temperature grilling at a fair list price||A convertible indoor/outdoor grill that is perfect for party cooking, as long as you have access to an electrical outlet||A cute, miniature of the classic charcoal grill|
|Rating Categories||Char-Broil 240 Port...||Weber Go-Anywhere C...||Cuisinart Grillster||George Foreman Indo...||Cuisinart Portable...|
|Output Power (25%)|
|Cooking Area (20%)|
|Wind Resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Char-Broil 240 Port...||Weber Go-Anywhere C...||Cuisinart Grillster||George Foreman Indo...||Cuisinart Portable...|
|Weight (pounds)||16 pounds||12 pounds||13 pounds||9 pounds (w/o stand)||4 pounds|
|Cooking surface area (inches)||225 sq in||140 sq in||148 sq in||227 sq in||143 sq in|
|# of Burners||1||N/A||1||N/A||N/A|
|Grill material||Aluminum, w/ Porcelain Finish||Plated steel||Enameled steel||George Tough Nonstick||Chrome-plated|
|Packed Size (inches / cu ft)||22" x 14" x 17" / 3.1 cu ft||14.5" X 21" X 12.2" / 2.2 cu ft||20.5" x 12" x 10.2" / 1.5 cu ft||22" x 18" x 14" / 3.2 cu ft||14.5" x 14.5" x 15" / 1.8 cu ft|
Our Analysis and Test Results
At first glance of its specifications, one might assume that the 9,500 BTU output of the Char-Broil 240 means that it is one of the more powerful grills in this review. But as we've said before, the output power is not everything, and this is certainly the case with this grill. Although it is capable of reaching searingly hot temperatures — after a 20-minute preheat, we were amazed to discover surface temperatures of 677°F — this is only one aspect of what we refer to as "effective heat."
This is the heat you are actually able to utilize for grilling, and the grill design plays a role here. Our signature "toast test" reveals that only portions of this grill are able to harness the effective heat put out by the seemingly powerful burner. At the same time, if you direct your cooking to the hottest areas of the grill, the Char-Broil 240 is quite capable of searing a quality steak.
Although many grills with powerful burners are capable of reaching high maximum temperatures, a true test of control is how easily they are able to come back down to more optimal cooking temperatures after searing — the 240 is rather impressive in this regard. After only five minutes of turning the infinite control knob from high to low, temperatures dropped down to a more appropriate grilling temperature of 556°F and settled at a consistent 545°F only a few minutes later.
Like other aspects of this grill, an ostensibly well-designed feature unravels a bit in practice. Though designed to be easily removed to improve portability, the regulator is loose fitting — the kind of loose fit that not only affects the cooking performance of the Char-Broil 240 but is concerning to the point of being alarming. The regulator merely rests in the burner, and its output performance greatly drops off as the pressure of the propane bottle wanes. This is less of an issue when using a full-size bottle and a hose adaptor, but is very apparent when using a disposable bottle.
The removable propane regulator is the only piece that comes apart from the body of the 240 to enhance portability — that and the drip tray, which can easily rattle out of place on bumpier rides. Although this 16-pound aluminum grill is easy enough to pick up and move from one side of the picnic table to the other, a packed size of 3.1 cubic feet is less than desirable for loading up to take to the park. And unlike some of the other portable options offered by Char-Broil, the 240 has no latch to secure the lid.
This is one aspect where the Char-Broil 240 picks up some points. Relative to its 330 square-inch footprint, this grill puts the majority of that to use with a respectable 225 square inches of grill space. If you're cooking for a small party, this is ample room for 3-4 servings of the meat portion of the meal — whenever we cooked single servings, the wide-open space of the grill surface looked almost scant. The 3.5-inch deep lid is plenty tall for most grilled items appropriate for a grill this size.
The lid is all but one solid piece, with three well-protected vents across its back. While the body and grill surface of the rather minimal Char-Broil 240 seems to hold up well in a stiff wind, the burner is significantly affected. Due to the lack of seal, any air turbulence around the end of the burner — which actually extends from the grill body — creates turbulence within the first few inches of the burner. This results in inconsistent flames, and thus inconsistent temperatures on that half of the grill.
Even though the Char-Broil 240 is offered at an affordable price point, for the value, there are significantly better options included in this review. However, thanks to the popularity of the brand and the fact that this grill comes completely unassembled, nearly every part is available to purchase separately, just in case you need to repair this grill down the line.
The Char-Broil 240 Portable is a basic propane grill that seems like it's designed for simple grilling from the comfort of a picnic table or tailgate. Despite the weight advantage relative to the size of its grilling surface, there are some flaws that undermine the cooking power of this surprisingly powerful grill.
— Aaron Rice
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