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Char-Broil 240 Portable Review

An affordable alternative that sacrifices power in an unsuccessful search for portability
Char-Broil 240 Portable
Photo: Char-Broil
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Price:  $90 List | $79.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Large cooking area, lightweight, affordable
Cons:  Loose regulator, lack of portable features, requires full build
Manufacturer:   Char-Broil
By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 24, 2021
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Output Power - 25% 6
  • Control - 25% 5
  • Portability - 20% 6
  • Cooking Area - 20% 7
  • Wind Resistance - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Char-Broil 240 Portable Gas Grill would better be categorized as a small table-top grill, rather than a very "portable" grill. Even though the full-aluminum build tips the scales at only 16 pounds, this grill does not convert in any way to improve portability, maintaining a consistent posture of a rather bulky 3.1 cubic feet. A single, straight gas burner is lit with a basic Piezo ignitor and is capable of turning out 9,500 BTU to heat an oversized, 240 square-inch grill surface. However, rather than improving portability, an alarmingly loose-fitting regulator is the demise of this otherwise pragmatic, portable grill.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award   
Price $79.99 at Amazon$59.99 at Amazon$86.45 at Amazon$95.00 at Amazon$20.99 at Amazon
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Pros Large cooking area, lightweight, affordableSturdy, simple, good sized coal bed and grill spaceWell insulated, gas efficient, sturdyConvertible for indoor/outdoor grilling, consistent temperature controlInexpensive, lightweight, portable
Cons Loose regulator, lack of portable features, requires full buildHandles get hot, vents are hard to adjust, requires more preparation than gas grillsPoor control of heat range, quick deterioration of grill surfaceTied to an electrical cord, no ventilation, “fat-removing” designCheap, poor insulation, wonky
Bottom Line An affordable alternative that sacrifices power in an unsuccessful search for portabilitySimple and highly effective, this portable charcoal grill will help you show-off your pit cooking skills away from homeWith a lot of heat output from a single burner, this compact powerhouse specializes in high-temperature grilling at a fair list priceA convertible indoor/outdoor grill that is perfect for party cooking, as long as you have access to an electrical outletA cute, miniature of the classic charcoal grill
Rating Categories Char-Broil 240 Port... Weber Go-Anywhere C... Cuisinart Grillster Indoor/Outdoor 15+ Cuisinart Portable...
Output Power (25%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
3.0
Control (25%)
5.0
7.0
3.0
6.0
5.0
Portability (20%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
4.0
4.0
Cooking Area (20%)
7.0
4.0
4.0
7.0
4.0
Wind Resistance (10%)
4.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
4.0
Specs Char-Broil 240 Port... Weber Go-Anywhere C... Cuisinart Grillster Indoor/Outdoor 15+ Cuisinart Portable...
Total BTU 9,500 N/A 8,000 N/A N/A
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
Piezo Ignitor Yes No Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Simplicity of design is both a highlight, and a defining fault of...
Simplicity of design is both a highlight, and a defining fault of this affordable tabletop grill.
Photo: Aaron Rice

Output Power


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."

The heat distribution of the Char-Broil 240 grill is not...
The heat distribution of the Char-Broil 240 grill is not particularly even, likely because the distribution cap does not extend to the farthest reaches at either the front or back.
Photo: Aaron Rice

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.

Though it only emanates from a single source, the high BTU output of...
Though it only emanates from a single source, the high BTU output of the burner is able to effectively and efficiently cook food, just as long as they're located over the middle of the grill.
Photo: Aaron Rice

Control


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.

This grill does have the added benefit of an integrated thermometer...
This grill does have the added benefit of an integrated thermometer, which accurately measures the reasonably consistent internal air temperature.
Photo: Aaron Rice

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.

Note the gap at the fitting as we manipulate the regulator. Although...
Note the gap at the fitting as we manipulate the regulator. Although the gas is pulled in the right direction once the burner is ignited, this setup is so loose that it actually leaks a bit propane from this joint every time you light the grill.
Photo: Aaron Rice

Portability


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.

An overly simple design rather defeats the purpose of portability in...
An overly simple design rather defeats the purpose of portability in this case. This model doesn't collapse into a more portable travel mode.
Photo: Aaron Rice

Cooking Area


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.

You wouldn't know it from the frame of this photo, but these are...
You wouldn't know it from the frame of this photo, but these are actually sizable cuts of fish on pineapple planks that are dwarfed by the expanse of this grill surface.
Photo: Aaron Rice

Wind Resistance


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.

You will notice the flames flickering in the foreground, a result of...
You will notice the flames flickering in the foreground, a result of the changes in external air pressure affecting the output of the burner while cooking on a windy afternoon.
Photo: Aaron Rice

Value


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.

Though it takes much longer to setup than any other model in this...
Though it takes much longer to setup than any other model in this review, the fact that you can replace any part to repair this grill is a bonus with regard to longevity.
Photo: Aaron Rice

Conclusion


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