The best coal fireplaces of 2022

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Updated on September 22, 2022 at 10:32 am

The best charcoal fireplace has one purpose: to quickly prepare charcoal for a charcoal grill or charcoal smoker. Packing coal in a fireplace utilizes radiation and convection, which work together to move heat evenly through the coal. The result is faster, hotter coals with no hot spots or cold spots. All the briquettes will be ready to cook at the same time.

Since a fireplace is designed to start burning charcoal more efficiently, you don’t need to add an accelerator like charcoal lighter fluid. They contain hydrocarbons that do not break down easily and can alter the flavor of grilled foods. Charcoal fireplaces take the lighter fluid out of the equation, ensuring your grill is ready faster and your food always tastes amazing.

The Best Coal Fireplaces of 2022: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity

The best all-round charcoal fireplace

BBQ Dragon is the ultimate charcoal fireplace.

BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity BBQ Dragon

Why did he make the cut?: BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity features an innovative internal 90-degree elbow that pairs with a specialized fan to increase the flow of oxygen to the coals, resulting in hot coals in just 3 minutes.

3 Main features

  • Dimensions: 11 x 11.5 x 6 inches
  • Materials: Heavy gauge galvanized steel, nylon handle
  • Speed: 3 minutes

The pros:

  • The inner elbow oxygenates the coal
  • Heavy duty galvanized steel walls
  • Built-in heat shield and heat-resistant handle


  • Requires separate fan for maximum performance
  • Smaller capacity compared to other fireplaces

The feature that makes the BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity the best all-round charcoal fireplace is its interior design. A 90-degree elbow inserted into the chimney increases airflow, bringing more oxygen to your coal. This can be combined with a proprietary gooseneck blower that fits into the elbow opening and acts as an electric bellows – producing glowing coals in just 3 minutes.

The fireplace includes a built-in heat shield at the base of the heat-resistant nylon handle, so it’s comfortable to grip the fireplace to move it or pour the contents when the coals are ready.

Note that the internal elbow that gives the BBQ Dragon its turboohm takes up some internal space, so the overall capacity of the chimney is reduced when compared to standard chimneys of a similar size.

Best folding: CampMaid Collapsible Charcoal Fireplace

The best folding charcoal fireplace

The CampMaid Collapsible Fireplace is the ultimate charcoal fireplace.

CampMaid Collapsible Charcoal Fireplace

The camp maid

Why did he make the cut?: The CampMaid Collapsible Fireplace folds flat to fit inside a 12-inch dutch oven, so it’s easy to store and pack.

3 Main features

  • Materials: Electrogalvanized steel
  • Capacity: 45 briquettes
  • Speed: 7 to 10 minutes

The pros:

  • Foldable and portable, includes carrying case
  • Charcoal ready in 7 to 10 minutes
  • Arrives fully assembled


  • Smallest capacity at 45 coal
  • The handle can get hot

The CampMaid Collapsible Fireplace folds up completely to pack away on camping trips, toss away when barbecue season is over, or to tuck into your emergency kit.

When folded, this fireplace fits snugly inside a 12-inch dutch oven and comes with a carrying case to prevent scratches.

This best folding fireplace is constructed with electro-galvanized steel to protect against rust and corrosion. The capacity of this fireplace is on the lower end of the spectrum, so it is best suited for smaller grills. Note that the handle may get a little hot and the hinges may be stiff on first use.

As a bonus, this fireplace can be used as a survival stove, providing 30 to 45 minutes of heat.

Best for charcoal: Oklahoma Joe’s Halftime Charcoal Starter XL

The best charcoal fireplace for charcoal

The Oklahoma Joe fireplace is the ultimate coal fireplace.

Oklahoma Joe’s Halftime Charcoal Starter XL

Oklahoma Joe’s

Why did he make the cut?: Oklahoma Joe’s Halftime XL Coal Fireplace accommodates up to 100 briquettes as well as coarse coal, so it’s ideal for larger barbecues.

3 Main features

  • Dimensions: 12 x 15.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 100 briquettes

The pros:

  • Durable stainless steel
  • Extra large capacity
  • Fast—about 10 minutes to coal
  • Innovative pouring handle


  • Part of the handle is plastic

Oklahoma Joe’s Halftime XL, the best charcoal fireplace for coarse coal, contains 100 large briquettes, making it perfect for larger grills – without having to refill the fireplace to get enough coal for the job.

Granulated charcoal burns hotter and faster than briquettes, but its irregular shape can cause uneven charcoal. Larger capacity fireplaces like this one accommodate coarse coals while providing room for air to flow so the coals heat evenly.

The double handle design makes it easier to move and pour the chimney, even when it is filled to capacity. The handle is partially plastic, so while it’s designed to stay cool, it’s best to light the coals away from the handle and go slowly when gripping the handle to pour the coals.

Best Quick Release Starter: Char-Griller Fireplace Starter with Quick Release Trigger

The best quick release charcoal fireplace starter

The Char-Griller is the ultimate charcoal fireplace.

Char-Griller Fireplace Starter with Quick Release Trigger

Char Griller

Why did he make the cut?: The Char-Griller’s chimney features a handy quick-release trigger to make it easier to dump the coals once they’re hot.

3 Main features

  • Materials: Galvanized steel, ABS polymer handle
  • Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 7.75 inches
  • Weight: 3.75 pounds

The pros:

  • Quick release trap door
  • ABS handle with heat shield
  • Sustainable construction


  • Corrosion can eventually affect the quick release function

The Char-Griller is a large capacity charcoal grill made of fully vented galvanized steel. Built-in heat shield and heat-resistant ABS handle protect your wrists when picking up the fireplace.

The best part of this fireplace is the quick release feature. Once the coals are ready to grill, simply raise the chimney and squeeze the lever to open the trap door and dump the coals. This helps reduce sparks and ash during the process, making for a smooth transition from fireplace to grill.

As a bonus, this chimney fits perfectly over the central fuel loading area of ​​the Char-Griller’s Akorn grill.

Corrosion can interfere with the quick release function over time, so keep the chimney dry to extend its life.

The best budget: Kingsford Deluxe Coal Fireplace

The best cheap coal fireplace

The Kingsford Deluxe is the ultimate coal fireplace.

Kingsford Deluxe Coal Fireplace Kingsford

Why did he make the cut?: This charcoal fireplace starter motor is all you need to prepare your charcoal quickly and evenly without investing a lot of money.

3 Main features

  • Dimensions: 10.74 x 11.25 x 6.8 inches
  • Materials: Galvanized steel
  • Weight: 2 pounds

The pros:

  • Budget model
  • Rust resistant construction
  • Large capacity


Your best bet when choosing the best cheap coal fireplace is to look for a model that keeps it simple and doesn’t skimp on the basics: solid construction and good airflow.

The Kingsford fireplace features a large capacity chamber with wide holes in the bottom, ensuring quick and even coaling. In addition to ensuring optimal air flow, the large ventilation holes make lighting easy. Just slide the match or fire the motor into the vent and light in a few spots.

The stay-cool handle has a heat shield to protect your hands, and the galvanized steel body is rust-resistant, so it can go the distance over several seasons.


Choosing the best charcoal fireplace for the job is a lot like choosing the right grill. It’s all about focusing on the specific features you need and want and finding the option that does most or all of those things.

We defined a charcoal fireplace as any starter designed to hold charcoal and reduce the interval between lighting the charcoal and cooking the charcoal for grilling. We specifically evaluated charcoal fireplace starters based on physical construction and durability, capacity to hold charcoal, speed in charcoal preparation, and special considerations such as portability and budget.

Things to consider before buying a charcoal fireplace

A charcoal fireplace must be able to withstand high heat and resist corrosion over time, so it’s important that the fireplace is built with materials that can withstand heavy use. Most coal fireplaces are made of stainless steel or galvanized steel. Stainless steel is a alloy that includes at least 10 percent chromium to resist rust and corrosion and provide strength. Galvanized steel is backed by a layer of zinc to protect against corrosion. It is usually less expensive but more prone to wear.

When it comes to keeping your chimney in good working order, pay attention to your chimney’s airflow. Fire needs to breathe, so strategically placed vents (or other designs) improve airflow and speed up the time it takes to prepare those coals. Flaps near the bottom of the chimney with larger openings also facilitate soft lighting.

Think about how you will use your coal fireplace to pinpoint any unique needs you may have, such as increased capacity for use with larger grills or smokers. Other options include folding for convenient storage or taking the fireplace on the road, quick-release levers to make it easy to pour ready-made coals, and a built-in fan to speed up the burning process.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Is a coal fireplace worth it?

A charcoal fireplace is worth the investment because it eliminates the need to use lighter fluid and speeds up the time needed to prepare the charcoal.

Q: How long does a coal fireplace last?

How long a coal fireplace lasts depends on several factors such as the amount and type of coal or even how windy it is outside. In general, you can expect the charcoal to be ready within 10 to 20 minutes – and in as little as 3 minutes with some chimneys, such as the BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity detailed above.

Q: How do you start a charcoal fireplace with newspaper?

Starting a charcoal log fireplace is a straightforward process. First, loosely crumple the newspaper and tape it to the bottom of the chimney. Fill the chimney with coal and then light the newspaper in several places. You will know the coals are ready when they are covered with a layer of white ash. If you have trouble keeping the newspaper lit, add a few drops of neutral cooking oil to the newspaper.

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