Best Hibachi Grills

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You’ve been hearing from certain sources that you don’t have enough culture in your life. You’re a little stuck in your ways, your routines.

A perfect Saturday afternoon consists of hanging out at home and at some point, throwing some sausages on the grill. A perfect Saturday evening consists of hanging out at home and… eating those sausages.

Your friendly peanut gallery doesn’t consider that a very enriching or perspective-widening pastime. What’s on the other side of the figurative backyard fence, they encourage you to wonder.

Then you hear, from somewhere over the (perhaps literal) fence, about something called a hibachi grill. Japanese in origin, hibachi grills are small, portable, open-grate charcoal grills traditionally made from volcanic diatomaceous earth.

With usage first documented during the Heian period (704-1195 AD) in Japan, they are still used there today in several variations, and known as shichirin (bowl-shaped) or konro (rectangular box-shaped).

This sounds promising. A bit of culture, a bit of history, and your Saturday sausages get to stay on the menu, while satiating your critics at the same time.

But where to start? Which hibachi grill is the best buy?

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6 Best Hibachi Grills

Best Overall: Kotaigrill – 618 Hibachi Grill – The Original

  • Price: $$$
  • Grilling surface: 6” x 18” (108 square inches)
  • Weight: 25 lbs
  • The high points: Handmade out of welded carbon steel, this is a durable and attractive charcoal grill combining elements of traditional hibachi cooking with a modern design. Different size options available if you want a smaller or larger grilling surface area.
  • The not-so: Expensive relative to other options on the market.  

This is an American artisanal (handcrafted in Baltimore) take on the hibachi grill that pays respectful homage to its Japanese origins. It is a superb choice if you want something that will last decades – the manufacturers claim they drove a 7000 lb track-loader over it and it came out alright thanks to that A-36 carbon steel.

Kotaigrill keeps the long, slender shape of the Japanese konro fire bowl, as well as the traditional design of using long, parallel, metal bars with no crossbar. Here, the bars are spaced closer together in order to prevent any big chunks of goodness falling through, and to allow for more versatile grilling options.

Kotaigrill produces hibachis at different size and price points, ranging from 12” to 36” across. The 618 is the original prototype, and, in our minds, the best size if you want the hibachi benefit of portability, while not compromising on surface area.

You can take this one camping and still grill efficiently for a small crowd while right in the middle of the action. It’s perfect for an assembly line of skewered meat which is what hibachi grilling is all about.     

What reviewers say?

The designer-maker of Kotaigrills – F. Halsey Frost – primarily sells his designs from his website, www.kotaigrill.com, and from Etsy.com. His grills receive consistent, 5-star reviews on Etsy.

Reviewers appreciate the high quality, craftsmanship and superior welding. The grill gets high scores on both beauty and functionality. Several describe their new grill as a “work of art”. They also mention that it produces excellent results due to intense heat radiation, the design of the grill itself, and the ease in banking coals to distribute heat.

Features & Considerations

Consider enhancing your new grill with one of Kotaigrill’s various BBQ accessories, such as their charcoal starter chimney. Also made of welded carbon steel, this cylindrical structure can be placed directly onto the base of the 618. Then, toss in some newspaper and charcoal, light it up, and soon you’ll be basking in an orange glow.

Or, perhaps a plancha top? This is a great way to add more versatility to your hibachi. This carbon steel flat griddle surface (it’s basically a teppan) can easily replace the grill top if you want to cook something that is not suited to open flame grilling. Perfect for sautés, stir fries, toasting bread and tortillas, and searing more delicate foods.

Yet another option, and especially if you want to get really traditional: removing the top of the grill entirely and cooking directly over the coals.

See Price on Kotaigrill

Best Mid-Range: Cajun Classic Round Seasoned Cast Iron Charcoal Hibachi Grill

  • Price: $$
  • Grilling surface: 15” diameter (177 square inches)
  • Weight: 41 lbs
  • The high points: Cast iron, pre-seasoned material helps to maintain heat and flavour. Size and shape makes it easy to store.
  • The not-so: On the heavier side. Thin wire handle may not stand the test of time. 

This is a hibachi grill that gets the job done and manages to look both cute and serious while doing it. Its compact cast-iron body and grill top heats up quickly and distributes well. It is durable and easy to clean.  

The surface area for grilling will is fairly large compared to other hibachi grills, but still may look small compared to your primary grill. Remember, this is hibachi, compact is what you’re going for! The circular shape of the grill is well-suited to burgers and pork chops, but slightly less ideal for kebabs when compared to its rectangular hibachi cousins.

Due to its small, rotund size and its handy handle, which arches over top like a metal rainbow, the Cajun Classic is quite portable, even though it is a little heavy at 41 lbs. Overall, this is a well-rounded option that delivers on that uniquely hibachi blend of easy, efficient, on-the-go or last-minute charcoal cooking for a small group or party.

What reviewers say?

Generally, customers give this grill very positive ratings. They consider it a good combination of portability with a fairly large grilling surface. Reviews indicate that it gets very hot and gives a good sear, especially when using wood chunks mixed in with hardwood charcoal.

Some customers, however, found that the quality of the unit was a little lacking. Even though it’s made of cast iron, they noticed certain small defects like a bubbly surface on the grill grate, or certain parts not fitting snugly or securely. It was perceived that Chinese manufacturing is to blame.    

Features & Considerations

The grill comes pre-seasoned, which means it has been coated with wax or vegetable oil to prevent rusting. It’s ready to use without any further seasoning, but as with all cast-iron, once food starts to stick, it’s time for another coating.

To season: Start by cleaning the grill with warm soapy water, then rinse with clean water. Brush on a high-heat cooking oil, taking care to remove excess. Then, light it up and keep the heat on for 20-30 minutes before cooling down.

See Price on Amazon

Best Budget: Marsh Allen Cast Iron Hibachi Charcoal Grill

  • Price: $
  • Grilling surface: 157 square inches
  • Weight: 16 lbs
  • The high points: Adjustable height settings (3 positions). 2 air vents to help control temperature. Very portable.
  • The not-so: May come with possible manufacturing defects. Questionable long-lasting durability.

This was almost our pick for #1 hibachi grill overall. For the price, it makes for a perfect entry level grill for those wanting to test the hibachi waters.

It also comes with several great little features, including two adjustable grill plates in addition to the main grill. The plates curve up at the sides to prevent dinner escaping, and there are 3 height settings. So, you can get a sear going on some thicker meat cuts lower down, while getting some nice slow heat on your side dish higher up.

This is the grill you use on your apartment balcony, at a tailgate party, on a sand dune at the beach, or wherever you may need a BBQ pick-me-up (just watch out for sparks and embers if placed on or near a flammable surface). It is lightweight and the wooden handles make it easy to port around.  

What reviewers say?

Customer reviews are not necessarily raving, but generally, people are very satisfied with this grill considering its price point. One reviewer says they can easily fit 5 sausages plus a ribeye steak on the grate.

As with the Cajun Classic, some reviewers reported certain manufacturing issues such as a lack of uniformity in the cast and size of certain components. Fairly common critiques were of the flimsy handles, the grates not fitting perfectly into the grill, and the somewhat challenging assembly required.

Features & Considerations

The Marsh Allen hibachi grill is made of cast-iron, so it is durable, but you just need to keep in mind that this is not a high-end product. Expect some imperfections. But at the end of the day, it delivers on all the key things you’re looking for in a hibachi grill, plus some bonus content

See Price on Amazon

Best for Camping: The CUBE from Everdure, by Heston Blumenthal

  • Price: $$
  • Grilling surface: 115 square inches
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • The high points: A food storage tray and cutting board are integrated into the sleek design. Built-in heat protection shield and chrome handles. No assembly required.
  • The not-so: No heat control.

The CUBE is not the lightest hibachi grill on this list, but it still earns its place as our top pick for camping and outdoor outings. Constructed of lightweight steel, it is compact, durable and very portable. This grill’s contemporary design is cute and accessible – it may even entice the kids to volunteer for cookout duties.  

The CUBE has a built-in heat protection shield and its chrome handles will stay cool no matter how hot the coals get inside. So you should have no issue moving it easily around the campsite in case your original grilling location was too close to a den of feisty raccoons.

The cherry on top is made of bamboo. The “lid” of the grill is actually a bamboo cutting board, and right underneath that is a food-grade plastic storage tray: all seamlessly woven into the compact design. So, 1-2-3: throw some veggies into the tray at home, dice them into some big chunks while out beneath a canopy of trees, and then get them grilling

What reviewers say?

Customers are generally impressed with The Cube. They note it is a little on the pricey side, but they love the design and aesthetic (tip: keep an eye out for black friday grill deals if/when it’s that time of year). The bamboo cutting board and plastic tray are ideal for meal prep, although some note that the tray is quite shallow and probably won’t hold everything you want it too.

Although this grill does include some unique additional features, reviewers note the absence of options to help control coal temperature, air flow, and grill height. They also lament that there is no lid to keep the heat in, but it should be noted (for the snobbish record) that true hibachi grills do not come with lids – they are meant to be open to the elements.

Since this is very much marketed as a portable option for camping (a marketing angle that we have obviously bought into ourselves), certain customers caution that it is still a little heavy to lug around over any considerable distance. And, they ask, why not include a carrying bag with purchase? Everdure does in fact make a stylish little bag to tote your CUBE in, but it costs almost as much as the grill itself.

Features & Considerations

The CUBE is available in 4 colors: black, orange, stone (grey), and khaki (green). For all of its modern touches, it honours hibachi grilling with the compact shichirin shape of its firebowl.

And although the cutting board and storage tray may seem superfluous, it’s quite possible that the Japanese, who are masters at integrated storage solutions, may approve. Contemporary or otherwise, the CUBE still offers up that simple outdoor grilling premise: the smell of meat cooking over charcoal, its smoke drifting upwards into a starry sky.

See Price on Amazon

Best Import: The Korin Konro (Medium)

  • Price: $$
  • Grilling surface: 6” x 18” (108 square inches)
  • Weight: 27 lbs
  • The high points: Made in Japan using diatomite bricks which are excellent for heat-insulation and durability. Wire-wrapped handles aid in transportation.
  • The not-so: Only available in the U.S. through Korin Japanese Trading and they’re often out of stock due to high demand.

The Konro is a beautiful little grill. It would be difficult to source something more authentic, not only because it is manufactured in Japan, but it’s made using diatomite bricks which harkens back to one of the original methods for building hibachi. The diatomite is sourced off the Noto peninsula in Japan, where sedimentary deposits have formed over millions of years of volcanic activity.

Tetsu Kaginushi (president of the company that manufactures the bricks for Kinro), reveals what makes this material still coveted in modern hibachi design:

“The hot grease and juices that drip during grilling cause regular burners to give out fairly quickly. But these grills are made of diatomite bricks that have baked at 1,000°C for six hours. Having endured those temperatures, they are ready for anything—they’re very durable.”

The Konro’s construction is ideally designed for cultivating high, long-lasting heat, and also for controlling and distributing that heat due to three sliding vents near the bottom of the grill. It produces a quick clean sear, especially when using binchotan charcoal. The narrow rectangular shape of the grill, similar to the Kotaigrill models, is especially well-suited for skewer and yakitori cooking.

What reviewers say?

Customers appreciate the craftsmanship, size, and quality of this grill. They note the lovely colour and flavour that it imbues to grilled food. 

This model is also well-revered by American restaurant chefs who have cultivated a penchant for hibachi. In a Bon Appetit article from 2016, Korin’s Konro is specifically lauded as a “status symbol among chefs.”

Features & Considerations

Like the Kotaigrill, the Korin sells the Konro at different dimensions if you want a larger grill surface, or something more portable. The “Extra Large”, “Large” and “Small” models keep the 6” width but range in length from 33.5” to 9.25” across. There is also a “Wide” variation on the Medium sizes if you want to increase the width from 6” to 10.75”

The Konro is equipped with an iron grilling “net”. The net can get sticky and greasy if used often without cleaning in between. It’s typically recommended to brush the grill with oil so that food won’t stick as easily.

Korin supplies a free “konro accessories kit” with purchase of the grill. The kit includes a pack of 100 bamboo skewers, 5 stainless steel skewers, and 2 replacement grill nets.

See Price on Korin.com

Best for Indoors: LotusGrill G-LI-34, Regular

  • Price: $$
  • Grilling surface: 12.6” diameter (125 square inches)
  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • The high points: Built-in fan. Quick starting.
  • The not-so: Doesn’t get as hot as other hibachi grills.

When the weather outside starts to get frightful, it’s nice to be able to grill something delightful…inside. LotusGrill is a German-designed, very compact and portable BBQ that allows you to do just that due to its promise of producing minimal smoke.

It achieves this by way of its battery-powered built-in fan, which is designed to redirect any fat drippings away from the charcoal. The fire bowl has two layers – the inner shell of the bowl is made from stainless steel and the outer shell is made from powder-coated steel. This ensures that the outer part is never hot to the touch – an important consideration if you have guests or kids leaning in across the dining table.

Although hibachi grills are typically used outside today, they evolved from a crucial need for an indoor heat source. During the Fujiwara regime in the Heian period, Japan was going through economic upheaval and was headed into a long winter season. Houses were being constructed out of paper at this time, so a fireplace was not a practical heating option.

Instead the Japanese people created fireproof containers using different materials, including volcanic diatomaceous earth. They filled these “fire bowls” with charcoal, which burned long and slow and kept their houses warm through the cold winter.

What reviewers say?

LotusGrill claims a “smokeless” grilling experience but some reviewers note that, while it does produce “less smoke” than other charcoal grills, calling it “smokeless” might be going a bit far. Thus, we recommend to use it indoors only in well-ventilated areas.

Also, use binchotan charcoal. More on binchotan in the FAQ section.

One tip for avoiding flare-ups that can result from fat drippings is to put a layer of salt down underneath the charcoal, and on the coals themselves. The salt will absorb some of the moisture from the fat and slightly dampen the flames without cooling the coals.

Features & Considerations

By all accounts, the LotusGrill is easy to clean – you can just remove the stainless steel grill and inner shell and put them in the dishwasher. Another reason why this one is a nice indoor grilling choice.

It comes with a nylon carry bag…ahem, looking at you, CUBE. There are multiple bold, bright colours to choose from. And it heats up quickly – from lighting to grill-time is about 4 minutes. Lots to love here!

See Price on Amazon

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The Complete Hibachi Grill Buying Guide

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The Hibachi Advantage

When you go out to buy a hibachi grill, you’ll want to consider the reasons why someone might choose this type of grill in the first place (besides, of course, expanding your horizons…).

Charcoal lovers will not need a lot of convincing: hibachi grills are remarkably efficient at getting the most heat (and flavour) out of your coals. This is authentic BBQ cooking over direct, concentrated heat. Although some modern grill designs have some cool bonus features, there’s a beauty in keeping things simple here, too.

Hibachis are very portable and can be perfect for taking with you on beyond-the-backyard adventures such as camping. If you prefer to do your grilling at home, they’re great if you have limited outdoor space, and can be stored away quite easily.   

They are generally inexpensive, with many options ranging between $50 to $150. They make for a great secondary grill – while your primary BBQ is occupied with the meat, the hibachi can be used to grill appetizers, side dishes, or for that tasty leftover steak dish.

Make it Personal

But you’re the only one who knows which features are most important when it comes to your grill. So ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the main purpose for your hibachi grill?
  • Will this be your primary grill?
  • Would you typically be using it to feed a small family, or to entertain guests?
  • Will you be the primary griller, or do you want an option that invites participation from family and friends?
  • How many people, on average, are you hoping to be able to grill for using your hibachi?
  • What kind of food do you want to grill on it?
  • Where would you primarily be using it? Backyard? Camping? On a boat? Indoors?
  • What’s your budget?

Keep these questions in mind throughout our buying guide. Hopefully by the end you’ll have some answers, and maybe even your perfect hibachi-match.

Since pricing can vary depending on the retailer, we’ve classified the price of each grill according to which of the following ranges they fall under:

  • $ – Under $100
  • $$ – $100 – $250
  • $$$ – $250+

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Selection Criteria: How We Ranked the Best Hibachi Grills

In our efforts to recommend the best hibachi grills across different categories, we kept the following questions top of mind:

  • Is it a true hibachi grill?
  • Will it produce great charcoal BBQ?
  • How portable is it?
  • How durable and well-manufactured is it?
  • How big is the grilling surface?
  • How easy is it to control heat?
  • How expensive is it?

We researched extensively by comparing other buying guides, customer reviews across various retail platforms, and the top picks of true hibachi afficionados.

The Size Factor

Remember that list of questions you asked yourself earlier, about how a hibachi grill might serve your own unique vision of BBQ-bliss?

A lot of those questions come down to size, which is one of the defining features of any hibachi grill. You’ll want to determine whether a lower weight (for portability) or a larger grill surface area (to feed a crowd) is more important.

Or maybe a combination of both? The Marsh Allen hibachi is one of the least heavy grills on our list, with one of the largest grill surface areas.

Here’s a round-up of how our picks compare in the size category:

Weight (pounds)Grill Surface Area (inches)Other size options?
Kotaigrill – 61825108Yes
Cajun Classic41177No
Marsh Allen16157No
The Cube20115No
Korin Konro-Medium27108Yes
LotusGrill G-LI-348125Yes

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get the best results from my hibachi grill?

Use binchotan charcoal. It’s a very pure, white charcoal sourced from the native Japanese ubame oak tree. It is carbonized and then molded with damp earth, sand and ash. It burns very hot and very cleanly – giving off barely any smoke. It makes for a flavourful and efficient option for indoor grilling.

Binchotan is a pricier form of charcoal. To conserve it, store any un-burnt lumps in an airtight metal container to snuff out any remaining fire.

Whether or not your grill comes with built-in temperature control features, you can create your own two-level fire by adding more coals to one side of the firebox than the other. If you want a hotter fire, use a hair dryer or fan to aerate the coals. 

What is the difference between hibachi and teppanyaki?

These two often get mixed up. Teppenyaki is a style of grilling that uses a teppan, which is a metal grill plate with a flat, solid surface. Teppans are usually heated by propane and often used for cooking stir-fries.

Hibachi grills use an open grate (or sometimes metal bars), giving the meat or veggies resing on it some exposure to the direct heat and flame of the charcoal underneath.

Today, both teppanyaki and hibachi are used to describe Japanese restaurants that grill food table-side to give patrons an up-close-and-personal experience as they observe their dinner being made.

BONUS (Terminology Guide):

Here are some Japanese terms, most of which have already made an appearance or two in this guide. You may have mixed some of them up before, but no longer!

  • hibachi – fire bowl (in Japan); small Japanese charcoal grill (outside Japan); also, a style of cooking using a shichirin or konro
  • shichirin – a small, portable charcoal grill: squat, usually bowl-shaped
  • konro – a narrow, rectangular portable charcoal grill
  • teppan – a flat, solid metal cooktop
  • teppanyaki – a style of Japanese cuisine cooked on a teppan
  • yakitori – skewered grilled chicken
  • yakiniku – a style of cooking bite-sized meat tableside over charcoals or on a gas/electric grill
  • binchotan – charcoal made from wood of Japanese ubame oak tree

What kind of material should the hibachi be constructed with?

Cast-iron grills are popular due to their well-observed heat-retention and the non-stick properties of the grate itself. But they are usually heavier, prone to rust, and harder to clean.

Traditionally, hibachi grills were made of cypress wood (lined with clay), volcanic earth, or ornamental porcelain or ceramic. Today they’re also made out of steel or diatomite bricks, which in many cases can be just as effective at heat retention, if not more so, than those made with cast-iron.

The material does not make or break the hibachi. Well okay, technically it does. But look for quality of construction – that’s going to be a better indicator of long-lasting durability than the type of material it’s made out of, especially if you maintain it well.

What kind of food is best suited to grill on a hibachi?

Hibachi grills are fully open with no cover or lid, so they are not able to cook via indirect or smoking methods (unlike pellet grills). Rather, they’re best for thin cuts of chicken, beef, pork, or fish that can be cooked with direct, concentrated heat (so, probably not a prime rib roast or porterhouse steak).

Kabobs and any food that you can stick a skewer in are especially perfect for hibachi grilling. Consider yakitori: skewers of bite-sized chunks of chicken, seasoned with salt and/or tare sauce which is made of mirin, sake, soy sauce, and sugar.

Or, yes, okay, your Saturday sausages work, too!

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Alison Van Ginkel

By Alison Van Ginkel

Alison is a freelance writer who especially loves writing about all things related to travel and food. At three years old she decided to become a carnivore because her dad didn’t eat meat and she was exploring different forms of delicious rebellion.