In a nutshell

Awarded a BBC Gardeners' World Best Buy the Vonhaus barbecue is a great archetype of charcoal barrel barbecues. It offers a large, efficient cooking surface that’s just right for catering to crowds and has great features including a snugly-fitting lid and a handy thermometer for getting the temperature just right. It also has a warming rack for keeping side dishes toasty, and handy. It has wheels for storage, but they're made from cheap plastic and therefore this barbecue's only weak point.

What we tested

  • Assembly
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Value for money
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Ease of cooking
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Cooking results
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
Overall Rating
A star rating of 4.3 out of 5.


  • Very high quality
  • Cooked very well
  • Big cooking surface
  • Perfect height


  • Poor quality wheels

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Is the Vonhaus Barrel Charcoal BBQ easy to assemble?

This barbecue is easy to assemble, needing only a Phillips screwdriver. All of the parts need screwing together, as none of them come assembled, but they screw together well, and it's not too fiddly to deal with. The diagrams are easy to understand but they lack written instructions. However, a weak point is the wheels - these are on a strange angle, and are fitted with an unusual system of rods and clips, which takes a few attempts to sort out. It arrives packed with polystyrene and plastic, but this isn't excessive.

What is the Vonhaus Barrel Charcoal BBQ like to use?

This barbecue is easy to load and quick to heat up, reaching cooking temperature in just 20 minutes. Its cooking surface is 79cm off the ground, which suits most users and it’s a large, sturdy barbecue, taking up almost a meter square, but is still lightweight. There’s a thermometer on the front of the lid, which makes it easy to see the temperature, a handy warming rack and its carry handle doubles as a rest for barbecue tongs. The lid is weighty but not heavy, with a very smooth opening action and it fits snugly over the grill to seal in heat. The handle of the lid is also heatproof. This is a robust, high-quality barbecue and its only weakness are its wheels. Even once fitted, these are wonky and wobbly. It’s also a little tricky to clean, but this is a feature common to most barrel barbecues.

How does the Vonhaus Barrel Charcoal BBQ cook?

This barbecue cooks well and you can use the entire grill as there's excellent heat coverage throughout. In our test we cooked exceptionally good potato chips, which were golden brown with dark grill lines, and both these and courgette slices cooked through without burning. Aubergine also cooked to perfection in 10 minutes, with a savoury charred outside and fluffy but juicy inside. It quickly but thoroughly cooked an entire spatchcock chicken too. We were tucking into a charred and crispy, succulent chicken in just 15 minutes.

Is the Vonhaus Barrel Charcoal BBQ good value for money?

This is great value for money – a good barbecue at a reasonable price. With the minor caveat of its poor wheels, this is a high quality, sturdy barbecue that produces great food. Value-wise, it could only be improved with the inclusion of some tools.

Who is the Vonhaus Barrel Charcoal BBQ useful for?

This barbecue is great for big gatherings. Its efficient, large grill offers high-volume, speedy cooking without compromising on taste. Perhaps not for those in smaller gardens - it takes up about a meter square in total - but it's great for anyone looking to provide mouth-watering meals to a crowd.


If you're in the market for a grill, check out our tests of the best gas BBQs, the best charcoal BBQs, and our guides to barbecue accessories.

Product Specifications

NameVonHaus Barrel Charcoal barbecue
ModelBarrel charcoal barbecue
Barbecue typeCharcoal
Fuel typeCharcoal
Grill area73cm x 39cm
Adjustable grill heightNo
AssemblySelf assembly