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Caroline Preece

Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill review: portable, lightweight, and perfect for outdoor adventures

Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill being tested in writer's home.

As a newcomer to outdoor cooking, I was eager to test out the Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill. This lightweight, portable cooker can sit on a table and be packed away just as easily, making it perfect for casual cooks or those with limited space.

Napoleon's 14-inch Portable Charcoal Grill is ideal for picnics, outdoor adventures, or an impromptu cookout. The lightweight design, cool-touch handle, and locking lid latches make it easy to carry, and I could just as easily imagine it being used on an apartment balcony as I could in a huge backyard.

I found the grill to be sturdy and portable, with easy cleanup. It offers ample cooking space and is easy to store, too. Keep reading to see how I found my time with the NK14, and head to our guide to the best gas grills for more outdoor cooking recommendations.

Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill: Key specs

Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill: Price & availability

The Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill is available from various sellers, including Amazon,, and The Home Depot.

The grill costs $71 on Amazon, while has it slightly cheaper at $69. The Home Depot beats both with a price tag of $64.99.

Score: 4.5/5

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)

Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill: First impressions

As a tabletop grill, the NK14 promises to be easy to construct and get started. This was true in my experience, but not without a few teething problems. Instructions come in two identical (useful if there is a pair of you working together) novel-thick pamphlets but only include pictures to go off when building the grill.

In the box, there is the grill body, lid, chrome-plated cooking grids, the ash catcher, and the four legs. The assembly process starts with attaching the handle to the lid and the legs to the grill body, with each secured with a screw and nut. Again, this required some trial and error and guesswork but was ultimately very simple. 

Next, I attached the ash catcher to the grill's base and added the chrome-plated cooking grids to the main body. Then the latches needed to be screwed on. Finally, there is an adjustable air vent that must be secured to the lid, allowing you to control airflow during cooking.

When everything was finished, the grill seemed very sturdy, and the whole process took less than 30 minutes.

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)

Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill: Design

The Napoleon NK14 has the classic kettle shape that so many grilling enthusiasts want but in a much more compact design for those who can't or don't want their grill to be the focus of their backyard space. As you can see in my images, the model sits nicely on a fold-out table and can easily—even when fully built—be taken out and put away whenever required. 

The grill has a lovely black porcelain enamel finish that looks stylish even after it has been subjected to the wear and tear of adverse weather and my clumsy cooking. The kettle shape is said to aid even heat distribution, and the silver accents, latches, and legs look great against the black. 

Being a compact option, there's sadly nowhere to rest the lid while grilling, but this is an extra for high-end models rather than something missing here. The latches are also a little flimsy, and I couldn't get all three to close simultaneously. Lifting, even with two fastened, still felt safe, but three would have been better!

The fact that the grill plates and ash catcher can all be lifted out for cleaning is a big pro, and while grilling, very little ash missed this tray. I will note, however, that I was slightly alarmed by a greasy, yellow substance dripping liberally from the grill while in use, but later discovered that this is a normal part of using a new product. Newbies be aware!

Score: 4/5

(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)
(Image credit: Future)

Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill: Performance

Lighting the Napoleon NK14 was easier said than done, but the difficulty was much greater due to windy conditions during testing and my overall novice status when dealing with charcoal grills. I used fast light charcoal but also added fire lighters when the weather thwarted progress. Once confident the charcoal was lit, I closed the lid with the vent open. 

As per the instructions (which were much more helpful for usage and safety tips), I waited 20 minutes before opening the grill and adding food. To test, I tried it out with some pork sausages, halloumi, and courgette slices. All in all, I would say that the grill—which offers 150 square inches of cooking space—would allow you to feed 2-3 people in one go.

Of course, the Napoleon NK14 is designed to be simple, so there won't be any precise temperature control or different cooking areas, but you can purchase a smoker box (like this one from Amazon) if you want to get more out of the grill.

My experience was great; the food only took around 15 minutes to cook. The grill marks were also present and correct, and everything tasted delicious and smoky. After eating, I was also surprised by how quickly everything cooled down, and I was able to pack everything away later that evening. 

Score: 4/5

(Image credit: Future)

Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill: User reviews

User reviews for the grill are quite mixed on Amazon, with some customers praising the quality and build of the product, while others express frustration with the assembly instructions. One customer appreciates the heavy-duty and high-quality construction of the grill but finds the assembly instructions difficult to follow.

Another highlights the excellent build quality but criticizes the unclear assembly instructions. However, after seeking help from a hardware store to assemble the grill, this customer found that the grill performed decently during the first cook. On the other hand, some customers commend the grill's substantial build and high-quality materials, recommending it for its durability and longevity.

Should you buy the Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How does the Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill compare?

The Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill offers a traditional grilling experience in a more compact form. Still, a full-size grill like the Masterbuilt AutoIgnite Series 545 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker provides a more advanced experience with automatic igniting, smart technology, and temperature control.

The Napoleon grill is easy to carry and assemble, and the Masterbuilt grill may require more effort during assembly. Still, Napoleon's model is better suited to casual grillers rather than enthusiasts.

You could also consider a portable gas grill like the Weber Traveler, which is more suitable for those who want a model that folds down to fit into a car. You can read more about charcoal vs gas grills in our comparison. 

How I tested the Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill

I tested the Napoleon NK14 Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill on my small patio, placing it on a fold-out table. I built the grill inside before use, and cooked a range of meat and vegetables during windy weather, though the grill stood up against adverse conditions. For more on our process, take a look at how we test.

  • First reviewed: April 2024
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