What Are the Different Types of Charcoal?

Whether you are a newbie bbq griller or have just mastered the art of grilling, you might have concluded that all charcoals are the same. But, what if we tell you that there are different types of charcoal? Continue reading below to know other charcoal types you can find in the market that can level up your grilling experience.

Types Of Charcoal Grill

In general, 5 common types of charcoal are in use:

  • Lump charcoal
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Hardwood briquettes
  • Binchotan
  • Acoconut shell charcoal

Each has its benefits, and the type of charcoal you will use may vary depending on your cooking situation or the food you are cooking.

1. Binchotan

The rarest of the charcoal types — binchotan. Sourced exclusively from Japan, this charcoal type utilizes a special type of oak called Ubame. Grown on hilly terrain unique to only a few regions, it's favored for its density and internal grain. After harvesting, it undergoes a unique firing process. Oak branches, usually with the bark left on, are placed into a large oven.

After lighting, the kiln is sealed by hand, with only a few small holes enabling oxygen flow. Firing at a low temperature, the wood spends nine days being slowly turned into charcoal. The final step in the process reintroduces oxygen into the kiln, where temperatures then reach 1800 Fahrenheit, hardening the charcoal and increasing its carbon content to a whopping 95%.

  They are eco-friendly
 Produces a smoky flavor to foods
 Does not produce ash Burns for 4 to 6 hours 
 Can be reused for 3 hours more

  It is expensive
✘  Difficult to find authentic binchotan
✘  Not available in petrol stations 
✘  Common supermarkets

2. Lump Charcoal

It is made by slowly burning the pieces of wood without oxygen until all the sap, natural chemicals, and moisture are eliminated from the wood. The remaining charcoal grills is in its most natural form with many good qualities. 

Lump Charcoal

  Burns hotter
✔  Little ash production
✔  Lights quickly

 More expensive
✘ Bags contain uneven pieces of charcoal
✘ Burns faster

3. Hardwood Charcoal

For the purists, hardwood charcoal is the best choice. It's made from whole pieces of wood, resulting in a pure, authentic smoky flavor.

Hardwood Charcoal

✔  Burns longer
✔  Easy to control the temperature
✔  Cheaper than lump charcoal
✔  Consistent temperature

✘ Take longer to light
✘ Emits chemical smell
✘ Large ash production

4.  Charcoal Briquettes

Charcoal briquettes are made up of the finely broken up pieces of coal and a variety of additives are mixed in to act as binder which holds the charcoal briquette together.  Examples of these additives include wood charcoal, limestone, starch and sawdust.  Some briquettes also have lighter fluid added to make it easier to set on fire. 

✔  You can make it on your own
✔  They are the cheapest option
✔  They are widely available in most petrol stations
✔  Some supermarkets

✘ Sower to light contributes more pollutants to the air as it burns
✘ Burns coolerIt can produce harsh
✘ Off-tasting flavors to food

5. Coconut Shell Charcoal

This type is more efficient than regular charcoal because it can burn for 4 to 5 hours and produces less smoke and fumes, making it more efficient during usage. As no trees are deforested in making coconut charcoal, it’s considered sustainable and better for the environment.

They are sustainable and don’t produce a huge amount of smokeIt’s healthier to use than other kinds of charcoal
  Cheaper than briquettes

✘ Produced by skilled workers
✘ Undergoes the process of distillation
✘ Limited supplyIt may contain sulfur 

Which is the Best Among them?

The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you might think. But, if you must know, the best type of charcoal grill for your needs depends entirely on what you need it for.

Lump charcoal, for example, will get your meal ready fast if you want speed. On the other hand, hardwood briquettes will help you burn slower, allowing time for other things. So, as we said, the best really depends on what you need.

To choose the right one for you, we’d advise to learn more about difference between the lump charcoal and briquettes. And consider your purpose as well as the charcoal cost.


There are different types of charcoal in the market that’ll be useful to you in different ways. In this article, we’ve covered 5 of them. All that’s left now is for you to lay your hands on one and grill yourself a mouthwatering meal. Good luck, Grilliator!


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