If you're looking for a portable barbecue that has a large cooking area, is easy to transport and performs well, the Weber Traveler compares favourably with other barbecues we've tested. Our experts noted positives such as the foldable trolley (which doesn't necessarily come included with other portable models) and the fact you can operate it with either a gas bottle or a propane canister.
Great for grilling in small outdoor spaces or for taking on trips, portable compact barbecues are on many of our summer shopping lists.
They're usually lightweight and can be placed on a tabletop or trolley for easy grilling, meaning they take up much less space than larger, four-burner barbecues, and can be moved around easily too.
We've tested a number of portable barbecues in our recent barbecue reviews, including the Weber Traveler gas barbecue ($699). Our testers were impressed by the easy-to-fold design with carry handles, meaning it's simple to pick up and pop in the boot of your car for travel.
Easy to transport
"Some portable barbecues can be really annoying to fold up or transport, but this one is really simple," says CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair.
"It has an inbuilt trolley that is fairly lightweight and folds up easily, almost like an ironing board.
"The trolley has two large sturdy wheels and a side handle, so it's easy to lift and manoeuvre. The whole unit weighs 28kg.
"Although it's quite expensive, the price of the trolley is included within the unit. Other portable barbecues we have tested can also be quite expensive, but don't come with a stand or trolley so if you'd like to purchase one, it's an additional cost."
Large grilling space
The Weber Traveler barbecue has a large chargrill plate but no hotplate, which may make it more difficult to cook delicate foods that require a lower temperature, such as marinated chicken wings.
But the size of the chargrill plate is a plus, according to Fiona: "There is plenty of room, you could cook enough food for a small party quite easily."
Some portable barbecues can be really annoying to fold up or transport, but this one is really simpleCHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair
"Although it doesn't accommodate a hot plate for cooking eggs, for example, you can always sit a cast-iron frypan on the chargrill plates. And the chargrill plates can accommodate small items such as prawns and vegetables – they won't fall through the grill."
You can also purchase a Weber non-stick cast-iron griddle specifically designed to fit the Traveler for $89.95, making it easy to cook things such as pancakes or messy marinated foods on a flat surface (if you purchase the Weber Traveler Portable Gas Barbecue Stealth Edition for $799, this extra griddle plate comes included).
The Traveler chargrill plate measures 0.22 metres square. In comparison, another popular portable barbecue, the Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Cube, has a significantly smaller total cooking area of 0.07 metres square. The Weber Baby Q has a total cooking area that's about half the size of the Weber Traveler's.
The Weber Traveler barbecue comes with a stand that's easy to fold up for storage or to put in the boot of your car for transport.
Keeping it clean
Our testers gave this model a score of 70% for its ease of keeping clean, noting that because the exterior is black enamel, it's easier to wipe down than a stainless steel model (a plus if you want your barbie to stay gleaming and new-looking for as long as possible).
"Portable barbecues are more likely to be out in the elements, so in order to make sure they last as long as possible, it's important to buy one that is made from quality materials with a solid construction," says Fiona.
We put this model through its paces in a series of cooking tests to see how well it cooks steaks, sausages and a whole chicken. We look at how evenly the grill reaches and maintains a high temperature, how well it controls flare-ups, and how well it cooks with the hood both up and down.
"This Weber barbecue performed exceptionally well in our tests," Fiona says.
"The temperature is easy to control and responsive, and the thermostat in the hood is reasonably accurate for cooking roasts."
To find out how well the Traveler scores in our review, as well as how it compares with other barbecues from Weber and other brands such as Everdure by Heston Blumenthal, check out our barbecue reviews.
Is $699 a bit pricey for a portable barbecue?
Our testers found the temperature responsive and easy to control, and the thermostat in the hood reasonably accurate for cooking roasts.
Small barbecues usually cost anything from about $150 to $800, so this model sits in the upper price range.
There are a variety of features that can account for a hefty price tag on a barbecue, and you may find that bargain barbecues don't last as long as pricier models.
This is often because, compared with premium models, cheaper barbecues are usually made of lower quality materials with a less solid construction and have fewer features, such as electronic gas ignition or fold-out side tables.
The extra features you're paying for
Extra features that add to the Weber Traveler's price tag include the in-built trolley and the thermometer in the hood, and a good range of adjustable temperatures that let you cook a wide range of foods.
Plus, it offers options in terms of how it is powered – you can operate it using a non-refillable disposable propane fuel canister (which you attach to the cylinder holder and lock into place) or use an LPG hose to attach a gas bottle, which can sit on the trolley grate below the unit. This is the first barbecue our testers have ever come across that has this option.
It also has a five-year limited warranty (other barbecues may come with just 12-month warranties, although some warranties can be longer than five years too).
Another factor to consider when buying a barbecue is the quality of the customer service offered by the brand, in case you need replacement parts or repairs
A limited warranty means that different parts of the barbecue have different warranty periods. A Weber five-year warranty guarantees individual components of its barbecues (some larger models have a 10-year limited warranty).
Another factor to consider when buying a barbecue is the quality of the customer service offered by the brand, in case you need replacement parts or repairs.
"Although there are always exceptions, I usually find with barbecues that you get what you pay for," says Fiona.
"A lot of the more expensive models do perform quite well in our testing."
Which is Australia's best BBQ brand?
We have reviewed a wide range of Weber barbecues in our latest barbecue reviews, including the Weber Baby Q and models from the new Weber Q Premium series, the Weber Spirit II series, and the Weber Genesis series.
To find out which BBQ brand we rate as the best, and to view full barbecue reviews and compare models, become a CHOICE member.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.