The Expert Guide on How to Store Charcoal

Jim Bob – A long-time contributor to GrillBabyGrill. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
how to store charcoal

If you store charcoal correctly, it can last almost indefinitely. The crucial aspect of protecting charcoal is to keep it dry, cool, and free from unnecessary pressure so it doesn’t turn to dust.

While the colder and damper weather in the winter months can adversely affect poorly stored charcoal performance, it’s important to package your fuel safely all year-round. Follow these simple tips to store your charcoal so it is always ready for use.

1. Why You Need to Store Charcoal Securely?


Charcoal is a porous lightweight black carbon residue, and it absorbs moisture quickly through direct contact with a surface or by exposure to damp air. 

Leaving a half-full bag of lump charcoal open allows moisture to enter through the top. If the charcoal container sits on a damp floor or against a wet wall, water can seep through a non-waterproof bag material

While it is possible to dry wet charcoal by laying it in the sun, you can’t tell if there is some remaining internal moisture until you light the fuel. When attempting to light charcoal with damp still present, you may notice it takes longer to ignite, and it doesn’t get as hot as dry pieces. You may also need to allow more oxygen into the fuel chamber to prevent the charcoal from burning out because it needs to work harder to stay lit.

However, the good news is that because charcoal is a highly stable fuel source, the quality does not deteriorate when placed in the proper storage containers in suitable locations. This means if you bought a pack of excellent charcoal briquettes and store them properly, the quality of the charcoal will not deteriorate. This principle also applies when your reusing charcoal. The charcoal stored in a suitable container will be safe.

2. How to Store Charcoal?


There are many excellent options for storing charcoal, so it is dry, cool, and ready for your next cookout. You can combine several of these methods to achieve the ideal blend of convenience and storage capacity.

Plastic Charcoal Caddy

When considering how to store charcoal, it’s essential to choose the most suitable storage container material. Plastic is waterproof, corrosion-proof, and allows for an airtight seal between the lid and container body. 

You can also choose a transparent plastic container, so you can see how much fuel you have left before you need to make a trip to the store. Plastic vessels often have a flip-top design, so you can pour charcoal directly into the fuel chamber, although you can also remove the lid and use a scoop to remove smaller amounts. 

It can also be useful to purchase a charcoal caddy with a handle for more comfortable carrying. One of the most significant benefits of using a smaller-sized charcoal caddy is portability, making it an ideal option for camping or to a tailgate party. You can choose caddies of various sizes, but it’s best to choose one that doesn’t become too heavy to transport when it’s full.

It’s important to remember that plastic deteriorates when exposed to the weather and can crack if left outside for extended periods.

Outdoor Charcoal Storage Bin

For a high-capacity storage option, an outdoor charcoal bin is an excellent choice. Because you can position your container next to your grill, you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy boxes around the backyard. 

It’s possible to purchase outdoor storage bins made from different materials, and you can pick a design that adds a touch of style to your yard. If you have little spare room, you can buy a tall model that makes the most of your vertical space, while a short, square shape can fit neatly under window sills.

Wooden storage bins do not seal as tightly as plastic and can rot in wet environments. If using a wooden storage container, you can brush on an oil-based primer that helps reduce the effects of moisture.

Metal Trash Cans

You might already have a metal trash can in your backyard, and you can turn it into a handy charcoal storage bin. Metal is resistant to heat, rust, and fire and can withstand exposure to the elements. A 10-gallon metal trash can accommodate approximately 12 lbs. of charcoal, so there is plenty of room for long-term storage. 

Because metal trash can lids do not form an airtight seal when in contact with the container body, it is helpful to line the inside of the can with a garbage bag. This addition reduces the risk of moisture in the air reaching your charcoal and affecting its performance

If you are positioning your trash can away from your grill, it’s essential to consider how you can transport the fuel to the cooking chamber. It can be tiresome to carry small charcoal amounts across the yard, so keep a transportable container nearby.

Stackable Charcoal Storage Boxes

If you keep a substantial amount of charcoal, you can use several plastic stackable storage boxes that help organize your fuel storage. You can purchase containers that have a large capacity but are also light enough to carry when full. 

Many storage boxes are collapsible, allowing you to neatly stack them against a wall when not in use.

Prep Table with Charcoal Storage Area

If you value convenience, you can buy a prep table with an integrated storage section. Although these tables generally aren’t airtight, you can keep charcoal in smaller plastic containers and place them in the cabinet. Because there is room for matches and lighter fluid, this offers a quick solution for igniting your grill.

3. Where to Store Charcoal?


While it’s crucial to store charcoal in the right containers, where you place your charcoal is also essential. Try to keep your storage boxes out of direct sunlight and ensure they are not in damp locations. A cool and dry garage or shed is ideal, although a sheltered outside backyard area is also suitable

Jim Bob

Jim Bob


When considering how to store charcoal, ensure you have the right containers to keep your fuel protected from humid and damp air all year round. You can store charcoal in plastic, metal, or wood containers and get the best results from placing them in a cool and dry location.