Balcony grills are generally much smaller than patio grills used for outdoor cooking, though some patio grills can be used on certain types of balconies. In general, grills that allow for large open flames should not be used on balconies, especially balconies with other structures above them, as this can be an extreme fire hazard. Larger balconies may be able to accommodate larger grills provided the balcony is large enough for the grill to be placed far away from the house itself as well as any overhanging balconies or roofs above, though specific balcony grills that are much smaller recommended instead.
Some balcony grills hang like a planter box from the railing of the balcony. These are very small units that are either charcoal or gas powered, and a few burgers or steaks at a time can be grilled on them. They are convenient and small enough to work well on even the smallest balconies, and the flames will not be able to grow high enough to pose a fire risk to balconies or roofs above. These are often quite inexpensive models that are lightweight and easy to store when not in use during the winter months.
Tabletop balcony grills are basically smaller versions of full sized grills. These are most often powered by charcoal, and they are often half the size of full size grills or smaller. They are usually placed on tabletops or other elevated platforms, which means it is important to clear the table or platform of any flammable materials that may catch fire when placed near the hot grill. The table itself should also be made from fire-retardant materials that will not catch fire should a stray spark strike it. These tabletop balcony grills can also be gas powered with small gas canisters, which eliminates the need for charcoal and lighter fluid. Some of these tabletop units are sometimes called hibachi grills, after the traditional Japanese cooking units.
Electric models are also available as balcony grills, and these are perhaps the safest option for enclosed spaces or balconies that are partially enclosed. These grills have heating elements inside the metal bowl that are heated via an electrical connection. The plug can run into the home to the nearest outlet, and the heating element can be regulated with on-grill controls. There are no open flames involved with this type of grill, which will affect the way some foods are cooked.