- 1 Which Is The Best Grill for You
- 2 How to Pick the Best Grill
- 3 Reviews of the Best Grills in 2020
- 3.1 1. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill
- 3.2 2. Weber Summit S-470 Natural-Gas Grill
- 3.3 3. PowerXL Smokeless Grill with Tempered Glass Lids
- 3.4 4. Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 Outdoor Grill
- 3.5 5. Weber Original Kettle 741001 BBQ Grill
- 3.6 6. Weber Jumbo Joe Charcoal Grill 18 Inch Black
- 3.7 7. Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill and Smoker
- 3.8 8. Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill
- 3.9 9. Weber 46110001 Spirit E-210 Gas Grill
- 4 Top-rated Grills Comparison Table
- 5 Best Grill Brands
- 6 Conclusion
In this article, we’ll differentiate different types of grill, as well as pointing out their pros and cons. We’ll then provide a buying guide, pick out some of the best grills at the moment, and review in detail each pick of ours. And before wrapping the whole thing up, we’ll go through some grill manufacturers and distributors in the field.
Which Is The Best Grill for You
Barbecue has long been associated with the American culture. Grilling is more than just a mere hobby — it’s a lifestyle and tradition, as noted by the 2017 survey of HPBA. The origin of grilling is hotly debated since there isn’t a definite date but only speculations and estimates— with some going as far as the pre-Colonial period. Though the root of BBQ may not be agreed upon any time soon, one consensus remains: it remains among the most preferred activities to date. You can easily spot a grill sizzling in every backyard during the Fourth of July, a family gathering, on the beach, or a tailgate party in the park.
Over time, BBQ has gained more popularity, and grill manufacturers have diversified their product ranges, so there’s always something for everyone to choose. Nowadays, grills can come in various price points, sizes, materials, and other features. Although there’s no consensus of the ultimate grill, generally we can categorize grills based on the fuel: charcoal, gas, and electricity, each with its own strengths and shortcomings.
But no matter what grill you may choose, if you marinade the food well and set the right temperature, your BBQ party will be a huge success. And let’s be honest: hardly any one can say no to well-cooked burgers, seared steaks, humongous chunks of rib and briskets.
How to Pick the Best Grill
You’ll probably want the best grill for the upcoming Fourth of July, right? Of course you do, and that’s what this article is for: to give you enough info, so you can make the most informed choice possible.
1. Types of Grill
As stated earlier, we can categorize grills based on how they are fueled: charcoal-fed, gas-fueled, and electricity-powered.
Charcoal grills are the original form of BBQ, as it evolved from the rudimental wood-and-fire cooking. Arguably, these grills bring out the best flavors in the food with their superior heating capacity, with a faint smokey flavor and pinkish smoke rings— a signature revered among the grilling community. Although manufacturers have improved the quality of charcoal grilling with higher-efficiency charcoal and better material like stainless steel and ceramic, the core principle remains unchanged.
But one glaring problem with charcoal grills lies in the temperature control, which can quickly get out of control and pose safety hazards, especially for first time grillers. One ought to constantly monitor the coal and adjust the airflow in and out of the grill in a timely manner. Plus, igniting the coal is another frustrating issue, especially with the interfering gusts of wind and without specialized tools. Cleanup is also a mess, to boot.
Gas grills are either propane or natural gas-fueled, both of which possess an immense heating prowess. Their burners are able to keep the flame constant and stable, provide the fuel supply remains uninterrupted. One can easily keep the temperature in check by dialing the knobs to his or her heart’s content. Furthermore, ignition is hassle-free with a built-in battery-powered starter, the most common of which is a piezo starter.
And yet, these grills are not faultless: they can pose a fire safety hazard and cause injuries if installed incorrectly or the parts simply malfunction. In addition, cleaning and maintaining these grills require a lot of effort since there are many components to be taken apart. If one neglects the cleaning obligation for too long, the grill’s longevity and performance will undoubtedly decrease over time with clogged up burners, rust and cobwebs.
Electric grills are easy to use, many of which are plug-and-use models. They preheat usually faster compared to charcoal and gas grills, and most importantly, they don’t use combustible fuels, so there’s absolutely no chance of flare-ups. Some models come with a powerful suction that keeps the smoke from rising, making these grills the perfect choice for apartments and indoor grilling restaurants. These grills are so highly compact, making them the more preferred choice for grillers who don’t have the luxury of a backyard, garden or patio, especially those living in a condo or studio. The main attraction of these grills, however, lies in the easy and precise temperature setting: one can select the desired temperature by clicking a few buttons or dialing some knobs, and the grill would reach it with pinpoint accuracy in a matter of seconds.
That said, electric grills aren’t exactly preferred by the grilling community, partly because of their limited temperature range, since you cannot exceed the designed spectrum. Furthermore, unlike their outdoor counterparts you often see during family reunions or the Fourth of July, these grills are compact and probably a better fit for a small family.
Each grill has its own strength and shortcoming; some are mild inconveniences, but some are glaringly and alarmingly concerning. So, take them into consideration before making the purchase.
Among the three, electric grills are the most inexpensive, with some costing below $50. They usually go from $60 to $300, depending on how big they are, the complexity of control, and the manufacturer. The core functions include warming and grilling, but there are also grills with advanced settings like food-specific cooking modes and new features like defrosting.
Charcoal grills generally run from $75 to $150, and they are great for a family of four or five. These grills are perfect for casual grilling or those first-timers getting familiar with barbecuing before committing to something more expensive. Mid-range tier charcoal grills can reach as high as $250 to $300, which include self-cleaning parts, adjustable grates, and extra working area. If you’re serious about investing in a high quality charcoal grill, we advise you to heed your attention to one of the ceramic cookers, also known as kamado grills. They also use charcoal, and can cost somewhere from $800 to over $2,000.
Gas grills have various price points based on their size, number of burner, and other features. Countertop models (propane-fueled only) can go from $80 to $200, and they are great for a small family of four or five going on camping trips. These grills won’t consume too much space within a vehicle. Mid-size gas grills can go somewhere from $300 to $700, which come with a cart or shelf, and more powerful burners. Premium models can rack up somewhere between $1,000 to over $2,500, depending on the brand and their features, but all of them are stainless steel and come with component-specific warranty policies.
You ought to determine this section with two smaller questions “How many people are you grilling for?” and “How often you’re grilling?”.
If you often find yourself as the host of yearly family gatherings or the generous host of the Fourth of July neighborhood party, then of course a grill that can feed 15 to 20 diners is a must. If it’s just for yourself, your other half, and the kids, then a medium grill should do it.
Normally, if the regular items like burgers and hotdogs are the main dishes, then a medium grill should suffice. Otherwise, only a big grill can house large chunks of ribs and briskets. You should take this into consideration when visualizing yourself cooking every weekend in the back yard.
The grate is the most important part of a grill, since this is the surface that directly contacts the food. Generally, manufacturers have constructed the grate out of different materials, the most popular of which are coated steel, stainless steel, and cast iron. If you have a specific preference, this is where you should pay close attention to when choosing the grill.
5. Temperature Control
As mentioned above, charcoal grills are superior in searing and smoking food to perfection, but the fair trade-off is only if you can masterfully control the temperature. It’s not as if the change is instantaneous, because it takes time for the flame to adjust accordingly. You adjust the temperature by controlling the amount of air in and out of the coal bed; either by adding or removing coal, or opening or restricting the vents— also dubbed as draft doors or dampers by certain companies.
Not to deter new grillers from trying charcoal grilling, manufacturers have taken this matter into account and therefore introduced indication marks near the dampers as a piece of visual guidance. So, you may want to look for charcoal grills with instructions on controlling the air vents.
But if you want to avoid this hassle from the get-go, we advise sticking to a gas or electric grill. These usually have a series of knobs or dials— with some electric grills only has a single ON/OFF button for simplicity— which lets you start the grill effortlessly and adjust the temperature to one’s liking.
6. Cleaning Ease
Remember when we speak of the materials for the grate above? This is where the choice makes the difference.
Most grills often have painted steel for the body to prevent rust and moisture, especially if they’re designed to be used and placed outdoors. Eventually, the coating would peel off, subjecting the grill to corrosion, which can make cleaning after time-consuming. This is particularly true if you put the grill in disuse for an extended period.
Conversely, stainless steel is impervious to the element, even without the cover of a tarp. Its durability is highly appreciated and well-worth the rather high cost. We advise you to stick to this one to avoid the mess.
Meanwhile, cast iron is a peculiar material. It excels really well at retaining heat, which makes it both a blessing during cooking and a curse during cleaning. Uncoated cast iron grates react to high-acidity food and can leach over, causing a spike in iron intakes. To prevent this, either the manufacturer or you apply a thin layer of vegetable oil on the surface— a process named seasoning— multiple times before storage. Furthermore, cast iron grates are to be gently hand washed, which means dishwashers are out of the equation. After which, one ought to dry the grates with a dry rag or dish towel, since air-drying would expose the grates to rust.
Regarding grill types, electric grills are the easiest to clean, since the parts are removable and usually dishwasher-friendly— though this feature varies from model to model. Charcoal grills nowadays come with easy-access coal bed with assisting tools like a rake. Gas grills are the hardest to clean, since you have to take out multiple parts and clean thoroughly and reassemble, and you have to service these grills periodically. But manufacturers nowadays often include drip trays to alleviate this problem.
Relocating the grill party to another spot is a common issue when the wind is too much to start the fire or the rain is coming. This is especially relatable if you happen to be a frequent camper or traveller. One should look for a grill either small enough to fit in the back of a vehicle, or a collapsible model that won’t eat up the already limited space within your car.
If the party’s in the back yard or patio, then look for a grill with all-terrain casters or wheel, or a sturdy cart that you can rely on when moving the grill from place to place.
Cooking with combustible fuels means there will be flare-ups— sudden bursts of violent flames when drops of grease, fat, and oil directly burn on the fire below the grates. Not only do these flare-ups catch the grillers off-guard, they can cause injury and pose fire hazards for those around. What’s more alarming is these occurrences are common among kamado grills, though they’re referred to as backdrafts.
But there’s an easy countermeasure: make sure to trim off the fat before cooking.
9. Extra Features
Besides cooking prowess, a good grill is one that provides comfort and convenience for those who man the BBQ station for an extended period. Look for these extra features in your soon-to-be grill:
- Side tables & shelves for extra working space and storage room
- Temperature gauge
- Tool hooks
- Grill light
Reviews of the Best Grills in 2020
If you’re just looking for the best grill of each category, then this short list right here should suffice.
- Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s – Best Charcoal Grill
- Weber Summit S-470 – Best Gas Grill
- PowerXL Smokeless – Best Indoor Grill
- Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 – Best Outdoor Grill
- Weber Original Kettle 741001 – Best BBQ Grill
- Weber Jumbo Joe – Best Portable Grill
- Traeger Pro Series 34 – Best Pellet Grill
- Kamado Joe Classic II 18-Inch – Best Kamado Grill
- Weber Spirit E-210 – Best Propane Grill
Here are our picks for the Best Grills.
We’ll start off with the Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s, a hibachi-style grill that possesses immense heating prowess. Not exactly praised for its look, but the Sportsmans’ does make it up with its overall cooking ability. Plus, it’s compact enough to sit nicely on a table and fit snugly into any vehicle.
The Sportsman’s measures 20.7 inches long by 12 inches wide by 10 inches tall. The cooking surface offers 142 square inches, which is quite unfortunately not ideal for a big party. That said, the grate can grill up to three steaks on its surface, so if you’re a family of three or four going on a trip, then the Sportsman’s should suffice.
As the cast iron grate comes pre-coated with a layer of 100% natural vegetable oil, there’s no need to season it yourself. Lodge made the unit available for use upon opening the package. The non-stick surface keeps the food from overstaying its welcome after cooking, while the cast iron’s heat retention property makes sure that your food will never go cold. Be that the case, Lodge still advises applying oil, butter, or fat on the surface before preheating the grill. Since the grate has two adjustable heights, one can choose between a quick searing or a slow roast, depending on what you’re cooking.
That said, the oil coating is bound to lose its effectiveness over time, so remember to apply the oil every once a while, or the grate won’t be able to retain its prestige condition and succumb to rust.
The Sportsman’s gives off a sense of sturdiness, and it’s a great fit for long road trips to the wilderness. Beside cooking directly on the grate, one can reheat kettles of coffee and tea on this grill, to boot.
There’s one feature that we love is the easy-access draft door. You can tend to the coal right on the spot and adjust the airflow with ease, but remember to use a pair of heavy-duty tongs and wear mitts to avoid burning yourself. Since this door is removable, you can also add or remove coal chunks through it without interfering with the food on the grate.
Since the grate is cast iron, a dishwasher is definitely out of the question. You can scrub lightly using a soft-bristled brush in warm water for three to five minutes. For stubborn stains, you can use dish soap— provided that the solution is mild and in a minimal amount, as instructed by Lodge.
Once you’ve rinsed the grate, you wouldn’t want it to air-dry by itself. Use a wad of paper towel or a piece of lint-free cloth to thoroughly dry the grate. Per Lodge’s instruction, the final step is to rub a thin layer of cooking oil on the surface, and wipe with a paper towel until no residue is left before storage. This will improve the nonstick quality of the grate for even better nonstick cooking in the future.
To clean the bottom of the grill, you should remove the unburnt coal chunks with a pair of tongs— discarding or keeping them until the next cook is entirely up to you. For the remaining ash, you can use a vacuum cleaner, but make sure the debris is completely cool. Once done, you can wipe the interior with a rag or paper towels.
If you’re planning on keeping the grill outside, we suggest using a small, breathable grill cover to protect it from the weather and condensation that could eventually cause rusting. Otherwise, storing the grill indoors is probably the best option when it won’t be used regularly.
Weighing nearly 31 pounds, the Sportsman’s can be quite heavy to carry by its handle. Still, it’s a compact grill that can fit nicely in any vehicle and can even sit on a picnic table in the backyard. Campers and picnickers would definitely love this grill.
What we find concerning is the grill’s lack of proper insulation. As if the non-existence of sides handles isn’t enough, the carry handle isn’t well-insulated either. So when you’re done cooking, unless you carry the grill with a pair of mitts, it would take quite a long time for the grill to completely cool down before you can move it.
The top charcoal grills are unquestionably the bestselling products when grill season is around the corner. The Lodge Sportsman’s is a well-rounded grill that does the job well. Its toughness and durability are a true testament of the American quality: it is built to last for generations to come, if it’s properly cared for and well-maintained.
A quick peek, and you’ll see how impressive the Weber Summit S-470 truly is. This monster of a grill makes its presence known with an astounding amount of burners, a sleek look and an abundance of extra features.
The Summit S-470 measures 30 inches long by 66 inches wide by 57.1 inches tall with the lid open, and 26.5 inches long by 66 inches wide by 50.5 inches tall with the lid closed. The main cooking area offers 468 square inches— in addition to another 112 square inches from the warming rack— maxing out at 580 square inches in total. Weber claimed the S-470 can house up to 24 burgers, an impressive amount for quite a party.
All the components are stainless steel— which would explain its rather hefty price tag. But since this is a well-made grill with a lot to offer, Weber stands by its decision, and puts the grill under warranty for up to 10 years.
Looking inside the S-470, the grates are stainless steel for high-efficiency heat transfer, cleaning ease, and durability. The burners and the heat shields are also stainless steel.
What we like about this grill is the inclusion of a rotisserie system, which will let grillers diversify their menu. It’s located on the left side table, and it comes equipped with a spit/skewer and a fork. But the thing is, the rotisserie system is placed on a motor, and there have been customers unsatisfactorily complaining that the whole thing feels wobbly, and it’s such a drag to use the rear infrared burner that they wouldn’t even bother to at all.
The S-470 incorporates four main burners— each of which doles out 12,200 BTU per hour— combining for 48,800 BTU per hour altogether. But that’s not all, a 10,600 BTUs infrared burner located in the back is also included, which incorporates the whole rotisserie system. And outside the cookbox, you’ll find a 12,000 BTUs side burner cleverly built in the right side table.
If a craving for smoked items arises, then you can rely on the 6,800 BTUs built-in smoker box. It will add a little wood-burned flavor to your BBQ. For those who want to sear their steaks, the central dual burners will act as the sear station, with the assistance from an extra 10,600 BTUs burner.
All of the heat is controllable via easy-dial knobs— all of which are one AAA battery-powered, except for one using a D-grade battery cell.
And if that isn’t enough firepower for you, then you might want to consider the Summit S-670. It has six main burners and a bigger cook box to let you maximize your grilling game.
As the grates are stainless steel, you can easily hand wash them with a grill brush and regular dish soap. Droplets of grease and juices are conveniently caught and held inside the easy-access grease tray with a catch pan. The exterior is one wipe away from being spotless, as well.
Deep cleaning this grill is, conversely, another matter, though you can do it in a six-month interval. Carefully detach all the parts and thoroughly clean with warm water and dish soap— particularly the burners— reassemble, and store away.
The whole unit isn’t supposed to be moved around, since this is the natural gas-fueled version. However, it still comes with easy-swivel casters with locks in case you have to relocate or renovate the kitchen.
The grill incorporates standard safety measures.
The S-470 comes with two side tables where you can place condiments, trays and plates when a grilling station or BBQ island isn’t available. For the cooking tools, there are six tool hooks to keep things in reach. If you really need more space, the grill cabinet will come in handy.
If you’re a fan of grilling at night, the S-470 will assist you with backlit temperature knobs a handle light. Furthermore, to help keep the moisture and heat from escaping, a thermometer mounted on the top keeps you informed of how hot it is inside the cooking chamber without opening the lid too often.
And did you know that we also have a dedicated gas grill collection? There’s a whole lot more options for consumers to choose, should you have already decided to go with this line of grill.
The Weber S-470 may be expensive, but the values its promises and delivers well justify the hefty cost. Budget-wise, this grill is an investment that will be worthwhile in the long run, and you’ll won’t regret selecting such a fine grill as this one.
Let’s keep it short: PowerXL Smokeless is the ultimate indoor grill. This grill can sear steaks, grill salmon, and cook burgers with surprisingly well results constantly. But quite unlike other plug-and-use electric grill, it’s a combination of overall performance, reasonable price, and ease of control.
The grill measures 22.1 inches long by 13.2 inches wide by 6.1 inches tall. The cooking surface measures 15.5 inches long by 9 inches wide, offering nearly 140 square inches of grilling space.
Grillers commended the way the grill can handle multiple large items. It can cook four large steaks, eight burger patties, three racks of ribs, or a whole chicken in one go. For such a small unit, it can serve up a considerable amount for a family of six or seven.
The base is heavy duty die cast aluminum. As for the cooking surfaces, it has a ceramic nonstick coating that eliminates the need for extra oil and butter before cooking.
What we love about this grill is how the temperature stays consistent at every point of the grate, even at the edges. The heat is evenly distributed with no irregular cold spots, ensuring the food’s uniformity in doneness and juiciness.The 1200-watt heating element preheats from four to six minutes on high and is efficient in delivering constant heat across the cooking surface.
Ease of control also struck a chord with us. The grill’s temperature range goes from 220°F to 450°F, and it can be precisely adjusted with an LED-lit and touch-controlled dial.
If your food contains oil and grease, splashes are inevitable. Luckily, most of the droplets will fall through the grate and gather in the grease tray right below. As for the splashes during cooking, a tempered glass lid will protect the cook from any surprises, while letting people check how the food cooks.
Per its instructions, the grate, grate, lid, drip tray, and water tray are fit for household dishwashers. If a dishwasher’s unavailable, manual scrubbing the parts with dish soap shouldn’t be too troubling. One thing of note: we would strongly advise against violent scraping and scouring, since the coating can come off over time.
As for the base, a quick wipe using a damp cloth with a mild cleaning solution should suffice. Ditto for the heating element, but remember to disconnect the plug from the outlet before cleaning.
One glaring safety concern is the lack of handles, which makes it extremely difficult to bring the grill from the table to the sink for cleaning. You either have to wait till it cools down completely, or use mitts if you need to carry it while it’s still hot.
Living up to its name, grilling on this grill truly is a smokeless experience. The built-in fan works as a vacuum, eliminating smoke and odor. But when using the fan, the water tray should be filled with at least two cups of water before cooking. Doing this will keep your food juicy. For extra effectiveness, we recommend opening all windows, drapes, and consider using a range hood.
One thing that we find rather odd is that the PowerXL Smokeless is under warranty for only 60 days.
Apart from its rather short warranty period, the PowerXL Smokeless is a well-rounded product that delivers exactly what it promises. Highly hailed for its ease of use and overall performance, one would be hard-pressed to find another high-quality grill like this for its price.
That said, it’s hardly the ultimate indoor grill, as there are others indoor grills that work just as well.
Next on our list is the Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001. With a fine overall cooking performance and ample interior, this unit is a mid-tier gas grill that over delivers its initial promises. It’s available for purchase at a rather average cost, making itself a favorite among casual grillers.
The Grillin’ Pro E3001 measures 48 inches long by 28 inches wide by 48 inches tall. Its cooking area combines 438 square inches from the main grate with 192 inches from the warming rack, totaling 630 square inches of surface. With that much space, you can cook a full-size turkey, multiple rib racks and huge slabs of briskets.
The body and lid are heavy-duty tubular steel, giving the entire grill a rugged look and a feel of sturdiness. This grill can hold off against rust, daily wear-and-tear, and weather relatively well, thanks to the weather-shield paint job on the body. The grates are porcelain-coated cast iron, while the warming rack is chromed-plate steel.
As for the burners, they are stainless steel for durability and high-efficiency heat transfer, and are under Char-Griller’s five-year warranty policy. The trio burners offer a combined 40,800 BTUs, and should you need more firepower, an additional side burner can dole out another 12,000 BTUs on its own. Like most gas grills, the E3001 incorporates an easy-start ignition system.
If we’re being honest, the setup can be a little less complicated. The grill has a lot of small parts that need to be installed in an orderly fashion, and despite the pictorial instruction, it’s quite time-consuming to assemble the whole unit, even if you’re an experienced handyman.
Placed directly above the burners are the three heat tents, also known as heat shields. Their main function is to fend off droplets of grease and juices from the food above the grate, preventing them from entering the burner tubes. This will prevent flare-ups, prolong the grill’s overall longevity, and save you precious cleaning time. Be that as it may, you still ought to service the grill by deep-cleaning the whole unit every six months. Make sure to unclog the airpath so the grill can function at its optimal setting.
Per Char-Griller, you ought to clean the grate after each cookout. The heat tents, warming rack, and catch pan are easy to hand wash, or you can let the dishwasher take care of them. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the cast iron grate, which needs gentle hand washing, meticulous oiling, and thoroughly drying.
Weighing 92 pounds, the E3001 is comparatively lighter than its Char-Griller cousins. You can use the all-terrain wheels to push it around, though the wheels aren’t easy-swivel, so be careful when going sideways or turning sharp corners.
The E3001 incorporates standard safety features, including a cool-touch handle on the lid. As a precaution, we advise you to use gloves or mitts when cooking.
The bottom shelf is for storing the gas tank, and there’s a metal panel that hides the tank from view for an aesthetic appearance.
The lid-mounted thermometer comes in handy when you need to adjust the temperature without having to open the lid too often. Thus, this will lock heat and juiciness inside the cooking chamber.
The dual side tables are always welcomed by grillers, as they offer extra working space. It feels nice when you can put trays and condiments on them. And attached to the tables are a series of tool hooks to keep everything within an arm’s reach.
If this propane grill is too small for you, then this Char-Griller Outlaw should probably pique your interest.
There’s no shortage of well-made outdoor grills, and that’s a guarantee for sure. The Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 may not be the most expensive or the top of its brand, but it over-delivers with its overall performance and features at a fair cost. And it’s not surprising to see more and more grillers hosting backyard parties on this grill.
This is the Weber Original Kettle 741001, a well-rounded and reliable charcoal grill that gets the job done. Though it doesn’t possess as many flashy extra features like some of its peers, the Original Kettle 741001 is second to none when it comes to its core function: grilling. And that’s probably why it is highly touted by the BBQ community, even earning the Amazon’s Choice tag— a badge of honor for high-quality products.
The grill measures 25 inches long by 22.5 inches wide by 39.5 inches tall with the lid closed. Its diameter measures 22 inches, and it can provide up to 363 square inches of grilling surface.
The manufacturer claims that it can hold up to 13 burger patties or portions fit six adults at once, so it would be suitable for a small family who regularly grills on the weekends.
The bowl and lid are porcelain-enameled steel and placed under warranty up to 10 years. These parts are durable against extreme heat, moisture from nature and rust. The grate is plated steel, and it distributes heat fairly well enough across its surface. The coal grate is heavy-gauge steel, with the side handles made from glass-reinforced nylon.
As a charcoal grill, it is hard to adjust the heat with pinpoint precision. But that doesn’t dissuade people from purchasing the Original Kettle.
As the coal chunks burn, you can still open the top and/or bottom dampers completely or partially to control the amount of air inside the coal bed. When everyone’s full, you can shut both dampers completely to starve the coals.
If you’re searing steaks, you can stack the coal so that the flame can reach the grate by using a charcoal basket, focusing more heat on the steak above. Or if you prefer indirect grilling— also known as slow cooking— all you have to do is spread the coal evenly at the bottom so the flame cannot directly touch the food.
According to Consumer Reports, the Original Kettle can reach an average temperature of 520°F on three pounds of briquettes across its surface. It can sear well sirloin steaks that are 1 ½ inches thick with lightly charred results, though the sear marks are less pronounced compared to those made by a kamado grill. Since Weber’s recommended temperature maxes out at 575°F, the Original Kettle should not be pushed beyond that limit.
In a slow-cooking test, the Original Kettle can hold a steady temperature around 330°F— the middle ground between low-heat smoking and medium-heat grilling— continuously for four hours; long enough to cook thoroughly time-consuming items like brisket and ribs without making them bone-dry. The grill was able to retain the tenderness and juiciness in these items. The grill’s specialty, however, is burgers and hot dogs. Its consistency and even heating will cook small items uniformly with clear grill marks.
Once the unburnt coal chunks are extinguished and fully cooled, you can easily take them out of the grill using gloves or tongs. Restocking them for the next cook or discarding is entirely up to you.
The One-Touch cleaning system will take care of the ash and fine soot gathering at the bottom of the grill: just swipe the opening at the bottom of the grill, and any remaining ash will fall through the holes and onto the awaiting catch pan right below. The cleaner system is under warranty for up to five years. A vacuum cleaner can take care of any remaining stubborn ash.
As for the grate, since it’s way too oversized for a household dishwasher, we advise you to clean it manually with warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled grill brush. Once dried, you can put it back in the grill.
Equipped with two all-terrain wheels, you can move the grill around effortlessly. However, the lack of wheel lock is quite concerning, especially if the grill is stationed on a slanted or uneven surface.
The side handles are well-insulated and offer a firm grip. Also, there’s a heat shield right below the lid handle that prevents the handle from burning the fingertips.
Regarding the ash catcher, although it’s a well-intentioned thought, it is sadly not a well-designed feature. A slight wind can scatter ash and cinder into people’s food or eyes. Worse, if the ash is still hot, it can become a fire hazard. Therefore, we advise you not to open the grill’s bottom until it’s cleaning time and all the ash is completely cool.
Upon opening the lid, often you’ll instinctively look for a place to put it down, like a table nearby, but what if there isn’t one? The grill features an angled hook on the side where you can hang the lid. The bottom rack is small, and the gaps between the bars are wide, so realistically you can only place no more than one extra food tray there.
Besides the original version above, Weber also manufactures the premium version, which is basically the same as the original, with the addition of two hooks, a built-in thermometer, a deeper bottom, and a bigger ash catcher. We felt that it really isn’t that different.
If you need extra storage space and mobility, then the performer is a nice addition to your culinary arsenal. Despite a rather exorbitant price tag, it still attracts a lot of buyers. Or if you’re a camping enthusiast, the 18-inch is a perfect companion for the road.
The grill is the very heart and soul of every barbecue party, and the Weber Original Kettle 741001 is one fine exhibit of high quality craftsmanship in top BBQ grills. It is truly a well-made BBQ grill that can consistently dish out gourmet results. Granted, it doesn’t have any many flashy features, but this grill will bring out the best flavor in everything you grill.
The Weber Jumbo is another shining example of Weber’s excellence. It’s a classic charcoal grill that does the job well, easy to carry and straightforward. Plus, it’s a great fit for all outdoor parties, no matter where you decide to host the grill fest.
The Jumbo Joe measures 20.5 inches long by 19.7 inches wide by 19.7 inches tall. Its diameter measures 18 inches, offering 240 square inches of cooking area. Its interior is spacious enough to fit portions for roughly six adult diners.
The cooking grate is plated steel, which conducts heat rather well across its surface. The coal grate below is heavy-gauge steel, while the bowl and lid are porcelain enameled steel. Below the bottom bowl an aluminum ash catcher— dubbed the One-Touch cleaning system by Weber— and a bottom air vent— also known as damper or draft door. On the lid there’s another damper and a lid lock.
The dampers are strategically placed to control the airflow inside the grill, a critical factor to control how hot the grill gets. These dampers allow or restrict the amount of oxygen reaching the coal, which increases or reduces the heat.
One thing we find rather unpleasant is that in order to add new charcoal, you need to take out the cooking grate. Not only do you interrupt the food from cooking, you may also drop the food and injure yourself if you’re not careful. But this dilemma can be avoided by purchasing a foldable cooking grate, which is sold separately. You can scoop out or add charcoal through the foldable grate.
The grate is reasonably easy to hand wash: scrubbing with a soft-bristled grill brush and specialized dish soap produces the best result. To further prevent food sticking, you should apply cooking oil on the hot grate before adding food.
The One-Touch cleaning system is helpful to clear out the bottom bowl: one swipe, and all the ash will fall through. You can use a vacuum for finer soot stuck at the bottom bowl.
The Jumbo Joe is light, easy to carry and store. To prevent the contents from spilling out, the Jumbo Joe also comes with a lid lock. That said, this grill may take up a considerable amount of space inside a vehicle.
The handles are glass-reinforced nylon, which give a firm grip and a sense of safety. A heat shield protects the hand of the griller upon opening the lid, so you won’t need mitts or oven gloves.
Much like the Original Kettle, although the One-Touch cleaning system is born out of well intention, it’s nevertheless a flawed design. The ash can scatter with the wind into those standing around, posing inconvenience and a potential fire safety hazard.
When going on a road trip or camping, a portable grill is something deeply appreciated. It doesn’t eat up much space within the vehicle, and still be able to cook well like a kitchen stove. The Weber Jumbo Joe is a typical charcoal grill that best represents the core values of a BBQ party: something timeless, memorable, and rich in sentimental values.
The Traeger Pro Series 34 is a fine specimen of pellet grills, a line of grill that combines the temperature precision of an electric grill, the ease of control from a gas grill, and the immense heating prowess of a charcoal grill into one unit. The Pro Series 34 is large, sturdy, and versatile. It can do so much more than a regular grill— smoking, baking, roasting and braising. Granted, its cost may be off-putting, its overall performance is warmly received by the grilling community.
The grill measures 22 inches deep by 54 inches wide by 49 inches tall, with the interior offering 646 square inches of grilling surface. The grill can process various large items all at once: eight whole chickens, seven racks of ribs, or 30 burgers, according to Traeger. The hopper can house up to 18 pounds of pellets.
The body and shroud is coated steel, so they can withstand the elements like wind, moisture from rain, dew, snow and the daily wear-and-tear, even if placed outdoors uncovered. The grate is porcelain-enameled steel, while the frame— dubbed the sawhorse chassis by Traeger— is painted wood.
The Digital Pro Controller uses a feature named Advanced Grilling Logic, which will keep the heat constant by continually feeding a certain amount of pellet into the burning heat source. The automatic auger will extract pellets from the hopper box and transport them into the fire box right below. As the fuel burns, the fan built inside the grill will distribute the heat throughout the cooking chamber, ensuring the uniformity of temperature from within.
The grate is easy to clean with a grill brush and regular dish soap. But too bad they’re too large for a dishwasher.
The grill has a built-in slanted tray that will catch grease and juices from the meat. These droplets will follow the tray into the bucket on the side of the grill. This design not only alleviates the cleaning burden, but also prevents the fat from falling into the fire, creating carcinogenic compounds.
If you don’t feel like scraping charred pieces and grease of the drip tray, you can use the liners (sold separately). These metallic sheets are made from aluminum foil and are disposable, so they will save you a considerable amount of cleaning time.
As for the grease bucket, you can stack the cup-shaped liners inside the bucket, and whenever grease fills the bucket near the brim, you can take the top liner cup out, dump the grease, and the new cup is ready.
When you’re cleaning the hopper, it has a clean-out back door so you can get rid of the remaining pellets quickly, removing broken ones, or replace them with different flavors, if you’re feeling creative.
Although weighing 125 pounds, the Pro Series 34 is easy to move thanks to the all-terrain wheel and casters, which can traverse across any surface. However, you ought to be careful when turning corners, since the whole unit is very bulky.
The Pro Series 34 incorporates a shutdown cycle that automatically turns the unit off. But one thing of note: although the whole grill is out of operation, the remaining heat is still immense and you can burn yourself if you’re not careful. Wait at least one hour before approaching the grill.
If you need extra working space, you can attach a folding front shelf and a bottom shelf for cooking utensils, condiments, and spices. But these parts are not included in the grill, so you have to purchase them separately.
The dual temperature probes— one for the ambiance inside the cooking chamber, one for a specific food item— let you monitor the food and the temperature inside the grill without opening the lid too often, thus losing the heat. The display on the control panel will keep you up to date with the temperature inside the grill, since the reading is refreshed every second. That way, you can literally set the temperature and leave the grill to do its job while you tend to other kitchen tasks, prepare other dishes, or take a quick break.
If the Pro Series Traeger 34 is a little bit too oversized and over your budget, you can always consider the Lil Tex Elite 22. Although much smaller, its construction and performance are comparatively similar.
Time permitting, we recommend you to take a quick peek at our picks for the top-performing pellet grills.
The Traeger Pro Series 34 earns its place among the BBQ community thanks to its overall performance, consistency, and durability. As a shining example of Traeger’s high-quality product, it sets the benchmarks for the other pellet grills to follow.
Speaking of kamado grills, one ought to instantly associate with the Big Green Eggs. But there’s one competitor that can give the BGE a run for its money: the Kamado Joe Classic II. Its diverse temperature range and chef-like versatility make it a worthwhile consideration for those looking to invest in a ceramic cooker.
The Classic II measures 28 inches long by 46.5 inches wide by 48 inches tall. Its grilling surface measures 18 inches in diameter, offering 256 square inches. But that’s not all: according to Kamado Joe, you can double that area by purchasing an additional grate, and further maximizing it to 660 square inches with another standalone grate.
The body and lid are glazed ceramic, while the heat deflector is uncoated ceramic. Kamado Joe uses stainless steel for the grates, lid latch, and bottom air vent while using aluminum for the top damper.
The firebox consists of six ceramic panels instead of a whole ring. The gaskets are wire mesh fiberglass, and they align perfectly when the body and the dome meet. To further guarantee the air-tight environment, a latch will lock the dome and the body in place. What we like about this grill is the supporting mechanism on the back: the counterbalance Air Lift hinge makes it very easy to lift the heavy dome. This will prevent the heavy dome from colliding with base, leading to cracks, a common theme found among kamado grill users.
Kamado Joe uses molded plastic for the side tables and handle, both of which are sturdy and stay cool to the touch. The grill is easy to assemble, reportedly taking about 20 minutes.
The bottom draft door and the top air vent— dubbed Kontrol Tower by Kamado Joe— will fine-tune the heat, though the result takes time to show. To assist grillers in achieving the desired temperature, there are indicating marks on the top damper, so grillers can adjust accordingly. Besides venting the grill, the top damper also prevents raindrops, dew, and snow from entering the grill.
The half-moon grates allow you to add coal conveniently, which can raise the temperature from 225°F to 750°F. That’s probably why grillers highly praised the Classic II’s ability to cook a diverse range of food, from pork shoulder on low and pizza on high heat. The grates can be raised or lowered at will, depending on what style of cooking you prefer.
The Classic II is lauded for dealing with the ash very effectively: shake the firebox, stir the unburnt charcoal with a rake, and the ash will fall onto the built-in drawer at the bottom. You can then slide the drawer out and discard the ash effortlessly. As for the remaining ash at the bottom, you can use a vacuum cleaner.
Unfortunately, the ceramic components require manual cleaning and are quite tricky to service. They cannot be cleansed with liquid of any kind— water or chemicals are definitely a no-no.
On the bright side, the half-moon grates are stainless steel and can fit inside a dishwasher. Or, you can scrub these grates when they are warm, preferably after cooking, when the grease and gunk can easily come off.
Since the Classic II weighs 188 pounds, moving it alone is very hard. Luckily, the cast iron cart with easy-swivel casters will assist you in moving the grill around. The casters can swivel at corners and go sideways easily, and when arriving at the desired spot, the metal locks on the casters will keep the grill from rolling away.
The Air Lift mechanism on the hinge will let you raise the dome effortlessly, while also preventing the dome from slamming into the body when the hand accidentally slips or lets go of the handle— a common design flaw found in many kamado grills, which can lead to cracking and chipping on ceramic parts.
Like all other kamado grills, the Classic II is subjected to backdrafts and flashbacks without proper burping. The grill should be ignited using a chimney starter or an electric charcoal starter instead of lighter fluids.
The lid-mounted thermometer is large, easy to read, and will let you monitor the temperature inside without opening the lid too often. If you want to check the temperature of the food as it cooks, a grilling thermometer with a remote display for checking the temperature on your food— especially large items like brisket, whole chickens, or pork shoulder roast— is a must-have device.
The two foldable side tables will let you keep spices and condiments nearby. The Classic II also comes with a grate gripper and an ash rake. When you’re not using them, you can hang them on the tool hooks on the side tables.
Although more and more people are recognizing the emergence of ceramic cookers, grillers are still hesitant about purchasing a kamado grill due to its usage complications and steep price. But, given the time and opportunity to get a better understanding, you’ll see how the pros outnumber the cons. Eventually, you’ll find how a well-made kamado grill will last literally a lifetime, given enough care and maintenance.
Albeit its rather exorbitant price tag, the Kamado Joe Classic II is a worthwhile investment that will last a lifetime, provided that it is well maintained. Getting this grill is a big commitment, meaning that you’re willing to part ways with the old charcoal grill and ready to improve your grilling skills beyond steaks, burgers, and hotdogs. And once you’ve mastered controlling it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t buy this grill much sooner.
The Weber Spirit E-210 is a powerful propane grill that we found worthy of a spot in this article. Granted there are many finer propane grills with more burners, this grill exceeds customers’ expectations of its heating capability and performs well overall. The Spirit E-210 is highly touted for its fast preheat and uniform heating, while also getting praise for its overall sturdiness, durability and sleek design.
The Spirit E-210 measures 32 inches long by 50 inches wide by 63 inches tall with the lid open. It’s much less bulky than its propane-fueled Weber brothers. Upon opening the lid, you’ll get 360 square inches of grilling area on the primary grate, with an additional 90 square inches on the warming rack. That’s 450 square inches in total.
This grill comes with porcelain-enameled cast iron grates, which are under Weber’s warranty for five years. The burners are stainless steel and are under warranty up to 10 years. Also under a 10-year warranty are the porcelain-enameled steel lid— with cast-aluminum end caps— and the cast aluminum cookbox. The side tables and control panel are stainless steel, while the frame and fuel cabinet are painted steel.
The dual burners built-in the grill provide up to 26,500 BTU of heating capacity altogether, and they can preheat surprisingly fast. The infinite control burner valves let you adjust the flow of propane coming from your 20-pound fuel tank into the grill. The E-210 comes with an electronic crossover ignition system— a flame starter using one AA battery.
Sadly, Weber does not recommend cleaning any of the removable parts in the dishwasher. We advise hand washing the grease tray with dish soap, and using a grill brush and cool water to clean the grates when they are hot.
The grate is cast iron, so dishwasher is definitely a no-no. Manually and gently scrub the grate with warm water, though you can use a non-metallic scourer if needed. Once done, thoroughly dry the grate with a rag and apply a layer of oil before reassembling.
As for the burners, they are covered with flavorizer bars, which disintegrate the droplets of grease and juices dripping from the food as it cooks. Unlike other grills’ heat shields which have small openings, the heat shields on the E-210 are designed as solid plates with no gap. The bars are made from porcelain-enameled steel and are easy to hand-scrub as well.
While more compact than other Weber propane grills, the E-210 is still bulky. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to move this grill around— the four all-terrain casters can swivel and turn corners as swiftly as a shopping cart. Once you’ve reached the desired spot, just lock the wheels into place, and you’ll be all set.
Several users discovered that the E-210 is less likely to flare up with high-fat content food, but still warned against putting too many items on the grate, as this can cause the flames to burst uncontrollably. The lid handle is well insulated, and it gives a firm grip. The E-210 has a built-in fuel cabinet with a painted steel door, to keep the propane tank from shifting when you move the grill around.
Some people may try to alter between propane and natural gas by tinkering grill’s setup. Unless you’re completely sure of what you’re actually doing, we strongly advise against it. Not only do you place yourself in an injury hazard, but you also put everyone else near you at risk of fire hazard and gas leakage.
The two stainless fold-down steel side tables give you extra working space and can hold spices and condiments. In addition, thanks to the six tool hooks, you can keep the cooking utensils within reach.
The lid-mounted thermometer measures the average temperature inside the grill, so you don’t have to open the hood too often. But if you want to measure the food temperature, you should get a meat thermometer.
If two burners feel inadequate, you can go for one of these triple-burners: the Spirit E-310, the Spirit E-330, and the Spirit II E-310.Their interior capacity are more spacious, but that also means they are bulkier and more expensive.
Besides natural gas, propane-fueled grills are some of the most popular gas grills. The Weber Spirit E-210 deserves to be the grill of choice among the BBQ community. It’s no wonder that its overall heating performance and extra features make this grill the go-to option for many.
Top-rated Grills Comparison Table
|Model||Fuel type||Cooking space (sq in)||Extra Features||Warranty|
|Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman's||Charcoal||142||---||Available upon request|
|Weber Summit S-470||Natural Gas; |
4 main burners,
|PowerXL Smokeless||Electricity||139||Grill plate,|
|Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001||Propane||630||Side tables,|
|Weber Original Kettle 741001||Charcoal||363||Ash catcher,|
|Weber Jumbo Joe||Charcoal||240||Ash catcher||Limited warranty|
|Traeger Pro Series 34||Pellet||646||Grease bucket,|
Folding front shelf (sold separately),
Bottom shelf (sold separately)
|Kamado Joe Classic II||Charcoal||660||Side tables,|
|Weber Spirit E-210||Propane,|
2 main burners,
Best Grill Brands
Normally, some brands need no further introductions: the mere sight of their logo or their name is more than enough to jog the buyers’ memories. The same, however, cannot be said for other brands. Some manufacturers are trying to make a name for themselves, as they’re fighting for recognition.
Here are the manufacturers and / or distributors of the grills featured in this article.
Billed as the top player in the field, Weber has been in the grill manufacturing industry for nearly a century. Its feat of longevity is the benchmark for other companies to follow.
As diversified as its product range, as of 2020, the brand rolled out two brand-new pellet grill models, the SmokeFire EX4 and the SmokeFire EX6. While definitely late to the race of pellet grills, that doesn’t stop Weber from trying to compete with other brands.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994, this brand offers a varied range of grills, all of which are well-made and available for purchase at surprisingly reasonable prices. Although not as popular as other grill manufacturers, Char-Griller is still making its presence known in the grilling community.
If Char-Griller can continue its high-quality production and attentive customer services, it won’t be much too much longer before this brand can compete with the big players.
Traeger is a household name for pellet grills. Founded in 1985 by Joe Traeger, this brand was the first to pioneer a grill line that combines the best of different grill types.
When its patent expired back in 2006, Traeger had to struggle to compete with new competitors in the field, and has yet to earn the lion’s share of the market. That said, Traeger won’t go away without a fight.
Lodge was founded in 1896 in Tennessee. No, you’re not reading it wrong, it was really founded that long ago. That just proves how much their products are beloved by the grilling community.
The business is run by family members and they are proud of the American craftsmanship put into each product of theirs. Lodge products are known for their excellent heating property and their impressive durability, as Lodge claimed they can last a lifetime with proper care. And whenever people think of getting cast iron products, Lodge will always be the first brand to pop in their heads.
5. Kamado Joe
Kamado Joe is based in Duluth, Georgia. Kamado Joe has one and only one specialty: ceramic cooker. All of its signature grills bear the eye-catching red, as if it was a challenge to the all-green Big Green Eggs, a rival company that also specializes in kamado grills.
Although not as popular as the Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe is still trying to gain the upper hand and brand superiority, but who knows, that can take a while before things can happen. As of now, Kamado Joe is considered as a niche market for ceramic cooker enthusiasts that don’t want to get caught in the BGE hype.
Barbecuing is a festive activity, as it provides an opportunity for people to gather around and celebrate. Whether it’s the Fourth of July, the Super Bowl, Thanksgiving, or any regular day, there’s hardly a bad time for grilling. So put on your flowery apron, roll up your sleeves, and let’s display your cooking skills on the best grills. We hope you find our article informative and helpful, and if there’s any way we can improve this article or something you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to comment right below this article.