With barbecue season just around the corner, everyone will have their eyes out for the best grills for their upcoming parties.
However, finding the right grill is more difficult than you may think if you have a solid buying guidelines. It also doesn’t help when there are other factors other than price that you must consider as well.
For this entry, we’ll cover several key pointers that you should bear in mind before buying a grill. We’ll also select and review certain grills in detail to give buyers a clear idea of what to expect. By the end of this article, you should be in a great position to make the most informed purchase possible.
How to Pick the Best Grill
Before you commit to any purchase, there are certain factors to consider.
Types of Grills
First off, you need to decide which type of grill best fits your cooking needs and personal preferences. Typically, grills are classified into three different groups based on the fuel they use for heating: charcoal, gas, or electricity.
1. Charcoal Grills
Charcoal grills let you build the fire as you see fit: the more coal you add, the stronger the flames become. That’s the way you go about searing steaks on high or smoking briskets on low.
The downside is that a good chunk of time is often spent on cleaning and getting the coal ignited. Even after the fire gets going, it may snuff itself out or get out of control without timely adjustments.
2. Gas Grills
Gas grills, meanwhile, run on either natural gas or propane. Other than the fuel, the grills themselves have similar features and performance. Thanks to the fine-tuning burner mechanism, these grills are easy to start and control. Plus, they preheat quickly to boot.
However, these bulky grills require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them in tip-top shape.
3. Electric Grills
Electric grills are plug-and-use models that simplify things for people with limited time for cooking. Compared to other grills that run on combustible fuels, electric grills produce little to no smoke, which is a major selling point.
The thing is, their limited cooking surface can only serve so many people, often no more than four or five.
Regardless of what type of grill you pick, there’s no wrong answer. As long as you’re comfortable with your choice, that’s all that matters in the end.
Size & Cooking Area
Determine how many people you’re cooking for and what item is on the menu. For instance, a family of four or five people should settle for a charcoal grill or a single-burner gas grill. Anything larger would be a waste of money and storage space if you don’t use the grill very often.
On the other hand, you’ll need something big if you want to accommodate family reunions on the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. A great rule of thumb when choosing gas grills is one burner for every four people. Expect roughly 20 hungry guests on those festive occasions.
The next thing on your checklist should be the size of the cooking surface. Most charcoal and gas grills can handle all-time classics like steaks, burgers, and hotdogs just fine. However, thick items like ribs, briskets, and whole birds may take up the entire grate, leaving no room for sides.
Meanwhile, electric grills are perfect for small items like kebabs and wings. Sticking to small items leaves you with plenty of room for greens and veggies. With the appropriate cooking surfaces, you can even prepare breakfast staples like bacon and omelets on these grills as well.
Stainless steel is the common choice for numerous grill makers thanks to its weatherproof properties. By itself, this durable material is heat- and rust-resistant, making it nearly impervious to oxidation. Thus, manufacturers tend to use this sturdy material for the burners and cooking grates.
Another popular material for the cooking grate is cast iron whose heat retention capabilities are unmatched. But bare cast iron rusts easily upon exposure to moisture, meaning iron can get passed on to your food. To reinforce and preserve the grate, grill makers often add a coating of oil.
Overall, the decision between stainless or cast-iron grates is yours to make. They both have their advantages, so there’s no wrong choice.
Charcoal grills use draft doors to regulate air circulation inside the coal bed. The principle is straightforward: the more oxygen entering the vents, the hotter coal burns, and thus the bigger the flames.
However, the temperature doesn’t change right away. Instead, it takes a few minutes for the new conditions to take hold. Using charcoal grills means you’ll need practice and patience, so keep that in mind.
Meanwhile, gas grills allow you to fine-tune the flames using temperature dials. This built-in control system can make subtle changes on the spot just by turning a knob. That way, you can tweak how hot things get with pinpoint accuracy.
Besides the main burners, gas grills also offer alternative heating options in the form of searing stations or infrared heaters. This extra firepower can further complement the grill and help you reheat cooked items without interfering with the primary burners.
As for electric grills, an embedded heating element transfers heat throughout the cooking surface when you plug it in. The heat is controllable using a digital thermostat that maintains itself within the grill’s designed temperature range.
Ease of Cleaning
Charcoal grills often end up as a grease-stained mess after cooking. Besides scrubbing the grate, you’ll also need to collect the ash and cinders at the bottom of the coal bed.
As for gas grills, the burner tubes often get clogged with grease and burnt bits of food. If neglected for too long, these burners may not perform at their maximum capacity or may even quit working entirely.
On the other hand, cleaning electric grills is a breeze. Save for the base and power cord, their components are typically detachable and dishwasher-compatible. But just to be sure, consult the manual or contact the supplier for confirmation since dishwasher-friendliness isn’t always a given.
When scrubbing the grates, grill brushes and steel wool pads often leave behind loose bristles that can cause injuries. These loose wires may get caught between the bars and eventually stick to the food you’re cooking. If possible, use non-bristle cleaning tools like sponges or scrapers.
Unless you’re purchasing a natural gas grill or building a BBQ island in your backyard, the grill should be maneuverable. A set of all-terrain wheels that can swivel and turn corners should suffice.
For camping and tailgate parties at sporting events, a collapsible/portable propane-fueled grill is your safest bet. You can buy disposable fuel cylinders at any gas station or hook the grill to an RV’s onboard propane tank.
Cooking with combustible fuels produces intermittent flare-ups, sudden bursts of flames that happen when grease burns directly above the fire. They can catch grillers off-guard, pose fire safety hazards and occasionally even cause injuries.
In addition, propane and natural gas leakage can happen due to faulty grill parts or poor setups. It should go without saying that you need to contact an expert the moment you detect the odor.
Since the indoor-safe electric grills don’t use combustible fuels, there’s no danger of flare-ups even on the maximum setting. While smoke can rise from fatty food, the amount is minimal compared to what you get with charcoal and gas grills.
While the additional features do not directly affect food quality, it feels nice to have them at your disposal. You can find things like:
- Side tables with tool hooks
- Cart with lower rack or cabinet
- Temperature gauge
- Tool hooks
- Grill light
For casual grillers and first-timers who want to practice fundamental barbecuing techniques, charcoal grills make a good starting point. These low-maintenance grills are often inexpensive, and shouldn’t exceed $300.
Once you’ve built up enough confidence, you can commit to something more serious without feeling guilty. Gas grills are built to match the money: the more you spend, the better the quality and performance.
A triple-burner gas grill can run between $300 and $500, while a five-burner may set you back $700 to $1,000. If money’s no object and you’re ready to make a long-term investment, you might as well go all-out. A premium gas grill with accessories can fetch as much as $1,500 or $2,000.
Although the hassle-free electric grills aren’t built to last, they’re quick purchases for busy people with limited cooking time. Depending on the specifications and features included, the prices can vary anywhere between $30 and $250.
Reviews of the Best Grills in 2021
Now that we’ve covered the buying guide, you can find our selections for the best grills in different categories below.
- Weber Summit S-470 – Best Gas Grill
- Royal Gourmet CC1830S – Best Charcoal Grill
- Traeger Pro Series 34 – Best Pellet Grill
- Weber Spirit E-210 – Best Propane Grill
- PowerXL Smokeless – Best Indoor Grill
- Weber Original Kettle 741001 – Best BBQ Grill
- Kamado Joe Classic II 18-Inch – Best Kamado Grill
- Weber Q2400 – Best Electric Grill
- Weber Jumbo Joe – Best Portable Grill
- Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 – Best Outdoor Grill
1. Weber Genesis II S-310 — Best Gas Grill
You can tell just by looking at it that the Weber Genesis II S-310 means business and has plenty to offer. This sleek-looking grill comes equipped with numerous heating options and all sorts of extra features to make for a well-rounded package.
- Multiple heating options
- Near-universal stainless steel construction
- Immense heating prowess
- Lid-mounted thermometer
- Side tables with tool hooks
- Natural gas & propane versions available
- Expensive and bulky
Let’s talk numbers and specifics. Straight off the bat, the main cooking area offers 513 square inches, which should accommodate as many as 20 burgers. On top of that, the 156-square inch warming rack brings the final tally to 669 square inches altogether.
Weber spares no expense when it comes to craftsmanship, often going to great lengths to ensure nothing is substandard. The entire assembly is stainless steel from start to finish, including the burner tubes, cooking grates, and flavorizer bars.
For starters, the three primary burners should handle just about everything. Together, they add up to 39,000 BTU on the highest setting. The temperature dial for each burner runs on a double-A battery cell, making ignition and fine-tuning effortless.
Ease of Cleaning & Safety
A set of flavorizer bars helps keep the burner tubes clean and well-ventilated by evaporating droplets of fat and juice. When the orifices are clear of obstructions, the burner tubes can operate at their optimal levels without producing flare-ups.
Even with the flavorizer bars, though, this unit will need a thorough tune-up whenever cleaning o’clock strikes. To keep the grill in pristine condition, you still need to disassemble and service the parts every two or three months.
Save for major refurbishments or renovations, this natural gas-fueled grill isn’t going to travel far from the gas supply. You won’t get to move this grill around as often or as freely as you would with other grills. Nevertheless, the four lockable easy-swivel casters do offer a bit of maneuverability.
You can find all sorts of additional features, the most obvious of which is the standard lid-mounted thermometer. In addition, two side tables come equipped with tool hooks to keep things within an arm’s reach.
To further sweeten the deal, the grill is conditionally covered under warranty for up to 10 years.
As mentioned above, there is a propane-fueled version. It’s basically the same as this model save for some minor tweaks here and there to accommodate the propane tank. And for good measure, we recommend grabbing an iGrill 3 smart thermometer to monitor thick items.
As one of the top gas grills, the all-powerful Weber Genesis II S-310 is a worthwhile investment in the long run. This well-rounded grill is built to last and should be worth any committed pitmaster’s consideration.
2. Royal Gourmet CC1830S — Best Charcoal Grill
The simple but effective Royal Gourmet CC1830S makes our pick for best charcoal grill. It can handle just about everything thrown its way, and even has an offset smoker to complement the whole assembly.
- Offset smoker included
- Side table with tool hooks
- Lid-mounted thermometer and smoke stack
- Height-adjustable charcoal pan
- Cart with wheels & rack
- Lacks mobility
The primary grilling area covers 438 square inches while an additional swing-away rack offers another 179 square inches of warming space. Plus, the offset smoker adds 183 square inches on its own, bringing the final tally to 800 square inches altogether.
The body and frame should hold up well against daily wear-and-tear thanks to its weatherproof paint. But eventually its effectiveness will wane as the protective coating flakes off after years of exposure to the elements.
Meanwhile, the porcelain-enameled steel grates and chrome-plated warming rack transfer heat fairly well. Even though they aren’t quite at the same level as stainless steel ones, this is as good as it gets.
The pan at the bottom can hold as much as six pounds of burning fuels. While most coal beds are fixed, this height-adjustable coal pan lets you raise or lower the flames at will. Even though there are only two levels, at least you can sear steaks on high without stacking the briquettes together.
Once the fire gets going, the smokestack and side draft door regulate airflow within the grill and smoker box. That way, oxygen can circulate throughout the entire assembly at the rate you desire, allowing you to control the heat level. That said, Royal Gourmet strongly discourages exceeding 400°F to prolong the grill’s life span.
Meanwhile, the offset smoker box specializes in slow roasting thick-skinned items to perfection at low temperatures. Although it’s time-consuming, experienced grillers are more than happy to use this appliance to diversify their cooking options.
When ash and burnt bits gather at the grill’s bottom, the side door makes it easy to collect the residue for disposal. When everything’s cool enough to approach, use a rake to sift through the cinder and soot for unused coal chunks. Any unburnt coal can be used the next time you barbecue.
Portability & Safety
The 55-pound grill isn’t exactly heavy, but its bulky frame takes up lots of storage space. Although the cart does provide some maneuverability, the whole assembly tends to lean forward or even tip over while moving. And to make matters worse, there’s no wheel lock to stop the grill from rolling off.
You can spot all sorts of additional features, including the side table with tool hooks and the lid-mounted thermometer.
The versatile Royal Gourmet CC1830S is among our picks for the top charcoal grills. This inexpensive grill-smoker combo should be an ideal fit for new grillers to practice fundamental barbecuing techniques.
3. Camp Chef SmokePro DLX — Best Pellet Grill
The pellet-fueled Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is a hybrid design inheriting all the best qualities of a grill and smoker. With an impressive temperature range, this appliance can do it all from slow-roasting briskets to searing steaks over high heat.
- Decent cooking area & hopper
- Diverse heating range
- Dual temperature probes
- Smart-control thermostat
- Grease bucket & smokestack
- Side table included
Right out of the gate, the primary cooking grate provides a generous area of 429 square inches. And with another 141 square inches from the secondary rack, the final tally reaches 570 square inches altogether.
To put things in perspective, you can fit three chickens, four rib racks, or 20 burgers in one go. On top of that, the hopper can hold as many as 18 pounds of pellets, which should last for hours. That way, you don’t have to stop and restock the fuel too often.
One would reasonably expect stainless steel components at this price, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. Nevertheless, the powder-coated steel body and frame should hold up against daily wear-and-tear. Meanwhile, the porcelain-coated steel grate should transfer and retain heat reasonably well.
Similar to a thermostat, the PID controller system regulates the temperature to within about a ±5°F margin of error. Once you’ve set the desired temperature between 160°F and 500°F, the grill will monitor and adjust its burn rate. That way, you can take a quick break or tend to other dishes.
An auger conveyor extracts the pellets from the hopper and feeds them to the heat box. As the pellets burn, a built-in fan helps circulate the heat inside the cooking chamber.
There are two separate temperature probes with different purposes: one for the interior ambient temperature and the other for food. The readings let you monitor things without opening the lid too often, thus preserving the food’s tenderness.
Besides heating, you can also experiment with different pellet flavors, the most popular of which are pecan, hickory, and maple. But before adding a new batch, remember to collect the old pellets through the clean-out door.
Ease of Cleaning & Safety
Upon wrapping things up, the shutdown sequence slowly dials the temperature down until the whole thing is switched off. Even then, the remaining heat takes some time to cool off completely, so be careful not to injure yourself.
To prevent flare-ups, a slanted drip tray helps guide grease out of the grill and into the bucket perching outside. And to reduce cleaning effort, you can cover the grease tray and bucket with a sheet of disposable aluminum foil.
Though the entire 140-pound assembly does come with a pair of all-terrain wheels, maneuverability is somewhat limited.
While there’s room for improvement in certain aspects, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX nevertheless ranks among the top-performing pellet grills. It’s a versatile grill-smoker hybrid that any aspiring grillers will love.
4. Weber Spirit II E-310 — Best Propane Grill
Weber is a trusted name thanks to their well-made products, and the Weber Spirit II E-310 matches this reputation. This versatile propane-fueled grill should make an appropriate cooking option for a family with five or six people.
- Decent-sized cooking area
- Space-saving design
- Decent heating
- Lid-mounted thermometer
- Side tables with tool hooks
- Swivelable casters
- Expensive for its specifications
The cooking grate provides 424 square inches while the warming rack adds another 105 square inches above. Per Weber’s estimate, the 529-square inch area should accommodate as many as 15 burgers with plenty of room to spare.
Similar to other top-tier Weber grills, all components are under warranty for up to ten years. For many grillers, this generous after-sale support is rather a pleasant surprise.
Three burners handle all cooking tasks, supplying a combined output of 30,000 BTU. Each burner has its own ignition and fine-tuning mechanism that runs on one double-A battery cell.
Ease of Cleaning & Safety
A set of heat tents keeps the flames under control and defends them against aggressive flare-ups by evaporating grease droplets.
Many grillers often attempt to convert a propane grill to a natural gas grill or vice versa. To set the record straight, this unit runs exclusively on 20-pound propane tanks. So you’re best off sticking to the default configuration rather than messing around.
Portability & Extra Features
The entire thing rests on a set of all-terrain wheels. Other extras include two fold-down side tables with tool hooks, a propane tank compartment, and a lid-mounted thermometer. But the compartment won’t have much room left for anything else once the propane tank is in place.
The Weber Spirit II E-310 is a strong candidate among the top propane grills. While there certainly are less expensive models available, you can rest assured this grill will be money well spent.
5. PowerXL Smokeless — Best Indoor Grill
The compact PowerXL Smokeless is a hassle-free cooking option for apartment- and studio-dwellers who have little time for cooking. This mini indoor grill can whip up a good meal in minutes without any complicated prep.
- Smoke-dispersing fan
- LED Touch control
- Interchangeable cooking surfaces
- Dishwasher-safe parts
- Short warranty
Measuring 13.5 inches long by 8 inches wide, the cooking surface offers nearly 110 square inches. Admittedly there isn’t much to work with, the cooking area should accommodate four steaks with room to spare for veggies. If anything, this grill is most appropriate for skewers and wings.
Given the price, don’t get your hopes up too much because quality can only go so far. The entire assembly includes a heavy-duty die-cast aluminum base, tempered glass lid, and scratch-proof cooking surfaces using nonstick ceramic coating. Both the grate and griddle are PTFE- and PFOA-free.
While both cooking surfaces should hold up well for some years, they’re nowhere near stainless steel grates in terms of durability. But at the very least, you won’t need to apply cooking oil or butter when preheating these parts.
The embedded 1500-watt heating element covers a wide temperature range from 220°F to 450°F, which is controllable via the touch-control panel. Upon plugging, the temperature spreads evenly across the entire cooking area, including the edges, without any irregular cold spots.
Ease of Cleaning & Safety
To keep smoke in check, a water-filled catch tray cools sizzling droplets of juices and grease. But it’s the smoke-dispersing fan built into the base that seals the deal. In addition, the tempered glass lid prevents grease splashes, putting the finishing touch on the overall smokeless cooking experience.
Since there’s no combustible fuel involved, it’s obvious that the grill doesn’t flare up. However, you may encounter a small amount of smoke when cooking certain types of meat like pork and beef. For any lingering smoke and odors after cooking, you may want to use a ceiling fan or range hood.
Cleaning-wise, the cooking surfaces, grease tray, and lid are dishwasher-safe. However, the same doesn’t apply to the base and power cord.
The PowerXL Smokeless stays true to its name and ranks among the top indoor grills worth considering. Apart from the short 60-day limited warranty, this mini grill is a worthwhile purchase that simplifies things for everyone.
6. Weber Original Kettle 741001 — Best BBQ Grill
Even with the emergence of gas grills, many avid grillers remain loyal to charcoal grills like the Weber Original Kettle. It’s the original barbecue grill design and has remained popular for decades even without any major changes or modifications.
- Good heat retention
- Compact & portable design
- Decent cooking area
- Poorly designed ash catcher
- Impractical extra features
The cooking area measures 22 inches in diameter, translating to 363 square inches. According to Weber, the grate can accommodate as many as 13 burgers, enough for a family and some visitors.
Considering the price, it should come as no surprise that stainless steel was replaced with other materials. The bowl and lid are porcelain-enameled steel with a rust-proof finish while the cooking grate is plated steel. As far as heating is concerned, the grill manages to retain it well enough to get a pass from us.
A lid-mounted air vent regulates the temperature by allowing or restricting airflow within the coal bed. Though it’s not as fast or accurate as a temperature knob, you’ll get used to it with enough practice. And when you’re about to wrap things up, close it entirely to starve the coals.
On three pounds of briquettes, the grill manages to reach an intense 520°F for searing steaks. Or you can slow-roast a whole chicken at 330°F, which is the sweet spot between smoking and medium-heat cooking. That way, things will come out tender and flavorful without being bone-dry.
Ease of Cleaning & Safety
The One-Touch cleaning system is a polarizing feature: you’ll either like it or hate it. There’s no middle ground.
On the one hand, it manages to collect the ash and soot at the grill’s bottom in one swift motion. That way, all the gunk falls in the ash pan perched below the coal bed for mess-free disposal.
But on the other hand, the ash pan has no lid. One gust of wind can scatter the fine soot all over the place. To make things worse, if the ash hasn’t cooled off yet, it can pose serious fire-safety hazards.
All in all, this well-intentioned feature is poorly designed.
While the all-terrain wheels can traverse different surfaces, they aren’t designed to lock in a stationary position. If you don’t want the grill to roll off, park it somewhere flat and even, preferably without pebbles or rocks.
The additional features on this grill feel decorative rather than practical. These include the heat shield on the lid handle, the bottom rack, and the lid hook.
The classic Weber Original Kettle 741001 is one of the world’s all-time favorite BBQ grills. To an extent, it’s the most stereotypical barbecue grill you’re likely to see, and for good reason.
7. Kamado Joe Classic II 18-Inch — Best Kamado Grill
Veterans pitmasters with years of barbecue experience have nothing but praise for the all-encompassing Kamado Joe Classic II. This outstanding kamado grill is a major upgrade over the typical charcoal grills you’ve been using over the years.
- Excellent heat retention
- Double-decked cooking grate
- Crack-proof assembly
- Helpful air vents with guidance
- Multiple extra features
- Expensive and bulky
- Takes time to control
The default cooking surface measures 18 inches in diameter, which is equivalent to 256 square inches of cooking area. However, you can take it up a notch by purchasing a grill expander and two sets of grates. Per Kamado Joe, the cooking area can reach up to 660 square inches at its optimal configuration.
Even after the fire’s out, the glazed ceramic body and dome retain heat within the grill for an extended period. The rest of the assembly is stainless steel, including the double-decked cooking grate and lid latch.
To support the ceramic lid, the hinge incorporates the Air Lift mechanism. This spring-loaded counterbalance takes all the work out of opening the heavy lid. Even if you let go, the lid stays open instead of collapsing and slamming into the base.
Meanwhile, the firebox includes six sections of pure ceramic that form a ring at the grill’s bottom. They’re separated so you can take them out piece by piece for cleaning or servicing. And rather than purchasing the whole thing anew, you can replace any broken ones with ease.
To prevent the heat from escaping, the wire mesh fiberglass gaskets around the rim create an air-tight environment from within. They align perfectly and seal off the gap where the dome-shaped lid and body meet. And for good measure, a lid lock will secure the dome and the body in place.
Using a pair of air vents, this kamado grill can regulate its temperature from 225°F to 750°F. While the heat doesn’t change right away, the guidance markings at least put you in the right ballpark. Plus, the top vent also prevents rain from entering and compromising the grill.
Plus, the height-adjustable grate lets you diversify your cooking options, from slow-roasting pork shoulders to baking pizza on high heat. Granted, a lot of patience and effort is involved, but you’ll get the hang of it with enough practice.
Ease of Cleaning
With a sliding ash drawer at the bottom, you can sift through the residue and clean the coal bed easily. However, the same convenience doesn’t apply to ceramic parts.
Due to its porous structure, ceramic is prone to absorbing and trapping all sorts of liquids if fully submerged. Under the influence of heat and pressure during cooking, that moisture expands, chipping or fracturing the ceramic parts. Thus, water and dish soap is off-limits for these parts.
It takes a while for the temperature to adjust, and sometimes it happens too subtly for untrained eyes. New grillers often try to speed things up by overcompensating, which is a rookie mistake that leads to troubles ahead.
When opening the gasket-sealed lid suddenly, the fire can get out of control due to a sudden influx of oxygen. Without proper burping techniques, it can result in violent flare-ups, a common issue with kamado grills. Before opening the lid entirely, slowly let the grill breathe a few times in short intervals.
Portability & Extra Features
While the 188-pound assembly seems bulky, the cart with swivelable casters makes it easy to move sideways or turn corners. Plus, each wheel has its own lock to secure the entire thing in place. Other extras include two fold-down side tables with tool hooks and a lid-mounted thermometer.
The Kamado Joe Classic II has what it takes to be one of the top kamado grills. It demands a steep learning curve to master, but you’ll find the effort worthwhile once you do.
8. Weber Q2400 — Best Electric Grill
Even though the Weber Q2400 may lack high-temperature prowess, there’s plenty of other conveniences to make up for its shortcomings. This hassle-free electric grill should provide a decent meal for busy people with no time for cooking.
- Compact tabletop design
- Fast preheating
- Easy to assemble
- Bottom grease tray included
- Outdoor use only
- No dishwasher-safe parts
Size & Portability.
While the 280-square-inch cooking surface may seem humble at first, you can still diversity the menu with some creativity. Even without any additional warming rack, the grate itself can accommodate up to 12 burgers, according to Weber.
The grill’s small size allows you to carry the entire assembly around with ease or set it on any table. For good measure, though, an additional cart can provide a more secure barbecue station and offer extra maneuverability.
Since electric grills aren’t built to last the same way fueled grills are, they’re almost never found in stainless steel. Plus, designers try to shed as much weight as possible. That explains the cast aluminum body and lid with a glass-reinforced nylon frame.
Meanwhile, the porcelain-enameled cooking grate transfers and retains heat fairly well, though it doesn’t compare with stainless steel’s performance.
When plugged in, the 1560-watt heating element preheats the entire grate thoroughly in minutes and requires no oil or butter. The temperature is consistent across the cooking surface including the edges.
While the temperature dial allows five different levels, the grill’s maximum setting is 550°F. But unless you’re searing steaks, you’re unlikely to need more heat than that, so don’t worry.
Ease of Cleaning & Safety
The unit includes a grease-capturing tray, but it doesn’t protect the heating element from food drippings, rendering the whole assembly pointless. Plus, none of the components are dishwasher-compatible, much to everyone’s disappointment.
While flare-ups aren’t no longer a concern, certain foods like pork and chicken skin can still give off smoke. Thus, this model is purely designed for outdoor use.
The Weber Q2400 doesn’t gather rave reviews and positive feedback as much as its Weber brothers. Nonetheless, it remains one of the top electric grills with reliable heating. It fills the niche of a simple cooktop that won’t break the bank or overcomplicate your life.
9. Weber Jumbo Joe — Best Portable Grill
Frequent campers will love the rugged Weber Jumbo Joe, which is meant for tailgate parties and road trips. This compact grill should fit within your vehicle just fine without gobbling too much of the already limited space.
- Lightweight & portable build
- Double air vents
- Ash-draining system
- Handle with lid lock
- Poorly designed assembly
Size & Portability
With your car trunk filling up with stuff before the trip, every square inch becomes increasingly valuable. Luckily, this grill doesn’t require much storage room. The whole assembly comes in at 19.7 inches tall by 19.7 inches wide by 20.5 inches deep.
At the same time, the cooking grate measures 18 inches in diameter, translating to 240 square inches of surface. While it’s not much, it’s enough to serve four or five adults.
Like other Weber charcoal-fed grills, the entire assembly features no stainless steel components, which we think is understandable. At this price, the plated steel cooking grate and heavy-gauge steel coal grate are the best you can realistically hope for.
Meanwhile, the porcelain-enameled steel body and lid with weatherproof finish manage to resist rust and extreme heat reasonably well. These materials don’t match stainless steel in terms of durability, but we aren’t complaining.
The grill’s overall design makes it difficult to access the coal bed and stoke the fire. The cooking grate must be lifted out to add or remove coal, meaning you have to stop cooking for a bit.
On the plus side, since it’s got two dampers, this unit has better air circulation than other Weber charcoal grills.
Ease of Cleaning & Safety
Dubbed the “One-Touch cleaning system,” the grill’s base sports an aluminum pan that collects residues from the coal bed. But like the Weber Kettle model, this well-intentioned feature is flawed. Ash and cinder can scatter in the wind, posing fire-safety hazards if still hot.
But on a positive note, the glass-reinforced nylon lid handle is very well insulated, with a heat shield for good measure.
It makes sense to leave out non-essential features and make this grill as compact and portable as possible. As long as we can get sizzling-hot meals on the road out of it, that’s fine by us.
The Weber Jumbo Joe is among the top portable grills when you’re cooking in the open. Whether it’s a concert or a fireworks display, this grill will complement all your favorite outdoor events.
10. Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 — Best Outdoor Grill
If you have a backyard or garden, the Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 makes a great outdoor cooking option. Most people should find this grill easy to use, including new grillers without much prior barbecuing experience.
- Ample cooking area
- Multiple burners
- Side table with tool hooks
- Thermometer and double smokestacks
- Time-consuming assembly
- Lacks mobility
The main cooking grate measures 438 square inches while the warming rack offers another 192 square inches. That’s 630 square inches altogether, which should handle just about anything from sirloin to ribs to chicken. Meanwhile, the side burner can cover a saucepan or anything of the sort.
But if you need a bigger grill, the Char-Griller Outlaw should probably pique your interest. It’s more appropriate for huge gatherings with over ten people.
Other than the burners, there’s hardly any stainless steel components. The body and lid are heavy-duty tubular steel with a powder-coated finish as weatherproofing. Meanwhile, the porcelain-coated cast iron grates manage to keep food from going cold, which is good enough for us.
Unfortunately, the grill doesn’t come in one piece straight from the package. Instead, there are several small pieces that need to be put together in the correct order. Even with the manual, assembling can take well over an hour.
The triple primary burners combine for a total of 40,800 BTU when dialed to the highest setting. Also part of the appeal is the additional open-air side burner that yields an impressive 12,000-BTU output. Meanwhile, the two smokestacks help vent the grill when smoking briskets.
Ease of Cleaning & Safety
Each burner is protected using a heat tent, similar to those of other gas grills. Thanks to these shields, the burners can stay clog-free and minimize flare-ups, producing healthy flames instead of flickering.
Even though the all-terrain wheels don’t swivel or go sideways, the 92-pound assembly should be easy to maneuver around. Meanwhile, the bottom cart provides storage room for the propane tank.
Other parts of the package include two side tables with a series of tool hooks and a lid-mounted thermometer. They’re sure to come in handy.
The reliable Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001 is a solid choice among the top outdoor grills. Whether it’s summertime or winter, there’s hardly a bad time to barbecue when you’ve got something as capable as this triple-burner gas grill.
Top-rated Grills Comparison Table
|Model||Fuel type||Cooking space (sq in)||Extra Features||Warranty|
|Weber Summit S-470||Natural Gas||669||10 years|
|Royal Gourmet CC1830S||Charcoal||800||1 year|
|Camp Chef SmokePro DLX||Pellet||570||3 years|
|Weber Spirit II E-310||Propane||529||10 years|
|PowerXL Smokeless||Electricity||110||----||60 days limited|
|Weber Original Kettle 741001||Charcoal||363||Limited warranty|
|Kamado Joe Classic II||Charcoal||256||Limited lifetime|
|Weber Q2400||Electricity||280||---||Limited warranty|
|Weber Jumbo Joe||Charcoal||240||Limited warranty|
|Char-Griller Grillin’ Pro E3001||Propane||630||5 years limited|
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.
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