There’s one thing I learned the hard way as a BBQ novice: it’s vital to work with the proper equipment. A shoddy grill—or the wrong one for you—can you put you off the whole hobby.
I want to save fellow enthusiasts the disappointment. With my typical thoroughness, I round up the best grills for your review. Not only that, but I’ll share buying tips I wish someone had told me when I started.
If you’re in a rush and want to know what the best grills are, here are my top picks
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
Weber Spirit II E-210 Propane Grill
X-Mini Kai X1
Z-Grills ZPG-7002E Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
Understanding the Different Types of Grills
If there was such a field as grill-ology, I would have a doctorate in it. You can categorize these gadgets in all sorts of ways, from size to shape or materials.
Since the great debate among grill aficionados is usually about fuel, I’ll classify the types of grill according to what powers them. These include:
- Wood pellets.
Humanity has been cooking with coal for centuries—there’s a reason it’s an old classic.
Aside from producing intensely high heat, charcoal lends a distinct flavor to whatever you’re cooking. You can achieve that mouth-watering crispy seared exterior and tender interior with your meat of choice.
You may also find a bag of charcoal less worrisome to handle than a gas tank.
The downside is that charcoal is messy, and getting the coal hot takes time. The only way you’ll know how hot it is in your best grill is with a thermometer.
- High heat.
- Trademark charred, smokey flavor.
- Easy to transport.
- A less-explosive alternative to gas.
- Messy to handle.
- Takes time to heat up.
- Fewer controls than gas and electric models.
If you’re looking for discretion, the best grill for you might be electric. These types are typically popular for indoor grilling, although you can use them outdoors too.
For one, they’re usually smaller. There’s also less of a fire risk than with gas, wood pellets, or charcoal.
As with most electric appliances, the controls are straightforward. Most models allow you to see and control the temperature with ease.
A downer is that cleaning can be a challenge, as you can’t submerge the whole thing in water. You may also miss out on that authentic grilling flavor gas, wood, or charcoal imparts.
- Simple to manage.
- Less of a fire risk.
- Might be less flavorsome.
- Tough to clean the whole grill.
Are you wary of losing flavor with an electric unit but don’t want to mess around with charcoal? The best grill for you could be gas.
Propane grills can attain high heats for you to char and sear to your heart’s content. They’re typically user-friendly with controls for temperature and push-button ignition.
If you have to leave an inexperienced guest behind the controls, there won’t be too much effort involved.
Of course, some of you may have a fear of working with propane—full disclosure, it is a fire hazard if mishandled. You might also have trouble moderating the heat if you need less intensity.
- High heats.
- Traditional BBQ flavor.
- Lots of variety available in terms of size, materials, etc.
- Highly flammable.
- Not great for low-heat grilling.
Wood pellet grills aren’t as well-known as the big three I covered above, but they’re worth considering.
Fueled by small pellets made of wood, these grills are a mix-and-match of traditional and modern features.
You can use them for smoking as well as grilling, and they typically include electronic control panels to moderate the temperature. They provide that delicious wood-smokey taste, which pellet enthusiasts will say can’t be beaten.
As they’re still gaining popularity slowly, they’re not as readily available as the other varieties. They often come at a higher price too—I can’t say they’re budget-friendly.
- Unique smokey flavor.
- Versatile uses.
- Convenient yet traditional.
- Less available than other types.
What Else to Look Out For While Grill Shopping
Once you’ve settled on what fuel you want your best grill to run off, it’s time to look at the other aspects.
This section isn’t only for grill newbies—if you’ve had the same old reliable model for years on end, a refresher course can’t hurt.
Keep in mind these aspects while investing in the best grill for you:
- Size: Are you always tailgating or picnicking, or do you prefer hosting BBQs at home, as I do? Make sure the model you pick will fit in the space you have for it.
- Weight: If you need to move your grill from the garage to the patio, or the truck to the beach, you need one that won’t cripple you to maneuver.
- Materials: Don’t cheap out when it comes to the build. Opt for high-quality, durable materials such as stainless steel and aluminum.
- Cooking space: You don’t want a line of hungry guests at the grill waiting for the next batch of burgers. Check how many square inches of cooking space you’ll get.
- Ease of use: If you’d like the grill to do most of the work for you, choose models with features like temperature control, quick-start ignitions, etc.
- Cost: Don’t forget your bank account while you’re browsing. The best grill for you shouldn’t hurt you financially.
- Assembly: Depending on your level of patience, you may want to opt for a grill that’s hassle-free to assemble.
- Warranty: Grills are an investment—I’ve told a white lie or two about the price of one model or another to the Mrs. A warranty is your safety net in the event something goes wrong.
The 5 Best Grills: My Ultimate Picks
I’ve done the research to round up the 5 best grills. I include one of each type to appeal to grillers of all tastes.
This Weber model makes my list as the best charcoal grill. The design minimizes the pesky side effects of cooking with coal—namely, soot and ash everywhere.
Adding more coals to the fire is straightforward thanks to the hinged cooking grate. You don’t need to remove the whole thing to add more fuel. It also has a patented One-Touch cleaning system in the form of a large ash catcher. Once you hang up your tongs for the day, you can remove it to dump debris.
You get 363 square inches of cooking space: that’s room for 13 burgers. While you’re grilling, you can moderate the temperature by adjusting the dampers.
- Substantial cooking space.
- Includes wheels for portability.
- Easy to clean and use.
- Quality build.
- Dimensions: 39.5 by 22.5 by 27 inches.
- Weight: 32.3 pounds.
- Fuel: Charcoal.
- Cooking space: 363 square inches.
- Warranty: 2 to 10 years, depending on the component.
- Some buyers report assembly is challenging.
Those of you hosting BBQ sessions with large guest lists might find this model to be the best gas grill for you.
It has two burners spread across 450 square inches, supplying 26,500 BTUs of heat per hour. The Infinity Ignition means you can get grilling instantly, and burner tubes work to ensure even cooking.
The Spirit II is equipped with two side tables, plus six hooks for tools. There’s a warming rack to keep your hot dog or burger buns toasty as you grill. A fuel gauge will let you know when you’re running low on propane—or natural gas.
Finally, a disposable drip-tray should make your least-favorite chore less tedious. Even the Mrs. will agree to toss out the grease tray after a particularly delicious BBQ.
- Convenient clean-up.
- Long warranty.
- Lots of cooking space.
- Dimensions: 57 by 48 by 26 inches (lid open).
- Weight: 103 pounds.
- Fuel: Propane or natural gas.
- Cooking space: 450 square inches total.
- Warranty: 10 years.
- Some users report parts failing over time.
If you’ve decided the best grill is electric, the George Foreman GGR50B could fit the bill. It suits both indoor and outdoor BBQs—as long as there’s an outlet nearby.
This model is compact enough to fit on apartment balconies or small patios. You can also disassemble the stand to use it as a portable tabletop grill in your kitchen. Since it runs off electricity, there’s no smoke or flare risk that could set off your fire alarms.
There are five heat settings available, which means you sear or slow-cook as needed. The domed lid ensures even cooking across 240 square inches of space.
- Dishwasher-safe drip tray.
- Converts into a tabletop grill.
- Dimensions: 22.2 by 20.5 by 13 inches.
- Weight: 21 pounds.
- Fuel: Electricity.
- Cooking space: 240 square inches.
- Warranty: One year.
- Shorter warranty.
Readers who plan to follow in my footsteps and devote yourself to serious grilling will appreciate this wood pellet BBQ. Despite the hefty price tag, this model has plenty of enticing features to take advantage of.
You can adapt this model for grilling, searing, baking, roasting, braising, smoking, barbecue, or char-grilling. It’s equipped with a rack for warming or smoking, and the hopper has a 20-pound capacity for big cuts of meat.
On that note, you can expect bang for your buck when it comes to fuel. Twenty pounds of pellets can last for 20 hours of cooking. The temperature settings range from 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Versatile uses.
- Excellent for serious grill-masters.
- Solid stainless steel construction.
- Dimensions: 48 by 22 by 51 inches.
- Weight: 132.2 pounds.
- Fuel: Wood pellets.
- Cooking space: 504 square inches.
- Warranty: Three-year limited warranty.
- High price tag.
- Some users report inaccurate temperature readings.
Ready, Set, Grill!
I might be the Grumpy Grill Guy, but it brings me joy to help other intrepid grillers establish their hobby. I hope you’ve found the best grill for you among my reviews.
Before you start shopping, I suggest taking it slow—first things first—my motto after a long career in the educational sector. Figure out the basics, like your preferred fuel source, and how you’ll be using your model before you head to the check-out.