If you’re in the market for a new grill, you’ll find no shortage of choice. From compact charcoal grills to large outdoor gas cooking stations, there’s a model for every need and budget.
With all of the selection, choosing your next grill can be overwhelming. We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular grill styles today so that you can make the right choice for your unique needs.
Electric Grills – Convenience and Simplicity
While many ‘purists’ shy away from electric grills, they actually offer several advantages over their gas and charcoal counterparts.
The key benefit of choosing an electric grill is simplicity. You can plug into any mains outlet, an RV power source, or even a generator. The grill heats up in minutes and you’ll be ready to start cooking.
There’s no fuel tank and no charcoal to worry about. Cleanup is easy with most electric grills having a flat top that can be easily wiped down with paper towels.
You won’t find an electric grill as big as the best charcoal or gas grills, so you will lose out in cooking capacity. If you typically cook for yourself or a family of up to four people, this won’t be a problem.
Some electric grills are designed with standard cooking grates so you still enjoy the smoky flavor that comes from food drippings that vaporize on the heating element. However, these larger electric grills come with a price premium.
- The Weber Q1400 Electric Grill is an innovative model that has a direct heating element below the cooking grates to offer results similar to a gas or charcoal grill. What it lacks in size it makes up for with flavor and convenience.
- The George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill is a good option for traditional ingredients like steaks, chicken wings, burgers, veggies, and hot dogs.
If you want to cook outdoors at an apartment, condo, or smaller home, an electric grill could be ideal. Electric grills can even be used in semi-enclosed spaces if you have enough ventilation.
Charcoal Grills – A Backyard Classic
Charcoal grills became popular in the 1960s, and they’re still used throughout America and around the world. Charcoal is an efficient cooking fuel that is affordable and easy to store.
It can reach searing hot temperatures beyond that of the average gas grill. With the use of vents to control airflow, it’s possible to get charcoal down to lower temperatures for smoking and slow cooking.
If you choose charcoal, you’ll spend less on a capable grill. There are fewer parts needed on a charcoal grill so prices are much lower than gas or electric equivalents. The downside is that charcoal can take some getting used to.
You’ll need to learn how to control heat, and you’ll have to top up the grill over longer cooking sessions.
While not quite as simple as gas or electric grilling, many enthusiasts love the smokey flavor and classic experience that charcoal offers.
Charcoal also requires cleanup with leftover coal and ash needing to be disposed of carefully. Unlike a gas or electric grill that you can just turn off, you will need to cool the coals in a charcoal grill before safely storing it.
Even with a loss of convenience, charcoal grills are still incredibly popular.
- The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill is a great option for home cooking, and it’s surprisingly affordable considering the quality.
- If you want something smaller for portable use, especially for camping, consider a model like the Cuisinart CCG 190RB Portable Charcoal Grill.
Charcoal grilling is all about flavor and the experience. You can get a premium grill for a reasonable price, making this a good option if you want to experience classic backyard cooking.
Gas Grills – Ideal for Home Cooks
When comparing all of the different grill types available today. There’s no question that gas grills offer the most versatility.
Gas is readily available, with bottled propane being inexpensive throughout the United States. Fuel is easy to store.
Lighting and maintaining heat on a gas grill is incredibly easy. Even when using a gas grill for the first time, it’s simple to transition from the kitchen to your patio or backyard.
In most cases, you’ll be able to turn a gas grill on, bring it up to temperature, and have it ready to cook within ten minutes. Only an electric grill can come close to the simple and intuitive operation of a gas grill.
Gas grills are suitable for all cooking styles, ranging from low and slow barbecue, right up to searing high heat for steaks, burgers, and dogs.
Even the most affordable gas grills offer impressive features, including hoods for top-down cooking and built-in thermometers to closely monitor cooking temperatures.
If you want to start cooking your favorite ingredients outdoors but don’t want to deal with the mess and learning curve of charcoal, a gas grill will be ideal.
- The Weber Spirit E-310 is a great example of a versatile gas grill at a competitive price point. It features a large hood, integrated thermometer, and three gas burners for direct and indirect heat.
- If you’re looking for a portable gas grill for camping, picnics, and tailgating, consider the Coleman Roadtrip 225 Stand-Up Propane Grill. This offers impressive performance for any occasion.
Gas grills are the most popular option on the market today. For convenience and cooking performance, you can’t go wrong.
Choosing the Best Grill For You
Ultimately, the best grill for you depends on your needs. Compare the options above and choose the one that best suits your scenario.
Gas is a great all-rounder, while charcoal is ideal for enthusiasts chasing the ultimate smoky flavor. For convenience above all else, electric is a good option.
Whichever you choose, you can look forward to years of incredible outdoor meals cooked to perfection.