With so many models and brands available today, buying a new grill can be both exciting and confusing. As you explore your options there’s likely one question that leaves you stumped: how do I choose a grill size?
Learn why grill size matters, and how to get the right grill for your needs.
The Importance of Grill Size
There are important benefits offered by choosing a grill that is perfectly sized.
- More grilling area means more ingredients cooking at the same time.
- A larger grill will allow for indirect cooking where the heat is kept to one side of the grill.
- Some larger cuts of meat and whole birds like chicken and duck need large grills with plenty of hood clearance.
- A larger gas grill with three or more burners can allow you to create individual heat zones for unique ingredients.
Size creates versatility, which is the most important factor to consider overall.
How to Choose a Grill Size when Cooking for One or Two People
If you typically only cook for one or two people, then a small grill will suit your needs perfectly. Small grills also work better for apartments, condos, and homes where there isn’t a lot of outdoor space to cook in.
For one or two people, aim for at least 200 square inches of cooking area. This will offer plenty of space for a couple of steaks, hot dogs, a few burgers, or smaller cuts of chicken and red meat.
- This Coleman RoadTrip Grill is ideal for cooking for two, and it can also be used for camping, tailgating, and other outdoor activities. It could also be used to serve larger groups although cooking sessions will be extended to get all of the ingredients done. It offers 225 square inches of total cooking area.
Keep in mind that the smallest grills typically lack hood clearance, which can limit your top-down cooking options. While ideal for burgers, hot dogs, steaks, fish, vegetables, chicken pieces, and other similar ingredients, thick cuts will be more difficult to work with on a small grill.
You could always step up to the next category if you want to cook larger ingredients at low temperatures with the lid down.
How to Choose a Grill Size when Cooking for a Whole Family
When cooking for a family of four or more, you’ll need more grilling area, so look in a range of 400 to 500 square inches. If you’re considering a natural gas or propane grill, having three burners is the sweet spot. With three burners you’ll enjoy the flexibility to create more heat, or cook with indirect heat with just one or two burners turned on.
- The Weber E-310 is one of the most popular grills on the market. It offers 529 square inches of total cooking area and is made from durable coated and stainless steel. It has a large hood that will accommodate most ingredients, and the three-burner design offers the perfect amount of versatility for most people.
- You could go slightly smaller in this category when choosing a charcoal grill. Without the need to use more space for large burners, you can work with a grill that is just under 400 square inches. The Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill has a 22-inch surface for 363 square inches of total cooking area. It’s a popular charcoal option that is ideal for families and group gatherings.
How to Choose a Grill Size when Cooking for Large Groups
If you frequently cook for more than five people, if you love to work with large ingredients like whole turkey, game cuts, and thick BBQ cuts, then you’ll want a grill with more than 600 square inches of total cooking area. A large grill will do everything that a smaller grill can, while adding much more versatility for different cooking styles.
- The Weber Genesis II S-435 has four main burners with a side burner and searing station burner to make it one of the best options for grilling enthusiasts. It features 844 square inches of total cooking area, making it perfect for anything from family meals to large gatherings.
Choose the Right Grill Size for Your Needs
Remember the basics when asking: how do I choose a grill size?
- For two to four people, aim for at least 200 square inches.
- For family cooking and entertaining, choose between 400 and 500 square inches.
- For the largest ingredients and large groups, start with at least 600 square inches.
With the right-sized grill, you’ll enjoy cooking with all the versatility you need.