The 10 Best Grills to Up Your Backyard Barbecue Game
With the arrival of warmer weather, it's a perfect time to pick up some steaks (or whatever food you prefer) and host a backyard barbecue. But if you haven't cooked outdoors in some time or have been relying on older equipment for the many years, it might be time to purchase a new grill.
Because there are so many grills on the market, it can be difficult to decide which is the best grill for your backyard. To help, we researched the best grills out there, keeping in mind the type, size, cook surface size, heating power, and any bonus features. We also consulted Paul Kindem, owner of Original Grills.
Here are the best grills.
- Best Charcoal: Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
- Best Gas: Weber Genesis E-335 Gas Grill
- Best Charcoal/Gas Combo: Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill
- Best Pellet: Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill
- Best Smoker: Traeger Grills Ironwood 650 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
- Best Electric: Weber Q2400 Electric Grill
- Best Portable: Weber Q1200 Portable Gas Grill
- Best Fire Pit: Bali Outdoors Wood-Burning Fire Pit with Cooking Grill
- Best Tabletop: Giantex Propane Tabletop Gas Grill
- Best Smart: Z Grills Multitasker 11002B Pellet Grill and Smoker with WiFi
What We Recommend
Best Charcoal: Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
Best Gas: Weber Genesis E-335 LP Outdoor Gas Grill
Best Charcoal/Gas Combo: Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill
Best Pellet: Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill
Best Smoker: Traeger Grills Ironwood 650 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Best Electric: Weber Q2400 Electric Grill
Best Portable: Weber Q1200 Portable Gas Grill
Best Fire Pit: Bali Outdoors Wood-Burning Fire Pit with Cooking Grill
Best Tabletop: Giantex Propane Tabletop Gas Grill
Best Smart: Z Grills Multitasker 11002B Pellet Grill and Smoker with WiFi
The Bottom Line
The best grill for your home is a personal choice, depending on what you plan to use it for, your space, and what type of fuel you prefer to use. Traditionally, grills tend to be either charcoal or gas options. Our choice for the best charcoal grill is the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, and our pick for the best gas grill is the Weber Genesis E-335 Gas Grill. If you can't choose between charcoal and gas, however, we recommend the Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill, a dual option that allows you to give both a try.
What to Know About Grills Before Shopping
The most common types of grills are gas, charcoal, and pellet, each of which offers its own benefits. Gas options, which are fairly popular, both light and heat up quickly using a direct flame. A charcoal grill will add a strong, smoky flavor to your food, and it's more compact for storing than other grill types. A pellet grill is both a grill and a smoker in one and is great for barbecuing meats that have a long cook time, such as brisket and ribs, because the grill needs little monitoring. However, a pellet grill does produce ash that you'll have to clean up afterwards.
The best grill size depends on your outdoor space and how much meat you want to cook at once. Small to midsize grills usually range from 28 to 32 inches wide, while larger models can be 36 to 42 inches wide. While you're shopping, it's worth noting where you plan to place it and whether a tabletop or portable option would work better for your layout than a bulkier, full-size grill.
Cook Surface Size
Whether you plan to entertain often or just want to cook up a few things, you'll also want to note the cook surface size of each grill. The larger the surface, the greater number of temperature zones and the more food you can cook in one go, meaning more flexibility while cooking. Some grills also have multiple rack levels for more surface area.
"This allows you to move the food around depending on the types of food you are cooking and have everything done at the same time," Kindem says.
A grill's heating power is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Unit), and the larger the grill the more BTUs that are required to reach a designated temperature. Lower-level grills may have around 10,000 to 12,000 BTUs per burner, while premium and luxury grills can go as high as 20,000 to 25,000 BTUs per burner.
Some grills may come with additional accessories and features, like grill covers, folding side tables, and a thermometer. Though you can certainly purchase more accessories separately, it's worth noting if the grill includes it to save you the cost.
There are also some safety features, like lids that lock and handles that won't overheat. Though it's always important to take precautions, these are especially worth keeping in mind if you have small children that might be near the grill while you use it.
Your Questions, Answered
Is a high-end grill worth it?
According to Kindem, a high-end grill is a worthy investment for frequent grillers. For starters, higher-end grills tend to come with above-average warranties, meaning it's easy to get replacement parts or repairs done when needed.
"The more money someone spends on a grill, the higher the quality of the grill, the better it performs, and the less maintenance it needs over the life of the grill."
That said, if you're new to grilling and are unsure about what type of grill you prefer, consider starting with a smaller grill or even a tabletop or portable model. You can always invest in a full-size grill once you're confident in the method of grilling you want to pursue.
What kind of grill should a beginner buy?
If you're purchasing your first grill, you'll want one that's easy to use and without a ton of bells and whistles. Kindem recommends gas grills due to their "quick learning curve" and easily-adjusted temperatures. Newcomers should also look for grills made from stainless steel, he adds, due to the parts' longevity and durability.
How much should I spend on a grill?
The price of the grill depends on the style, fuel type, and any additional features or accessories it might have. For gas grills, expect to spend at least $1,000, says Kindem. However, charcoal grills can go for closer to the $200–$600 range and pellet grills around $900.
How long do grills last?
Although less-expensive models may only last a few years due to their thinner steel and fast-rusting exteriors, higher-range grills made from more premium stainless steel should ideally last anywhere between 10 to 16 years, says Kindem. Maintaining your grill is key to increasing its longevity, so don't forget to keep your grates "clean and free of debris" whenever possible, he adds.
Who We Are
Rachel Simon is a writer for Better Homes & Gardens with many years of experience covering home products. To make this list, she researched a variety of grills and considered each pick's fuel type, heating power, size, and cook surface size. She also consulted Paul Kindem, owner and head of marketing and service at Original Grills.