There’s no one grill for all grilles. Looking for ease of use and precise temperature controls? Going propane or natural gas is a good option. Like fall-apart ribs but don’t like tending to a fire? Pellet grills offer the most hands-off smoking experience money can buy. Or maybe you’re a purist who stands behind the hallowed charcoal grill and its occasional clumsiness, because you know no grills are more versatile, and none get hotter. Still, it could be that you’ve never grilled in your life and all you’ve got is your tiny apartment’s balcony to work with. In any case, we’ve tested, rated and recommended more than 40 grills of every type and at every price point. Grilling season has arrived.
The Best Charcoal Grills
Beyond BTUs, max temperatures and fuel cost, the fundamental difference between charcoal grills and its competitors is convenience. Charcoal grills are inconvenient in every way that a gas, pellet or electric grill is not. This is the fundamental appeal. In the same way many driving enthusiast prefer manuals to automatics, there is carnal satisfaction in direct control, higher failure rates and sky-high potential. Yes, charcoal grills can do things the others can’t, but it’s the no handlebars process that makes great. From the most iconic backyard toy of the 20th century to something called a Yoder Smoker, these are the best you can buy right now.
The Best Gas Grills
Convenience, ease of use and superior temperature regulation are why you buy gas over charcoal or pellet. And though grilling enthusiasts often see this as a strike against America’s favorite grill type, gas grills are not just burger, hot dogs and half-seared steaks. Not the good ones, at least. The grills on this list reach near-charcoal temperatures, offer plenty of versatility with low-and-slow cooking and prioritize endurance over shiny stainless steel for the sake of it. From a $199 grill that outcooks $1,000 grills to one of the best-designed products, let alone grills, money can buy, these are the 11 best gas grills money can buy.
The Best Pellet Grills
Pellet grills are no longer just for nerds. Invented in the ’80s by the folks who would eventually found Traeger, which remains one of the most popular brands in the category, they work by pushing tiny pieces of compressed would from a hopper and into a firebox under a tray, which is fixed under the grates. Most have onboard computers and fans that regulate temperature, even feeding cooking and temperature data to smartphone apps. It is the only category in grilling to wholeheartedly embrace such technology into even its entry-level products, technology that has made the category as a whole the easiest, most relaxed path to properly smoked meat there is.
The Best Small Grills
This guide is for all the wayward souls who reject the constraints their little homes place on them. The cook determined to apply the hallowed black crisscrosses of outdoor cooking’s best appliance, despite butting heads with questions of federal, state and municipal law. The grillmaster operating in a grill-unfriendly space. There are products for you. Admittedly, the category of small-space grills is rich in quantity but rife with mediocrity. But cheap materials and lazy design are never acceptable, and these grills prove you don’t need a bunch of space to own a grill that gives a damn.