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In the words of Alton Brown, “I grill, therefore I am.” A grill is right up there with summertime essentials like bathing suits, sunscreen, and lazy al fresco summer dinners—and just like all three, choosing one is a very personal experience. To help you sort through the noise, we’ve done the hard research for you, selecting fantastic options for a wide range of grill needs to bring even your wildest grilling ideas to life.
One thing they all have in common? They guarantee a job well-done—or medium-rare, if that’s more your thing. (However you grill your steak, just remember to follow these tips!) From gas and electric to charcoal and pellet, read on for our top recommendations.
Our Top Picks
- Best Outdoor Grill: Weber Genesis II E-335 3-Burner Propane Grill
- Best Budget Outdoor Grill: Dyna-Glo 5-Burner LP Gas Grill with SearPLUS Burner and Side Burner
- Best Splurge Outdoor Grill: Weber Genesis II EX-335 3-Burner Propane Gas Smart Grill
- Best Charcoal Grill: PK Grills Original PKTX Grill and Smoker
- Best Electric Grill: Weber Pulse 2000 Electric Grill
- Best Pellet Grill: Camp Chef SG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker
- Best Kamado Grill: Kamado Joe Classic II Charcoal Grill
- Best Standing Portable Grill: Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill
- Best Tabletop Portable Grill: Oklahoma Joe's Rambler Portable Charcoal Grill
How We Picked These Products
Considering our friends at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Kitchen Appliances Lab have already evaluated plenty of the best outdoor grills, we naturally turned to their Kitchen Tech Experts to see which grills were really grate (see what we did there) for Delish readers. Their team of on-staff experts—which includes all types: engineers! data analysts! registered dietitians!—rigorously put everyday products to the test (and then more and more tests) in their New York City-based labs to determine which ones you can trust.
As part of the in-depth testing process, GHI's lab panel evaluated a variety of models in terms of all the aspects that factor into a successful backyard BBQ, including ease of use, performance, accessibility, flare-up prevention, heat distribution and retention, portability, and smoke production. They even evaluated which options had handy accessories and attachments—like concealed gas tanks, side tables, and storage capabilities—and gauged just how convenient these bonus features actually were.
No matter your grilling needs, there's a just-right grill for you. Here are the best outdoor grills you can buy in 2022. Need more grilling advice? Try these must-have grilling accessories.
What is the best month to buy a grill?
Great question! Unsurprisingly, grill prices generally go down in the fall… which is, inconveniently, after the season you’ll typically use it the most. That said, you’re likely to see great deals after the unofficial barbecuing event of the year, the Fourth of July. You'll start seeing more price drops post-Independence Day, with the best of the bunch hitting in September—which is plenty of time to fully recover from a self-induced summertime hot dog coma.
How long does a grill last?
Did you know the average American replaces their grill every three years? Considering some grills can cost as much as $5,000, that’s a lot of money spent over the course of one lifetime. While your first instinct may be to just find the longest-lasting grill and stick with it, we have good news: Regular maintenance, timely repairs, and proper cleaning and care can extend the lifespan of your grill, keeping it in peak operating condition for years to come.
Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your grill (and steer clear of grill-related accidents):
- Be sure to place your grill on a hard surface at least 10 feet away from your house to avoid potential accidents.
- Keeping an extra full propane tank on hand can be helpful, since it's difficult to tell when the tank is running low, but make sure to store it upright and outdoors, away from any heat sources. Furthermore, when stocking up, it’s best to avoid transporting propane in the trunk of your car.
- If your gas grill doesn’t light right away, close the propane tank valve and turn off all the burners. Then wait five minutes before reopening the propane tank valve and try lighting the burners again. And don’t forget to close your propane tank’s valve when you’re done grilling too!
- Having a tough time lighting your charcoal briquettes? Consider using a metal chimney starter.
- Grills should never be left unattended while cooking, especially if children or pets are nearby.
- For thicker foods such as chicken, use indirect heat by turning off the middle burner and turning the burners on each side down. Meanwhile, the best way to cook rare, medium rare, or medium steaks is using high heat with the lid open.
- To avoid undercooked foods, always use a thermometer to gauge the internal temperature.
- For beautiful, pronounced grill marks, only turn your food once when it's halfway done cooking.
- Ensure all of the charcoal briquettes have fully burned out before dumping your grill.
- It’s best to use a stiff metal brush when cleaning your grill, but if you don’t have one on hand, some crumpled up aluminum foil will do the trick.
- Protect your grill from the elements by covering it when it’s not being used.
How do I choose an outdoor grill?
There are so many outdoor grills on the market it can be tough to start the search, so consider factors like how much space you have available, the quantity of food you'll be cooking and your flavor preferences, the amount of time and attention you want to spend while grilling, and what type of grill is better for your lifestyle. When buying a new outdoor grill, the two most common types are gas and charcoal, but electric, kamado and pellet grills are also solid options. Here’s a breakdown on the different kinds of grills and what each one has to offer:
Gas grills allow for optimal temperature control by turning the adjustable burner knobs, like you’d experience with an indoor gas range. However, you'll need a propane tank or natural gas line on your property to use one, and it’s good to keep in mind that the larger the grill, the more gas it’ll use. Most gas grills have large, easy-to-grip lid handles and are ignited by pressing a button to create an electric spark. Though their user-friendly design allows these models to heat quickly, they don’t always distribute heat evenly, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your food and turn it frequently.
That being said, the Good Housekeeping Institute noted that “the power of a gas burner or burners did not result in better or worse performance at any cooking task” during testing. Gas grills are also a breeze to clean—just give the grates a good brushing immediately after cooking and empty the drip tray once it’s fully cooled. Overall, this is a great option for grillers who plan to barbecue often and don’t want to mess around with stacking charcoal or waiting for a pellet grill to heat up.
Charcoal grills require a bit more time and hands-on effort to use, but for some, the resulting smoky flavor is well-worth it. These models ignite using charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal and involve a longer process for heating up and cooling down the surface, but lack many of the features of a gas grill (like temperature-controlling burner knobs). The increased heat levels result in a much better taste, but this is generally a better option for more experienced, passionate grillers. If you’re struggling to decide between the convenience of a gas grill and the flavor imparted by a charcoal grill, consider an option that offers the best of both worlds, like a charcoal grill with propane-gas assisted lighting.
Kamado grills are similar to charcoal grills in that both require charcoal briquettes to heat and impart plenty of classic barbecue flavor. They’re also fuel efficient and offer excellent heat retention and moisture resistance. However, these versatile models have thicker walls which are usually ceramic, which allows them to reach very hot temperatures that are great for other tasks, like cooking pizza, but this design can also make them quite fragile. Still, if you like smoking your meats low and slow, this is a nice choice.
Pellet grills use electricity and pellets made out of wood scraps, which add a unique, hardwood flavor to your food. Though these models are growing in popularity, they’re very pricey—especially considering charcoal grills also offer rich (although different) flavor at a lower price point.
Electric grills are one of the easiest to use models on the market—just plug it in and start grilling! These are great for options for smaller spaces or if you live in a community that doesn’t permit grills. That being said, don’t expect to get the same authentic barbecue taste or color that you’d get from other grill types.
Kaitlin Mahar is a California-based freelance writer covering the shopping and lifestyle beats. When she's not sharing her passion for the Oxford comma with anyone who will listen, she is a proud cat parent, avid yogi, tea enthusiast, and co-host and co-producer of the podcast "Crime Culture".
Alexis Morillo is the Associate Editor at Delish.com where she covers breaking food news and viral food trends.
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