Best Outdoor Grills to Buy
When buying a new outdoor grill, the two biggest players are gas and charcoal, but electric and wood pellet grills are also fair game. Here are the basics on each:
Gas: Your most common type. Gas grills are great because they offer excellent control over cooking temp (the ability to adjust the burner knobs makes it less likely that you’ll end up with burnt brisket!), plus they ignite with the push of a button, heat up quickly, and are easy to clean. It’s the go-to option for no-fuss grillers who plan to barbecue frequently. Just keep in mind that you’ll need fuel from a propane tank or natural gas line on your property.
Charcoal: This style requires briquettes or lump charcoal to ignite. Charcoal is more hands-on and takes time to heat up and cool down but imparts a better, more barbecue-y flavor than gas because it gets hotter. For grilling purists willing to work for it.
Electric: You can’t beat a plug-in appliance for ease-of-use or convenience — just don’t expect steaks or burgers “browned” on an indoor grill to taste like the ones you’ll get from a real BBQ.
Pellet: This lesser-known type uses hardwood pellets made out of wood scraps to heat. Pellets provide a delicious, authentic hardwood flavor to food but are costly and may be hard to track down.
When selecting the style that suits you, consider the frequency you’ll be grilling, the amount of space you have for storage, how much the flavor matters to you, and the amount of time and attention you’ll need to spend.
Our Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliance Lab looked at more than a dozen grills to find you the best models with even heating, excellent searing skills, and minimal flare-ups and smoking. Then we considered helpful extras like side tables, tool storage, concealed gas tanks, wheels for portability, and more. These picks are worthy of your backyard.
When it comes to cooking, this 3-burner stainless steel grill is just about perfect. It heated evenly and turned out steaks with gorgeous grill marks that were beautifully rare and juicy in our testing; chicken came off the grates golden brown, moist, and tender. And all this with very few flare-ups! It comes with porcelain-enameled cast-iron grates, a side burner, a stainless side table, and a gauge to give you an idea of how much gas is in the tank. The Weber Spirit can grill up 25 four-inch burgers at once.
With its gleaming stainless steel, the NexGrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner is an A+ choice for the price tag. It delivers perfect grill marks, a side burner, and space for 28 (!) burgers. On the side, there’s a burner for heating beans or sauce. And best of all: We saw no smoking or flareups when cooking.
When you’re hitting the campground for the weekend, this compact mini folds up for easy trekking, but can handle 16 big burgers and has two side tables. You can use either a full-size or one-pound tank and turn on the burners is as easy as lighting a gas range.
It’s pricey, but with virtually no smoking or flare-ups, the Kenmore Elite 600 Series 4-Burner Gas Grill served up a perfectly cooked New York strip steak. We found that firing up the grill was just as easy as turning on the kitchen stove. If you often cook for crowds, the Kenmore Elite offers enough room for 32 four-ounce hamburgers.