EletiofeBest Grills (2024): Charcoal, Gas, Pellet, Hybrid, and Grilling...

Best Grills (2024): Charcoal, Gas, Pellet, Hybrid, and Grilling Accessories

-

- Advertisment -

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

Featured in this article

Best Charcoal Grill

Weber Original Kettle Charcoal

Read more

Best Gas Grill

Weber Spirit II E-210 Gas Grill

Read more

Best of Both Worlds

Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Hybrid Grill

Read more

Best Pellet Grill/Smoker

Traeger Ironwood 650

Read more

Snow is Melting, birds are migrating, and pitmasters are dusting off their smokers—just kidding, pitmasters never let dust get on a smoker. But grilling season is on the horizon. It’s time to think about getting out the grill, and maybe even replacing it. It’s a little overwhelming though. Which is the right grill for you?

We’ve been testing grills for years—searing, smoking, grilling, and even baking on them in all kinds of weather—to find the best choice for everyone. Below, you’ll find our top picks for each category (charcoal, gas, pellet, hybrid, and other types) as well as a few alternatives, plus general buying tips if none of these capture your fancy.

For all your outdoor needs, be sure to check out our other buying guides, like the Best Portable Grills, Best Grilling Accessories, Best Camping Gear, Best Tents, and Best Binoculars.

Updated March 2024: We’ve added some updated testing notes for various grills, a new section on high-quality charcoal, and updated links and prices throughout.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

  • Photograph: Weber

    Best Charcoal Grill

    Weber Original Kettle Charcoal

    The Weber kettle is ubiquitous at neighborhood cookouts for good reason. It’s reasonably priced, well made, and just works. It can be used to sear a steak to perfection, smoke a brisket overnight, and handle several families’ worth of burgers and hot dogs in the afternoon.

    There are two versions of the Weber Kettle: Original and Premium. The Premium is $80 more and features a built-in thermometer in the lid, a hinged cooking grate, and a fancier ash-removal system. They’re the same size, with the same cooking space. Unless you really like the easier ash-removal system though, I’d suggest sticking with the Original Kettle and putting the money you save toward a good thermometer system like the Weber Connect Smart Hub. Sizes range from 18 to 26 inches. Weber sent me the 26-incher to test, and it is colossal. I have grilled for 10 people on it and had plenty of room to spare. But if you’re cooking for a family of five or fewer, the 18-inch model is perfect. Whichever size you decide on if you’re storing it outdoors with no roof, grab a cover to protect your investment.

    ★ Alternative: The PK 300 ($500) is a fantastic grill. It’s made of cast aluminum, so it’s a little heavier than the Weber, but it can also be used for ovenlike cooking, much like a Big Green Egg (see below). The main reason Weber wins here, for me, is price. You don’t need to spend this much just to get your grill on. If you do want something sturdier and capable of oven-style cooking though, the PK 300 is a great grill.

  • Photograph: Weber

    Best Gas Grill

    Weber Spirit II E-210 Gas Grill

    This is by far the hardest reviewing decision I’ve had to make. The truth is, there are about five grills I could put here (including the Weber Genesis), but in the end I went with the Weber Spirit II E-210 for its simplicity, build quality, even cooking temps, and easy-to-adjust burners. It features nice side trays with plenty of space for platters, and hooks to keep tongs and other tools handy. It lacks some niceties, like a side burner, but it does what a good grill should: Cook your food well. The porcelain-coated cast-iron grill grates are solid, and clean-up is easy with a little soap and water. My favorite feature is the massive turn radius of the burner knobs, which makes it easy to dial in the perfect flame.

    ★ A Bigger Option: If you’re cooking for a crowd and want something larger, I recommend Charbroil’s massive 6-Burner Performance Series ($499). It’s a great grill for crowds. It also has a 10,000-Btu side burner to heat up your beans while the hot dogs are cooking.

  • Photograph: Charbroil

    Best of Both Worlds

    Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Hybrid Grill

    The charcoal versus gas grill debate will never be settled to either side’s satisfaction. (Those of us in the charcoal camp have to live with being right in silence.) But what if you could avoid the debate altogether by having both in the same grill? This is where the head-exploding emoji goes. Charbroil’s hybrid grill can switch between gas and charcoal modes. There’s also a side burner for heating up your mac and cheese or other sides, making it more of an outdoor kitchen than some of the other options here. Under the hood, this hybrid looks like every gas grill you’ve seen: Bars cover gas pipes to distribute flames, with a cast iron grate on top of that. The results from the gas grilling are as good as any I’ve tried.

    Here’s where your head explodes, though: If you remove the bars and add a tray to cover the gas burners, you’ve got a charcoal grill. There’s only room for a single layer of charcoal, which isn’t going to work for smoking, but for flavorful sears it’s perfect. To get it going, all you have to do is light the gas burners and close the lid, and your charcoal will be ready in about 15 minutes. It really is the best of both worlds.

  • Photograph: Traeger

    Best Pellet Grill/Smoker

    Traeger Ironwood 650

    If you want to become the neighborhood pitmaster without leaving the couch, Traeger’s Wi-Fi-powered Ironwood electric pellet smoker (7/10, WIRED Review) is the way to go. Like a Weber grill, it’s made of heavy, solid metal. The excellent app makes it easy to control your cooks from the comfort of, well, anywhere. You can keep tabs on the cooking progress of your meat through your phone, but the grill itself controls the temperature, the amount of smoke, and all the other details. The in-app recipes are pretty good too, and clean-up isn’t too hard thanks to the accessible grease trap.

    The downside is the price. Oh, and the fact that Traeger recommends using only its own pellets. I’ve also heard stories of premature rusting in some cases, though that has not happened with my review unit.

  • Photograph: Traeger

    Best Luxury Grill/Smoker

    Traeger Timberline (2022)

    If you’re serious about grilling and smoking, Traeger’s Timberline (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is the perfect all-in-one outdoor kitchen. It uses the same wireless smoking smarts as the Ironwood above but adds some extras, like an induction burner (perfect for adding a last-minute sear with a cast-iron pan or steaming some veggies). The insulated smoke box has room for six pork shoulders, or about the equivalent racks of ribs or chickens. WIRED associate editor Parker Hall managed to feed hundreds of people using it. If that’s not enough, there’s also an XL version that’s even bigger.

    “All of my meats heated evenly and were perfectly cooked right when the smoker said they would be,” Hall says. If you want flawless smoking from the comfort of your couch and price is not a factor, the Timberline delivers.

  • Photograph: Masterbuilt

    All-in-One Outdoor Grilling

    Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800

    Charcoal flavor, with the temperature precision of gas/electricity, is the BBQ community’s Holy Grail, and the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 delivers. It’s a highly versatile grill with a capacious cooking area, so you can feed the entire crew this summer. It removes the guesswork from slow smokes and lets you perfect seared burgers and dogs, weekend pancakes, and bacon and eggs on the flat-top griddle.

    The large, top-loading charcoal hopper uses gravity (hence the name) to feed heat into an internal housing, and an integrated fan enables precise digital temperature control—on the device or via the app. You’ll reach the hottest necessary temp of 700 degrees within 15 minutes. It’s remarkably fast, and watching the grill heat rise from the app while enjoying air-conditioning indoors is a delight. Temperatures are remarkably consistent once stabilized, and if you want to add smoke flavor, just throw wood chunks into the ash bin and let falling charcoal embers do the rest. That’s a lovely and intelligent addition to a grill designed to simplify the smoking process. The hopper holds 10 hours’ worth of charcoal, which you can always top up from above.

    This versatility comes with caveats. You may miss the ability to sear directly over a flame, and you’ll need to change out the internal housing before switching to the flat top grill. It’s a more challenging assembly, and awkward maneuverability means the grill is best kept in the same place. —Chris Smith

  • Photograph: Kamado Joe

    Precise Charcoal Control

    Konnected Joe

    The Kamado Joe ceramic egg-style grill enters the digital age. The Konnected Joe Wi-Fi-enabled model includes an Automatic Fire Starter element for easy lighting and fan-based temperature controls via an integrated display panel and/or mobile app. It reaches target temps so speedily, it’s as if the charcoal were dipped in the fiery chasm of Mount Doom, while the grill maintains steady cooking temps remarkably well. In fact, it holds heat so well that cooling it off before bed was the greater challenge.

    Its ease of use might upset purists—it’ll even hold your hand through precise chimney vent positions—but the connected features greatly lower the barrier to entry for those hoping to attempt complex smoke cooks. Plus, the multilevel shelving—which includes a ceramic heat shield for indirect cooking—and useful range of accessories add immense versatility.

    Fans of the Weber Kettle above might find the 18-inch cooking surface limiting, but we found room for pineapple slabs—in lieu of cedar planks—to cook juicy marinated sockeye salmon, and added incredibly flavorful portobello mushrooms, halloumi, corn on the cob, and asparagus (the only way to make it taste good is to grill it until it droops). It all turned out wonderfully, imparting loads of smoky charcoal flavor, and half of a 16-pound bag burned for hours. Assembly was straightforward, although you will need a buddy to help you lift the ceramic shell into place. A mains connection is needed for the digital controls too. —Chris Smith

  • Photograph: Yoder

    Another Great Pellet Smoker

    Yoder YS 640S Pellet Grill

    Most grills do one thing well and several other things poorly or not at all. Yoder’s YS640S is a more versatile tool, thanks to a design that allows easy access to the autofeed firebox. Like Traegers that are half the price, this Kansas-made grill uses an electric fan and an auger to feed wood pellets in for a slow smoke session. It’s all driven by a control board that sends temp alerts and allows you to adjust the temperature via Wi-Fi.

    As a smoker, it easily handled ribs and a chuck roast, holding the temperature better than most, thanks to its bomb-proof 10-gauge steel construction, which means this grill weighs as much as a refrigerator. Where the Yoder really stands out, though, is as a grill and possible pizza oven. By removing a steel plate positioned over the fire pit, you can sear burgers directly over the flame or remove the grills and plop on a hefty pizza oven attachment ($500), which uses the pellet feed system to maintain a constant 900-plus degrees.

  • Photograph: Weber

    Two Great Portable Grills

    Weber Jumbo Joe and Q1000

    If you’re looking for the perfect tailgating grill, we have an entire guide devoted to portable grills, but it’s worth mentioning our absolute favorites here. For charcoal, I love the Weber Jumbo Joe. It’s the little sibling to our top pick, the Original Kettle. The Jumbo Joe is perfect for car camping or cookouts at the local park. Build yourself a stand back at the house and it can do double duty as your portable and home grill—it’s what I’ve been using both at home and on the road for four years. It’s picked up a little rust in that time because I leave it out uncovered, but it still performs like the day I bought it.

    If you want a portable gas grill, we recommend the Weber Q1200 or the Q 1000. I’ve come to prefer the slightly smaller Q 1000, which lacks a thermometer and side tables but is more compact and leaves more room in the trunk for your cooler, tent, and other camp cooking gear.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    Best Indoor Grill

    George Foreman Plate Grill

    Not everyone has a yard, and it’s increasingly common for apartments to ban open-flame grills on balconies. This is where electric grills come in. It’s grilling, sort of, but without the flames. I remain a fan of the George Foreman grill. Sure, you can say it’s just a hot plate with ridges, but if it’s all you can do, it’s better than nothing. Grill on with pride, my fellow George Foreman grillers.

    There are a lot of fancy George Foreman grills at this point, but I still prefer the simple four-serving one that served me well through years of apartment dwelling. There’s a drip pan to catch all the grease, and if you’re not in the grilling mood, it doubles as a panini press.

    ★ Luxury Upgrade: If you want something fancier, the Kenyon City Grill ($695) is as close to grilling as you can get without stepping outdoors. It cooks evenly and at consistent temperatures. (I was able to get up to 592 degrees, measured with a digital thermometer.) There’s very little smoke, though I suggest using it in a well-ventilated area if you’re indoors.

  • Photograph: Ooni

    Best Pizza Oven

    Ooni Karu 16

    Why limit your backyard cooking to a grill? Ooni’s Karu 16 pizza oven (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is our top pick from our Best Pizza Ovens guide. It’s designed to burn either charcoal or wood, though you can buy a separate gas attachment. Simply drop a lit fire starter and a few oak sticks on the fuel tray and it’ll get hot within 10 minutes. It’s light, portable, and easy to clean. You do have to constantly add fuel to maintain the temperature, but not any more than with other ovens that we’ve tried.

    Another pizza option is a kettle grill. I have used the Weber Pizza Stone ($60) with pretty good results. KettlePizza’s Pizza Oven Kit ($149) for the Weber Classic Kettle (or any other 22-inch kettle grill) is another option. I have not tested this one, but it gets good reviews around the web. The KettlePizza system solves the one big problem with Weber’s pizza stone–every time you open the lid, the heat goes away. The access door of the KettlePizza prevents this heat loss.

  • Photograph: Big Green Egg

    Other Grills We’ve Tested

    There are a lot of grills, and no one can try them all, but we’ve tested a few others that are worth mentioning.

    Big Green Egg: Big Green Egg is a well-known brand that’s representative of this style of ceramic cooker, which is modeled after Japanese kamado ovens. The porcelain-enameled design traps heat like an oven, making these hotter than your ordinary grill. They can be used to bake as well as grill, which opens up a whole other world of outdoor cooking. I love the Big Green Egg, but it isn’t cheap, and for most people, a traditional gas or charcoal grill is going to be a better choice. However, if you know you love to bake, steam, smoke, grill, and more, the Big Green Egg is worth considering. Given the weight, these are best purchased at your local Green Egg dealer.

    Nomad Portable Grill for $649: Nomad’s suitcase-style grill (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is one of our favorite portable grills. It’s well built, sturdy, and easy to carry. It is heavier than our top pick Jumbo Joe at 28 pounds, but the shape and large handle actually make it easier to carry in my experience. Like the Jumbo Joe, the Nomad uses a dual venting system to achieve good airflow even when the lid is closed. The vents, combined with the raised fins on the bottom of the grill (which elevate your charcoal, allowing air to flow under it), allow for every precise control of both high and low temperatures. If you have the money to spare, this is the best portable grill you can buy.

  • Photograph: Thermoworks

    Grilling Accessories

    Here are a few things that will make your grilling life easier. Our Best Grilling Accessories guide has more tools, tips, and tricks.

    • A good cover: Which one you need depends on your grill, but a cover is worth the investment. Even if your grill isn’t exposed directly to the rain, it’s still going to get wet from dew and will eventually rust. A good cover can keep the worst of the rust at bay and will offer you many additional years of use.
    • Instant-read thermometer: After the actual cooker, nothing will improve your grilling like an instant-read thermometer. Stick it in and know your food’s internal temp instantly. For newbies, this cheap thermometer ($17) will work. The gold standard is the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 ($100). It is not cheap, but its automatic backlight and rotating display are nice to have. The feature I’ve come to appreciate the most is that it automatically shuts off when not in use and turns back on the minute you extend the probe (it’s powered by one AAA battery).
    • A good cleaning tool: We don’t recommend using a grill brush. A stainless steel or brass wire brush can leave behind small bristles that get stuck in your grill and end up in your food. It happens more often than you think. Most grill makers don’t recommend these wire scrapers anyway. After trying dozens of alternatives, the one I reach for the most is GrillGrate’s Detailing Tool and Scraper ($16). This works fantastically on standard metal grills like the Weber Kettle. If you have cast-iron grates, I like Proud Grill’s Q Cleaner ($15), which combines a wire-free scrubber, stainless steel scraper, and disposable wipes to clean your grill without leaving your brush a mess.
    • A charcoal chimney: For charcoal grills, get a chimney starter—I like this Weber ($26), but anything similar will do. It’s faster and it saves your food from tasting like lighter fluid fumes. I have tested a charcoal chimney against our top-pick Weber gas grill and found that the gas was ready seven minutes faster, which is to say, not much.
    • Use high-quality charcoal: You don’t need artisanal briquettes handcrafted by elves, but don’t buy the super cheap stuff. In my testing it doesn’t burn as hot or last as long. Almost all the charcoal grill testing I’ve done has been using Kingsford briquettes.
    • Try lump charcoal: I’ve had good luck with Jealous Devil All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal. If you’re doing high heat cooking or want to have higher indirect heat, lump charcoal is a good choice. It burns much hotter, and also faster. I prefer lump for searing, but I don’t like it for smoking or slower cooking. If you’re worried about additives, lump usually doesn’t have any.
  • Photograph: SEAN GLADWELL/Getty Images

    What to Look for in a Grill

    Buying Advice

    Take a trip to your local big-box home improvement store and you’ll see dozens of grill models not mentioned here. Are they any good? Most of them are probably fine, but we suggest sticking with brands you recognize.

    The nice thing about shopping in person is you can get a better sense of the grill’s sturdiness. Give it a good shake, and make sure it seems well put together. If it’s a brand you haven’t heard of before, check the aisles nearby and see whether there are replacement parts available. This is especially important with gas, but it can be an issue with any type of grill. The burners on gas grills don’t last more than a few years, but they’re easy to replace—if you can get the parts.

    Other things to look for include a good temperature range (the dials turn smoothly and are big enough that you won’t be fiddling with them to find the midpoint between low and high). While it may be tempting to go for the biggest grill you can afford, that isn’t always the smart choice. There’s no need to heat 660 square inches of the grill to cook two burgers. All that does is waste propane. Finally, avoid anything that says infrared. My experience is that infrared doesn’t sear anything better than regular flames. All it does is add a useless feature that ups the price.

Latest news

The New Hot Handset Is a Cute and Transparent Dumb Phone You Can’t Buy

We're only spending more and more time staring at our smartphones, and over the past few years, tech companies...

Champions League: Paris Saint-Germain stuns short-handed Barcelona; Dortmund rallies past Madrid

Barcelona was in full control of its Champions League match with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.Then a first-half red card...

Gunmen Storm LG Secretariat In Ekiti, Days After Oyo Assembly Invasion

In the aftermath of armed Yoruba Nation agitators' incursion into the Oyo State Government secretariat, gunmen raided the Ilejemeje...

EFCC Arraigns Lawyer And Father-In-Law For Forgery

On Monday, April 15, 2024, the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought charges...
- Advertisement -

Change Healthcare’s New Ransomware Nightmare Goes From Bad to Worse

Change Healthcare is facing a new cybersecurity nightmare after a ransomware group began selling what it claims is Americans’...

60 Best Podcasts (2024): True Crime, Culture, Science, Fiction

Podcasts are to radio as streaming services are to television, and we are lucky enough to be living through...

Must read

The New Hot Handset Is a Cute and Transparent Dumb Phone You Can’t Buy

We're only spending more and more time staring at...

Champions League: Paris Saint-Germain stuns short-handed Barcelona; Dortmund rallies past Madrid

Barcelona was in full control of its Champions League...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you