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Flat top grill vs. pellet grill

Are flat top or pellet grills best? 

There isn’t anything like a home-cooked meal. With so many cooking appliance options, it can feel overwhelming to decide what will work best for your needs. Between air fryers and mixers, the marketplace is full of choices to make life in the kitchen much more efficient. 

Grills are a common appliance that many can’t go without. However, it can be difficult to keep up with the constant addition of newer models and designs. Flat top grills are a favorite for their overall convenience. Pellet grills are beginning to gain momentum for their ease of use. Determining which one is best for your needs depends on several factors. 

Flat top grills

Flat top grills are well-known for their versatility. Consumers love that anything from eggs to burgers can be placed on the grill and cooked to perfection. They also come in a variety of designs. Some require electricity, while others you can use above an open flame or stovetop. Flat top grills come in a range of prices, so you’re likely to find one in your budget. They’re also made from chrome, steel, cast iron and aluminum materials.

Flat top pros

Flat top grills are versatile. They can cook various breakfast foods, including bacon, pancakes and eggs. They can also cook meats, rice, vegetables and more. Flat top grills burn out the fat and excess oil from your food resulting in less grease and fat. Depending on the design, you can use them indoors, outdoors or both. They also come in a range of sizes. Whether you’re cooking for a group or just yourself, there is a size for your needs. Cleanup is easy with flat top grills because the grease can run down, or you can wipe it into the grease traps, which you can then pour out.

Flat top cons

Flat top grills don’t offer the smoky flavor of a traditional grill. They also can’t create the crisscrossed seared look that many love to see on their grilled food. Though flat top grills burn the fat and excess oil out of food, unless you’re constantly wiping off the excess grease, you’ll be cooking in it. Also, some outdoor flat top grills don’t come with a lid. 

Best flat tops

Royal Gourmet Grill

This 24-inch, three-burner grill is made with stainless steel and has 25,500 BTUs (British Thermal Units). The grill can be taken on camping trips and is perfect for tailgating. There’s also a removable grease cup for easy cleaning. 

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Blackstone 36” Cooking Station

This decked-out model comes with a cutting board, paper towel holder and trash bag hooks. With 720 square inches to cook on and four adjustable cook zones, there’s plenty of space to cook for a crowd. It also has a battery-powered push button to start the ignition. 

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NutriChef Cast Iron Reversible Grill Plate

The 18-inch flat top grill plate comes with a silicone oven mitt. The reversible plate allows users variety when making their favorite dishes. The cast-iron skillet is nonstick and heats up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit. The flat top is induction-ready and dishwasher-safe. 

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Pellet grills

Pellet grills are not as popular as other grills like gas, charcoal and flat top. Pellet grills are like outdoor convection ovens. You can use it to smoke, grill, roast, bake and braise. Pellet grills need electricity to work, and they use compressed hardwood (pellets) as fuel. The pellets are placed into the pellet hopper. The auger pushes the pellets from the hopper into the fire pit. The fan then dispenses the heat throughout the grill. Essentially, it does most of the work for you.   

Pellet grill pros

Pellet grills are extremely easy to use. All that is required are pellets to get things started. The temperature can be set and maintained without needing to tend to the fire. Their versatility is also a bonus. The pellets come in various flavors to add an aroma to your food. Pellet grills come with grease traps for easy cleanup. The grease traps also prevent flare-ups from occurring when cooking. Pellet grills can get very hot. Some can go above 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Select pellet grills come with Bluetooth capability to control the grill from their phone. For instance, users can even fire up the grill on their way home from work. 

Pellet grill cons

Pellet grills are quite expensive. Additionally, they need electricity to function. It’s important to note that not all pellet grills can sear food. Pellet grills are large and heavy, making them difficult to take with you on a camping trip. Compared to traditional grills, pellet grills offer a subtle smoky flavor instead of a rich smoky flavor. Cleaning a pellet grill is much like cleaning other grills with a grate, and it’s more of a tedious process than cleaning a flat top. 

Best pellet grills

Weber SmokeFire EX6

This large pellet grill sears and smokes. Temperature ranges from 200 to 600 degrees. The grill comes with an app for your smartphone to use as a remote control. The hopper can store up to 22 pounds of pellets to ensure several hours of burning time. 

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Traeger Grills Pro Series 575

This pellet grill is one of the more affordable models from the trusted brand. It’s a 6-in-1 grill with porcelain grates for easy cleaning. There’s a built-in meat probe to guarantee perfect results every time. The grill is large enough to cook 24 burgers, five rib racks and four chickens. 

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Pit Boss Sportsman 820

This pellet grill has eight-in-one cooking capabilities at an affordable price. It offers 849 square inch of cooking space and 21 pounds of hopper capacity. The cooking temperature ranges from 180 to 500 degrees. 

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Should you get a flat top or a pellet grill?

Choosing one over the other depends on what you hope to achieve and how much you can afford. Flat top grills come in an array of options for outdoor to indoor use with a wide price range. You can cook all sorts of food on them, they’re easy to clean and they’re portable. However, they don’t offer a smoky flavor like other grills and need to be watched to prevent overcooking or burning your food. Pellet grills, however, are a breeze to use and offer advanced technology that makes cooking efficient. But they are costly and cannot be easily taken with you on a trip.

Both are excellent choices. Factor in what is most important to you, and you’ll have a reliable grill for life. 

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Ashley Willis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 


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