Best Electric Grills

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

35 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
110 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best electric grills

Last Updated June 2019

Who doesn’t love the flavor of grilled meat, fish, and vegetables? And nobody needs to miss out because even if you live in an area that doesn’t allow cooking with an open flame, you can still use an electric grill. What’s more, when it’s cold and wet outside, many models are designed for delicious grilling inside!

The sheer variety of sizes and prices can make choosing the right model difficult, so the BestReviews team has been busy testing (and tasting).

In our electric grill buying guide below, we discuss the features you’ll want to consider and provide answers to your questions. We’ve also included a number of recommendations that show the many different styles available.

Electric grills are ideal for RVs and boats and, if you have a portable generator, camping trips, too.

Electric grills: pros and cons

For some people, there’s no substitute for a charcoal grill, and that’s fair enough, but for a lot of town and city dwellers, an electric grill is the only option. That shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Many electric grills are extremely good, and the best provide flavors that are virtually indistinguishable from charcoal-grilled food.

Pros:

  • Reliable power at the flip of a switch

  • No charcoal to buy

  • No potentially dangerous propane gas to store

  • No smoke; use one virtually anywhere (Many areas/buildings have restrictions on other types of grills.)

  • Indoor models, outdoor models, and both
     

Cons:

  • Some say electric grills don’t give food the flavor of real flame cooking (but neither does a propane grill).

  • Electric grills don’t get hot enough for thick cuts of meat (many don’t exceed 400°F).

  • Your community might not allow outdoor grills, even electric ones. Check before ordering.

Consistent quality from the market leaders

Weber’s reputation as one of the world’s best makers of barbecues and grills is well deserved. This model features a durable aluminum frame supporting porcelain-coated, cast iron cooking plates, recognized as both the most efficient way to transfer heat and the method that gives the best flavor when grilling. A cooking area of 280 square inches provides enough room to cook for family and friends, and you’ll have plenty of company when they find out you’ve bought one of these!

Key considerations

Size: This is an issue that can relate to both the number of people you want to feed and your living space. Two people with a small apartment might only want a tabletop grill, but don’t assume that just because a grill is advertised as “tabletop” that it’s small. Some can take up the whole table!

Other people want a grill that can be used indoors or out. There are numerous traditional-looking outdoor grills that offer the convenience and cleanliness of electric. There may not be a perfect all-round solution, but it’s important to think about how you’ll use an electric grill most of the time.

Cooking area: This is usually given in square inches, which can sound impressive but isn’t necessarily descriptive enough. When physical space is important – to fit on a balcony, for example – you need the actual dimensions of diameter or length by width.

Cooking surface: This varies from a basic steel sheet with holes punched in it to a chrome-plated steel rack to a cast iron plate coated with ceramic. The surface can make a big difference in how efficiently heat is transferred and how easy the grill is to clean. Nonstick coatings are both effective and affordable, though the majority of high-end grills have cast iron.

Heating element: This has changed little in decades. It’s basically a coiled wire in a steel tube that gets hot when an electric current is provided. Now you’ll also find grills with infrared elements. These claim to be more efficient at directing energy because they produce radiant heat, which only heats the grill and food, not the air around them. Infrared is growing in popularity, and several propane grills and barbecues use a variation on the same technology.

Temperature gauge: This is often found on grills with lids, though all this really tells you is when the grill is hot enough to cook on. Grills that have heat-control dials (thermostats) or those that don’t have temperature control might only have a light to indicate they’re ready. By the way, not being able to adjust the heat isn’t necessarily a problem. Charcoal grills don’t offer much controllability!

Power: This is given in watts (W), though the figure can be deceptive. Many electric grills are in the 1500- to 1800-watt range, but that doesn’t tell you the maximum temperature they can produce. If you want to sear steaks, you’re going to need around 450°F, and some electric grills struggle to get that hot. Your choice will depend on how and what you want to cook, so it’s a feature that needs to be checked carefully.

EXPERT TIP

One advantage of an outdoor electric grill is that you have power available to run a rotisserie, not a common feature, but it’s available on some models.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

An additional stand for a tabletop electric grill adds versatility, particularly if you’re using your grill outdoors. If you’re short of space, check how easy the grill is to store.


Staff  | BestReviews

Electric grill features

Removable stand: This allows you to use the grill in any number of locations – indoors or out. You’ll want one that can be attached and removed quickly or the task becomes frustrating. Some stands are telescopic and thus very compact when not in use. That’s important if space is limited.

Cool-touch handles: These are a nice feature. You don’t have to worry about wearing gloves or grabbing a cloth if you need to move your grill.

Removable drip tray: This makes cleanup easier.

Frame: Outdoor electric grills need a sturdy frame.

Wheels: Good wheels are a bonus.

Great capacity, remarkable value

This is an excellent grill by any standards. There’s lots of cooking space, plenty of power, and variable heat control. With its removable stand, it quickly converts from outdoor to indoor use. The clever sloping grill plates channel grease away from your food and have an easy-clean, nonstick surface. Then there’s the bargain price. For the money, nothing comes close.

Electric grill prices

Inexpensive

The cheapest electric grills we’ve seen cost around $40. These are basically little more than a heating element in a steel box (though you might find one with temperature control). These tend to be on the small side, and durability can be questionable.

Mid-range

Spend a little more, say $70 to $100, and you get an enormous range of both indoor and outdoor electric grills with a variety of features. Many of these are all the average family needs and offer superb value.

Expensive

Large outdoor electric grills, infrared models, and those from top brands can easily cost $200 to $300. The quality is usually excellent, and warranties usually reflect this. The most expensive electric grill we’ve seen is almost $1,000, but, good as it is, we’d struggle to justify paying that kind of money when so many good models are a quarter of that price.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

If you’re grilling outside, you may need an extension cable. For safety, make sure it’s plugged into an residual current device (RCD) or ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

Tips

  • Invest in a thermometer or temperature fork. Along with a set of grilling tools, you might need a thermometer or temperature fork to make sure meat is cooked properly.

  • Don’t use stiff brushes or metal scrapers on a nonstick grill surface. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning suggestions to avoid damaging the coating.

  • Wear gloves and an apron to protect yourself from grease and getting burned. Don’t assume that because it’s electric the grill doesn’t get as hot as a traditional charcoal grill.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for a cheap electric grill for occasional use alongside your normal oven and stove, it’s tough to beat the Tayama TG-868 Electric Grill. Basic but effective, with more features than you might expect for the money. You’ll get power and convenience from the Philips Smokeless Indoor BBQ Grill. It heats up quickly, and when you’re done, the rack can go straight in the dishwasher. The Kenyon B70082 Floridian Electric Grill is sleek, stylish, powerful, easy to clean, and approved for indoor and outdoor use. It’s more expensive than most but highly rated by owners.

Grilling outdoors is a social activity. When choosing a grill, consider one that’s big enough to cook for guests as well as the family.

FAQ

Q. How long does an electric grill take to heat up?

A. It varies from one model to the next. Grill size and the kind of heating element have an impact, but on average no more than 15 minutes.

Q. Can I put the grill plates or racks in the dishwasher?

A. Often you can, with indoor electric grills in particular. Outdoor models, not so much. However, it depends on the materials and/or nonstick coatings. The only safe answer is to check the manufacturer’s instructions. With those parts that can be put in the dishwasher, it’s a good idea to first rinse off the worst of the residue so it doesn’t clog your machine’s filters.

Q. Can I smoke food on an electric grill?

A. You can get smoker boxes for outdoor electric grills. Some people just put a piece of hickory or oak on the grill and close the lid to add flavor. Of course, you can’t do either of those things if you’re grilling indoors.

There are also electric smokers that have grilling options, but it’s important to note  that they use an electric element to heat wood chips or pellets. Again, they can’t be used indoors. If you’re looking for an electric smoker, they’re worth considering, but they differ from the indoor/outdoor portable grills we feature here.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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