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Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for Gest grill brushes

There’s nothing quite like the robust, smoky flavor of food that’s been prepared on a grill. Barbecued hamburgers, hot dogs, and even veggies taste great when grilled to perfection, and they go hand in hand with summertime get-togethers. But in order to achieve the best results, you must start with a clean grill. Grill brushes are handy cleaning tools especially designed to remove burned-on food residue from grill surfaces, so your food turns out looking and tasting great.

Residue that collects on grill grates can interfere with flavor, grill performance, and even safety. The abrasive materials on the brush are made to whisk away stubborn gunk. Some brushes also have scrapers for chiseling away old food that is especially difficult to remove.

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It’s a good idea to buy a new grill brush before the start of each grilling season. That way you can clean your grill and have it ready to go before your first barbecue.

Key considerations

Why remove burned-on food from the grill?

Besides making your grill grate look old and unsightly, leaving remnants of old meals on the grill can pose other risks. From the unpleasant to the unsafe, here are some possible hazards a grill brush can help you avoid:

Inferior flavor: Burned-on food particles and grease can mix with fresh food items and make them taste stale, overcooked, burned, or “off.”

Unpleasant odors: Although it’s already been burned, gunk that’s stuck to the grates will continue to burn and smolder when you fire up the grill again, possibly overpowering the enticing aroma that grilling produces.

Harmful bacteria: Left uncleaned and stuck to the grill surface, some old food residue may harbor bacteria that could potentially lead to foodborne illnesses.

Diminished grill performance: Built-up grease and food left on grill grates can inhibit heat from reaching fresh food, making it difficult to determine accurate cooking times.

Longevity concerns: Over time, food from past barbecues has the potential to corrode the finish on the grill surface.

Grill brush features

Grill brushes have a fairly straightforward design but understanding the various features will guide you in finding the brush that matches your grill-cleaning needs.

Handle: One of the most notable features of a grill brush is the handle. Most models have a metal handle that ranges in length from about 10 to 18 inches and features a contoured shape that benefits leverage. Some brush handles are coated in plastic or another material which makes them more comfortable to use. The exception to the standard design are grill brushes that have a rounded handle on top of the brush head, but these aren’t suitable for use on very hot grills because of the risk of burns.

Head: The head of the grill brush is usually made of metal, and there are various shapes and sizes to fit different grill sizes and grate patterns. Some heads have heavy-gauge metal wiring that holds the brush head, and others are flat structures, much like a hairbrush.

Brush head: Abrasive materials on the brush head are what make cleaning the grill grate possible.

Traditional grill brushes have metal wire bristles, but they're prone to falling out of the brush over time. This can be incredibly dangerous because the wires can end up in food.  Although metal wire bristles are the most common variety of brush heads available, we recommend avoiding them. If you do use a brush with wire bristles, check the brush for loose wires before you scrub and the grill surface for shed wires before you cook.

More modern designs offer safer abrasive materials:

  • Metal loops - While softer than traditional bristles, they're much safer. Stainless steel and brass are the most common metals used. Stainless steel is by far the more durable, but brass is gentler on grill surfaces that are likely to be scratched by harsh scrubbing.
  • Notched wood - These look like a scraper, but they have notches in the end that line up with the grates on a grill
  • Stone block - Long handles with clips to hold scrubbing stone blocks are a safe and effective way to clean a grill
  • Nylon Bristles - Only use a nylon brush on a cold grill. These bristles can also shed, but nylon is less dangerous than metal, and many come in bright, visible colors.

Scraper tools: Some grill brushes are two tools in one because they also have a built-in scraper. This feature is handy for grills that haven’t been cleaned in a while or have developed buildup that’s especially hard to remove.

Hole, hook, or loop: Most grill brushes have a hole, hook, or loop on the handle for hanging and storing the brush when not in use.

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Grill brush prices

Grill brushes are reasonably priced tools for keeping your grill looking and functioning at its best.

Inexpensive

On the low end of the price range, you can expect to spend about $8 to $14 on a basic brush.

Mid-range

If you want a brush that will last a bit longer and includes a scraper, you’ll spend around $15 to $20.

Expensive

The most durable grill brushes are likely to have a wider head, thick metal handle, scraper, and other user-friendly features. These cost approximately $21 to $35 and up.

Tips

  • Heat your grill before using a grill brush. The heat will make it easier to remove residue and debris.
  • Dip your grill brush in water before scrubbing a hot grill grate. This will produce steam and make cleaning the grill easier.
  • Avoid grill brushes with metal bristles. The bristles can fall out and end up on your grill and possibly in your food. Ingesting a metal bristle can be dangerous and harmful to your mouth, throat, and digestive tract.
  • Cover your grill. If you hang your grill brush from your grill and you keep the grill outdoors, use a grill cover to help prevent rust and corrosion from developing on the brush and grill.
  • Use the scraper first. Removing tough built-up food first makes using the brush a bit easier.
  • Use a grill cleaner, too. For extra-tough cleaning tasks, use a grill cleaner along with the grill brush.
  • Replace your grill brush every year. If your grill brush gets a lot of wear and tear, replace it with a new one each grilling season.
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Did you know?
The storage hook on many grill bushes comes in handy if you like to keep your utensils hanging on the grill for easy access.
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Scrubbing a grill
Whether made of stainless steel, brass, nylon, or stone, it’s the durability of the material on a grill brush head that makes this tool effective at cleaning the buildup on grill surfaces.

FAQ

Q. Are brass grill brushes just as effective as stainless steel?

A. Grill brushes made of brass are a bit softer than their stainless-steel counterparts. That’s why they’re best suited for grills surfaces that are more prone to scratches and damage, such as coated grates. If you own a standard grill with grates made of stainless steel, iron, or other uncoated metal, a grill brush with stainless steel or stone is your best bet.

Q. How should I clean my grill brush?

A. After you use your grill brush, it will most likely need a good cleaning to remove grease and food particles. Fill a pan with warm water and dish detergent and soak the brush for at least 30 minutes. Depending on the type of brush head, you might need to use a dish-cleaning brush or even another grill brush to flake away difficult debris. Once clean, rinse the brush in cool water and set it aside to air-dry.

Q. What if my grill brush corrodes or rusts?

A. With proper care, including cleaning it and allowing it to dry before storing, a grill brush should last for repeated uses. However, there is a chance that the brass wire could corrode, or the stainless steel develops rust over time. When this happens, it’s time to throw away the old brush and get a new one.

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