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Buying guide for best napoleon grills

Who doesn’t enjoy a barbecue? Whether you’re enjoying a cozy meal on the patio with your partner or dining al fresco with a whole bunch of family and friends, there are few better ways to enjoy great food than cooking it outside on a grill.

Napoleon is well known for making some of the best grills on the market, and with its huge range — from lightweight portable grills to giant built-in models — choosing the right one for your lifestyle could take a while. The four important areas to look at when choosing a Napoleon grill include construction and fuel type, size and power, cooking options, and extras.

BestReviews has been looking at everything Napoleon has to offer and the features of each. Our top picks offer an excellent overview of what’s available, and the following buying guide covers all the details you need to know to make the right choice for your outdoor entertaining.

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If you’re buying a Napoleon propane grill, it’s a good idea to keep a spare bottle of gas handy. You can just bet the one on the grill will run out halfway through cooking!

Key considerations

Construction and fuel type

All Napoleon grills are built to an exceptional standard using stainless steel, cast iron, and porcelain coatings to provide the best in strength, durability, easy cleaning, and hygiene. They offer several charcoal grills, mostly the popular kettle type. The one exception is the Mirage, which brings traditional grilling right up to date.

Most of the company’s grills are either propane or natural gas. As a fuel, propane is more widely available and burns hotter. Natural gas is cheaper (and won’t run out halfway through cooking), but the grills are generally more expensive. You can’t use propane tanks on a natural gas grill (or vice versa) even if you have the appropriate fittings, so it’s important to make the decision at the outset. Gas models have electronic ignition for effortless lighting.

Size and power

As we’ve already noted, Napoleon offers lots of choices when it comes to grill size. The grills vary from the easily portable folding style to larger, multi-burner grills (with wheels so you can move them around) to a series of built-in models for permanent installation in your outdoor space.

In terms of cooking surfaces, they range from the Travel Q, at 225 square inches, all the way up to the largest Prestige PRO, which provides 1,430 square inches. Many models also have warming racks, side tables for additional food prep, and serving space, plus versatile storage cupboards and drawers underneath. There are numerous configurations, so it’s worth checking carefully before you decide.

Gas grill power is rated in British thermal units (Btu). Figures don’t compare directly to temperatures but rather to the area heated, and most people struggle to relate the figures to “real world” cooking. For comparison purposes, a typical single-burner portable grill runs at about 10,000 BTU. At the top of the range you have output of over 120,000 BTU. That’s enough heat for a half dozen burners and a rotisserie.

Cooking options

Charcoal will always be a favorite way to grill, but even with the clever designs of Napoleon models, it’s not easy to control. Gas gives you that controllability, and Napoleon grills offer several ways to cook with it.

  • Gas burners: These heat grill racks or sear plates directly for grilling in the traditional manner.

  • Infrared: Gas also heats ceramic elements which radiate heat, known as infrared grilling. The big advantage is that meat retains more of its juices. Infrared grills can generally reach higher temperatures than direct grills, so they can cook faster, too.

  • Rotisserie: Several Napoleon models have infrared rotisserie burners. The rotisserie kit itself may be included, but it might need to be purchased as an extra. These can sear all around a joint at high temperatures or slowly spit roast.

  • Side burners: Several Napoleon models have side burners in addition to the main grilling area, creating cooking flexibility. These work much like a gas stove, ideal for pans or a wok.

Extras and accessories

Not surprisingly, Napoleon offers a variety of high-quality extras and accessories.

  • Charcoal tray: If you want the convenience of gas but love charcoal, Napoleon offers a unique solution in the form of a charcoal tray for your gas grill. You can even use the gas burners to light the charcoal!

  • LED lights: These are fitted to some models to light both the controls and the cooking area.

  • Pizza stone: Napoleon offers a number of different pizza stones, so you can turn your grill into a pretty authentic pizza oven.

  • Rotisserie tumble basket: This enables you to cook perfect vegetables, wings, and fries.

  • Smoker tube: Several Napoleon grills have a built-in smoker tube. If your chosen model doesn’t, it’s available as an extra.

  • Shredding claws: We particularly like the shredding claws: they look rather like a pair of bear’s paws!

  • Stand: A folding stand is available for use with Napoleon portable grills that don’t have legs.

  • Thermometer: There are several very affordable thermometers available to help you make sure your meat is cooked to perfection.

Napoleon grill prices

Inexpensive: Given the quality and features, Napoleon’s portable and kettle grills are remarkably affordable. They start at $200, and there are more than a dozen models under $500.

Mid-range: The built-in grills and Lex and Prestige models offer all the cooking space most people need for between $800 and $2,000.

Expensive: The Prestige PRO models can handle even the largest events and cost from a little over $2,000 to $4,000 and up.


  • Always preheat your grill. Your food will cook more evenly, and it’s the only way to create a proper sear.

  • Don’t overcrowd the grill. If things start to flare up, you want space to move food out of the way.

  • Stay close. You don’t have to be poking and turning the food all the time, but you do need to be there if smoke or flames start coming out of the hood or your food could be ruined.

  • Use a digital meat thermometer. Learn the proper cooked temperatures for various foods. If meat is underdone, you can always grill it some more. If it’s overdone, that’s tough (in more ways than one).

  • Let the meat rest a few minutes before serving. This allows the fibers to relax and the juices to redistribute.
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The Napoleon website has over 800 barbecue recipes. You’ll never be short of ways to put your new grill to the test!


Q. What’s the best way to clean my Napoleon grill?

A. Grids are easiest to clean when still hot, so either do it while the meat is resting or reheat the grill when you’ve finished eating. For stainless steel grills, it’s best to use Napoleon’s own Super Wave Grill Brush or a stainless steel bristle grill brush. For cast iron, use a wire brush followed by soapy water, and reseason the grill with cooking oil afterward. To clean infrared burners, wait until they’re completely cool. Any debris can be wiped off with a paintbrush. Other surfaces can be cleaned with a cloth, nylon brush, and warm, soapy water.

Q. Apart from cleaning, does a Napoleon grill need any other maintenance?

A. If you have a gas grill, it’s recommended that you run a gas leak test once a year or when you replace any gas-related components. Fortunately, it’s quick and easy to do. Mix 50/50 liquid soap and water and brush it on all the connections. If you get bubbles, you’ve got a leak. Tightening the joint usually fixes it, but if it doesn’t you either need to replace the part or consult a specialist. Never, ever use a leaking gas grill. Also check hoses and pipes. If they’re damaged, kinked, or starting to split, replace them.

Q. Should I cover my Napoleon grill when it’s not in use?

A. The stainless steel used in Napoleon grills is pretty good at combating the elements and won’t rust, so the occasional downpour shouldn’t do it any harm. However, a grill cover is a good investment to protect it when the weather is bad for more than a couple of days. If you live in a humid area, the cover can trap damp air, so Napoleon suggests removing it and wiping down your grill with a dry towel once a month.

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