We just completed retesting our favorite gas and charcoal grills (and reviewed some new ones) and awarded the Weber Spirit II E-310 as the best gas grill and the Napoleon NK22CK-L Charcoal Kettle Grill as our favorite charcoal grill. We're still in the process of reviewing portable barbecues and a few other grills. We'll continue to update this page as we conclude our testing.
Almost any food tastes better when it’s grilled. The smoky flavor and high-temperature-sear that a charcoal grill can kiss choice cuts of meat with are the stuff culinary dreams are made of. Grilled chicken, veggies or salmon with a convenient, easy-to-use gas grill? Perfection. No matter whether you’re buying your first grill or looking to upgrade your outdoor cooking your barbecue and grilling experience, our extensive research and testing have uncovered the best grills to suit your needs.
For those that adore the ease and consistency that comes from cooking with propane, Weber’s Spirit II E-310 offers the perfect balance of build quality and features, at a reasonable price. Looking to grill on the go? Cuisinart’s Petit Gourmet gas grill could be just the thing. If you prefer the rich, smoky flavor that results from cooking over charcoal, Napoleon NK22CK-L Charcoal Kettle Grill or Smokey Joe Premium our pick for full-sized and portable charcoal grills, will make you happy. Finally, if you live in a place where cooking over an open flame is frowned upon, we’ve got you covered: The George Foreman GGR50B Indoor/Outdoor Grill is compact, runs off of electricity and sized to fit smaller outdoor areas or even in the corner of your kitchen.
Weber Spirit II E-310
Weber Spirit II E-310Best Gas Grill
The Weber Spirit II E-310 may be the brand’s entry-level grill, but it didn’t act like a lesser product when it came to performance. It was our favorite grill to use on every test, producing perfect sear marks on burgers, evenly cooked chicken, and picture-perfect asparagus. It can’t hold quite as many burgers as our upgrade pick, the Weber Genesis II E-310, but the 18 or so burgers that do fit will be cooked evenly to perfection.
This grill is proof that BTUs are not the end-all-be-all in grill choice. Its 30,000 BTUs (or, 71 per square foot) cranks out an impressive amount of heat—we created indirect heat by turning a single burner on high heat, then heating the grill to 300 degrees; and when we turned all the burners on low, it hit an impressive 400° F (which was 25 to 50 degrees hotter than some of the higher BTU grills we tested).
We also loved some of the aesthetic features, and the grill itself felt well put together and built to last. They really thought of everything with this grill: a side-mounted propane tank with a gas meter, sturdy side tables, and grill grates that fit together perfectly. It was also one of the few grills that had hooks on the side for hanging your grilling tools, and the Weber lids were the only ones designed to vent smoke away from tunneling into your face. As a bonus, this grill is also iGrill3 (a Bluetooth enabled thermometer that mounts permanently to the grill table and can send grilling alerts and data right to your smartphone) compatible. As compared to some of the other grills, the Weber was significantly easier to build, too. Although there were a lot of little parts to put together, the instruction manual was clear-cut and easy to understand.
The Weber Spirit II E-310 isn’t the cheapest grill on the market, but it’s absolutely worth the price. When you take all the factors into account—performance, ease of use, and aesthetic appearance—this grill was a no-brainer for our choice as Best Gas Grill.
Napoleon NK22CK-L Charcoal Kettle Grill
Where To BuyClick for price Amazon Buy
Napoleon NK22CK-L Charcoal Kettle GrillBest Charcoal Grill
The Napoleon Charcoal Kettle Grill was our favorite charcoal grill in our test group. It aced our cooking tests and its design features set it apart from the competition. For starters, it sits on four legs instead of the standard three that most kettle grills come with; making it both sturdy and stable. Its ash bucket is larger than most and has a wide-grip handle that keeps your hands nice and clean as you remove the ashes. Clipping the ash bucket into place was a bit tricky at first, but once we figured it out it stayed put without problem. Finally, there’s the grill’s wide, round rim that rests in the middle of the coal bed while you’re cooking. Initially, we thought this rim was designed to keep the briquettes out of the center of the grill. However, we quickly realized that the rim’s metal heated up along with the coals, distributing the heat evenly throughout the grill.
When it came to cooking on the Napoleon, we had no complaints. It proved capable of holding 12 to 13 burgers at a time and created a gorgeous overall char when we cooked over direct heat. Raking the coals for indirect heat was nearly effortless; its wire cooking grate had hinges on each side that allowed us access to the briquettes underneath. Additionally, the vents on the top and bottom of the grill were easy to open and close. All of this worked together to create an ideal heat distribution for indirect heat cooking. Being able to control the airflow is important when cooking over charcoal; the bottom vents control the heat of the fire, while the top exhausts hot air and smoke out of the grill.
This grill may cost a bit more than other kettle-style grills, but we think it’s totally worth it. It really has it all–performance, sturdy construction, and solid design features–making it our pick as Best Overall.
Cuisinart Petit Gourmet
Where To Buy$125.55 Amazon Buy
Cuisinart Petit GourmetBest Portable Gas Grill
We tested a bunch of portable grills, and our favorite gas model is the Cuisinart Petit Gourmet. It weighs just under 20 pounds, which makes it perfect for camping, picnics, and tailgating.
We’re fans of the VersaStand foldable legs and easy-to-carry handle. Set it up, and it’ll have no problem with basic barbecue or more delicate recipes
Like all portable grills, it has issues reaching extremely high temperatures, and a one-pound propane canister won’t get you through multiple barbecues. The actual cooking area is only 145 square inches, which is smaller than you might think. It should go without saying, but don't expect to be able to grill enough food for a big family in one go.
Weber Smokey Joe Premium
Weber Smokey Joe PremiumBest Portable Charcoal Grill
Even when it’s downsized enough for trips to the beach or a campsite, Weber’s kettle grill is still a winner.
The Weber Smokey Joe takes everything we loved about the 22" Original and crams it into a package small enough to bring anywhere. A handle wraps around the entire grill for easy storage and carrying, and our tests showed that the smaller kettle design is still ideal for quick preheats and even cooking.
Another perk: Despite its small size, Weber still backs it up with a full 10-year warranty. Just because a grill is small doesn’t mean it should be disposable, right?
George Foreman GGR50B Indoor/Outdoor Grill
George Foreman GGR50B Indoor/Outdoor GrillBest Electric Grill
By now, George Foreman is more famous for his eponymous line of indoor grills than his boxing record. Not content with conquering countertops, Foreman also makes an indoor/outdoor model that’s perfect for a patio or small balcony.
It’s not as robust as other electric models, and it doesn’t heat up as quickly—but for $85, this easy-to-store grill with an included stand is perfect if you can’t cook with gas or charcoal where you live. You can even bring it inside in the wintertime for grilled flavor no matter what the weather is like outside.
Gas or Charcoal—How Do You Choose?
In the eternal debate over whether a gas grill or a charcoal grill is better for outdoor cooking, there is no wrong answer. If you’re cooking your food on the grill instead of inside the house, it will capture that beautiful charred essence and smoky flavor from cooking over open flames. You likely already have strong opinions on the topic of gas versus charcoal and we’re not here to change your mind. If you’re still on the fence on the subject, however, here are the pros and cons of using each type of grill to help you choose the right one for you. Let’s talk gas grills, first.
Gas grills are more convenient than charcoal grills. That they don’t use charcoal as fuel not only makes a gas grill easier to clean (no ash!), but it also cuts down its initial heating time. That gas grills come equipped with electric starters or a spark wheel to ignite its gas burner helps to get you cooking faster than charcoal users can manage, as well. It’s easy to easier to control the heat while you’re grilling with gas than it is when using charcoal; to adjust the heat up and down, simply twist a knob instead of fiddling around with hot coals. It is a bummer when you run out of propane, though, so we love these newer grills that have a handy meter right on the side of the grill.
Charcoal grills, on the other hand, are significantly less expensive than their gas counterparts. Many people prefer the flavor of cooking over a charcoal grill, as the briquettes they use for fuel infuse smokey elements into the food. The coals created by burning those briquettes can burn hotter than propane or natural gas, which can be a pro or a con: you’ll get a serious sear on your food if that’s what you’re going for, but it’s also easy to burn your food over 700° F temperatures.
What About Electric Grills?
While these appliances are called “grills,” they heat your food using a coil instead of flames. That makes them closer to an electric griddle than a grill. However, if you want to grill indoors or live somewhere that cooking over an open flame is frowned upon, an indoor grill will do the trick. Pro tip: in order to use an electric grill, you need an accessible power outlet (a feature that not all decks or patios have), or a high-powered extension cord.