Best Outdoor Grills of 2017 | Buyer’s Guide
It’s time to dust off those tongs and get grilling. That’s right – it’s barbecue time.
Putting on the ultimate outdoor kitchen party is up there in the summer fun canon, so the investment in the best outdoor grill possible for you should be a priority heading into the season. But where to start?
Best Gas Grills: Our Top 10
So which products head our list of the best bbqs? Let’s start with choice of power-lovers: Gas.
#1. Dyna Glo 5
Heading our list is a bbq that offers the best that gas models have to offer: The Dyna Glo 5. Why is it our number one?
The Dyna Glo 5 boasts a huge grilling surface area, and its five burners give you a combined 62,000BTUs of power at your disposal. Its double-lined walls mean no heat is ever lost, and its side burner help give you real flexibility and variety in the way that you cook. All of this for under $400.
Great value-for-money and powerful to boot. That’s why we think it’s one of the best outdoor grills out there.
#2. Weber Genesis E310
The Weber brand is almost synonymous with barbecue, and for very good reason: Their high-performing products set the standard of what should be expected of a bbq, and the Weber Genesis E310 is no different.
Its easy start-up, quick heat and intuitive controls make it easy and safe to use, and it’s probably the sturdiest gas grill that we’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing.
It doesn’t quite pack the power of the Dyna Glo 5 Burner, but its incredible quality and durability makes it a very close second.
#3. Weber Spirit E320
Rounding off our top three is the superb Weber Spirit E320. Our third choice may well be another Weber, but this is just testament to the quality that the brand offer.
This model is very quick to start up, hitting nearly 600 degrees in way under ten minutes, and offers very consistent heat across its cooking surface, with a very large area to broil with.
Its fantastic and reliable build mean that it will last, and its grilling performance ensure that you will never look back. An incredible model.
Best Charcoal Grills: Our Top 10
#1. Weber Performer Platinum
In at number one and leading our list of the best charcoal grills is the Weber Performer Platinum.
But what makes this better than the others? It all comes down to its heat-up time, boosted by its charcoal setup with gas ignition. This helps the inside of the shell reach an amazing 625°F in not even 9 minutes, and makes the easiest to use charcoal model out there.
It boasts some brilliant features, like its large cooking area, built-in thermometer and ash disposal system, all designed to give you the most out of your barbecue experience.
#2. Broil King Steel Keg
Our runner-up is another slightly unconventional choice, but oh boy is this grill powerful. Its double steel walls maintains the temperature within it, keeping a constant cooking heat. It takes about twenty minutes to heat up, but it cane reach fantastic highs of 800°F – far higher than any of our other charcoal models.
The Broil King's performance is fantastic. Not just because of its high temperatures, but also because of its broiling quality. Its locking function means that not only does heat stay within its shell and stay constant, but also it retains moisture, making the taste and texture of your food of the highest standard.
#3. Weber Ranch Kettle
Rounding off our top three is the big and beautiful Weber Ranch Kettle. If having a large bbq as your outdoor kitchen’s centerpiece is what you’re after then this is the grill for you.
At 1104 square inches, the grilling surface area of the Ranch Kettle is something to be seen. This will offer you the opportunity to get mass amounts of food on the go all at once. Not only that, but the shell that locks it all in can be shut tight to keep it hot inside.
Its large size also means that this model is better than any other to get you going with indirect going – the cooking technique of the pros.
Our unbiased guide to the best outdoor grills is here to help you choose the right model for you. From charcoal burners, to gas searers, we have brought together the best of the best of the grilling world.
Most BBQ grills fall into one of two types: Gas or charcoal. And before we start it’s important for you to decide which of these you’re after.
Not sure which way to go? Here’s what you need to know…
Why go charcoal?
#1. High grilling heat. The surface temperatures of charcoal grills can reach anywhere as high as 700 degrees. If you’re a steak fan then only these types can give you that seared, crispy exterior with a pink center. In comparison, the majority of their gas counterparts only touch 450 degrees, therefore limiting some of your BBQ options.
#2. More flavor. That smoky authentic bbq taste can’t be replicated on with gas. For many types of food this is not such a big deal. But when it comes to juicy steaks, charcoal wins every time.
#3. Portable. Not only easier to move around the home, but also easier to take out down to the beach or campground.
#4. Requires skill. For anyone looking to further their cooking repertoire, you need look no further than these charcoal beauties.
#5. More affordable. Charcoal models tend to be much more affordable than their gas counterparts.
What do we think?
Charcoal models offer a great mix between being excellent value for money, while at the same time satisfying the needs of seasoned bbq enthusiasts. They offer you the chance to vastly improve your skill set as a cook, and provide a classic bbq taste to your food.
All of this comes against the potential problems in cleaning and difficulty of use but for that authentic bbq experience, charcoal is the best option.
Why go gas?
#1. Quick & convenient. A hot and ready grill at your disposal in minutes. Easy for the laziest of us. Even the best charcoal BBQs take much longer to warm up.
#2. Temperature control. Heat at a push of a button and easy-to-use controls on the dashboard make them far simpler to use for BBQ novices.
#3. No ash means no huge clean-up operation, while the clean-up operation for charcoal can be a lengthy and arduous one.
#4. No need to buy charcoal. While charcoal models may be cheaper, they will require you to continually top up with fuel. With propane tanks, gas grills don’t require their supplies to be replenished anywhere near as often, making them potentially just as cost-effective in the long term.
What do we think?
Gas grills are reliable and easy-to-use, and can be counted on to deliver when cooking for large groups.
Sure, they might not sit well with the purists, but they still offer a lot in performance and would sit well at the center of any outdoor kitchen.
Despite their seemingly simple nature, buying the right charcoal grill for you can still be easy to get wrong.
Here are the key criteria to consider when buying your new BBQ...
BBQs come in many different sizes. Gas models run on a small propane tank and can easily fit on a chair. Others can run half the length of your patio! Make sure to decide exactly how much food you will need to cook at a time.
Charcoal models come in a huge variety of sizes, from huge drum models to small table top hibachis.
Why would you want a large searing surface? Obviously the amount of food that you intend to cook will have a say in this, but so will your preferred style of cooking.
Indirect grilling is a method favored by bbq enthusiasts, and it’s an approach that requires a generous amount of surface space.
You should also consider the portability of your BBQ. Some models are easy to transport to use at a campground or a stadium parking lot before a big game. Others are meant to installed almost permanently. Know exactly what you need from yours before you begin looking.
While the features of a charcoal model tend to be simple, one often forgotten feature is airflow control. Good airflow control will allow you to easier control the temperature on the cooking surface. Furthermore, good control will help you put out your bbq fire quickly and help you save on charcoal.
Which charcoal grills boast excellent airflow control? The Char Griller Kamado Kooker closable air vents make its interior surface very easy to heat up quickly. It is a bit more pricey than most charcoals, but what it offers you in control is unmatched by any of these models.
BTUs refer to the amount of heat a gas model can generate. Remember, a gas grill can never reach the temperatures of that of a charcoal. This is because the latter can be fanned extensively to temporarily increase the heat. However, gas types can maintain a steady temperature far better. You will want one that can maintain 100 BTUs for every square inch of cooking space. This is a very general rule of thumb, but it is a rule that will help you make your first purchase.
Regardless of the size of your gas grill, you need to make sure it's safe to use. If you are considering a second hand product as your purchase, you must make sure all of the lines are secure. A faulty hose or connector can be lethal.
If you are purchasing a new model, it should be safe to use so long as you are following common safety rules. These rules include not using it too close to any structure or in an enclosed environment. Following these rules will keep you, your BBQ, and your food safe.
How many burners you will want will depend on the size you select. A five burner gas grill can heat enough food to feed a party of ten to twenty people. If you do not intend to prepare that much food, consider a smaller model with only two burners.
However, you should consider the location of the burners and not just the number. Although many gas grills will have one or two side burners, these burners are important because they can allow you to cook other dishes while you are barbecuing your meat. For example, a side burner can hold a pot to cook rice, corn on the cob, pulled pork, or other backyard treats. A side burner or two will greatly increase the versatility of your BBQ. It will also allow your meals to become much more diverse.
Gas grills can come with grates made from materials as various as cast iron, stainless steal, porcelain, coated steel or plain steel. Cast iron grates are generally considered one of the best types of grates. This is because the fats and oils absorbed into the grate after each meal actually help protect the grate. According to some people, it also heightens the flavor of the meals. However, cast iron can be a little on the expensive side.
You also need to know how to take care of a cast iron grill. This means making sure all of those fats and oils are evenly spread around the entire grate. You also need to make sure all of those fats and oils do not burn away. This can happen if you use your cast iron grate with non-fatty foods for an extensive period of time. However, a quality cast iron grate will last you for decades if you take care of it. The other types of grates mentioned work well too if you are unable to afford or find a cast iron grate.
Unlike charcoal grill, gas versions need to have an ignitor. If you are buying a used model second hand, make sure the ignitor works. If it does not work, do not buy it.
The reason an ignitor is so important is because of safety. Gas grills are able to light because a cloud of gas is near the ignitor. If it doesn’t work, that cloud will grow bigger and bigger. If the switch then comes on too late, the entire cloud of gas will ignite.
All reputable gas models will come with an ignitor. Make sure you have one, and make sure it works properly.