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Warm weather brings out our desire to spend more time outside in our backyard and there is no better way to enjoy that time than entertaining friends and family while having a BBQ.
An efficient, reliable grill, or BBQ, brings the heat of the kitchen outside and provides a flavor to your food a kitchen stove or electric grill cannot imitate.
Although there many different types of grills, here we focus on the best backyard grills that run on gas or charcoal.
Best Outdoor Grills
|Weber Summit E-670 Grill||Weber Performer Charcoal Grill||Char-Broil Performance Grill|
|Fuel:||Propane / Natural Gas||Charcoal||Propane|
|Cooking Area:||769 sq inches||363 sq inches||425 sq inches|
Quick Answer: The 7 Top Rated Outdoor Grills For 2021
- Weber 7371001 Summit E-670 Liquid Propane Grill
- Char-Broil Performance Stainless Steel Gas Grill
- Weber Spirit Liquid Propane Grill
- Broil King 958247 Regal 590 Natural Gas Grill
- Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
- Dyna-Glo Premium Charcoal Grill
- Royal Gourmet Charcoal Backyard Grill
Best Outdoor Propane Grill
- Fuel: Propane or Natural Gas
- Cook Area: 769 sq inches, 145 sq inch indirect rack
- Burners: Six – 60,800 BTUs
- Side Tables: 2 fixed painted aluminum tables
- Other: Specialized burners, smoker box included
Weber presents a pretty, versatile workhorse with the Summit E-670 grill. The sturdy stainless exterior looks sharp and formidable, like a classic car.
Although the grill is mounted on 2 rugged plastic locking wheels (casters), it is on the heavy side weighing over 200 pounds.
The Cook box is made out of cast aluminum with porcelain enamel coated lid and painted aluminum fixed side tables.
Under the grill is enclosed with prime storage space. The 9.5 mm diameter stainless steel sits over 6 individually igniting single-weld burners, some of which are specialized.
The Weber Summit E-670 maximizes cooking versatility with dedicated burners which run at slightly different BTUS and attachments to play with like an extra searing burner in the middle of the grill.
A removable narrow smoke box rests on a special burner making adding that smoky flavor often missed with gas grills.
An outlet powered rotisserie has hassle free set up, as the motor pops out of one of the side tables and includes an infrared light for even cooking.
The 4 two pronged forks are accessible hanging inside the storage cabinet. Rotisserie grill systems are often tossed to the wayside due to cumbersome and annoying setups, which is not at all a problem in this model.
On top of all of that, there are several smaller creature comforts like a propane fuel monitor and tool hooks on both side tables.
Two lights attached to the handle automatically turn on when you open the lid to illuminate what is on the grate.
Overall the Weber Summit E-670 is an amazing investment in your grilling future and the payout is well-rounded features and durability.
Best Budget Gas Grill
- Fuel: Propane Only
- Cook Area: 425 sq inches main, 150 sq inch indirect rack
- Burners: 4 burners – 36,000 BTUs and one side burner
- Side Tables: 2 stainless steel side tables
- Other: 10,000 BTU Side burner
If you are looking for a basic, budget friendly gas grill Char-Broil has you covered. The two wheeled cart supports a large cooking surface over porcelain coated cast iron grates.
The heavier cast iron grate provides optimal heat retention and the porcelain coating makes it easy to clean. One of the two side tables houses a 10,000 BTU side burner for finishing sauces or making a side dish.
You will not find many accessories like storage space or hooks for tools, however if you already have a well-supported grilling space those extra features are unnecessary.
The mostly stainless steel body is lighter and easy to move out of protected storage and into the sunshine to enjoy.
The grill is a good option for someone who wants gas, but maybe needs to save space on their deck by pulling it out of the way.
Best Gas Grill Under $500
- Fuel: Propane or Natural Gas
- Cook Area: 424 sq inch main, 105 sq inch indirect rack
- Burners: Three 10,000 BTU burners
- Side Tables: 2, one folds down
- Other: Weber iGrill compatible
The Weber Spirit II brings features and functionality into a compact gas grill to a reasonable price point.
Reversible cast iron cooking grates provide one thin side for cooking delicate food and a wider side for larger foods.
Strapped to the side, the propane tank hangs on a weight-based fuel gauge which takes the guesswork out of monitoring fuel.
The majority of the cart is stainless steel, and features 2 side tables complete with 6 tool hooks. One of the tables fold down, allowing you to customize your set up and save on space.
Under the grill hangs an easily accessible grease trap over a slotted painted stainless steel rack.
At the front of the grill is a slot to fit a Weber iGrill smart thermometer unit and the lid accommodates the wire for the probe.
If you need to feed large groups of people and are space-conscious, the Weber Spirit II balances space, accessories, and ease of use.
Best Natural Gas Grill
- Fuel: Propane or Natural Gas
- Cook Area: 625 sq inches
- Burners: Five – 55,000 BTUs
- Side Tables: 2 stainless steel topped fixed shelves
- Other: one 10,000 BTU side burner, Rotisserie spit and motor
Looking to invest in a bright, delicious grilling future from the comfort of your patio? The Regal Broil King is ready to serve your outdoor grilling needs.
The die-cast aluminum and stainless steel body holds up to the weather, retains heat and looks modern.
The solid 9mm stainless rod grates sit over burner tubes which jet out on from both sides which maximizes coverage and efficiency.
The control knobs take advantage of the total range of motion to provide the widest possible range of flame control.
The illuminated knobs help you keep cooking into the evening. The grease management system pan and ignition battery sits inside an enclosed lower storage cabinet which keeps tools and other necessaries clean and dry.
The Regal covers other grilling support functions, like the solid side work table and wide flat 10,000 BTU side burner. In addition to the side burner, an electric powered rotisserie motor demonstrates versatility.
Broil King makes a point to source their manufacturing to North America and it is important to them. The design also spoils you with small details like hooks, condiment racks, large handles and a lid tool.
Best Charcoal Barbecue
- Fuel: Charcoal with gas ignition
- Cook Area: 363 sq inches main
- Side Tables: 1 – 26 x 25 inch table
- Other: Propane ignition, LCD time
The Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill sports the familiar spherical body of portable grill that you probably grew up with.
Weber’s attention to detail and extra features make it a well-rounded winner. The large plastic wheels and light weight design offers superior maneuverability.
On the inside, the stainless steel rod grate has a hinged side section to access the belly of the grill.
The removable middle portion of the grate accommodates using a charcoal chimney. Adjustable dampers on the lid allow you to manage airflow without lifting the lid.
Under the grill sits a removable high-capacity aluminum ash collector, making tossing ash simple and mess free.
Along with basic accessories like 3 tool hooks, the grill comes with a big plastic can to store charcoal or use as a trash bin.
Weber also manufactures a variety of interchangeable grates, cooking surfaces, and additional accessories making the Performer Deluxe a versatile choice for an enthusiastic griller.
Best Outdoor Charcoal Grill
- Fuel: Charcoal
- Cook Area: 576 sq inches Primary and a 240 sq-inch Secondary
- Side Tables: Two fixed painted metal shelves
- Other: Dividable fire box
The stylish Dyna-Glo Charcoal stainless grill provides a dual chamber firebox fitted to a rolling cart flanked by two fixed side tables.
Easy to maneuver enameled cast iron grates retain heat and there are options to scale down cooking as needed.
The coolest feature of the Dyna-Glo is the dual-chamber firebox. In the firebox are two charcoal baskets, which adjust from hand cranks in the front, and a removable divider rests between them.
The divided the firebox creates a single or dual cooking zone so you can control if you are using the whole grill or just part of it. If you manage a fire in one basket you can cook indirectly over the other which adds versatility.
Two heavy painted stainless steel front facing doors give you easy access to monitor and add fuel without disturbing the food or opening the lid.
The option to divide the space is a good fit for someone who waffles between needing space for 20 burgers, and cooking smaller choice cuts of meat.
Best Outdoor Charcoal Grill For The Money
- Fuel: Charcoal
- Cook Area: 393 sq inches main and 205 sq inch warming rack
- Side Tables: Two fixed painted metal shelves
- Other: Bottle Opener
The Royal Gourmet grill offers a big step up from inexpensive portable grills while still within an accessible price range.
The sleek painted black stainless steel adds layer of protection against the elements while remaining stylish and sharp.
It is the smallest and lightest of our charcoal grill choices, making it easy to maneuver. Accessing the firebox is easy through a small front facing door.
To raise and lower the charcoal basket by a handle that fits into 6 leveled slots, adding a quantitative way to measure and manage heat exposure.
Another fun feature is a bottle opener mounted to the front, because one of the best ways to enjoy grilling is with a cold drink in your hand.
There are no slots to accommodate a rotisserie, and not too many extra accessories, however this grill is a wonderful choice for a novice griller, or a gas-grill lover who wants to add a simple charcoal grill to their culinary arsenal.
Outdoor Grill Comparison Table
|Outdoor Grill||Fuel||Cook Area||BTUs||Burners||Rating|
|Weber Spirit Grill||Propane or Natural Gas||424 sq inches||30,000||3||4.6 / 5.0|
|Char-Broil Performance Gas Grill||Propane||425 sq inches||36,000||4||4.5 / 5.0|
|Weber 7371001 Summit E-670 Grill||Propane or Natural Gas||769 sq inches||60,800||6||4.3 / 5.0|
|Broil King 958247 Regal 590 Grill||Propane or Natural Gas||625 sq inches||55,000||5||4.0 / 5.0|
|Dyna-Glo Premium Charcoal Grill||Charcoal||816 sq inches||N/A||2||4.0 / 5.0|
|Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill||Charcoal||393 sq inches||N/A||1||4.1 / 5.0|
|Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill||Charcoal||363 sq inches||N/A||1||4.7 / 5.0|
How to Choose the Best Outdoor Grill – Buyers Guide
Just like any home appliance, a outdoor grill needs to be tailored for your specific grilling needs, wants and aspirations. A great grill is only great if it suits you and your lifestyle.
Start your research by understanding your intended use: what you cook, how often, and for how many hungry people. Keeping use in mind, you can start to explore more specific options like materials, fuel type, and accessories.
A decked out, expensive grill might be overdoing it if your favorite food to grill is dollar store hotdogs. On the other end of the spectrum, a cheap, flimsy charcoal grill with poor air flow management will not stand up to frequent use with choice ingredients.
So, really ask yourself why do you want to purchase a grill? If frequently entertaining or serving large groups, you need a larger model built to withstand heavy use.
Or, maybe you are cramped for space or only feel the urge to fire up the grill when whim hits you so a smaller, maneuverable model suits you.
Take some time and write out your favorite grill-based foods and keep those in mind as you navigate through the features available in grill today.
Make notes on what types of heat are needed to prepare those dishes: direct heat, indirect heat, searing, smoking, rotisserie etc. Special features are only worth it if you actually will use them.
When it comes down to it, all grills are about food. If you always tie back your grill choice to your food preferences, it will guide you to the best backyard grill for you.
Take a look at the home for your new grill. If you are replacing an older grill, you should already be aware of your space constraints. Be aware of the measurements of the whole grill, including side tables, so you can compare it against the planned space.
A compact grill can still produce quality fire power, and retain heat. Some models manage space with foldable side tables and included storage space. And of course no one wants to spend money shipping and assembling a grill that is a few inches off from being perfect for the space.
A grill always needs a cover when not in use so it lasts and stays clean. If you plan on grilling outside all or most of the time, invest in a grill built to withstand the elements.
Most grills are made out of some kind of stainless steel, which is durable but can be prone to rust over a long period of time especially in salty, humid environments.
Metal coated in a protective paint or enamel will mitigate environmental factors. Unprotected from wind, gusts push lighter weight grills around which causes damage.
Remember that the more of a hassle something is to use, the less likely it is that you will use it. Even an infrequent griller’s aspirations can be extinguished at the thought of lugging the grill out of storage for an evening of use.
All our grills are built onto some kind of cart, which makes moving it around easier, but heavier models are designed to stay in place.
Keep in mind if you rent your space, to check your lease and see if there are any restrictions on having a grill in the first place. Even a budget grill will become expensive if you need to include lease violation.
Different parts of the grill require different materials in order to perform best. The body of your grill will most likely be crafted out of stainless steel and the legs, supports, and work areas will be either welded or bolted together. Welded parts are stronger, and eliminates the issues of bolts and screws rusting out overtime.
Stainless steel is a great grill material because the combination of metals resists corrosion. A coat of paint or enameled adds another layer of protection against the elements, and the matte finish adds an notion of style.
Plastic casters, or wheels, allow maneuverability and include locks to keep the grill in place. Just like the refrigerator or grill or stove in your home, aa grill requires a good clean and a shine up every once and a while to stay looking sharp.
Fire Box or Cook box
The fire box or cook box is the heart of the grill and where heat retention matters the most. Even powerful burners or large charcoal baskets are inefficient if the heat radiates out of the cook box or seeps from unsecured openings.
As a rule of thumb, the heavier the metal the higher the heat retention. Many cook boxes and lids are double layered steal, die cast aluminum, or porcelain coated metal. Fitted construction around lids and other access points ensure that heat exits only when intentional.
Grates play the most personal role between the grill and the food you are cooking. Heavier material improves heat retention and transfer, however all grates require maintenance like cleaning, so ease of use is also a factor.
There are 2 main materials grates are built from: stainless steel and cast iron. Both metals sometimes are covered with a porcelain enamel which improves heat retention and ease of cleaning.
Stainless leaves great sear marks on your food, are less expensive and hold up to tough love. Cast iron grates are heavier, retain heat better, and require seasoning.
Size and shape of the cooking surface will impact how food is cooked. Reversible grates offer specialized sides for cooking big hunks of meat, or more delicate food items like vegetables.
If a specific style of grates are important to you, sometimes the manufacturers make specialized grates that you can have on hand or switch out for more specific use.
Ok, now comes the biggest decision advancing your new grill adventure in one of two directions: the fuel type. The choice is gas or charcoal. Ask even a novice griller, and they will surely have an opinion on the correct option.
However, like many parts of life the person’s opinion who matters the most is your own. Consider what you enjoy cooking and your level of convenience. The ideal situation would be gas and charcoal as each brings positive aspects to the grilling experience.
When you stroll through the park on a warm summer afternoon and your nose detects smoke and meat in the air what you are smelling is a charcoal grill. Charcoal is created by slowly burning the impurities and oxygen from wood. The end result is mostly carbon which burns at higher temperatures with less smoke.
Lump hardwood charcoal light easier, brings wood-fired flavor to the party and produces less ash. Charcoal briquettes, the iconic pillow-shaped hunks, are created from scrap wood and sawdust. Briquettes are less expensive, slower to light and burn faster.
Either type of charcoal means keeping a bag or two on hand to build the fire before you start cooking, in order to reach proper temperature.
Once lit, you control heat by physically moving the charcoal around and regulating airflow. After you finish cooking, the fire needs to be managed until it is out and the ashes responsibly disposed.
Charcoal grilling can be a more adaptable grilling environment once you have a handle on fire and air flow management. Added control, however, comes with increased maintenance and a longer total grilling time.
Gas (Propane & Natural Gas)
Propane or natural gas fueled grills heat through gas burners. A propane grill is hooked up to a propane tank filled with the compressed gas in a liquid from. The tank is purchased separately and refilled at grocery stores or gas stations.
A natural gas grill is integrated into your home’s natural gas system and sends hydro-carbon based fuel directly into your grill.
It is more cost effective than propane, burns cleaner, and eliminates the age old problem of realizing you are out of fuel when you want to start cooking. Many gas models grills have both propane and natural gas options.
Either fuel runs through tube shaped burners into the grill. British Thermal Units, or BTUs measure burner energy output. BTUs measure the heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Burning one match is about 1 BTU, and the average kitchen stove ranges from 3,000 to 12,000 BTUs.
A higher BTU does not directly equate to quality of a grill. It is how the grill uses the BTUs rather than is important. A lower BTU burner in a heat retaining space will perform better than a higher BTU spread out over a larger space.
Gas powered grills lack the wood-fired taste or smoke, and most add moisture and flavor back to the food through stainless steel tent-shaped metal flavor aids that cover the burners. Juices from meat drip on to the bars, vaporize and are incorporated into the food above.
It also doubles as protective shields for the burners, keeping them clean and unclogged. The most convenient part of a gas grill is self-ignition, ability to cook right away and limited cleaning afterward.
Customer Service & Assembly
Shipping a grill to your house is convenient, however before the box arrives on your doorstep know the level of the assembly job. Most grill assembly requires basic tools and up to a couple hours of work time.
Proper supportive customer service will alleviate potential problems down the road. Explore the manufacturer’s website or give their service line a call to get a feel for their helpfulness.
A cheap grill is fine, but when you add the cost of accessories the total bill climbs higher than planned. If you reuse accessories you already have, it can lessen that problem.
All of our grill choices are mounted onto carts with side tables and under grill storage. Unless you always have an eager set of helping hands available, side tables are a vital space to set equipment as you move hot food to and from the grill.
Hooks, tools, and thermometers are all important to your grilling ensemble. Extra tools, like side burners, smoker boxes and rotisserie spits are great features if you want an inclusive grilling system, but might be cumbersome if unused.
FAQs About Outdoor Grills
Q: What should I look for when buying a grill?
A: Look at what you are planning to use it for first, and base your choice off of your needs. 8 high powered burners in a 300lb set up is great in some situations, but is unnecessary if you cook a few burgers a couple times a summer. Construction should be sturdy, heat retaining, and offer features to fine tune heat control.
Heating and cooking should be even over the whole cooking area, without hot or cool spots when lit. Ease of assembly and competent customer service will keep set-up and maintenance hassle free.
Q: Is it safe to grill on a deck?
A: A large, hot metal box, whether gas or charcoal fueled is inherently dangerous. It is going to depend on your deck. The grill should be at least 10 feet away from the house and away from anything flammable, like plants, furniture and awnings.
A protective mat for your grill will prevent damage and scorching. Never leave a grill unsupervised, keep a fire extinguisher handy, and read through your grill’s manual.
Q: How do you maintain a grill?
A: Keep it clean, inside and out, and covered when not in use. Finishes on grills chip and crack over extended periods of time, and catching a small problem saves time and labor overall. Rust will rot a grill just like it rots the underside of a car and moisture and salt exacerbate rust.
Check surface areas and connections like screws and bolts to monitor for damage. With gas grills check the battery on the electric ignition every season and monitor burners for clogging. No one wants to experience putting out a grease fire, so replace the grease pan regularly.
Remember, never pour water on a grease fire!
Smother it instead. For charcoal, keep the fire box free from excessive ash. Grill grates require brushing and the occasional hot-box cleaning.
Q: Which is better porcelain enamel or stainless steel?
A: Again, the choice of grate material comes down to personal preference and needs. The heat from the grill and tool use wears any grate overtime. Stainless steel rod grates on their own are inexpensive, hardy, produce sear marks, and are cleaned by scraping, scrubbing and high heat.
However, the material on its own retains heat well, but is improved with porcelain enamel coating. It is easier to clean (just soap and water) but needs to be treated like a non-stick pan so no metal tools allowed.
If treated well, they last longer than stainless steel on its own but chips overtime if abused.
Q: Where should a grill be placed on a patio?
A: In a sheltered spot 10 feet away from the house and anything flammable, around or above it. Although you might want those comfort ribs on a rainy day, it is better to wait until you can grill with open space all around you.
Charcoal grills send sparks flying and even the nicest gas grills will flare up occasionally. It should rest on a flat, nonflammable surface.
The feet on some grills adjust to accommodate for uneven ground. The grill should also be easily accessible and possibly visible from the house.
Beginners Guide – How to Grill Most Anything
How We Researched
To come up with the top outdoor (charcoal & gas) grills, we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Wayfair along with our own personal experience.
We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used Fakespot.com to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.
With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options were for the price. The staff authors have a wide and varied background in yard design and home repairs.
The authors have decades of experience and are eager to share their knowledge with readers.
To help narrow down the selection we used personal experiences along with recommendations from landscapers, bloggers and contractors.
After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.