Walk into any hardware store or major retailer in the summer and you’re bound to be surrounded by hundreds of different grills. You should always do your research before setting out on a grill buying adventure, and we’ve created a quick guide to get you started.
Key Factors When Buying a Grill
What are you planning on cooking on your grill the most frequently? Are you looking to sear steaks or slow-roast a chicken? Grill corn and veggies or flip burgers and hot dogs? All of the above?
Two people can walk into a store, purchase different grills, and one spent 500% more than the other. Grills can range in price from $15 to $15,000. After you’ve figured out what type of grill you want, check the prices online before going to the store so you’re not surprised by what you see.
Make sure you measure the space for your grill before purchasing it. Keep in mind that your grill should be at least 10 feet away from your house or anything flammable. You should also think about how you will be storing your grill – outside, in a shed, or in the garage.
Types of Grills
There are several different types of grills, with numerous sub-types beneath those.
Gas grills are the most popular type of grill, and you have hundreds of options to choose from.
If you’re looking to go from start to finish as quick as possible, a gas grill is the way to go. Typically powered by propane or natural gas, these grills are easy to light up and clean. However, you’re unlikely to get that rich smoky flavor out of a gas grill. These grills are ideal for cooking fast meats (hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, etc.) and vegetables (onions, bell peppers, corn, etc.).
You can buy a small gas grill for as low as $100, and larger ones with extra features up to $5,000. If you’re a professional griller who cooks for large groups frequently, investing in a more expensive gas grill may be the way to go.
The type of fuel impacts price as well. Natural gas grills tend to be a little more expensive than propane. Improvenet provides a nice overview of the benefits and drawbacks of natural gas grills.
Most gas grills are independent and have wheels, so you can move them around as you please. This makes storage easy as you can push it into your garage or shed when it’s not being used.
However, natural gas grills are connected through a natural gas line from your house, so the grill has to stay in one place.
If you have an outdoor kitchen, you can get a built-in gas grill installed right into the countertop. These tend to me more expensive and often come with high installation costs. But if you’ve invested the time and money into a beautiful outdoor kitchen, a built-in grill is the perfect way to top it off.
Nexgrill, Weber, Dyna-Glo, Blackstone, KitchenAid, Char-Griller, Broil King
Unlike gas grills, charcoal grills will provide a smoky flavor, making these ideal for grilling, smoking, and searing meats. However, these grills also take a longer time to heat and clean. If you’re looking to use your grill for family camp-outs or in a small backyard, a small charcoal grill is the way to go.
Although setup and cleaning may take a bit more time, charcoal grills can be small and inexpensive while still providing a classic grilled, barbecue taste.
You can get anything from a $20 portable kettle grill to a $2,000 ceramic or stainless steel one. For small backyards and camping, one of the smaller portable ones will do.
Many grillers use their charcoal grills as the centerpiece for their outdoor living space. Large ceramic grills can come in a variety of colors, making them both functional and attractive. These are typically quite heavy, so moving them into a garage for storage isn’t likely.
Vision Grills, Char-Griller, Nexgrill, Dyna-Glo, KitchenAid, Weber, Americana, Kamado Joe
Electric grills are ideal for people who don’t want to deal with gas or charcoal. Some apartments may allow this type of grill to be used on balconies and porches, but always double-check.
If you love grilling but don’t have the space for a charcoal or gas grill, an electric grill will satisfy you until you have more options. Some brands make electric smokers, which is an easier alternative to the traditional smoker.
You can get a nice standalone electric grill for as low as $70, with nicer varieties getting up to $500. Built-in electric grills are more pricing, typically ranging from $800-$1,000.
Electric grills tend to be small, making them ideal for those who have little space to spare.
Royal Gourmet, Weber, George Foreman, Americana, GrillPro, Masterbuilt
If you’re looking for the ultimate chargrilled and smoky barbecue flavor, this is the grill for you. Perfect for slow-cooking, smokers are perfect for those who have secret recipes for brisket, ribs, pork shoulder, and anything else.
As with all grills, you can get an expensive one up to $1,000 or an affordable one for $70. Smokers can be powered by charcoal, wood, electricity, or propane (you can also take a look at pellet smokers, which burn wood pellets through electricity), each with a different price point.
Smokers tend to be on the bulky side, making moving them difficult. They’re not typically too large, so storing outside shouldn’t be an issue unless you have a small backyard.
Overall, these are a good choice for those with any size backyard, as you should be able to store it outside if needed.
Nexgrill, Masterbuilt, Weber, Camp Chef, Smoke Hollow, Pit Barrel Cooker, Traeger
You can purchase various attachments for most of the grill types listed above, including grill baskets and toppers, side shelves, and even smoker boxes. Attachments can help you create a grill customized to your needs without having to spend thousands of dollars.
Keeping your grill clean is important, especially if you’ll be grilling hamburgers one night and chicken the next. Read how to clean and protect your grill to learn about the tools and equipment you’ll need to keep your grill in perfect condition.
If you plan on storing your grill outside, a grill cover is a must. Not only will a cover protect your grill from the weather, but it can also dissuade insects and small rodents from sneaking in and making nests. You’re bound to spend upwards of $100 on a grill, so purchasing a high-quality cover with it is natural.
Explore our grill covers for protection year-round.