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The Only Grill Buying Guide You’ll Need in 2021
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Whether you’re the grill master at a family cookout or making a simple, flame-kissed meal for two, the key to deliciously grilled, barbecued and smoked foods is finding the best grill for you. With so many options to choose from, shopping for the ideal grill can get complicated. This is why we’ve put together a handy guide that discusses fuel types, sizes and all sorts of special features! Whether you’re looking for a portable grill you can take with you on your camping trips or a stand-alone pellet grill and smoker, find exactly what you need to take your cooking to the next level with this ultimate grill guide for 2021.
To further upgrade your overall grilling experience, read about our “12 Must-Have BBQ Accessories".
A Guide to Gas Grills
Opting for a gas grill comes with certain benefits. Not only do they start up more quickly, the charcoal-less fire releases fewer carcinogens into the food and air, making it healthier for you and the environment. You can also cook a wider variety of foods since more delicate flavors won’t be overwhelmed by a smoky taste.
Gas grills come in a variety of sizes ranging from small and portable to large and built-in as part of your outdoor kitchen. They either run on natural gas or propane. Both of these fuel types cook almost identically and are often priced similarly, so feel free to make your decision based on convenience, features, and availability.
Natural Gas Grill Recommendations
Price: $1,849 from Lowe’s
If you’re looking to build your dream kitchen outdoors, you may want to consider this Sunstone gas grill. With its three burners, warming rack, integrated smoker box and rotisserie burner, we think that it can handle pretty much anything! Perfect for savory meats, delicate fish and tender veggies, this grill’s back hood features a temperature gauge to help you keep control of your cooking surface. Not only does the stainless steel look stunning, but it’s durable and easy to care for, so it’ll look and cook as beautifully as the first day you got it! Be on the lookout for huge discounts when you apply a Lowe’s discount code at checkout.
Price: $579.99 from Target
It has a beautifully red, rust-resistant finish, but this KitchenAid gas grill is more than just a pretty face! With its 644-square-inch cooking space, and main cooking grids wrapped in stainless steel, as well as 48,000 total BTUs, this grill delivers delicious, dependable cooking every time. And that’s partially in thanks to its Even-Heat System, which combines angled flame tamers, enhanced grates and stainless steel burners for consistent heat distribution across the entire grill surface.
Propane Gas Grill Recommendations
Price: $197.99 from Macy’s
Great things do come in small packages! This small but mighty portable gas grill from Cuisinart offers amazing heat from its single 10,000 BTU burner. This grill features a built-in temperature gauge on the lid, an easy twist-start ignition, and a 176-square-inch cooking surface, making it super user-friendly. It works with a 1-pound propane canister and weighs in at 18 pounds, so don’t worry about doing any heavy lifting when you’re traveling. It’s also great for small apartment patios and balconies. Plus, Macy’s always offers amazing discounts on cooking appliances.
Price: $1,079 from Best Buy
Can your current grill sear a steak and simmer a sauce inches away from each other? With its 12,000 BTU side burner, 9,000 BTU sear station, and three powerful 39,000 BTU main burners, the Weber Genesis II S-335 brings a ton of versatility to your outdoor cooking needs. Whether it’s for a party or to challenge your abilities, you can multitask and prepare an entire feast on one cooking station (and keep it all hot with the tuck-away warming racks)!
A Guide to Charcoal Grills
Using a charcoal grill is great for enhancing meats and veggies with a robust, smoky flavor. Although it takes a little longer (about 20 minutes) for the charcoal to hit its high point, charcoal kettle grills can reach 700-degrees — that’s a higher temperature than most gas grills. Our favorite part about charcoal grills? They can be easier on your wallet, of course. Plus, you don’t have to mess around with propane tanks.
When it comes to selecting the right charcoal grill for you, the shape of the grill matters. There are two main types: barrel or kettle. Barrel grills are typically larger and offer a bigger grilling surface than kettle grills, which makes it better when cooking for larger groups. Kettle grills, on the other hand, are noted for their user-friendliness, so they’re ideal for those new to grilling.
Another kind of grill that uses charcoal is the kamado grill. Kamado grills have carved out their own space in the grilling world. While it uses charcoal, it does produce different results than barrel or kettle grills. Kamado grills are typically made from ceramic, which means it’s typically lighter and heats up quicker than its metal competitors. The ceramic also locks in moisture, creating deep, smoky flavors without drying out the food.
Charcoal Barrel Grill Recommendations
Price: $388.94 from Home Depot
Cooking for a crowd? Look no further than this Dyna-Glo heavy-duty barrel grill with an offset smoker box — it has a total cooking area of 962 square inches! This grill provides outdoor home cooks with professional-grade features such as a collapsible steel workstation, porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates and stainless steel temperature gauge with smoke zone and grill zone indicators. And thanks to the offset smoker box, you can convert the whole grill into a smoker. With this grill, you can get restaurant-quality food and restaurant-sized portions!
Price: $136.66 from Build.com
With 580 square inches of grilling space, this Char-Broil charcoal barrel grill offers plenty of room to grill up deliciously smoky food for the whole family. It’s rugged and reliable, and the steel construction will help ensure its longevity as one of your household staples for years to come. The adjustable fire grate allows you to work with the flames to achieve the temperatures and flavors you want. It’s the perfect tool for home cooks who want to express their culinary creativity!
Charcoal Kettle Grill Recommendations
Price: $175 from Best Buy
The Original Weber kettle grill is an absolute classic. Its straightforward design is easy to use but still allows for maximum flavor thanks to its airflow and heat retention. This grill has a 363- square-inch cooking platform, plus a hinged grate so you can easily maneuver the briquettes. And its porcelain enamel means that you’ll be cooking on this for years to come. No wonder it’s become a household name!
Price: $2,499 from Target
If you’re a grill master who considers yourself to be a bit of a mad scientist as well, this high-tech Everdure charcoal grill and smoker will catch your eye. From the patent-pending Fast Flame Ignition that can light charcoal with a push of a button, to its unique airflow design that you can control on the touch screen or via your smartphone, this grill is the definition of working smarter, not harder. Added bonus: Its cool-to-the-touch exterior makes it ideal for using around curious kids and animals.
Kamado Grill Recommendations
Price: $298 from Lowe’s
This kamado-style grill is great if you’re on a budget! It offers a total cooking space of 447 square inches: 314 square inches on the primary grilling area and 133 square inches on the warming rack. This grill features a built-in heat gauge and dual heat dampers, allowing for plenty of airflow and precise temperature control. It may not be as luxurious as other kamados on the market, but it can still cook up all your favorite recipes, from low-and-slow roasting to hot-and-fast searing at 700-degrees!
Price: $729.99 from Home Depot
With its electric, easy-start port and temperature-controlling vents, this kamado grill is so good, you might want one in every color! Vision Grills’ kamado grill offers 604 square inches of cooking surface and two-tier stainless steel cooking grates. Its thick ceramic construction and design create heat convection, which makes for less charcoal usage, more moist food, and no more burns from touching the exterior. From the super convenient ash drawer to its vinyl storage cover, it’s easy to see that Vision Grills has kept grillers in mind from start to finish!
A Guide to Pellet Grills
Want a quick way to get that delicious barbecue flavor in a short amount of time? A pellet grill and smoker is your answer. Pellet grills and smokers are easy to use, simple to ignite, and the heat is mostly even, which means more consistency and fewer flare-ups. These types of grills revolve around flavor, which you can more easily control by using specific pellets like hickory, cherry, applewood and more. You can even mix pellets to find your own special touch.
Pellet grills come in a wide price range, but many offer Wi-Fi capabilities (and not just the pricey ones), so no matter what your budget is, you can find a pellet grill with helpful features.
Value Pellet Grill Recommendations
Price: $341.18 from Home Depot
Want more bang for your buck? Look no further than this Z GRILLS pellet grill and smoker. It’s a versatile, 7-in-1 grill that allows you to grill, smoke, sear, roast, braise and bake. Not only will you be able to cook a variety of different items, but its large, 550-square-inch cooking surface can allow you to grill multiple things at once. With features like an automated pellet feed system and a smart digital control board, it’s easy to see that this pellet grill was made with you (and your wallet) in mind.
Price: $585 from Camp Chef
From the proportional integral derivative (PID) controller for precise temperatures to its adjustable smoke settings, the DLX Pellet Grill from Camp Chef brings high-end features and convenience at a price that won’t break the bank. This pellet grill offers consistent cooking at a 160- to 500-degree temperature range and two meat probes that all help take the guesswork and uncertainty out of smoking and grilling. Want ideas on what to cook next? Check out Camp Chef’s recipe guide for all sorts of delicious ideas.
Wi-Fi Pellet Grill Recommendations
Price: $386.50 from Target
What’s better than a Wi-Fi-controlled pellet grill that you can control with an app on your smartphone? One that you can take with you to your next camping trip or tailgate! Weighing only 68 pounds, it features folding legs for easy portability and Wi-Fi controls that can help you keep an eye on the food even when you’re socializing and having fun with family and friends. And its peaked lid, meat probe and thermal sensor can all help you amp up your cookout repertoire from burger flipper to barbecue legend.
Price: $999.99 from Best Buy
Want grilling and smoking made easy? The Traeger Pro 780 can help you achieve grill master status with the touch of a button. Traeger’s WiFIRE® Technology works with the Traeger app so you can easily monitor your cooking and adjust the temperatures with ease. Plus, the included meat probe allows you to check the internal temperature without having to open the hood and letting out all that delicious, smoky heat.
Luxury Pellet Grills
Price: $1,299.99 from Lowe’s
With its ability to grill, smoke, saute, roast, braise, reverse sear, dehydrate and bake, this Lifesmart pellet grill really takes outdoor cooking to the next level! The digital controller and hardwood pellets allow for precise, consistent cooking within a 180- to 500-degree temperature range. Its oval-shaped barrel, three grates and 2,000-square-inch grill area allow space for larger meats like ribs or even a turkey. You’ll be whipping up steakhouse-quality meals in no time!
Price: $2,999 from Build.com
Want to give your outdoor kitchen an extreme upgrade? This built-in Coyote pellet grill has tons of amazing features and a 1,238-square-inch cooking area that can take your smoking and grilling experience from blasé to blazing. From its intuitive digital touch control and three temperature probes to the front-loading smart drop pellet hopper and spring-assist hood, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to use this grill, but it’ll definitely make you feel like you are!