Best grills in 2024: Gas, charcoal, and pellet compared

Summer is almost here and having one of the best grills for rustling up those delicious barbecues, is essential. But before you prepare your outdoor feasts,  you'll need to know which grill will suit your backyard and cooking needs.

With so many different types on the market, there are a few things to consider first. For instance, what type of grill do you prefer? Do you want a gas, electric or pellet grill? Also, what size is adequate for your yard/household and what convenient features do you need? Grills can do so much more than just barbecue these days, and you can find grills that come with an induction cooktop, storage, color touch-screen display, or even wi-fi connectivity. 

Also, how much are you willing to spend? The best grills can cost from as little as $100 to over $1,000. That's why it's important to know what features you are likely to use, ease of cleaning, and of course, the performance and output. 

To help you decide, we've chosen some of the best grills to suit every backyard, lifestyle and budget. If you have your eye on a smart grill, check out the 5 best smart grills and smokers at CES 2024. Plus, our top grilling tips so you can grill like a pro. 

The quick list

Here’s the best grills you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. Scroll on for our full in-depth reviews. 

Best gas grill

Weber Genesis EPX-335 Smart Gas Grill

Weber Genesis II S-335 Gas Grill (Image credit: Weber)

1. Weber Genesis EPX-335 Smart Gas Grill

Best gas grill

Specifications

Fuel: LP/ Natural Gas
BTUs: 49,000
Burners: 3
Grates: Stainless steel
Cooking Area: 513 square inches
Finishes: Stainless steel
Features: Sear burner, Built-in thermometer, Fuel gauge, Warming rack, 6 tool hooks, Side burner, 2 side tables, Meat probe, Lighted knobs and handle, Wifi compatible, Removable grease tray

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent performance
+
Sear burner
+
Side burner
+
App connected

Reasons to avoid

-
Top end of price range
-
Grill needs a lot of preheat time 

For a thick juicy pork chop with criss-cross grill marks, you can’t beat the Weber Genesis EPX-335 Smart Gas Grill. Want to smoke a turkey? Turn the heat down and you’ll get a moist flavorful bird with a burnished skin. This grill evenly cooks with minimal flare ups, whether you cook on high or low. 

It also has a sear burner for branding on those grill marks, and the grates can cook 25 hamburgers at once. While the Genesis won’t flip your burgers for you, it does connect to an app via Wi-Fi so you can get a beep on your phone when they’re fully cooked to a safe temp.

The Weber also includes a full array of convenient features, including a cabinet where you can stash things like mitts and paper towels, tool hooks, two side tables (one of which has a burner for sautéing onions or warming barbecue sauce), a thermometer on the front, and a gauge to show you how much gas is left in the tank. 

And if you ever feel the need to grill outside in the dark, lighted knobs and an LED in the handle that illuminates the grates, make it easier than ever. The grease pan offers easy access from the front as well, for a pain-free clean up. The only negative? This grill needs a bit of time to preheat before you start cooking.

Best budget gas grill

Char-Broil Performance Series Silver 5-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill (Image credit: Char-broil)

2. Char-Broil Performance Series Silver 5-Burner

Best budget gas grill

Specifications

Fuel: LP
BTUs: 37,500
Burners: 5 (plus 1 side burner
Grates: Stainless steel
Cooking Area: 480 square inches (165 for side burner)
Finish: Black/stainless
Features: Built-in lid thermometer, Warming rack, 2 side tables, Removable grease pan

Reasons to buy

+
Nice price
+
Excellent performance
+
Side burner

Reasons to avoid

-
No tool hooks
-
Harder to reach propane tank

If you want a large cooking area but don’t have big bucks to shell out, the Char-Broil Performance Series Silver 5-Burner could be the ticket. With 480 square inches of space and five burners — not counting the side burner — you've got plenty of room to pack on the patties. 

You won’t find a lot of fancy features here, but it does have side tables, a warming rack, and works with Char-Broil's accessories (sold separately) which bolt onto the grill. We do wish the propane tank were a little bit easier to reach — it's worth upgrading to the model that has interior storage — but you get a lot of cooking power for less than $400. 

Best charcoal grill

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22-inch (Image credit: Weber)

3. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Best charcoal grill

Specifications

Fuel: Charcoal briquets
Grate: Stainless steel
Cooking Area: 363 square inches
Finishes: Black, Blue, Green, Copper
Features: Hinged grate, Built-in lid thermometer, 2 tool hooks, Ash catcher

Reasons to buy

+
Vents for controlling the heat
+
Hinged grate makes it easy to add coals
+
Ash catcher 

Reasons to avoid

-
No side table

The Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill has a grate that’s big enough for a whole mess of hamburger patties. However, because it’s easy to adjust the heat by opening and closing the vents in the bottom and in the lid, this grill is remarkably versatile and can definitely go beyond burgers and brats. It can turn out a perfectly seared medium-rare porterhouse or thoroughly-cooked chicken with a crispy golden-brown skin. The grate is hinged on both sides so it’s easy to add more briquets if you’re having a party and turning out hot dogs throughout the evening. 

Extras include a thermometer in the lid and hooks for hanging up your tools. A heat shield underneath the lid handle makes it easy to lift without singeing your hand, and the lid rests on the side of the grill while you flip the steaks or baste the ribs. Underneath the kettle, there’s a big bucket called an ash catcher; you use a lever to sweep the ashes into it and then it’s easy to remove and empty without leaving a trail of ashes along the way. 

This grill is available in three sizes: 18, 22, and 26 inches, so you can choose one that best suited to cooking food for just you and a few people, or a whole family. The only thing missing are side tables.

Best Kamado grill

Kamado Joe Classic II 18-inch KJ23RHC (Image credit: Kamado Joe)

4. Kamado Joe Classic 18-inch KJ23RH

Best Kamado grill

Specifications

Fuel: Lump charcoal
Grate: Stainless steel
Cooking Area : 245 square inches
Finish: Red
Features: Features: Stand, Built-in lid thermometer, Warming rack, Tool hooks, 2 side tables, Slide out ash drawer, Ash tool

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent cooking performance
+
Versatile
+
Easy to clean

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy

Cooks who love to try new things, and want to expand their repertoire beyond the basics, will love a kamado grill. The best of the bunch is the Kamado Joe Classic 18-inch KJ23RHC. This ceramic baby is heavy and will set you back a big chunk of change, but it will reward you with unparalleled control over the heat. 

That way you can cook an artisanal pizza in mere minutes, smoke a pork butt for hours, as well as grill everything in between. What you don’t get is a lot of room to load on the burgers – so you should expect to cook about 8 to 10 at once.

While you can use briquettes, you’ll get the best results if you use lump hardwood charcoal. This kamado comes with a wheeled stand and has side tables for resting your basting sauce and a cold one. When it’s time to clean up, all you have to do is slide out the ash drawer and dispose of the ashes. Safely of course.

Best barrel charcoal grill

Char-Griller Traditional Charcoal Grill  (Image credit: Royal Gourmet)

5. Royal Gourmet CD1824E 23-inch Charcoal BBQ Grill

Best barrel charcoal grill

Specifications

Fuel: Charcoal briquets
Grate: Porcelain enamal
Cooking Area: 720 square inches
Finish: Black
Features: Built-in lid thermometer, Tool hooks, Warming rack, 2 side tables, Removable ash pan

Reasons to buy

+
Can adjust distance of charcoal from grates
+
Easy to add charcoal
+
Convenient to clean

Reasons to avoid

-
Uses a lot of briquets

If you want to do more than sling hot dogs and burgers on your charcoal grill, the Royal Gourmet is ideal. It has a crank that lets you raise and lower the charcoal pan to help control the heat. When you want to quickly grill brats, move the coals right below them. To slowly smoke a side of salmon without flare-ups, lower them. 

There’s even a door underneath the grates that makes it easy to keep adding charcoal as the hungry crowd thickens. Plus you’ll find you need a lot of charcoal to keep the Royal Gourmet burning, so make sure you stock up before the party starts. 

This model has side tables to hold your tongs and trays and platters. You’ll also find a thermometer in the lid to give you a rough idea as to how hot it is under the grill, a warming rack that’s helpful for heating buns, and an easy to remove ash tray. Below the grill there’s a bottom shelf to keep extra charcoal or a roll of paper towels.  

Best XL pellet grill

Traeger Timberline XL on patio

Traeger Timberline XL on patio (Image credit: Traeger)
Best XL pellet grill

Specifications

Fuel: Wood pellets
Grates: Stainless steel
Cooking area: 1,320 square inches
Finishes: Black
Features: Wi-Fi connectivity, Induction, Full-Color display, Storage, Magnetic Cutting Board

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent at cooking range of foods
+
Convenient customized features
+
Storage space
+
Induction Cooktop

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Temperature requires close monitoring
-
Connective features may not work with all networks

If you enjoy outdoor cooking on a regular basis, the Traegar Timberland XL is what you need. The Traeger Timberline XL is the latest version of the company’s flagship line of grills, and is the state of the grilling art at its most advanced.  In addition, it allows you to cook a wide range of delicious foods at once, on its three grates (two of which are adjustable), providing a total of 1,320 square inches of cooking surface.

It's loaded with impressive features such as an updated, full-color touch display, four buttons for accessing various features, dial for adjusting the temperature and navigating menus and Wi-Fi connectivity. The induction cooking feature is ideal for sauteed vegetables, caramelized onions, and charred corn. 

Performance-wise, it grilled meats to perfection, ranging from juicy burgers, roast chicken, fall-apart-tender ribs and succulent smoked salmon. It even did well in searing romaine lettuce and toasting croutons if you fancied grilled Caesar salad. Plus, it has a handy storage space underneath to store all your accessories and grilling essentials. 

Bear in mind, it is twice as expensive than its predecessor. However, the Timberline is a great way to grill, making it a worthwhile investment.  

Read our full review for the Traeger Timberline XL grill

 

Best pellet grill

Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill (Image credit: Traeger)

7. Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill

Best pellet grill

Specifications

Fuel: Wood pellets
Grates: Porcelain enamel
Cooking Area: 575 square inches
Finishes: Black, Bronze
Features: Electronic temperature control, Meat probe, Built-in timer, Keep warm setting, Warming rack, WIFIRE app, Removable grease tray

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent at smoking
+
Excellent temperature control
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs outdoor electrical outlet
-
Mediocre at searing

Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill makes the process of smoking pretty much stress free. You add hardwood pellets to a hopper, set a target temperature, and the grill does the rest. It has an electronically-controlled thermostat that works like the one in your indoor oven. The only caveat is that if the temp you want is super-hot to get a steak browned and crusty on the outside and rosy on the inside, you won’t be getting it from this grill which tops out at 500°F.   

If you want to go about your yard work, or even just loll in a hammock while your ribs are smoking, you can connect the Traeger to an app which will let you know when it’s time to baste, raise the temp to finish them off, or alert you that they’re ready to serve.

Best flat top griddle

Blackstone grill

(Image credit: Blackstone)

8. Blackstone 36" Griddle Cooking Station with Accessory Side Shelf

The best flat top grill

Specifications

Fuel: LP
BTUs: 40,000
Burners: 4
Grates: Carbon steel
Cooking Area: 732 square inches
Finishes: Stainless, Black
Features: 2 side tables, Built-in cutting board, Garbage bag hooks, Paper towel holder, Removable grease tray

Reasons to buy

+
Even heating
+
Large surface
+
Side tables
+
Easy to assemble

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t produce grill marks
-
Can’t be used for smoking

Instead of grates, the Blackstone 36" Griddle Cooking Station has the kind of large flat cooking surface you see in diners. That gives you room for 28 burgers at once, and means your hot dogs and shrimp won’t fall through the slats. 

Underneath are four burners that you can set to different temperatures, so you can keep garlic bread warm on low while simultaneously searing some steaks. Just keep in mind that you won’t get grill marks, and won’t be able to smoke ribs or brisket. 

On one of the side tables, there’s a built-in cutting board that can be removed for cleaning. There’s also a place to hang a roll of paper towels and hooks to hang a trash bag. On the bottom, there’s even a shelf to give you some storage space. The Blackstone is easy to assemble, but remember that you will have to clean the griddle top and season it before you fire it up for the first time.

Best portable grill

Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill (Image credit: Weber)

9. Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill

Best portable grill

Specifications

Fuel: LP Gas
Burners: 1
BTUs: 8,500
Grate: Porcelain enamel over cast ion
Cooking Area: 189 square inches
Finishes: Titanium, Black, Blue, Green, Orange, Red
Features: Built-in lid thermometer, 2 side tables, Removable drip pan

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Nice design
+
Side tables

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 1 burner

If you want to grill away from home, the Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill is the best portable grill. You can depend on it for the same great cooking results you get from all Weber grills. Rather than a big tank of LP gas, it uses 14- or 16-ounce propane cylinders, which last about a couple of hours. Most likely you’ll be taking it to a park or beach, and using it for quick-cooking items like steaks or chicken breasts (or a couple of lobsters you pick up at the shore) but not for smoking a turkey or a shoulder of pork, so a single cylinder should do per outing.

It has side tables that are just as handy on the road as when you’re grilling in the backyard, but they fold up for travel so the grill is easy to transport. Other conveniences include a lid thermometer and an easy to remove and clean drip pan.  

Best electric grill

Char-Broil Patio Bistro Tru-Infrared Electric Grill (Image credit: Char-Broil)

10. Char-Broil Patio Bistro Tru-Infrared Electric Grill

Best electric grill

Specifications

Fuel: Electricity
Grates: Porcelain
Cooking Area: 320 square inches
Finishes: Black, Gray, Red
Features: Thermometer in lid, Warming rack, Removable grease tray

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Good results for an electric grill

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs outdoor electrical outlet

If you live in a community where gas and charcoal grills aren’t  allowed but have access to an outdoor electrical socket, the Char-Broil Bistro Tru-Infrared Electric Grill is your best bet for results that come close to those from a charcoal or gas grill. The Bistro is small enough to easily fit on a terrace or patio but has a grate that’s big enough to hold about a dozen burgers. It has a rack to keep food warm or heat the buns.

On the bottom there’s a shelf to hold supplies and in the lid, a thermometer. Two wheels make it easy to roll the Char-Broil inside or into the garage if you don’t want it to “live” on your limited outdoor area. The Bistro will produce minimal smoke to annoy the neighbors and has a grease pan that slides out to be easily cleaned in the kitchen. 

Best compact grill

Ninja outdoor grill

Ninja outdoor grill (Image credit: Ninja)
Best compact grill

Specifications

Grates : Non-stick
Color: Grey Lid / Black Body
Fuel: Electricity
Features : Grill Smoker, Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Reheat, Dehydrate

Reasons to buy

+
Ideal for small spaces
+
Easy to operate
+
Easy to clean

Reasons to avoid

-
Cooking results unpredictable
-
Cannot cook large amounts of food quickly

If you love grilling outdoors, but lack backyard space the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill is the ideal choice. Despite its small stature, primed for tabletop use in cramped spaces, the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill boasts an array of cooking modes. Features range from grill smoker, air fry and bake to reheat, proving how versatile this grill is.

It's easy to use via a neat control panel, and simply turn the power dial to select one of seven cooking functions. Best of all, it has a Woodfire Flavor Technology button for injecting additional smoke into your food. 

With impressive results, the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill excelled in grilling juicy beefburgers, however, you might need to experiment with the temperature for foods such as salmon. However, if you're only looking to cater for a small household, or just want to grill a small quantity, this is great value for money. 

Read our full Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill review.

How to choose the best grill

Before you decide which grill is right for you, there are several factors you need to consider. First, you need to decide which fuel-type is best for you. You should also think about which style of grill you want. Once you've made up your mind, you can narrow down your options based on the best features and overall design. Here are some guidelines to help get you started. 

Grill fuel types

Propane Gas: A popular option because it's easy to light, quick to heat and simple to clean. Whether you're cooking on a high temperature or need a slow burner, propane gas will produce good results. If we're being picky, some say it doesn't produce as much of a barbequed flavor as charcoal grills, but it's the best for convenience. Generally, it's good to use for grilling all year around. 

Most gas grills will be hooked up to a tank of liquid propane gas. If you already use a tank to fuel your kitchen range, then that can also be connected to your grill, meaning you would never run out of gas! Some models can also be connected to the natural gas line in your home. 

Don’t be wowed by BTUs. While they tell you how much gas the grill uses, and in theory should tell you how powerful it is, more BTUs doesn’t necessarily mean higher heat or better cooking. 

Charcoal: These grills require effort to light, control, and clean up. But hands down,  they give the smokiest flavor. Charcoal grills may use standard briquettes or the more expensive hardwood lump charcoal, but both types have their advantages.

Charcoal grilling is also more time consuming than using gas, since charcoal requires 15 to 20 minutes of burning time before reaching cooking temperatures, and has more involved cleanup when you're done.

Pellet: Using hardwood pellets, this type of grill produces distinctive deep smoky flavor. You fill the hopper with pellets and the grill’s electronics do the rest, maintaining a very even temperature. They’re particularly good for slow cooking foods like a pork roast, brisket, or side of salmon.  However, pellet grills don’t sear as well as other types of grills so if your idea of a great meal is a crusty steak, this isn’t the type for you.   

Grill styles

There are also several styles of grill, which vary based on fuel type and design.

Kettle grills take up the least space and lets you build a deep bed of briquets to hold in heat. That makes it good for longer cooking items like chicken or ribs as well as for searing steaks and burgers.

Barrel grills are, you guessed it, like a barrel lying on its side. They use a large quantity of briquets and can cook a lot of food at once; but they tend to burn out sooner so they’re better for hamburgers, hot dogs, and steaks than brisket or turkey breast. 

Kamado grills look a bit like traditional kettle models, but are made of heavy ceramic instead of lightweight sheet metal. The kamado design was popularized by the Big Green Egg brand, but similar ceramic designs are now offered by several companies.

While they’re not cheap, they hold in heat and give you lots of control for cooking all kinds of food, making them very popular with serious cooks who like to grill. The ceramic construction retains heat well, making them well suited to non-traditional grilling for dishes like pizza and deserts, but they’re heavy, use a lot of briquets, and don’t have a very big cooking surface.

You may also want to check out how to clean a grill or how to sharpen a knife when carving your delicious grilled meats.

What type of grill offers the best flavor?

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

If want to master that authentic, smoked taste, charcoal grills are known to give the best flavor.  While gas grills are said to offer the cook more control, without the risk of burning or scorching foods that are often associated with charcoal grillers. 


Do you like pizza? Check out our Ooni Fyra 12 review, as well as our Breville Pizzaiolo review.


Regardless of what type of fuel you use or style of grill you prefer, there are other things to look for in any grill you might consider buying, from the overall quality of construction to convenience features that make grilling safer and cleaning up easier.

Construction: A grill that’s built of thick metal or stainless won’t rust. A thicker material will also hold in heat better. It should sit firmly on the ground so it can’t be easily knocked over or even blown over. Look for stainless steel or bronze burners which are durable and won’t rust.

Wheels or Casters: At least two wheels on a grill make it easy to move it from place to place.

Lid: A tight fitting lid holds heat in.

When to replace your grill

Most brands will offer two kinds of warranty: one will cover labor, which typically lasts for up to two years, and a secondary warranty for parts, which will usually last much longer. This coverage can last for the lifetime of the grill, and will cover all of the essential parts, such as the burner, cooking grids and the housing. Your grill’s lifespan will also depend on how well you take care of it. For instance, here are 7 grilling mistakes you didn’t know you were making

First of all, you should keep it clean, which means covering it when it’s not in use and sheltering it from the elements. These are just some of the 5 tips to make your grill last longer — and perform better. If you opt for a grill which is made of durable materials, such as cast iron or stainless steel, these can last for as long as 20 years. We don’t recommend buying an extended warranty because these tend to cost more than any potential repairs during the grill’s lifetime. 

If any repair costs are half the value of a new grill, we suggest buying a replacement. Similarly, if you notice any rust or cracks in the firebox, you’re better off investing in a new grill. If cracks appear in the gas hose and regulator, then you’ve got a potential gas leak on your hands, so you should at least replace those parts before using your grill again.   

What accessories do you need for grilling?

You'll also need to make sure you have the right tools for grilling up a feast. These include quality grill tongs, spatula, skewers for handling smaller ingredients, a meat thermometer, and of course, grill gloves for extra safety. 

And don't forget the clean-up! You'll need one of the best grill brushes to keep your grill clean from stuck-on food and extend the life of the grill grates. More importantly, you want to ensure your food is tasty at all times!

Features to look out for

If you haven’t looked for a new grill in some time, you might be surprised at how attractive the entry-level models can be. Many of these are now available in stainless steel, which gives your backyard a more modern appeal. If you buy one of the latest models, you can also benefit from some of the new features on offer.

Some grills come with built-in containers to hold your wood chips and on occasion, a smoke chamber. You might also come across sear stations, rotisseries, side burners and built-in thermometers, all of which have their uses. Like many other appliances, grills are getting smarter too with some offering Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. With this, you can get notified when it’s time to flip the burgers, baste your dish or serve up. It can even let you know when it’s running low on gas. 

Be on the lookout for hooks on which to hold your tools as well — it’s a simple, but useful addition which you can find regardless of the price. Side tables are convenient as well for placing dishes. Removable ash catchers and drip pans are also good to have as they help with cleaning up. 

If you prefer to cook indoors, here are 7 things I learned from using my George Foreman grill

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Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.