Best Grills for The Money Spent
BBQ season is here again. If you asked an enthusiast, he’d tell you that it never left at all. Regardless of whether you’re a fan or a dabbler, it’s a fact that buying a grill will never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. It’s an investment that should never be taken lightly. The choices are numerous, each one offering something a little bit different. But not all of them giving you the best value for your money. What does this mean? Well, everyone’s needs are different and so are our budgets. If you have a lot of money to spare, it doesn’t mean that you should go for a grill that costs a whack. It could be that a lot of features on that grill will go unused. Or that it doesn’t have the features you need despite its price. And going cheap could just leave you with a substandard product that won’t even last after a few sessions. You wouldn’t want to get burned buying the wrong one, would you?
So, how do you know? How do you choose a grill that’s worth the money you’re forking over? There’s a lot of things you’ll need to consider before you’re able to reach that answer. You’ll need to think about size – how much food you want to be able to cook at a time. You’ll also need to consider fuel source, whether you’ll want charcoal, gas, electric, or pellet. Other things you might want to consider include temperature range, temperature control, durability, and accessories. Even something as simple as the grill grate is a feature you’ll need to think about. All these considerations can be a lot to handle, especially for a beginner. That’s why we decided to look over the best value grills on the market today to help you make your choice. We’ve narrowed down the selection to three for each type of fuel source (charcoal, gas, and electric) and provided you with a short review. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you have a clearer idea of which grill would fit you best.
Best Gas Grills for the Money
Gas grills have slowly but steadily been turning up the heat over the years. It’s easy to see why. They’re easy to clean, provide constant and consistent heat, and extremely cost-effective.
Weber 46110001 Spirit E210 Liquid Propane Gas Grill
Weber is the undoubtedly the premier grill manufacturer and this particular one is a prime example. The Spirit series may be the least expensive of their gas grills, but that doesn’t mean that these grills don’t have the stamp of the quality that this brand is famous for. The E210 is a gas grill that has two stainless steel burners (26,500 BTU-per-hour) with an electronic ignition system. The grill has Porcelain-enameled, cast iron cooking grates and porcelain-enameled Flavorizer bars. The primary cooking space is 360 square inches while the warming rack is 90 square inches. Other features include six tool hooks, two fold-down stainless steel tables, a porcelain-enameled steel lid and firebox, and a single door enclosed cart with casters (two of which lock).
For a family of four with limited outdoor space, this is a top quality, durable grill that will produce deliciously cooked food every time. Best of all, you can easily do some 2-zone cooking on this little grill. While they are considered a bit more expensive than other gas grills of this type, there’s no question that it’ll be worth every penny.
The CGG-240 is a roll-away portable gas grill that is perfect for an outdoor chef who wants to be able to grill anytime, anywhere. The grill has a 240 square inch porcelain-enamel coated cast iron cooking grate, an electric ignition, one 15,000 BTU stainless steel loop burner, two fold-down side trays, a stainless steel lid, a temperature gauge, a removable drip tray, and a heat distribution panel. The entire grill folds flat with two large base wheels and can be easily transported by one person.
Whether you’re at home or on the go, this baby will serve you well. It heats up quickly (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit), has even heat distribution (no hot spots), and cooks food fast. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and compact. It can easily cook for a family of 4 or 5 and can be expected to last several years. As a bonus, the grill is also quite easy to clean. There are some drawbacks, though. First, you can’t do the 2-zone cooking. Second, the grill has a hard time reaching high temps on windy days. And third, it uses up a lot of gas pretty quick.
Char-Broil Classic 4-Burner Gas Grill
This gas grill is much larger than the other two we previously looked at. It has four main stainless steel burners that have an output of 40,000 BTU and a 10,000 BTU stainless steel side burner with a flush mounted lid. It features a larger cooking surface – the porcelain-coated cast iron grate is 480 square inches, and the swing-a-way warming rack is 180 square inches. The lid, handle, and control panel are stainless steel while the rest of the body is black painted steel. Other features include an electronic igniter, lid-mounted temperature gauge, side shelves, and two large wheels.
For a grill at this price, it is large, easy to assemble, heats up fast, and cooks quite well. However, the material isn’t as durable as you’d think. The stainless steel isn’t top quality; the grates are prone to rust (the porcelain coating flakes off rather quickly), and some parts are pretty flimsy. Some owners have complained that it runs too hot. Others state that the heat is too hard to control. While it is incredibly inexpensive, you seem to be sacrificing quite a bit just to get a large gas grill. You may be better off just investing on the Weber.
Best Charcoal Grills for the Money
BBQ enthusiasts will tell you – nothing beats the smell of burning charcoal on a grill. Except maybe, the smell of sizzling meat over hot coals on a grill. With a charcoal grill, you get the ritual, the flavor, and the heat all rolled into one fun package.
Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22
Ah, the iconic kettle. The grill that made Weber into a grill manufacturing legend. The Original Kettle 22 features a 363 square inch plated steel hinged cooking grate, rust resistant aluminum vents, porcelain-enameled steel bowl and lid, glass-reinforced nylon handles with a heat shield, an aluminum ash catcher, a One-Touch cleaning system, and two large all-weather wheels. The grill also features an angled lid hook where you can place your lid safely out of the way, freeing up both your hands for cooking.
There’s almost nothing bad to be said about this charcoal grill. It’s large (good for six people), easy to use, and easy to clean. It’s extremely versatile, allowing you to cook a wide range of foods, grilled at high temps or low and slow. It’s a Weber, so you know you get top quality and durability. It will definitely last for decades. The only issues owners get are the plated steel grate (not the best kind of grate) and the fact that the ash catcher is a bit far away from the bottom of the grill some of the ash flies around when you’re emptying the grill. Other than those, you’ve got a great grill for the money.
Onlyfire Portable Smokeless Charcoal Barbecue Grill Stainless Steel
This is not your average charcoal grill. It’s a smokeless portable charcoal grill that’s battery-operated. Yes, you use batteries to get this grill running. This grill comes with a fan which sucks in cold air and uses it to fan the flames. The fan speed can be adjusted by using the LED-lit ON/OFF switch that also serves as a control dial, allowing you to control the heat. The grill comes with a stainless steel grate, a charcoal container with a lid, a tray for the fire gel, a grease tray that doubles as a heat reflector, a powder-coated steel housing, and a carrying bag. The entire grill weighs 9.6 pounds.
With this lightweight grill, you can get the fire going under five minutes and cook enough food for five people anywhere, anytime. The grate and the grease tray are locked in place with a latch. Both of these parts are dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is very easy. The housing doesn’t heat up, so it’s safe for your hands and your table. However, there are big drawbacks such as uneven heat distribution, and heat control is mainly guesswork – there are no markings between the off and the max level.
EcoQue ECO-70120 Portable Stainless Steel Grill, 12-Inch
This is a uniquely designed grill that’s extremely fuel efficient – 9 pieces of charcoal can get you going. The grill is made of high-quality stainless steel plates that, when put together, looks somewhat like a lantern. It’s quite easy to assemble and pack away. When packing it up, the grill folds flat, just a little over one inch thick. The grill comes with a “fork” tool, which is a handy accessory that allows you to move the hood and the grate without getting burned.
This is an extremely efficient grill that’s also quite versatile; you can grill, smoke, or bake various types of food. Cleanup is a breeze. The grill heats up fast and can reach high temperatures (over 600 degrees). Best of all, the grill cooks really well. Of course, there are some drawbacks. Cooking on this grill takes a bit of getting used to, especially since heat control is based on the arrangement of your coal. Because of its shape, there tends to be a hot spot right at the center of the grill. Using the hood can create more even heat distribution. The sharp edges of the plates can be a bit of a safety issue. Also, the plates can also get pretty hot so be careful in touching them.
Best Electric Grills for the Money
Can’t have a gas or a charcoal grill at home? Well, there’s only one thing for you to do – go electric. Electric grills may not be as flavorful and fun as charcoal or as hot as gas, but they’ll be able to deliver deliciously grilled food in a jiffy whenever you crave ‘em.
George Foreman GRP1060B 4 Serving Removable Plate Grill, Black
This little tabletop electric grill is one of the best in the George Foreman line of grills. It’s pretty small with only 60 square inches of cooking space. As the name suggests, you can cook four servings of food at a time on the grill plates. While this grill is definitely fit for a small family, it heats up pretty fast (35% faster than older models) and cooks food within 10 minutes. You can definitely cook multiple courses over a short period of time. The grill plates are removable and dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is a breeze. They have a durable, nonstick coating, which protects the plates from damage caused by frequent exposure to high heat and cleaning. When it comes to grilling, the GRP1060B definitely excels. However, some drawbacks need to be taken as a note. The grill doesn’t have an on/off switch or button so you can’t just leave it plugged. It also has no temperature control, so there’s a bit (or maybe a lot) of guesswork involved when cooking food. Delicate meats such as fish need to be watched closely, so they don’t get overcooked. And the cord is pretty short, so it needs to stay close to a power outlet at all times.
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler, Silver, Black Dials
This 5-in-1 griddler may be the best thing to ever grace the indoor grilling market. The grill has a stainless steel base and self-adjusting cover, a panini-style cast-metal handle, removable and reversible nonstick cooking plates, a removable drip tray, several control knobs, a cleaning or scraping tool, plate release buttons, and a hinge release lever.
There are several great things about this grill. The two temperature control knobs provide accurate heat control. The cooking plates enable versatility in cooking; you can use it as a panini press, a full griddle, a full grill, a contact grill, or a half griddle and half grill. You can cook burgers, veggies, eggs, pancakes, paninis, steaks, fish, shrimp, etc. The hinged release lever allows you to lay the grill flat, giving you 200 square inches of cooking space so you can cook large batches of food at once. The hinged cover enables the grill to adjust to the thickness of the food. And all of the removable parts – the plates, tray, and scraping tool – are dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is very easy.
Hamilton Beach 25331 Super Sear 100-Square-Inch Nonstick Indoor Searing Grill
Who says you can’t sear your steak with an indoor, electric grill?! This small electric grill from Hamilton Beach certainly can. This indoor searing grill has a 100-square inch cooking surface (up to 4 burgers) that has nonstick coating, a floating hinge to accommodate food thickness, a digital display, adjustable temperature controls (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit), an illuminated sear button, and a removable drip tray (that’s also dishwasher-safe).
What do we like about this grill? It heats up quickly and can maintain really high temperatures. It has better heat distribution than other grills of this caliber. It will sear the meat for 90 seconds, achieving grill marks and sealing in the juices as well as the flavor. And the food cooks really fast.
What do we dislike? The grill plates aren’t removable so cleaning up can be a bit of a hassle. The drip tray doesn’t attach to the grill so it can accidentally get moved aside, causing grease to drip down to your counter. Cooking can be a bit of a challenge at first; you’ll need to know how long to cook certain foods and how high your temperature should be. Also, the cord is a bit short so you’re limited to where you can place this appliance.
Whether you’re a new griller or a serious BBQ enthusiast, it always pays to know that you’re getting a product worth the money spent. After all, you worked hard for that money. And who wouldn’t want a grill that not only fits your home but also matches your needs and budget? All these grills we’ve reviewed are quite popular among BBQ fans and have a large amount of good feedback from buyers. While none of them are perfect (indeed, some have more drawbacks than you’d like), they all produce delicious BBQ that’ll satisfy your tummy. Of course, if you still haven’t made up your mind, there are loads of other choices for you to look at both online and in store. Just remember, buying a grill should never be a spontaneous decision. You wouldn’t want to make a choice that might result in blowing up right in your face. Here’s to hoping you get the grill of your dreams real soon!