The 5 Best Grills for Backyard Barbecues and Cookouts in 2022

Our top charcoal grill, the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, is a beginner-friendly grill that makes cooking delicious barbecue a breeze.

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 Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inc

Amazon

While you can whip up cookout favorites on your stove or in your oven, those appliances aren’t the best tools for the job. To get a perfect sear on your burger, pack your ribs with smoky flavor, or roast deliciously charred vegetables, you’ll need a grill.

To find the best grills, we consulted three grilling experts: Jake Wood, owner and chef at Lawrence Barbecue; Christie Vanover, competitive pitmaster and founder of Girls Can Grill; and Ray Rastelli, Jr., butcher and president of Rastelli Foods Group. We also spent hours researching top-rated grills, assessing them for size, cooking capacity, and ease of use.

“When buying a grill, think about what you are grilling and how many people [you’re cooking for],” Wood says. “[And] make sure you are comfortable with [your grill].” If you’re uncomfortable fueling, cleaning, or maintaining your grill, you should probably look for a simpler option that’s suitable for beginners.

Our top charcoal grill, Weber’s Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, makes cooking delicious barbecue easy thanks to its beginner-friendly design and built-in lid thermometer. Our top gas grill, Weber’s Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill, is equipped with three burners and lots of cooking space—handy features for when you’re grilling for a crowd.

Here are the best grills for backyard barbecues and cookouts.

Best Charcoal Grill : Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

4.8
Best Grills
Amazon

Who it’s for: Grillers of all skill levels who want an easy way to cook flavor-packed food for a crowd.

Who it isn’t for: Grillers who prefer a faster, hotter cooking process.

Craving some authentic barbecue flavor? “The charcoal grill will provide that authentic barbecue flavor compared to a gas or electric grill,” says Vanover. “But it does require more cleanup because of the ash you’ll have after every use.” Charcoal grills are generally less expensive too, and Weber’s Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill is a great one to start with. Small, lightweight, and portable, this grill is ideal for first-time grillers—and makes cooking delicious food a breeze.

At 27 inches tall, 22 inches long, and 22 inches wide, this grill doesn’t take up much room, but is equipped with enough cooking space to feed a crowd. The grill’s 363-square-inch cooking grate can handle 13 burgers at a time. Though this grill is low on prep space, it’s lined with storage hooks that keep your go-to grilling tools within reach.

Our favorite thing about this grill? It’s really easy to use. Because the grill’s grate is hinged, you can handily add more charcoal to the grill as you cook, and the outer lid thermometer helps you keep an eye on the grilling process—even when the lid is down.

To top things off, the grill comes with a built-in ash catcher, which traps all your grill’s mess in one place. Since charcoal grills are notorious for leaving behind lots of ash to clean up, this feature is a game-changer—making the grill a delight to use, from start to finish.

Product Details:

  • Type: Charcoal
  • Size: 22 x 22 x 27 inches
  • Cooking Space: 363 square inches

Price at time of publish: $232

Best Gas Grill: Weber Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill

4.8
Best Grills of 2022
Amazon.com

Who it’s for: Grillers who want a fast-acting grill that’s packed with cooking and prep space.

Who it isn’t for: First-time grillers who feel uncomfortable handling fuel.

Gas grills are a classic for a reason: They’re fast-acting, powerful, and easy to use. “Gas grills start instantly and heat up quickly, [and they also] heat up and cool faster than charcoal,” says Rastelli. “[That said], they can be more expensive compared to charcoal grills.” Since Weber’s Spirit II E-310 Liquid Propane Grill is a best-in-class grill that’s powerful but manageable, it’s the perfect product to invest in as you level up your grill game.

At 52 inches tall, 44.5 inches long, and 27 inches wide, Weber’s grill is the largest on our list. While that size may sound intimidating, it gives you lots of cooking space to work with. The grill has three burners and a 529-square-inch grate that makes it easy to juggle several dishes at once, and you can use the built-in warming rack to keep your food nice and toasty, even if you finish cooking it at different times.

To make cooking even easier, the grill has plenty of prep space. It features two side tables, which can hold plates, drinks, and ingredients, convenient hooks for all your grilling tools, and an open shelf that’s great for overflow storage.

If you peek underneath the grill, you’ll also find a removable grease catcher. This handy add-on is a classic feature on a gas grill, but it still deserves a shout-out, because it cuts down on sticky grease build-up—making the grill refreshingly easy to clean.

Product Details:

  • Type: Gas
  • Size: 44.5 x 27 x 52 inches
  • Cooking Space: 529 square inches

Price at time of publish: $639

Best Pellet Grill: Traeger Pro 575 Wood Pellet Grill

Best Grill Deals
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Who it’s for: Experienced grillers who love the flavor of smoky barbecue and don’t mind a slower grilling process.

Who it isn’t for: First-time grillers or grillers who prefer speed over flavor.

“If you want a grill that can be used to smoke foods low and slow like brisket and pork butts, you should consider a pellet grill—but remember grilling high-heat meals can be tricky,” says Vanover. Pellet grills rely on flaming wood pellets to cook food evenly and pack dishes with a smoky flavor. And while the Traeger Grills Pro 575 is the most expensive grill on our list, it’ll leave you with slow-cooked barbecue that rivals what the pros make.

At 53 inches tall, 41 inches long, and 27 inches wide, the grill may look intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy to use. Just fill the grill’s “hopper” with your favorite wood pellets, turn it on, and flip it to your desired temperature—the grill will handle the rest.

The grill has two racks, giving you 575 square inches of cooking space. That’s enough room to grill 24 burgers, five racks of ribs, or four whole chickens, so you can definitely feed a crowd. Unfortunately, prep space isn’t as abundant: While you can rest small items on top of the grill’s hopper, most of your prep work needs to happen elsewhere.

One of the best things about this grill? You can control it from afar using the Traeger app. The app lets you set timers, change temperatures, and check in on your food, so you can step away from the slow-cooking process without neglecting your food.

Product Details:

  • Type: Pellet
  • Size: 41 x 27 x 53 inches
  • Cooking Space: 575 square inches

Price at time of publish: $900

Best Flat Top Grill: Blackstone Original 28-Inch Flat Top Griddle With Side Shelf

Blackstone 28-inch Outdoor Flat Top Gas Grill

Wayfair

Who it’s for: Grillers who want to cook omelettes, pancakes, and other dishes that fall through standard grill grates, and grillers who want a portable grill.

Who it isn’t for: Fans of grill marks and beginner grillers who feel uncomfortable handling fuel.

If you’d pick patty melts over burgers and breakfast sausages over hot dogs, then ditch the classic grill—and snag Blackstone’s Flat Top Gas Grill instead. The grill’s flat griddle makes it an ideal pick for pancakes, fried eggs, quesadillas, and more, and its two-burner design makes it incredibly easy to use. “Flat-top griddles are great additions for the backyard because they offer so much versatility,” says Vanover. “You can create a diner-style breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon, or [you can] pretend you’re a hibachi chef and whip up steak, shrimp, chicken, and fried rice.”

In place of the classic grill grate, this one features a flat-top griddle: a 470-square-inch surface that can hold 44 hot dogs at once. Since the griddle is flat, it’s great for cooking dishes that would fall through standard grill grates—like omelettes, chopped veggies, and stir-fry-style meat. But it can still handle cookout classics, like burgers, hot dogs, and steak.

This grill has a folding side table and a built-in storage shelf, with plenty of prep space to work with. It’s also easy to turn on: Just press the grill’s ignition button, and the griddle will be hot in no time.

Another thing we love about this grill? You can bring it on the go. The grill has caster wheels, so it’s easy to roll around your yard or patio. Since its legs are foldable, you can compress the 69-pound grill to a fraction of its size, toss it in the trunk of your car, and carry it anywhere it needs to go.

Product Details:

  • Type: Gas griddle
  • Size: 44.5 x 19.5 x 33.5 inches
  • Cooking Space: 470 square inches

Price at time of publish: $300

Best Electric Grill : George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill

4.7
George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill

Amazon

Who it’s for: First-time grillers, budget-conscious shoppers, and people with limited grilling space.

Who it isn’t for: Grillers who want a larger, more powerful grill that packs food with a smoky flavor.

Electric grills are one of the most beginner-friendly options. “Electric grills are easy to use, but they need to be plugged in, so that limits where you can take them,” says Rastelli. “Electric grills [also tend to be] inexpensive and small, making them easy to travel with [and convenient for] smaller spaces.” And when it comes to electric grills, George Foreman’s Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill can’t be topped.

The grill is small at just 13 inches tall, 22 inches long, and 18 inches wide, so it’s a great pick for small spaces. But don’t let its low profile fool you: The grill offers plenty of cooking space. Its 240-square-inch grate can handle 15 burgers at a time, and it’s packed with features that make grilling refreshingly easy.

The grill’s adjustable temperature dial gives you five settings to choose from, helping you get the right amount of heat every time. It also has a handy non-stick coating that makes cooking and cleaning a breeze, keeping food from sticking to your grill grates and cutting down on the mess you have to clean up later.

Plus, electric grills are indoor- and outdoor-friendly, so it’s ideal for year-round use and seamless hosting. You can use the grill on top of its removable stand on your balcony, porch, or patio, or opt to store it on your countertop for easy in-kitchen cooking. Since the grill only weighs 21 pounds, it’s easy to carry from place to place. Just remember that it’s electric—so you’ll need access to an electrical outlet to get it up and running.

Product Details:

  • Type: Electric
  • Size: 13 x 22 x 18 inches
  • Cooking Space: 240 square inches

Price at time of publish: $100

Final Verdict

Looking for an easy way to cook barbecue for a crowd? Our top charcoal grill, Weber’s Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, has you covered. This charcoal grill is incredibly easy to use, thanks to handy features like a built-in lid thermometer and a hinged grill grate. Though the grill is small-space-friendly, it’s big enough to cook 13 burgers at a time.

If you prefer a gas grill, we recommend Weber’s Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill, which is powerful without being tough to use. This grill has ample cooking space: It boasts three burners, a 529-square-inch grill grate, and a built-in warming rack. Since it’s packed with prep space, it cuts down on trips to the kitchen—keeping all your grilling necessities in one place.

How to Shop for Grills Like a Pro

Type

The first step you should take when selecting a grill is to figure out what type you need. “The type of grill you select should be based on your personal needs and experience,” says Rastelli. “You should also decide what you like to grill, how much time you have for prep work and cooking, plus the convenience of where you will be cooking—and then adjust your purchase to those needs.”

  • Electrics grills: Great for beginners and small spaces, require an outlet
  • Charcoal and pellet grills: Create smoky flavor, but take longer to heat up
  • Gas grills: Cook quickly and efficiently, not suited for beginners
  • Flat-top grills: More portable, better for foods that fall between traditional grill grates

Size

Regarding grill size, there are three things you want to consider. “First and foremost, you need to pick a good area,” says Wood. “Your backyard will determine what you buy.” Is the grill the right size for your space? If a grill doesn’t comfortably fit where you plan to use it, look for a smaller option. Second, how much cooking space does the grill offer? Note how big the cooking surface is—and keep an eye out for prep space, too. Third, is the grill portable? If you want to take your grill on the go, you’ll probably need a smaller, lighter option—and wheels can make toting a grill around even easier.

Cooking capacity

As you shop for grills, consider how many people you like to cook for. “Consider how much food you’re likely to cook at one time,” says Vanover. “Will you be grilling burgers for two or feeding the softball team?” If you love to host large parties or will be grilling for a large family, look for an option with enough cooking space to feed a crowd. Check the size of the grill grate or griddle, and look for handy features, like built-in warming racks. Pay attention to prep space, too. Grills with built-in shelves and hooks make it easy to organize plates, tools, and ingredients. “Having a side shelf to hold your food and a bottom shelf to hold cleaning supplies and tools is also nice,” Vanover says.

Questions You Might Ask

What type of grill should a beginner buy?

Our experts agree: Electric grills are best for beginners because they’re budget-friendly, safe, and easy to use. “[Electric grills] are easier to control and less work to clean and maintain, making them perfect for beginners,” Rastelli says. “Start small, and don’t jump into those large grills with a bunch of accessories until you find you need them.” But if you want to get a little fancy, our experts recommend experimenting with a small gas grill or a charcoal kettle grill.

“The best types of grills for beginners are charcoal kettle grills and electric grills, because they don’t cost very much and they’re pretty easy to learn,” Vanover says. “For a beginner griller who has more money to spend, a 3-burner gas grill is [also] a great investment.”

How do you clean a grill?

To clean your grill, follow three simple steps: Burn, brush, and season. “Always keep [your grill] on after you’ve finished cooking to burn off any [residue] that [was] left behind,” Rastelli says. He recommends cranking your grill to “high” for about five minutes. (Your grill might smoke, so close the lid if you have one.) “Once your five minutes are up, turn off the heat, and use a long-handled grill brush to clean the grill,” he says. “[Then], coat your clean grill plates with a bit of oil.” This will season your grill grates and prevent rust.

How long should grills last?

Grills have different lifespans, and those lifespans can vary depending on the type of grill you have and how well you’ve maintained it. “The average [stainless steel] grill will last 3-5 years, [and] cast iron and ceramic grills can last 10 years or more,” Rastelli says. “It’s all about maintenance and care.” Be sure to keep your grill clean, dry, and covered. And practice proper grilling techniques to keep your grill in tip-top shape.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Lindsey Lanquist, a contributing writer for Real Simple with seven years of experience writing lifestyle content. To find the best grills, Lindsey researched dozens of top-rated options and assessed them for size, cooking capacity, and ease of use. For advice on what to look for when buying a grill, she turned to three grilling experts: Jake Wood, Christie Vanover, and Ray Rastelli, Jr.

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