Grilled food is magnificent, isn't it? Juicy steaks with grill marks. Savory marinated vegetables. Pineapple dripping with sweet-and-salty juices.
The thought makes your mouth water!
But before you can make all this great food, you have to have a grill.
There are vast numbers of grill options available! And while that's a good thing, choosing the right one is tricky.
We compiled a list of the top 8 types of grills and their pros and cons so you can choose the one that best fits your specific needs and style.
After that, you can start making amazing food that your family and friends will love!
Ready to learn what grill would suit you best?
Let's dive right in!
Why Cooking Over The Grill Is AWESOME!
First, let’s remind ourselves:
Why should we go to the trouble of grilling food instead of just using the oven?
There are so many reasons—where do we start?!
Benefits of Cooking Over the Grill
- Grilling is healthy - When you grill meat, the fats drip away as they are released, unlike the meat stewing in the fat while you fry or bake it. Because of this, grilled meats are lower in calories and fats than fried or baked meats. Also, when you grill, you tend to grill healthy whole foods like raw meat and veggies instead of heavily processed foods full of additives.
- Grilling is a cultural experience - Imagine the quintessential American meal. You probably pictured something like juicy burgers cooked over a traditional kettle grill and eaten at a picnic table in a sunny backyard. It’s a cultural icon!
- Grilling is a bonding experience - Grilling is a slow, relaxed way of cooking. It seems natural to gather around the grill and talk and chat with the chef while you watch the food sizzle. Kids love to watch Dad grill, and it’s a great way to prepare food while mingling with dinner guests! Plus, you can get your guests hyped up for the delicious food you will serve them.
- Grilling is downright delicious! - There is no other way to get those melting, crispy edges and grill marks on your meat or that smoky, savory flavor in your veggies. You can’t beat the taste and texture of grilled food!
Wow, are you ready to grill something? 🙂
Now that we have reminded ourselves why grilling is awesome let’s look at different grills that could get the job done.
We will list the pros and cons of each grill so you can evaluate whether or not it’s the right type for you.
Let’s take a look!
Pros and Cons of 8 Types of Grills
Maybe you want to start grilling fantastic food, but you aren’t sure what grill would best suit your needs.
Here is a list of the most common types of grills. We have included a few pros and cons to help you determine which would fit your needs, skill level, and lifestyle best.
Big Green Eggs
- Versatile - Eggs are one of the most versatile grills on the market! You can sear, roast, smoke, grill, slow-cook or bake food in an Egg. With a bit of practice, the sky is the limit!
- Portable - Eggs are also portable and come in different sizes. You can get everything from small tabletop grills to large standing grills.
- Precise temperature control - You can adjust the Egg’s sophisticated airflow meters to cook at precise temperatures and control just how your food gets done.
- Safe - An Egg’s ceramic surface doesn’t get as hot as a metal grill, and the hot charcoal is safely contained in the thick ceramic bowl. No worries about you or your kids getting burned.
- Comes in different sizes - You can get anything from a small tabletop Egg to a large Egg to serve a crowd!
- Backed by a culture - Egg fanatics who get together for big Egg grilling parties and festivals! If you get an Egg, you can join the community.
- Takes longer to heat - Heating a Green Egg is a process. Eggs are not the way to go if you just want to whip up two pork chops for you and your spouse. They are better for more serious projects.
- Needs charcoal and cleaning - You’ll have to buy charcoal for this grill. Also, you will have to clean the charcoal ash out regularly.
- Cost of accessories - There are specific accessories you can buy for Eggs, and they aren’t always the cheapest. Finding affordable accessories and extensions that fit these unique grills may be challenging.
- Prepare food while socializing - An outdoor kitchen allows you to prep food while chatting with friends. You won't have to be stuck alone in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun outdoors.
- Easy access to commodities - With an entire outdoor kitchen at your fingertips, you'll have access to counter space and maybe even a fridge while you grill. You won't have to constantly trot back and forth from the kitchen, which is more efficient and minimizes spills.
- Great for hosting - An outdoor kitchen provides the perfect space for hosting and socializing!
- Expensive - An entire outdoor kitchen is a luxurious but expensive installation! You don't want to install an outdoor kitchen if you are on a budget or if you aren't going to use it very often.
- Needs Maintenance - Outdoor kitchens need ongoing maintenance, and it will be more than just cleaning the grill!
Pellet grills burn wood fuels instead of charcoal or gas. They use electricity to power their self-feeding pellet systems, so they need an outlet nearby.
(For more info on wood fuel options for your grill, read our blog post on the ultimate guide to wood fuel types.)
- Unmatched heat control - You can set pellet grills to precise temperatures for complete control while cooking food on your pellet grill. Also, they circulate heat and smoke so your food cooks evenly without ever being moved - you can put your food on the grill and walk away, and it will cook the whole way through without being flipped.
- Versatile - Pellet grills are suitable for smoking, baking, roasting, or cooking! You can try lots of recipes and cooking methods with them.
- Easy to use - Just load the hopper with pellets, plug in your grill, and you are ready to go! No messing around with charcoal or wood.
- Real wood taste - Pellet grills give food that authentic, smoky wood flavor!
- Need electricity - If you don't have an outlet near your pellet grill, it won't work. That makes them inconvenient to use away from home or if your deck doesn't have an outdoor outlet.
- Lacks grill marks - Pellet grills use indirect heat, so your food won't have those gorgeous grill marks.
- Electronic malfunction - The more technology you have, the more pieces there are to break. There is a chance that the electronic technology in a pellet grill could break down or malfunction.
Gas grills are the quick-and-easy option in the barbecue world. They run on gas and are super easy to use. They are an excellent option for whipping up a quick supper for the family.
- Easy to use - If you know how to use a stove, you can use a gas grill. Just turn on the burners like a stovetop.
- Fast - There is almost no wait time with gas grills. They are ready to cook in just a few minutes.
- No ashes - You'll still have to clean a gas grill, but you won't have to mess with ashes! Also, a gas grill is easy to power down - just turn off the burners.
- Taste - Some say gas grills don't achieve the same taste as charcoal. This is somewhat subjective, but gas grills don't produce smoke like charcoal or pellet grills, so the flavor is less authentically grilled.
- No smoking - Since gas grills don't produce smoke, you can't smoke food with a gas grill. This also contributes to the lack of flavor in your food.
- Harder to clean - You won't have to mess with ashes, but gas grills have more parts than others. You'll have to remove everything and clean it occasionally, which can be a pain.
The Original and the king of smoky grilled flavor, charcoal grills have been around for a long time. The classic charcoal kettle grill is probably what you imagined the burgers being cooked on when you pictured that quintessential American meal!
- King of flavor - If you want that classic, smoky grilled flavor, you just can't beat a charcoal grill. You have to love that flavor!
- Affordable and portable - There are lots of small, affordable, and portable charcoal options out there. Even the higher-end models are usually less expensive than other types of grills.
- High heat - Charcoal can get really, really hot, making for a perfect sear! You can coax charcoal up to around 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Charcoal is a pain to clean - Charcoal grills are less complicated than gas grills (basically just a bowl to hold charcoal), but cleaning up charcoal ash is pretty messy and annoying.
- Charcoal may be illegal - Some consider it dangerous because of the high heat and inability to turn a charcoal grill off. That is why some apartment complexes or city areas may ban charcoal grills.
- Less control - You can’t set charcoal to certain temperatures or control it easily. You have to stay alert to how your food is cooking, and it takes some practice to master the art of grilling with charcoal. If you are a grilling connoisseur, maybe that tickles you, but some just consider it harder.
Electric grills don’t burn physical fuel—they run on electricity. They are typically smaller, lighter, and easier to move than gas or charcoal grills.
The smaller size also sets an electric grill apart from a conventional stovetop.
You won’t haul your stove to the car and take it along for a weekend camping - but with an electric grill, it would be no problem, and you can cook with ease all weekend, provided you have access to electricity.
Now, let’s examine the pros and cons of using an electric grill.
- No storing fuel - Because they run off electricity, there’s no need to store physical fuel.
- Easy to control - Electric grills are as easy to run as an electric stovetop!
- Easy to clean - These grills won’t have any carbon residue. They are usually simple to take apart and wipe down.
- Portable - You can easily take your electric grill anywhere you like! They make for wonderfully easy cooking on camping trips.
- Small - Even the largest electric grills may not be big enough to cook things like whole turkeys. They work best for smaller meats like hamburgers and hotdogs.
- Need an outlet - While it’s nice not to store fuel, you need access to electricity, which can be inconvenient for things like camping.
- Don’t perform well in the cold - Even the best electric grills simply don’t perform as well in cold temperatures.
Infrared grills emit infrared energy directly into the food, making these grills fast and efficient.
Want a more in-depth explanation? Here is how this new technology works.
- Powerful and fast working - Infrared grills can reach temperatures in the range of 700 degrees Fahrenheit! And they cook food faster than any other grill. Some meats may only take a minute per side. That means you’ll be able to feed a large crowd efficiently.
- Makes juicier food - Because they cook fast and don’t break the moisture barrier, infrared grills make incredibly flavorful, juicy food.
- Energy-efficient - Most infrared grills run on gas, and since they are so fast and efficient, they don’t use as much fuel as other grills.
- Bulky - Infrared grills are bulky and often occupy a lot of space. You won't want to haul them places.
- Easy to burn food - People sometimes struggle to get the hang of cooking on infrared grills because they are unlike traditional grills, and the temperatures are so high. Burning things, particularly delicate foods like fish and veggies, is easy. It may take a little practice before you get it right.
- Expensive - Like most new technology, infrared grills can have high price tags.
- Technology that breaks - Anytime you have more tech and more parts, there is more potential for malfunction. That is one advantage the simpler grills have over the high-tech grills.
Hybrid grills combine the best aspects of different kinds of grills. It might be a gas/charcoal hybrid, infrared/gas hybrid, or other combination.
- Convenience - With a hybrid, you get the best of two worlds without buying two grills! For example, on any night, you could choose between the smoky charcoal flavor and the convenience of gas.
- Versatility - A hybrid can allow you to do more than either type of grill can alone.
- Price - Hybrids can be costly, as they combine multiple elements.
- Double maintenance - While you can get the best of both worlds, you may also get the worst of both worlds. For example, you may have to clean a complicated gas grill while dealing with charcoal ash. Plus, in the case of a gas/charcoal hybrid, you'll need to keep both gas and charcoal on hand.
Choosing The Right Grill For You
So which type of grill is best for you?
That depends on your needs. To help yourself think about it, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have convenient access to power outlets where you want to grill? If not, an electric grill is not for you. Neither is a wood pellet grill which requires electrical access as well.
- Will you want to move your grill around or take it on camping trips? If so, you might want a small, portable charcoal kettle grill.
- How many people do you want to feed at a time? If you want to feed crowds, go for a large, fast-working grill like an infrared grill or even multiple grills so you can have several people making different menu items.
- Do you have the space and support for a large, heavy grill? Are you okay with your grill remaining in one place?
- Will you want to grill spontaneously? If so, choose a grill that’s easy to fire up, like a gas or electric grill.
- Are you a grilling purist? If so, maybe you just prefer conventional charcoal over modern electric or infrared grills.
After you have asked yourself these questions and made your decision, get ready to start grilling fantastic food. Your status with your friends and family will instantly skyrocket!
We wish you the best!
BONUS: If you want to become an expert in lawn and garden care, check out some of our other blogs:
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