Cuisinart CGS-5020 BBQ Tool Aluminum Carrying Case
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

7 BBQ Tool Sets That Chefs Consider Up to the Task

Get the grilling tools you need in one set with the Cuisinart Deluxe Grill Set and others.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

When investing in new grilling and barbecue tools, the question of whether to buy them individually or as a set often comes up. If you opt for a set, you'll want to be sure you'll use all the tools it includes. If you're caught up in indecision, we've done the research that will help you answer these questions. We picked the brains of chefs Kenny Gilbert, Vishwesh Bhatt, and Rob McDaniel, who tell us what they like and dislike in their grilling tools, what they need when cooking, and what they would like to make grilling more enjoyable. We applied their knowledge and advice to select the best sets of varying sizes, finishes, and budgets on the market. Find out why we picked the Cuisinart Deluxe Grill Set as our favorite overall and see our picks in other areas below.

Our Top Picks:

Cuisinart Deluxe Grill Set
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Overall: Cuisinart Deluxe Grill Set

View at Amazon ($50)

Also available at Crate & Barrel and Home Depot.

Pros: The shape and taper of the tongs and spatula make these tools more graceful to use, and the temperature probe meat fork is an added bonus.

Cons: Sharper skewers, a better grill brush, and non-slip handles would make this set even better.

The Cuisinart set rated highly in our Essential Grilling Tools review and holds firm here, as it has most of the best qualities that we look for in grill tools. A spatula with a tapered head and tongs with graduating ends are key to any set. The grilling fork is just what we look for with its strong, narrow tines, which put small punctures into whatever you're jabbing. Thick tines on a fork make significantly larger holes that allow heat to enter the food as it cooks, which results in uneven cooking. This utensil also includes a built-in digital thermometer. Fork lecture concluded, we find the grill brush a little clumsy, and the skewers could be sharper. Getting the three necessary components in their best form, however, makes up for that.

  • What's Included: Tongs, Spatula, Temperature Probe Meat Fork, Corn Holders, Skewers, Grill Brush, Basting Brush
  • Material: Stainless Steel, Silicone
  • Case: Yes
Best Grilling Tool Sets
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Value: Weber Precision 3 Piece Tool Set

View at Amazon ($47)

Also available at Best Buy.

Pros: This is an excellent entry-level set of tools for a reasonable price. The slip-resistant handles set it apart from others in this price range.

Cons: The spatula is a bit clunky, and the basting brush may or may not be useful, depending on how you grill.

The Weber Precision is a no-frills set that covers the bases of what you need for grilling. The Weber edges out some close competitors with slip-resistant handles that also protect your hands from heat. The spatula is slightly clumsy; we'd prefer a more tapered tip, but it does have a nice bevel for sliding under food. The locking tongs have the scalloped edge that we prefer and aren't overly long in a way that affects your dexterity. Depending on how you grill, you may or may not find the basting brush useful, but the silicone head won't shed bristles and is good for applying mops and sauces to your food. All of the tools are dishwasher safe and come at a reasonable price.

  • What's Included: Spatula, Tongs, Basting Brush
  • Material: Stainless Steel, Silicone
  • Case: No
Best Grilling Tool Sets
Credit: Courtesy of Williams-sonoma

Best Splurge: Laguiole en Aubrac 4-Piece Grill Tool Set

View at Williams Sonoma ($500)

Pros: The meat fork is a classic French design, which is a big plus in our book, and the set is both stylish and practical.

Cons: The fork and knife are longer than we would like, and the tongs can be a bit clumsy.

This set makes a functional statement. Other sets include several more pieces, but this four-piece, hand-crafted set features high-carbon stainless steel and sustainably sourced wenge wood handles that are as beautiful as they are useful. Indeed, Laguiole en Aubrac has been producing kitchen tools for almost 200 years with both style and practicality in mind.

The pincer-like tongs have blunted ends that make them a little clumsy, but not enough to take points off. The fork is a sensible design with narrow tines in the French tradition, which won't tear at your meat. The spatula is reasonably wide with a beveled edge that makes getting under the food easier and forgoes the cutting edges seen on other spatulas. Finally, the knife is a nice inclusion for serving after the grilling. Handled at its full length, the knife would be unwieldy, but the riveted tang is comfortable on the hands should you want to slide closer to the blade for better precision. All of these come in a leather roll for storage and carrying to complete the look and feel of the set.

  • What's Included: Spatula, Tongs, Knife, Fork
  • Material: Stainless Steel, Wood
  • Case: Yes
Best Grilling Tool Sets
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best for Camping: Alpha Grillers Heavy Duty BBQ Grilling Tools Set

View at Amazon ($40)

Also available at Walmart.

Pros: Solid construction and sound design make this a good choice for camping.

Cons: Slip-resistant handles on the spatula and fork and a case of some sort to keep this contained while packing would improve the set.

There are many ways to camp and just as many ways to grill. You could be a glamping-type person who prefers to grill on the most high-tech equipment or a minimalist who prefers an open fire to cook. You could be a glamper who likes open fire or any combination of the above. So how do we determine what the best set for camping is?

First, we consider what the basic needs are. Then, we look at the usefulness of the tools and, finally, their strength. No one needs the handles on their tools breaking when they're out camping. We selected the Alpha Grillers set on the above criteria plus the idea that it can pack easily and not occupy too much space in a trunk or storage bin. There are many sets out there that offer the same tools, but the Alpha delivers the quality at an approachable price point. 

The spatula is a flat design, with the head a little longer than many. The locking tongs have a scalloped shape at the end and heat and slip-resistant grips on the handles. The fork's design is serviceable, the tines not too thick. Finally, the basting brush has silicone bristles that won't shed in your food. You can always build on the basic tools, adding thermometers, lights, brushes, and the like, but the solid foundation of these essentials goes a long way in setting you up for success.

 

What's Included: Fork, Spatula, Tongs, Basting Brush

Material: Stainless Steel, Silicone

Case: No

Best Grilling Tool Sets
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Variety: OlarHike 25 Piece Grill Accessories Tools Set

View at Walmart ($57)

Also available at Amazon.

Pros: The set includes the essentials as well as some nice additions.

Cons: The stainless steel handles would benefit from a non-slip treatment, and the grill brush is a bit clunky compared to contemporary designs.

If you're looking for a little bit of everything for yourself or as a gift, you're in good shape with the OlarHike. Given the number of pieces for the price, they aren't top quality but are still quite serviceable. The tongs have a tapered tip and good springiness, and the 16-inch spatula is long enough to keep your hands out of the fire without being unwieldy. We would like to see less attention to adding cutting grooves in the side of the spatula and more to a tapered head design, but it still performs well. 

The add-ons of this kit are what set it apart, such as a digital probe thermometer for measuring the doneness of meats or hitting critical temperatures for vegetables. The injector can be useful for moistening and flavoring larger cuts of meat or poultry. The fork tines are a little wider than preferred but aren't out of line by any means. The heat-resistant gloves are a nice inclusion for the set, allowing you to move large, hot pieces of food by hand without burning yourself.

  • What's Included: Tongs, Spatula, Fork, Skewers, Thermometer, Grill Glove, Salt and Pepper Shakers, Knife, Meat Injector, Corn Holders
  • Material: Stainless Steel, Silicone
  • Case: Yes
Best Grilling Tool Sets
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best With Wooden Handles: Cuisinart 10-Piece Premium Grilling Set

View at Amazon ($74)

Also available at Crate & Barrel.

Pros: The spatula and tongs are easy to maneuver, and the wood handles are comfortable and attractive.

Cons: The wooden handles require handwashing and the fork shape is a little larger than we'd like. 

Some folks, like Gilbert, prefer their grill tools with wood handles. Wood provides a certain degree of heat resistance and doesn't melt like plastic. We're a far cry from the wood-handled tools of decades past – clunky, splintery, and obtusely long. For its larger pieces, the set contains a fork and tongs similar to the Cuisinart set that won Best Overall. The spatula is a more conservative design with a slightly tapered head. Also included are a grill brush and a set of metal skewers for use on the grill. The through-riveted handles are smooth finished pakka wood with rounded edges for an easy grip. All this comes packed in a leather case for easy storage and transportation.

What's Included: Fork, Spatula, Tongs, Grill Brush, Skewers

Material: Stainless Steel, Wood

Case: Yes

Best Grilling Tool Sets
Credit: Courtesy of Oxo

Most Accessible: OXO 13-Piece Grill Tool Set

View at OXO ($100)

Also available at Amazon.

Pros: The precision turner and tongs allow delicate work while being easy on the hands.

Cons: The regular grilling turner is a bit clumsy, and the basting brush could be slightly stiffer for practical purposes.

OXO succeeds in its quest to make kitchen and grilling tools easy on the hands. There are many reasons a person might have difficulty gripping or grasping, and these tools are not only easy to handle but also effective. The precision turner is one of our favorite pieces, blending the design of a fish spatula for more delicate work with a more extended handle that allows you to keep your hand away from the heat while doing so. The tongs feature a tapered tip that makes grasping and moving small items easier, while still being capable of handling larger, heavier items. The nylon grill brush is suitable for cold-cleaning your gill and features a scraper blade for removing burnt-on deposits, making cleaning easier. Not without note is the basting brush and pot set, which has a lid to cover the pot between applications. The set comes with a cleverly-designed tool rest that keeps the messy tongs in check when not in use. 

What's Included: Basting Pot and Brush, Tool Rest, Precision Spatula, Grilling Spatula, Nylon Grill Brush, Tongs, Skewer Set

Material: Stainless Steel, Silicone, Plastic

Case: No

Our Favorites

At the end of the day, you are the best judge of what works for you in a grill tool set. We recommend the Cuisinart Deluxe Grill Set, as it will equip you for essentially any grilling task. Yet, you may prefer the elegance of the Laguiole en Aubrac 4-Piece Grill Tool Set or how straight-to-the-point the Alpha Grillers Heavy Duty BBQ Grilling Tools Set is. You're not going to go wrong with any of these sets; base your decision on how you grill and what degree of usefulness you'll find in each as it applies to your grilling style. 

Factors to Consider

Material

All of the tools reviewed here start with the same stainless steel construction. Our panel of experts agrees on that as a solid foundation. Stainless steel is a long-lasting, strong, rust-resistant material when kept clean, dry, and out of the elements. The variation from there comes in the handles. Some are plain steel, others have plastic or silicone, and others have wood. Basting brushes are equally subjective, with some preferring a stiff brush over silicone or vice versa. 

Narrow down what type of material you want – plain, slip-resistant, heat-resistant, or wood, to offer a few suggestions. After that, assess how the tools feel in your hand. There is little point in getting something that doesn't have the handle you want or isn't comfortable holding.

Handle Length

In the past, many handles were almost cartoonish in their length. A long handle will keep your hands away from the fire, but the trade-off comes at the price of dexterity. Move on if the handle is too long to easily use the tool. Our experts agree that anywhere between 12 to 16 inches is optimal for attaining both goals. 

Tools Included

This is a personal choice. Do you need just the basics or want thermometers and steak knives as part of your arsenal? Buy the tools you need for the way you grill and upgrade from there if necessary.

The Research

Three chefs lent their insight and expertise to our in-depth research process; Kenny Gilbert, chef and owner of Silkie's Chicken and Champagne in Jacksonville, Fla.; Vishwesh Bhatt, cookbook author and James Beard award-winning chef of Snack Bar in Oxford, Miss.; and Rob McDaniel, chef and co-owner of Helen in Birmingham, Ala. We then combined our expertise with their input, scouring the market for the best options based on the conclusions from these discussions. We weighed the grilling tool sets we found against several criteria, including value, ease of use, quality of construction, and the types of tools the sets contained.

Pro Panel Q+A

Q: What are the "must-have" grilling tools?

A: Ask three chefs what they have to have on hand when grilling, and you'll get three distinctly different answers. Bhatt and Gilbert find common ground in requiring tongs and a spatula. McDaniel also wants tongs but will forgo the spatula in favor of a meat fork and chef's knife. We tend to prefer the former combination. Gilbert also wants a basting brush or mop to apply mop sauces to his longer-cooking foods.

Q: Where should you store grilling tools?

A: The opinions vary. McDaniel and Gilbert keep theirs in the kitchen while Bhatt stores his under the grill. In either case, ensuring that your tools are clean and dry before storing them and then again before cooking are keys to preventing the spread of food-borne illnesses.

Q: How do you clean barbecue tools?

A: Some claim they like to build up a "seasoning" on their tools, which we do not recommend. Moreover, the tools reviewed here are all stainless steel and are not receptive to seasoning. Whatever builds up on stainless steel tools is not to be saved and savored.

Across the board, our experts like to give tools a quick wash with gentle dish soap. The tools may need soaking to loosen some gunk and a gentle scrubbing to remove any last bits of residue. Many of the tools reviewed here are dishwasher-safe and may not require much effort to clean at all.

Our Expertise

Greg Baker is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and food writer with decades of experience in the food industry. For this piece, he interviewed chefs Kenny Gilbert, Vishwesh Bhatt, and Rob McDaniel to find out what the pros look for when selecting sets of grill tools. He then used their insights, his own expertise, and market research to curate this list.