The Best Grill Brushes, According to Chefs

Grill cleaning gets a lot more glamorous with the Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper as well as other top picks.

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Grill Brushes
Lowe's; Home Depot

When thinking about grilling, you likely imagine tending the grill and serving up flame-broiled goodness for adoring friends and family — rarely do you consider the cleanup afterward. Scrubbing the grill is messy, hot, and not the most glorified part of grilling by any means. Yet, proper cleaning keeps your grill happy. It preserves the life of your grill, maintains heat flow, and helps keep food from sticking. It also improves flavor and minimizes the potential for food-borne illness. The tool of choice for this task is the grill brush.

While seemingly simple, grill brushes are not all created equal. To navigate the multiple choices of design and materials on the market, we enlisted the help of two grilling experts. Maxcel Hardy, chef and owner of COOP and Jeds in Detroit, and chef Brandon Rice, owner of Ernest in San Francisco, weighed in on the factors that differentiate grill brushes. Combining their input and our expertise, we selected the Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper as the Best Overall grill brush. Read on to learn why and to find the grill brush that works best for you.

Best Overall: Grillart Grill Brush and Scraper

4.8
Grillart Grill Brush and Scraper

Amazon

Pros: The triple heads speed the cleaning process, and the interchangeable scraper blades make removing tough deposits easier.

Cons: The scraper head can get in the way of detailing the edges of your grill, and the handle will flex a bit with too much pressure applied to the brush.

The competition for Best Overall brought some formidable challengers. After weighing the pros and cons of multiple brushes, the test came down to the Kona 360° Clean and the Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper. Both sport three cleaning heads, both have an 18-inch handle to keep your hands away from the heat, and both feature 360-degree cleaning. After careful consideration, we found the Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper to be the best.

In addition to the features mentioned above, the Grill Art comes with two scraper blades for hard-to-remove deposits. One is a broader, flat-headed scraper with grooves at the edges for removing grease and burnt-on bits, and the other blade sports notches in various shapes to fit the contours of almost any grill grate. The 18-inch rigid stainless steel handle has a non-slip grip and loop for hanging when not in use. The woven wire design increases the life and efficiency of the brush, minimizing bristle loss.

Price at time of publish: $30

  • Dimensions: 3 x 4 x 18 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic

Best for Porcelain or Ceramic Grates: Grillaholics Pro Brass Grill Brush

4.8
grillaholics-pro-brass-grill-brush

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: Five rows of brass bristles speed the cleaning process, and the elongated grip allows two-handed cleaning.

Cons: The bristles are softer than stainless steel and can bend with heavy pressure applied to the brush. It can also require more time to clean this brush because of its design.

Cleaning ceramic or porcelain-coated grates without damaging them requires special care, so always consult the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning to avoid voiding your warranty. Generally speaking, to clean these more delicate surfaces, you want a brush softer than stainless steel. Nylon is fine but cannot clean a hot grill. For this task, we recommend brass, barring any manufacturer restrictions. Brushes made of brass, a softer metal than stainless steel, are less likely to damage your grill's coating as you clean its hot surface.

We chose the Grillaholics Pro Brass for this task. The brush features five vertical rows of bristles, allowing for fast cleaning of the grates. It also has plenty of bristles around the edges to reach the grill's more difficult parts. Unlike most designs, the wooden handle encompasses most of the length of the brush, allowing two-handed cleaning if desired. It might require a little more pressure because of the softer brass bristles, but that's a small trade-off for protecting your grill's grates.

Price at time of publish: $25

  • Dimensions: 4 x 3 x 18 inches
  • Material: Brass, stainless steel, wood

Best for Cast Iron Grates: Grillaholics Pro Palmyra Grill Brush

Grillaholics Pro Palmyra Grill Brush

Amazon

Pros: The bristles won't strip the seasoning from your cast iron grill, and the 360-degree design makes detail and edge cleaning easier than other palmyra brushes.

Cons: Palmyra bristles are softer than metal, and it will take more time and effort to clean your grill. The bristles will burn if you use the brush over an open flame.

Sure, cast iron requires some extra care, but don't get too worked up about it. Basically, you want to season your cast iron grill grates, and you don't want to take that seasoning off. Because of this, metal brushes will be too hard for the job, but nylon will be too soft. We recommend a palmyra brush because the material is stiff enough to clean but soft enough to keep your seasoning. Just brush your hot grill, without flames, with the natural bristles dipped in hot water to remove any stuck-on food or grease.

Most palmyra brushes come in the same square design, which is fine for cleaning the main, flat part of your grates. But, it falls short when cleaning edges, between grates, and detail work. Because of this, we recommend the Grillaholics Pro Palmyra Grill Brush. It features the same 360-degree head shape and edge bristles as many of the brushes reviewed here, filling the need for detail and edge cleaning without the metal. It also features an elongated wooden grip, allowing two-handed cleaning, and the palm bristles will burn should any fall off.

  • Dimensions: 3 x 4 x 18 inches
  • Material: Wood, palmyra, stainless steel

Best for Stainless Steel Grates: Char-Broil Safer Nylon Plastic 17.5-in Grill Brush

Char-Broil Safer Nylon Plastic 17.5-in Grill Brush

Lowe's

Pros: The grit-infused nylon bristles won't scratch stainless steel, and it has excellent durability for the price.

Cons: The nylon bristles aren't suitable for hot grills. The price point is also a little high for a nylon brush.

Stainless steel grates are easy to clean but require special considerations. They are thin and easily scratched, so the stainless steel bristle-type brushes may not be the best choice, as most of the bristles will miss the grates. Their hard composition can damage the finish, allowing food to stick and rust to set in. For this job, we suggest using a nylon or brass brush. When weighing these options, we recommend the Char-Broil Safer 360 Grill Brush.

Thanks to its grit-infused nylon bristles, the brush works well for cleaning stainless steel grates without scratching. The brush is made for about 15,000 strokes before bristles break or fall out. Red bristles aid in the visibility of any stray pieces should they fall or break off the brush and remain on the grill, decreasing the likelihood of accidentally ingesting them. The angular design allows for cleaning both broad streaks of the grill and detailing hard-to-reach spaces. The major drawback is that the bristles are neither heat-resistant nor suitable for use on a hot grill. But if you allow the grill to burn off after cooking and then use the Safer 360 Grill Brush with some hot soapy water on the cooled grill, cleaning is not an issue.

Price at time of publish: $12

  • Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 18 inches
  • Materials: Nylon, stainless steel

Best Value: Weber 21-Inch Three-Sided Grill Brush

Weber 21-Inch Three-Sided Grill Brush

The Home Depot

Pros: The extra-long handle keeps your hands from the heat, while the triangular design allows for easy cleaning of smaller spaces.

Cons: The longer handle can flex if too much pressure is applied, and the bristles have a shorter lifespan than others reviewed here.

Are you looking for the best benefit to the dollar-spent ratio? The Weber may look basic, but it boasts all the qualities that Rice and Hardy look for in a brush. They prefer a small head for detail cleaning, which the triangular design accommodates. The bristles at the corners of the brush facilitate detail cleaning in small spaces and between grates. They both prefer a metal handle, which is longer-lasting because it won't catch fire or melt in high-heat use – dangers that wood or plastic represent – and the stainless steel handle with non-slip grip checks that box, as well.

Between the wide-angle side of the brush head that allows for cleaning larger parts of the grate, the corner bristles for detail cleaning, the longer handle for avoiding heat, and the relatively low cost, the Weber wins our Best Value category.

Price at time of publish: $16

  • Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 21 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic

Best Bristle-Free: Kona Safe/Clean Grill Brush

Kona Safe/Clean Grill Brush

 Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: The broad head will cover most grills in just four to five passes, and the handle length is suitable for two-handed cleaning.

Cons: The head is a little blocky, making it ineffective in tight spaces and detail work.

Metal bristles clinging to your food is a genuine concern. Inspecting brushes for loose bristles or those that may have fallen on the grill requires diligence. The Kona Safe/Clean Bristle-Free Grill Brush is our choice for those who want a bristle-free option. It features three rows of metal coils stacked vertically to minimize the number of strokes needed to cover your grill. It also features the 360-degree design of many brushes covered here, allowing you to easily clean in tight spaces. The handle sports a longer grip for two-handed cleaning while keeping your hands from the heat. It's also safe for all grill types: coated, infrared, stainless steel, or cast iron.

Price at time of publish: $19

  • Dimensions: 4 x 10 x 18 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel, plastic

Best Non-Metal: Grill Rescue Grill Brush with Scraper

Grill Rescue Grill Brush with Scraper

The Home Depot

Pros: Its handle doesn't require much pressure to use, and the cleaning pads are dishwasher friendly.

Cons: The head is blocky, making tight space or detail cleaning difficult. Also, the scraper placement complicates cleaning the back edge of the grill.

Before arriving at this brush from Grill Rescue, we looked at multiple non-metal scrapers in materials like wood, nylon, and palmyra. Made of heat-resistant synthetic aramid fibers, this brush utilizes steam to clean, which calls for less manual effort on your part. In addition, a scraper mounted to its head lets you chip off stubborn deposits first.

The handle design lends itself nicely to the no-force idea; just wetting the head with water and rubbing it on the hot grill is enough. It's one of the more expensive options reviewed here, but both the handle and cleaning heads are durable, and additional cleaning heads with new scraper blades are available when yours does need replacing.

Price at time of publish: $40

  • Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 15 inches
  • Material: Plastic, aramid, stainless steel

Conclusion

With the variety of brush materials and designs available, the choice lies in the construction of the brush. The Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper offers the rigidity and cleaning power of stainless steel while the Grill Rescue Grill Brush with Scraper offers excellent cleaning power with the assurance of a non-bristle head.

Factors to Consider

Grill Manufacturer's Recommendation

Your grill will come with instructions on how to clean it properly. Not following those instructions can void your warranty on the grates, so be sure to verify before purchasing a grill brush.

Brush Head

For years, the traditional grill brush has been a square head, about 4 inches on each side. This shape is fine for cleaning large areas of the top of the grates, but, putting it gently, it's inefficient for cleaning all angles of a grill. Both Hardy and Rice recommend a small-headed brush that will allow you to clean all of the angled surfaces of your grill grates. Many brushes reviewed here combine a broad head with angular sections that enable you to get between the grates and access other difficult surfaces. This combination allows you to do detailed work but doesn't leave you trying to clean the large top surface with a tiny brush. After that, consider what material is best for you, be it nylon, stainless steel, brass, or natural fiber.

Handle

The handle should be long enough to keep your hands away from the heat but not so long that it flexes when you apply pressure. Between 15 and 20 inches seems to be the sweet spot for this, depending on the design. Opt for non-flammable and non-melting materials. No matter how careful you are, there will be a time when you set your brush on the grill and divert your attention.

The Research

We thoroughly researched the topic, consulting two experts to get their thoughts on what makes a great grill brush and then scouring the market for the best options based on their input. We weighed the top contenders against several criteria, including the factors listed above.

Pro Panel Q+A

Q: What's the best method to clean a grill?

A: While some cooks leave food remains on their grills until it's time to use them again, this approach decreases the life of grill grates and can lead to food-borne illnesses. We recommend cleaning your grill after cooking.

For general cleaning after cooking, don't try to clean the grill right away. You'll be smearing stuck food or sauce all over the grill and have more of a clean-up job than necessary. Instead, let it burn. Keep the fire hot for a few minutes after cooking, allowing the stuck-on bits of food to solidify. You can then brush the bits off with a dry brush or dip the brush in water to produce steam when it touches the grill. After cleaning all sides and surfaces of the grates and the diffusers (if you're using a gas grill), rub the grill grates with a lightly-oiled paper towel. This last step removes residual grit and decreases the chances of any bristles sticking to the grill, should they fall off of the brush.

Q: Should you use a wire grill brush to clean a grill?

A: Wire brushes were the standard for a long time. Extra care is necessary to inspect the brush for any stray bristles that might fall off and stick to the grill, which can pose a danger should someone ingest them. Inspect your brush before using it and replace it if it shows signs of wear or losing bristles.

Q: What can you use instead of a wire brush for grill cleaning?

A: There are various choices available for alternative materials and methods. We spoke with Scott Moody, CMO of PK Grills, who described a method of rubbing the grill with half a raw onion to generate steam, then following with a palmyra brush. He and others we spoke to have been known to use a balled-up piece of aluminum foil as a scrubber in a pinch.

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 Maxcel Hardy and Brandon Rice to find out what the pros look for in a grill brush. He then used their insights and his own expertise and market research to curate this list.

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