The Best Grill Brushes, According to Chefs
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.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper
- Best for Porcelain or Ceramic Grates: Grillaholics Pro Brass Grill Brush
- Best for Cast Iron Grates: Grillaholics Pro Palmyra Grill Brush
- Best for Stainless Steel Grates: Char-Broil Safer 360 Grill Brush
- Best Value: Weber 21-Inch Three-Sided Grill Brush
- Best Bristle-Free: Kona Safe/Clean Bristle-Free Grill Brush
- Best Non-Metal: Grill Rescue Grill Brush with Scraper
Best Overall: Grill Art Grill Brush and Scraper
Best for Porcelain or Ceramic Grates: Grillaholics Pro Brass Grill Brush
Best for Cast Iron Grates: Grillaholics Pro Palmyra Grill Brush
Best for Stainless Steel Grates: Char-Broil Safer 360 Grill Brush
Best Value: Weber 21-Inch Three-Sided Grill Brush
Best Bristle-Free: Kona Safe/Clean Bristle-Free Grill Brush
Best Non-Metal: Grill Rescue Grill Brush with Scraper
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.