best outdoor grills

The 10 Best Outdoor Grills to Upgrade Your Summer Barbecues

Better your ribs, burgers, and sides.
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When you think of outdoor barbecuing, balmy summer days and serious pitmasters might immediately come to mind, but in reality, grilling is inclusive enough for everyone and every season

Whether you're a beginner looking to master the basics or a professional pining for the next best thing, upgrading your backyard model can lend to plenty of possibilities that go beyond the squishy in-betweens of a poppy seed bun. From saucy, fall-off-the-bone ribs that rival your favorite BBQ joint to flavorful, fork-tender veggies that even the kids would eat, take your cooking skills outside with one of the best outdoor grills on the market:

Best Outdoor Electric Grill: Spark One Electric Grill

Best Wood Pellet Grill: Traeger Pro Series Grill & Smoker

Best Grill and Smoker: PK Grills Original Grill & Smoker

Best BBQ Pit Grill: Kudu Portable Grill 

What Type of Grill is Right for You?

Before you get the flames going, knowing what type of BBQ grill to invest in is key to achieving the char and flavor you're after. When choosing between charcoal, gas, electric, and wood pellet grills, consider how often you plan on using your unit, how much TLC you'd like to devote to the cooking process and the amount of space you have to spare and store. Read on to determine which type of outdoor grill is best suited for your desired use:

Charcoal grills are favored by barbecue purists for infusing their food with a more intense, smoky flavor. They require charcoal to ignite and take more time to heat up and clean than a gas grill.

Gas grills offer a low-maintenance approach, making them the grill-of-choice for many frequent grillers. While you will need a propane tank or a natural gas line to get them going, a quick push of a button will ignite your grill, making it hot and ready to go in just a few minutes. Unlike charcoal, cleanup is minimal, and adjustable burner knobs give you total control over the cooking temperature.

Electric grills reign number one in terms of convenience, simply requiring an electric source to ignite and heat up. Preheating is typically a speedy process, and most offer precise temperature settings that take some of the guesswork out of grilling a perfect medium steak. 

Wood pellet grills are another great option for those who are willing to go the extra mile for flavor. They're powered by hardwood scraps for a slow-smoked taste and a low-maintenance set-it-and-forget-it-type cooking process that doesn't require constant monitoring.

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Grill and Smoker
Credit: Courtesy of Ace

Best Overall: Big Green Egg Kamado Grill

This popular charcoal pick has developed such a following within the culinary community that grilling enthusiasts who own it affectionately call themselves "eggheads." An industry favorite, it's iconic for so much more than just its easily identifiable forest green facade, oval shape, and dimpled texture. Users are fans of this kamado for its quick-to-heat convenience and multi-functioning capabilities with the versatility to grill up burgers, bake pizzas, roast a turkey, and smoke barbecue ribs over low, slow heat.

The Big Green Egg comes in several sizes and is designed to be supported by a separately sold holder or built-in unit. 

To buy: Big Green Egg Large Kamado Grill, $900 at acehardware.com

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Best Gas Grill: Weber Genesis II E-315 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill

A reliable option for both weeknight grilling and occasional outdoor entertaining, this sleek under-$1,000 gas option is all you need to expertly sear up barbecued meats and sides. Three stainless steel burners instantly ignite, while cast-iron cooking grates and a porcelain-enameled lid help evenly distribute heat and keep it retained internally. 

Also handy, a warming rack keeps food at the right temperature until you're ready to eat, and can be tucked away when not in use. Flavorizer bars vaporize a portion of the drippings that collect while cooking, and the remainders are collected in a removable catch pan away from the burners to prevent dangerous flare-ups. 

Great for organization, its two stainless steel side tables are perfect for prepping and assembling meals, while tool hooks keep cooking utensils within arm's reach. Underneath, ample enclosed storage ensures that all grilling essentials stay in one convenient place. 

To buy: Weber Genesis II E-315 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill, $799 at amazon.com

Grill and Smoker
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Charcoal Grill: Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill

An enhanced version of Weber's iconic Original Kettle Charcoal Grill, this premium upgrade features all of the same offerings as its classic counterpart—like excellent heat retention and precise temperature control—with the addition of a refillable ash catcher underneath and a convenient hinged grate to add more charcoal while grilling. 

Its removable porcelain-enameled lid features a built-in thermometer that clearly displays the internal cooking temperature, and when you're ready to check up on the progress of your contents, an angled hook securely and sanitarily holds the lid on the side of the grill to keep it off the ground.

Priced affordably under $200, its circular 22-inch size is large enough to fit up to 13 burgers, so you can feed a crowd—or just a couple of hungry teens. 

To buy: Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill, $165.00 (originally $175.00) at amazon.com

Grill and Smoker
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Best Gas and Charcoal Grill: Char-Griller Double Play Gas and Charcoal Grill

If you're looking to combine the quick convenience of gas with the familiar smoky flavor of charcoal, this dual-functioning outdoor grill can do both. On one side, a gas grill features three main burners with heat tents, a side burner for stovetop cooking, and electronic ignition, while on the other, a charcoal grill offers an easy-dump ash pan and adjustable height grate for customizable temperature control. You can use both sides at the same time for an impressive 1,260 square inches of total cooking space and even add on a separately sold firebox for savory BBQ-style slow-smoked meats.

To buy: Char-Griller Double Play Gas and Charcoal Grill, $348 at homedepot.com

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Credit: Courtesy of Spark

Best Outdoor Electric Grill: Spark One Electric Grill

This new-age charcoal and electric combo is a competitor in the outdoor grilling space for more than just its minimalist design. Perhaps the brand's most unique feature is its proprietary charcoal Briq that quickly lights to infuse every hamburger and hot dog with that distinct smoky taste you simply can't get from propane. 

Plug the Spark One into a standard three-prong outlet and slide the Briq into a perforated cast iron drawer, and it'll preheat within just a few minutes for quick and convenient weeknight use. It gives you precise temperature control up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit—in fact, it's the very first charcoal grill with that capability—so you can really get creative with how and what you cook. When you're ready to power it down, the grill's no-mess ash disposal takes care of clean-up.

To buy: Spark One Electric Grill, $899 at sparkgrills.com

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Best Pellet Grill: Traeger Pro Series 780 Grill

Perfect for fish and more tender cuts of meat, this wood-pellet-powered option offers six versatile functions for grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising, and barbecuing, all in one unit. Igniting the pellets creates a vortex of heat and smoke inside the Traeger Pro's convection-based rectangular grilling chamber, infusing your food with a robust natural wood-fired flavor. 

Its smart digital controller minimizes the monitoring process by allowing you to adjust and set temperatures straight from your smartphone. Instead of incessantly checking up on the progress of your slow-smoked contents, you can feel free to sit back and relax with a drink or keep dinner guests entertained.

To buy: Traeger Pro Series Grill & Smoker, $600 at amazon.com

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Best Griddle: Cuisinart 360 Degree Griddle Cooking Center

With a vented stainless steel lid that gives you the versatility to sear, roast, sautee, steam, bake, and smoke, this full-service Cuisinart cooking center is an elevated alternative to Blackstone's iconic outdoor griddles. From traditional backyard barbecue fare to eggs and bacon for breakfast, you'll find that this multifaceted grill has very few food limitations. 

Its circular 22-inch flat top offers a generous 360 degrees of cooking space, and two designated heat zones provide consistent, even distribution for maximum efficiency. Surrounding the griddle, an oversized grease pan catches drippings and fallen food fragments, funneling them to a hidden rear-facing cup for easy cleanup.  

Also convenient: A folding prep table is great for pre-seasoning food before it goes on the grill or resting it before serving, and a built-in paper towel holder underneath is always at the ready for inevitable messes. 

To buy: Cuisinart 360 Degree Griddle Cooking Center, $249 (originally $270) at amazon.com

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Best Grill and Smoker: PK Grills Original Grill & Smoker

This charcoal-powered grill and smoker is a striking pick for the experimental pitmaster. It features 300 square inches of cooking space and a rectangular capsule shape to accommodate everything from tender rib racks to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey

Its cast aluminum construction conducts heat far more efficiently than steel, creating a convective effect that cooks food from all sides. Four vents on the top and bottom of the grill give you the freedom to sear food hot and fast or keep the cooking temperature low and slow, and two-zone cooking capabilities offer direct heat for grilling or indirect heat for smoking.

Great for portability, the grill easily dismantles from its cart, not only making it a top option for grilling up masterfully cooked dishes, but also for taking along on tailgates and camping trips. 

To buy: PK Grills Original Grill & Smoker, $370 at amazon.com

Grill and Smoker
Credit: Courtesy of Orvis

Best BBQ Pit Grill: Kudu Portable Grill

This portable dual-purpose grill brings campfire-style open-flame cooking to the comfort of your backyard. Two adjustable cooking surfaces can be used simultaneously to fire up multiple dishes at once and can be raised and lowered as needed to control the heat level and intensity. 

Its elevated grate system can grill, sauté, sear, fry, boil, and steam all of your favorite foods, but separately sold add-ons like a smoker lid and a fire ring can help you make the most of your purchase by converting it into a smoker or fire pit for added flavor and fun. 

To buy: Kudu Portable Grill, $549 at orvis.com

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Best Gaucho Grill: Nuke Delta Argentinian-Style Gaucho Grill

Experienced home chefs and restaurateurs alike love this Argentinian-style gaucho grill, not only for its generous 547 square inches of cooking space that can feed a full crowd but also because of its unique open design that gives you easy access to the coals and firebox for total temperature control. Its main cooking area is lined with refractory bricks to help evenly distribute heat, and an adjustable-height cooking grid can be raised or lowered to keep food close to the flame. Closing the attached lid will create an oven or smoker effect, and the included grill pan is great for sauteing vegetables or more delicate sides. 

The Nuke Delta is inspired by the age-old tradition of Gauchos grilling on South American prairies, and is handcrafted by artisans from the region for a totally unique and authentic experience. 

To buy: Nuke Delta Argentinian-Style Gaucho Grill, $1,449 at bbqguys.com