The Best Outdoor Grills to Upgrade Your Backyard Barbecues
When you think of outdoor barbecuing, balmy summer days and serious pit masters 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 gadget, investing in the right grill is key to achieving the best char and flavor.
Outdoor grills come in a variety of different styles with a range of qualities and capabilities. 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 for storage.
We examined some of the leading models and assessed the functionality, durability, and versatility of each. Overall, we found Big Green Egg's Large Kamado Grill to be the best of the bunch, thanks to the multiple functions it can master in one convenient machine. Read on for more of the best outdoor grills.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Big Green Egg Large Kamado Grill
- Best Gas: Weber Genesis II 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill
- Best Charcoal: Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill
- Best Gas and Charcoal: Char-Griller Double Play Gas and Charcoal Grill
- Best New Category: Spark Grill
- Best Wood Pellet: Traeger Pro Series Grill & Smoker
- Best Griddle: Cuisinart 360 Degree Griddle Cooking Center
- Best Grill-Smoker Combo: PK Grills Original Grill & Smoker
- Best Portable: Solo Stove Grill Ultimate Bundle
Best Overall: Big Green Egg Kamado Grill
Best Gas Grill: Weber Genesis II 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill
Best Charcoal Grill: Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill
Best Gas and Charcoal Grill: Char-Griller Double Play Gas and Charcoal Grill
Best New Category: Spark Grill
Best Pellet Grill: Traeger Pro Series 780 Grill
Best Griddle: Cuisinart 360 Degree Griddle Cooking Center
Best Grill-Smoker Combo: PK Grills Original Grill & Smoker
Best Portable: Solo Stove Grill Ultimate Bundle
An outdoor grill should be functional and durable, and it should be able to cook up a variety of foods with ease. We love that the Large Kamado Grill from Big Green Egg can easily switch between grill, smoker, and outdoor oven. It heats up quickly and maintains a consistent temperature, all while imparting the deep charcoal flavor that barbecue fans know and love.
Types of Outdoor Grills
Favored by barbecue purists for infusing their food with a more intense, smoky flavor, charcoal grills require charcoal to ignite and take more time to heat up and clean than a gas grill.
These 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.
The electric variety reign number one in terms of convenience, simply requiring an electricity 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
Finally, 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.
Zarah Kavarana is an Ecommerce Editor who specializes in writing thoroughly researched product recommendations for the kitchen and home. For this piece, she did a deep dive into the essential grills that every home cook—from the passionate pit masters to beginners—would love. She performed competitive research to determine the best type of grill in every category. In addition to Food & Wine, you can find Zarah's work in Real Simple, People, and more.
This piece was updated by Laura Denby, a food writer with years of experience writing about everything from the latest culinary gadgets to biodynamic winemaking. Laura has worked as a chef in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Hamptons and employs her professional culinary experience to guide her expert product reviews. You can read more of Laura's work in Food Network, Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, and PureWow.