The 10 Best Grills of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
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It is officially grilling season
Whether a novice or a grill master, finding the right grill can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many factors to consider. What are you cooking? For how many people? What style of grill would work best? We completed six separate in-depth grill tests on gas, charcoal, pellet, and electric grills (as well as portable options) to help you find the best grill for your needs — just in time for summer.
We interviewed renowned chefs and grill experts to learn what makes a grill perform effectively and last for a long time. Our team also considered the design features that help user experience without taking away from the style of the machinery itself. We tested 89 grills in total, using four cooking methods, and nine different types of meat and vegetables — including 500 hamburgers, which, yes, we happily devoured post-test.
Read on for PEOPLE’s best grills of 2023, but first, here are a few things to keep in mind if you are new to the grilling world.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Grill
There are four primary types of grills that will suit every grilling need: gas grills, charcoal grills, pellet grills, and electric grills.
Gas: Gas grills are a home chef’s best friend because they’re quick, convenient, and generally user-friendly. “They provide quick heat-up times, precise temperature control, and are suitable for a variety of cooking techniques,” Thermopro ambassador and grill expert Christopher Smith tells PEOPLE.
Charcoal: Charcoal grills are more ideal for a seasoned griller who wants smoky flavor and doesn’t mind waiting longer for food to cook. Also a Thermopro ambassador, grill expert Jason Ortynski tells PEOPLE that charcoal grills utilize a more “hands-on type of grilling” but are extremely versatile. “[It] can be an oven, a smoker, a place to sear steaks...[it] gets the best flavor on food but requires the most work to maintain temperature.” He adds that it has a learning curve that is "well worth being learned.”
Pellet: Pellet grills tend to use real wood which brings a rich flavor to the food you’re cooking, but these grills don’t reach as high of temperatures so they aren’t as good for searing as charcoal and gas grills can be. Ortynski says pellet grills are “hands down the easiest type of grill that gets amazing flavor.” He says while these don’t produce the same smoky experience as charcoal, “the flavor is still amazing and the ease of use is reason enough to get one.”
Electric: Electric grills don’t produce any smoke and are easy to clean, which can be a benefit if you live in an urban environment, but they do take longer to cook food and lack the ability to create smoky flavor. Smith says they are “easy to set up and use, making them suitable for indoor or limited outdoor spaces,” adding that they also have great temperature control.
And if you like to take grilling on the road whether for a campout, tailgate, or to your family’s barbecue across town, a portable grill might also come in handy. These tend to be either collapsible (or legless) and lightweight for easy portability. These are all considerations you should keep in mind with various types of grills.
Sometimes extra features can be the ultimate selling point of a grill. For instance, if you’re looking for a backyard grill for summer barbecues, you might want one that’s cart-style so there are places to hang tools and a surface area to store plates, burger buns, and more — a one-stop-shop, if you will. Wheels can also make a grill more portable, should you need to move it frequently. For home chefs, another feature that can make grilling a more accessible style of cooking is a digital temperature gauge, as well as WiFi connectivity (so if you have guests, you can check the temperatures at your convenience without being stuck at the grill all evening).
The way you want to cook food will also determine the best type of grill for your needs. For searing steak, especially if you want that caramelized edge, you will need the high heat of a gas grill (though certain charcoal grills work well for this too). You can bake on a grill just like you can with an oven; gas grills, charcoal, and pellet grills can create excellent baked meats and vegetables. For smoking meat to get that rich flavor, you’ll want a charcoal or pellet grill due to the natural smokiness of burning coal and wood.
Best Gas Grill: Monument Grills Stainless 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill
User-friendly for experts and beginners alike
In a more affordable price range than other top-rated grills
Stainless steel exterior is durable against the elements and easy to maintain
Simple setup despite having four burners and being a sizeable grill
Quite portable despite size, thanks to large wheels
Large 723-square inch cooking space with large side tables
While the hot spots are at the back of the grill, there are some cold spots toward the front
Small flare-ups on the grill when placing onions and the burgers
We loved the simplicity and effectiveness of this propane gas grill. Despite its extensive features — four burners, push igniter button, and a durable stainless steel finish — it’s super easy for anyone to use, whether grilling for the first time or as a master chef. The design has a safety-forward approach with a small lid and a good amount of space between you and the cooking surface. It comes with side tables for added storage and a cart-style design that features large wheels to easily push the grill around if needed.
In the grilling portion of our tests, we appreciated how responsive the flames were to the temperature knobs and settings (though noted a few small flare-ups when cooking the onions and burgers). The hotter spots on the back of the grill created beautiful sear marks on the steaks we cooked, while the front spots remained somewhat cooler — a good area for indirect heating or warming more delicate foods.
Once you’ve finished your grill session, this machinery is quite simple to clean when you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. A gas grill can be an excellent choice for those who want regular grilled dinners without too much effort, and the Monument grill serves that aim well. It’s a good size for a small gathering or large crowd with simple but effective features that any-level chef can use to create a yummy meal. Plus, it’s more affordable than most of its direct competition so you can save time (quick-heating) and money with our top gas grill pick.
Price at time of publish: $429
Grill Type: Propane, Gas | Dimensions: 19 x 54 x 46 inches | Weight: 108 pounds | Cooking Area: 723 square inches | BTUs: 60,000
Best Portable Gas Grill: Cuisinart Venture Portable Gas Grill
Super portable with a compact design
Flames are highly responsive to the knobs on the grill and easily increase and lower in temperature with a simple twist
Storage for a one-pound propane tank underneath the grill
Very user-friendly, even for beginners
Bottom storage unit is difficult to detach
No adapter for a larger propane tank
Hot spots on certain sides of the grill rather than even cooking
No thermometer built into the grill
For those who want a simple grill you can take on the go, this portable gas grill from Cuisinart is the perfect travel companion. During testing, we were thrilled with how user-friendly this grill is — it only took five minutes to set up and start using. There aren’t too many components: only one knob to turn on the ignition and flame control. Plus, the gas hose easily attaches to the propane tank. (Note: there isn’t an adapter for a propane tank larger than one-pound.)
While grilling, we appreciated how well this portable gas grill distributes heat. The perimeter of the grill runs somewhat hotter due to the placement of the air vents. The flames respond quickly to the knob directives, increasing or decreasing immediately without any flare-ups. We cooked an assortment of onions and burgers, and each had nice char marks once grilled. Once our grilling session ended, the grates were also easy to clean with a wire brush.
Given its compact design, this is a fabulous portable option if you want the power of a gas grill without the standard size. You can even carry it like a picnic basket for added convenience. The bottom of the grill acts as storage and a cutting board when in use, but it’s somewhat tricky to detach. Overall, we believe this model is great for those who might want easy access to grilling without the fuss of a full-size model.
Price at time of publish: $155.99
Grill Type: Gas | Dimensions: 13 x 16.25 x 10.75 inches | Weight: 20.6 pounds | Cooking Area: 154 square-inch | Propane Tank Capacity: 1 pound
Related: See Our Other Favorite Portable Gas Grills We Tested
Best Budget Grill: Nexgrill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill
417-square-inch cooking surface; good for larger groups
Low price considering the large size of the grill
Temperature is responsive to knobs
Quite lightweight, making it somewhat mobile (though not portable)
Has an electric ignition and other user-friendly features
Challenging to assemble
You don’t have to spend a fortune to find a quality grill, and this Nexgrill gas grill hits all the marks at a price tag just shy of $200. It performed well in our grilling tests, responding quickly to temperature changes, and it features user-friendly controls. It grills staples like burgers and hot dogs the best, but has proven to work with vegetables too — The Bachelorette alum Tayshia Adams has even been seen cooking chicken and artichokes on this gas grill.
Its 562-square inch cooking surface allows for numerous types of food to be cooked at once across the four burners. Overall, this is a user-friendly grill that’s lightweight, easy to move around, and simple to use — with features like an electric ignition. That said, it was our biggest rival on test day when it came to setup, taking longer to assemble than every other gas grill. Once it's set up, though, it's smooth sailing.
Price at time of publish: $199
Grill Type: Propane, Gas | Dimensions: 46.5 x 49.5 x 24.2 inches | Weight: 72.76 pounds | Cooking Area: 562 square-inch | BTUs: 40,000
Best Charcoal Grill: Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
Beginner-friendly controls and temperature gauges
Includes a removable grate section for adding more charcoal while grilling
Produces a delicious smoky flavor in both meats and vegetables
Super simple to clean with a wire brush and soapy, warm water
Has an adjustable damper to easily direct the smoke towards the meat you’re grilling for added flavors
Burns through charcoal quickly, and requires restock throughout grilling
Takes longer to heat up than a gas grill
A charcoal grill offers the benefit of rich, smoky flavors in your favorite grilled dishes. This deluxe model from Weber is friendly to beginners and experts with easy operation — push-start ignition, simple temperature controls and gauges, and an adjustable damper to ventilate the fire with more oxygen. When searching for the best charcoal grill, you should know they take longer to heat up than their gas counterparts, but the resulting flavors are well worth the wait.
While testing this charcoal grill via some sizzling steaks, we loved the smokiness that came from this pick. You can actually control the smoke via damper placement for added versatility and saturating the meat with a smoky flavor. We noticed this grill burns through charcoal quickly, so you will have to add more throughout your grilling session (which can be tricky because you can add it through a removable center in the grate, but to arrange the charcoal, you would need to remove the entire grate).
Post-grilling, we had no issues cleaning this charcoal grill with warm soapy water and a wire brush to remove residue from the grates. Though not a massive grill, this option would be a good size for a small family who likes smoky and flavorful cuisine.
Price at time of publish: $549
Grill Type: Charcoal | Dimensions: 8 x 48 x 43.5 inches | Weight: 91 pounds | Cooking Area: 363 square-inch
Best Portable Charcoal Grill: PK Grills PKGo Camp & Tailgate Grilling System
Ideal compact size to take on the road for camping or tailgating
Arrives mostly assembled with very little setup needed
Cast-iron parts make it super durable and stable when moving it around
Solid sear marks on the burgers and brats that we grilled
At 45 pounds, it’s a little heavy to carry long distances
Somewhat tricky to set the grates back in after adding charcoal
For those who like to take grilling into the great outdoors (or at least outside the stadium), this portable charcoal grill is the perfect camping or tailgating accessory. Upon arrival, this grill comes almost completely assembled, and only requires one or two steps on your part. Its cast-iron design makes this portable charcoal grill extremely durable and sturdy for transport.
That said, it’s quite heavy due to the cast iron so it might require more than one set of hands to lift into a car. Everything is super compact and stable with this grill, so the parts won’t shift when you move it. We found it super easy to add charcoal to this portable grill, since the internal storage is quite spacious. It’s somewhat difficult to set the grates back in once you add the coal, but it does stay in place, even if not locked in. The vents and dampers rotate, and the surface area allows for a surprising amount of food given its compact size.
We loved the sear marks on the burgers and bratwursts we grilled, as well as a nice golden browning on the corn. There’s a noticeable hot spot in the middle of the grill, but the perimeter is great for warming. While the instructions didn’t include cleaning information, we found that removing the lid and dumping the ashes was an easy way to start. Then we just sprayed with soapy water and gave it a good wipe with a damp paper towel. This is an ideal portable charcoal grill if you are driving to a location and then setting up next to your vehicle (otherwise it’s kind of heavy to carry long distances).
Price at time of publish: $337.49 (orig. $399.99)
Grill Type: Charcoal | Dimensions: 20.9 x 15.3 x 13.03 inches | Weight: 45.1 pounds | Cooking Area: 408 square-inch
Related: Here Are the Other Best Portable Charcoal Grills We Loved
Best Pellet Grill: Yoder Smokers YS640S Pellet Grill
Has a Wi-Fi component to let you view temperatures from the convenience of your phone
Created visible char marks and a rich, smoky flavor with the various foods we cooked
Reached maximum temperature in just 10 minutes and holds the temperature throughout grilling
Large grilling space that is almost doubled (1,070 square inches) with second shelf
Hot spot can lead to certain foods overcooking
Out of budget for some
A pellet grill uses real wood pellets to create a rich, smokiness in the food you’re cooking. Though expensive, this Yoder grill comes with everything you’ll need for a seamless grilling experience — easily adjustable temperatures, quick heating (in just 10 minutes), a spacious hopper to store the pellets, and advanced technology so you can control the grill temperatures from your phone.
Whether cooking for a small group of friends or a larger holiday gathering (Memorial Day Weekend, perhaps), this grill is versatile with a large cooking space of 640 square inches, that grows to 1,070 square inches when you use the second grilling shelf. During our pellet grills test, we found that this model exceeded our expectations in performance, creating the perfect amount of smoky flavor without producing excessive smoke. The flavors were balanced, and the char marks were visible.
The only downsides we could find include its heavy weight which makes mobility impossible(see below for a better portable option!), and the hot spot that leads to overheating certain foods. While the price is high compared to other grills on our list, you’re getting a lot for what you pay, and we think the investment is worth it, especially for serious grillers.
Price at time of publish: $2,399
Grill Type: Pellet | Dimensions: 61.3 x 55 x 36.1 inches | Weight: 335 pounds | Cooking Area: 640 square-inch (1,070 square-inch with second shelf) | Temperature Range: 150–600 degrees Fahrenheit | Pellet Hopper Capacity: 20 pounds
Best Portable Pellet Grill: Traeger TFB30KLF Tailgater Pellet Grill
Large cooking surface of 300 square inches; great for a gathering at a tailgate or other event
Foldable legs make it compact for travel and general portability
Reached maximum temperatures quickly and maintains them throughout grilling
Spacious pellet hopper despite the portable design, so you don’t have to refuel this grill as often
Faint grill marks and light smokiness due to maximum temperature not exceeding 450 degrees Fahrenheit
If you want the rugged nature of a pellet grill in a more travel-friendly packaging, consider this portable pellet grill from Traeger. The legs actually fold up to make it super portable to lift into a vehicle for a tailgate or campsite.
Given its large cooking area of 300 square inches, there’s plenty of space to whip up some burgers for a fun gathering with your friends or family. During our pellet grill test, this model reached its maximum temperature fairly quickly and maintained it throughout the test. That said, the highest temperature is 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so the grill marks that were visible in other tests were more faint with this pellet grill.
Unlike charcoal grills, pellet grills tend to burn through fuel more efficiently, and this grill is no exception. The eight pounds of wood pellets lasted throughout our test without needing a fuel refill. Though known for producing an intense smoky flavor, this grill came up somewhat short in that vein, producing a present but subtle flavor among the foods we cooked. All in all, we believe this is a great version of a pellet grill that will create a subtle smokiness in your food wherever your travels take you.
Price at time of publish: $529.95
Grill Type: Pellet | Dimensions: 37 x 18 x 36 inches | Weight: 60 pounds | Cooking Area: 300 square-inch | Temperature Range: 180–450 degrees Fahrenheit | Pellet Hopper Capacity: 8 pounds
Best Electric Grill: Hamilton Beach 25361 Electric Indoor Searing Grill with Viewing Window
Produced little to no smoke, which is ideal for an electric grill
Light but consistent grill marks on each of the foods we tested
Small window on the side to allow the cook to peek at what’s grilling without opening the lid and losing heat
Easy assembly and clean up, thanks to simple design
Smaller size makes this option easy to move around
Large gaps between the grates create a few distinct hot and cold spots
Maximum temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit so it doesn’t sear foods well
Electric grills are machinery of convenience — they won’t cook food in the same manner that gas, charcoal, and pellet grills do, but they get the job done with minimal effort. To conduct this test, we used four slices of bread, a flank steak, chicken breast, and zucchini to see how the electric grill cooked each type of food.
We noticed that the temperature took a while to get to its maximum level, and that large gaps between the grates created some hot and cold spots. In general, this produced little to no smoke, with only some escaping the lid while cooking the steak. We saw light grill marks on the bread, chicken, zucchini, and steak (which had the most prominent of all the foods), but that’s expected given the maximum temperature being 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
In terms of the design, this electric grill is super easy to assemble and clean with a drop catcher to catch any fat and grates you can scrub down after removing the lid. We also liked the small window so you can peek at your food while it’s cooking without losing heat by lifting the lid. The size also makes this grill easy to move around. If you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to grill foods in an apartment or somewhere that smoke isn’t allowed, an electric grill like this model is a sure bet.
Price at time of publish: $84.99
Grill Type: Electric | Dimensions: 12.4 x 16.73 x 6.81 inches | Weight: 8.14 pounds | Cooking Area: 114 square-inch | Temperature Range: 200–450 degrees Fahrenheit
Best Portable Electric Grill: Weber Q 1400 Electric Grill
Little to no smoke while grilling; ideal for an electric grill
Faint but visible grill marks on the zucchini, chicken, steak, and bread
User-friendly setup and cleanup
Internal section of the grill is difficult to remove (but easy to clean once removed)
Gets too hot on the highest setting (burned the bread on medium)
The Weber electric grill performs as well as its counterparts and comes in a lightweight, compact size making it perfect for travel, gamedays, and any other adventures that await. It doesn’t have a temperature gauge, but there are three temperature settings (low, medium, and high). It proved easy to assemble and user-friendly on the whole.
When we grilled the bread, we noticed it slightly dried out, and ended up burning on the medium setting, so this grill does get quite hot. The zucchini, chicken, and steak all had better results with a nice little sizzle occurring while the steak cooked. There’s a thick bar that runs down the middle of the grate which created some inconsistencies with the grill marks, but they did appear on all foods that we cooked.
This electric grill is simple to clean and maintain thanks to a drip catcher that captures any excess fat. The internal section of the grill is somewhat challenging to remove, but once you’ve done so, the pieces are easy to clean. This would make a great indoor grill as well as a portable electric grill for day trips.
Price at time of publish: $329
Grill Type: Electric | Dimensions: 23.5 x 27 x 14.5 inches | Weight: 29.5 pounds | Cooking Area: 189 square-inch | Watts: 1560
Best Investment Grill: Traeger TBB86RLG Timberline Pellet Grill
Earned perfect scores in all of our tests; premium performance
Spacious pellet hopper, so it works longer without needing to be refueled
Created rich flavors through even cooking and its smoke feature
Special features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, induction cooktops, and bluetooth meat probes
Quite expensive for some budgets
It took upwards of 30 minutes to reach the maximum temperature
For seasoned pitmasters, this Traeger grill is worth the investment for its weathered design, smart features, and stellar performance cooking a wealth of different foods. This pellet grill was our MVP (apart from price), earning flawless marks in all of our tests and assessments. It created juicy textures and rich flavors, cooking meat evenly and adding smokiness to pizza. Its consistent performance is worth the investment alone, but this pellet grill has several notable features on its resume.
With a large cooking surface of 880 square inches, this is a large grill that will serve a big crowd with ease. The 22-pound hopper ensures longer performance without having to refuel, and the grill even has an induction cooktop for added versatility. It did take around 30 minutes to heat up, but we’ll forgive that con in light of its smart technology like Wi-Fi connectivity and bluetooth meat probes.
Price at time of publish: $3,299.95
Grill Type: Pellet | Dimensions: 27 x 52 x 48 inches | Weight: 208 pounds | Cooking Area: 880 square-inch | Pellet Hopper Capacity: 22 pounds
How We Tested the Best Grills
We conducted six separate tests — for gas grills, portable gas grills, charcoal grills, portable charcoal grills, pellet grills, and electric grills — and used insights from each to determine the overall best grills of 2023.
In total we compared 89 grills (13 gas, 10 portable gas, 17 charcoal, 14 portable charcoal, 21 pellet, and 23 electric) through multiple rounds of testing. We cooked onions, hamburgers, buns, steaks, filets, corn, zucchini, pork butt, pizza, chicken breasts, and wings to see which grills performed the best when navigating different types of food. We baked, grilled, smoked, and seared to understand if certain styles of grilling affected performance differently (spoiler alert: they did).
We assessed the ease of assembly for every grill, timing ourselves during setup, using the manufacturer's instructions, and thinking about the weight and other elements that could make that process easier or more challenging for various groups of people. We looked at the design — whether they were mobile, the overall size and cooking surface in square inches, and the durability of materials. Did they have smart features like Wi–Fi connectivity or bluetooth to allow a more versatile user experience? We also compared ease of cleaning across all grill tests. We looked at factors like removable parts, ability to get scum off the grates, and whether you had to use a wire brush or if soapy, warm water was enough to clean the grills.
The greatest components tested against all grills were temperature and heat control. We looked at the design of the temperature knobs, how responsive the flames were to temperature changes, the range of temperature, how hot the grates got, the time it took for each grill to heat up, and whether the heat stayed throughout each grilling session. For charcoal and pellet grills, we also looked at how much fuel was used via leftover coals and wood pellets.
And to evaluate performance, we utilized multiple rounds of testing on each type of grill to see how well they worked with different foods and styles of grilling. With gas grills (both standard and portable), charcoal grills, pellet grills, and electric grills, we looked at the level of smoke, whether there were char marks on the foods post-grilling, whether the meat cooked all the way through, if there was any caramelization, and of course, we did a taste test. We even did a separate smoke test with pellet grill winners for 10 hours to see how smoky they could really get (let’s just say it rivaled Rihanna’s performance at the Super Bowl).
After each test, we assigned the winners a rating from one through five in each quality assessed. The winners landed spots in our individual category stories, and the best of the best grills landed here, the crème de la crème of 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are certain grills better for various types of cooking than others?
The short answer is absolutely yes. “Gas grills are versatile and can handle a wide range of cooking styles and foods, including direct heat grilling and roasting,” says Smith.
“Charcoal grills are known for intense heat and smoky flavors, making them ideal for searing and slow cooking.” He says that electric grills are convenient and work well with “smaller items like burgers and fish filets” whereas pellet grills are a more versatile option that “excel at smoking, slow cooking, and grilling a variety of foods.”
Ortynski has a few favorites himself. “If you want easy and delicious cooks, pellet grills are great. If you want a more hands-on cooking experience (and better flavor), get a charcoal grill,” he says.
Why is temperature and heat control so important when grilling?
Temperature and heat control are the primary factors that control the success of a grill, and “directly impact cooking results,” says Smith. “Precise temperature control allows you to achieve the desired doneness and avoid overcooking or undercooking,” he adds. “Heat control is also important for creating different heat zones on the grill, enabling you to cook different types of foods simultaneously.”
Ortynski adds that the level of heat can also impact what you’re cooking. “Certain meats can become tough and chewy if cooked at high heat,” he says. “Tracking the temperature of your food doesn't mean you aren't a good cook, it means you care about the quality of the food you're going to be eating. I check the temp of all the meat I cook just to make sure it's perfect every time.”
When is the best time to buy a grill?
“There’s never a wrong time to buy a grill,” says Smith. "You can often find good deals and discounts during off-season periods, such as late fall or winter, when grills are less in demand.” Ortynski agrees that anytime is a good time, but adds that there are also good deals around the holidays unless “you live in the north” because then “you’ll have to wait to use it or risk the cold!”
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Madison Yauger is a senior commerce writer for PEOPLE who’s tested hundreds of lifestyle products across all categories. With a background in news and lifestyle journalism, she has a wide network of expert sources and a penchant for accuracy. For this story, she spoke to ThermoPro Ambassadors and grill experts Christopher Smith and Jason Ortynski, and used lab insights from six tests for gas, charcoal, pellet, and electric grills — cooking an assortment of foods to assess temperature control, efficacy of various grilling styles, and more — to determine the best grills of 2023.
What Is PEOPLE Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
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