Electric grills are your best option if gas and charcoal grills are out of the picture. They’re easy to use anywhere near a power outlet, and they don’t give off carbon monoxide either. You can use it in any outbuilding without having to worry about ventilation, and you won’t end up smelling like a campfire once the food is ready.
We picked the best electric grills for this buying guide, and gave them a closer look. Some of the best models look like any other gas grill with a hinged lid on top, and the only difference is the heat element located under the cooking grates. We were actually quite surprised when we saw how well they work.
These electric grills are top of of the line
Whether you’re shopping for the best electric grill of them all or a more budget friendly compromise, we’ve got you covered. We carefully reviewed and evaluated a broad range of electric grills, in order to present the best options for you.
|Best overall||Weber Q 2400|
|Best on a budget||Char-Broil Patio Bistro|
|Best splurge||Kenyon Frontier All Seasons B70090|
|Best portable grill||Napoleon TravelQ PRO285E|
|Best smokeless countertop grill||Ninja Foodi AG301|
Best overall: Weber Q 2400
Weber Q 2400
There’s no way you’ll find a better electric grill than the Weber Q 2400. Cast iron grates and a powerful heat element result in a delicious taste and beautiful sear marks.
- Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates are easy to clean after use.
- Grill gets very hot in the highest setting.
- Great heat retention.
- Durable design.
- Easy assembly.
- A bit expensive.
- No indirect cooking options.
- Enameled cooking grates can break if they’re scratched.
Weber is ahead of most competition with the Q 2400. We don’t think there’s a better electric grill than this one. It resembles the ‘real deal’ almost perfectly with solid, porcelain-enameled cast iron grates, an aluminum lid for great heat retention, and an overall user friendly layout.
Once food is added to the preheated grates, the sizzle says it all. You can look it up on YouTube, where multiple videos showcase delicious food on their electric Weber grills.
Unfortunately you’re paying a premium for the brand alone, but in return you get a pair of solid cast iron grates and a great build quality. Weber also pride themselves on having their products assembled in their own US-based facilities, although some components are sourced from outside the US.
In our eyes, having porcelain-enameled cast iron grates is a love-hate relationship. We love them because they’re relatively non-stick and require no regular seasoning, but they’re also quite fragile and easily ruined if you’re using sharp metal cookware or a metal brush for the cleaning.
Despite a few caveats, we still think the Weber Q 2400 is the best choice for anyone who wants a proper, electric grill.
Best on a budget: Char-Broil Patio Bistro
Char-Broil Patio Bistro
The Char-Broil Patio Bistro electric grill is the perfect choice for those seeking an affordable solution for a small patio or balcony.
- Very affordable.
- Easy to clean.
- Compact design.
- Small warming rack keeps food warm.
- Slightly disappointing build quality.
- Slow to heat up.
- Porcelain coating wears off if not treated properly.
The Char-Broil Patio Bistro electric grill is a budget-friendly favorite for those seeking the best value for their money. It works like a charm and is generally easy to clean, which is perfect for a busy household. The design is relatively compact, which of course results in a smaller cooking area, but in return you get an electric grill that fits perfectly on a small patio or even a balcony.
We also like that it stands on its own set of legs and has wheels attached, which enable you to easily move it around.
Because of the extremely reasonable price, we weren’t surprised to find out that the built quality was a bit disappointing. It isn’t bad, but the elements seem cheaply made and less durable than more expensive models. The cooking grate isn’t cast iron either, and it has a porcelain-coated surface which means that you have to be careful when you clean it. The porcelain coating may wear off if you use a regular metal brush on it, and Char-Broil recommends burning off leftover foods and then let it cool down before scrubbing the grates with a nylon brush.
Some reviews suggest that this electric grill takes up to 30 minutes to reach max temperature, which is very slow. We haven’t been able to replicate this issue ourselves, but generally we think it’s just a little bit slower than other electric grills when it comes to preheating the cooking area. One thing worth noting, though: Since the cooking grates are made of steel with a porcelain-coating, they won’t retain heat as well as cast iron grates.
Best splurge: Kenyon Frontier All Seasons B70090
Kenyon Frontier All Seasons B70090
The Kenyon Frontier All Seasons electric grill is more powerful than most competitors, and extremely easy to clean after use.
- Durable stainless steel exterior.
- Gets extremely hot extremely fast.
- Non-stick grates are easy to clean after use.
- No flare-ups.
- Very expensive.
- Non-stick grates do not work with metal utensils.
- Weighs 24 pounds.
If you want a powerful electric grill, we recommend taking a look at the Kenyon Frontier All Seasons grill. It may not look like much on the outside, but the way it’s designed maximizes the performance and ensures a very hot cooking surface.
Whereas other electric grills have their heat elements located a few inches beneath the grates, Kenyon has them placed in direct contact with the grates. This makes the grill extremely hot extremely fast, resulting in perfect sear marks and a delicious crust on anything from steaks to veggies. We haven’t seen such beautiful sear marks on other models, but of course it comes at a cost: The Kenyon Frontier All Seasons electric grill costs more than most charcoal grills, and it’s as expensive as a properly sized gas grill.
While we love the stainless steel exterior, we were a bit disappointed to find out that the grates are made of aluminum with a non-stick coating. This means that you cannot use metal utensils, and they may not last as long as good old cast iron grates. On the other hand, there’s no maintenance required and they’re even dishwasher safe.
Kenyon categorizes the Frontier All Seasons electric grill as “portable”, however at 24 pounds we wouldn’t want to carry it over longer distances. It’s a great choice for a small patio or balcony, though.
Best portable: Napoleon TravelQ PRO285E
Napoleon TravelQ PRO285E
Napoleon has created a cool, black electric grill with porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates and a durable cast aluminum lid.
- Great build quality.
- Compact design with a cool matte black exterior.
- Durable side handles for easy carrying.
- Cast aluminum lid retains the heat.
- A bit slow at heating up.
- Relatively pricey.
- Some parts seem a bit fragile.
Napoleon is a Canadian, family-owned manufacturer of all types of grills. The electric TravelQ PRO285E grill has a stylish black exterior with a minimalistic design, that works well on a small patio or balcony.
We believe this electric grill is a worthy challenger of the established brands’ respective models, and so far we’re left with nothing but great impressions. It comes with heavy-duty, porcelain-coated cast iron grates, and the cast aluminum lid ensures maximum heat retention during use.
Although we think it’s generally very well built, the control knob seems a bit flimsy. Our concern is that it may break off during transportation, unless you pay attention to its position and avoid bumping it into stuff.
We were surprised to see that it’s capable of making delicious sear marks, but unfortunately it’s not the quickest at heating up. Some reviews suggested that it requires 30 minutes of preheating, but we don’t think this is necessary to reach proper cooking temperature. So long as you remember to keep the lid closed and only open it briefly to check on your food, we found no issues.
Best smokeless countertop grill: Ninja Foodi AG301
Ninja Foodi AG301
Ninja Foodi AG301 is the perfect smokeless electric grill for your countertop, and it does more than your regular grill.
- 5-in-1 multicooker for indoor use.
- Smokeless design for comfortable cooking.
- Easy to use.
- Almost mess-free cooking.
- Only suitable for up to two persons.
- Relatively expensive for what it is.
- Starts smoking if too much fat runs off the food.
The Ninja Foodi AG301 electric grill is an exciting and innovative piece of technology. It isn’t “just” an electric grill, but also an air fryer, small oven, dehydrator, and more. If you want the simplicity of an air fryer but still want those beautiful sear marks on your meats, the Foodi is your best option.
We were quite excited about the fact that it’s supposedly smokefree, although some smoke is to be expected once fats or oils start to run off. The reason why it doesn’t smoke as much as a normal grill, is because it heats up by circulating the hot air around your food. However, as the grease collector fills up, we noticed that it does in fact start smoking. So if you want a smokeless experience, you’ll have to keep it clean and reduce the amount of fat used for cooking.
The Foodi comes with a lot of preset programs, and there’s a timer that helps you keep track of the process. It takes about 9-10 minutes to reach a temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and once you add your ingredients to the basket and close the lid it will automatically start the cooking process and count down.
We found it extremely easy to use, and since all interior surfaces are non-stick the cleaning takes less than five minutes after use. It’s mostly suitable for one or two persons, but you can also bake a pie or cook a bigger piece of meat if you want to.
Best features to look for in electric grills
An electric grill is your best choice if you want a safe alternative to a gas or charcoal grill. It has no open flames, and makes use of a regular heat element to heat up the grates. Just like your normal indoor cooktop.
When shopping for an electric grill, there’s a few things to look out for and evaluate before making your final choice. Below is a general buying guide.
Most electric grills are compact models that leave a small footprint on your patio or balcony. Generally, their specifications are similar to the ones mentioned below:
- Single burner
- Small or medium sized cooking area
Because of this, electric grills are best at direct cooking. They may work well for indirect cooking, but there’s a learning curve in the process of doing so.
Performance-wise, we recommend that you look at photos online to determine whether it is actually capable of producing proper sear marks or not. A telltale sign that an electric grill may not perform well is if meats and veggies don’t have proper sear marks.
Most electric grills are compact, and some require a countertop or a stand as they don’t have legs included. This means that you can easily place your new grill on a small patio or balcony, but on the other hand it’s worth noting that the cooking area is small as well.
If you’re often cooking meals for large parties, an electric grill may not be your right choice. However, for small gatherings of 4-6 persons, it may suffice.
3. Cooking grates material
Choosing the right cooking grate material makes a world of difference. From cast iron to stainless steel, the features and characteristics are completely different and worth knowing before buying.
Cast iron – cast iron grates are known to last forever, if properly treated. They retain heat very well, which means better sear marks on your food. However, proper treatment involves regular seasoning, and it takes a few hours every time.
Enameled cast iron – enameled cast iron consists of regular cast iron with a porcelain coating. The porcelain coating is extremely durable and requires no regular maintenance, however it’s also likely to get scratched and flake off if you’re using metal brushes to clean after use. They may not last as long as plain cast iron.
Non-stick coating – non-stick coatings come in different types and have different features, but they have one thing in common: They’re not scratch resistant, and for that reason a non-stick grate may not last as long as non-coated grates.
Stainless steel – for some reason, stainless steel grates are not a common sight. Stainless steel is very durable and retains heat incredibly well, but it does rust if it stays moist and/or in contact with corrosive materials over longer periods of time.
Build quality is important if you want your new electric grill to last for a longer period of time. Generally, you have the choice between a plastic or metal exterior. While plastic is known to last longer than many other materials, it may show signs of wear and become brittle over time. Metals, on the other hand, may start to corrode and paint may chip off.
If you’re looking for a durable electric grill, expect to pay a bit more than you normally would for a grill. We also recommend that you shop for a well known brand, rather than going for a “no name” or unknown brand. Usually, the known brands have a full range of replacement parts, which is useful if you want your grill to last longer.
Extension cord for the electric grill – does it work?
It is not always recommended to use an extension cord with your electric grill, unless you know the exact requirements for your grill and are certain that your extension cord meets those requirements.
For example, Weber had the following recommendations to the question “Can I use an extension cord with my electric Q?”:
- Rating: 15 amps
- Marking: W (suitable for use outside)
- Use the shortest length extension cord possible
- Don’t connect two or more extension cords together
Why is it important to get the right extension cord?
If you don’t get the right extension cord it may result in a loss of power, and your electric grill is likely to underperform. In other words, it won’t get as hot as needed to cook your food properly.
What is the best type of electric grill?
There are a few different types of electric grills to choose from, and it’s useful to know them all before deciding what to buy. Below is a list of the most frequently bought electric grills:
- Indoor electric grills
- Outdoor electric grills
- Electric smoker
- Smokeless electric grills
- Countertop electric grills
The best type of electric grill depends on your needs. If you want to grill your foods inside, you have to make sure it’s relatively smokeless and safe to use. They do get very hot, and no grills are completely smokeless. We recommend that you keep that in mind, and make a decision.
Furthermore, you can also get electric smokers that aren’t suitable for indoor use at all. On the other hand, countertop electric grills may work great if placed under your range hood or in a outbuilding with plenty of ventilation.
What is the best indoor smokeless electric grill?
A lot of electric grills claim to be suitable for indoor use, as well as smokeless. While some electric grills are indeed virtually smokeless, it’s important to understand how smoke is created and why you need it.
You’ve probably heard about the maillard reaction, which is basically what gives your food the taste you love. When meat is seared on a hot grill and gets a dark crust on the outside, you have a maillard reaction. In order to achieve this reaction, you need a very hot surface – and it will inevitably cause a good amount of smoke.
Some indoor electric grills are still virtually smokeless though, but most of them function radically differently from what we’re used to. One of said models is the Ninja Foodi, which is a 5-in-1 combo grill that cycles hot air inside an enclosed container in order to cook your food. It does create a bit of smoke, but not nearly as much as a regular grill.
Are electric grills worth it?
If you remain undecided as to whether an electric grill is worth it or not, we’ve gathered a list of pros and cons for you to consider.
- Very easy to use. Plug it in, turn it on, and you’re basically ready to cook. No need to fetch a propane tank or new bags of charcoal anymore.
- Some of the best electric grills get extremely hot, and you get perfect meat every time.
- No flames means better safety and less risk of flare-ups.
- Compact and suitable for a small patio or even a balcony.
- Not always as powerful and effective as a gas or charcoal grill.
- Low capacity. Generally, electric grills are smaller than other grills.
- Because of the electric components, the grill may not last as long in a very humid environment.
- Relatively expensive. If you want a proper electric grill, prepare to spend at least twice as much as you would on a regular charcoal grill.