While they may not be as popular as classic grills with grates, flat-top grills are a great outdoor cooking appliance that can effectively cook lots of your favorite foods. From burgers to veggies to eggs to breakfast meat, there are endless ways to put your flat-top grill to great use. It may not give you the signature sear marks that you’ll get from grill grates, but it is extremely effective in searing foods at high temperatures to create deeply caramelized meats and veggies.
Whether you want another fun toy for your outdoor cooking setup or you’re looking to up your outdoor entertaining, a flat-top grill is a great way to kick your grill game up a notch.
From built-in models to budget-friendly options, here are the best flat-top grills.
Blackstone Original 28-Inch Flat Top Griddle With Side Shelf
Battery push start ignition
Easy to transport
Only two burners
If you’ve ever wanted to make scrambled eggs, hash browns, and fried rice like the pros, you need a flat-top grill. Blackstone is known for its restaurant-quality grills, and this 28-inch model offers the best of both worlds —it’s affordably priced but doesn’t slack on quality and versatility.
With its battery-powered push to start button, you can get grilling within minutes. Unlike traditional grills, this model doesn’t require any kerosene, charcoal, or matches, so it’s great for beginners or anyone looking to get grilling without spending a lot of time on prep. It also comes recommended by professionals.
"If you're looking for a sturdy, easy-to-use flat top grill, or plan to use it outdoors, then the Blackstone Flat Top Grill is worth considering," says Daniel P. Craig, a chef with more than 20 years of experience cooking in professional kitchens. "It’s an appealing option because it’s easy to assemble and has removable legs, so it can be used on a countertop or outdoors. Its ability to start cooking at the press of a button is also a plus."
Though it’s a decent size, this model only has two burners. It’s a great option for portability and everyday meals but likely isn’t the best choice for large parties. The burners are powered by 34,000 BTUs, which are units that measure the energy needed to raise temperatures. If you’re not familiar with BTUs, that’s a lot.
Price at time of publish: $300
Dimensions: 44.5 x 19.5 x 33.5 inches | Number of Burners: 2 | Surface Area: 470 square inches | Cooking Power: 34,000 BTUs
Camplux FMGG302B 2-Burner Flat Top Grill
Griddle and grill combo
Easy to move around
Only two burners
Not very powerful
A good flat-top grill can set you back a good amount, but those on a budget can still get it in on the fun. This model by Camplux offers many of the same features as the more premium options: It’s easy to clean and move, ignites quickly, cooks evenly, and has two fixed side tables. While we’d like to see more than two burners, this grill is perfect for small patios or backyards. The cooking area measures 14.9 x 13.4 inches, and 179 square inches is plenty—you can fit about six steaks on the grill.
For those who can’t decide between a grill or griddle, this model is both. Alternate between the traditional grill rack and flat-top griddle surface. Use the grill for meat, kebabs, and foil packs, and switch to the flat-top griddle for sandwiches, breakfast items, and fajitas. A combination grill like this one offers the most versatility and is the most economical and space-saving since one grill does the job of two.
One of the downsides to flat-top grills is the cleanup. The grease builds up, leaving a nasty mess after dinner. This one is easy to clean since it has an oil collection container on the side. For a thoughtfully designed grill on a budget, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Price at time of publish: $200
Dimensions: 36.1 x 12.6 x 32.5 inches | Number of Burners: 2 | Surface Area: 179 square inches | Cooking Power: 22,000 BTUs
Royal Gourmet GD401 Portable Propane Gas Grill and Griddle Combo
Two individual cooking zones
Easy to store
Large cooking area
Heavy unit is difficult to transport
If you can’t decide between a traditional or flat-top grill, the good news is that you don’t have to. Simply opt for a combination grill like this one by Royal Gourmet, a trusted maker of grills and griddles.
This model doesn’t use an interchangeable system but instead has two side-by-side cooking zones that operate individually. This may get confusing for some, but once you get the hang of it, you can cook fluffy pancakes and eggs on one side and sausages on the other. Or, make fried rice on the griddle side and grilled shrimp or chicken on the grill.
To keep organized, this grill has designated places for your grilling utensils and two side tables for food prep and storage. The side table also has a bottle opener. After using the griddle, easily dispose of the buildup grease that gets collected in the designated tray and cup.
Though it’s technically portable, doing so isn’t an easy task. The unit weighs more than 100 pounds, so it’s a job for two people. The legs are foldable, but some reviewers have had difficulty and resorted to removing the legs to transport it. This may be a good option for those looking to keep their grill stationary in their backyard but may not be the best for camping and cookouts at the park.
Price at time of publish: $330
Dimensions: 66.1 x 21.8 x 43.7 inches | Number of Burners: 4 | Surface Area: 584 square inches | Cooking Power: 48,000 BTUs
Blackstone 1666 Tabletop Griddle
Distributes heat evenly
Food might stick to the surface
Flat-top grills are usually portable: They have wheels to move them around and foldable legs and trays to fit into car trunks. Even when folded, they still take up quite a bit of space, and they’re heavy. Still, want a grill to take camping? Tabletop griddles are truly the most portable option to grill on the go.
This tabletop griddle by Blackstone has a lot to offer. It’s lightweight coming in at 32 pounds, has two burners, and features a large cooking surface. The two burners have separate built-in igniters, so you can control the temperature for both sides. The heavy-duty burners distribute heat evenly on the carbon steel griddle, so food cooks swiftly and evenly. It also has a hood to trap heat, but the handle is heat-resistant for your safety.
To cut down on the mess, there is a grease trap in the rear that collects juices and other liquids that are the inevitable result of cooking on a flat-top grill. This griddle has an overwhelming amount of positive reviews, but some consumers have had issues related to the warranty, igniters, and distribution of heat. Most reviews praise the griddle for its convenient size when traveling and reliability.
Price at time of publish: $200
Dimensions: 22.5 x 19 x 9 inches | Number of Burners: 2 | Surface Area: 339 square inches | Cooking Power: 24,000 BTUs
Best 360-Degree Station
Cuisinart 360-Degree Griddle Cooking Center
Vented lid allows you to smoke food
Easy to assemble
Not a lot of prep space
Only two burners
With any flat-top grill, some assembly is required. This is daunting for many people, and some models prove challenging to assemble. If you’re looking for a model that is quick and easy to put together, this one requires under 30 minutes to assemble.
It’s also uniquely designed. Round grills that feature a 360-degree cooking surface allow you to view food from all angles or for two cooks to be in the kitchen. The oversized grease pan is also 360 degrees, so you don’t have to worry about a greasy mess to clean. Grease will collect in one cup, which can be removed and emptied after each use. Since the grease collects slowly, this allows more juices to stay in the food—no more dry steaks and burgers.
One feature this model offers that others don’t is the lid. Since it has a vent, the lid can be used to smoke, roast, steam, or bake food in addition to cooking it on the flat-top griddle. The lid is also useful for trapping heat so cooked food doesn’t get cold in between tasks. Flat-top grills usually have two trays for food prep, but this model only has one. However, it has a place for a paper towel roll, which comes in handy since grilling can be messy.
Price at time of publish: $250
Dimensions: 30.7 x 29.9 x 12.2 inches | Number of Burners: 2 | Surface Area: 380 square inches | Cooking Power: 30,000 BTUs
Best for Easy Cleanup
Royal Gourmet GB4000 36-Inch 4-Burner Flat Top Propane Gas Grill Griddle
Large cooking area
Easy to move wheels
Difficult to assemble
One of the biggest cons of a flat-top grill is the mess. Without a traditional grill rack, grease and juices from food have nowhere to go. This con can be seen as a pro, however. When grease quickly escapes, food is quicker to dry out. Flat-top griddles tend to result in juicier meat and food as a result. Still, there is a mess to deal with.
Fortunately, most flat-top grills and griddles have a grease management system so grease is directed to one container that can easily be removed and emptied. Some systems are better than others, however. This model features a large grease cup where grease is collected during cooking and you’d be surprised how quickly grease accumulates. In some models, you may have to watch this cup carefully to make sure it doesn’t overflow. This grease container is large, so you likely only have to empty it once at the end of each use.
This model also has one of the largest cooking areas we’ve seen, measuring 36 inches long and featuring a surface area of 784 inches. It has four burners to distribute heat quickly for ease and convenience. It also has plenty of space for prep and storage, and it’s easy to roll around but can be stabilized during use. Where this falls short is assembly. Many reviewers report experiencing trouble in this department.
Price at time of publish: $343
Dimensions: 63.8 x 22.4 x 34.6 inches | Number of Burners: 4 | Surface Area: 784 square inches | Cooking Power: 52,000 BTUs
Best for Large Parties
Razor Griddle GGC1643M 37-Inch 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill
Large cooking area
If you’re looking for the biggest flat-top grill you can find, you’ve found it. This one has a massive cooking area that measures 984 square inches (the largest we’ve seen) and can fit up to 57 burgers, so you can easily feed everyone at your parties. It also has the most powerful burners we’ve seen, coming in at 62,000 BTUs across four burners.
There are two large foldable side trays for food prep. When folded up, these double as a protective built-in cover on top of the grill. Under the grill is a shelf to store your grill accessories and tools. It also has four wheels for portability. However, the legs don’t fold, so it’s not an easy unit to transport or store in small spaces. It’s also very heavy, weighing more than 130 pounds.
User reviews praise the grill for its quality and sturdiness. Many reviewers note the efficiency of the grease trap, which is placed in the front instead of the rear. Users also appreciated the easy assembly. Overall, this model is large, powerful, easy to assemble, and easy to clean. It’s not the easiest to move, but if you’re not planning on transporting it, it’s a solid choice.
Price at time of publish: $409
Dimensions: 77 x 24 x 35 inches | Number of Burners: 4 | Surface Area: 984 square inches | Cooking Power: 62,000 BTUs
What to Look for in a Flat-Top Grill
You can pay anywhere from $100 to $3,000 on a new flat-top grill, so establishing a budget and knowing what you’re looking for is crucial for your shopping experience. Cast iron griddles are usually more expensive than stainless steel, but it also depends on the design of the grill. The more burners you want on your grill, the more expensive it will be. Electric-start models also tend to fall on the pricier side.
One of the biggest factors to consider when picking out a flat top grill is how many burners it offers, which is often then reflected by how much surface area you have to cook. Depending on how many people you typically cook for and how much food you are cooking simultaneously will factor into which size is best for you. If you’re cooking for a family of four, you should have no problem with two burners and a smaller surface area, but if you’re cooking for large groups or have large amounts of food, you probably shouldn’t consider a grill that is smaller than two burners. Some flat-top grills are also shaped like a circle instead of a rectangle, which can allow multiple people to grill at once and gives you 360 access to maneuvering your food around on the griddle.
There are several features that these grills can offer that are worth considering. Some models have natural gas hookups, so if that’s important to you, make sure your model has the capabilities. Some come with side shelves and tables for extra prep space and some are outfitted with cabinets and shelves for added storage and convenience. Some are built-in models, which means that you’ll need a stone outdoor cooking set up to place this built-in version into. Some standalone models are equipped with wheels for easily carting around. You can look for smaller, lightweight portable versions which are ideal for camping and outdoor excursions.
Some flat-top grills have a cast iron cooktop while others have carbon stainless steel. The maintenance and care for each material are slightly different, so if you have a preference, it’s definitely worth considering. Cast iron is typically heavier, more durable, takes longer to heat up but distributes heat extremely evenly, and requires more care. Stainless steel is thinner, lighter, easier to care for, but does not get as hot or distribute heat as well. Stainless steel is typically less expensive than cast iron.
What can you cook on a flat-top grill?
The biggest difference between a flat-top grill and a classic grill with grates is that you won’t get any sear lines on a flat top. Because there is more surface contact with foods that are cooked on a flat top, it’s best to cook items that you want to have deep, uniform caramelization. Burgers are great on a classic grill, but they’re also great on a flat top because you’ll get an extra dark crust around the outside of the patty. You can cook any protein that you might cook over grill grates on a flat-top grill, just know that you will get a darker crust around the product.
Keep in mind that fattier cuts of meat, like bacon or skin-on chicken thighs, tend to render lots of fat, and not all flat-top grills have multiple grease catches, making oil splatters pretty common. Fish is another protein that you can cook on a flat top, just stay in the cooler heat zones since it can be a bit more fragile. You can also get a brunch spread going on your flat top and cook pancakes, eggs, toast, French toast, and breakfast meats for a fun, outdoor breakfast.
How do you season a flat-top grill?
It’s important to know what kind of material your flat-top grill is made of before you season it. If you have a cast iron flat-top grill, you should wipe down the grill and turn the grill on high to cook off any additional debris. Once the grill is hot, add liberal amounts of oil and carefully wipe it around (put paper towels between tongs) until the grill is coated and the oil is smoking. Repeat this process until the surface is oiled and shiny.
If you have a carbon steel flat top, that means your grill has properties of both cast iron and stainless steel. Start by cleaning the surface with a grill scraper, avoiding any cleaning products, which can cause scratching. From there, you’ll season just like you would a cast iron. Turn the grill heat to high, then add some oil and rub it around until the surface is oiled and shiny.
How do you clean a flat-top grill?
When you start to notice an excess of burnt food bits or your surface starts to get uneven heat spots, it’s definitely time to deep clean the grill for a fresh start. Turn the griddle on to help cook off any remaining food bits and use a griddle scraper to remove all debris. Add warm water to the griddle, which will help to cook off any dirt or grease. If you have a stainless steel griddle, apply stainless steel cleaner at the end; then wipe it off and dry the surface. If the surface is chrome or cast iron, skip the stainless steel cleaner and use food-safe polish or oil to finish it off.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane is a private chef and has written nearly a dozen buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. After researching gas grills, charcoal grills, budget grills, and portable grills, she can help you find the best outdoor cooking setup for your home.
Lacey Muinos is a seasoned food and procomplete duct writer. She’s also a fiend for a good summer BBQ. According to her, a backyard isn’t without a grill, and she appreciates the versatility of a flat-top grill.