Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
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.
Best Overall: Blackstone 28-inch Outdoor Flat Top Gas Grill
Battery push start ignition
Easy to transport
Only two burners
At under $250, you can get a restaurant-quality, 2-burner (470 square inches of surface area) flat top. Each stainless steel burner has 15,000 BTUs for a super-powerful flame that you can turn easily from low heat to high heat. Wheels on the bottom make it a breeze to transport and the battery-powered push ignition is super straightforward for novice grillers. There is also an additional rack for storage and added convenience.
Best Built-in: Blaze Premium LTE 30-Inch Built-In Natural Gas Griddle
Natural gas hookups
This built-in gas griddle not only offers high-powered burners (18,000 BTUs per burner), but it also boasts a chic, simple stainless steel design. It can be inserted into your outdoor cooking setup or placed on a cart. Push start ignition makes lighting and operating the grill a breeze. The grill also comes with a best-in-class lifetime warranty. Plus, with nearly 500 square inches of cooking space, you still have plenty of surface area despite having only two burners.
Best for Easy Cleanup: Blackstone 1554 Cooking 4 Burner Flat Top Gas Grill
Easy to clean
Griddle is sturdy and durable
Ample cooking space
Staying on top of grill maintenance is important for making sure that your grill is operating at its peak performance and ensuring that it will last you a long time. With this model, you are sure to have a quick, painless cleanup thanks to both the rear and front grease drain. Reviewers are impressed by the size and durability that this griddle offers as well as how easily it cleans up after cooking on it.
Best Portable: Big Horn Outdoors Portable Gas Grill
Light and compact
Easy to start
Small surface cooking area
If you’re looking to take your flat-top grill with you, then this portable model is your best bet. Offering 8,500 BTUs per burner (which is quite powerful considering the transportability of it), the three burners on this grill are easy to start and control, giving you three different heat zones. Less than 30 pounds, this compact grill is easy to pack in your car for your next camping trip or outdoor excursion. It's also suitable for indoors.
Best for Entertaining: Royal Gourmet GB8000 8-Burner Liquid Propane Event Gas Grill
Eight high-powered burners
Easy to clean
Wind deflectors help preserve heat
Very large and heavy
If your flat-top grill is going to be the star of your next outdoor entertaining session, you’ll definitely want a grill that has the capacity to cook food for a party. With eight, high-powered burners (each offering 13,000 BTUs) and a cooking space just shy of 1,000 square inches, this grill ensures that you’ll have no problem cooking up to 60 burgers at a time. Extensive drip trays and oil management systems make cleanup easy, straightforward, and safe. The side tables can fold down if you’re tight on storage space. The grill also comes with wind deflectors, which are a great way to preserve heat on days with strong weather.
Best Free Standing: Camp Chef Flat Top Grill 4-Burner Propane Gas Grill in Black with Griddle
Side shelves for added space
Four high-powered burners
Has a grill grate option
For a free-standing flat-top grill that can do it all, this model is our favorite. The side shelves offer added space for preparation and storage while adjustable leg levelers make sure that the grill is always properly situated after it's carted around. Reviewers love the large griddle and are impressed by the even and steady heat distribution. There is also an option to use grill grates if you’d like to switch between that and your flat top.
Best 360-Degree Station: Cuisinart 360-Degree Griddle Cooking Center
Comes with a cover
Large grease pan
Only two burners
You can’t compete with the versatility and flexibility that a 360-degree griddle offers. With access to your food from all angles, it’s much easier to maneuver the grill. The grill can give you two heat zones from the two high-powered, electric-start burners. The grill also includes a cover, which is great if you’re in a place with intense weather. The large grease pan ensures that cleanup is easy and foldable side shelves offer added convenience.
Best Combo: Royal Gourmet GD401 Portable Propane Gas Grill and Griddle Combo
Four high-powered burners
Grate and griddle options
Foldable legs and tables
Doesn't come with any wind deflectors
If you’re not ready to commit solely to a flat-top grill, you still have the option to invest in a grill with both grates and a griddle. This way, you can switch between cooking surfaces simultaneously. Foldable side tables and foldable legs make for easy storage, and wheels on the bottom allow for transportation. With four burners, this grill not only gives you variation between grates and griddles, but you also have full control over different heat zones.
For a great value flat-top grill that will serve up restaurant-style quality meats, you can't go wrong with the Blackstone 28-Inch Outdoor Flat Top Grill (view at Amazon). Looking for something budget-friendly and portable? Go with the Big Horns Outdoors Portable Gas Grill (view at Amazon), which can also be used inside.
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.