Whether you’re short on outdoor cooking space or you’re dealing with some serious outdoor elements, there is a time and place for a reliable, indoor grill that can produce similar results to what you’d get outside. These grills are designed to be smokeless so you don’t need to worry about the local fire station knocking at your door. Not only are they approved for indoor use, but they’re usually easily transportable, meaning you can bring them out to a patio or on outdoor adventures or trips.
Like any kitchen appliance, smokeless grill models vary in a number of ways, so it’s important to understand what you’re looking for before you buy one. "The best ones are able to operate at a variety of temperatures, have a solution for collecting liquids and grease, and are simple to clean,” says Paul Sidoriak of Grilling Montana. We tested top-rated indoor electrical grills in our Lab in addition to sending several to at-home testers, and all were evaluated on their design, performance, ease of cleanup, and more to compile this list.
George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
Large enough to cook for a crowd
Easy-to-clean grill plate
Can also be used outdoors
Easy to assemble
Grill plate isn't removable
Will need dedicated storage space
With 240 square inches of cooking space, the George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill is great for countertop grilling. This has the iconic sloped nonstick surface that funnels the fat off meat, with five heat settings. The domed lid helps to circulate the heat to promote even cooking, while keeping steam away from your food. It does come with a removable stand for use outside, though our testing team did find it to be a little unstable.
We tested the GFO240S in our Lab and not only did its consistent performance stand out, but also it's lack of smoke. We noted impeccable, uniform grill marks when making toast from white bread and assessed even heating after grilling fresh zucchini, chicken breasts, and a flank steak. At most, it produced small whiffs of smoke with the steak. Though our testers did observe the grill plate getting up to 600 degrees, it might be best to keep it below 500 degrees when cooking inside.
The bubbly design will remind you of an outdoor grill, but our testers noticed it didn't have a common George Foreman feature: a lid hook for storage when it's time to flip the burgers. Clean up was easy though. The grease drip tray can be placed in the dishwasher and the grill plate is easy to wipe down since it's not removable.
Price at time of publish: $100
Dimensions: 23 x 21 x 15.75 Inches | Cooking Area: 240 square inches | Weight: 12.21 pounds | Power: 1200 watts
Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill
Intuitive control panel
Nonstick coating makes grate and pans easy to clean
Even, powerful heating
Preheating takes a while
Requires a lot of counter space
If you want the smokeless grill that comes equipped with all the bells and whistles, then this is your model. Though it may cost you more than some of its competitors, it is certainly worth the extra money. This appliance can crank the heat up to 500 degrees, and it gives you the option to grill, griddle, or even air fry.
Our home tester grilled salmon, chicken breasts, and frozen salmon burgers and was pleased with the results and the fact that there was no smoke. However, because it gets so hot so quickly, you won't want to set your food on it and forget about it, our tester warned. Our Lab testers expressed the same downside, and would've like to turn off the internal fan during cooking. It was easy to clean though, and the test steak gave a satisfying sizzle on the hot grate.
In terms of capacity, the grill grates have enough space to accommodate a family of four and the four crisper baskets can hold an entire bag of fries or tater tots, according to our tester. The multifunctional device will take up space on your counter, though, so this probably isn't suitable for tiny apartment kitchens. Cleaning is pretty simple: "Burned-on barbecue sauce and fish skin slid right off when we used the included cleaning brush," our tester reported.
Price at time of publish: $230
Dimensions: 17.5 x 14 x 11 inches | Weight: 14.5 pounds | Power: 1760 watts
"It produces impressive grill marks and caramelization in little time without any smoking, and the fact that it can also be used to crisp fries and tots to golden perfection is an added bonus." — Sharon Lehman, Product Tester
Power XL Smokeless Grill
Impressive fan completely eliminates smoke and steam
Both grill and griddle
Lid seals well
A lot to clean
Somewhat uneven cooking
This grill boasts an affordable price tag, a tight-sealing tempered glass lid, and a powerful fan that traps smoke before it escapes. While you might not use the lid for grilling steaks, it is definitely desirable when you’re trying to melt cheese on a burger or keep food warm after it’s been cooked. The well-designed water tray eliminates any dangerous flare-ups while taking in any smoke odor. This way, your food will stay moist and juicy while it cooks. This grill includes both a grill plate and griddle plate, so you can use it for sear marks on your steak or for a crispy fried egg in the morning. Both of these plates are nonstick ceramic coated, making them just as easy to use as they are to clean.
Our tester noted that the fan on this model did an incredible job removing smoke and steam and the lid sealed well. This way, the smoke didn’t have a chance to escape. When the tester fired up the grill to cook a steak, there wasn’t even a wisp of visible smoke, which is great news for you and your smoke detector.
Price at time of publish: $120
Dimensions: 21 x 15.4 x 8.1 inches | Weight: 15.47 pounds | Power: 1500 watts
"I appreciated that it lived up to its promise of smokeless grilling, which is great for apartment dwellers and for cooks who are averse to any amount of cooking smoke." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
Nonstick dishwasher-safe cooking plates
Opens flat for griddling and grilling
Bottom plate heats more than top
Hidden drip tray easy to forget when cleaning
This 5-in-1 griddler is a top-of-the-line appliance that functions not only as a compact, indoor grill but also as a griddle and panini press, and after thorough testing, it earned our best overall ranking. The reversible plates offer five major functions including a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle, which gives you the option to whip up anything from burgers to sandwiches to eggs to bacon to pancakes. Simply adjust the dial to opt for "griddle" for flat-lay cooking or "grill/panini" for closed-top cooking. Once you’ve selected the cooking surface, you can adjust the left and right dials to control the temperature easily.
Our tester successfully cooked everything from mushrooms and zucchini to sandwiches, steaks, and more. One feature that our tester noted as a huge plus was that it’s super nonstick, too. When burned-on cheese dribbled onto the grates during testing, it slid off easily, making cleanup a dream. The removable plates are easy to wash by hand or in the dishwasher. While the grill is cooking, grease is being drained into a convenient drip tray that's similarly removable and simple to clean. In fact, this tray is hidden, which makes for a more appealing look, as well.
For those who want to splurge and don't mind taking up a little more space in their kitchen, Cuisinart offers an Elite version of this appliance, which features heating elements inside the plates that offer more efficient heating, the ability to control the temperature of the grill plates independently, and a top melt function (good for open-faced sandwiches).
Price at time of publish: $100
Dimensions: 13.5 x 11.5 x 7.12 inches | Cooking Area: 102 square inches | Weight: 12.75 pounds | Power: 1500 watts
"It performed well on all the tasks I threw at it, and I particularly enjoyed using it for sandwiches. The griddle option makes it so much more versatile, so it can be used as an extra space for cooking when your stove is too full for another pan." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Big Groups
Hamilton Beach 25360 Electric Indoor Searing Grill
Lid helps keep in oil grease
Removable drip tray is dishwasher safe
Griddle surface not included
Cooking for a large crowd? You’re going to need a grill that’s big enough to cook all of the food at once so that everything is done at the same time. This indoor grill has upwards of 120 square inches of surface area for cooking, which means that you have all the space you need to cook for at least six people. Plus, who wants to worry about cleaning up when guests are over? The indoor grill hood, plate, and extra-large drip tray are all removable and dishwasher safe. You can crank this grill up to 450 degrees for hot, indoor cooking all year round. The power and preheat lights also take any guesswork out of knowing when the grill is hot and ready to use.
Our editor tested this model out in her small apartment kitchen, and even though it takes up some coveted space, she loved it. Her burgers came out with nice grill marks, and the lid performed its task of keeping smoke and heat contained. She also appreciated the easy setup out of the box and the simple cleanup.
Price at time of publish: $85
Dimensions: 12.4 x 16.7 x 6.8 inches | Cooking Area: 118 square inches | Weight: 8.15 pounds | Power: 1500 watts
"From its searing capabilities to the easy-to-clean nonstick grates, this is very impressive for an indoor grill. The hood helps keep smoke contained, the grill itself is able to handle a half-dozen burgers at a time, and the grease is funneled to the drip tray." — Siobhan Wallace, Commerce Editor
Best for Fast Cooking
George Foreman Contact Smokeless - Ready Grill GRS6090B-1
Removable drip tray for easy cleanup
Can cook for 4-6 people at once
Offers convenient vertical storage
Does not include a griddle or other cooking surface
If there is any trusted name in the world of all things grilling, it’s certainly George Foreman. In this version, you get everything you love about your outdoor grill, minus the smoke, making it a great household appliance. Offering a new plate design, this grill can eliminate up to 85 percent of the smoke, according to the manufacturer, while the open-style grates simultaneously drain fat and juices automatically. This way, the fat drips through the grates for a hot, crispy sear, yet you’re not steaming or frying the food. The grease then collects in a dishwasher-safe drip tray for easy disposal and cleaning after you’re done cooking.
This model is lauded for its ability to cook faster than any other George Foreman model, so you can rest assured that your food is going to be on the table in no time. The removable grill plates are easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher, and they have a nonstick coating that prevents food from sticking. Great for families and large groups, this can cook four to six servings of food at a time on the 90-square-inch cooking space, so no need to stagger cooking times because everything will be ready at once.
Price at time of publish: $70
Dimensions: 16 x 7 x 13.7 Inches | Cooking Area: 90 square inches | Weight: 13.7 pounds | Power: 1500 watts
For an indoor grill that performed exceptionally well in our testing and comes in at a reasonable price, we recommend the George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill. If you want an indoor grill that can also help you transform lunchtime sandwiches, look no further than the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler.
How We Tested
To determine what makes a good indoor smokeless grill, we sent several of the top-rated options to our experienced at-home testers and selected models for testing in our Lab. The former used each grill in their kitchens to cook a variety of dishes before reviewing their design, performance, and cleanup. In the Lab, they performed a set of tests, including making toast and grilling flank steak, to analyze a multitude of aspects including the level of smoke while indoors.
What to Look for in a Smokeless Grill
The type of smokeless grill will determine the range of temperatures at which you can operate the machine. While your outdoor grill can reach temperatures upwards of 750 degrees Fahrenheit, indoor smokeless grills usually tap out closer to 500 degrees, though some have a maximum temperature of 450 degrees. Additionally, some smokeless grills take longer to heat up than others. Grills that get hotter quicker are typically more expensive, but if this is an important factor in your buying decision, then those upgraded grills may be worth the extra money.
Grease Catching and Lids
Smokeless grills come in a variety of different lids and some grills don’t have a lid at all. On grills without a lid, the appliance is typically designed so that any excess grease or oil will splatter or drip into a convenient grease catcher. For added defense against unwanted grease splatter, some smokeless grills have a lid or shield that you can place on top of the grates. Not only does this prevent your kitchen items from becoming dirty, but it also helps keep your cooking area super hot. Some lids are transparent so that you can still keep an eye on what you’re cooking without taking off the lid.
The larger your indoor smokeless grill, the more surface area it will have and the more food you’ll be able to cook at once. If you’re purchasing an indoor grill for larger parties or big groups, it’s in your best interest to buy a large grill that has plenty of space for burgers, dogs, veggies, and more. Keep in mind, the larger your device, the more cumbersome it will be to transport and the more space you will have to dedicate for proper storage.
Cleanup is very important for these machines and you want it to be as quick and straightforward as possible. Some grates, griddles, lids, and drip trays are dishwasher safe (the components are removable), so always keep an eye out for those; otherwise, plan to wash them down after each use with hot, soapy water. Additionally, models that have a drip tray are much easier to clean because you can easily dispose of the oil and grease that accumulates.
"An indoor smokeless grill should be something you get excited to cook with... Look for ones that have removable components and are dishwasher safe." — Paul Sidoriak, Grilling Montana
How do smokeless grills work?
Smokeless grills are any indoor appliance that mimic the cooking process of an outdoor grill, yet do not let off enough smoke to trigger your smoke alarm. Instead of direct, open flames, these appliances use a number of different electric heat sources that are completely safe for indoor use. By using temperature-controlled grill grates, water-filled drip pans, splatter shields, lids, and cool air zones, these grills are designed cleverly so that they can be used in confined areas.
How do you clean a smokeless grill?
Before cleaning your electric grill, it’s important to ensure that the grill is unplugged, powered off, and completely cooled down. From there, you should take off any grates or attachments that can be washed separately. Check the user manual to see if the parts are dishwasher safe. If not, you should wash them in warm, soapy water. Wipe any surface that comes into contact with food as well as the exterior of the grill. Let it air dry before plugging it back in for usage.
How is grilling on a smokeless grill different from a standard outdoor grill?
A standard outdoor grill (whether it’s charcoal or gas) involves live, open fire, whereas an indoor grill does not. Both indoor and outdoor grills can use surfaces such as griddles or grill grates, but an indoor grill does not have open flames or heavy smoke because this is not safe for contained use. Foods cook similarly on an indoor grill as an outdoor grill, however you’ll miss the heavy char and smoky flavor of an outdoor grill when using a smokeless grill.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane has written dozens of buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. She is a professionally trained chef in addition to an outdoor cooking enthusiast. As a private chef wiith many hours of cooking elaborate, delicious meals over a hot grill, she is no stranger to outdoor cooking.
The Spruce Eats editor Siobhan Wallace added Lab testing data and insights from testing the Hamilton Beach Searing Grill in her small NYC kitchen.
- Paul Sidoriak of Grilling Montana