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Whether you only barbecue in the summers or are a die-hard grill enthusiast, it's important to clean your grill before and after each cooking session for many reasons: frequent cleaning of your grates protects them from corrosion and rust, prevents bacteria and carcinogens from transferring from residue build-up to your food, and makes it easier to cook and handle food on the grill. Plus, your food will taste better and your grill will last longer.
But properly cleaning your grill requires the right tools, which is where wire grill brushes come in. There are many types of these tools available depending on your needs and the type of grill, from steel to wireless to nylon.
Here, our list of the best wire grill brushes.
Best Overall: Kona 360° Clean Grill Brush
Kona has developed a reputation for quality grill tools, and this brush is highly rated by users who appreciate the efficiency of the design. With three separate brushes in a side-by-side configuration, this fits on top of the grates and slips between them to clean the top and sides of the grates all in one swipe. The brushes are designed to flex just a little, but not bend, so they won’t lose their efficient shape with vigorous use.
This brush is a full 18 inches long, so you can hold it with two hands if you prefer, while still keeping your hands away from the grill surface. The bristles are made from stainless steel so they won’t rust or corrode, and the brush is designed so the bristles are less likely to come loose and stick to your grates where they could end up in your food.
Best Budget: Weber 12-Inch 3-Sided Grill Brush
This budget-friendly brush doesn't skimp on quality—it's sturdy enough to clean even the toughest messes without falling apart. The wide design cleans a large swath of the grill in one swipe while the corners let you nudge into small spaces. This is only 12 inches long, so you’ll need mitts if you’re cleaning a large grill, but the small size also makes it easier to store once grilling season is done. For convenience, this brush has a leather loop on the end of the handle, so you can hang this on the grill to keep it handy at all times. Of course, with the modest price, you can simply discard it at the end of the season and buy a new one when grilling season begins again!
Best Splurge: Grand Grill Daddy Grill Cleaning Brush
A great grill deserves a great cleaning tool, like this Grill Daddy that cleans with steam without the need to dip the brush in water repeatedly. The handle design makes this look like a space-age vacuum, but it also offers a comfortable grip while you steam and scrub. Just fill it with water, turn the valve to the on position, and the brush dispenses just enough water for efficient cleaning without dousing the coals.
This brush has two different brush heads—a standard brush, and a crud-buster scraper brush for stubborn debris, so you can clean every nook and corner of your grates. The brushes are made from stainless steel and are removable and dishwasher safe, so you can get rid of that sticky barbecue sauce and have clean brushes when you need them.
While the brush heads are durable and long-lasting, all brushes need replacement eventually. But when you buy this brush, you needn’t discard it when the brushes wear out since replacement brush heads are available. There are accessories available as well, to make this even more versatile. This is a serious tool that should last for many, many grilling seasons.
Best Bristle-Free: Kona Barbecue Grill Brush and Scraper
Brushes with loose bristles can sometimes get left behind and pose a threat to your health. When loose bristles stick to the grill's surface during cleaning they can accidentally transfer to your food—resulting in an unpleasant mouth or throat injury. This brush solves the loose-bristle problem since it has spring-like wound stainless steel wires rather than pointy individual bristles. This also makes it safer, since there are no sharp edges or stabby points to worry about. Since the wire doesn’t bend during cleaning, it’s less likely to break, and the stainless steel won’t rust or corrode, so this brush will last much longer than traditional styles.
Best Wire-Free: Kona Bristle Free BBQ Grill Brush
Rather than a wire brush, this is a nylon scrub pad with a handle, so you can scrub the grill grates just like you scrub your pots and pans. In fact, when you’re not using this on the grill, you can use it indoors on your pots, pans, grills, and griddles. Unlike metal scrubbers that work best with hot grates, this should be used on a cool grill. When you’re done cleaning the grill, you can toss the scrubber in the dishwasher to get rid of the bits of barbecue sauce and grease. This comes as a set of two scrubbers, so you can keep one near the grill and one in the kitchen.
Best for Cast Iron Grates: GRILLART Grill Brush and Scraper
The GRILLART Grill Brush and Scraper is unique because three separate brushes are arranged side-by-side, allowing you to clean a large swath of grill easier and faster. The stainless steel bristles can scrape off sticky sauce residue or burned bits of food with ease, and they’re flexible enough to fit between the grill grates to clean both the top and sides with a single swipe. This is sturdy enough for long-term use (the wires are woven into the brush so they won’t come loose), yet safe on all types of grill grates including porcelain-enameled cast iron or seasoned cast iron grates. Rounding out the impressive features is an 18" handle that has a non-slip grip for comfortable use.
Best Traditional Wire: BBQ-Aid Barbecue Grill Brush and Scraper
This is the classic grill brush that everyone’s familiar with, from the wooden handle to the metal scraper above the brush head. The scraper has notches to curve around grill grate wires, and a hanging hole at the end of the handle so you can hang it from a convenient hook. The bristles are made from stainless steel that’s safe for all types of grills, yet they’re sturdy enough to scrape food and burned bits from the grates. The wooden handle is comfortable to hold, and won’t get hot while you work on the grill.
Best Brass Wire: Grillaholics Essentials Brass Grill Brush
Brass is a softer material than stainless steel, so a brass wire brush like this one from Grillaholics Essentials is ideal for any grill with grates that can be damaged from hard scraping. The brush is 18 inches long with a 5-1/2 inch brush head, and its wires are made from heavy-duty stainless brass. If your grill has porcelain or ceramic grates, the brass bristles are gentle enough to prevent damage to the cooking surface, yet they'll still scrape off any burnt-on food.
We awarded the Kona 360° Clean Grill Brush (view at Amazon) the top spot because of its efficient design and high-quality construction: it's able to withstand frequent, vigorous use. Prefer something with no bristles? Try the BBQ-Aid Barbecue Grill Brush and Scraper (view at Amazon). Made of wound stainless steel wires, this scraper guarantees no loose bristles in your food, and it's sturdy and easy to clean, too.
What to Look for in a Grill Brush
By Emily Farris
A grill brush may seem like a pretty innocuous tool, but wire grill brushes can actually be pretty dangerous—and probably not in the way you’re thinking. Yes, you can get poked if you were to, say, grab the brush by the bristles. But the real threat comes when those little metal wires get dislodged while cleaning the grill. If a bristle comes loose and sticks to the grease or residue on a grill grate, it could make its way into someone’s food the next time you cook. Wire grill brush bristles have ended up in people’s throats, stomachs, and intestines, with some incidents even requiring surgical removal. Luckily, you can prevent such injuries by choosing a well-made wire grill brush, properly maintaining it, and replacing it at the first signs of wear and tear.
The most effective grill brushes are made with brass or food-grade stainless steel bristles. Brass is softer than stainless steel but still strong enough to get a grill grate good and clean, so if you’re worried about scratching or otherwise damaging your grill but still want the strength of a metal bristle, brass is a good option. If you want to avoid metal wires altogether, there are a few good grill brushes with synthetic bristles (think: nylon) and even some made of natural plant fibers. Some nylon bristles are brightly colored so you’d notice if one broke away from the brush. You can also buy a grill brush with a scour pad-type head, though this style is generally less durable than a bristle-style brush.
If you’re buying a wire brush, the wire bristles should be hard-wired (not simply glued) into a firm food-grade plastic or metal brush head and cut evenly. A visibly straggly bristle should be a deal-breaker; where there’s one, there’s likely to be more. And if you can pull a bristle from the brush, don’t buy it; that’s likely a dangerous grill brush.
It’s important to get a heat-safe grill brush. If the instructions warn against using the brush on a hot surface, it’s a good indication the bristles are glued (as opposed to structurally secured) and are more likely to fall out with repeated use. And if the brush head and shaft aren’t all constructed of metal, be sure to look for “heat resistant” or “heat safe” in the product description.
Grill brush handle length is really a matter of preference. While a longer handle may seem like a better option if you’re cleaning a still-hot surface, a shorter handle can actually provide more leverage and flexibility when scraping and scrubbing various parts of the grill, allowing you to get into the edges, inside grates, and more. A thick, twisted wire handle will have more give (and less leverage) than an equally long solid wood handle, so consider that when choosing a handle length, too.
Square or rectangular grill brushes work like any other type of brush and often have rows or sections of bristles in a grid. This style may be easier to keep clean, but if the brush head panel isn’t really filled out, it may require more elbow grease to be effective. A pipe cleaner-style brush head, on the other hand, has bristles going in every direction—and usually has a lot more bristles in general. The round design makes it easier to get between the grates when cleaning with a back-and-forth motion, and this style can also be turned on its side to really get into and underneath the dirtiest parts of the grill grates.
Replaceable Brush Head
If you don’t like the idea of throwing out an entire grill brush when the bristles wear out, many square and rectangular grill brushes are designed for easy brush panel replacement. This is an eco-friendly option, and if you’re able to buy the brush heads in bulk (or at least purchase a few at a time), you may be more likely to change them out at the first signs of damage.
Some grilled-on gunk is too much or too thick for a grill brush to handle alone. A grill scraper can help dislodge those pieces, and scraping before brushing can also help prolong the life of a brush. Many square or rectangular brushes have a built-in scraper, but if the brush head isn’t replaceable it may make more sense to have a separate scraper so you’re not paying extra for a longer-lasting tool that will get thrown out when you replace your brush. But this is a matter of preference; if you’d rather have one tool than two, a built-in scraper can be a time and space saver.
Grill brushes can cost as little as $5, with high-end and professional models ringing in at $100 or more. The most expensive retail products often have unnecessary bells and whistles, such as motors or steam—one category where price isn’t necessarily indicative of quality. A good grill brush can be purchased for $10 to $20, which is a decent range for a product that should be replaced often.
Types of Wire Grill Brushes
Bristle brushes are the most effective and ubiquitous tools for cleaning a grill, and the bristles can be made of stainless steel, brass, nylon, or natural materials. Flat brushes feature a panel of bristles, sometimes in rows or sections, while pipe cleaner-style wire brushes have a 360-degree filled-out bristle design.
If you’d like to avoid any type of bristle brush, you can get a grill brush that has a scour-pad head. It’s basically a steel wool pad affixed to a handle. Generally, though, these are less effective and far less durable than bristle brushes. That said, some people like to use scrubbers as more of a polishing step after they use a brush or scraper, which can prolong the life of this style.
While some people like to use a grill scraper in conjunction with a brush, others swear by scrapers as their sole cleaning tool. If you choose a scraper as your main “brush,” you may find a metal version with grooves in the blade to be more effective than a flat blade. Wood scrapers are less ubiquitous but also a good choice. They’re meant to form to the exact size and shape of your grates with repeated use, which means you get a perfect scrape every time (well, eventually).
As the manufacturer of the most ubiquitous grill on the market, it should follow that Weber also makes good grill brushes. And for the most part, that’s true. The brand offers a variety of styles, including pipe cleaner and flat-panel brush heads, often in the $10 range.
This popular brand offers a variety of hard-wired, short-handled, wire-bristle brushes in the $20 range as part of its 360º Clean line. Most have two or three brushes as part of the brush head. The brand has also combined the cleaning power and durability of metal bristles with the peace of mind that comes with a bristle-free brush with its patent-pending Safe/Clean series.
Grill brushes should be cleaned often because you don’t want to transfer any gunk back onto your grill. You can usually dislodge any bigger particles by knocking the brush against something, or using a second wire brush to clean your main brush—just be sure that the second brush doesn’t leave any wires behind in your grill brush! Most brushes can then be cleaned with warm soapy water, but be sure to thoroughly rinse and dry them when you’re done; some metal bristles can rust, but you don’t really want water collecting in any brush head.
Of course, the most important thing to remember about maintaining a grill brush is that when the bristles become bent and smashed, or any bristles start to come loose, it’s time to replace the brush (or the head). A damaged grill brush is not only less effective, but it’s dangerous, too.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author who reviews products and writes roundups for The Spruce Eats. Her passion for quality cookware started when she toured a cookware manufacturer and saw how pots and pans were made. She’s personally reviewed five of the featured cookware sets for The Spruce Eats and has used individual pieces from many of the other featured sets.