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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, rust, and residue buildup, and makes it easier to cook and handle food on the grill. Plus, your food will taste better, and your grill will last longer.
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.
"Cast iron grates can be tricky to take care of because cleaning them conventionally can lead to rust," says Jess Pryles, Grilling Expert and Author of "Hardcore Carnivore." "You need to treat them just like a cast-iron skillet, and make sure you season them and 'seal' them with oil to protect them between cooks."
Here, our list of the best wire grill brushes.
Best Overall: Kona 360° Clean Grill Brush
Metal hanging loop
Long, comfortable handle
Bristles can bend and break
Not simple to clean
Kona has developed a reputation for quality grill tools, and this brush doesn't disappoint. With three separate brushes in a side-by-side configuration, this brush 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, and our tester liked that you can use the brush sideways, as well.
This brush is a full 18 inches long to keep your hands away from the grill surface, and the plastic handle is comfortable to grip, even if you need to use two hands. 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.
Dimensions: 18 x 4 inches | Weight: 12 ounces | Brush Material: Stainless steel | Warranty: 5 years
"The handle, made from hard plastic, was long enough to keep my hands away from the heat of the grill, and it felt comfortably squishy thanks to its hollow form." –Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Cast Iron Grates: Grillart Grill Brush and Scraper
Three rows of bristles
Metal hanging loop
Scraper can be harsh on coated grates
Possible for bristles to break
The GRILLART Grill Brush and Scraper has three separate brushes arranged side-by-side, which allows you to clean a large swath of the 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. The brush also has a scraper that comes in handy when cleaning a griddle or tight spaces of your grill—but our tester warned it can get in the way a little bit when cleaning a grill's interior.
This brush is sturdy enough for long-term use (the wires are woven into the brush so they won’t come loose) on all types of grill grates, including porcelain-enameled cast iron or seasoned cast-iron grates. Our tester found it worked well on all types of grills, such as the inside lid of a kamado. Rounding out the impressive features is an 18-inch handle that has a non-slip grip for comfortable use. As an extra bonus, our reviewer found the dense bristles hold oil well so you can use it to season hot grates and before cooking.
Dimensions: 18 x 3 inches | Weight: 12.6 ounces | Brush Material: Stainless steel
"The brush itself is almost like a flat surface with its tightly packed wires, so it efficiently worked when cleaning all of the different grills I tested it on, as long as the brush was held down in such a way so that the bristles were flat on the grill." –Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Budget: Weber 12-Inch 3-Sided Grill Brush
Pushes easily to clean between grates
Good leverage for brushing
Handle is short
Just one row of bristles
Leather hanging loop can break
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, and our tester liked that you can hold it at pretty much any angle to clean. Its bristles aren't as densely packed as other brushes, which means it probably won't last as long, but the modest price makes it easy to stomach buying a new one in a season or two.
This brush is only 12 inches long, so you’ll need mitts if you’re cleaning a large grill when it's still hot, 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—but we anticipate it might break after a season or two. In our tests, it handled everything from routine cleaning to thick, dripped-on rib sauce.
Dimensions: 12 x 7 inches | Weight: 0.57 pounds | Brush Material: Stainless steel
"Because it can be easily pushed down onto the grill sending bristles between the grates, it was surprisingly efficient at cleaning the sides of wires and rods on grill grates." –Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Bristle-Free: Kona Barbecue Grill Brush and Scraper
Lasts longer than traditional bristle brush
Can be used on all grill types
Requires more effort than traditional brush
Not great at getting into corners
Brushes with loose bristles can sometimes get left behind, and when loose bristles stick to the grill's surface during cleaning, they can accidentally transfer to your food. This brush solves the loose-bristle problem since it has spring-like wound stainless steel wires rather than pointy individual bristles. 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.
Dimensions: 18 x 6 inches | Weight: 12 ounces | Brush Material: Stainless steel | Warranty: 5 years
"Cast iron grates can be tricky to take care of because cleaning them conventionally can lead to rust. You need to treat them just like a cast-iron skillet, and make sure you season them and 'seal' them with oil to protect them between cooks." –Jess Pryles, Grilling Expert and Author of "Hardcore Carnivore"
Best Splurge: Grand Grill Daddy Grill Cleaning Brush
Built-in water reservoir for steam cleaning
Two dishwasher-safe brush heads
Replacement brush heads available
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 don't need to 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.
The brand also offers the Original Grill Daddy, which isn't as expensive. However, the original model is made from plastic, and its bristles are less densely packed.
Dimensions: 17 x 6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | Brush Material: Stainless steel | Warranty: Lifetime for body
Best Wire-Free: Best Music Posters BBQ Grill Grate Cleaner
Scrub pad is dishwasher safe
Extra scrubber is included
Can be used on other kitchen surfaces
Sheds during heavy use
Can only be used on a cool grill
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.
Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 3 inches | Brush Material: Nylon
Best Traditional Wire: BBQ-Aid Barbecue Grill Brush and Scraper
Classic, affordable design
Scraper on the end
Oversized brush head with stainless steel bristles
Bristles are short
No loop for hanging
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.
Dimensions: 15 x 3 inches | Weight: 16 ounces | Brush Material: Stainless steel
Best Brass Wire: Grillaholics Essentials Brass Grill Brush
Brass bristles are softer on porcelain or ceramic grates
Several rows of bristles for faster cleaning
Bristles wear down faster than stainless steel
Requires more elbow grease on tough grime
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.
Dimensions: 18 x 3 inches | Weight: 14.4 ounces | Brush Material: Stainless brass | Warranty: Lifetime
We awarded the Kona 360° Clean Grill Brush the top spot because of its efficient design and high-quality construction: It's able to withstand frequent, vigorous use. If you're looking for something budget-friendly to get you through the season, our tester loved the Weber 12-Inch 3-Sided Grill Brush. Her recommendation? "Buy a few."
What to Look for in a Grill Brush
By Emily Farris
A grill brush may seem like a pretty innocuous tool, but those little metal wires can 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. Luckily, you can prevent such a thing 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 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, like nylon, and even some made of natural plant fibers. Some nylon bristles are even 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.
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 a more 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 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 recognized 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).
How do you clean a wire grill brush?
The best way to clean a grill brush is by soaking it in hot water with a squirt of dish soap and swishing it around to remove as much crud as possible. If you have another grill or kitchen brush available, you can also rub the two together—this is a great way to dislodge even more gunk and clean deep within the bristles. Once you've gotten most of the debris out, rinse the brush to remove any soap residue and hang it to dry.
Can you put a wire grill brush in the dishwasher?
Some grill brushes or brush heads are dishwasher safe, but it's typically better to wash them by hand to avoid getting grease and food residue in your dishwasher. If you do opt to put your brush in the dishwasher, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions—for instance, you may have to remove the brush head first or keep the tool on the top shelf of your appliance.
When should I brush my grill?
The best time to clean your grill is after you've finished cooking. Your grill should still be warm when you take a brush to it—this makes it much easier to clean off lingering food particles. By cleaning the grill after each use, you'll prevent food and grease from hardening onto your grates, making maintenance easier in the long run.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author who reviews products and writes roundups for The Spruce Eats. She grills snow or shine, has tested numerous grills of all kinds—including gas, charcoal, pellet, and kamado—and personally reviewed three of the wire grill brushes included in this roundup.
This roundup was updated by Camryn Rabideau, product tester and grill expert for The Spruce Eats. She's done firsthand testing of the Weber Q2200, Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker, and more, and she currently uses a product very similar to the BBQ-Aid Grill Brush to clean her grill. While researching this article, she spoke with Jess Pryles, grilling expert and author of "Hardcore Carnivore" for tips on how to maintain your grill.