Both grill and griddle
Lid seals well
A lot to clean
Somewhat uneven cooking
We purchased the PowerXL Smokeless Grill so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
We have a habit of setting off our smoke detectors, so we were curious about the PowerXL Smokeless Grill’s ability to grill foods without scaring the neighborhood squirrels. We stocked up on grillable foods and made sure the smoke detector batteries were charged. Many meals later, we’ve got opinions.
Setup Process: Assembly is (mostly) obvious
Of course, we washed the parts before use, but there still was a strong scent of burning off manufacturing residue when we heated the grill for the first time. It didn’t last long, and on the second warm up, it didn’t return.
To assemble, the plastic water tray sits at the bottom of the base unit, and instructions said to fill it with 2 cups of water. We did that on first use but found that it was awkward to carry it after cooking without spilling. Also, for foods that are going to drip juices or fats, the tray would be even more full. We decided that 1 cup was enough.
The aluminum collection tray fits next. This collects drippings and funnels them down to the drip tray. We noticed there were triangular arrow marks on one side of the tray and searched the manual for information. We found that the arrows should be lined up, but both the arrows and the instructions could be easy to miss. The heating element, which also includes the control panel, is next, then either the grill pan or griddle plate, followed by the lid.
Once plugged in, we pressed the power button and the fan button to turn them on. The heat control has temperatures marked at 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, and 450 degrees. There are hash marks between the temperatures, but they’re just for show. The temperatures are set by pressing the – and + buttons and aren’t adjustable for fine increments. There is no timer option, so the cook needs to set a separate timer or watch the clock.
Performance: Smoke-free cooking
This grill’s main boast is its smokeless grilling, and it certainly lived up to that boast. The fan did a stellar job removing smoke and steam, and the lid sealed surprisingly well, so smoke didn’t have a chance to escape. We fired up the grill to cook a steak, and there wasn’t even a wisp of visible smoke, much to the disappointment of the smoke detector. Bacon was similarly smoke-free, and since we did much of the cooking with the lid on, we had very little mess outside the grill.
This grill’s main boast is its smokeless grilling, and it certainly lived up to that boast.
Design: Many parts
This grill/griddle has a lot of pieces. There’s a base unit that holds all the components, a heating unit, a water pan, a collection tray, a grill plate, a griddle plate, a power cord, and a lid. They all fit together for storage, fortunately.
While this isn’t the most attractive kitchen appliance we’ve seen, it’s not unattractive. We wouldn’t leave it out for display, but we wouldn’t be ashamed to let people see it in use.
As far as size is concerned, we measured the usable cooking space at about 8 x 14 inches. We were able to cook a batch of breakfast sausages next to some hash brown patties with plenty of space to move the food around. When those were done, we removed them, wiped the sausage fat from the grill, added a pat of butter, and cooked eggs to finish the breakfast.
Features: Fan or no fan
The fan is a big part of why the grill is smokeless, and we initially wondered why it wasn’t turned on automatically. Then, when we used the pan for cooking basted eggs, we wanted some steam. With the fan running, we didn’t get steam. When we turned the fan off, we got the steam we needed. Now we appreciate that the fan is optional.
Cleaning: Many parts need cleaning
There are a lot of parts to clean, and the grill plate, in particular, is annoying to clean by hand because of its many nooks and edges. The good news is that all of the parts, aside from the base and heating unit, are supposed to be dishwasher-safe. The bad news is that they take quite a bit of space in the dishwasher. The other bad news is that after a few runs through the dishwasher, the coating on our collection tray started to feel like it was degrading, so we suggest washing it by hand.
After a few runs through the dishwasher, the coating on our collection tray started to feel like it was degrading, so we suggest washing it by hand.
Besides cleaning the easily removable parts, the fan unit can be removed so the base unit can be more thoroughly cleaned. This requires removing a screw on the bottom of the base unit to remove the cover and then the fan. This may not need to be done each time, but it should be done after cooking something messy.
We thought that using the griddle would leave us with less mess, but when we cooked a simple grilled cheese sandwich—which was perfectly cooked—we ended up having to clean all of the pieces since melted cheese and grease dripped over the edges of the griddle onto the collection tray and into the drip pan. It wasn’t as messy as when we used the grill pan with its open holes, but it still meant we had to wash all of the parts.
Price: Average for a countertop appliance
Neither expensive nor cheap, this grill is definitely middle-of-the-road for kitchen appliances. Our one quibble is that the warranty is only 90 days.
PowerXL Smokeless Grill vs. Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill
While the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill—that we also tested—doesn’t bill itself as a smokeless grill, the lid should keep smoke in check. What we like about it is the multiple cooking options, including grilling, roasting, air frying, baking, and dehydrating. While we had no major issues with the PowerXL, it only has two functions: grilling or griddling. Cooks who want multiple cooking options might prefer the Foodi.
- Product Name Smokeless Grill
- Product Brand PowerXL
- Price $119.85
- Product Dimensions 19.7 x 11.4 x 7.5 in.
- Cooking Area 13.5 x 8 in.
- Power 120 W
- What's included Base unit, heating coil/control unit, drip tray, collection tray, grill plate, griddle plate, a lid, and recipe booklets
- Warranty 90 days