Have you been wanting to experiment with grilling your favorite foods or looking to expand your cooking prowess but don't want to go through the hassle and time it takes to cook with a gas or charcoal grill? Perhaps it's time to look at electric grills.
These alternatives to traditional grills come in indoor, outdoor, and combo models. Electric grills tend to be more portable than their gas and charcoal counterparts and are easier to set up and clean, making them ideal for those living in apartments or other small spaces. But electric grills come in all shapes and sizes, from hooded to convertible to those with removable lids, so how's one to choose?
To find the best electric grills, we sent a few popular models to our home testers, and we tested 23 electric grills side by side in our Lab to find the best ones. Each of these has been put through its paces while our testers paid attention to if various foods were cooked evenly, if anything stuck to the grill grates, if it was easy to clean, and, most importantly, if the final dishes looked appetizing.
George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
Large enough to cook for a crowd
Nonstick grill plate is easy to clean
Can be used indoors or out
Easy to assemble
Heat control can get spattered with grease
Optional stand is a little unstable
If you want a freestanding electric grill, you can’t go wrong with the George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill. This model features a removable stand, plus a spacious 240 square inches of cooking space means you can make around 15 servings at a time.
The sleek-looking George Foreman grill has several features that make grilling an enjoyable experience. The nonstick grill plate has the iconic sloped grilling surface that helps drain the fat off meat, and the grill's 1440 watts translates to an adjustable temperature control that offers five heat settings. There’s also a dishwasher-safe drip tray that collects excess grease, but keep in mind that the grill plate is not removable.
When we tested the GFO240S in the Lab, the consistency among the tests stood out. Seven slices of white bread toasted evenly to a nice golden brown with picture-perfect grill marks. and that uniform grilling and well-defined grill marks continued with strips of fresh zucchini and a flank steak. Happily, neither of those tests produced extreme amounts of setting-off-the-fire-alarm smoke. Importantly, of the grills we tested, this one was one of the hottest (over 600 degrees) after five minutes on the highest setting.
Besides the built-in grill plate, the unstable stand is another downside to this model. We found that it felt a little unstable during all the tests, though it ultimately didn't break or fall off the stand. We also wished there was a hook for the lid to hold it while you're cooking—a feature some other George Foreman indoor/outdoor grills do have.
Price at time of publish: $130
Use: Indoor/outdoor | Dimensions: 10.88 x 20.5 x 21.25 inches | Cooking Area: 240 square inches | Power: 1440 watts | Weight: 19.89 pounds
"The grill works very well, and the results have nice, well-defined sear marks."
Weber Q 1400 Electric Grill
Durable and easy to transport
Cast iron cooking grates help retain heat
Doesn’t display temperature
Long preheat time
One of the best electric grills you can buy today is the Weber Q 1400 Electric Grill. This tabletop model has a 1560-watt heating element and 189 square inches of cooking area, as well as a 6-foot grounded cord. Its sleek exterior design features a cast aluminum lid and body, as well as a large grip handle and control knobs, and ergonomic side handles. You can adjust the inner temperature via the infinite heat control settings, and the porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates will put a delicious sear on your food.
We've tested this model both in a home kitchen and in our Lab. Our home reviewer was incredibly happy with the design and performance, saying that this is ideal for those looking to save space and that its cast-iron grates deliver beautiful sear marks. After it burnt a few pieces of toast in the Lab, we found that the Q 1400 performed better on certain types of food, leaving defined sear marks on both zucchini strips and flank steak. Like the George Foreman, it did get to over 600 degrees when left on high for five minutes. It didn't perform as well with chicken breasts, with the tester noting that raised grates might've worked better in that experiment.
If you're looking for a larger electric grill, Weber also has the Q 2400, which boasts 280 square inches of cooking space for a slightly higher price.
Price at time of publish: $359
Use: Outdoor | Dimensions: 14.5 x 27 x 16.5 inches | Cooking Area: 189 square inches | Power: 1560 watts | Weight: 28.5 pounds
"I was super pleased with these grates, as they gave us drool-worthy sear marks during different grill sessions." — Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester
Power XL Smokeless Grill
Both grill and griddle
Lid seals well
A lot to clean
Somewhat uneven cooking
One of the major problems with grilling indoors is that it can create quite a bit of smoke, setting off your fire alarm—and no one wants to deal with that! However, the PowerXL Smokeless Grill promises to solve this common kitchen woe, thanks to its built-in smoke-extracting fan, making it great for grilling indoors. The grill can achieve temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and it includes a tight-sealing lid to lock in moisture while you cook.
This indoor grill offers a 13.75 x 8-inch cooking surface that's spacious enough for eight large hamburgers, and its nonstick ceramic surface ensures your food is easy to flip and remove. There's an oil-drip tray below the cooking surface to catch drippings, and the unit even comes with an additional griddle plate in case you want to whip up some breakfast.
Our home tester did just that and found that this is truly smokeless when making bacon and eggs. It wasn't as smokeless in our Lab though, with a moderate amount wafting in the air when we grilled flank steak and chicken breasts. There was also some inconsistency with grill marks (it doesn't achieve the high temperature necessary for true sear marks). Cleanup does entail a lot of pieces but is shockingly easy, even when there are caramelized bits on the grill.
Price at time of publish: $70
Use: Indoor | Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 5.5 inches | Cooking Area: 110 square inches | Power: 1200 watts | Weight: 15.47 pounds
"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." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Patios
Char-Broil Patio Bistro TRU-Infrared Electric Grill
Gives food a smoky flavor
Easy to clean
Removable warming rack for more space
No handle for moving the grill
Thermometer placement could be better
If you have a dedicated outdoor space where you can place a grill, the Char-Broil Infrared Electric Patio Bistro is a highly rated outdoor electric model. This electric grill features infrared technology that heats food directly to minimize hot spots, and it has 240 square inches of primary cooking space to hold around eight to 12 burgers at a time. There's an additional removable warming rack for a total of 320 square inches of cooking space.
This electric grill delivers 1750 watts of power and plugs into a standard outlet. It features a porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grate, as well as a lid-mounted temperature gauge and wheels for increased mobility. You can infuse your barbecue with a smoky flavor by heating wood chips on the grate while cooking.
Our home tester said this electric grill has a small learning curve if you're switching from charcoal or gas grilling, but overall, controlling this device was pretty intuitive. In the Lab, we did observe some uneven heating, with more heating consistency on the back and center of the grill. Those are the areas where more caramelization and searing occurred, though everything that was grilled cooked up nicely.
Note: The model tested by The Spruce Eats' home tester included folding side shelves, which the most recent models do not have.
Price at time of publish: $297
Use: Outdoor | Dimensions: 26 x 38.5 x 24.2 inches | Cooking Area: 320 square inches | Power: 1750 watts | Weight: 44 pounds
"While it’s not quite the same as a dedicated smoker, we thought this grill worked surprisingly well; because the smoke is closer to the food, it’s a very efficient system." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Presto 09020 Cool Touch Electric Indoor Grill
Produces great grill marks
Some hot spots
Doesn't get hot enough to sear
If you need a tabletop grill that's also easy to store, the very affordable Presto Cool Touch Indoor Grill has everything you could want. This features a nonstick grilling surface that's raised away from the cast aluminum base and slightly tilted, so fat drains into the removable drip tray. That base remains cool-ish to touch, even if you crank the grill all the way up. The grill itself only weighs 5 pounds, so it can be set up anywhere.
We say "cool-ish" since the base did get warm when we maxed out the temperature in the Lab. We observed that though the gauge was set to 400 degrees, the thermometer read up to 480 degrees in certain spots on the grill itself. The hot spots did translate to a little bit more golden coloring on our toast and a tiny bit more caramelization on our flank steak and chicken breast. But every test came out with impeccable grill marks, and none of them caused enough smoke to set off the alarm.
Cleanup is easy too. Once the heating element is removed, the grill can be cleaned with warm, soapy water and placed in the dishwasher. This does come with a specially designed spatula that doubles as a scraper if anything does get stuck on.
Price at time of publish: $60
Use: Indoor | Dimensions: 18.43 x 11.25 x 2.18 inches | Cooking Area: 160 square inches | Power: 1300 watts | Weight: 5 pounds
"It's very light, very thin, and very easy to store."
Hamilton Beach 25361 Electric Indoor Searing Grill with Viewing Window
Window on lid to monitor cooking
Removable, nonstick grates are simple to clean
Lid keeps smoke and grease in
Wasted space on side of grill
Observed cool spots during testing
While the Power XL grill, our best indoor pick, claims to be smokeless with the help of a water tray, this countertop grill from Hamilton Beach is actually smokeless thanks to a lid that keeps the smoke and grease inside. This option comes with a ceramic nonstick grill plate, and the heating element can produce temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll know when the grill's ready by a green light.
Out of the box, this is pretty simple to put together; though it is large enough to need a dedicated space. When we tested this in our Lab, it did take an extra minute or two to come to temperature, and there does seem to be some cool spots on the grill. Cool spots can be used to your advantage, so you don't end up with hockey-puck burgers. Thankfully, this model has a window in the lid so you can monitor the food's progress while keeping all the smoke away from any sensitive alarms. Once you learn its quirks, it can grill up whatever you want with appetizing grill marks, as we found with our steak and chicken tests.
When you're done, the lid does come off for a wash in warm, soapy water, and the grill plate can go in the dishwasher. The extra-large, removable drip tray is almost the whole width of the grill, so you can be sure that there won't be any mess.
Price at time of publish: $95
Use: Indoor | Dimensions: 16.73 x 12.4 x 6.81 inches | Cooking Area: 118 square inches | Power: 1200 watts | Weight: 8.1 pounds
"This cooks things on the lighter lower end, so the resulting food is less caramelized, but the food is relatively consistent, and it looks OK on the counter."
Best Grill/Griddle Combo
Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill and Griddle
Temperature accurately corresponds to the setting
Digital display is easy to use
Needs dedicated space on countertop
It's hard to allot kitchen space to a single-use appliance, no matter what it is. Breville's The Smart Grill is not only multi-use—it can also be used as a griddle and a sandwich press—but it also looks stylish and high-tech on your counter. The "smart" part of this grill is the technology inside the heating element that helps to keep the temperature even on the nonstick grates. So, if you open the lid, which can cool off the grates, this quickly reacts to raise the temperature again.
Speaking of temperatures, unlike many on this list, the Breville has a digital display so you can set it with accuracy up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and it has a preheating countdown clock, which means you can set it and go back to chopping. In our Lab, we found that the temperature of the plates was one of the most accurate, with the medium and high settings clocking it at exactly what we wanted.
Of our other Lab tests, this didn't create the grill marks we were looking for when we toasted white bread or grilled zucchini strips. It did, however, perform excellently on both steak and chicken tests, getting hot enough to give the steak a nice sear (though it did create a lot of smoke). The titanium-infused plates are extremely durable and can be placed in the dishwasher afterward.
Price at time of publish: $297
Use: Indoor | Dimensions: 16 x 14 x 5 inches | Cooking Area: 260 square inches | Power: 1800 watts | Weight: 21.8 pounds
"The grill produces nicely caramelized and well-cooked meat."
|Overall Rating||Ease of Assembly||Performance||Design||Cleanup||Portability|
George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
Weber Q 1400 Electric Grill
Power XL Smokeless Grill
Best for Patios:
Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill
Presto Cool Touch Electric Indoor Grill
Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill
Best Grill/Griddle Combo:
Breville Smart Grill and Griddle
Our top spot goes to the George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill since it's easy to use indoors and outside but large enough to cook for a crowd. Plus, it's affordable and easy to use. Planning to do most of your grilling indoors? Try the Breville BGR820XL The Smart Grill. This countertop grill can double as a griddle.
How We Tested
We tested 23 of the top electric grills in our Lab by seeing how well they toasted up white bread and how well they grilled zucchini strips, flank steak, and chicken breasts. We ran tests on all the settings each grill had in order to accurately gauge both the appliance's heat level and how evenly it cooked. The testers also cleaned each one repeatedly to observe ease of cleaning. All of the tests evaluated the electric grills on ease of assembly, performance, design, ease of cleaning, and portability.
Other Options We Tested
- George Foreman GGR50B Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill: A home tester found this grill easy to assemble and clean and that it gets super hot for searing meats and other grilled dishes. So, we made it our Best Overall pick for years. Then it didn't perform as well in our Lab tests, only creating light grill marks but lots of smoke. It also doesn't come off the (very unstable) stand making it a little difficult to store during inclement weather, and you're completely unable to use it indoors.
- Ninja AG301 Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fry: Buying a multiple-appliances-in-one item is only sometimes a good thing. Other times, it means that one of the features doesn't perform as well as you'd like, and that's the case here. The Ninja gives you a nice sizzle when cooking steak and chicken, but everything had "weird" swirly grill marks. Also, this got really hot in our Lab, so much so that you can't touch it afterward. Add to this that the temperatures were off, and you can't turn off the convection fan, and it becomes a pass.
- Cuisinart GR-4NP1 5-in-1 Griddler: The Cuisinart Griddler is another want-to-be multi-use appliance. Unfortunately, our Lab testers found that the temperatures were out of whack. You either had something lightly cooked or overcooked. Additionally, grease splattered everywhere while cooking the steak, and it got too hot to touch during testing.
- De'Longhi Perfecto Indoor Grill with Lid: Despite this 1500-watt indoor grill getting up to 480 F (on setting 5), it tends to grill things on the lighter side. This translates to little caramelization (what you're looking for when grilling). The grill also heated very unevenly, getting too hot in the middle, while it formed condensation when on lower settings.
- Gotham Steel Smokeless Indoor Grill: Gotham Steel claims it's nearly a smokeless grill, and our testers agreed. When we tested it, there was little to no smoke, so nothing to set an alarm off. But Gotham Steel also claims that the heating element is found throughout this grill for even cooking, and that is not what we observed. In fact, our testers observed the grill heating up at different rates, with one side getting very hot while the other was warm. This led to spotty cooking, so we don't recommend it.
What to Look for in an Electric Grill
Like with all grills, you'll want to have about 72 square inches of cooking space for each person you regularly cook for. Since electric grills tend to be significantly smaller than gas or charcoal grills, you might need to do a few rounds of cooking. Luckily, electric grills, especially the tabletop varieties, are perfect for communal eating where there's constantly more food to throw on the hot plate, like when having shabu shabu or Korean BBQ at home. Of course, you'll need to keep in mind how you'll store your grill when not in use. Make sure you have a designated space, even if it will primarily be outdoors.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
Most people think of outdoor cooking when it comes to grilling, but some electric grills can be used indoors, too—which is great when the weather isn’t cooperative, or you need to stir a risotto on the stove and have a steak on the grill. If you’ll be grilling indoors, choose a grill that can live on your counter as well as your deck.
Another important decision is figuring out which variety of grill you want. Electric grills come in two varieties: open, which mimics an outdoor grill, or contact, which is when there are both a top and bottom plate. If you want the traditional "stand above the grill" experience, or are planning on many communal meals where food is being taken on and off the grill, opt for an open grill. If you want a more versatile electric grill that could possibly be used as a open-face griddle or sandwich press, opt for a contact grill.
From there, you have lots of features to choose from. Open grills might come with a stand and be able to work outdoors. For countertop models, you'll most likely need a lid to keep grease contained, and many have fans to help keep the smoke to a minimum. Contact grills might have better digital interfaces and more cooking options. Most electric grills though come with removable drip trays and removable grill plates for easy cleaning.
How do you clean an electric grill?
To clean an electric grill, start by unplugging it and allowing the grates to cool down. If your grill has removable nonstick grates, you can take them off and wash them in your sink with soap and water, the same way you would a piece of cookware. Some electric grills even have dishwasher-safe grates (though, keep in mind that too much grease can clog up your dishwasher). For grills with cast-iron grates, use a wire brush to remove particles as needed, and wash with soap and water, drying thoroughly after.
Each time you use your electric grill, you'll also want to clean the grease tray and wipe down the exterior as needed.
Are pellet grills electric?
Pellet grills burn wood pellets as their main fuel source, so they're not technically electric grills. However, pellet grills do need to be plugged into an electrical outlet, as they have several components—including the control panel, auger, and fan—that require electricity to run.
How can you get smoke flavor on an electric grill?
One of the downsides of electric grills is that they don't give your food any type of smoky flavor, as there's no fuel being burned. If you want to grill more flavorful food, one of your best options is to use a smoker box. These containers are designed to hold wood chips or charcoal, and you place them on the grill alongside your food. The fuel will burn as your food cooks, and the smoke given off will make your meal that much more flavorful.
What can you cook on an electric grill?
You can cook the same foods on an electric grill that you would on a gas or charcoal grill. Electric grills are great for making hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, and grilled vegetables. They're also great for communal cooking like hot pot, shabu shabu, and Korean BBQ. Depending on the grill you have, there might not be as much room for liquids to drain, so use marinades and dressings sparingly.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Camryn Rabideau is a product tester and writer for The Spruce Eats, and she's written dozens of pieces on all types of grills. During her apartment-living days, she relied on a small electric George Foreman grill to get her grilling fix in the summer, even though she only had a small balcony to cook on.
The Spruce Eats Editor Siobhan Wallace compiled testing data from our official Lab as well as insights from our home testers' full product reviews to update this roundup.