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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?
Here's a list of the best electric grills in a variety of categories to help you decide.
Best Overall: George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
Large enough to cook for a crowd
Nonstick grill plate is easy to clean
Can be used indoors or out
Heat control can get spattered with grease
If you want a freestanding electric grill, you can’t go wrong with the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill. This model features a removable stand that lets you use it outside on a patio or indoors on the countertop, and its spacious 240 square inches of cooking space lets you make around 15 servings at a time.
The George Foreman grill has a number of features that will make grilling an enjoyable experience. The durable grill plate is removable for easy cleanup, and it has a sloped grilling surface that helps drain the fat off meat. There’s a dishwasher-safe drip tray that collects excess grease, and the adjustable temperature control lets you choose from five heat settings. According to our tester, this grill is easy to assemble and clean, and it gets super hot for searing meats and other grilled dishes.
George Foreman has a few other indoor/outdoor grills, including the GFO3320GM, which has a slightly higher MSRP and features a premium ceramic coating and built-in temperature gauge.
Dimensions: 22 x 18 x 35 inches | Cooking Area: 240 square inches | Watts: 1600 | Use: indoor/outdoor
"This grill does a fine job with basics like burgers and sausages, producing nice grill marks. It also did a surprisingly good job cooking a frozen pizza." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Runner up, Best Overall: 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 Q1400 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.
The Weber Q 1400 has a sleek exterior design featuring 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. Overall, our product reviewer was incredibly happy with the sleek design and performance of this electric grill, saying that it’s ideal for those looking to save space and that its cast iron grates deliver beautiful sear marks.
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.
Dimensions: 14.5 x 27 x 16.5 inches | Cooking Area: 189 square inches | Watts: 1560 | Use: outdoor
"I was super pleased with these grates, as they gave us drool-worthy sear marks during different grill sessions." — Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester
Best Smokeless: PowerXL 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 unique design that virtually eliminates smoke with its built-in smoke-extracting fan. The grill can achieve temperatures up to 450 degrees, and it includes a tight-sealing lid to lock in moisture while you cook.
This indoor grill offers a 13-3/4 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 cook surface to catch drippings, and the unit even comes with an additional griddle plate in case you want to whip up some breakfast. Our tester confirmed that this is truly smokeless and therefore makes a great option for apartment dwellers.
Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 5.5 inches | Cooking Area: 110 square inches | Watts: 1200 | Use: indoor
"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 Indoor: Cuisinart GR-5B Electric Griddler Five
Can function as a griddle
Dishwasher-safe cooking plates
Some report uneven heat distribution
Want to whip up some hamburgers inside? Then you need a product like the Cuisinart Electric Griddler, which works as a contact grill, panini press, and griddle. This countertop model has an adjustable temperature that can reach up to 450 degrees, and it’s easy to clean thanks to its dishwasher-safe cooking plates.
This sleek indoor grill boasts five-in-one cooking options—you can use it as a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, or half grill/half griddle. Its LCD display and digital controls let you switch between functions and adjust the temperature and time, and the floating cover and reversible cooking plates are easy to remove and clean. Reviewers love that this indoor grill can serve as a griddle, and many note that it gets impressively hot, making cooking quick and easy. Note that a few customers say the griddle doesn't always heat evenly.
Dimensions: 8.75 x 16 x 13.75 inches | Cooking Area: 99 square inches | Watts: 1500 | Use: indoor
Best Smoker: Cuisinart 30-Inch Electric Smoker
Easy to set up and use
Precise and steady temperature control
No drip tray
Who doesn’t love a nice piece of smoked brisket once in a while? With the Cuisinart Electric Smoker, you can create all sorts of delicious smoked meats right at home. This electric smoker is convenient and easy to use—all you have to do is plug it in, place your meat on the rack, and set the temperature. In a few hours, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious smoked meal!
This electric smoker has a 1500-watt heating element that can produce temperatures between 100 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can control the temperature via the dial-style thermostat, and the unit has a generous 548 square inches of cooking space, allowing you to cook several items at once. The smoker includes a tray for wood chips to get that smoky flavor, and the easy-to-use design is ideal for both beginners and more experienced grillers. Reviewers sing the praises of this electric smoker, saying it’s easy to assemble and extremely straightforward to use.
Dimensions: 22 x 19 x 37.5 inches | Cooking Area: 548 square inches | Watts: 1500 | Use: outdoor
Best for Patios: Char-Broil Patio Bistro TRU-Infrared Electric Grill
Gives food a smoky flavor
Easy to clean
No handle for moving the grill
Thermometer placement could be better
If you have 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. Our 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. The ability to smoke foods adds to its value.
Note: The model tested by The Spruce Eats included folding side shelves, which the most recent models do not.
Dimensions: 26 x 38.5 x 24.2 inches | Cooking Area: 320 square inches | Watts: 1750 | Use: outdoor
"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
Best Splurge: Kenyon B70082 Floridian All Seasons Portable Stainless Steel Electric Grill
Grill grate and lid are dishwasher safe
While the price tag may be a little higher, you can’t beat the sleek design and quality performance of the Kenyon Floridian All-Seasons Portable Electric Grill. This high-end model can heat up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes, and it’s even approved for indoor use on days when the weather isn’t agreeable.
The Floridian All-Seasons Grill has 155 square inches of cooking space, and the whole unit is made from sleek stainless steel. The grill grate and lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, and reviewers say this electric model is durable and delivers unbeatable results.
Dimensions: 21 x 12.25 x 9.25 inches | Cooking Area: 155 square inches | Watts: 1300 | Use: indoor/outdoor
Best Budget: BLACK+DECKER George Foreman GR0040B 2-Serving Classic Plate Grill
Great for single servings
No temperature control
For those who don’t grill often but still want to have a small electric grill on hand, the George Foreman Classic Plate Grill is a great affordable option. This small grill has just 36 square inches of cooking area that can handle two servings at a time, and it can be stored vertically to take up less space.
The Classic Plate Grill is a countertop model that features nonstick grill coating and George Foreman's standard fat-draining, sloped design. There’s a dishwasher-safe drip tray, as well as embedded heating elements for even heat distribution and rapid temperature recovery. The power indicator light lets you know when the grilling surface is preheated, and while it may not be the most sophisticated grill ever, reviewers say it’s perfect for one or two people.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 9.25 x 10.25 inches | Cooking Area: 36 square inches | Watts: 760 | Use: indoor
Our top spot goes to the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill because it's safe to use for small spaces and balconies, 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 Cuisinart GR-5B Electric Griddler Five (view at Amazon). This five-in-one indoor grill can double as a griddle.
What to Look for in An Electric Grill
Some electric grills are designed for just one or two people, while others are large enough to cook a meal for the whole family. Neither is better—it just depends on how you’ll use it. The overall size of the grill is also something to consider since it’s likely you’ll store it indoors when it’s not in use.
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.
Wattage and Temperature
If high-heat cooking is important to you, look for grills that can provide that heat reliably. If you’re more interested in cooking over lower or moderate heat or using indirect-heat cooking methods, consider a grill with the ability to adjust the heat to your desired level.
How do you clean an electric grill?
To clean an electric grill, you'll want to 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 smokey 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, but 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.