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While cooking over a fire can certainly be appealing, using an electric grill has many benefits. For one thing, there’s no need for charcoal or gas tanks that need to be replaced, and you don't have to worry about live fire. And if you purchase a small electric grill like this one, you can take it on the road and use it on vacation (or anywhere you have electricity).
The Weber Q-1400 has a total of 189 square inches of cooking space and a 1560-watt electric heating element that heats efficiently. The grates are porcelain-enameled cast iron, so you’ll get great grill marks. The lid and body of this grill are aluminum and the frame is glass-reinforced nylon, reducing the weight to make it easier to move(also making it rust-proof). A removable catch pan makes cleaning easy when cooking is done. This has a 6-foot cord, so you’ll need to use it close to an outlet. It is for outdoor use only.
Weber has been a popular brand of grills for generations, for good reason. They’re well-made, they’re reliable, and they look good on the deck or in the back yard. This Spirit-series grill has two burners, Weber’s signature Flavorizer bars that vaporize liquids to create flavorful smoke, and a total of 450 square inches of cooking space. The open cart makes it easy to stash supplies below the grill while six tool hooks keep grill brushes, tongs, and spatulas easily at hand.
This has two large wheels that make it simple to reposition the grill when needed and two sturdy legs that keep it from rolling accidentally. When space is at a premium, the left side table folds down and then flips back up easily when you need space for condiments and plates.
Best known for its line of countertop contact grills, the George Foreman company also manufactures other grills such as this innovative electric pedestal grill that can be used indoors and outdoors. It’s great for cooking on the balcony when the weather is nice, but you can also use it inside when it starts to rain. The temperature control gives you a choice of five settings, and for added versatility, the grill can be removed from the stand so you can use it on the counter.
The smaller footprint still provides you with 240 square inches of cooking space on a nonstick surface. The slightly sloped drip tray collects grease and drippings, and it can be tossed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning. The grill plate is also removable for hand washing.
Char-Broil has updated the standard charcoal grill design with infrared cooking grates that heat evenly and can create a lot more heat with less coal. There’s no need to look for a place to set the lid down since it’s attached to the grill with a hinge that holds the lid upright when it’s time to add or remove food. The lid latches securely closed for storage or when moving the grill. A handy temperature gauge in the lid makes it simple to monitor the internal temperature at a glance. Even cleanup is easier with this grill, since the ash bowl slides in and out easily.
This has 360 square inches of cooking space on the porcelain-enameled steel grates that resist rust. A large vent on the lid helps to regulate the temperature during cooking. For even more control, the charcoal grate is adjustable, so the food can cook closer or further from the food. This has two wheels that make it easy to move into the perfect spot for grilling.
Pellet grills tend to be large and expensive, but this budget-friendly option has a smaller footprint and it's WiFi enabled. It boasts many desirable features that you’d typically find in larger grills, like a thermal sensor that constantly monitors grill temperature, and a digital controller with WiFi that can connect to an app on your iOS or Android phone.
This pellet grill is also portable, so when you want to store it or take it on the road the legs fold up and you can use them as handles. Since it’s built for travel, you can plug this into a standard electric outlet, but it also comes with adaptors for other power options (you can run this on 12V on the road). As far as storage, the peaked lid allows you to cook taller foods with the lid in place, and a wire side rack with tool hooks gives you space for sauces and tools.
A backyard staple for many years, the Weber kettle-style grill is practically an icon in grilling. The shape is designed to hold and circulate heat, while the no-frills design makes it simple to use. Just adjust the vents to control the heat, and drop more charcoal through the grates below the handles when you need a few more. The ash catcher below the grill gets the job done but can be a little messy if a strong wind passes through. The one-touch cleaning system brushes the ash out of the kettle and into the catcher when cooking is done for convenient cleaning.
This has 240 square inches of cooking space on a plated steel cooking grate. The removable lid can be hung on the side of the grill when it’s time to add or remove food, so there’s no need to find a place to set it down. This has two wheels that make it easy to roll it onto the perfect place for grilling and then roll it into storage when grilling season is over.
Best Propane Grill: Char-Broil Performance Series Black and Stainless Steel 2-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill
This compact two-burner grill provides more cooking space that you’d guess, with 300 square inches on the main cooking grate and an extra 100 square inches on the swing-away rack that’s ideal for keeping food warm, for heating buns, or for gently slow-cooking foods. The two metal side shelves give plenty of space for dishes, sauces, and condiments, and they fold down when not needed so the grill takes less space in storage or on a small patio space. The closed cabinet gives even more space for storing tools and supplies out of sight.
This grill has four casters that make it easy to move around; two of the casters lock so the grill won’t roll away if it’s accidentally bumped. The lid is stainless steel for an upscale look, and it features a temperature gauge to make it simple to check the internal temperature.
At 27 pounds, this isn’t the grill you’d want to take backpacking, but it’s perfect for tailgating, for camping at a cabin in the woods, or for a picnic. Made from cast iron like Lodge’s cookware, this can handle high heat and won’t be in danger of tipping over when a stiff breeze invades the camp. A sturdy bail handle makes it easy to lift the grill to move it, while side handles offer a sturdier grip.
The coal area is accessible through a flip-down door, so it’s easy to add more coal or give it a poke without disturbing the food. A draft door allows more or less air into the coal area to regulate the heat during cooking, and the grate can be set in two different positions closer or further from the coals. While this is a compact grill, it still has 150 square inches of cooking space so you can whip up a cozy dinner.
We bought three top-rated small grills that our reviewers tested for more than 52 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these grills, from cooking space to portability. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Cooking space This is a consideration for just about every grill, but it’s possibly more critical with small grills. When you’re cooking dinner for the family, can you fit everyone’s burger on the grill at the same time, or will you be cooking in shifts while you’re trying to keep everyone’s food warm enough to eat? The key is to get enough grill but not too much.
Portability While all of these small grills are somewhat portable, some are designed to be brought out of storage when you need them, while others are designed to have a permanent space in your outdoor area. Your lifestyle and space will let you know which grill is best for you.
Fuel type Some people say that charcoal gives the best flavor, while others prefer the convenience of propane. Meanwhile, there are folks who can’t have a live-fire grill on their balcony or deck, so electric grills are the best option. Each type of fuel has its pros and cons, but no matter which you choose, you’ll be enjoying outdoor grilling on any of them.