Special features: Don’t be fooled by marketing. At its core, grilling is just creating heat and directing it towards whatever you want to eat. That might sound obvious, but it means that most people really don’t need much more than a basic setup: firebox, grate, lid. The best grills can heat reliably, quickly, and hold their temperature steady. But (and there’s always a “but”), if you’re a serious griller, there are a few frills that can take your grilling to the next level. A few to look out for are rotisseries heated by infrared—think the best shawarma you’ve ever had—and a separate searing station to efficiently char a steak. Maybe Wi-Fi connectivity can be appealing to you so you can track your baby, er, grill while you’re back in the house prepping (or napping).
Below, our top picks for the best grills that are worth investing in this BBQ season.
The Best Gas Grill, Overall: Napoleon Prestige 500 RSIB
Napoleon Prestige 500 propane gas grill
If you’re looking to upgrade from your Weber, or enter the world of gas grilling with a dependable and capable option that boasts a few luxury features we love, head to Napoleon. Between its four burners and 80,000 total BTUs, this stainless steel grill brings the heat. Advanced features like an infrared rear burner and heavy duty rotisserie kit make for perfect spit-roasted meals, while the “sizzle zone” side burner comes in handy for getting some primo sears on your steaks. While little features like light-up knobs—which remind you the grill is on and help you see in the dark—are nice touches, it’s the craftsmanship of Napoleon models that we love, which is backed up by a rare lifetime warranty.
The Best Pellet Smoker, Overall: Traeger Ironwood
Traeger Ironwood pellet grill
Pellet grills are essentially precise, outdoor ovens that imbue food with your choice of smoke flavor. While they won’t produce the same satisfying sizzles that you’d get by cooking over a live fire, their focus on even convection cooking allows you to easily smoke pork overnight for the best lunch of your life the next day. When it comes to pellet smokers, Traeger is arguably the most well-known brand in the space. Makes sense since the brand did invent the style of grill back in the ’80s. Years of innovation has led to the Ironwood, which also happens to be a 2023 Home Awards winner. The Ironwood is about as dummy-proof as a grill like this can get—press a button and let the machine itself take control, ensuring you have a constant temperature so there are no hidden surprises once you lift the lid. Enter Super Smoke Mode for an added blast of smoky flavor, and control everything remotely thanks to a handy companion app.
The Best Charcoal Grill, Overall: PK Grills PK 300
Instead of the flimsy feel of the popular Weber Kettle, the PK 300 is a solid workhorse. Portable Kitchen has been making its grill from cast aluminum since 1952, and it’s entirely rustproof on top of being an amazing conductor of heat. Recently, PK introduced the “New Original,” which is an updated version of its classic design that comes with a 20-year warranty. The grill now has improved details like a height increase, the option to use a meat probe, and better control on the vents. But the basic design is still as incredible as it ever was: four vents are used to dial the grill up for dual- or single-zone cooking and can hold a steady temperature for hours. The top also easily pops off of the legs for packing into the back of a truck for tailgating or camping.
The Best Portable Grill: Napoleon TravelQ PRO285
The Napoleon Pro 285 is a luxe grill for tailgating, camping, or grilling on a cramped apartment balcony. With room to squeeze in a whopping 18 burgers at once, the TravelQ punches well above its compact exterior. And true to the Napoleon name, it features two burners, a rare advantage at this size that allows for both high-heat searing and indirect cooking. We love it as a standalone, but an additional grill stand can help make it a more permanent addition to your backyard. Its 12,000 BTUs are also impressive for a grill this small—which is surprisingly lightweight at just 36 pounds—and if you opt for the additional Napoleon Smoker Tube accessory, you’re looking at a portable smoker, too.
The Best Compact Grill: Weber Q 1200 Gas Grill
This is the grill you opt for if you’re living in a cramped apartment that allows for such a thing within its even tinier patio space. Offering up only one stainless steel burner and 8,500 BTUs, this setup is truly compact, so don’t expect to fit more than six burgers at a time. It doesn’t get as hot as the Napoleon Pro 285, but it does cost more than $100 less and boasts features like porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates and folding side tables that have helped little grill become a favorite of car campers across the states. Additional features like a removable catch pan for grease, plus side tables that fold down, make this grill absurdly easy and convenient to travel with.
The Best Kamado Grill: Big Green Egg
No one accidentally buys a Big Green Egg. They’re big. The most popular size clocks in at 162 pounds. They’re expensive. They’re only available through authorized dealers. And yet they are widely considered one of the best grills on the market and have a fanbase to rival any cult phenomenon. The design is simple: thick, egg-shaped ceramic with an adjustable vent at the top and another at the bottom. But this is all you need to hit any temperature you could want, and the egg’s perfect seal traps moisture and smokey flavor. There’s a slight learning curve, but after a few uses, these grills can cook anything, from steak and fish to baking bread. And for those looking to further enhance their Egg, there are a plethora of add-ons, like the grill aficionado’s favorite Slow ‘N Sear Inserts, that can customize your model to exactly what you need. If you’re going to buy one grill to pass down to your kids, you’re looking at it.
The Best Oversized Grill: Weber Summit S-670 Gas Grill
Weber Summit S-670 propane gas grill
If you throw backyard barbecues that require flipping burgers by the dozen—say, if you have more cousins, nieces, and nephews than you can count on your fingers—you’re going to need a bigger grill for the summer BBQ bash. The Summit S-670 is Weber’s largest, baddest grill (in the best sense of the word). It comes with luxury features we love, like an infrared rotisserie, smoke box, and sear station. It also gives you a truly yuge area for organizing your meats and veggies ahead of cooking. The Summit basically turns your backyard into a separate kitchen. Anything you would do on the stovetop, like searing or sautéing, or in the oven can be done in this beast. The Summit S-670 isn’t a cheap grill by any means, but for a capable and dependable 769 square inches of cooking space, backed by a 10-year warranty, you can’t do much better than Weber.
6 More Grills We Like
And since many of the options above will cost you a least a G, we’ve added a couple runner-up picks below that are cheaper but similar to the styles above, boasting adequate grill space for popping a dozen patties over the flames and other features like storage beneath the grill itself. We haven’t had the pleasure of testing these yet, but they’re worth a gander if you’re hunting for alternatives.
Nexgrill 5-burner propane gas grill
Looking for your first gas grill? Nexgrill’s super-cheap four-burner grill might not last you forever like a Big Green Egg, but it will put dinner on the table with that flame-licked flavor you’ve been craving. A second rack brings the total cooking area of the grill to a reasonable 771 square inches, and a convenient side burner is a great addition if you’re trying to keep things warm or heat things up while you’re flipping patties.
Weber Spirit E-310 gas grill
Weber’s range of Spirit gas grills are about as good as it gets when it comes to affordability and performance. The Spirit E-310 is built with premium materials that allow it to retain heat better than something cheaper like the Nexgrill, but it’s still not as tricked-out as our top pick, the Napoleon. It’d be nicer if Weber offered up a great cooking area, because where it sits now, at 424 square inches, your meats are going to feel crowded if you’re trying to host a large-ish barbecue party.
Mr. Bar-B-Q charcoal grill
Take those four Andrew Jacksons burning a hole in your pocket and scoop up one of Mr. Bar-B-Q’s grills. Really all it takes to make a half-decent charcoal grill is a sturdy body that won’t topple over, a spot to throw in some charcoal, and a metal body to keep heat inside. This one really checks all those boxes with the addition of a generously sized bottom shelf for storing your cooking tools and a well-sized cooking area—350 square inches—in addition to a warming rack, which adds another solid runway for laying out veggies and meats.
Weber Original Kettle premium charcoal grill
Since the 1950s, the Weber Original has remained the iconic charcoal grill. If you look hard enough, you’ll find one buried deep in the back of most garages. It’s a favorite of tailgaters, Tony Soprano, and anyone who suffers from sticker shock when shopping for a decent gas grill. At $219 for a new model, and practically free at most yard sales, it’s the perfect option for those looking to dip a toe into the smoky world of outdoor barbecuing. Its body is lightweight and easy to assemble, plus perfect for keeping in the shed between uses. When the long weekend rolls around, just fill the base with charcoal, strike a match, and get cooking.
Recteq RT-590 wood pellet smoker grill
The upstart brand Recteq has been quietly establishing a cult following for its amazing build quality, direct to customer sales, and unmatched customer service—the last of which is especially important for pellet grills, which rely on small parts and electronic components. The brand guarantees to keep the grill within five degrees of the target temperature, and with a full hopper of pellets, the thing will keep going for up to 30 hot hours.
Pit Boss 700 pellet grill
With a generous 700 square inches of cooking area, you can get food ready for a fairly large crowd. Beginners will love this pellet grill for its affordability and ease of use—turn the dial to the exact temperature you want, and let Pit Boss take control of the rest. There’s also a flame broiler so that you can cook directly over a live fire so it’s not just a smoking machine.