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Different Types Of Grills: How To Identify The Best Type For You

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020 by Maggie

 

Are You Confused And Overwhelmed With All The Different Types of Grills Out There?

Well, I’ve got some good news for you that will solve the problem with the least amount of effort.

What You Will Learn

In this simple (but complete) guide you’ll uncover the secrets that will;

  1. Eliminate the types of grills you don’t want
  2. Identify ways to figure out which type of grill is best suited for your needs and desires
  3. Discover what’s important to you
  4. Learn the pros and cons of each to help you better understand the different types of grills

When you’ve finished reading this guide you will be in a far better position to make an informed decision as to which type of grill is best for you.

But first, let me share with you some interesting questions and factors to help you find out what’s important to you.

Which of the many types of grills is right for you, gas, electric, charcoal, or wood pellet smoker?

The different types of grills regardless of their fuel source have their own uniqueness and appeal as well as certain advantages and disadvantages.

  • Are you looking for easy, fast, and convenient grilling?
  • Would you prefer a small grill or a large grill?
  • Do you love the authentic smoky flavor you get from charcoal cooking?
  • Which is more suitable, a grill you can move around or a permanent feature?
  • Have you got health concerns and looking for the healthiest bbq?

 

So many Types of Grills

With so many makes, models, sizes, and fuel choices available, finding the right type of outdoor grill that will meet your needs and the needs of your family can be confusing.

If you’re considering investing in a grill for the first time or switching from gas to charcoal or visa versa it’s a good idea to decide what’s important to you and your family.

So your first question is probably what is the best grill?

 

What Is The Best Grill?

There is no such thing as the “best grill“, only what’s best for your needs.

While there will never be a barbecue grill that has or can do everything there will definitely be one out there that suits your exact needs.

This is where we come in;

So grab yourself a cup of coffee and join me here at Awesome Backyard Living where we will try to answer all your questions about the many different types of grills.

Plus several important factors you need to consider before making your choice.

 

We Have Laid It All Out Here For You

First of all, let’s begin by taking the following 4 questions into consideration;

   #1  Your Budget: How much can you afford to spend on an outdoor grill?

        Spending more doesn’t always mean you get more.

    #2 How many people will you be cooking for?

        Two people or a large crowd

    #3 Do you intend to use your grill often?

        Only at the weekends or four to five times a week.

     #4 How much space do you have?

         There should be enough room around your grill to be able to cook your food without the risk of danger.

 

Here are 10 more questions to ask yourself before choosing a grill.

 

How Much Should I Pay For A Grill?

picture of Dollars to pay for your grillThat would depend on your budget, and only you know what you are willing and able to afford.

If you’re only going to be grilling now and again, then a small portable budget grill may be sufficient.

Are you looking for something that will last for several seasons? then buy the best grill, you can comfortably afford?

Do you have an executive budget to spend on a permanent feature that has style and function and blends in with your patio design?

Next, consider the fuel; would you be happy with the long-term cost of using charcoal, gas, or the convenience of electricity?

 

What Size Grill Should I Buy?

The size you buy depends on three things:

  1. The size of your available space
  2. Your budget
  3. The number of people you intend on serving

 

Can I Use My Outdoor Grill Indoors?

ninja indoor only grill
     Indoor Only 5 in 1 Grill

You can not use your outdoor grill inside your home, or in an enclosed space like your garage.

Both charcoal and gas grills produce carbon monoxide which can be fatal.

If you want to grill indoors then you must use a grill for indoor use only. Or an electric one that’s designed for indoor/outdoor grilling which we will cover further when we discuss electric grills.

 

Where Can I Use My Grill?

If you have no outdoor space you can immediately rule out charcoal or gas grills.

You need lots of open space for those grills as they release smoke and fumes.

Example:
If you live in a condo or an apartment with no terrace or balcony available. A barbecue electric grill would be your best choice.

Depending on the rules of the building it may be your only choice.

If you have a balcony, patio, or backyard even a small one, you have many more options available to you.

 

Where Is The Best Place To Store An Outdoor Grill?

If you have a garage or shed, this would be the obvious answer if not then you’ll want to invest in a grill cover if it’s stored outside and open to the elements.

If it’s a small grill you could keep in a closet, in your basement, or wherever you keep outdoor items.

 

How Much Setup Does An Outdoor Grill Need?

How long it takes you to set up your grill depends on the type of grill you buy.

Some grills need little or no set-up while others come disassembled and can take up to 1-2 hours to put together.  

Some barbecue grills need two people to put it together so, if you live on your own you’ll need help. You may want to consider both factors before buying!

Every grill should have an instruction manual. Some are very clear while others can be rather confusing and not so easy to understand.

 

There Are Many Types of Portable Grills?

small portable charcoal grill
Portable Charcoal Grill

Are you looking for the type of grill you can move from one place to another, or take with you on camping trips or tailgating?

If so, consider buying a small grill that’s lightweight, or invest in one that’s quick and easy to set up and take-down.

If you’re not the type to take a grill with you camping, on a picnic, or to the beach then a grill with wheels might be enough.

 

How Do I Maintain My Grill?

Maintaining a grill does need you to look after it no matter what kind you get.

After you have finished using the grill it is best to wipe it down and clean it before putting it away.

This will keep it in good condition. It’s worth that little extra effort as it will extend the lifespan of your grill.

Some grills on the market have dishwasher safe grill plates. These are definitely worth considering if you dislike cleaning blackened grease trays. (I certainly do)

All models will come with their own set of instructions for maintenance and is usually included in the manual that accompanies your new grill.

      Tip: Please read the instruction manual before you start grilling.

Remember;

Always let your bbq grill cool down. Whether it’s gas, electric, or charcoal grillaholics nylon brush which will clean grill plates without damaging the surface comes with a lifetime warrantybefore cleaning. Empty grease trays and we discourage the use of steel grill brushes.

The bristles can fall out of your brush getting stuck to your food the next time you cook as well as damaging the ceramic plates.

Special nylon brushes are best, and won’t damage your grill. Our recommendation comes with a lifetime warranty.

 

How Safe Is A Grill?

While on the subject of safety, let’s try to answer one last very important question.

 

Is Charcoal Cooking Safe For My Health?

When charcoals get hot, they release hydrocarbons and microscopic soot particles.

Not only is this dangerous but the soot particles can cling to your food introducing carcinogenic compounds into the body.

There are plenty of articles that explain this.

Charcoal grills are a valid no-no for those concerned about cancer. Or suffer from COPD (congestive obstructive pulmonary disease) Asthma or other breathing problems.

The safest candidate: an outdoor electric grill.

They don’t produce dangerous chemicals, and temperatures are easy to check (which means no charring or over-cooking).

original hardwood briquettesTip: If you do choose a charcoal grill, you may want to pick the 

Natural Hardwood Charcoal Briquettes

That’s 100% hardwood, contain no oil, coal, limestone, or petroleum products.

 

Gas and Charcoal Grills Banned

Gas grills and barbecues are not allowed where people and property may be at risk from open flames. Such as apartments, or condominiums.

If you love to grill but live in one of these areas, don’t despair. Investing in an electric grill could be the perfect solution for you and your family.

No need to worry about the weather or cancelling your bbq. All you do is move it into the garage or kitchen. No stress.

 

Cooking With Charcoal Grillsweber portable charcoal kettle grill

Charcoal grills are a favorite among a lot of people and have almost a cult-like following.

Why you may ask?

Owners of charcoal grills will tell you there is no comparison to the authentic smoky flavor you get when cooking over charcoal.

Cooking with charcoal is a much slower way to cook than gas or electric and can take a bit of getting used to.

Clean-up can be tedious, but worth it, if it’s that unmistakable smoky taste you’re after.

You can see our top selection here of Portable charcoal grills. You can also read about the New Solo Stove charcoal grill which is about to hit the market, “Grilling Reinvented” but just a warning it’s not cheap.

Now let’s take a look at the strongest and weakest aspects of the different types of grills.

 

 Pros and Cons of Charcoal Grills

Pros

  • Heated charcoal doesn’t flare up like open flame gas grills
  • Generally, more portable, depending on the size
  • Charcoal burns hotter than gas so your food may cook faster
  • The most loved characteristic is the smoky flavor it gives your food

Cons

  • Wait-time for charcoal to heat up is 15-20 minutes or more
  • Charcoal can be messy
  • A charcoal grill requires more cleanup than its gas or electric counterparts
  • Longer cooking sessions may need you to add more charcoal
  • Most charcoal grills come with very few features if any
  • Using lighter fluid to ignite gives an unpleasant petrochemical smell to food
  • Not the safest for your health amongst the sea of options available
  • Not allowed where there is a fire ban in place
  • Definitely NOT for indoor use

 

 Safety: Charcoal Grills.

Charcoal grills pose more of a risk than other grills. Because the flames on a charcoal grill are more difficult to control than on gas or electric.

Grilling Tool Kit
          Grilling Tool Kit

It’s recommended you only use long-handled tools like tongs and spatulas, as well as fire-proof gloves when you’re grilling.

Do not wear loose-fitting clothes, as there’s a danger of the fabric draping over the flames and catching fire.

Always make sure to keep a combination fire extinguisher handy. (look for “Class ABC” in the label, which means it’s suitable for wood, electrical, and grease fires).

Do not use a garden hose on a grease fire as this will spread the fire.

Electric Grills

George-Foreman-GFO240S-Electric-GrillNow let’s Discuss The Pros And Cons Of Electric Grills;

Electric grills have become a convenient alternative to charcoal or gas and are becoming more and more popular for several good reasons listed below.


Pros
  • Ideal for anyone grilling for the first time
  • It’s one of the simplest, easiest, and fastest of all the grills to get started with
  • Easy to clean and maintain: most have removable grill plates and are dishwasher safe
  • Safe for the environment: Almost smokeless, no fumes, no poisonous gasses, fewer toxins
  • Portability: Take it with you when traveling, tailgating, or camping. Move it around your backyard, patio, or balcony wherever there’s an electrical outlet
  • Smaller units are usually easy to store without having to worry about gas tanks or bags of charcoal
  • No need to pay out for extra fuel
  • Some are Kitchen Friendly: Usable year-round in the comfort of your own home
  • Less of a fire hazard than open flame charcoal or gas
  • Temperature control: Turn the temperature up or down as you wish
  • Outdoor electrical grills are safe to use in areas where the use of charcoal or propane isn’t allowed.
  • Great for people living in apartments or condominiums
Cons
  • Electric grills can be an expensive investment at first buy
  • Needs an electrical outlet
  • Electrical parts must be kept dry at all times, so care needed when cleaning

 More information and reviews are available by checking out our top picks for electric grills.


Safety: Electric Grills

If you decide to buy an electric grill, it’s important to keep the electrics clean and dry.

This means bringing the cord and the temperature gauge indoors. So it’s protected from adverse weather conditions.

 

Gas Grills: Factors To Consider.

A basic gas grill is good for cooking burgers and hot dogs.

If you also enjoy grilling fish and juicy steaks with sear marks, look at the temperature- ratings, the higher the rating the better the grill is at cooking a variety of foods.

Love ribs or a nice roast, you’ll want a grill with a lid that does indirect-cooking.

Indirect cooking is the best way to slow-cook large or tough cuts of meat by placing the meat to the side of the fire, not over it, with the lid closed to keep the heat in.

 

What about BTU’s?

Btu/hr. (British thermal units per hour) tells you how much gas a grill uses and the heat it can create.

It’s not a measure of how fast the grill will heat up or sear your steak.

More BTU’s does not guarantee faster preheating or better cooking. (According to “Consumer Reports”)

You can see a selection here of the many different types of gas grills

 

Replacement of Gas Burners

Replacement-Grill-Burner
Replacement Grill Burners

Keep in mind that for gas grills, burners are the most replaced part. Expect them to last two to 10 years. Look for burners with a 10-year warranty,

It only takes 10 minutes to replace them.

 

Natural Gas Conversion Kit

Most grills use propane, but some have dual-fuel valves for conversion to natural gas.

You can also buy a conversion kit for about $50 to $100. A qualified gas engineer must carry out the work.

Once connected to your home’s gas line, there’s no worry about running out of gas.

It also means it’s less mobile, you can’t move it around, something you may want to keep in mind.

 

Pros And Cons Of Gas Grills (Natural Gas Or Propane)

Pros

  • Most prefer gas for the sheer convenience, light it up and get cooking
  • A tank of propane will cost you less to start with (vs. buying bags of charcoal)
  • Clean-up is easier than charcoal
  • Some gas grills come with side burners or smoke boxes. This will provide more features to enhance your cooking experience
  • Gas can give your food a smoky flavor, that so many people like
  • Temperatures are easier to control, allowing you to turn the heat between low to high flame

Cons

  • Gas Grills are usually in the mid to high price range
  • Risk of a gas leak
  • Connecting your grill to your home gas line restricts its portability
  • There is the potential for flare-ups when first ignited. Especially if it’s windy, uncontrolled flare-ups pose a fire hazard
  • Gas doesn’t burn quite as hot as charcoal
  • Need space for storing gas cylinder
  • There are ongoing health studies about open-flame gas grills emitting toxins. So opt for a closed-flame grill, if this is a concern for you
  • Not recommended for indoor use

 

Before we finish up;

It’s worth mentioning another type of grill that’s on the market, so you get the whole picture.

 

Wood Pellet Grills.

There is a whole fan base out there for this type of grill. When man first cooked over a fire they likely used wood and grasses.

Today we have moved on from grasses, but we can still cook with wood.

A special grill that uses wood pellets as the fuel source. And electricity to operate the pellet feeder.

 

What Is A Wood Pellet Grill?

A wood pellet grill is actually a smoker, It gives your food a smoky taste that’s different from a charcoal grill.

Hardwood Pellets for Grilling come in different flavors so you can choose or mix different ones to suit your taste.

 

The Advantages Of A Wood Pellet Grill

wood pellet 6 in1 Z grillIt’s best suited for slow and low cooking of meat, such as whole chicken, beef brisket, ribs, as well as pulled pork.

Produces a smoky flavor unlike any other, that’s loved by many.

If you can’t live without that distinct woody flavor you cannot get from a gas, electric, or charcoal grill.

Is a Wood Pellet Smoker Right for You.

There are several types of Pellet grills & Smokers on the market from the basic wood pellet grill to the do-it-all master chef with 6-in-1 versatility.

Want to check out a few Pellet Grills and Smokers.

They are pricey but brilliant when you learn how to work them.

This is the new boy on the block that’s controlled by your phone check it out you might just like it. camp-chef-vertical-pellet-grill-and-smoker that is controlled by wifi through your phone

Introducing the Camp Chef XXL WIFI Vertical Smoker!

Everything you love about a pellet grill and smoke vault all in one wood pellet vertical smoker.

Not only will it grill your food but it can also smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue anything from ribs to apple pie.

The Disadvantages

  • A wood smoker grill needs space
  • These types of smoky grills tend to be large taking up quite a bit of room in your backyard or on your patio
  • Not suitable for a newbie griller as it can take some time to get used to managing it

 

Key Grilling Takeaways:  Which Grill Do I Choose?

It’s not so much about which grill you choose but which one is right for you

Gas, electric, charcoal, or wood smokers have their own unique differences and appeal. The same as we have our own likes and dislikes.

So from the many types of grills, choosing one type of grill over another is down to your own personal taste and circumstances.

Well…

 

That Was A Lot Of  Information

So to recap, here are the main takeaways;

  • Charcoal grills are cheaper upfront, but gas is more affordable in the long run.
  • Gas grills require you to keep its fuel source (propane)stocked. An electric grill only needs an outlet. This feels more affordable and convenient for the long term.
  • A wood pellet grill will produce a flavor to your food that’s different from the other grills. But it does take up yard space and needs plenty of practice to master the grill.
  • Both charcoal and gas grills do emit cancerous carcinogens. So if you plan to grill and don’t want to take the risk, electric is a safer bet.
  • There are plenty of options to choose from, narrow down what features are most important to you and go with it.

 

We hope this article has proven informative.

Helping you pick out the main features and considerations of the different types of grills and helped narrow down your choices.

That will be suitable for you and your family’s needs and expectations.

If you have decided to buy a grill after reading this article.

Please send us your photos with your name and a short note and we will post them here. You will be helping others too. (we all need encouragement)

Should you have any questions about the many types of grills, or I’ve missed something out you think should be included here, then please contact us.

Good luck and happy hunting through the many types of grills.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. It’s been a real pleasure meeting you and we hope you visit often. Remember to check out our other articles while your here.

Need some inspiration

In case you need some inspiration for recipes when BBQing then check out the top-selling books below.

Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
Franklin-Barbecue-Meat-Smoking-Manifesto
Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto [A Cookbook]
Steven-Raichlens-Book-Project-Smoke
Project Smoke
Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades
Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades--Bastes, Butters & Glazes, Too
This is the definitive guide to the concepts, methods, equipment, and accessories of barbecue and grilling.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A complete meat and brisket-cooking education from the country's most celebrated pitmaster
A complete, step-by-step guide to mastering the art and craft of smoking, plus 100 recipe-- smoked food that roars off your plate with flavor.
Bestselling encyclopedia of chile-fired rubs, lemony marinades, buttery bastes, pack-a-wallop sauces, plus mops, slathers, sambals, and chutneys.
Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling
This is the definitive guide to the concepts, methods, equipment, and accessories of barbecue and grilling.
$23.39
Franklin-Barbecue-Meat-Smoking-Manifesto
Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto [A Cookbook]
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A complete meat and brisket-cooking education from the country's most celebrated pitmaster
$18.15
Steven-Raichlens-Book-Project-Smoke
Project Smoke
A complete, step-by-step guide to mastering the art and craft of smoking, plus 100 recipe-- smoked food that roars off your plate with flavor.
$13.89
Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades
Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades--Bastes, Butters & Glazes, Too
Bestselling encyclopedia of chile-fired rubs, lemony marinades, buttery bastes, pack-a-wallop sauces, plus mops, slathers, sambals, and chutneys.
$13.89

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