When it comes to grilling, the argument is usually between gas or charcoal grill. While there are pros and cons to each, what about electricity? Outdoor electric grills are a convenient and safe way to prepare food, all without picking a side.
In this article, we’re going to compare the best outdoor electric grill models. You’ll see how capable and versatile these machines are for cooking. We’ve scoured the internet to bring you our top six models.
Let’s get started.
Our Top 3 Best Outdoor Electric Grill
- Best Overall: Char-Broil Outdoor Electric Grill
- Runner-Up: Weber Outdoor Electric Grill
- Best Budget Buy: George Foreman Outdoor Electric Grill
6 Best Outdoor Electric Grill Reviewed
This outdoor electric grill is designed to look like its gas or charcoal counterparts. It comes with a built-in rolling cart, complete with a wire rack for storage and convenience. This is also one of the few electric grills with a thermometer in the lid, which is typical of Char-Broil products.
While most electric grills are compact, this model is much larger, making it ideal for big parties or tailgating. With so much cooking space, you can prepare both main dishes and sides at the same time. To make the grill even more practical, it comes with a built-in warming rack above the primary surface.
One issue with grills, both electric and otherwise, is that it can be tricky to get even heat. Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared system is easy to ensure the exact temperature across the entire grill. No more guessing with hot and cold spots – get reliable heat every time.
That said, keep in mind that infrared heating works slower than other electric grills. Don’t expect the surface to get hot immediately – it takes a few extra minutes to get there.
- Fast and efficient infrared cooking
- Large cart with shelves for added convenience
- Extra-large 320-inch cooking surface
- Porcelain-coated grates for easy cleaning
- Adjustable temperature knob
- Can take a while to heat up
- Assembly is somewhat complicated
Although Weber mostly makes charcoal and gas grill options, the brand has moved into electric BBQ grill territory with the Q 2400 model. This is one of the more expensive outdoor grills, but it comes with some excellent features that make it worth the higher price tag.
No matter what kind of grill you use, cleanup can always be a hassle. Fortunately, the Q 2400 makes it easy to wipe down your cooking surface afterward, thanks to its porcelain-enameled grill plate. If you’re unfamiliar with this design, porcelain is naturally non-stick and won’t flake off. So, your food slides off easily, along with any grease or leftover bits.
One issue with some outdoor electric grills is that they are relatively flimsy. Some models use plastic components, which can break easily, particularly when moving the machine in and out of the house. The Weber Q 2400, however, is made from aluminum and glass-reinforced nylon. Not only do these materials help the electric heating element last longer, but they will withstand the elements better.
- Rugged design made of aluminum and glass-reinforced nylon
- Easy cleanup with porcelain cooking grates
- Unlimited cooking adjustments with the control knob
- Aluminum heat retention liners for more efficient cooking
- Removable grease drip tray
- More expensive than other models
- Assembly is a bit complicated
When it comes to electric grills, George Foreman has been synonymous with the devices. Most George Foremans are made as indoor electric grill units. But, models like the GGR50B work well inside and outside.
You want to pay close attention to your unit’s grilling surface. At 240 square inches, you can easily prepare enough food for up to six people. Because it’s a George Foreman grill, the fat and grease will trickle to the bottom of the pan, rather than soaking your grilled meat and veggies the whole time.
Realistically, you can use this electric barbecue grill indoors or outdoors without the stand. However, this piece makes it much easier to grill without having to bring a table with you. Just pop it on and start working, then pull it off when you want a portable electric grill.
- Makes up to 15 servings
- Large 240-inch cooking area
- Removable stand to use as an indoor grill
- Adjustable temperature control knob
- Patented non-stick coating
- In some cases, the nonstick coating wears off
- The stand can tip over easily when windy
This outdoor electric cart grill from Americana may look like an electric smoker at first. However, it plugs in and delivers reliable, safe heat all day long. While other outdoor kitchen grills can be used both inside and out, this is one of the few outdoor-only units.
While having a compact electric grill works in some cases, it can be nice to have some extra room for prep. The Americana grill has two folding side tables. These allow you to put plates, spices, and other dishes next to your cooking surface. Since these tables fold down, it’s much easier to put the whole machine away when you’re done.
Since this grill uses electricity, it is much more versatile than a gas or charcoal model. You can move the heating element to cook in different ways, including rotisserie. Try doing that with a gas-powered grill.
- Rolling cart for easy maneuvering
- Outdoor grill design
- Three-position heating element for more versatility
- Folding wooden side tables
- Built-in window for easy viewing
- Disposable grease pan
- Heating area is not as big as other models
- Assembly can take a while to complete
The GFO201R unit is rectangular instead of circular and comes with a few extra features. Here is what you can expect from this machine.
One reason why George Foreman grills have become so popular is that they make it easy to cook with less grease. Since the grill itself is sloped, the fat drips down automatically. There is a grease catch at the bottom of the machine that allows you to toss the fat once you’re finished cooking.
One primary benefit of outdoor electric grills is that you can control the temperature more easily. Instead of adding more fuel, you can simply twist a knob to get precise measurements. This grill has five temperature settings for added versatility.
- 200 inches of cooking space
- Removable outdoor stand
- Sloped grill design to remove grease and fat
- Durable non-stick coating
- Variable temperature control with five settings
- The stand can feel flimsy
- In rare cases, the heating element can shut off unexpectedly
Our final outdoor electric grill comes from Cuisinart. This brand is synonymous with kitchen appliances. This particular model works for smaller groups, thanks to its compact cooking surface.
Some grill stands can feel wobbly. The Cuisinart Grill has two telescoping feet for added stability. Since they extend, you can fold them up for compact storage when you’re finished cooking. These stands also have rubber feet so that the grill won’t slide.
You can prepare most dishes on this grill since it has a 1500-watt heating element. While this isn’t the hottest grill around, it does an excellent job making burgers, chicken, hot dogs, and more. Plus, it won’t inflate your electricity costs too much either.
- Telescoping stand for stability
- 1500-watt heating element
- Carrying handle for convenience
- Porcelain-enameled cooking grates
- Adjustable temperature control
- Smaller than other electric grills
- It doesn’t get as hot as other models
How to Choose the Best Outdoor Electric Grill
When looking at the various models on this list, you might not know which features to pay attention to the most. Here is a rundown of the top components that can help you make the best decision for yourself and your family.
Electric grills are much more compact than their gas or charcoal counterparts. So, if you’re planning on making enough food to feed a soccer team, you might be disappointed. However, these machines are perfect for making meals for two, four, or six people. Pay attention to the cooking area, which is often measured in square inches. For reference, 200 inches can make around four burgers, while 320 inches can easily make six or seven.
Another point to consider regarding size is storage. While you can leave gas grills outdoors at all times, you should put an electric grill away after each use. So, the bigger it is, the heavier and more cumbersome when trying to store it.
As we’ve seen, some outdoor electric grills come with built-in or removable stands. These pieces can be beneficial or detrimental, depending on your needs. Here are some points to consider when looking at grill stands:
- Mobility – Does the stand have wheels? If not, you have to carry the grill to move it.
- Stability – Does the stand have a wide enough footprint? If not, it could fall over more easily, creating a hazard.
- Detachability – If you can remove the stand, it allows you to bring the portable grill inside and use it on other surfaces.
When using gas or charcoal, it’s easy to add more heat to the grill. While electric models offer more precise temperature control, many models won’t get as hot as a standard grill. Often, these devices max out at around 300 degrees, which may or may not be sufficient for your needs.
The best way to compare heating elements is to pay attention to the wattage. The higher the number, the more powerful and reliable the grill. Most models are around 1500 watts, but some may go up to 1800.
Cleaning and Maintenance
One of the best ways to keep your grill in good condition is to clean it immediately after cooking. Some grills come with a porcelain-enameled grill grate, which is a much better non-stick surface. Models that use a coating like Teflon can wear off faster, making worse messes over time.
While stainless steel grills are easy to clean, most electric grilling units are plastic or aluminum. These materials won’t rust and you can wipe them down faster.
We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions (with answers) about these devices.
Are electric grills better than charcoal or gas grills?
Better is a subjective term, so it’s hard to say. Electric grilling offers more precision while cooking and take up less room. They are also safer than a traditional grill since you don’t have to worry about smoke, fire, or toxic chemicals.
Can I have an electric grill on my apartment balcony or patio?
A smokeless grill works for apartment living since it can be used indoors and outside. Most apartment buildings allow electric grills while prohibiting gas or pellet grill models.
What happens if my small electric grill gets wet?
A light splash of water shouldn’t be too bad, but don’t let your contact grill get soaked. Most of the components are water-resistant but not waterproof. Be sure to dry your grill, particularly the cord connector, before turning it back on.
Can I leave my electric grill outside all the time?
Ideally, you won’t. If you have a larger model that won’t fit indoors, we recommend using a cover to protect it from the elements.
Do electric grills use a lot of electricity?
These machines use about the same amount of energy as a space heater. So, depending on how much you use your electric grill, it shouldn’t affect your power bill too much.
The best outdoor electric grills are highly versatile and capable machines. We like the Weber for its durability and the Char-Broil for its incredible cooking capability. If you’re on a budget, either George Foreman grill will make your wallet happy.