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An electric grill won’t win a low-and-slow barbecue competition, but for people who don’t have a lot of access to outdoor spaces or just want an easy way to grill proteins and veggies without the smoke or fire, then these grills are worthy of your consideration.
They first became popular when George Foreman hawked his electric grill in the 1990s, and since then more versions from different brands have hit the market. Before you decide which one is for you, there are a few things to consider. First, think about the size you can handle in your space. This impacts how much you can cook at once, but it also affects whether or not you can easily store the grill away and its portability. You should also consider the wattage. The higher it is, the more likely your food will actually taste like barbecue. And while electric grills are easy to maintain, dishwasher-safe parts and removable drip pans will make cleanup easier.
With all that in mind, it's time to pick a grill! Here are the best electric grills for your next (nearly) smokeless barbecue.
Best Overall: Weber Q 2400 Electric Grill
Dimensions: 14.5 x 25.1 x 19.5 inches | Cooking Area: 280 square inches | Wattage: 1560 W | Use: Outdoor
It’s no surprise that Weber, the king of charcoal grills, also reigns supreme when it comes to electric grills. The 280-square-inch grill measures 26 x 25.1 x 31.5inches with the lid open and has a 6-foot grounded cord.
Inside the cast aluminum lid you'll find porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates. These do add a little bit of heft—the grill weighs 41 pounds in total—so while it is movable, you might need help to do so. It doesn’t come with a stand though one can be purchased separately, but users love how quickly the grill heats up and cooks (one user reports that it cooked 1.5-inch steaks to medium-well deliciousness in 7 minutes per side).
This is a hit among those with decks (when electric grills are allowed), but anyone can appreciate that it’s easy to store and, with a removable catch pan, easy to clean.
Best Budget: Starfrit The Rock Indoor Smokeless Grill
Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 0.5 inches | Cooking Area: 160 square inches | Wattage: 1200 W | Use: Indoor
Starfrit's The Rock Indoor Smokeless grill is beloved for its ability to expertly grill everything from veggie kebabs to steak to bacon. Weighing only 5.5 pounds, it doesn’t take up too much space while still offering 160 square inches of cooking area.
Below the nonstick cast-aluminum grates is a water-filled drip tray that catches falling oil or grease, reducing any resultant smoke. The heating element is cast into the grate so you don't have to worry about hot or cold spots. An adjustable dial on the plug controls the temperature, which can get up to 400 degrees. When you're all done eating your burgers, anything that's removable is safe to put in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
Best Outdoor: George Foreman GGR50B Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill
Dimensions: 22 x 20.5 x 13 inches | Cooking Area: 240 square inches | Wattage: 1600 W | Use: Indoor/outdoor
George Foreman grills have been in the business since 1994, so what is an electric grill list without one? The GGR50B can be used indoors, but since it comes with a stand it’s especially great outdoors, including tight balconies.
This brand is known for its nonstick, sloped grill, and drip pan, and this 1600-watt grill delivers on both. Since it only weighs around 20 pounds, it's a cinch to move around and store away. There's a temperature probe for adjusting the grill pan's five temperature settings. People also love that it can cook up to 15 servings of food at a time and that it’s easy to clean and assemble.
Related: The Best Grills
Best Indoor: Breville BGR820XL The Smart Grill
Dimensions: 16.7 x 14 x 5 inches | Cooking Area: 260 square inches | Wattage: 1800 W | Use: Indoor
This Breville grill is a high-end appliance, but if you want one that’s going to do its job well and do it for a while, then you may consider springing for it. It comes in an aesthetically beautiful stainless steel design and measures about 14 x 15 inches.
With 1800 watts powering it, the grill's cast aluminum nonstick plates are hiding the embedded heating elements, which can get as hot as 450 degrees. It's even smart enough to quickly react to temperature drops. The top plate is not only height-adjustable, it can also be flipped completely open. This means it can cook meats and veggies as well as be used as a panini press—some users report making eggs, French toast, and even reheating pizza on it. Users love that the grill plates are nonstick and removable so they’re dishwasher-friendly.
Related: The Best Indoor Grills
Best Portable: Cuisinart CEG-980T Outdoor Electric Tabletop Grill
Dimensions: 18 x 12.2 x 12 inches | Cooking Area: 150 square inches | Wattage: 1500 W | Use: Outdoor
The Cuisinart outdoor portable grill is ideal for people who want something compact and easy to pack up. Headed to a picnic? A cabin? Tailgating? Just fold the legs in, throw this 3-pound grill into your car or RV and you’ll be good to go.
This compact grill can cook up to eight hamburgers or several chicken breasts at a time its 150-square-inch porcelain-enameled grill grate. One nitpick that users expressed is that the drip pan fills quickly, so you’ll want to be mindful of that and consider putting foil under it. But, it sears steaks perfectly, and takes up little space doing it all for an affordable price, what more could you really ask for?
Related: The Best Portable Grills
Best Splurge: Kenyon B70082 Floridian All Seasons Portable Stainless Steel Electric Grill
Dimensions: 21 x 12.1 x 9.3 inches | Cooking Area: 155 square inches | Wattage: 1300 W | Use: Outdoor
For the fancy folks out there who want an electric grill that’s also a flex, consider the Kenyon Floridian All Seasons grill. It can get up to 600 degrees in about 10 minutes, and it’s approved for indoor and outdoor use. And it only weighs 24 pounds, so it’s pretty portable to boot.
The aluminum nonstick grates will get nice sear marks on your food, with no cold spots since the heating element is in direct contact with the grate. A waterproof digital panel helps you switch between the 8 temperature settings and an insulted lid prevents accidental burns. Users enjoy cooking everything from heavier cuts of meat (think tomahawks and rib eyes) to veggies. You'll also have the benefit of being able to put the grill rack and lid in the dishwasher when dinner's over.
Related: The Best Meat Grinders
What to Look for in an Electric Grill
Most electric grills are compact when compared to full-size gas and charcoal counterparts. Often less than 300 square inches means only a few burgers or veggie kebabs can be cooked at once. Some of these grills are small enough to use on the countertop while others have stands making them easy to use outside in, let’s say, a parking lot for tailgating, without having to bend over or risk stepping on it.
You’ll want to keep in mind how many people you’re cooking for. Tabletop models tend to be smaller but, if you get one of the standing grills that can be used outside, you’ll likely get more cooking space, too. With that in mind, though, if you plan on using your grill indoors make sure you purchase one that is approved for indoor cooking (safety first!).
When it comes to wattage, the more watts your electric grill has the more powerful your grill will be. Most electric grills are around 1,000 watts. If your grill has less than that, it’s less likely to give your food those desirable grill lines. If you’re only cooking for one or two people, you might not need all that power and can save money by purchasing a grill with just enough watts.
Some electric grills have nonstick grill tops making clean up a breeze. There are also fat drainage systems that help, too. You’ll want to clean your grill when it’s still slightly warm making it easier to scrape off protein remnants and sticky oils. Look for grill parts that are safe for the dishwasher.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Lia Picard is a freelance writer whose work appears in the New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, and Food & Wine. She appreciates the fact that not everyone can have two grills in their backyard and wants to help them make the most of their electric grills.
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