Skip to Content

Grilling Made Simple: Your Guide to Choosing the Best Backyard Grill

Summer is the season for grilling. The sweet sizzling smell of barbecue is a sure way to bring family and friends together for food and fun in the sun.

What kind of grill should you get to become the neighborhood BBQ master this summer? Keep reading to discover the best backyard grill for your cookouts.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall
Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Electric Wood Pellet Grill

Best Budget
Weber Smokey Joe

Best Flat Top
Blackstone Grill

Food cooking on a backyard grill

Best Overall

Traeger Grills Electric Wood Pellet Grill

Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Bronze, Extra large

The Traeger Electric Wood Pellet Grill is the best all-around backyard grill for versatility and flavor. This innovative outdoor cooker combines the best features of propane grills and smokers in one device.

This backyard grill and smoker feeds a steady cooking flame with the expansive wood pellet hopper. Combined with the powerful convection fan, this backyard grill heats quickly and evenly and infuses food with scrumptious smokiness.

With built-in dual meat probes and digital temperature displays, you can easily monitor the internal temperature of your food for perfect results every time. Cleaning up is a breeze with this grill, as it has a simple grease management system and an ash catcher.

Pros

  • Multifunctional grill and smoker
  • The large cooking surface can fit up to 24 burgers
  • Built-in dual meat probes with digital temperature displays
  • It’s easy to clean up grease and ashes after each use

Cons

  • Significant assembly required
  • The heavy package could get damaged during shipping

Best Budget

Weber Smokey Joe

Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill, Black

Are you on a budget but still want a reliable and efficient backyard grill? The compact and portable Weber Smokey Joe delivers exceptional performance without breaking the bank.

This charcoal grill is sturdy, durable, and reliable. It offers a solid cooking area that can fit up to five burgers, making it ideal for small gatherings or intimate cookouts.

The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat for even cooking and are resistant to rust and peeling. With its simple yet effective design, the Weber Smokey Joe is perfect for those who want a budget-friendly grill that doesn’t compromise quality.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Excellent heat distribution for even cooking
  • It’s portable and easy to take to camping and beach cookouts

Cons

  • Cleaning out ashes can be messy and difficult
  • There is no way to lock the lid to the base for carrying

Best Flat Top

Blackstone Grill

Blackstone Flat Top Gas Grill Griddle 2 Burner Propane Fuelled Rear Grease Management System, 1517, Outdoor Griddle Station for Camping, 28 inch

This flat-top grill offers an expansive cooking area that can handle hungry crowds. The griddle surface allows you to cook everything from pancakes and eggs to burgers and vegetables.

The solid cooking surface is great for burgers and chicken since it locks in juices that would otherwise seep through grates. The flat top design ensures even heat distribution and prevents flare-ups, ensuring delicious results no matter what you are grilling.

With its sturdy construction and durable materials, the Blackstone Grill is built to withstand the demands of outdoor cooking. Plus, this backyard grill has a streamlined grease management system, making cleanup a breeze.

Pros

  • The griddle top enables you to cook a wide variety of food
  • Superior heat retention and distribution ensure restaurant-quality results
  • The cooking surface is spacious enough to handle big spreads
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • The height can be awkward for tall users
  • Some parts can rust easily if left uncovered

Best Gas

Weber Spirit

Weber Spirit E-210 Gas Grill | Liquid Propane, 2-Burner | Black

The Weber Spirit is perfect if you prefer the convenience of a clean-burning gas grill. This backyard grill features powerful burners that provide consistent heat distribution for delicious searing and grilling results.

With its spacious cooking area and additional warming rack, you can effortlessly cook for a crowd. The Weber Spirit also features flavorizer bars, which vaporize drippings to infuse your food with a smoky flavor.

The built-in thermometer ensures accurate temperature control, while the side tables offer convenient prep space. This backyard grill is ideal for frequent grillers needing a reliable cooker that’s easy to clean and maintain.

Pros

  • This Weber grill is easy to clean and maintain
  • The cast iron cooking grates heat more evenly than common wire varieties
  • It is easy to light and maintains a consistent flame
  • Folds into a compact footprint for easy storage

Cons

  • Significant assembly required
  • The heavy package could get damaged during shipping

Best Electric

George Foreman Electric Grill

George Foreman, Silver, 12+ Servings Upto 15 Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill, GGR50B, REGULAR

When flame restrictions prevent you from using traditional grills, the George Foreman Electric Grill is an ideal solution. This electric grill offers convenient and efficient grilling without needing an open flame.

The non-stick cooking surface ensures easy food release and quick cleanup, while the adjustable temperature control allows you to customize the heat according to your cooking needs. The sloped grilling surface channels away excess fat and grease, making your meals healthier.

With its compact and lightweight design, the George Foreman Electric Grill is perfect for small outdoor spaces or apartment balconies. It is the best choice for areas with flame restrictions like apartments, dorms, and areas under wildfire alerts.

Pros

  • No fuel or flames are necessary
  • Even heat distribution for consistent quality
  • This grill is easy to assemble
  • It is lightweight and portable

Cons

  • It lacks the flavor and char achievable with open-flame grills
  • The non-stick grill plates can be difficult to clean

Best Charcoal

Weber Master Touch

Weber Master-Touch Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

If you’re a grilling purist and appreciate the authentic smoky flavor of charcoal, the Weber Master Touch is the ultimate choice. This charcoal grill features a large cooking area that can accommodate up to 13 burgers, making it ideal for entertaining guests.

The built-in lid thermometer allows you to monitor the cooking temperature, ensuring perfect results every time. Plus, the hinged door lets you add charcoal without lifting the grate.

The Weber Master Touch is the premiere backyard grill for BBQ enthusiasts that crave traditional smoky flavors. This durable grill will last through many years of summertime grilling.

Pros

  • Convenient ash catcher makes cleaning up a breeze
  • Monitor the heat with the built-in lid thermometer
  • Sturdy and durable construction
  • Lid and tool holders save space while you are cooking

Cons

  • It is top-heavy and cumbersome to move while in use
  • The heavy package could get damaged during shipping

Best Hibachi

IronMaster Hibachi Grill

IronMaster Hibachi Grill Outdoor - Small Portable Charcoal Grill, 100% Cast Iron, Japanese Yakitori Tabletop Camping Grill - Cooking Grate Surface 16.5" x 10.2" for 5-6 People

Do you want to enjoy the Japanese hibachi anytime? If so, the IronMaster Hibachi Grill is a must-have.

The solid cast iron cooking surface retains heat for optimal searing and grilling. Plus, the adjustable vents allow you to control the airflow and temperature, giving you precise control over your cooking.

The compact and portable design of the IronMaster Hibachi Grill makes it perfect for picnics, camping trips, or small outdoor spaces. Just ensure you bring a wagon since this grill weighs over 30 pounds.

Pros

  • Hibachi-style grill can use charcoal, logs, pellets, or chips as fuel
  • Every piece is made of durable cast iron
  • This grill is easy to assemble
  • Clean and season with lard or corn oil to restore it to new

Cons

  • It doesn’t include a lid
  • This grill is heavier than it looks

Best Tabletop

Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill & Smoker

Ninja OG701 Woodfire Outdoor Grill & Smoker, 7-in-1 Master Grill, BBQ Smoker, & Air Fryer plus Bake, Roast, Dehydrate, & Broil, uses Ninja Woodfire Pellets, Weather-Resistant, Portable, Electric, Grey

When you want the convenience of a tabletop grill without sacrificing flavor, the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill & Smoker is the top choice. This versatile grill combines the benefits of a wood-fired grill and a smoker, allowing you to infuse your food with delicious smoky flavors.

The compact and portable design makes it perfect for tabletop use or taking it on the go. The double-walled construction ensures superior heat retention, while the easy-to-use control dial enables precise temperature control.

With its innovative features and exceptional performance, the Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill & Smoker is a must-have for barbeque enthusiasts.

Pros

  • The ultimate in versatility—grill, smoke, air-fry, bake, dehydrate, and more
  • Infuses smokey flavor using real wood pellets
  • The convection fan circulates heat evenly
  • Compact for easy storage

Cons

  • The smoke flavor is less intense than a smoker or charcoal grill
  • The interior can be difficult to keep clean

Backyard Grill Buyer’s Guide

Are you still unsure about which backyard grill is the right fit? If so, check out the following buyer’s guide to get the lowdown on the key factors you should consider.

Fuel Type

The fuel you use to cook impacts the flavor of your dish. Plus, some fuel types create a better char crust than others. Ensure you get a grill that provides the taste you want.

Charcoal

Charcoal grills are a favorite among grillers for their ability to impart a deep smoky flavor to the food. This flavor profile is highly sought after by grilling enthusiasts who enjoy rich, smoky-tasting BBQ.

Charcoal grills also excel at creating a charred crust on steaks and burgers. However, these grills take longer to heat up than other fuel types.

Gas

Gas grills, powered by propane or natural gas, offer convenience and quick heat-up times. They provide a clean-burning fuel source without adding any smokiness to the food.

Gas grills are known for achieving high temperatures quickly, allowing for efficient grilling and searing. They are easy to use, with temperature control knobs that enable precise heat adjustments.

Wood Pellets

Wood pellet grills combine the convenience of gas grills with the flavorful results of charcoal grills. These grills use wood pellets as fuel, which can vary in flavor and smokiness.

As the pellets burn, they infuse the food with smoke and consistent heat. Wood pellet grills offer excellent temperature control, often equipped with digital controllers that allow you to set and maintain the desired cooking temperature. They are favored by those who appreciate the taste of wood-fired cooking but seek the convenience of gas-type grills.

Electric

Electric grills are ideal for situations where open flames are prohibited or when you want a hassle-free grilling experience. These grills heat up quickly without charcoal, wood pellets, or gas.

Electric grills provide a clean and safe cooking method, making them suitable for apartment balconies, small outdoor spaces, and indoor use. While they may not offer the same smoky flavor as charcoal or wood pellet grills, electric grills excel at precise temperature control and ease of use.

Size

When choosing a backyard grill, consider the available space in your outdoor area and how many people you typically cook for. Grills come in various sizes, ranging from compact tabletop models to large freestanding ones.

If you have limited outdoor space or plan to use the grill for intimate gatherings, a portable or tabletop grill may be more suitable. They offer portability and can be easily stored when not in use, making them convenient for those who enjoy camping or tailgating.

On the other hand, if you frequently host parties or cook for groups, a larger-sized freestanding or built-in grill is recommended. They provide ample cooking space, making it easy to cater for parties and crowds.

Cooking Surface

The cooking surface of a grill determines what food you should prepare and what cooking techniques you can employ.

Traditional grate grills feature a grid of metal bars, creating the iconic sear marks on steaks, burgers, and grilled veggies. Direct contact with flames enhances the flavor of the food and creates a distinctive charred crust. Grate grills are versatile and suitable for various techniques, including direct and indirect grilling, outdoor roasting, and smoking.

Flat-top griddles offer smooth and solid cooking surfaces without direct flame contact. This design is ideal for cooking delicate or small items that might fall through the grates of a traditional grill, such as fish, shrimp, eggs, and chopped food. These griddles also allow you to cook with runny batters and sauté ingredients directly on the surface, expanding your culinary possibilities beyond traditional grilling.

Extra Features

One popular extra feature is a built-in smoker. Smokers slow-cook food at low temperatures, infusing it with rich smoky flavors. Having a built-in smoker allows you to experiment with various smoking techniques without needing a separate smoking apparatus.

A group of people gathered around an backyard grill

Other optional features include:

  • Side burners, which provide additional cooking surfaces for preparing side dishes or sauces while grilling
  • Rotisserie kits that are great for roasting whole chickens or thick cuts of meat, ensuring even cooking and succulent results
  • Warming racks to keep cooked food warm until serving

Consider which additional features align with your grilling style and preferences to find the grill that best suits your needs.


Backyard Grill Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a gas and charcoal grill?

Charcoal grills impart a deep smoky flavor that some desire in BBQ. They also cook slower at lower temperatures than their gas equivalents.

Gas grills are clean burning, adding no smokiness to meat and veggies. These grills can achieve higher temperatures, thus excelling at searing and roasting.


Be a Grilling Pro with the Best Backyard Grill

Now you know how to choose the right outdoor cooker for your grilling season. With the best backyard grill, you’ll be ready to create mouthwatering meals and enjoy the summer sunshine with family and friends.
Are you ready to learn more about turning your yard into a personal paradise? Explore our Backyard Living hub for ideas, tips, and tools for optimizing your space.