What are the features that make for the best outdoor electric grill? For starters, these grills are much easier to use than other types of cooking appliances. Thanks to user-friendly controls, adjustable temperature settings, and additional user features like digital thermometers, electric cooking appliances feature a tiny learning curve. If you’re looking for a grilling experience without the learning curve, these are the best grills for the job.
Whether you’re cooking for yourself or for a large group of people, you can find an outdoor electric grill to suit you. They offer a variety of different sizes when it comes to square inches of cooking surface. Plus, with compact designs and portability, you can use these cooking appliances nearly anywhere with available power outlets. On top of these options, you may also want to consider an electric grill with infrared heat technology to reduce cooking time with a more consistent cooking temperature.
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Continue reading below to learn more about the best outdoor electric grills, what features set them apart from other types of grills, and what you need to consider when shopping for a new one.
Top Outdoor Electric Grills
#1 George Foreman GGR50B Grill
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features an interchangeable base for convenient and versatile cooking for a camping trip or tailgating before the big game. Additionally, this model features a non-stick surface that offers easy cleaning and room for multiple servings.
The George Foreman GGR50B is an excellent pick for users needing a reliable and fast-heating avenue to fresh-grilled burgers, hot dogs, or kebabs. This model features a non-stick cooking surface that is easy to clean, and the non-stick coating means that users won’t need butter or oil to prevent sticking food. The cooking surface has room to serve up to 12 people, and the dome lid helps keep the food warm before serving. While the power cable is short, the removable stand allows for grilling wherever users like.
In addition to a large cooking surface and non-stick coating, the George Foreman GGR50B delivers a durable outdoor-ready electric grill that can stand on its own or sit directly on a truck tailgate. This model works perfectly on a kitchen counter or tabletop without a removable stand. Additionally, the adjustable temperature knob offers five heat levels so users can get the best taste of various foods.
#2 Techwood TWBG-01S Grill
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features a detachable base so users can attain fresh-grilled flavor while camping with friends or whipping up grilled meats in the backyard. Additionally, this model features a swing-away warming rack and a five-level heat knob for dialing in the ideal temperature for numerous recipes.
The Techwood TWBG-01S grill is a compelling option for users needing a gas-free grill for quickly grilling food on a porch or bringing the appliance indoors during inclement weather. This model features a robust removable standing base ideal for a balcony or yard. Additionally, the stand-free operation is ideal for grilling in a kitchen. The grates feature a non-stick coating to enable easy cleanup, and there’s enough room to cook for guests. While the swing-away warming rack isn’t massive, users will love the extra space to store cooked food.
In addition to non-stick grates and a removable base, the Techwood TWBG-01S grill offers a simple setup and easy operation, even for novice chefs. This unit features a five-level variable heat knob that makes it simple to find the ideal temperature for numerous meats or grilled vegetables. Additionally, this model only requires a single power connection, so users don’t need to spend money on charcoal or propane.
#3 Char-Broil 15601688 Grill
Award: BEST FOR CASUAL GRILLING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features enough cooking space for up to 12 servings, and the gas-free cooking technology ensures that food is evenly cooked without much setup. Additionally, this unit delivers a compact design with two large wheels that make it easy to push aside.
The Char-Broil 15601688 grill is an excellent choice for users wanting to occasionally grill for friends or enjoy freshly-grilled favorites like hotdogs, burgers, or steamed vegetables. This model is ideal for apartments, balconies, or small porches, thanks to the electric cooking system that mitigates flare-ups and the need for fire or gas. Additionally, the rolling wheels make this model easy to tilt and roll away after cooking. While this model requires a lengthy pre-heat session, users will love the consistency and even cooking.
In addition to consistent heating and a lightweight design, the Char-Broil 15601688 grill delivers a unique heating method ideal for keeping meats and steamed vegetables moist and juicy. The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared technology ensures that heat is evenly dispersed around the closed grill, leading to evenly-cooked meats without drying or burning. Additionally, the durable lid and base can withstand harsh weather like rain, wind, and snow. That said, the large wheels make this model easy to steer into a storage closet.
#4 Homewell HMW-GR103S Grill
Award: BEST FOR APARTMENTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features a compact design and a removable base that ensures users can grill from their kitchen counter. Additionally, the variable heat knob is responsive and helps users cook various meats and vegetables.
The Homewell HMW-GR103S grill is an excellent pick for grilling enthusiasts that live in an apartment or have a small porch or balcony. The electric design ensures that food is evenly heated, and users don’t have to worry about flare-ups or running out of charcoal. The porcelain-coated grates deliver enough cooking space for meal prepping or providing a small party with burgers and wings. While this unit is shorter than a traditional gas grill, users will love the compact design that makes it easy to store away.
In addition to easy storage and non-stick grates, the Homewell HMW-GR103S grill offers a warming rack for freshly-grilled food or steaming vegetables. The heat adjustment knob is easy to use, and novice chefs will love the clear instructions on the knob. Additionally, this model is easy to clean thanks to a removable heating element and grease management system that funnels grease into a removable drip tray.
#5 LITBOOS Electric Grill
Award: BEST FOR TAILGATING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model delivers 240 sq. in. cooking space so users can serve a large group or meal prep for a week of meals. Additionally, the base is detachable so that users can achieve grilled flavors from the comfort of their kitchen counter or truck tailgate.
The LITBOOS Electric Grill is an excellent pick for users needing a reliable and quick-heating method to prepare freshly-grilled food for a tailgating party or casual get-together. This model provides 240 sq. in. of grilling space for 15+ servings for a large group or an entire week’s worth of meals. Additionally, this model fits on an apartment balcony or small deck. While the power cable is a tad short, this unit is under 15 lbs, making it easy to place wherever you need it.
In addition to a lightweight design and a large serving capacity, the LITBOOS Electric Grill provides a removable temperature gauge that makes it easy to attain a user’s desired cooking temperature. The top vent allows users to regulate the temperature on a fly, and the insulated handle keeps users safe while removing the lid. Additionally, the grates feature a double-sided non-stick coating to keep food from sticking.
#6 LOEFME U020015201US-1 Grill
Award: BEST FOR KITCHEN GRILLING
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model delivers a convenient design with numerous included extras for serving multiple guests. Additionally, the slim form factor and easy-to-clean surfaces make this an excellent choice for families or serving guests with minimal cleanup.
The LOEFME U020015201US-1 grill is an excellent choice for users wanting interactive family cooking or a guest-ready grill station. This model features non-stick bakeware so users can prepare fresh burgers or eggs without stressing about sticking food or burning residue. Additionally, this unit features eight non-stick pans ideal for making cheeses, sauces, or miniature omelets. While this model takes up a lot of kitchen space, users will love the interactive design accessible to multiple users.
In addition to non-stick parts and a large serving capacity, the LOEFME U020015201US-1 grill delivers a user-friendly device for feeding a group of friends or a family. The adjustable temperature knob provides responsive heat adjustments that ensure efficient and tailored heating for meats, vegetables, and specialty ingredients. Additionally, the flat surface doesn’t feature grates so that users can cook eggs, unlike a traditional grill. Lastly, the wooden spatula makes it easy to flip food and serve it without spilling.
Beginner’s Guide to Outdoor Electric Grills
What Are Outdoor Electric Grills?
An outdoor electric grill is an alternative option to the traditional outdoor grill powered by propane, charcoal, or wood pellets. These cooking tools connect to an electric power source. Once powered on, the grill creates a direct heat source, allowing you to cook a wide variety of foods with that classic barbecue look and flavor. Whether you’re looking to grill some meat or create the perfect veggie kebabs, an outdoor electric grill can help you accomplish it.
Outdoor Electric Grills vs Traditional Grills
If you were to place an outdoor electric grill next to a traditional gas grill or charcoal grill, you’d notice a lot of similarities alongside several key differences. For starters, the overall form and design for both types of grills are very similar. Both electric grills and traditional grills feature a central chamber with a cooking surface made up of cooking grates, grill plates, and warming racks.
In general, electric grills are smaller overall than alternatives like gas grills and charcoal grills. This is because electrical components are smaller than the parts needed to store a fuel source. Plus, the target audience for electric grills is people with limited space for grilling.
The biggest difference between the two options comes into play when you consider the power or fuel source for each type of grill. Electric models connect to an electric power source, while traditional grills use an expendable fuel source like natural gas, propane, charcoal, wood pellets, or wood logs.
This difference in fuel type can lead to some subtle differences in the flavor and look of your food. Since electric grills rarely produce much smoke, any meat you cook on them won’t produce that rich, smoky flavor you get with traditional barbecues. However, many consider this a worthy trade-off when considering the more user-friendly operation and design of electric grills.
How Outdoor Electric Grills Work
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Outdoor electric grills are incredibly simple and easy to understand when it comes to overall functionality. These cooking appliances work similarly to electric stovetops. Once you plug the grill into a power outlet and turn it on, electricity will surge through a heating element, which generates the heat. This heating element, in turn, heats the cooking surfaces on your grill.
You can decide how hot you want the cooking surface to be using the dials on the front of the grill. Once the grill is preheated, you can place the food on the grill grate and start cooking. Since electric grills don’t use flame as a heat source, they produce minimal smoke and fumes.
Do You Really Need an Outdoor Electric Grill?
If you’re looking for an easy barbecue experience that doesn’t require you to purchase extra fuel, then an outdoor electric grill is an excellent choice for you. While they won’t typically give you a traditional smoky flavor or look to your food, they’re incredibly convenient for smaller meals.
Is an Outdoor Electric Grill Worth Buying?
- You Want a Healthier and Environmentally Friendly Grill: One of the best aspects of electric grills is the fact that they don’t produce any toxic fumes that come from burning fuel like gas, charcoal, or propane. This makes them both healthier to use and better for the environment. If you’re worried about inhaling toxic fumes, an electric grill is an excellent choice for you.
- You Live in an Area with Smoke and Burn Restrictions: Many dry places will not allow you to burn any kind of fuel that produces smoke. These areas often have burn restrictions, as well. If you live in an area with these limitations, an electric grill is an excellent option for you.
- You Want an Easy-to-Use and Convenient Grilling Option: There are no two ways about it. Electric grills are easier to use than traditional alternatives. If you don’t have the time to learn the intricacies of grilling with gas or charcoal, then an electric option can save you a lot of time and frustration.
Why an Outdoor Electric Grill May Not Be For You
- You’re Grilling in a Place with No Power: If you’re out camping in the woods or at a park, then you probably won’t have a dedicated electric power source. In this case, an electric grill wouldn’t work well for you. Of course, you can bring a generator for electricity, but most people prefer to use a traditional portable charcoal grill or a gas camping grill in these scenarios.
- You Want Authentic Barbecue and Smoker Flavor: Since electric grills don’t produce any kind of smoke, you won’t get the authentic barbecue flavor you might be used to. If you’re looking for a smoky flavor, consider the best offset smoker or the best Pit Boss pellet grill.
- You Need The Most Cooking Capacity Possible: Overall, outdoor electric grills are smaller than their gas-powered or charcoal-powered counterparts. If you’re looking for a grill with as much cooking capacity as possible, consider a gas grill or charcoal grill.
How Long Will an Outdoor Electric Grill Last?
If you were to ask industry experts at The BBQ Depot, you would learn that most grills, including electric ones, can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. The range of expected lifespan is so large because of the many variables that can affect your grill. Where it’s stored, how often it’s used, and how well it’s maintained can both increase or decrease your grill’s lifespan.
We recommend cleaning your grills each time you use them to ensure leftover food doesn’t stain your cooking grates or cause rust. You should also store your electric grill in a cool, dry place to best preserve the electronic components. Also, you should never use your outdoor electric grill in the rain or snow, as you would risk damaging the appliance.
How to Choose an Outdoor Electric Grill
As you research the different outdoor electric grills available on the market today, you’ll need to keep these key features and considerations in mind. For starters, figure out how much space you have to store a grill. You’ll also want to consider how much cooking capacity you need. Then, consider user features like digital controls, built-in thermometers, and more.
Best Outdoor Electric Grill Factors to Consider
1. What type of outdoor electric grill should you purchase?
There are a few different types of outdoor electric grills to consider when you shop. Consider the following options:
- Freestanding: These electric grills offer either a wheeled base or a stationary stand. While a set of wheels offers a level of portability, freestanding electric grills are typically meant to be used in a single spot on your deck or in your garage. Like the best tailgate grills, they typically also feature a larger main grill surface with a removable warming rack or two inside the lid.
- Portable: These electric grills offer a more compact design than other types, allowing you to use them on countertops or on the go. Due to its smaller size, an electric portable grill is best when cooking for small groups.
- Built-In: Like traditional built-in grills, these electric grills are built directly into a semi-permanent fixture in your backyard or on your porch. This requires a significantly larger investment than other types of electric grills, which is why most people avoid built-in options.
- Combo: These electric grills offer both grilling and smoking functionality. The grilling functionality uses the electric components, but to use the smoking functionality, you’ll need to add wood chips and water. These types of electric grills are harder to use, but they can provide more authentic barbecue flavor.
2. How much space do you have for outdoor cooking?
Next, consider how much space you have for an electric barbecue grill. If you have a limited amount of space in your backyard or on your deck, you’ll need to consider an option with a smaller footprint. Take some time to consider how much space you want your grill to take up and then measure out how much space you have available.
Once you’ve taken your measurements, find a grill that fits your space. If you’re planning to store your grill when it’s not in use, you’ll also want to consider where you’re going to keep it and how much space you have available there.
3. How much cooking capacity do you need for your grill?
Outdoor electric grills come in a wide variety of different sizes, and you’ll need to figure out how much size you actually need before purchasing one. While you consider your cooking space needs, don’t just think about your common cooking habits. Instead, think about how much space you’ll need when cooking at full capacity. You probably won’t always cook at full capacity, but you don’t want to be limited by a smaller cooking surface when you do.
Nearly all grills measure capacity in square inches of cooking area. Most companies list this measurement on its packaging or somewhere inside the grill, including the warming racks. You may need to dig a little deeper to find the number of square inches of cooking space specifically for the cooking grates.
In general, you should follow these guidelines when it comes to cooking capacity:
- For one or two people, buy a 200 to 300 square inch grill.
- For four to five people, buy a 450 to 500 square inch grill.
- For larger families and groups, buy a 500+ square inch grill.
4. What kind of heat settings and user controls does the grill offer?
Like electric stoves and griddles, most outdoor electric grills and leading electric smokers feature a set of dials and user controls for you to power the appliance on and manipulate the adjustable temperature controls. While the most basic options feature a single heating element and a single control dial, more advanced options will give you more precise temperature control to eliminate cold spots and more settings to either cook food or keep food warm. These options are best if you need better heat distribution when cooking larger servings of food at once.
5. What kind of construction quality considerations do you need to make?
Outdoor electric grills usually aren’t as durable or sturdy as a traditional grill or smoker. However, they still offer a variety of different construction materials to consider. Grills with stainless steel construction are the most durable, but also the most expensive. Alternatives include porcelain-coated cast iron construction.
For cooking surfaces, we highly recommend purchasing an option with non-stick coating, which makes cleanup easier every time. Typically, you’ll want to get a premium flat-top grill for this purpose.
6. What kind of additional features and accessories do you need for your outdoor electric grill?
Individual features and settings vary widely between different models of electric grills. Consider these extra features and advanced accessories when shopping:
- Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates
- Nonstick coating
- Removable catch
- Tru-Infrared technology
- Cast iron grates
- Cast aluminum lid
- Reversible cooking plates
- Lid locks
- Removable stands
- Lid-mounted temperature gauge
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