Believe it or not, electric grills have come a long way in the past five or ten years. Don’t get me wrong – they’re unlikely to win in a head-to-head cookout with gas or charcoal grills. They just don’t have the firepower for it. But if you absolutely cannot use a gas or charcoal grill to satisfy your desire to grill, then a modern electric grill can be expected to do a pretty decent job of grilling up a meal for you and yours. Let’s take a look at some of the top models over at Amazon and then get into the subject in a little more depth.
Best Electric Grills for 2016
|Weber Q 2400 Electric Grill||(4.7 / 5)|
|CharBroil Patio Bistro||(4.1 / 5)|
|Meco Deluxe Electric Cart with Rotisserie||(4.0 / 5)|
|Cuisinart Outdoor Electric Grill with Stand||(3.6 / 5)|
|Zojirushi EB-CC15 Indoor Electric Grill||(4.5 / 5)|
|Fire Magic E250s Electric Grill||(4.0 / 5)|
|George Foreman GGR240L||(4.7 / 5)|
|Meco 9309W Tabletop with Rotisserie||(4.3 / 5)|
|CharBroil Patio Bistro Tabletop||(4.0 / 5)|
|Outdoor GreatRoom Legacy 20 Electric Grill||(4.2 / 5)|
Best Portable Electric Grills for 2016
Most electric grills are, by definition, portable. They’re not that big and if you have a long enough extension cord, you can take it anywhere. But a Portable Electric Grill is designed to be packed up and carried, and in the realm of portable electric grills, the Weber Q2400 and its little brother the Q1400 shine the brightest.
Here are some of the highlights of this little powerhouse:
- 280 square inch grilling area
- 1560 Watt heating element
- Porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates
- Cast aluminum body and lid
This is a fairly serviceable size for a portable grill. Sure, it’s smaller than your average full size grill, but your full size grill likely won’t fit into the trunk of your car. Users have reported being able to throw down a number of steaks and other grillables on the premium grates. The lid is reasonably tall, allowing you to shove something larger than a thick burger or chicken breast under it. If you don’t already have a dedicated place for it, you can pick up the Weber Portable Cart to raise it up and turn it into an approximation of a full size grill. There is also a cover available for the whole thing. The Q1400 is basically the same grill only smaller (189 square inches) and cheaper (by about 50 bucks). Both come with a six foot cord.
Some users have reported good luck with searing while others have struggled to cook the way they normally do. It takes about 20 minutes to heat up to cooking temps. Personally, if I couldn’t use a gas or charcoal grill, this bad boy is the one I’d get.
Best Electric Grill for Patios in 2016
If you’re not hip to the idea of dropping 200 or 250 bucks for a grill then having to splurge another 70 bucks or more for a stand AND you really don’t need a more portable unit, then you’d probably want to take a good hard look at the Charbroil Patio Bistro Infrared Electric Grill.
- 240 square inch primary grilling area
- 80 square-inch warming rack
- 1750 Watt cooking element
- TRU Infrared cooking technology
- Comes in seven (or more) colors
A note about infrared cooking: I’ve tried to understand how it works and can’t, but going off the rave reviews, it does seem to work well. If you dig a warming rack, the Patio Bistro is one of the few electric models to have one. Over seven colors (including an awesome Urban Moss), six foot cord, of course, and with that tall lid you might be able to wedge something birdish under there. If you’re so inclined. A good grill for the patio. Or balcony. But remember – unless it is specifically billed as an indoor grill, it isn’t. Try it and you’re running the risk of fire and a lot of smoke filling the room. Which leads us to…
Best Indoor Electric Grills for 2016
One of the problems of many of the electric grills is the fact that the heating elements are exposed. When cooking, juices of the item being cooked drip onto the elements, burning and smoking as they go. For this reason, many of the most promising electric grills are relegated to outdoor duty only.
Not so with the Zojirushi EB-CC15 Indoor Electric Grill. Its heating elements are entirely protected from the cooking surface. While this may cut down on the ability to sear or really cook items as well as some of the outdoor-only powerhouses, it will also dramatically cut down on the amount of smoke created when cooking. This grill bills itself as an indoor electric grill and it passes. 12.5 by 9.25 cooking surface isn’t gigantic, but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to cook well for a few people. Or those eating in shifts. Not porcelain or porcelain-coated, but still comes with a non-stick surface that earns good marks. In fact, the little Zojirushi gets high marks in reviews everywhere I’ve found it for sale.
Best Electric Grill for Camping or Tailgating for 2016
Yeah, yeah, an electric grill for camping? Or tailgating? You can’t be serious, right? Oh, yes I am. Deadly serious. Well, not deadly, but pretty serious. Lots of places are cutting back on the use of charcoal or gas grills in their facilities. Camping without a campfire? Sad but true. Tailgating without a grill? Oh, please, no. But with an electric grill, you’ll not need to worry about the fear of errant coals or highly pressurized gas canisters. Just about all the new friends you’re making.
As far as we can tell, the best option is going to be the Weber Q2400 or Q1400 with a cart. We’re not trying to push this more than necessary. The simple truth is for something portable that you can stand up and grill on, there aren’t many options. There is the STOK but it’s out of stock or possibly discontinued. The Weber Cart and Q2400 is going to set you back almost 400 bucks (more after you factor in extension cords, covers, etc) but it’s a sweet grill. You could try the Meco tabletop grills, which are nice, but they don’t have much in the way of portable carts. You could always just plop it down on the ground or a picnic table. Or a rock. Or a block of wood. Or a… you get the picture.
Best Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill for 2016
This is a tough one, and I’m going to go out on a limb here. There is no best indoor/outdoor electric grill. That’s it. George Foreman grills are okay indoors, but many reviewers have trouble really cooking something without crushing it to death. That being said, many reviewers have high praise for the George Foreman GGR240L. I guess as long as you’re fully aware of the limitations of the grill going into it and aren’t expecting magical things from a mechanical device, you might do okay.
The Zojirushi mentioned above does a decent job indoors and would probably do kinda okay outdoors if you’re careful with it. But if you’re looking for something that will both work indoors and outdoors, you’re probably going to need to figure out which venue you’ll be cooking in most, then buy that one first and the second one down the road. If it was me, I’d go with the Weber Q2400 first, then get the Zojirushi later. But, that’s just me, and I have a soft spot for Weber grills.
Pros and Cons of an Electric Grill
While many people are going to focus on the cons of electric grills, we here at LTB believe in giving things a fair shake. We’re going to look at the pros first and finish up with the cons.
- Few restrictions: for many people electric is the only choice. Apartment or condo rules prohibit or restrict what many people can do, leaving an electric grill as the only viable choice. Well, they could always not grill, but come on – that’s not really a choice at all, is it?
- Can be difficult to get enough heat to cook well on: how much heat it generates is going to be a function of design more than anything. Check out the overviews of some of the better electric grills listed above.
- Heating up can take some time: if you’re used to the near immediacy of gas, this can be frustrating. Not so much if coming from a charcoal background.
- Cooking times can, well, take some time: Pretty self-explanatory and we don’t want to beat a dead horse, here. Rather we want you to know what you’re getting into.
- Don’t expect authentic grilled flavor: somewhere between a little and a lot of the flavor of food cooked on gas or charcoal comes from the heat and flame. While some of these little devils pump out an impressive amount of heat, the flame just doesn’t exist. Unlikely to be doing and cedar plank grilling, but come on, you knew that already, right?
Let’s Be Realistic
Now, don’t let the greater number of cons scare you. That single solitary “pro” at the top of the list can outweigh all of the cons. It’s simple – if gas or charcoal grills are out of the question then you’ve gotta go electric. Luckily we live in a day and age where good quality electric grills are plentiful and reasonably priced. So stop hemming and hawing and go out there and find yourself a fine electric grill. Because if you Love That Barbecue, it’s what you’ve gotta do.
PS – Not sold on the idea of an Electric Grill? Got a little more flexibility in your cooking dictates? Still looking for something compact? Check out these posts:
You just might find the awesomest grill for what you need.