How to Choose Different Types of Grills 2020 (Ultimate Guide)
The best types of grills can make for an exciting outdoor grilling experience. When you fire up a grill outdoors and toss your burgers, chicken, and steak you expect the best outcome. But it takes more than just your skills at the barbecue. You need to choose the best type of grill.
If you are looking to grill on your own and wondering which types of grills to buy then you might want to know the different grill configurations, the type of fuel source they use, and so on. The different grills and the sheer number of options available make it hard to settle upon a single decision. But with the right kind of information, choosing your next type of barbecue should be a breeze.
No grill is perfect for all your grilling needs and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. But before we look at the different types of grills available and the pros and cons of each, let’s see what important factors you should keep in mind.
Factors to keep in mind when choosing the different types of grills
Not all types of grills will produce stellar results on your most anticipated barbecue outing. And this can be influenced by several factors.
- What type of food do you plan to cook?
The type of food you prefer to cook over the grill will influence the grill you ultimately choose. Do you prefer large chunks of meat like pulled pork, brisket, or smoky ribs? Do you like the ‘low and slow’ style of smoking meat? If you are the kind of person to go for a smoky rib and a juicy burger, you should consider a charcoal grill. Even better if a two-zone cooking feature is available.
In most cases, when you need more space for larger pieces of meat, propane grills will do the job pretty well and deliver the results you want. However, propane grills are not the best when it comes to smoking meat. They are best if you are looking for quick results while sacrificing the natural smoky flavor. For all your burgers, chicken, fish, and steaks, a propane grill would be a fine choice.
- Do you require two-zone cooking?
No matter what type of fuel or grill you are using, a two-zone cooking feature comes in handy when you want to control your grilling temperature. Two-zone cooking consists of two separate cooking zones with varying temperatures. This level of temperature control allows you to choose how you cook and helps prevent burning and drying. So when choosing a type of grill, consider whether you need a two-zone cooking feature for better temperature control.
- What’s the weather condition in your area?
Weather plays a significant role in choosing the different types of grills. But if you live in an area with moderate temperatures and warm conditions most of the time, then the weather may not be a big issue to keep in mind when buying your next grill. However, if you live in an area characterized by extreme weather conditions like snow, your grill’s insulation properties become a priority.
Selecting a grill that does not live up to the weather demands or does not have proper insulation only ends up costing you more in terms of fuel. You want to keep your fuel costs low and ensure your grill functions optimally. For this reason, consider the insulation properties of a grill and its overall structure. It should be sturdy and built to resist rust even when exposed to snowy conditions.
- How many people are you serving?
There are a lot of advantages that come with having a giant grill. You save more time and cook more massive cuts of meat for a bigger crowd at once. Having a smaller grill can be time-consuming and a headache if you serve a more significant gathering at your barbecue event. Your friends and relatives will have to wait for more extended periods before they eat. And this cannot be very pleasant.
On the other hand, a smaller grill is more manageable, especially if you cook meat for you and your partner. They take up less space and can be used to cook most, if not all, kinds of meat you want. If you plan to accommodate many friends and relatives, you may want to go for a giant multipurpose bbq grill.
- Go for a multipurpose grill
When you start your grilling journey, you should start with the most basic types of grills with in-built gadgets that can be added later on. As your grilling skills grow, then you can give yourself more options. Buying multiple grills for every cooking need will end up costing you more money and taking up additional space in your backyard. Choose a grill that can be manipulated to accommodate your cooking requirements without requiring costly investments.
What are the different types of grills in 2020?
Outdoor barbeque grills come in a variety of designs, shapes, sizes, and functionality. And there’s every reason to choose the right types of grills if you are serious about cooking the best steak on the planet. When selecting the different types of grills, it is crucial to keep your personal preference close to your heart. Let’s have a look at the types of barbeque grills available to you.
1. Charcoal Grill
When you think of a bbq grill, the first thing that comes to mind is a charcoal grill. It is arguably the most traditional type of grill famed for its smoky aroma that excites your taste buds. Just as the name suggests, a charcoal grill uses charcoal briquettes as a source of fuel. Charcoal lighter fluid is used to accelerate the charcoal ignition process and can be a petroleum-based fluid or alcohol-based. Charcoal grills are characterized by high heat cooking.
Occasionally, you can turn your charcoal grill into an excellent old school smoker for your smoking needs. The only thing you need to take care of when grilling with a charcoal grill is fuel consumption. Compared to other types of grills, charcoal grills consume a considerably high amount of fuel. You will find yourself running out of charcoal quite often, so it is always a good idea to have reserve charcoal just in case you run out of fuel.
Factors to consider when buying a charcoal grill
Whether you add coals or charcoal briquettes to a charcoal grill, any grill’s efficiency will largely depend upon several factors. These factors include
- Air circulation
If you want to maximize efficiency, consider going for a charcoal grill that allows maximum airflow over the coals or briquettes. More air flowing means the coals burn uniformly and efficiently, letting the fire burn hotter. On the other hand, limited airflow keeps the coal lit. Restricted airflow is excellent for slow and low cooking. Consider choosing a charcoal grill model with a tight-fitting lid and vents that increase the amount of airflow.
- How accessible is the coal bed
Since you will be adding charcoal/coal more often for a prolonged period, it is best to go for a model with an accessible hinge gate or a dedicated opening for adding more fuel. Usually, newly added coal/briquettes peaks after about 20 minutes after it is lit. An accessible charcoal bed comes in handy when you need to rearrange when cooking.
- Shape and size
The size of the grill and its shape affect how heat is concentrated and diffused. A wider grill can cook more foods at once but with a thinner fuel bed than a tall grill. Tall grills with thinner and much deeper charcoal beds tend to cook for a lot longer and concentrate heat better than a wider grill. By closing the dampers/vents, you can regulate how fast you cook and slow the rate at which charcoal burns.
Unlike other grills like pellet and gas grills, charcoal grills pose some safety risks that can spin out of control if you are not careful. That’s because a charcoal grill does not come with controls to adjust the heat and flames. You build up the flame by adding charcoal to the fire. Most charcoal grills come with an upper limit to the charcoal amount you can use to prevent excess fire and flames. It also helps to avoid damage to the grill in case the fire gets out of control.
What are the different types of charcoal grills?
Charcoal grills are available in various construction materials and shapes and include Kettle Grills, Kamado Grills, and Charcoal barrel grills. The classic kettle grills are widest and round at the cooking grates, with a tapering bottom near the charcoal/coal bed. Barrel grills are the largest type of charcoal grill and usually resemble a barrel turned upside down.
They also typically consume more fuel and can cook more food at once. The third type of charcoal grill is the Kamado grill, which is quite expensive than the other two.
The Kamado charcoal grill comes with a deep charcoal bed that allows it to concentrate the charcoal’s heat to a small cooking surface. The kamado grill’s main advantage is that it can cook for an extended time up to 8 hours-without you adding charcoal. It is also perfect for searing and slow cooking.
Pros of Kettle Grills
- Take up less space on the deck or patio because they are relatively small
- They have a tapered shape that allows you to build a much deeper charcoal bed. This makes it easier for prolonged cooking or searing
Cons of Kettle charcoal grills
- Because of their small size, most hold much less food than a large barrel grill. It would also help if you were careful when cooking with a kettle grill as they aren’t always sturdy with three legs.
Charcoal Barrel Grills
- They typically hold more food than Kamado or Kettle grills.
- Have plenty of helpful features such as adjustable cooking grate, removable ashpan, and a charcoal door.
- They consume more fuel compared to kettle grills. You will also need to add more charcoal quite often for prolonged cooking.
- Most are airtight, giving them a higher level of temperature control
- Excellent searing cooking due to its narrow charcoal bed
- They are also designed to conserve heat and cook for more extended periods of up to 8 hours without the need to add more charcoal
- It allows you to cook with a broad range of temperatures with its control level using the dampers.
- They are usually more expensive and costly to maintain compared to a Kettle or barrel grill
- Can be heavy, mostly if it is made from ceramic
2. Pellet Grills
If you crave the convenience of a gas grill and the flexibility of a charcoal grill, then a pellet barbeque grill is what you need. It functions as a smoker and grill giving you a flavorful option. Pellet grills have been around for quite a while, but have risen in popularity in the last 15 years. A pellet grill consists of food-quality wood pellets loaded into a hopper and placed in a burn pot using an auger.
The pellet grill uses a burn pot and thermostat to keep the grill at your desired temperature by using electric power. The electronic temperature controls are designed to keep the grill at your selected range without needing adjustments. Once the cooker attains your desired temperature, you will not need to adjust the controls.
3. Gas grills
Gas grills are easily the most popular types of grills in the United States. Suppose you are a casual barbecuer who likes to turn up for the family gatherings, get-together parties, or any casual event. In that case, you may want to make some burgers and tasty ribs for the next occasion with a gas grill.
It is easy to see why gas grills are the most preferred type of grill; they consume less fuel (liquid propane), more efficient to use, convenient and versatile. They can reach optimal temperatures pretty quickly, saving you a lot of time.
When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, gas grills are straightforward and easy to clean. If you are like many people, the last thing you want to deal with after a tasty meal is to have to clean the grill mess you’ve already made. A gas grill makes it super easy to wipe off the excesses, and food remains.
And the best part of gas grills is that you can choose from a few different variations to suit your grilling needs.
So, what are the different types of gas grills?
- Natural gas grills
Natural gas grills are, for the most part, used for built-in house grills. They are connected to your home’s natural gas line. The good thing about having a natural gas grill is that you don’t ever have to worry about refueling. You pull it out of the gas line in your house.
- Infrared gas grills
As the name suggests, infrared grills use highly advanced infrared technology to ensure heat is spread uniformly on the cooking surface, usually a ceramic tile. Infrared grills are powered by propane or natural gas and use infrared technology to heat the cooking surface. There are several benefits of having infrared grills; heat up evenly across the grilling surface, gets heat quickly, zero flare-ups, heat does not reach the grates. Infrared grills are perfect for searing besides your everyday grilling.
- Freestanding gas grills
A freestanding gas grill has the advantage of mobility. It can be moved around freely as needed. Freestanding gas grills are not built-in to a cabinet or attached to anything, making them a perfect choice for outdoor grilling needs with little restrictions and plenty of versatility.
- Built-in gas grills
As the name suggests, built-in gas grills are attached to a permanent structure like a cabinet or cooking island. Built-in grills maximize space efficiency and can be fitted to a suitable space in your outdoor kitchen. Since they are built-in in a permanent structure, they are usually powered by a natural gas connection.
- Flat top gas grills
Flat top grills feature a flat griddle surface as an outstanding feature. A propane connection typically fuels them. As far as cooking and grilling go, they are much easier for cooking with little food going to waste or dropping far below the grates.
Many experts agree that flat-top grills produce slightly less flavor-rich foods compared to other types of grills. As far as making breakfast, burgers, sauté, and other practical dishes, they are a perfect choice with excellent outcomes.
Flat top grills are also easy to clean and maintain.
Gas Grills Pros and Cons
Gas grills can produce consistently delicious dishes in a super convenient way.
Pros of gas grills
- Are easy to use and super convenient. Forget about prep time when it’s time to cook. Gas grills heat up quickly and also cool down fast. After all the mess is made, they are easy to clean.
- Are relatively affordable. You can get a great gas grill for slightly under $200 with great features and within your budget. Some models are quite expensive, and you may have to spend upwards of $2000 for some custom features. Regardless, you can still acquire a great gas grill at a lucrative price point.
- Minimal fuel costs compared to charcoal grills or pellet grills
- Can grill a wide range of foods, including fish, beef, poultry, burgers, veggies, and more.
Cons of gas grills
- Food cooked on gas grills lack the smoky flavor that many bbq enthusiasts crave.
- Some units tend to distribute heat unevenly. Look for units with a sturdy construction like stainless steel.
4. Electric grills
A traditional power outlet powers an electric grill. The good thing about an electric grill is the absence of smoke, making it ideal for indoor use. These grills are typically smaller in size and designed for countertop use. If you are looking for a convenient grill for quick grilling needs, then an electric grill is a perfect choice. Use it anywhere in your house without the trouble of dealing with smoke or fumes.
What are the pros of electric grills?
- Easy to use. You plug the electric grill to a power outlet and start cooking
- Super convenient. Use it indoors in the comfort of your house.
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Almost zero fuel costs
- Are affordable and available at different price points
- Limited cooking space means you will struggle with cooking larger meals
- Requires you to have a power outlet nearby; hence it’s almost impossible to take it on the go
- You will miss the smoky bbq flavor of other traditional grills
5. Portable grills
A portable grill is any grill you can take with you on the go. Technically speaking, any grill type can be considered a portable grill.
Portable grills are perfect for the outdoors, including camping, tailgating, or wherever you travel lead to.
The main benefit of portable grills is the ability to take them wherever you go. You are not limited to a fixed spot, unlike the traditional grills. They are usually small in size, giving you plenty of versatility.
Since portable grills are smaller than other types of grills, they also belong to the lower end of the price spectrum. You can easily find a cost-efficient portable grill that will serve you for a long time.
While portable grills come with the added convenience of versatility, you will have to sacrifice the cooking area. Portable grills are typically designed for small gatherings and not large cookouts.
Be mindful of every aspect of the portable grill. It’s a well-known fact that some manufacturers will throw quality out of the window when it comes to portable grills. Your best bet is to purchase from a reputable brand.
The bottom line- Choosing different types of grills
You will have plenty of options to consider when planning to buy your next grill. Be sure to think of all the things you want out of your grill and make a wise investment. Do you enjoy convenience? What about your budget? Are you looking for the traditional smoky flavor of a traditional grill?
Keep these things in mind when choosing the different types of grills.
We hope this rundown of the grills types has been a useful guide for finding the perfect grill for you.