If your grill has flame-broiled its last burger, don’t sweat it. Consumer Reports’ tough tests reveal great grills for under $300.
Yes, you can easily spend thousands of dollars on a new grill, but Consumer Reports’ Paul Hope says you don’t need to.
“You really don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy grill. It’s not going to make your food taste any better. For that you really just want to practice, practice, practice,” Hope said.
Consumer Reports has a specially designed lab just to test grills. The good news: You can get a good grill for under $300. If you want a grill that heats up fast and evenly cooks food, the Even Embers GAS2400AS for $220 is a great option if you tend to cook a lot of the same foods at the same time.
If you want to cook up a variety of foods all at once, you want a grill that offers a decent temperature range. Consumer Reports tests for that, too.
“Temperature range is important because a grill that can cook at a broad range of temps can cook way more food and it can do it easier. So you can sear a steak on one side of the grill and slow cook a piece of chicken without burning the skin on the other,” Hope explained.
The RevoAce GBC1748WS for $227 from Walmart delivers. It’s also sturdy and well made.
If you prefer charcoal grilling, the Weber Kettle Grill 22″ 14402001 for $239 consistently earns very good scores for evenness.
Ready to take your grilling beyond the grates? Consumer Reports also checked out several flat-top grills.
“A flat top grill fills in the gaps left behind by a regular grill. So instead of having grates it’s got a smooth surface a lot like a griddle which makes it ideal for anything you’d order from a diner. Things like pancakes, bacon, eggs, grilled cheese are all great on a flat top,” Hope said.
The LoCo 36″ 2023050166 for $800 earned top scores. It has special burners that cycle on and off to maintain the temperature across its very large cooking surface.
Hope still managed to cook for a crowd on the budget-friendly flat-top from Blackstone (28″ 1517) which starts at about $260.
Outside of its labs, Consumer Reports also recently checked out the Ninja Electric Woodfire grill.
“We were impressed by the Ninja woodfire grill because it was able to sear, produce grill marks, add smoky flavor from wood pellets even double as an air fryer,” Hope said.
It’s a great option if you live somewhere that prohibits gas or charcoal grilling.