Shopping

Best grills of 2021: our top gas, charcoal, and pellet grills

Find the best grills of 2021 with our top 9 options from Weber, Traeger, Z Grills, Char-Broil, and Kamado Joe

best grills
(Image credit: Weber)

The best grills can be used to smoke with slow and low temperatures, and grill or sear on high heats. While you won't miss out on that classic smokey flavor with any of the top grills, this mode of cooking is only getting smarter and easier to use. Some of the best grills in our guide have smart functions that allow you to sit back and enjoy the warm weather while you allow your grill to do all the cooking, safe in the knowledge that you won't overcook your steak or run out of pellets for your smoker hopper. 

In our best grills guide, we have included our top 9 picks from Traeger, Z Grills, Weber, Char-Broil, and Kamado Joe. A lot of these grills also feature in our best gas grill guide, but there are also charcoal and pellet grills included for a more traditional touch.

Whether you want a grill for affordable entertaining or a high-end option to impress family and friends when they come over for a meal, our best grill guide has an option for every budget. 

What is the best grill in 2021? 

Our top pick of the best grill this summer is the Weber Genesis II S-335. It's got everything we love from Weber, including a smart sear station to ensure your steaks and burgers get those classic char-marks. We think the three burners are a good size for most families and would serve well at small-to-medium-sized gatherings. 

If you want to step away from gas cooking, the Traeger Grills Ironwood 650 is also a top pick. It runs on wood pellets and has an in-built meat probe to make cooking easier. 

Best grills 2021: Our top 6

Genesis II S-335

(Image credit: Weber)

1. Weber Genesis II S-335

The best grill of 2021

Specifications
Cook surface: 669 sq-in
Dimensions: h47 x w59 x d29 inches
Fuel type: Natural gas or propane
Best for : Convenience and quality
Reasons to buy
+Sear station for traditional char-marks+Gs4 grilling system+Compatible with the iGrill 3 app-connected thermometer
Reasons to avoid
-Three burners are a little modest for some cookouts

Weber has been in the game for 65 years, and the Weber Genesis II S-335 is one of the smartest you can buy. It's compatible with the Grill 3, which is a smart thermometer that can sync with your phone for the utmost insight into your cooking in real-time. 

What we love

The Weber Genesis II S-335 features sear station, which is designed to leave those classic charred lines in your steaks and burgers for maximum flavor by creating an intense heat zone. There's also a side burner that can be used to prep side dishes or cook off smaller items that can't go on the main grill. This burner is powered by gas, like the Weber Genesis II S-335 itself. 

Features

There's also a foldable warming rack that can be used to heat up burger buns or keep hot dogs warm when they're done cooking, which will allow you to prep your meals at different timings, but with the same intended serving time. 

Other useful features include a storage area under the grill itself, which has shelves for holding plates and dishes. There's also a hook under the side shelf for keeping tools close-by as you grill. 

best grills

(Image credit: Traeger)

2. Traeger Grills Ironwood 650 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

The best wood pellet grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 650 sq-in
Dimensions: 46 x 27 x 47 in
Fuel type: Wood pellets and electric outlet
Best for : Grilling and smoking meats
Reasons to buy
+Achieves ultimate wood flavoring in meats+Built-in meat probe and WiFi capabilities let you control the grill on your phone+Super Smoke Mode with a push of a button
Reasons to avoid
-Must be plugged into an outdoor electrical outlet

Traeger revolutionized the grilling game when they introduced the world to wood pellet grills over 30 years ago. Though other wood pellet grill companies have surfaced, Traeger is still a hard one to beat, especially when you consider their Traeger Ironwood 650 Pellet Grill.

What we love

To fuel the Traeger Ironwood 650 Pellet Grill, you plug it into an outlet, then add hardwood pellets to the hopper which are then moved to an auger where they’re ignited. The hardwood pellets provide a wonderful smokey wood flavor to vegetables and meats that you can't quite achieve with gas grills. If you want the smoky flavor to be more intense, hit the Super Smoke Mode button. 

To keep the fire going, a fan circulates the heat and smoke, while a drip tray catches grease and other drippings so the flames continue and heat flare-ups are prevented. With 650 square inches of cooking capacity, you can fit eight whole chickens, six pork butts, or five rib racks at a time. 

Features

The technological features of this Traeger Ironwood 650 are impressive. For instance, once you've set the temperature, the grill maintains that temperature for you. Plus, it's outfitted with WiFi and a built-in meat probe, so you can monitor the internal temperature of the food and the grill all on your phone. 

While you won’t have much issue cooking vegetables on this grill, the Ironwood 650 Pellet Grill is king when it comes to cooking meats. The wood flavoring that this grill produces – whether you’re grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising, or barbecuing – is hard to match. 

best grill Weber 441001

(Image credit: Weber)

3. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22-inch

Best budget charcoal grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 363 sq-in
Dimensions: 18 x 23 x 35 in
Fuel type: Charcoal
Best for: Budget
Reasons to buy
+Compact+Comes with an ash catcher+Hinged lid
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for large crowds

Weber's Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill has a 22-inch diameter that can fit a family-sized amount of hamburgers or hot dogs. For parties though, you may struggle with its singular burner.

What we love

Other charcoal grills such as the Kamado Joe Classic II feature side shelves, which can make serving up and storing plates and accessories easier. While the Weber Kettle lacks this, it is also a mere fraction of the price. 

This charocal grill has a hinged lid that makes it easy to add briquets while cooking. There's also an ash-catcher on the underside that makes clearing away straightforward when the fun is over. 

Features

The lid has a thermometer to make warming up and maintaining temperature a breeze. You can use the dampers to make controlling the temperature even easier. You can also enjoy the two wheels and the fact that it weighs just slightly over 3 pounds. This makes the grill very portable. 

Kamado Joe

(Image credit: Kamado Joe)

4. Kamado Joe Classic II

The best charcoal grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 510 sq in
Dimensions: 26.4 x 26.4 x 36 in
Fuel type: Charcoal
Best for: Grilling, searing, and smoking meats and vegetables; option to use as rotisserie or pizza oven
Reasons to buy
+SlōRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber distributes smoke evenly+Multi-level rack allows you to cook multiple items at different temperatures+Has iKamand capabilities 
Reasons to avoid
-Must clean ash after every use -Smaller cooking surface than other grills

If you plan to grill meat, you’re going to want to use the Kamado Joe Classic III. Even though it takes a bit longer to heat than gas grills, the Kamado Joe Classic III is the most advanced ceramic charcoal grill on the market that offers the perfect sear and tenderness to your protein, and a smoky flavor to match.

What we love

What makes the Kamado Joe Classic III so unique is the brand’s SlōRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber insert. It’s designed to evenly distribute the smoke and heat in rolling waves so that the food cooks more thoroughly without the peskiness of hot spots. Better yet, it’s outfitted with a multi-level rack so that you can cook on the top 18-inch surface, or utilize four additional half-moon grates for a total of 510-square-inches of cooking surface. This means that you can cook more food at once and at different temperatures.

Overall, this charcoal grill can reach temperatures of 225 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, though when using the SlōRoller, the grill has a maximum temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can control the air and temperature with an airlift hinge on the top. Though many shy away from charcoal grills because of the clean-up, Kamado Joe has come up with an easy-clean solution: a charcoal basket. Once the charcoal breaks down, the ash is contained in a drawer that allows for easy disposal.

Features

This grill is multi-functional in many ways from the way it sits on a cart with wheels to how it can be transformed into a rotisserie or pizza oven with additional accessories. Make your grilling experience easier with the iKamand smart device. When attached to the bottom vent of the Classic III, the iKamand device lets you control the heat, smoke, and temperatures on an app on your phone.

best grills

(Image credit: Saber)

5. Saber Elite 3-Burner Gas Grill

The best infrared grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 675 sq-in
Dimensions: 56.5 x 25 x 48.4 in
Fuel type: Gas
Best for: Grilling and rotisserie meats and vegetables
Reasons to buy
+Infrared burners help food retain more moisture+Uses 30 percent less propane than other gas grills+Rotisserie kit and side burner for additional cooking options 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best for cooking at low temperatures

As the name implies, this grill has three burners that heat 500 square inches of primary cooking surface and 175 square inches on the second rack. Where most gas grills create convection heat, the SABER Elite 3-Burner Gas Grill uses propane or natural gas to generate infrared or ‘radiant’ heat which directs airflow away from the surface of the grill so that the food retains moisture. In theory, it produces juicier meats and vegetables, reduces cook times, eliminates flare-ups, and vaporizes drippings and debris. Most importantly, it results in using 30 percent less propane than other gas grills. 

What we love

Starting a fire on the SABER Elite grill is easy with the push-button electronic ignition. The main burners of the SABER Elite produce 24,000 BTUs. That's British Thermal Units, which is a good metric for heat consistency. While that number seems low, it's because this grill is an infrared gas grill and BTU ratings aren’t as noteworthy for these types of grills. On the left side of the grill is a dual tube side burner which can be used for making sauces or cooking side dishes. A rotisserie motor kit and rod are included so a night of rotisserie chicken, lamb, or beef roast is certainly on the menu.

Features

To make your grilling experience easier, use the side table for preparation, and the below cabinet basket to store condiments. Store the propane tank on a pull-out tray that's hidden behind doors. Halogen lights and above-knob LED lighting allow you to grill at night.

Weber 66011001 Genesis II E-310

(Image credit: Weber)

6. Weber Genesis II E-310 Gas Grill

The top gas grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 660 sq-in
Dimensions: 29 x 59 x 47 in
Fuel type: Gas
Best for: Grilling meats and vegetables
Reasons to buy
+Warming rack tucks away for rotisserie +Center-mounted thermometer+Flavorizer bars helps circulate moisture and juices back into the food 
Reasons to avoid
-Low BTU output

The Weber Genesis II E-310 Gas Grill is found on many ‘best gas grill’ lists because it's dependable, easy-to-use, and great for novice and intermediate grillmasters.

What we love

The three stainless steel burners offer an output of 39,000 BTUs, which isn't as high as other gas grills, but it'll still get the job done. With a Tuck-Away warming rack, barbecue enthusiasts have a total of 660-square inches of cooking area  (the main grate is 513 square inches). Flavorizer bars catch grease and food drippings, which protects the burner tubes and prevents flare-ups. More importantly, when the grease hits the bars, it vaporizes and is then absorbed into the food making it juicier and tastier.  

Features

Weber installed a center-mounted thermometer in this grill, though for the cook who wants a more high-tech experience, purchase an iGrill 3 thermometer. When paired with the Weber Genesis II E-310, it monitors the temperature of up to four cuts of meat at a time and will send a notification to your phone when the protein is cooked through. 

As far as aesthetics go, the Weber Genesis II E-310 has a black and stainless-steel frame with two side shelves for prep space and two lower shelves for storage. Unfortunately, the propane tank is stored on the side of the grill and only partially hidden by side doors.

Char-Broil

(Image credit: Char-Broil)

7. Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill

The best electric grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 320 sq-in
Dimensions: h38 x w24 x d24 inches
Fuel type: Electricity
Best for : Electric grilling
Reasons to buy
+Compact design+Porcelain-coated burners for a traditional taste+Rust-resistant
Reasons to avoid
-You'll need access to an electrical socket

If you are able to plug it in, the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill is an amazing renter-friendly option. Because it's not a charcoal or gas grill, this grill can sneak its way into some communities that otherwise prohibit traditional grills. 

What we love

While it's compact, the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill has space for 12 burgers at any one time. It's also equipped with porcelain-coated cooking grates that are sure to inject some smokey flavor into your meals for that classic barbecue taste.

The warming racks and cooking grate are both rust-resistant, and they're also convenient to clean thanks to that porcelain coating. 

Features

Although the main grill area offers about 240 square inches of primary cooking space, the removable warming rack adds another 80 square inches. 

The heat is adjustable thanks to the front dial, and the lid-mounted temperature gauge will help you to keep track of your cooking temperatures. 

best grills

(Image credit: Weber)

8. Weber Q 1200 Portable Grill

The best portable grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 189 sq-in
Dimensions: 20.5 x 40.9 x 24.6 inches
Fuel type: Gas
Best for: Taking on the go
Reasons to buy
+Folds away +Stand is optional for setting up camp+Comes in a good range of colors+Two side tables for meal prep
Reasons to avoid
-Low BTU output

Planning on traveling this summer? The Weber Q 1200 Portable Grill is built to be taken on the go. It's got two foldable side tables for preparing dishes when you've set up camp, but simply fold them back up when you want to set off again. 

What we love

This gas grill weighs only 20 pounds, which is impressive considering the porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates. These can be removed for easy cleaning and while there is only one burner, it can be used to power the entirety of the 189 square inch cooking area. 

Features

Another portable element of the Q1200 is its fuel, which is designed to pair with 14- or 16-ounce propane cylinders as opposed to large tanks. Each one will last at least an hour, so it's perfectly suitable for some vacation cooking and traveling light. 

Genesis II S-335

(Image credit: Weber)

1. Z Grills ZPG-450A

The best smoker grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 452 sq. in
Dimensions: 45 x 28 x 49 inches
Fuel type: Pellet
Best for : Easy smokey flavor
Reasons to buy
+Large hopper capacity+Smart self-feeding design+Temperature ranges from 180 to 450 degrees
Reasons to avoid
-Pellet grilling can be a learning curve

The Z Grills ZPG-450A will deliver that tasty wood-smoked flavor you want from a grill, thanks to the pellet fuels which offer cost-effective and low-maintenance cooking. 

What we love

For a start, there's the price, which hits at the right spot for a medium-capacity and smart grill. It has a medium cooking size of 452 square inches and the design is compact enough to store when not in use. 

The Z Grills ZPG-450A has a smart dial that can be turned from 180 to 450 degrees, allowing you to cook at high heat but also to smoke and roast at the lower end. Because the hopper capacity is 15 pounds, it will also keep itself running for hours with little-to-no maintenance. 

Features

Under the hood you'll find enough space for a medium-sized family. There are also eight modes of cooking available to you, with grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbecue, and char-grill options. 

Which type of grill is best? 

Saber Grills R50SC0017 3-Burner Grill, Stainless Steel

(Image credit: Amazon)

Charcoal grills

Pros: Charcoal grills provide a phenomenal smoky flavor to food, which is especially tasty in meats.

Cons: They take longer to heat up and the temperature can be somewhat harder to control. Even grills that have charcoal boxes that keep the ash contained require some time toward cleaning. 

Liquid propane or gas grills

Pros: Gas grills are quick to heat, easy to adjust the temperature, and don’t require a lot of prep or clean-up time. Gas grills are best for those who are new to grilling.

Cons: They may offer great sear and grill lines and have the capabilities to keep your meats juicy and tender, but unless the grill is outfitted with a built-in or separate wood box, you can’t achieve the same delicious smoky flavor that's provided with charcoal or wood pellet grills.

Electric grills

Pros: Some electric grills can be used indoors and others must be used outdoors. They heat quickly and don't require a lot of post-grilling maintenance. 

Cons: Indoor electric grills are small. If you have an outdoor grill that needs electricity, like a wood pellet grill, you’ll need an outdoor outlet, which may not be placed in the most ideal (or safe) grilling location.

Wood pellet grills

Pros: Meats come out juicy, tender, smoky, and fully-flavored with a wood pellet grill. Once you set the temperature on a wood pellet grill, the grill maintains that temperature for you, so your attention can be elsewhere. 

Cons: These types of grills require electricity to function, so you’ll need a good outlet in a safe location outdoors.