Best Grills for 2023 – CNET

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$96 at Walmart

Black grill with charcoal next it

Expert Grill Heavy Duty 24-Inch Charcoal Grill

Best budget grill for large family

$350 at Amazon

ninja outdoor oven on a table with a golf course behind it

Ninja woodfire outdoor oven

Best grill for an outdoor kitchen

$169 at Amazon

Small silver grill on a metal table

Monument Grills Tabletop Propane Gas Grill

Best compact gas grill

While the summer is potentially starting to wind down, the weather is still warm enough to keep the grilling season alive and well. There are a lot of great choices of grilling machines out there, and we spent a lot of hours testing them all.

What’s the best grill of 2023?

After spending countless hours grilling smoking, burning and eating hamburgers, chicken, corn and kebob skewers we’ve managed to narrow down the best grill overall to the Denali smart grill from Monument. It’s a gas grill and is large enough to feed a huge family — or the entire block if you’re having a cookout. It’s smart too so you can keep an eye on the food even from the kitchen.

We’ve rounded up some of the best models available to help you find the grill that works for you and your budget. If you’re considering what type of grill to get, check out our guide to pellet, charcoal and gas grill variants. After all, there are tons of different grill types to compare and consider, including gas grills, traditional charcoal grills, heat-loving kamado grills, infrared grills, portable grills and more. 

Steak, asparagus and mushrooms grilling on the rack

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While “the perfect grill” may not exist for everyone, many grills tick a lot of boxes. It will depend on what type of food you want to grill, so bear that in mind. Here are some ideas of the types of grills you might use.

  • Charcoal grill: Good for high heat and getting that perfect char.
  • Gas grill: Great for large grills and for spur-of-the-moment outdoor cooking.
  • Flat top grills: Perfect for smash burgers and tacos.
  • Pellet grill: Perfect for long, slow cooks that smoke your food.
  • Kamado grill: Great for extreme heat or heat retention.
  • Pizza oven: Wonderful for pizza, sure, but great for other bread too.

No matter what type of outdoor grill you choose, you should absolutely brush up on how to clean it (keeping that grilling surface clean with a grill brush and grill cleaner is essential in outdoor cooking) and get the best accessories for grilling. Having the right techniques and tools of the trade will complement your perfect grill, turn you into a grill master extraordinaire and make your cookouts a breeze.

Best grills

Silver 6 burner grill

James Bricknell/CNET

Like

  • Large area for large families
  • Smart thermometers
  • great build quality

Don’t like

  • Instructions were hard to read

While a giant six-burner grill may not be for everyone, the Monument Denali is the perfect balance of modern thinking, a good price point and quality that I would expect from our top pick. Like any smart modern grill, the Denali has temperature probes to accurately keep watch on your food and uses an app to connect those probes to your phone. You can set the app to alert you when your food reaches the correct temperature or after a certain time limit.

Black grill with charcoal next it

Expert Grill

Like

  • Budget friendly
  • Large enough for a big family
  • Solid construction

Don’t like

  • Ash tray warped over time

When I first moved out to the High Desert in California, I knew I wanted a grill that could handle enough food for a party. I also knew that moving is expensive, so it had to be affordable. I picked this heavy-duty grill up at Walmart and was instantly impressed with how well it was constructed. After putting it all together it had heft to all the materials that made me think it would stand the test of time, and it did.

ninja woodfire grill

James Bricknell/CNET

Like

  • Perfect size for two to four people
  • Uses a tiny amount of pellets
  • Multiple functions

Don’t like

  • Pellet holder can get sticky if not cleaned

The Ninja Woodfire has all the convenience of an indoor electric grill and air fryer with the addition of a small smoking hopper that lets you burn pellets. These pellets add a distinctive smoky taste to anything you are cooking without the need for an entire smoker to do it.

Flat top griddle with golfers in the background

James Bricknell/CNET

While the Flatrock is pricey for a flat-top griddle, its quality and usefulness can’t be overstated. Some foods just can’t be cooked on a standard grill — like tacos and smash burgers, and a flat-top griddle makes those foods a breeze. By the way, if you’ve never had a smash burger, you need one in your life. They’re amazing.

A foldable black griddle on a green background

Nexgrill

Like

  • Easy to Store
  • Quick to heat up
  • Great price

Don’t like

  • Hard to build

While the Traeger is a fantastic flat-top grill, it is big and heavy and sometimes you don’t need to cook tacos for 10 people. The Nexgrill griddle is much smaller, perfect for a small family of four, and is collapsable so it can be easily stored under your deck, or even thrown in the back of your truck to take camping.

ninja outdoor oven on a table with a golf course behind it

James Bricknell / CNET

Like

  • Great for pizzas and meat
  • Larger than it looks
  • Able to smoke as well

Don’t like

  • High heat can easily burn

Like the Ninja Woodsmoke grill above this outdoor oven uses a small pellet smoker on the side to infuse the food with a smokey flavor. The difference with this oven is it can cook at very high temperatures to cook pizzas, make burnt ends, or you can drop the temp and slow cook meat to perfection. If you have a built-in outdoor kitchen this will look fantastic in that setting.

Small silver grill on a metal table

James Bricknell/CNET

Like

  • Great for camping
  • Instant heat
  • Big enough for big camping trips

Don’t like

  • A little flimsy when moved too much

When space is limited, finding the right grill to give you the taste you want can be hard. This gas grill from Monument is compact on the outside but surprisingly large on the inside. It’s big enough to cook a spatchcocked turkey or several large steaks and, because it’s a gas grill, it’s ready as soon as you want to use it. 
If you only have a small outdoor space or a little balcony in your condo, this would be a great addition to make your grilling dreams come true.

egg-grills-5

Chris Monroe/CNET

Like

  • Premium look and feel
  • Distinctive taste
  • Can produce very high heat

Don’t like

  • That price tag is as high as the temperature

Kamado grilling cookers, egg-shaped, ceramic, wood-burning grills that you may have seen or at least heard of, impart a delicious smoky flavor to everything they cook, and this is the best grill in the bunch. They can run low and slow for hours at smoker temperatures and sear at high heat levels that go well beyond the capabilities of gas grills. That’s hot enough to create true steakhouse steaks and real wood-fired pizza like a pro griller.

How we test grills

We test different types of grills differently, but for most, we include a high heat test like searing steak or grilling burgers, a medium indirect heat test like grilling a whole chicken for more than an hour and a low and slow test with racks of ribs.

To determine what should be regarded as the best outdoor barbecue grill, we collect data like total cooking time, temperatures inside the grill and temperature inside separate pieces of meat. All that information helps us spot where grills might have hot spots or thermometer inconsistencies.

A thermal image of a grill

James Bricknell / CNET

I use the InfiRay P2 Pro to test how fast the grills heat up and if the heat is even. It only works as the grills heat up because the top temperature is too high, but it gives me a good idea of how well each grill spreads the needed heat.

There’s also a fair amount of (read: so much) blind taste testing, lively debate and voting among our editors and families, in addition to the data we gather about grilling temperatures and cooking times. You might think it would be more fun than work to eat delicious food while discussing the merits of a grill, and you’d be right.

If you’re interested in any particular method of testing, we’ve got that, plus our full list of recommendations for cooking with kamado grills, portable grills and charcoal grills ready for your perusal. Happy grilling!

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