Best grill 2021: achieve grill master status with the 5 best grills

Find the best grills to feast this summer, with the top gas, wood pellet, and charcoal grills

Included in this guide:

best grill Weber Barbecue Spirit II E-210
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(Image credit: Weber)

Looking for the best grill in 2021? It’s that time of year to pull out the ribs, steaks, burgers, and veggies and throw them on the grill. Here’s the thing: any old grill just won’t do. 

Sifting through a grill’s technical features is a cumbersome task. Eventually, the information blurs together and grilling seems more intimidating than it is. We decided to make your grill shopping experience much easier by gathering our favorite grills and adding them to this easy-to-understand list. We’ve made sure to point out all the important aspects of a grill, from the burners to the design features, that impact the flavoring of food. 

Scroll through and discover a range of top-quality grills that will make backyard barbecues a weekly (if not nightly!) experience at home. Our guide includes the best charcoal grills, as well as pellet and gas options. We also have a guide to the best gas grills for more options. 

The best grills of 2021

Z Grills ZPG-450A

(Image credit: Z Grills)

1. Z Grills ZPG-450A

Best grill overall: a brilliant wood pellet grill and smoker

Specifications
Cook surface: 452 sq. in
Fuel type: Wood pellets and electric
Dimensions: 45 x 28 x 49 in
Reasons to buy
+Foldable shelf for extra prep room+The temperature doesn’t change once it’s set +Able to use the grill in eight different ways like bake, grill, braise, roast, etc
Reasons to avoid
-Requires an outdoor outlet

Enjoy the convenience of a gas grill and the wood-smoked flavors of a charcoal grill with our top pick: the Z GRILL ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker. This grill does it all: grill, barbecue, bake, roast, braise, smoke, sear, and char-grill. But even with so many options, it’s still pretty easy to power up this grill and get to cooking. 

Buy a bag of wood pellets and add them to the 15-lb hopper. A 20-lb bag (which is usually how they’re sold) offers 20 hours of cook time. From there, set the temperature, put your meats or veggies on the grill, and go about your business. You don’t have to watch or feed the fire or hassle with a heavy propane tank. With PID Technology, the Z Grill maintains the temperature you need (between 180-450 degrees) throughout the entire cooking process. 

The flavor-packed effects of this grill are astonishing. Meats are juicy, smoky, and tender, which is why it’s our top pick. With 452 square inches of cooking space, you can easily cook enough for a family of four or five. A foldable shelf and wheels are added perks to the design. 

The only drawback is that the grill is powered by electricity so you will need a nearby outlet. 

Weber Barbecue Spirit II E-210

(Image credit: Weber)

2. Weber Barbecue Spirit II E-210

Best gas grill: good option for smaller spaces

Specifications
Cook surface: 450 sq. in
Fuel type: Gas
Dimensions: 45.5 x 50 x 24 in
Reasons to buy
+Six hooks to store grill accessories+Small enough to fit on an apartment patio or balcony+Grease tray with a catch pan at the front of the grill
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks a side burner

As far as gas grills go, you’ll be hard beat to find a Weber grill that doesn’t offer a great grilling experience. The Spirit E-210 is the perfect choice for those who want to a quality grill, but many not have the space for a larger one. This grill will fit a small patio or balcony and is designed to hold your grilling items in one place. Hang your grill tools on the six hooks and utilize the fold-down side tables when you need prep space. 

There is 450 square inches of cooking space which allows you to cook a full meal for a group of 4-6 people. The built-in lid thermometer will help you manage the inner temperature while the Flavorizer bars seals juices and smoke into grilled meats and veggies.

While grilling does require some clean-up, Weber has tried to make it as easy as possible with a front access grease tray with a catch pan. They also added a fuel gauge, so you know exactly how much propane is left in the tank.

Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D

(Image credit: Dyna-Glo)

3. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill

Best smoker: grill up a storm with two designs in one

Specifications
Cook surface: 1,382 sq. in
Fuel type: Charcoal
Dimensions: 45.5 x 24.9 x 58.8 in
Reasons to buy
+A grill and smoker in one +Handles are designed to be cool to the touch +The temperature gauge has a ‘Smoke Zone’ reading 
Reasons to avoid
-Charcoal requires some clean-up 

If you want to taste the best fall-off-the-bone ribs or the juiciest brisket, you need to invest in a smoker. Barbecue grill masters swear by them because they’re designed to cook meats for long periods of time resulting in juicy and tender meat with a rich smoky flavor. Our favorite smoker is the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker and Grill. 

As the name implies, this piece of equipment is two things in one. You have a charcoal grill on one side and a vertical smoker on the right side which makes for a total of 1,382 square inches of cooking space. The smoker is outfitted with five chrome-plated cooking grates and pre-installed sausage hooks. 

You’ll need to use charcoal to fuel this smoker. It’s designed with a removable offset charcoal grate and ash pan so you can easily add more fuel and remove the pan at the end to dispose of the ash. The spring grip handles are cool to the touch, even during the smoking process. 

To ensure you’re reaching the right temperatures for the best smoking experience, refer to the stainless-steel temperature gauge which has a designated 'Smoke Zone'.

Char-Broil 463370719 Performance

(Image credit: Char-Broil)

4. Char-Broil 463370719 Performance

Best infrared gas grill: minimize flare-ups with this gas grill

Specifications
Cook surface: 450 sq. in
Fuel type: Gas
Dimensions: 54.1 x 23.4 x 45.5 in
Reasons to buy
+Additional side burner+Warming rack can be moved out of the way+Infrared technology prevents flare-ups and evenly heats the grates
Reasons to avoid
-Cleaning the grates can be a bit cumbersome 

The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared 3-burner Gas Grill is a gas grill, so you will need a propane tank to cook. However, unlike other gas grills, it’s outfitted with infrared cooking technology which can make the grilling experience much better. 

Char-Broil uses infrared technology to spread 24,000 BTUs of heat across their special cooking grate. This allows for a few things. First, it prevents hot or cold spots, so your food cooks evenly. Second, it minimizes the chance of flare-ups. Most grillers contend that infrared technology results in far juicier meats than other gas grills which uses a different type of heating system that can dry out your chicken, pork, or beef. 

This grill is outfitted with 450 square inches of grill space (that’s about 24 burgers!) and has a push button electronic ignition. You can swing the warming rack out of the way if necessary. 

The additional side burner has a 10,000 BTU output and is the perfect spot to prepare sauces or sides. 

Big Green Egg Large

(Image credit: Big Green Egg)

5. Big Green Egg Large

Best charcoal grill: bake, roast, grill or smoke on this easy-to-use design

Specifications
Cook surface: 262 sq. in
Fuel type: Charcoal
Diameter: 18.25 inches
Reasons to buy
+Very easy to use and heats up in 15 minutes+Built-in temperature gauge helps manage the grilling experience+Versatile cooking: baking, roasting, grilling, or smoking+You can grill quite a few times with one load of lump charcoal 
Reasons to avoid
-Cart not included in the price

If you have preconceived notions about charcoal grills – throw them out. The Large Big Green Egg surpasses everything you think you know about charcoal grilling. This kamado-style grill and smoker is designed with an interior ceramic material which allows for temperatures of up to 750 degrees and versatile cooking experiences, including baking, roasting, grilling or smoking. 

Many people dislike charcoal grills because the lighting process can seem complicated, but that’s not the case with this egg. Just fill up the Large Big Green Egg with lump charcoal (never use briquets or lighter fluid), open the chimney and bottom draft door, and then light a fire starter. It takes 15 minutes to heat to about 400 degrees. Manage the temperature by opening and closing the chimney and watch the temperature move up and down on the built-in gauge. 

You can cook quite a bit on the Large Big Green Egg, from steaks to ribs, vegetables, soups, and chili. Smoking meats, like fall-of-the-bone ribs, brisket, or salmon, is easily done with this grill. Bake desserts, bread, or even a pizza (especially with the added purchase of a convEGGtor, a ceramic barrier that allows for indirect cooking). The only drawback is that the price for the Large Big Green Egg doesn’t include a cart to hold the grill, which is necessary if you don’t have an outdoor kitchen that you want to integrate the grill into.

What is the best grill type for you?

best grill

(Image credit: Traeger Grills/LOFA)

There is a lot to consider when buying a grill, but the most important factor is the fuel. That’s because the type of fuel a grill uses can tell you what your cooking experience will be like and how your food might cook. Here’s what you need to know: 

Gas

Gas grills are super popular, especially among those who don’t have a lot of experience with grilling. Simply open the gas valve, turn or push the ignition button, and the grill is ready to go in about 10-15 minutes. For many, that’s a simple and efficient way to grill, especially on a weeknight or when you have a lot of mouths to feed. 

That said, gas grills aren’t known for producing the tastiest of flavors among grills. Sure, they can achieve those delightful grill lines and the food will taste good, however, if you want a gas grill and juicier flavors choose an infrared gas grill or one that has flavorizer bars. Though they work in different ways, they both result in food that’s tastier and tender. 

Wood pellets

If a grill uses wood pellets, there are a few things you can assume about it. First, it will need an outlet to work. Second, it will be designed so that you can put the wood pellets in a hopper, set a timer, and leave the grill alone until the food is ready. Wood pellet grills are pretty self-sufficient, and many are outfitted with Wi-Fi (though not all). Plus, they’re great for smoking or grilling meats because they add that woody-smoky flavor that you could only otherwise achieve with actual wood.

Charcoal 

Many barbecue enthusiasts swear by charcoal grills and smokers, because they allow you to smoke meats. If you buy a charcoal grill, you’ll need to see if it allows for briquettes or lump charcoal (or both). Many modern charcoal grills will have a basket that makes ash clean up quite easy. Keep in mind that it will take a bit longer for the charcoal to heat before you start cooking, though some charcoal grills are designed so that it only takes 15 minutes. 

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Alex Temblador
Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer that has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications like Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Home & Gardens, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Artsy, Neighborhoods.com, Culture Trip, among many others. She recently bought her first home, a green Sears & Roebuck house that's over 100 years old, sits on half an acre of land, and features a stunning wraparound porch, original hardwood floors, pocket doors, and a butler pantry. Alex loves to test products for Gardeningetc, Real Homes, and Homes & Gardens buying guides and reviews which has helped to expand the richness of her first-time homeowner life. The Mixed Latinx writer can usually be found working or relaxing in her outdoor spaces.