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Electric Grill Buying Guide – Everything You Need to Know
Before we get to the actual meat of this article, let us first go through the appetizers – i.e. important electric grill factors. When choosing an electric grill (or any product, for that matter), it is crucial to go in with the right information. Below are pointers to help you narrow down your shortlist which you will be thankful for as the number of electric grills in the market can be quite a doozy.
What is Your Budget?
One aspect about electric grills that made it as popular as it is today is its flexible price range. You can easily find good quality budget-friendly electric grills at your local appliance store. We will be breaking down the price range of electric grills down below to help you determine which one best suits your needs.
- $100 and Below
Electric grills within this price range are as rudimentary as they come. Don’t expect any extra bells and whistles with electric grill models that are priced below a hundred bucks. These are solely designed for cooking and nothing more. If you are looking for just the bare bones functionality at a low-price tag, models in this price bracket will suffice.
- $100 to $250
This is where you will find the mid-range electric grill models. Expect better heating than the entry-level models and some extra features thrown in on the side. This is our recommended price range as the models tend to feature everything you will need to prepare some delicious BBQ.
- $250 and Above
This is where you will find the premium-grade electric grills. At this price, these electric grills not only provide excellent heating capability, but also comes equipped with several features to help make your cooking experience that more convenient. One aspect about electric grills (especially the entry-level models) is that it typically won’t be able to deliver the same level of heating capacity as that of a traditional BBQ grill.
That is not the case with the high-end electric grill models though as these can easily deliver the same results as those from gas and coal grills. You may not be able to get that authentic charcoal grilled flavor, but these high-end electric grills come pretty close.
These models are also significantly larger compared to the lower-priced variations which are typically designed to be portable – not the case with electric grills that cost around $300. You will also find excellent temperature control as well as pre-programmed settings for various types of recipe.
The materials used in the construction of these models are also high-grade so expect it to last for quite a long time even under heavy use. You can also expect to have warranties for high-end electric grill models as well.
What Size of Grill Should You Choose?
Obviously, we wouldn’t want to land on an electric grill that is either too small or too large. So, after you have determined how much you are willing to spend for one, the next question is how large should you get? The thing about this is that if you are looking for a large entry-level electric grill, you might not find one. If you will be cooking for the whole family and friends, you will need to consider looking at least in the mid-range models.
Electric grills tend to stay within the portable size and are generally smaller compared to the gas and charcoal grills. This is why electric grill is best suited for small gatherings with the family. If you are looking to serve BBQ for a whole party – the charcoal or gas grill is the more practical choice. In our experience, a high-end and large electric grill can prepare food for around ten people.
Is it Well-Built?
Next up is the overall quality of the electric grill’s build. As you would assume, cheaper models will have cheaper materials. You can’t really expect an $50 electric grill to last for very long even with proper maintenance. At the most, entry-level electric grill will typically have a lifespan of two to three years depending on your use and how well it is taken care of.
Traditional BBQ grills utilize heavy stainless steel while electric grills will typically incorporate a bevy of different materials.
How Much Heat Can It Generate?
Temperature control is an integral feature of electric grill that helps separate it from traditional grills. Mid-range and above electric grills will have temperature control functionality that allow you to better control the heat of the grill depending on what you are cooking. This pretty much eliminates the guess work required when using traditional grills.
As for how its max temperature, this will depend on the model. However, expect the more expensive electric grills to provide higher temperature at a faster rate compared to cheaper alternatives. Another notable aspect here is whether you want a ‘plug-and-play’ electric grill or if you prefer something that provides you with more control in regards to its heating capability. Personally, I prefer the ones that offer me with more control, but I can see the appeal of using a grill that you just plug in and start cooking with.
How Easy Is to Clean and Maintain?
Since electric grills require a power outlet, it is rarely used out in the open. You will typically find electric grills that are designed for indoor use but you can still find ones designed for outdoors. Because electric grills will not need to contend with the natural elements for a prolonged period, it will typically opt to use aluminum or cast iron rather than stainless steel.
Cast iron and aluminum grills may not be as durable as stainless steel but they managed to keep it close by utilizing extra coating. Most electric grills will feature ceramic, silicon, porcelain-enamel, or anodized finish for aluminum. Cast iron will be seasoned to enhance its durability as well. Cleaning is usually easier with modern electric grills as well as they incorporate grease drainage systems underneath the grill. You should also check whether the electric grill you are eyeing is dishwasher-safe.
Extra Features to Keep an Eye Out for
Beside the basics, here are some additional electric grill features that you might want to check out. Keep in mind that you might not be able to get these with entry-level electric grills as these are more common with mid to high-end models. Here are extra electric grill features that you might be interested in:
- Side Table
Note: The thermometer is the best one here, especially for those who plan on grilling various types of recipes.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Grills
Still on the fence of whether to get an electric grill? Here are the strengths (and weaknesses) of electric grills to help you decide if this is something that is right up your alley.
- The lightweight and portable build makes it easy to bring with you anywhere and is equally easy to store.
- It has a flexible price range from low-cost to high-end depending on your budget.
- Most electric grills come with safety features that helps prevent accidents.
- Electric grills are designed to be incredibly convenient to operate, clean, and store.
- You will need to plug it into a power outlet. If you will be using it outdoors, you are going to need an extension or a portable power source to use this type of grill.
- The flavor will not have that unique gas or charcoal grilled kick to it.
- Electric grills, depending on the model, will have a rather limited max temperature.
Top 5 Reviews of the Best Electric Grills For This Year's Selection
After showing a thorough guide like above, it's unusual to let you out this vast market to analyze and pick your own product. We got everything covered in this article, with the top-5 list of the best electric grills to save you a great amount of time, check it out:
1. Cuisinart GR-4NP1 5-in-1 Griddler
In terms of versatility, the Cuisinart GR-4NP1 Griddler is one of the most impressive in this list. It can be used for standard grilling, full grill, panini press, and griddle. This electric grill from Cuisinart is also well-built and is made from stainless steel which greatly enhances its overall durability.
The nonstick cooking plates can also be removed and reversed for easy cooking and cleaning. Over at the front side are three knobs for temperature control. In addition, the Cuisinart GR-4NP1 Griddler also comes with additional accessories such as a scraper and a recipe book to help get you started.
This is our overall most recommended pick as it comes with excellent features, a good quality build, and a reasonable price tag. If you are looking to prepare more than just BBQ, this is a great electric grill to get your hands on.
2. George Foreman GFO3320GM Indoor and Outdoor Electric Grill
The George Foreman Grill is a longstanding brand which was kickstarted by the boxing Hall of Famer and is one of the most trusted names in this market. Basically, you really can’t go wrong with a grill, whether it is electric, gas, or charcoal, if it has the George Foreman name. This particular GF electric grill is a freestanding model that you can use both indoors and outdoors. The stand can be detached if you wish to just place it on the countertop.
The cooking space provides a substantial 240-square inches of space and allows you to prepare for about 15 people in one go. In addition, it features temperature control that gives you five heat settings. The grill plate can be removed and the base has a sloped angle to help gather grease into one spot. We also liked how this electric grill can get extremely hot, making it suitable for searing meat as well.
What else can we say about a George Foreman grill except that it is exceptional? If you are looking for the go-to brand in grills, whether electric, gas, or charcoal, the name George Foreman printed on it means you are in the right direction. What’s more is that this GF electric grill is not even that expensive!
3. Super Budget Pick - George Foreman 2-Serving Classic Plate Electric Indoor Grill
Here we have another George Foreman grill for you. This time around, portability is the name of the game and the 2-Serving Classic Plate delivers on that regard without sacrificing the quality performance you expect with this brand. This particular electric grill is best suited for quick grills and even for paninis. It features all the signature George Foreman grill qualities such as nonstick coating, intense heating, and a dishwasher-safe construction.
For a George Foreman Grill to be this cheap is a good deal. However, I recommend this portable electric grill to those who occasionally cook BBQ and paninis. I don’t see this holding up for very long with everyday use.
4. T-Fal GC7 Opti-Grill
The T-Fal GC7 Opti-Grill is a mid-range electric grill that comes with a bunch of nifty little features that helped propel it into this list. First off, it features an adaptive heating technology that cycles depending on the thickness of the food being cooked. The six grill settings include options for grilling sausage, sandwich, red meat, fish, poultry, and burgers.
The T-Fal electric grill also provides a decent 600 square centimeter cooking space and comes with two cooking modes for standard grilling and for defrosting. The structure and material of this electric grill is also quite solid. It features a diecast aluminum nonstick plates that are removable and is dishwasher-safe as well.
T-Fal may not have the same recognition as a brand such as Cuisinart or even George Foreman Grill, but it certainly earns its place in this list with its robust performance and functionality. We are not quite sure about the price though as we feel it could have been a bit cheaper.
5. Elite Gourmet EMG-980B Electric Nonstick Grill
Let us end this list with another portable and compact electric grill, the Elite Gourmet EMG-980B Nonstick Grill. If the design looks familiar to you then you may have seen a couple of ‘Mukbang” videos in YouTube. You know the videos that show the vlogger eating a mishmash of Korean foods? They typically use this type of electric grill due to its lightweight and portable build.
This particular electric grill is quite rudimentary. It features a 14-inch cooking plate that has a nonstick finish for easy cleaning. With its 1,300W power output, you can easily hit 450 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes, perfect for prepping scrumptious meals in a jiffy. This is a ‘plug and play’ electric grill making it best suited for those who are not too finnicky with how they cook their meals. The product also comes with a 1-year warranty.
This highly affordable electric grill is the perfect companion for those who enjoy a good Korean-style BBQ. It is a simple as they come and is surprisingly durable as well. If you like, or a fan, of ‘mukbang’ then this is a mandatory kitchen appliance for your home.
Electric grills can be the best alternative for those looking for a convenient and less messy way to prepare BBQ and to grill, in general. You can even use these indoors and not worry too much of smoke (depends on what you are cooking). Hopefully, this article has helped you figure out what type of electric grill best suits your personal cooking preference.