There is no one best grill for everyone. The space you have available, your budget, your cooking techniques and personal preferences will all affect your choice in grill — and that’s not even mentioning fuel preference or the huge range of bells and whistles available for modern grill enthusiasts.
For that reason, we couldn’t reduce all the fine luxury, high-end and entry level outdoor grills available to just one supreme leader. Instead, here are the best as we see it, in a range of budgets and categories.
How Much Should You Spend on a Grill?
Really, you shouldn’t be asking how much you should spend on a grill — you should be asking how much do you want to spend on a grill — and what features are you looking for. Truth be told, you can find a killer grill at many budgets. Likewise, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and you only want to grill using charcoal, you probably don’t need to spend a lot of money.
Even if you want a gas grill, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get something that’ll likely make you (and your house guests) happy for a long, long time to come.
The thing is, though, if you want more features — better burners, more odds-and-ends, better materials, longer warranties, and true craftsmanship — then you’re going to have to spend more money. How much only depends on exactly what level of quality you’re looking for — depending on what your goals are, that can mean a little over $1,000 or many, many thousands of dollars.
So to answer the question, you should spend as much as you’re comfortable with on a grill — no more, no less.
What About Grills Under $300 at My Local Hardware Store?
For many folks, the idea of spending $1,000 or more on a grill is unthinkable — after all, aren’t the grills at the local hardware store much cheaper than that?
They are — but there’s a reason for that.
The grills produced and sold at most hardware stores aren’t exactly designed to last season after season — and if something breaks on them, you’re probably going to have a difficult time finding replacement parts. That’s because these models are often built in China en-masse, branded to whoever orders them, and then sent out. That is to say, even if the company wanted to sell you replacement parts, they wouldn’t know where to find them.
Sure, buying a more expensive grill is more costly up front — but they’ll likely last longer, and if something does break, you’ll be able to fix them — you won’t have to just cut your losses.
How Did We Pick the Grills in This Guide?
All of the grills in this guide are ones that we sell. Likewise, they are all grills that are repairable, built from high-quality materials, and suitable for an outdoor kitchen.
Because we sell all of these grills, we also have heard back from customers that have purchased them. To that end, all of these grills are ones that our customer base has been exceptionally happy with. We aren’t interested in selling a grill that doesn’t work for our customers.
When we say these are the best grills for your budget — whatever that budget happens to be — we’re positive of that. As a company with over 50 years of experience selling grills, we know what we’re talking about!
Budget Grills Under $1,000: The MHP JNR
An outdoor grill doesn’t have to be built-in to be high quality. Although there are plenty of budget freestanding grills out there, you have to spend a little more for high quality — even in a barebones grill.
For our article on the best freestanding grills under $1000, we stuck to brands that offer both:
- Freestanding grills for under $1,000
- Product support for when something breaks
Unfortunately, that list is smaller than you might think. — in our test, we had to restrict ourselves to just four brands: MHP, Napoleon, Weber and Broil King.
Our winner was the simplest grill of the bunch: The MHP JNR. If you’re looking for a grill that’s got all the bells and whistles, this isn’t your model. Like The BBQ Depot, MHP is a family-owned company, and they’ve been building grills in the USA since 1957, with a utilitarian, understated design on a very simple cart. If you’re looking for a gleaming hood and the latest gadgets, this isn’t the grill for you.
However, beneath that understated design is a
seriously high-quality piece of equipment. The grill features a cast aluminum
hood with a lifetime warranty, and durable construction throughout. The
company’s patented H burner produces plenty of heat for a small grill — pumping
out 30,000 BTUs of heat. The grill also features an optional SearMagic cooking
grid to heat food faster with its rust-proof anodized aluminum surface.
The SearMagic grid features a smart design, with a ribbed side for putting sear lines on steaks and burgers, and a smooth side for veggies, fish and other more delicate foods. The grill also has a stainless-steel side shelf which includes a handy utensil holder.
The grill also has a lot of smart upgrades available, including both stainless steel and infrared side grills and a raised secondary cooking surface for lower temperature cooking.
The version we reviewed was the open cart design, however JNR offers a range of mounting options, should you wish to install it permanently in your patio.
Best Budget Friendly Grill (Under $2,300) — Delta Heat DHBQ32
Delta Heat are the consumer grade range of grills manufactured by legendary manufacturer Twin Eagles, and built right here in the USA! From the spring-assisted hood to the heavy-duty controls, this is a serious grill that oozes quality.
Under the hood, things are every bit as impressive. The Delta Heat range has three 18-gauge stainless steel U-burners with an impressive 15,500 BTUs each. In fact, the company offers a limited lifetime warranty on both the main burners and the steel firebox, and in our experience they’re a company that stands behind its products.
Heat is distributed via a high-quality ceramic briquette system that keeps the temperature consistent across the grilling surface. The grill has plenty of room, with 764 square inches of total surface — 525 on the main grill, and 239 on the warming rack. The grill also features luxury options, including an infrared rotisserie burner, and a sear zone for cooks looking for that perfect char.
Best Affordable Luxury (Under $3,200 Grill) — The Alfresco Artisan Professional 36”
The Artisan Professional 36” is a grill with it all. Made in the USA, the grill has three long-life U-burners outputting 20,000 BTUs, with the option to swap a burner for a sear zone. A rear 15,000 BTU infrared rotisserie burner produces heat up to 1,500 degrees, with a 50 lb motor to turn the meat smoothly and consistently. A spacious cooking surface and a self-storing two-position warming rack provide plenty of room for even the biggest family cookouts.
Heat is distributed via a briquette tray with stabilizer bars for easy cleaning — just flip the tray and heat to burn away any grease or food scraps.
But it’s the attention to detail that really makes this grill inspiring. High-quality stainless steel is present throughout. A solid and seamless welded double skin hood is complemented by hand-polished accents that shine in the sun. The spring-assisted hood makes opening and closing the grill a breeze, and solid steel push-button ignition and lighting switches are a pleasure to operate.
And don’t forget the air curtain design. Lots of grills claim that their controls and handles stay cool to the touch, but very few pull it off. With the artisan professional, the controls always stay cool enough for sensitive fingers, even with the lid closed.
If you’re looking for a perfect affordable luxury grill for your outdoor kitchen, we can’t recommend the Alfresco Artisan Professiona 32” enough. The company also offers an equally high-quality 32” Artisan Professional at a lower price point, but with plenty of room for most grillers. Check out our review for more information.
Best Luxury Outdoor Kitchen Grill ($4,000+): The Lynx 42”
If you’re not a minimalist — if you think more
is more, and you have the budget for it — you can’t beat the Lynx 42”.
First of all, this grill is massive. The cooking surface is a full 1200 square inches, including an 855 square inch primary and 345 square inch secondary surface. For the powerhouse, you have the choice of two innovative and tremendously powerful burners: Trident ProSear Burners and Cast Ceramic (you can also combine two ceramics with a ProSear, for a grill that has it all).
The cast ceramic burners are cutting edge. Ceramic doesn't corrode or expand under heat like metal, and the burners are marketed as self-cleaning. While we recommend giving your burners a clean now and then, it’s clear that these commercial grade burners will stand up to a lot of abuse while maintaining consistent performance.
The ProSear Burners are every bit as impressive. These infrared burners deliver up to 1,000 degrees of heat and instant temperature control. (Lynx claims the burners can “put a delicious char on romaine lettuce without wilting a leaf,” something we’ve never tried but we’re sure they have.)
The design and build quality are every bit as good as you’d expect from such a high-end grill. The grill features heavy-duty welding, keeping out grease and moisture that can creep through the gaps in lesser grills. Everything is hand-tooled, precision welded and checked down to the mirror polish for a grill that truly looks seamless.
The Lynx also features a heat-stabilizing design, which protects against temperature changes from wind gusts, using a special fin on the back of the hood. The Lynx also features plenty of extras. A large-capacity smoker box is included, and the two-position rotisserie is equipped with a heavy-duty 3-speed motor. Control illumination is tasteful, with blue LEDs over substantial dials. Likewise, dual halogen surface lights keep the grill illuminated any time you want to cook.
This is one of the best outdoor grills you can buy, bar none. Check out the Lynx 42 Built-in Trident All-Sear Infrared Grill w Rotisserie or the Lynx 42" Built-in Grill w Trident Infrared Burner, 2 Ceramic Burners, Rotisserie .
Let Us Help You Decide
Still unsure of what grill is best for you at your budget? Feel free to give us a call — we’d be more than happy to help you figure out the right grill for you. You can reach us at 1-877-983-0451. In the meantime, browse through our selection of grills and see if one catches your eye!