Grill Away Anyway: 2019’s Best Electric Grills For Grilling Outdoors OR Indoors
Owning an electric grill is, hands down, the best and most versatile way to grill. While some may disagree, it can’t be argued that electric grills are easier to operate and understand compared to propane or charcoal grills — and if you live in an apartment or condominium, it’s pretty much the only way you can have grill parties in the first place.
They’re definitely a must-have for our generation, because we favor living in multi-unit buildings and they save time and energy. They’re also an eco-friendly alternative to grilling because they don’t produce the heavy smoke and toxic substances that propane or charcoal grills do, and the cooking time is relatively shorter.
With all the electric grills out there in the market, it’s going to be tough to find a robust model that will suit your needs and personal preferences. That’s why we’ve done all the extensive research, spending hours comparing and narrowing down this year’s top electric grills in the market to make sure that this is the only electric grill guide you’ll need.
Find the ideal electric grill here, and see the benefits of owning one for yourself.
What To Look For In The Best Electric Grill
How can you be sure that your electric grill meets your needs? Here’s a quick look at what you need to keep in mind before buying an electric grill:
Are you buying one because you want to have a grilling option in your downtown apartment or because you’re looking for a sturdy yet portable grill that you can bring along for your road trips? Electric grills are usually built for the indoors, but there are a few on this list that can be brought on road trips.
Who do you plan on grilling for? Since most electric grill owners live in apartments or condos, a large capacity can be a hindrance.
Because these grills rely on an electrical power source, they can be vulnerable to getting short circuits. Make sure your outlets or extension cords can handle the wattage that your future electric grill will need.
Clamshell contact or open grill? If you’re an avid sandwich lover, you may want to go for clamshell grills — but if you’re all about grilling, then you may want to invest in a grill that has additional features.
Some electric grills can be taken on outdoor trips, while others are more suitable for the indoors. This could be due to their weight, presence of a stand, and presence of an alternative power source,
Some electrical grills come with additional features that help make grilling a more unique experience.
Having the right tools and equipment can help you make scrumptious ribs, brisket, chicken, fish, or even veggies better than your favorite neighborhood BBQ joint.
Best Smokers: Top 9 Comparison Table
Electric grills have a reputation for being flimsy and vulnerable to the outdoors – but this one breaks that mold. This handy electric grill packs the biggest punch in this list, and is definitely the one to go for if you’re big on the outdoors and want a hassle-free cooking experience.
The Blackstone has two adjustable burners and a whooping 330 square inches worth of cooking space so you can cook a variety of meats, fishes, and vegetables simultaneously. Its rear grease management system helps catch and drain away excess grease from your food, which really helps with serving good food and cleaning up after.
Just make sure to properly season the griddle so you can make the most out of your grilling! The electric grill comes with a set of instructions for this, so you don’t need to worry about it too much.
Buy the Blackstone Tabletop Grill.
- Has two adjustable burners so you can have different cooking temperatures
- Can be converted to fit a propane bbq tank
- Easy to clean
- Cook surface is not totally flat
- Even heating across both sides can be an issue
Want that authentic wood-fired taste without having to tend to your smoker every half hour? The Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22 Pellet Grill is sure to be a godsend. This super-versatile smoker can go hot and fast or low and slow—just the way you want it.
Get six cooking functions in one with this all-around smoker. You get 481 sq. in. of space to grill, smoke, bake, braise, roast, and BBQ your way to smoke master status. In meat terms, that’s up to 16 burgers, 5 full racks of ribs, 4 whole chickens, or 1 large turkey.
The integrated digital controller lets you turn the heat up to 450F. Pellet grills get a bad rap in the meat smoking community because it does a lot of the work for you. That surely is the case with Traeger’s Lil Tex line, but we don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Even the wood pellet feeder pulls in wood chips as needed, so that you can spend less time in front of the grill and more time with your friends and family.
You may need to purchase an insulation blanket/cover to get consistent, stable temperature control during colder weather. It’s also a bit more expensive than some of the other options on this list, but hey, that’s the price of convenience.
To buy, check out the product on Amazon: Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22 Pellet Grill.
- True “set it and forget it” smoker
- Durable steel construction with powder coat finish
- 6-in-1 cooking capabilities
- Bundle comes with cover and pellets or shelf
- Requires electricity to work
- Doesn’t perform well at high heats, can’t sear meats
ThisCamp Chef Smoker comes with a programmable digital smart controller with temps ranging from 160F to 500F. This lets you take advantage of all six of its functions, including grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising, and BBQing. Plus, the smoker comes with a one-pull Ash Cleanout system that makes it practically self-cleaning.
The Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is great with high heats as well as low and slow smoking. This smoker is proof that you can get a smokey, delicious flavor and versatility all in one cooker without having to sacrifice either.
We’ve also found that this particular smoker has incredible fuel efficiency, so you don’t have to keep buying new pellets even with multiple uses.
Like other outdoor smokers and pellet grills, this one might require an insulation blanket to keep it running smoothly in windy or snowy conditions. We’re not a big fan of the limited 1-year warranty which is way below industry standard and pales in comparison to Traegery’s 3-year warranty.
To buy, check it out here:Camp Chef Deluxe Pellet Grill and Smoker PG24DLX.
- Multi-purpose grill and smoker
- Large cooking capacity of 570 sq. in. & hopper capacity of 18lbs
- Self-cleaning ash pull-out system
- Efficient pellet use
- Very short warranty
- Needs insulation blanket for cold weather
Revolutionize the way you cook with the Orion Convection Cooker & Smoker. This smoker takes a totally unique approach to the age-old practice of meat smoking by combining it with a modern convection design. The result? Incredibly juicy, flavorful meats in half the time.
The Orion Cooker is a bit smaller than the other smokers we reviewed, but it can still hold multiple rib racks or even a 20lb turkey. With every purchase, you get stainless steel rib hangers, cooking grates, and a poultry stand. The convection cooking allows you to get that low and slow smokiness in just a few hours.
We recommend the Orion Cooker convection smoker to any smoke master who wants a delicious, smoked meal but doesn’t have the time or patience to smoke something for half a day. Plus, we can’t say no to the gorgeous (not to mention durable and corrosion-resistant) 100% stainless steel construction on this one.
We do have to mention that this particular smoker is a charcoal binger. While smoking, it uses a lot of fuel to keep the heat going. Also, because it uses a combination of indirect heat, smoke, and steam, expect a lighter and cleaner smoke flavor.
To buy, check out the Orion Cooker on Amazon.
- Super fast convection cooking
- 100% stainless steel body and accessories
- 5-year warranty
- Affordable price for quality
- Smokiness may be too light for some
- Eats up a lot of charcoal
A good smoker doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and the Cuisinart Charcoal Smoker is proof of that. Get mouthwatering, tender meats at a fraction of the price of the other smokers on this list.
If we told you that you could get 510 sq. in. of cooking space under $200, would you believe us? The Cuisinart Charcoal Smoker comes with two 18-inch stainless steel racks that can smoke everything from ribs to veggies to even cheese. Designed with the budget newbie smoker in mind, this Cuisinart smoker combines affordability and portability in one package.
You can’t find a better smoker in this price range. If you can’t spare the additional couple hundred bucks for a Weber Smokey Mountain, this smoker is a low-cost alternative. While it’s big enough to handle several racks of ribs on its two cooking grates, it’s small and light enough to carry around the yard or on road trips.
The Cuisinart isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s inevitable that such a low price tag comes with some trade-offs. Some reviewers found that the water pans were inadequate and kept needing to be refilled. Others say that it comes out with a smaller smoking space than advertised and didn’t have enough room for their meats.
Buy the Cuisinart COS-118.
- Very affordable
- Good, smokey flavor
- Some complaints about build quality
- Small water pans
- Smaller-than-advertised cooking space
This mid-priced Z Grills smoker comes packed with a ton of features. Boasting more cooking modes than any other smoker, you’ll get a true all-in-one outdoor cooking tool that will certainly be hit with your friends and family.
Grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, BBQ, and char grill away—the Z Grills smoker will be your backyard best friend. With 700 sq. in. cooking space, fan-forced convection cooking, automatic pellet feed control, and a temperature range from 180F to 475F, and a digital control board, even absolute rookies can cook up a delicious meal in this smoker!
We love the multiple functions on this stainless steel bad-ass. It looks and cooks like a beast, but it’s surprisingly very easy to use. And there’s virtually no risk in trying one out—Z Grills is so sure you’ll love their pellet grill that they offer a 3-year warranty AND a 30-day 100% satisfaction guarantee refund period.
A caveat, however: some early models may have a defective control board. You can still ask the company to replace the part or the whole smoker. Others also say that the temperature sometimes fluctuates, making it difficult to keep a stable smoke level. This could be a manufacturing defect, so we docked some points for inconsistency.
- 8 cooking modes
- Designed for beginner meat smokers
- Affordable alternative to other pellet grills
- Inconsistent build quality
- Some have defective control boards
- Temperature fluctuations
Masterbuilt gets another mention in this list thanks to their Patio 2 Portable Electric Smoker.Cheap, small, and lightweight, this smoker makes for the perfect travel companion.
Don’t underestimate the MB20073716. It may be small, but it can still cook up a feast fit for a family. With two racks, it has enough smoking capacity for 4 chickens, 2 ribs or pork butts, or 1 turkey. The legs of the smoker are foldable which makes this Masterbuilt smoker much easier to stow away or take on camping trips.
We’re a sucker for this small guy because we can smoke at home or on the go. It’s just the right size for personal use or for a small group. The price tag also makes it a very tempting offer for anyone who wants to try their hand at meat smoking for the first time but doesn’t know where to start.
Even with the low cost and simplicity of the the design, there are some areas in which the Patio 2 falls short. The size is one of the things we love about it, but it’s not a great option for larger BBQ dinner parties. This makes us consider using this just as a travel or back-up smoker and not as our main one. There are also no numbers on the temperature control dial, so it’s difficult to gauge what setting you’re at.
- Easy foldable legs Sleek, modern finish Compact design Smokes meats to perfection
- No numbers on temperature dial Too small for large families
If you really want to up your meat smoking game, let us introduce you to the KBQ C-60. Designed and manufactured by a navy vet, the KBQ is no joke. Totally unique and loved by the meat smoking community, get ready for some next-level outdoor cooking.
If there’s one word to describe the KBQ, it’s “brilliant”. This smoker doesn’t use charcoal, gas, electricity, or pellets—it uses real wood logs for that authentic smokehouse flavor. The patented Inverted Flame technology creates a clean smoke and even temperature throughout.
We’re always looking out for something new and innovative, and Karubecue really hit the nail on the head with this one. Because the flame burns upwards, there are no flare-ups, hot spots, or bitter oversmoked flavors. You can also choose what smoke level you want from clean to heavy. Plus, you can’t get any more authentic than actual wood-fired smoked meats.
Alas, there are a couple drawbacks. One, this smoker is definitely on the expensive side. We’d say it’s worth it, but we understand that not everybody can squeeze this smoker’s 4-digit price tag into their budget. It’s also a lot more involved and needs frequent tending, so it’s definitely not an entry-level smoker. The power source—small wood—can be difficult to find, and you’ll need to build up a wood supply before smoking.
Buy the KBQ Smoker Pit C-60.
- Award-winning, innovative smoker
- Adjustable smoke level Consistent, even temperature
- Authentic wood-fired smokiness
- Expensive and not beginner-friendly Hard to find fuel source
The Serial Griller’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ For The Best Smoker
Choosing the best smoker from these amazing options was a lot harder than you think. Each one of them has something special and unique that they bring to the table. While we will reveal our top winner in just a bit, we believe that the best smoker for YOU is the one that fits your lifestyle, budget, and needs.
We especially liked the Weber Smokey Mountain for its incredible, competition-ready performance. The Traeger Lil Tex also wowed us with its 6-in-1 “set it and forget it” functionality, as did the Camp Chef SmokePro Grill And Smoker and Z Grills’ version.
Two incredibly innovative smokers, The Orion Cooker and theKBQ, both made it onto the list because they tried to stand out from other brands and models by doing something different. We also wanted to give a shout-out to the best value smokers on the market such as the Cuisinart andMasterbuilt Patio 2, both affordable and portable smokers for smoking on the go.
All of these meat smokers put up a great fight, but one really came out on top. The Masterbuilt Electric Digital Smoker impressed us on pretty much every front. You can’t beat the convenience and performance of this electric smoker. It has the perfect temperature range for a good ol’ fashioned low and slow smoke.
With three sizes, everyone—from the single man looking for a hearty BBQ dinner or a family guy who needs to feed his wife, kids, in-laws, and friends—can enjoy a tender, juicy smoked meal.
How Is Smoking Different From Grilling?
Grilling uses high temperatures for short periods of time and direct heat to thoroughly cook your meats and veggies. Smoking, on the other hand, uses much lower temperatures for longer periods of time. The combination of indirect heat, moisture, and smoke can take half a day or even more for bigger chunks of meat.
How Does Smoking Work?
There are two components to a good smoke: flavor (which is provided by the wood chips you use) and a heat source (or what kind of fuel, such as charcoal, electric, or pellets). The smoke heats up the meat to cook it, and the wood imparts a nice, unique flavor.
Should I Use Low Or High Temperatures When Smoking Meat?
It really depends on your style and technique, but most smoke masters agree that the best way is to go low and slow. That means using a temperature between 225F and 275F for several hours (sometimes up to 18 hours or more) to get a tender, moist, and flavorful meat. However, you can also experiment with “flash smoking”, or doing high temperatures for a shorter period of time.
How Do I Choose What Power Source To Use?
Choosing between charcoal, electric, gas, and pellet smokers really boils down to you as a chef. Your preference, level of skill, and how much versatility and control you need all factor into this decision. If you want authentic, old-fashioned smoking, go for a charcoal grill. If you just want to pop it in and forget about it, choose either an electric or pellet smoker.
What Is The Best Smoker for Beginners?
Our top pick, the Masterbuilt Electric Digital Smoker is definitely a no-brainer here. Its simple controls are deceptive—you can definitely get pro-level smoked meats even if you don’t watch the smoker. The side wood chip system takes the guesswork out of refueling without compromising the heat level.
How To Choose A Smoker For A Smoke Master Who Wants Something Different?
The KBQ C-60 is admittedly a luxury option, but we’re confident that it can provide veteran smoke masters with a new challenge. It will need a lot of your time and attention, but if you can handle that, it’s definitely the smoker to test out your skills.
What Kind Of Wood Chips Should I Use?
Your choice of wood chips will help determine what kind of smoke profile you will get. It really depends on your preference, but different types of wood chips pair better when smoking specific types of meats. Heavier flavors like Mesquite, Hickory, or Walnut are best paired with pork, beef, and cheese. Flavor your poultry with Alder, Apple, Maple, or Oak for a smooth, smoky taste.
How Long Will My Smoker Last?
The three things that will decide the lifespan of your smoker are: how much you use it, how well you maintain it, and the quality of the smoker. Electric smokers tend to conk out sooner just because electrical components can fry or short circuit. However, don’t let that turn you off electric meat smokers for good. As long as they’re built with durable materials and have a good reputation, your smoker will likely last you for several years.
That is, until you want to upgrade to a new one!