Best Outdoor Electric Grill in 2020: Epic Buyer’s Guide

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Everyone loves a good barbecue. It’s one of the best and more affordable ways to get the family and friends together, it’s perfect for trying out your favorite grilling ideas, and it’s a fast and easy way to whip up dinner. Finding the right type of grill can be a challenge since there are so many styles and types available. But using the best outdoor electric grill can be a real gamechanger. These grills are much safer than portable charcoal grills, and they come with a wide range of benefits. But since there are literally dozens of grills to choose from, narrowing down your choices and picking out the perfect model for you and the family can take some research.

Having trouble finding a model that works for your grilling needs? Need to find a grill that will work for your budget? That’s where I come in. I’ve tested out several of the top-selling models, narrowing it down to six electric grills that have what it takes to cook your food to perfection. I’ve also put together an in-depth buyer’s guide that details all the important features to look for, and how to choose a new grill that offers the type of cooking space you need at a price you can afford.

Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes the six models that made it onto my list, how they rated, and some of their leading features.

Outdoor Electric Grill Comparison Chart

ProductStandGrilling
Surface
WattsRating
George Foreman Electric Grill
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Yes240 sq. in.1500
Weber 55020001 Q 2400 Electric Grill
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No280 sq. in.1560
Weber 55020001 Q 2400 Electric Grill
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No176 sq. in.1500
George Foreman Electric Grill
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Yes200 sq. in.1440
Americana Portable Utility Electric Grill
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No164 sq. in.1500
Cuisinart CEG-980T Outdoor Electric Grill
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No145 sq. in.1500

George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill


Our Rating: (5/5)

This George Foreman outdoor electric grill features 240 inches of circular grilling space so you can whip up enough food to feed fifteen people. The model itself is very apartment-friendly, thanks to this fully electric system that does not require the use of propane or charcoal. The temperature is fully adjustable, so you can cook more delicate recipes, choosing from five temperature settings. The grate features a nonstick cooking surface, so you won’t have to worry about food sticking to the grate. Just like the classic George Foreman grill, this model features the fat-removing slope, which is designed to remove up to forty-two percent of fat from meat.

Pros

  • Five temperature settings
  • Stand included
  • Cooks enough food to feed fifteen people
  • Nonstick cooking grate
  • Fat sloping surface

Cons

  • Stand is wobbly

Conclusion

This large outdoor electric grill is apartment approved. There’s no risk of flareups, no need to use propane or charcoal, and no dangerous fumes to deal with. The adjustable temperature control knob allows you to choose from five different temperature settings, so you can cook your meats and veggies to perfection. This grill is a great buy for apartment, townhouse, and duplex dwellers, or homeowners who are short on patio space.

Weber 55020001 Q 2400 Electric Grill


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Weber outdoor electric grill offers 280 square inches of cooking space, complete with a cast iron porcelain enameled cooking grate and a body and lid made out of cast aluminum. The grill has a larger grip handle, ergonomic side handles, and temperature control knobs. This model is highly portable, yet it doesn’t come with a dedicated stand. Weber makes a stand that will work with this model; however, it’s sold separately.

Pros

  • Temperature dial
  • Longer than average cord
  • Large grip handle
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Doesn’t include stand

Conclusion

This portable outdoor electric grill is built tough, lightweight, and highly portable. However, the lack of a stand will be a drawback for some buyers. The grill features a low-maintenance design, thanks to the nonstick grilling surface and it comes with a six-foot grounded cord, so there’s no need for an extension cord. This model is built tough and can easily handle daily use.

Americana Lock ‘N Go Electric Grill


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Lock ‘N Go electric grill offers 176 square inches of cooking space and comes equipped with a large lid complete with wooden handles that twist and lock to the base, making this model easy to transport. The cooking grate is made out of chrome plated steel, so you’ll need to lightly brush the grate with cooking oil to prevent food from sticking. The domed hood design is extra-high, allowing the food to absorb more flavor. For easy cleanup, the reflector pan and the grill grate are dishwasher safe, while the pedestal, bowl, and hood are covered with a durable powder coated finish.

Pros

  • Powder coated finish
  • Portable
  • Grate is dishwasher safe
  • Lid locks to the base for easier transport

Cons

  • Small cooking surface

Conclusion

This highly portable electric grill is beginner-friendly, low-maintenance, and features adjustable hood vents that can help to improve temperature control. This model is perfect for camping, RV use, apartments, townhouses, and small patios. Since there’s no propane or charcoal to deal with, this model will work for both indoor and outdoor use.

George Foreman Rectangular Electric Grill


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This 12 serving outdoor electric grill offers two hundred square inches of rectangular grilling space. It’s also approved for apartment use since it doesn’t require gas or charcoal. This is a fully electric system that provides high-quality grilling and adjustable temperature control. The included temperature probe allows users to choose from five different heat setting options. The grill’s nonstick grates allow you to enjoy healthy meals, without the use of oils or butter. The grill also has the sloped fat design that allows grease to run right off the grill, so you can enjoy forty percent less fat.

Pros

  • Drip tray is dishwasher safe
  • Nonstick grill
  • Includes stand
  • Five heat setting options

Cons

  • Stand is flimsy

Conclusion

This model comes with nonstick cooking grates, and an innovative grate slope design that will remove up to forty percent fat. This electric grill features a durable design that’s easy to clean and use. The precise temperature control makes this model very beginner-friendly, while the low-maintenance design allows you to pop the grates and drip tray right in the dishwasher, so cleanup is a cinch.

Americana Portable Utility Tabletop Electric Grill


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

If you’re looking for a compact, tabletop outdoor electric grill, then you’ll love the latest model by Americana. This model features 164 square inches of cooking space, operates at 1500 watts, and includes thermostatic control for precise temperature control and pro grilling results. The included compact grease cup is placed on the back of the grill and catches the grease for fast and simple cleanup. This is a compact model that’s perfect for apartment balconies and patios. Since it doesn’t use gas or charcoal, this model is approved for apartment use.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable

Cons

  • Difficult to assemble

Conclusion

This mini outdoor electric grill is a great buy if you’re looking for a model that can cook for up to four people. The lightweight design makes this model highly portable, so it’s also a great choice for RV use and camping. Low-maintenance, built tough, and beginner-friendly, this grill is a steal for the price.

Cuisinart CEG-980T Outdoor Electric Tabletop Grill


Our Rating: (4/5)

This small outdoor electric grill features a cooking space of 145 square inches, allowing it to cook up to four pounds of fish, six to ten chicken breasts, eight steaks, or eight burgers, at once. This is a fifteen-hundred-watt model that comes with five burners that provide 120 BTUs. The porcelain enameled grates feature a nonstick surface that makes maintenance and upkeep a cinch. This model can plug directly into a standard outlet and can be used both indoors and outdoors. The grill itself weighs just thirteen pounds and comes with a briefcase style carrying handle, for easier transport.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Highly portable
  • No assembly required

Cons

  • Grill takes ten minutes to heat up

Conclusion

This grill cooks food evenly and heats up quickly. The lightweight design and included carry handle make this model highly portable and the perfect choice for apartment dwellers, campers, and RV users. This model is a great buy for the barbeque enthusiast on a tight budget and comes loaded with all the right features for those looking for a low maintenance model that can go anywhere.

Outdoor Electric Grill Buyer’s Guide

If you’ve never used an electric grill before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn just how easy they are to operate. They often feature a straightforward, intuitive design that makes them very beginner-friendly and simple to use.

Compared to other types of grills, when it comes to convenience, the electric grill definitely has the upper hand. This grill operates via electricity, so it must be plugged into an outlet.

These days, many of the leading manufacturers have added a variety of new features that make using this style of grill more convenient and much easier. Firing up this type of grill is less of a hassle since most models come equipped with thermostats or knobs that control the temperature.

Most brands also claim that their models provide even heat distribution. In order to achieve the authentic taste and aroma, some people will add the best wood chips, to enhance the flavor of their meat, and this can be done by simply placing the chips in a foil packet on the grate. Others may add a rotisserie attachment as well. Many people will purchase this type of grill because there’s no risk of gas leaks or fires and the grills can be used inside the home as well as outdoors, making them very versatile. The temperature can also be easier to control, compared to a traditional grill, thanks to a built-in thermostat, so it’s a great way to grill fish, sear a steak, or barbeque some ribs, even if you’re short on patio space or live in an apartment.

But for many, the big drawback of using an electric grill is that they’re unable to offer the same level of authenticity and flavor that you’ll get with charcoal or gas. Additionally, the heating temperatures tend to be limited, so you can’t expect an electric model to achieve the same high temperatures that a charcoal grill can, although, many models are capable of reaching four hundred degrees. But if you’re looking for an affordable and efficient grill that you can use every day, then the electric grill is the best choice, hands down.

Due to its portability, compact design, and convenience, the electric grill has quickly grown in popularity. These grills can often be used in places that a gas or charcoal grill cannot, such as an apartment balcony.

Some grilling enthusiasts may argue that this type of grill doesn’t offer the same type of authentic grilling experience that traditional grills do, however, there’s no doubt that they’re more convenient and much simpler to use.

If you don’t know much about electric grills, or what can make them a better choice compared to a charcoal or gas grill, I’ll cover many of their important benefits below.

The Benefits of an Electric Grill

Unrecognizable man

In contrast to gas and charcoal grills, the electric grill offers many advantages.

  • Electric grills are much faster and heat up quicker than gas and charcoal grills.
  • If you’re looking for a healthy way to grill fish, then nothing is healthier than grilling up a freshly caught fish using no oils, butter, or cooking spray. An electric grill promotes healthy cooking, it’s that simple.
  • These grills don’t require the use of charcoal briquettes, so clean up is a breeze.
  • You won’t need to use lighter fluid or light charcoal, so these grills are also much safer to use
  • There’s no need to carry around a heavy bag of charcoal or lug around a gas tank, making these grills more convenient to use
  • They’re also incredibly versatile and can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • You’ll save money. Using a gas grill costs money. You’ll need to frequently change out the gas tank or hook it up to a gas line. If you grill often, then the cost can quickly add up. When you use an electric grill, you’ll be able to cook for a fraction of the price, with no fear of running out of fuel.
  • One of the biggest advantages of cooking on an electric grill is that you don’t have to worry about dangerous fumes. When you cook with charcoal or propane, you won’t be able to use your grill indoors because it can be extremely dangerous. With an electric grill, you can now grill year-round.
  • Since these grills are so compact, they take up very little cooking space, allowing you to use them anywhere.
  • If you rent an apartment or another type of housing unit, then you may not be allowed to own and use a gas grill, due to the risk of fire. However, with the electric grill, you can easily get around these restrictions since you won’t be cooking with harmful gas and there are no dangerous fumes.
  • These highly portable grills are the perfect option for camping and RV use, even if the RV park or campsite doesn’t allow traditional grills. Since there’s no fumes, charcoal, or gas used, these grills are safe for use pretty much anywhere.
  • Many models come equipped with nonstick cooking grates, which will allow you to prepare healthier meals without the use of fattening oils. Additionally, many of these grills are also dishwasher safe, so cleanup is a breeze.

Now that you know more about the benefits that come with using this type of grill, I’ll go over the important features to look for and how to use these grills to whip up tasty vegan grill recipes and your favorite cuts of meat.

Cooking Surface Area

The available cooking surface area offered by a grill is going to play a major role in determining which model is the right one for you and your family. If you normally host large get togethers with family and friends, then you’ll want a model that’s big enough and allows you to cook a large volume of food at once.

If you normally grill for just yourself or one or two other people, then a smaller cooking surface will work just fine. You’ll also want to consider the cooking surface size if you’re limited on space, especially if you have a small patio or you live in an apartment and you’re planning on grilling on your balcony or porch.

Non-Stick Grilling Surface

electric barbecue

These electric grills are popular for all the right reasons, especially because they’re so convenient to use. Users will have the ability to fire up the grill anywhere, anytime. Many are also much easier to clean, partly due to their non-stick grates. As you probably already know, non-stick grilling surfaces are much easier to clean than standard porcelain grates.

Timers

If you don’t already use a timer in the kitchen, then a grill with a built-in timer will come in handy. Fortunately, many of the leading models of electric grills come equipped with built-in timers that make it easy for you to set the timer and ensure your food is cooked for the correct length of time.

Temperature Control

Every great grill needs to reach high temperatures, which are necessary for grilling purposes, in order to cook a variety of meats to perfection. Some electric models are not able to reach scorching temperatures, which can make them a poor choice for grilling certain cuts of meat. However, there are models out there that are capable of reaching higher temperatures and achieving a beautiful dark, rich sear on your favorite cuts of meat. When you’re shopping for a new grill, make sure you check out each model’s minimum and maximum temperatures.

Grilling Space

Like a traditional grill, you’ll find a wide variety of cooking surface sizes to choose from. Despite their portability, many of these highly portable grills can offer a cooking surface size that’s comparable to full-sized grills, which will be a big plus for anyone who enjoys hosting backyard barbeques.

Grilling Power

Keep in mind, in terms of raw power, a grill’s minimum and maximum temperature doesn’t give you the whole story, in terms of what a grill is really capable of. If your grill doesn’t have the wattage needed, then it’s going to take a long time for it to heat up to the desired temperature. You’ll find that higher-priced grills often have the required power you need to quickly reach the desired temperature.

Power Cord

Many of these grills are chosen for their simplicity and convenience, both of which are the biggest advantages of using this type of grill. But one factor that many consumers tend to overlook is the cord. You need to ensure that the model you choose comes equipped with a longer cord since these grills must be plugged in to work. Of course, you can always attach an extension cord, but a model that’s equipped with a longer cord will be more convenient to use. Additionally, it’s more effective to plug a grill directly into an outlet, since using an extension cord can cause the unit to deliver a lower level of power.

Outdoor and Indoor Use

cooking seafood

When it comes to an electric grill, everyone will have different needs. Some people will use their electric grill outdoors exclusively, while others will use theirs both indoors and outdoors. So, if you want to grill inside your house once the winter months hit, make sure the model you choose is designed for both indoor and outdoor use.

Accessories and Extras

Every grilling enthusiast grills differently. For some, the grill alone will provide a sufficient amount of space for grilling purposes, while others will want more space in order to store their grilling tools, and food or they may need a warming area that’s designed to keep cooked food nice and hot while other food continues to cook. Of course, a basic electric grill will be more affordable compared to a model that comes loaded with plenty of extras.

Stands

Do you need a model that comes with its own stand? Are you tight on budget? Some models will come with their own dedicated stand; however, these grills are often higher priced compared to grills that are offered as standalone units. If the grill you purchase doesn’t come with a stand, then you’ll need to ensure you use it on a safe surface, one that won’t heat up as the grill does.

If you’re tight on space but want a grill that comes with a stand, then look for a model that comes with a foldable stand. These stands collapse easily and can be stored when not in use.

Price

You’ll find electric grills available in a variety of price brackets. Like with anything else, more powerful, durable models will come with a higher price tag. Extra features and accessories and a larger cooking surface will also factor into the price. However, it’s still possible to find a lower-priced model that comes with the heating capabilities and raw power you need, for a price that’s affordable.

Warranty

Some low-priced models will come with a ninety-day warranty, while, higher-priced models will feature a twelve to twenty-four-month warranty, which covers manufacturing defects.

How to Use an Electric Grill

Many grilling enthusiasts love adding this type of grill to their outdoor grilling space, especially outdoor kitchen setups, since these grills are so safe to use and can handle the elements. Of course, you’ll need to stick close to an outlet or have an extension cord on hand, which can be a drawback for some people. Setting up this type of grill is as simple as plugging it in, opening it up, and preheating it.

Electric grills are also often used indoors, as an alternative to outdoor grilling, but there are also heavy-duty models specifically designed for outdoor use as well. This type of grill is similar to a traditional grill. They produce results that are similar to gas and charcoal grills, however, they run on electricity instead of gas or charcoal. There are a couple of different types of electric grills; an open grill, which looks like a standard outdoor grill and comes with one grate, and a contact grill, which works by pressing two heated plates against the food on the grate. Food that’s grilled on an electric will not taste quite the same as food that’s prepared on a gas or charcoal grill, but they’re much easier to use and provide even heat distribution.

Open Grills

To use an open grill, you’ll need to place it on a flat, even surface. These grills tend to get very hot, which makes them a fire hazard. Before adding food to the grate, make sure you lightly spray down the cooking surface with a type of cooking spray, if the grill doesn’t have a nonstick cooking surface. The next step is preheating the open grill. Some models will come with an on and off setting, while other models will simply allow you to choose the desired temperature. The best meats to grill require a temperature of four hundred degrees. Once the grill has reached the desired temperature, place the food on the cooking surface using a pair of tongs. The food should cook halfway through before flipping and should only be flipped a single time during the grilling process. You can use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat before removing it from the cooking surface. Once you’re done grilling, unplug the grill and allow it to cool down. Remove the drip pan and grates and wash everything by hand using warm soapy water. Wipe down the rest of the grill using a damp rag or sponge.

Contact Grill Use

Set up the grill on a level surface. Use a damp sponge to wipe down the grate. Place the drip pan below the lower plate. Plug the grill in and close the plates. Allow the grill to preheat until a green or red light turns on, indicating that the grill has reached the desired temperature. Once the grill is ready, place the food on the center of the lower plate and close the grill, clamping it shut and locking the handle. The food should be left undisturbed until it has cooked all the way through. The cooking time will vary depending on the type of food you’re cooking.

Food that is precooked or doesn’t require a long grill time may only take a few minutes to cook. Thicker cuts of meat may take up to twenty to thirty minutes. Make sure you stick close to the grill as the food cooks to prevent overcooking it. Use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food before you remove it from the cooking surface. Use a pair of tongs to remove the food off the grill, unplug it, and allow it to completely cool down before cleaning. The plates should be wiped down with a damp rag or sponge and allowed to air dry.

Tips on Grilling Outdoors with Your Electric Grill

By now, you know that grilling with an electric grill is much different than using a gas or charcoal grill. Below, you’ll find some helpful tips that you can use when you grill outside on your electric grill.

  • Start off by preheating your grill as you prepare your food. It’s important that you give this type of grill adequate time to reach the right temperature. Preheating as you prep your meal will help save you some serious time spent in the kitchen and ensures you don’t put the meat on the grill before it’s ready. Once you start grilling, the grill will not continue to heat up due to the built-in thermostat and the design of the increased opening on the top, which allows heat to leave. Keep in mind, grills that have grates made out of cast iron are able to retain heat better than grates that are made out of stainless steel.
  • Soak your wood chips for approximately half an hour before use, wrapping them in foil. Poke some holes in the packet, in order to allow the smoke to escape. Make sure you monitor the grilling process closely as the wood chips smoke, since they tend to burn fairly quickly, even if they’ve been soaked beforehand. Using wood chips is a great way to add a natural smoky flavor to your meats and allows you to experiment with different flavors.
  • Use a steel brush to clean the grates before and after you use the grill. You can do a deeper clean a few times a year, but for the most part, these grills can get by with a simple brush down. To deep clean, you’ll use more elbow grease to clean the grill and grates, as you empty out the drip pan and take care of any other accessories. To cut grease, try using a good citrus-based cleaning product. Make sure you pay close attention to the bottom of the grill since food can fall down here and cause unwanted flavors when you grill.

Final Thoughts

The best outdoor electric grill is convenient to use, can reach high temperatures that will allow you to sear your favorite cuts of meat to perfection, and feature nonstick grates that are easy to clean and do an excellent job of preventing food from sticking to the surface. Since their rise in popularity, there are many new models of electric grills to choose from, however, each of the models that have made it onto my must-have list have earned top marks in a variety of areas, including durability, extra features, max heating temperature, and raw power, so you should have no trouble finding a great model in my lineup. This guide and my product recommendations are designed to help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect grill to meet your needs, one that’s built tough, powerful, and designed to last.