Many users favor the easier-to-clean design of open grills, which require users to flip foods over to cook both sides. For this reason, open grills can take longer to cook foods than contact grills, which cook both sides of the food surface at one time. One common complaint: These products take a long time to heat up. That said, many open grills come with lids, which reduce smoke and steam. Some users say a lid can speed cooking and enhance food taste; Open grills tend to smoke more, which can infuse foods with a smoky, barbequed taste. Because open grills don't fold up, they can be more cumbersome to store and take up more counter space than contact grills.
In the open-grill category, the Sanyo Smokeless Electric Grill HPS-SG3 (*Est. $50) gets the most favorable reviews. It has a large cooking surface (200 square inches) and a removable, dishwasher-safe drip pan. One foodie magazine recommends the Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG3, calling it "the only grill that combined a large capacity with easy cleanup" It has an adjustable temperature control (200 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit) and a 1,300-watt heating element. The Sanyo Smokeless's cooking plate doesn't double as a flat griddle, however; this is just an open grill.
The Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG3is the best-selling grill on Cooking.com, where about 965 reviewers contribute to an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Ninety-five percent of owners say they'd recommend the Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG3 and say it's a good value. About 540 owners on Amazon.com contribute to an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, and reviews are more detailed than those at Cooking.com. Owners on both sites say they appreciate this grill's large cooking surface and rate the taste and texture of the food cooked on the Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG3 as excellent. A few owners on Cooking.com complain about smoke, but some also point out that the instructions say to pour water in the drip pan to avoid smoke. A few owners say it's difficult to store.
A smaller version of the Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG3 is also available for those who don't require 200 square inches of cooking space. The Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Barbeque Grill – Junior (*Est. $50) has 120 square inches of cooking surface and is otherwise identical to its larger sister model. More than 185 owners contribute to an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com. Some owners appreciate the smaller model, pointing out that it takes up less counter space and although it has less wattage, it seems to heat up faster. Yet another Sanyo model, the Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG2 (*Est. $40) , is one of the top-rated electric grills on Cooking.com, earning an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 in more than 300 ratings. Nearly 225 owners also offer written reviews. Overall, 94 percent say it's a good value and they'd recommend this model to a friend. Owners say it's easy to use, easy to clean and the perfect size for one to two people. Most owners agree that it lives true to its "smokeless" claim, although there are a few who say they experienced smoke. (Others say it's necessary to add water to the grease pan, as the instructions indicate, to avoid smoke.)
Finally, if you like to use a cover when grilling, you might consider the Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG2 (*Est. $40) , identical to the Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG3 with the addition of a lid that fits one-third of the grill. Nearly 45 owners contribute to an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com; owners say the covered skillet portion is ideal for sautéing, and cleanup is easy, although the unit can't be submerged. Otherwise, feedback is similar to that found for the Sanyo Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill HPS-SG3, with most owners agreeing that the smokeless feature holds true as long as the instructions are followed. One downside: The covered and open portions don't have separate temperature controls.
The DeLonghi Perfecto BG24 (*Est. $60) is another highly rated open grill. Because the heating coils are built into the grill top, the cooking surface self-heats, with adjustable temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The DeLonghi Perfecto BG24 is also included in a list of the top 10 grills on About.com, where author Derrick Riches notes that this grill has a useful "aroma center," allowing owners to add flavor to foods by adding spices like garlic or rosemary. Owner reviews at Amazon.com and Cooking.com are also mostly positive. Users praise its ease of use, even cooking and removable splatter guard. The cleaning process is also easy, report many owners. The nonstick drip pan and cooking surface are dishwasher-safe, and its tempered glass lid minimizes splatters. There are a few complaints about durability; some owners note that their units stopped working after one year, and others say the nonstick coating began to wear off after two months. There are also a few owners who say the DeLonghi Perfecto BG24 takes too long to heat up and doesn't cook as hot as expected.
The West Bend Electric Indoor Grill 6111 (*Est. $70) is the most highly rated grill on Target.com, with about five dozen owners giving it a 4.5 star average rating (out of 5). Similar in design to the DeLonghi Perfecto BG24, the West Bend Electric Indoor Grill 6111 is an open grill that also has a glass lid. The West Bend Electric Indoor Grill 6111 offers 165 square inches of cooking surface and a dishwasher-safe grill plate and drip tray. About 100 owners posting to Amazon.com generally agree, giving this grill positive feedback and an average rating of 4 stars out of 5. Most reviewers say this grill does a great job of replicating the flavor of outdoor grilling and is large enough to cook for a family. In addition, it creates nice grill marks on the food, emits no smoke and is easy to clean; both the drip tray and grill surface are dishwasher-safe. Reviewers on Amazon.com say the lid is helpful for keeping foods moist and juicy, and many say the flavor is close to that of cooking on an outdoor grill. Of the few negative reviews, the most common is that it takes a bit longer to cook foods than some owners expected. We didn't find any professional coverage of the West Bend Electric Indoor Grill 6111.
The Presto Tilt 'n Drain Big Griddle Cool Touch 07046 (*Est. $50) is praised by owners posting to Amazon.com and Viewpoints.com for its extra-large cooking surface, which can accommodate up to 12 pancakes at a time. For smaller families, it's ideal for cooking pancakes, bacon and even eggs simultaneously. The 1,500-watt Presto 07046 measures 24 inches by 18.5 inches and is 5 inches tall. With the temperature control removed, the unit is dishwasher-safe. A slide-out drip tray catches grease and other drippings while you cook. The Presto grill's defining feature is its ability to adjust from a level cooking surface to a tilted surface (simply pull out the handles) to allow grease drippings to drain more easily from meats. More than 240 owners contribute to an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com. Owners say they love the large size of this griddle; some say they've cooked four hamburgers and four chicken breasts at one time. On the downside, there are no grill plates and, because it's an open griddle, it cannot double as a sandwich press.
The 1,300-watt Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill EB-CC15 (*Est. $85) earns a spot in About.com's roundup of the best indoor grills for its reasonable price and 200-square-inch cooking area. (Note that ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.) Editors point out that the unit doesn't produce smoke when the drip tray is filled with water before use. Less than 100 owners posting to Amazon.com contribute to an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5; owners praise its added safety features, including cool-touch handles and a feature that prevents the temperature control from being inserted when the drip tray is not in place. Further, the grid cannot be removed when the unit is on. The cast-iron grill surface is also a hit with owners who say the Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill EB-CC15 heats up quickly and evenly and cooks quickly, leaving perfect grill marks on steaks and other foods at high temperature settings, without emitting much smoke. The Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill EB-CC15 has a variable temperature control ranging from 176 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit. The Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill EB-CC15 measures 20.75-by-14-by-6 inches and is backed by a one-year limited warranty. On the downside, there's no lid, but one owner suggests that rectangular aluminum pans can serve the purpose, if needed.