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Best Outdoor Electric Grills

By: Lisa Maloney on October 05, 2017

The best outdoor electric grills

Our Best Reviewed electric grill for outdoor use is the hefty Weber Q-2400 (Est. $350). This model and its little brother, the Weber Q-1400 (Est. $250), are the sturdiest, hottest and most reliable models we evaluated, easily producing the 600-plus-degree heat it takes to sear a steak just like a gas grill does. They also pack enough oomph to quickly restore the heat lost when you lift the lid to check or turn the meat.

This grill draws lots of praise from expert reviewers at AmazingRibs.com and Delishably.com for its great build quality, even heating and high temperatures, as long as you follow the manufacturer's instructions to preheat the grill for 20 minutes before adding any food. One test from Popular Mechanics found that of all the small balcony grills tested, the Weber Q series gave the best grill flavor on hamburgers.

Owners agree, giving both models in the Q series top marks for their great searing. They also like how easy it is to clean the heavy-duty porcelain-coated cast iron grates, which offer 280 square inches of cooking space on the Q-2400 (189 square inches for the Q-1400). All Weber Q Series grills are covered by at least a two-year warranty, although some parts receive five years of coverage. We don't anticipate any problems, though, because both users and experts agree that every component of these heavy-duty, cast-aluminum grills is built to last.

If you don't want to use your Weber Q-2400 as a tabletop grill, Weber offers a rolling cart, the Weber 6557 (Est. $70), that may make the grill easier to use and store. The same cart also fits the Weber Q-1400.

Our runner-up for best outdoor electric grill is the Char-Broil Patio Bistro 240 (Est. $200). With its small two-wheeled cart and domed lid with built-in temperature gauge, the Patio Bistro looks like a conventional charcoal grill; give it 10 to 20 minutes of warming time and it'll cook as hot as a charcoal grill, too. Its infrared heating element (think the glowing coil in an electric oven) can easily drive interior temperatures up to 600 degrees -- more than enough heat to sear steaks.

Thousands of happy owners are surprised at how well this electric grill performs, resulting in food that's still juicy, not dry or rubbery. It's particularly popular with apartment dwellers who can't (or don't want to) deal with fire issues on a small patio or deck.  Many say they feel as if they're still cooking on a "real" grill, and it strikes a great balance between being small enough to fit on most balconies but, with its 240 square inches of cooking area (plus 80 inches of warming area), still being big enough to cook for four people at a time.

Ease of use for the triangle-shaped bars in the Char-Broil Patio Bistro's porcelain grates can be a problem, though; we found mixed reviews for how easy (or more to the point, difficult) they are to clean, even though they're dishwasher safe. They may also be too big to fit in some dishwashers.

That said, users love the Char-Broil Patio Bistro's removable warming rack for keeping leftovers warm. Customers say the Char-Broil's rolling cart assembles easily, but if you already have a table or pedestal for storing the Patio Bistro you can just purchase a tabletop version, the Char-Broil Patio Bistro 180 Grill (Est. $130).

The best indoor/outdoor electric grills

If you're on the fence about whether to do your cooking indoors or outdoors, the George Foreman GGR50B (Est. $80) indoor/outdoor electric grill is a favorite, with thousands of happy owners who say it allows them to have an authentic grilling experience no matter their space or the weather conditions. This George Foreman grill can mount on a detachable pedestal for outdoor use, or function as a tabletop unit for indoor use. It does create some smoke -- user reviews vary on exactly how much -- but is safe to use indoors because the heating element is completely isolated from the grill, so you don't have to worry about flare-ups that could pose a fire risk.

The George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor grill comes in two sizes -- a 12-serving or 15-serving version -- with 200 to 240 square inches of cooking area respectively. Both versions also come with an in-lid temperature gauge, variable temperature control, and of course the George Foreman trademark sloped grilling surface that funnels grease away from your food.

We found a little bit of mixed feedback about this grill -- including concerns that its preheat times are long and overall heat output a little low -- but most users are thrilled with the way their George Foreman indoor/outdoor electric grill performs and say it gets plenty hot. Sure, it may not sear quite like a fire-based grill, but it still does a good job on steaks and other cuts of meat as long as you preheat it and don't crowd the food together. Users also love how easy it is to clean, and it tends to outlive its three-year limited warranty: We found several reviews from users who've had their George Foreman indoor/outdoor electric grill for more than a decade.

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Electric Grills buying guide

What every best Electric Grills has:

  • A built-in temperature gauge.
  • Enough power to recover heat quickly once you lift the lid.
  • Temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

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