Best infrared grill reviews 2018
Char-Broil 420 Signature TRU-Infrared Cabinet Liquid Propane Gas GrillA true grilling beast
A large cooking surface and powerful main burner ensure food is quickly cooked to perfection.
Char-Broil 420 Review
The Char-Broil 420 is the best infrared grill you could come across. Designed to withstand high-volume industrial kitchen demands but also perfect to use in domestic environments, this grill impresses with an oversized cooking surface of 420 square inches.
The porcelain-coated cast iron grates ensure an even distribution of heat while the infrared technology provides direct heat which seals all food juices for perfect cooking.
This grill features an electric ignition, heats up to 25,500 BTU and comes with an additional 13,000 BTU side burner for sauces and sides.
Easy to transport, large, and capable of cooking food in a breeze, the Char-Broil 420 is the best infrared grill for the homeowner looking for top performance.
Char-Broil 325 Signature TRU-Infrared 2-Burner Cabinet Grill18,000 BTU main burner
Outstanding heat and compact dimensions make this infrared grill ideal for parties and gatherings.
Char-Broil 325 Review
Slightly smaller in size than our best-in-class pick but powerful, the Char-Broil 325 delivers outstanding cooking capabilities and is ideal for livening up your outdoor parties in the warmer seasons.
Its 325 square inches cooking surface consists of porcelain-coated cast iron grates and the unit outputs 18,000 BTU for a fast grilling of all foods.
Like Char-Broil 420, this model has an electronic ignition system and converts from liquid propane to natural gas with a converter kit sold separately.
Folding side shelves provide a convenient working space, while the enclosed storage cabinet, swing-a-way warming rack, and wheels add versatility.
Powerful enough to grill your meat to perfection and large enough to withstand high-volume demands, the Char-Broil 325 brings undoubtedly the best value for money.
Char-Broil 300 Performance TRU Infrared 2-Burner Cabinet GrillSmaller but reliable
Two top-ported tube burners and the main burner heating up to 18,000 BTU make this infrared grill perfect for mid-size families.
Char-Broil 300 Review
The Char-Broil 300 is similar in many ways to our best-value pick, but its smaller cooking surface and compacter dimension make it ideal for a smaller backyard and small to mid-size families.
Coming with two top-ported tube burners that output 18,000 BTU, the grill boasts a great temperature control and grilling performance, cooking meat in no time.
An easy to read lid-mounted temperature gauge helps keep the parameters under control while the side shelves and enclosed storage cabinet add versatility.
Boasting the same cooking capabilities as our best-value but smaller, the Char-Broil 300 is a great alternative for the space-savvy homeowner.
Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 Portable TRU-Infrared Gas GrillCompact and portable option
Lightweight countertop grill runs on liquid propane for convenient indoor or outdoor use.
Char-Broil X200 Review
The Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is ideal for the camping enthusiast looking for a portable infrared grill.
It is small yet powerful enough to grill food in a breeze and comes with a 9,500 BTU main burner easy to ignite thanks to the convenient built-in push button ignition.
Compact yet spacious enough to hold over three burgers, the grill has a cooking surface of 200 square inches and comes equipped with a stainless steel grilling grate that is easy to clean.
Weighing less than 20 lbs., this infrared grill was built for travel and comes at a competitive price point. Small and powerful, perfect to use at home or outdoors, the Char-Broil X200 is perhaps the best infrared grill for those looking for convenience and portability.
2. Benefits of an infrared grill
Infrared grills are similar to the gas grills up to an extent, but they employ the latest cooking technology that introduces infrared elements between the burner and the grates, creating a barrier between the flame and the food.
The flames heat up the infrared elements which then radiate the heat directly to the food rather than heating the air inside the grill. This seals the food juices and promotes a faster and more flavorful cooking.
Infrared grill benefits
Due to the advanced technology used, infrared grills come with a series of benefits over the traditional gas or electric units. Some of the most important include:
- Fast cooking
- Uniform heat
- Reduced flare-ups
- Tastier food
- Performing in adverse weather
3. Types of infrared grills
There are two types of infrared grills, countertop and freestanding.
- Countertop infrared grills: Are small units similar in size to or slightly larger than a contact electric griddle. These grills are compact, easy to transport, and perfect for camping. They can be used indoors if wanted, but were not built for this purpose. Countertop infrared grills typically run on liquid propane and are safer to use outdoors.
- Freestanding infrared grills: Are large units built for backyards or commercial kitchens. The grill is typically mounted on freestanding legs equipped with wheels, which provide some mobility. Some of the best infrared grills come with foldable side tables and enclosed cabinets designed to offer working and storage space to the user.
4. Infrared grill BTU
The heat output of an infrared grill is measured in British thermal units (BTU) and determines the grill’s capability of cooking your food at a decent speed. The BTU rating is typically determined by the size of the cooking surface and vary from around 8,000 BTU on the entry level models to over 25,000 BTU on the best commercial infrared grills.
Contrary to the popular belief, the best infrared grills don’t necessarily need a high BTU to cook food to perfection. Due to the technology involved, a too high BTU can, in fact, spoil your food by drying or burning it.
How many BTU do you need?
Infrared grills cook through radiant heat that is transmitted directly to the food. This makes them much more efficient than a gas or electric grill, that’s why a BTU rating from 50 to 80 BTU per square inch of cooking surface suffices.
To assess how many BTU you need, simply multiply the square inches of your cooking surface with the lower and the higher numbers above to find out the BTU range you need.
For example, a mid-size infrared grill with a cooking surface of 300 square inches needs between 15,000 and 24,000 BTU to cook your food effectively.
5. Determining the ideal grill size
Determining the perfect size of the grill is essential to ensure the appliance serves its purpose. There are two things to consider, your lifestyle and the size of your family. If it’s just you and your partner and typically cook for only the two of you, a small infrared grill is more convenient.
If you have a large family or enjoy spending quality time grilling with your buddies, you’ll need a larger grill.
In broad terms, look for a cooking area of at least:
- 150 square inches for two to three people
- 300 square inches for up to six people
- 400+ square inches for seven or more people
For a more accurate assessing of the size, consider that an average burger with a diameter of four inches needs around 20 square inches of cooking surface.
6. Infrared grill burners
The infrared technology shows its advantages once again, by allowing manufacturers to produce highly performing grills that use fewer burners than a traditional gas or electric grill. However, having more than one burner comes with advantages, including:
- An even distribution of heat, allowing you to cook for more people at once.
- A greater temperature control, allowing you to cook more foods at the same time at different temperature ranges.
How many burners do you need?
How many people do you want to cook for? Do you want to cook just one type of food or several foods at the same time? Once you’ve answered these questions, use the guide below to assess the number of burners you need:
- One burner: Cooking one type of food for three people or less.
- Two burners: Cooking one type of food for up to eight people or up to three types of food for up to four-six people.
- Three burners: Cooking one type of food for up to twelve people or up to three types of food for up to six-eight people.
For larger groups or for cooking more types of food at the same time you’ll need either a commercial-grade infrared grill or a model with an additional side burner.
7. Stainless steel vs. cast iron grill grates
Most infrared grills come equipped with either stainless steel or cast iron grill grates.
- Stainless steel grates: Heat up fast, are easy to clean, and ensures a good heat dissipation. However, this material also loses heat fast, which makes it less efficient if you have to open the grill’s lid frequently.
- Cast iron grates: Heat up slower but the material absorbs the heat, stores it, and gradually emits it ensuring a more efficient heat dissipation and minimal heat loss when the lid is open. The best infrared grills come with cast iron grates coated with a ceramic layer that provides a non-stick surface and is easier to clean.
8. Liquid propane vs. natural gas
Infrared grills use liquid propane as fuel, but some of models allow you to convert to them use with natural gas.
- Liquid propane: Is a natural fuel that burns at a higher temperature, thus it outputs more BTU than the same amount of natural gas. The fuel also comes in a tank, which means you’ll be able to move the grill (and the fuel tank) from one place to another.
- Natural gas: Is another type of natural fuel that is distributed to your home via a pipe by a utility company and is cheaper than propane. Some infrared grills can be converted to use with natural gas, which is a great thing if you don’t mind having a lower BTU and no mobility but want to save on fuel in the long run.
9. Other important features
A series of other features can boost your grilling game and improve your experience.
- Infrared grills are intended to use outdoors, and an integrated work surface may come in handy. A folding side shelf is ideal for both workspace and storage purposes.
- If you like sauces or also want to cook sides, a side burner provides you with the right cooking space near the grill area.
- Freestanding units benefit from an enclosed storage cabinet where you can keep your wood chips or tools.
- Wheels are important if you want to move the grill around. Make sure they come with lockable brakes.
- An electronic ignition system is essential, allowing you to start the grill faster.
- Another important feature is a temperature gauge that allows you to monitor the temperature to adjust the heat level.