Here's what to ask about before making a purchase. Plus, the grills that consistently perform.
It seems simple enough, but grill size can be deceiving. Consider the actual cooking space, and not the exterior size of the grill, before buying (look for the words "cooking surface" or "grill surface").
"You want to make sure you're only counting the primary cooking surface," says Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, deputy content editor of home and appliances at . "Some grills have little shelves and the manufacturer will consider that cooking space." Follow this guide when considering size: A small grill holds fewer than 18 burgers. A medium grill (the most popular choice) holds 18 to 28 burgers. A large grill holds 28 burgers or more.
Huntington 630124, $140,
Top performers are based on Consumer Reports tests and surveys.
The more expensive the grill, the more likely you are to get heavy-duty stainless steel or cast iron grates. "Those hold heat really well and sear food better," says Lehrman."They may take slightly longer to get hot, but once they're heated up, they maintain that temperature better."
Broilmate 165154, $200,
One word: Rotisserie. "Having something like a rotisserie in the grill is definitely a cool feature, but it's not necessarily needed unless you're going to be doing a lot of different types of cooking," says Richard Wachtel, CEO of . "Many grills have spaces reserved for a rotisserie, so you can always add that later."
A few other fancy features that probably aren't needed? LED lights on knobs and smoker boxes. These features drive up the cost of your grill, but will likely not be very useful.
Nexgrill 720-0830H, $270,
According to Consumer Reports tests, there's no correlation between performance and price when it comes to grills. There is, however, a link between durability and price. "A more expensive grill might last longer," says Lehman. "As grills get more expensive, they tend to use more heavy duty stainless steel in the construction, which can help for durability. But you'd have to decide if you really want to spend that much." A good sweet spot to find a durable grill (that's not too spendy) is about $450 to $800.
Weber Spirit SP-320, $600,
Running in and out of the kitchen on a hot summer day to transport food: not preferable. It's worth considering a grill that has ample prep space attached. "Some grills have a plastic attachment that's really easy to clean," says Wachtel. "Side burners are also a really cool option. They're little burners you can use to heat up food, or keep it warm, while you're cooking the rest of your dinner."
Napoleon Prestige Pro 665RSIB, $2,600,
If a grill seems like a shockingly good deal, check the warranty. "If you're looking at a grill that's $300 or less, you're probably going to get a shorter warranty on the burners, which are the parts that need to be replaced most frequently," says Lehrman. Make sure the warranty on the is at least five years to save money later on (many cheap grills will only offer just a year or so of warranty).
Charbroil Advantage 463240115, $370,