Setting up a grill in your backyard could be your gateway to better meals, better parties, and more time spent with your family. But if you don’t have much experience with grilling, or if you just want to make sure you have the best possible equipment, you might be confused about what grill to buy.
How do you make the right call?
The Most Important Grill Factors to Consider
It’s easiest to make this decision by breaking it down into individual factors that you need to consider. These are some of the most prominent factors you’ll need to weigh:
- Shape and function. To start, think about the shape and overall function of the grill. Different types of grills are designed for different grilling experiences, and may or may not be suitable for what you’re trying to cook and how you want to cook it. For example, a flat top grill relies on a flat, metal grill surface rather than the traditional “grates” you find in most grills. This is ideal for cooking some types of foods, but it may not lead to a perfect grilling experience for classic hamburgers and hot dogs. Similarly, you’ll need to think about the overall size and weight of the grill; is this something that’s going to remain stationary most of the time, or would you like a more portable design?
- Fuel. Next, you’ll need to think about the fuel you want to use for this appliance. Different types of fuels burn at different levels of efficiency. They also lead to different overall grilling experiences and can result in a different flavor for the resulting cooked dishes. Some people prefer gas (such as natural gas or propane) grills, loving the clean-burning fuel efficiency and low maintenance requirements. Some people prefer electric grills because they can be conveniently plugged in almost anywhere. Some people prefer a classic pellet or charcoal grill, allowing them to get the most traditional grilling experience. There are no right or wrong answers here.
- Cost. Grills range from just a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the features you get. Some brands are more expensive than others; higher quality and more durable products tend to be more expensive than their cheaper counterparts, and of course, sometimes you’ll find grills that are marked up for no good reason at all. Cost is therefore a complex factor; you’ll need to think about your budget and how much you’re willing to spend for the quality grilling experience you want.
- Safety. Don’t neglect safety. Some grills are inherently safer than others, offering high stability and convenient safety mechanisms that can prevent the spread of a fire if things go wrong. Even if you’re a master griller, there’s always a chance that disaster could strike.
- Reviews. Before finalizing your grill purchase, make sure you read reviews from people who have bought this product in the past. What do people think about this model? What features do they appreciate most? Are there any weaknesses or flaws that could interfere with your enjoyment of this appliance?
- Bonus features. Are there any other secondary or bonus features that you want for your grill? For example, some grills come with unnecessary, but convenient or useful extras, such as built-in temperature measurements.
Determining Your Goals
With so many grills on the market, it’s difficult to make a final purchase that aligns with your goals. If you’re feeling indecisive, take a moment to outline those goals so you can review your options with greater clarity. These are the most important things to keep in mind:
- Level of experience. As an inexperienced griller, you’re bound to make some mistakes. But those mistakes can be fewer in number and lower in severity if you choose the right grill for your experience level. If you’re just starting out, go with a basic model that still allows accessible, convenient controls. If you’re more seasoned, you’ll have a better idea of what your grilling style is and what type of grill would work best for you.
- Budget. How much are you willing to spend? To an extent, you get what you pay for, but you also don’t want to exhaust your budget.
- Number of people served. How many people will be enjoying your cooked food? How much surface area and grilling power do you need?
- Cooking preferences. Do you have personal preferences about what type of grilling fuel is best?
Choosing a grill isn’t an easy decision, if only because there are so many different options available. But it can be a straightforward one if you take the time to sort out all the important variables. Be as thorough as possible if you don’t want to end up with buyer’s remorse.