Before you get a new grill, you should know the different types of grills so you can pick the right one to match your barbeque style.

By Stacey Ballis
April 29, 2021
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Are you looking for a gift for your favorite griller? Maybe you need an upgrade for yourself, or you are new to grilling and not sure of which type of grill is right for you. Before you head to the store or do any online shopping, it can be helpful to assess what grills are available and which type of grill is the best for your style of cooking.

The world of grills, smokers, and other outdoor cookers is immense. So while some of these grills can come with smoker options or accessories, our focus here is specifically on the grilling features. Keep reading to learn more about the types of grills and to pick the ones you think best matches what you're looking for.

three grills on a two-tone background of green and lime
Credit: Allrecipes Illustration

Grill Type #1: Gas- or Propane-Fueled Grill

I want super simple, plug and play, no muss no fuss grilling.

If you want to grill but do not want to toil in the process of preparing charcoals, a gas- or propane-fueled grill will be best for you. These grills either connect to a gas line from your home or a propane tank, and they are usually as simple as turning on your stove.

You'll get fast fire, which makes them great for last-minute dinners. And you'll have safe, consistent heat that is hands-off to maintain, which can be terrific for more low and slow recipes.

The most flexible start in this style of grill will always be propane, since it doesn't require a gas line and means the grill is a bit more mobile. That gives you a lot of versatility to determine the best place to put it. Propane tanks are easily sourced and not expensive. 

Our Pick: Weber Spirit II Three Burner will give you all the power and scale you want, from one of the industry's most dependable brands.

Weber 45010001 Spirit II E-310 3-Burner Liquid Propane Grill
Credit: Amazon

Buy It: Weber Spirit II 3 Burner Propane Grill, $485; Walmart or Amazon

Grill Type #2: Charcoal Grill

I want great smoky flavor and don't mind a little prep work.

If you crave real smoke flavor, you can't do better than a charcoal grill. Yes, it requires a little more advanced prep to get it going, but for many, once you taste what a charcoal grill can do for your food, that extra 20 to 30 minutes is well worth the work.

Even better? The best charcoal grills are super affordable. When you purchase, be sure to also get a charcoal chimney, which will maximize the speed and convenience of getting your grill on.

Our Pick: Weber continues to lead the pack with their original kettle design. Splurge on the "premium" version, which has a super convenient pot that captures the ash for easy clean-up.

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black on white background
Credit: Amazon

Buy It: Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, $174; Amazon or Walmart

Grill Type #3: Kamado Grill or "Egg" Smoker

I want some flexibility to expand into other cooking styles, like smoking or pizza.

If you hope to eventually move into smoking or real barbeque, or you'd like to try high-heat cooking like homemade wood-fired pizza and don't want to have to buy separate equipment for either of these pursuits, you want to explore a Kamado style grill, also known as an "egg" grill or smoker.

These egg-shaped grills use hardwood charcoal and have great sustained heat as well as an ability to reach very high temps. They can be very expensive, but there are some versions that are more affordable. We recommend starting with one of those to determine if this style of grill is really the best one for you before you invest in a larger, more costly grill.

Our Pick: Char-Griller has a Kamado style grill that comes in at about half the cost of the more famous names like Big Green Egg, making it a good value in this category.

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
Credit: Amazon

Buy It: Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker, $338; Amazon or Walmart

Grill Type #4: Electric Grill

I want to grill in any weather all year long.

If you want access to that grilled flavor and sassy sear markings, but you don't want to be at the mercy of the barometer or outdoor temperature, you should explore a portable electric grill. These units give you total flexibility since they can operate anywhere there is a grounded plug. This makes them ideal for climates that can be problematic for outdoor-only grills, and since they do not have an open flame, you can use them safely in outdoor spaces not safe for gas or charcoal grilling.

Their smaller size makes them convenient to move from inside to out. Plus, you can easily load one into the car for a vacation or to take to a weekend away.

Our Pick: If you are considering an electric grill as your only grill, you may want to think about a grill that can take on that primary grilling responsibility brilliantly. We were recently able to test the Kenyon Portable City Grill and were highly impressed. Notably, it is easy to move back and forth if you want to take grilling outdoors on a nice day. And despite not being a charcoal grill, it is able to impart a decent flavor. Even better? It was practically smokeless in our indoor testing, making it an easy choice for your year-round grilling needs.

kenyon portable city grill
Credit: Kenyon

Buy It: Kenyon Portable City Grill, $475; Kenyon