How to Choose the Best Portable Grills?
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Top Best Portable Grills Based on Reviews and Price
How to Choose a Portable Grills?
Choosing a portable grill might look like a pretty straightforward job – just visit a store and buy the first one that meets your eyes. Well, that doesn’t certainly work all the time.
However, if you want to grab the best deal on the market, you will need to consider a few things. And by few things, we mean a set of features that determine the overall quality of the portable grill.
Here are the 10 factors to consider when choosing a portable grill.
10 Factors to Know When Buying a Portable Grills
1. Cart Style or Tabletop
Tabletop grills are much easier to carry around, even when you plan to camp on some remote location. On the other hand, cart-style grills can weigh from 10 to 60 pounds. But if you don’t go too far from your vehicle, they are very convenient as most come with wheels.
The biggest downside of tabletop grills is that you need to place them on top of something or the ground. If you plan to have a barbecue in nature, then a table might not be in the picture. Instead, you might need to place it on the ground and cook sitting or squatting next to it.
2. Size Up the Portable Grills
Portable grills come in various sizes and shapes. Some are rectangular; some are flat, some are barrel-shaped, while others resemble a big stovetop featuring a domed lid on its top.
Almost all can be fitted in a car trunk or a seat. However, some are quite massive and yet somehow are categorized as portable grills. Size can be an issue if you have a small car with a small trunk. And even if it fits, it might take a lot of the trunk’s space, leaving no room for your other stuff.
Therefore, it is recommended to measure the available space before choosing.
3. Cooktop Size
Portable grills have a cooking area that ranges from 150 to 350 square inches. The smallest ones can take up to four hamburgers at once, while the 250 inches cooking tops are sufficient for up to six hamburgers.
250 square inches is suitable for a group of four, while for a group of six or more, you better look for the biggest, 350 square inches cooktops.
The smallest one, the 150 square inches, are suitable for two or three people at max.
4. Weigh Your Options
Before making your mind, ask yourself: how much weight are you willing to carry from the house to the backyard, from the car to some picnic table, and back again. And you will need to repeat that from time to time.
The thing is portable grills can weigh from 10 to 35 pounds. That’s quite a big weight span. Dragging out your 35-pound portable grill every few days is no easy task or something that can be taken lightly.
Also, keep in mind that often size and weight don’t correspond, so it is possible to buy a rather small portable grill, but one that weighs a lot. Or it can be a big massive grill, but to be quite lightweight.
The point is to check the weight before buying. Don’t be fooled by the size of it or its overall appearance.
5. Fuel Type
Portable grills can be powered by charcoal, gas, or electricity. There are pros and cons to every type of grill. Here are the main arguments why people prefer some on account of other types of grills.
Everything is much faster and easier with gas grills. Plus, there isn’t much maintenance. On the downside, they are a bit more expensive than charcoal grills and lack the charcoal flavor.
Charcoal is more demanding than propane-fueled grills. It can be quite messy, it takes time to reach the cooking temperature, it’s hard to move, and maintaining the right temperature can sometimes be challenging. But the flavor that you get from charcoal powered grills is unmatched.
There are two sub-types of electrical grills. The one type uses heated grill plates, while the other type is based on infrared heaters. Infrared grills are very convenient as they can cook any meal faster than anything else.
However, electric grills require a power outlet so they can get their electricity. If you are far in the wild or some park, that can be a deal-breaker for electricity-powered grills.
6. Grilling Performance
If you only make hot-dogs and burgers, any grill will do. But if your cooking enthusiasm goes beyond hot dogs and burgers, and leans toward more sophisticated meals, you will need to consider a grill with features like BTU output, wind resistance, and burn control. That way, you can have better control over the cooking temperature, which is a crucial factor in creating the best possible meal.
Here are the most crucial factors that impact grilling performance:
- BTU Output
British thermal unit is a measurement of the energy required to heat a single pound of water by a single degree. For simple meals like veggie kabobs, burgers, and brats, you don’t need BTU output to be higher.
A grill with low BTU is more suitable for meals that require slow cooking at low temperatures. Grills with higher BTUs are excellent for everything else, and they are very fast. However, they tend to spend quite a lot of fuel.
- Wind Resistance
Some grills are designed bit narrowed and with burners that are not very exposed. That way, when cooking outdoors, the grill works well, even with the wind blowing around.
Wind resistance is a recent thing, and there are no clear guidelines to what exactly makes a wind-resistant grill. To that end, the best way to assess grills is by reading user reviews and see what other people are saying about this.
- Burner Control
This is the most critical metric to take into consideration. Generally speaking, the more burners, the better. Inadequate burner control can be the cause of a lot of frustration and ultimately bad cooked meals.
One of the best things about grills with multiple burners is that you can make the one side to be cooler or hotter than the other. That way, you can cook all sorts of foods on the same grill.
7. Cooking Grates
Almost all cooking grates are made of stainless steel, cast iron, or coated aluminum. Each has its distinctive features. Here are their main advantages, as well as their disadvantages.
These types of grates are very durable, easy to maintain, and corrosion-resistant. Their biggest downsides are they can’t keep a steady temperature for too long as cast iron can, and they are less conductive than the aluminum.
These are the most common types of grates. Their conductivity is excellent, but their durability is not as good as it is with stainless steel and cast iron. But they provide an excellent value for the price, and that’s why they are so popular.
They can retain temperature like no other material used for making grill grates. Their conductivity is far from the one seen with the aluminum grates. Plus, they are prone to thermal shock and can sometimes crack due to it.
A thermometer is one of the best addition to any portable grill. That way, you can know the temperature at all times and make adjustments when needed. Some grills come with a built-in thermometer, while others allow for one to be added.
9. Storage Space and Smoker Box
Storage space can also be helpful. However, only some models, usually the biggest ones, come with additional storage space.
A smoker box can be an excellent addition to your charcoal grill. If you are into creating a smoky flavor that will enhance your food, then you might consider buying a smoker box.
10. Added Features
Some add-ons can be quite helpful in preparing the best possible meals, and that can make the cooking experience more enjoyable.
- Some portable grills come with a backup burner lighting chain system in case the automatic ignition stops working. This is especially important if you plan to spend some time far in the woods and there is no hardware shop nearby.
- Lighting attached to the grill can make your life much easier if you are camping in the woods. That way, you don’t have to ask anyone to come and light up the barbecue with a light torch or their phone while you cook.
- A rotisseries motor can further enhance your food as it can provide evenly distributed heat. However, before you buy one, make sure that your portable grill can support a rotisseries motor. In most cases, the smallest one, and the flat type grills, can’t support a rotisseries motor.
Wrapping It Up
Choosing a portable grill can be nuance and challenging only if you don’t know what to look for, which features matter most, and what your needs are. The part about the features that matter most is well-covered here.
The other part, what are your needs and preferences, is an individual thing that you need to answer yourself. But once you make your mind to what you need, the selection part will be pretty straightforward.