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Grill Types Guide

Take a look at the six most common types of grills and their defining features.

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Adding outdoor grilling to your cooking repertoire can be exciting. Even the most seasoned indoor chef can find dining al fresco a real treat, given the right equipment. But with so many grill type options, how do you know which is right for you and your cooking needs?

We narrowed down the six most common types of grills and their defining features, advantages, and price points. Plus, a few added products that are guaranteed to help beginners, pros, and everyone in between turn out the perfect meal.

Charcoal Grills

This type of grill uses charcoal briquettes, wood chips, or a combination of the two to cook food.

It is best to use a charcoal chimney starter to properly heat the coals before dispersing them into the grill base. Cooking with charcoal takes longer than other methods, such as gas or electric. After lighting the charcoals, you should be able to grill within 15 to 20 minutes.The bottom of a charcoal grill needs to be cleared of ashes regularly.Oftentimes charcoal grills can be used as smokers, too. High end models can have air vents or dampers to control cooking temperature and igniters to light the charcoals.Charcoal grills cost more per use because charcoals must be replenished each time.Cooking with charcoal products causes fewer fire flare ups which can burn food. 

Charcoal grills give an intense, smoky flavor to food. Natural flavoring occurs when grease from meat products drips onto the coals, producing a flavorful smoke that in return saturates the meat while it grills. Charcoal grills are an excellent and fun way to roast a smoky and flavor-filled Thanksgiving Day turkey. Just add a rotisserie spit.  

A standard 22" charcoal grill will be in the $100-$200 range. Higher-end models can range up to $2,500.

Gas Grills

Liquid propane or natural gas is used to cook food in this type of grill.
  Gas grills ignite quickly, and within a few minutes they are ready for use.A standard propane tank holds 20 pounds of gas and generally lasts for nine hours of cooking.
If your home has a natural gas hookup, you can connect your grill to it to avoid buying propane tanks. 
Remember to use a drip pan—they help prevent fire flare ups. 

There is less wait time involved. Gas burns cleaner and is less expensive per use than charcoal; however, gas does not give the food a smoky flavor.Gas grills are easier to clean than charcoal grills. ​You can use your gas grill year-round, while coals can often be affected by extreme cold. 

A basic 2 burner can run as low as $150. An average 3 to 4 burner will cost anywhere from $300-$900 dollars. Once you move into the 5 to 6 burner range, you are looking at $1,000-$3,500 for some top of the line models.   

Electric Grills

Electricity is used to power this type of grill.
An electric grill must be near an electrical outlet.Extension cords may be necessary if a power source is not nearby.Electric grills will take a few minutes to heat up, but they can reach high temperatures.  
This type of grill is generally more compact than charcoal or gas models, making it ideal for apartment balconies and small outdoor spacesPerfect for tailgating at the game—no charcoal to dispose of and less bulky than a regular gas grill.  
Price: $90-$300


Smokers allow you to slow cook large quantities of meat at one time.Smokers enhance the flavor of food.
This type of grill is available in electric and charcoal models. 

While smoking food can often take longer, (you will want to smoke most meats for a few hours) the results are often fall-off-the-bone, flavorful, and tender. Different kinds of wood chips allow you to flavor your meat. 
Price: $100-$300

Kamado Grills

A traditional Japanese pod-shaped design, Kamado grills are known for their high efficiency and excellent insulation, making them ideal for smoking and grilling.

They are usually made of ceramic, but can also be found in metal, stone, and other materials.Traditionally, Kamado grills use charcoal briquettes or wood chips. 

Ideal for smoking and grilling because their insulation maintains both very low and very high temperatures, so you get a consistent smoke.  Very durable 
More compact design than traditional gas grills 
Price: $400-$1,600

Infrared Grills

This type of grill uses a radiant heat source, rather than hot rising air (which is used in conventional grilling), to cook food.

Infrared grills heat up fast, cook quickly, thoroughly and evenly, and prevent flare ups.Some gas grills come with infrared burners as an extra feature but most infrared grills are electric.​Works well on thicker cuts of meat, but the heat is often too powerful for grilling fish and vegetables.Infrared grill types are best for cooking things at high temperatures for short amounts of time.  

Heats up quickly Cooks evenly and fast  Does not require charcoal or wood chipsEasy cleanup ​

Price: $200-$1,600

Looking for grilling versatility? Try a dual fuel grill type. It has two cooking options (for example, a charcoal and gas grill)—perfect for any outdoor chef!

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