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9 Different Types of Outdoor Grills

Photo collage of outdoor barbecue grills

Quicklist: Outdoor Grills

  1. Standard Charcoal Grills
  2. Kettle-Style Grills
  3. Kamado Grills
  4. Propane Grills
  5. Natural Gas Grills
  6. Infrared Grills
  7. Dual Fuel/Hybrid Barbecue Grills
  8. Pellet Grills
  9. Portable Barbecue Grills

Nothing beats the smell of chicken, veggies, and burgers tossing on metal tines. What makes it even more exciting is when you fire up a grill outdoors and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and warm air.

If you’re looking to do some grilling of your own, you may be wondering which grill is the right one for you. With so many types out there, you may feel overwhelmed and find yourself confused when it comes to making that decision.

To help you purchase the grill that best suits your needs, we’ve put together a list that highlights the pros and cons and the differences between each type of grill.

Related: Small Gas Grills | Grill Gazebo Ideas | Outdoor Kitchen Ideas | Outdoor Kitchen Cost | Backyard Patio and Fire Pit Ideas 

However, before we jump into the different choices available, you need to figure out some important factors that will influence your grill choice. 

What Kind of Grill Should I buy?

Types of Food You like to Cook

The type of grill you want depends on the amount of space you need. Do you prefer large cuts of meat like pulled pork, smoky ribs or brisket? If yes, you’re probably looking for a charcoal grill. Some prefer to smoke meats “low and slow” — a two-zone cooking feature is ideal for this approach.

On the flip side, large propane grills have ample space but aren’t very proficient when it comes to smoking. Yet, such a grill would be a fine choice if you’re more into steaks, fish, burgers, and chicken cuts that require quick results.

They demand less attention and start faster. Nonetheless, you’ll have to forgo that natural smoky flavor that charcoal offers for with all the benefits stated above.

Two-Zone Cooking

Two-zone cooking is independent of the fuel or grill type — two separate zones with different temperature treatments to better control grilling. This helps to prevent the meat from burning or drying out.

Weather Conditions

Weather isn’t a serious consideration if you reside somewhere with a moderate climate. However, if your area is characterized by extremely low temperatures and snowy conditions, proper insulation must be a priority while making your purchase decision.

Selecting a grill that’s not up to the mark would not only cause insulation issues but also eat up a lot of fuel to compensate for this. Additionally, the overall body structure of the grill should be made using tough materials to cope up with extreme temperatures and avoid rusting.

Size of Gatherings

Small grills are manageable if you’re cooking for one or two people. However, if  you like to engage in regular entertainment and hold a lot of functions and parties, you’ll need a grill big enough to serve the crowd.

As an added advantage, with bigger grills, you can save plenty of time when cooking large cuts of meat. Insufficient space in smaller grills can be pretty annoying and will require you to spend hours juggling the food when all you want to do is chow down on what you’ve cooked.

Height Requirement

Besides the surface area, the height of the grill can also impact the convenience of use. Items like a whole turkey, beer can chicken, and other large cuts of meat need to be cooked underneath the grill on many occasions.

To conveniently close the lid on these items, you should own a grill that suits your height requirements.

Grilling Gadgets

As a beginner, you should start off with the basics and give yourself more options as your grilling skills grow. Buying multiple grills over time to satisfy your gadgets obsession will not only be a waste of money but will also require additional space.

Consider buying a high-quality multipurpose grill once with several in-built gadgets that can be accessed based on your skills and cooking requirements.

You’ll find many modern grills in the market that can be manipulated to accommodate different cooking options. For instance, Weber Kettles can not only double as smokers but can also transform into pizza ovens.

Source: Grill smoke BBQ

Here is a list of the different grill types used for barbecuing:

Different Types of Grills

Charcoal GrillsCharcoal grill filled with fully heated charcoal

A charcoal grill is the first thing that comes to mind when you consider barbecue grills. It’s the most traditional type that involves the use of charcoal briquettes and a starter, such as lighter fluid.

The main obsession with charcoal grills revolves around the traditional smoky flavor that takes the food aroma to the next level. They’re characterized by their high-heat cooking style and can be turned into old school makeshift smokers.

What’s challenging about charcoal grills is the extensive fuel consumption. When engaged in long haul cookouts, you might get annoyed at how quickly you run out of charcoal.

As a rule of thumb, you should always have extra charcoal kept in reserve. However, over time, you’ll figure out grilling techniques that will enable you to grill efficiently and cut down on fuel consumption.

Source: The spruce eats

Multiple types fall within the charcoal grill classification:

Standard Charcoal Grills

Standard charcoal grills are rectangular-shaped grills with multiple heat zones, allowing you to cook multiple food items simultaneously. This kind of grill comes in a box or barrel style, comprising of a heavier gauge metal to ensure a tight seal, as well as cast-iron grates that offer better searing and durability.

A standard charcoal grill may be considered too big for a few kebabs, steaks or burgers. However, when you need a larger cooking surface, they’re an ideal choice.

Kettle-Style GrillsRed and black kettle charcoal grill

Kettle-style grills are a simple-to-use and well-known type of charcoal grill. Their shape resembles that of a kettle, featuring a rounded bottom, a stand, grill grates, and a tight, removable lid.

Charcoal is stuffed into the bottom of the grill, below which lies a small grate that allows the ash and other cooking debris to leave the heating charcoal and fall away, leaving room for necessary airflow.

Kettle-style grills don’t take up too much space, and some brands can last you for years. They are versatile, offering you a two-zone system that allows you to set hot and fast or low and slow sessions and regulate temperatures.

Also, they’re typically made of metal and relatively lightweight, making for a highly portable grill. They come in a variety of sizes and consume less charcoal than some other charcoal grills.

Kamado GrillsRed kamado grill for grilling meat

The type of grill that has significantly surged in popularity in the past 10 years is the kamado grill. Also known as an egg grill or ceramic smoker, a kamado grill is a more sophisticated version of a charcoal grill. While it functions along the same lines as a kettle grill, it features a more elongated, egg-like shape.

Since kamado grills are typically made of a thicker ceramic material, they are much heavier than kettle grills. The ceramic material is capable of holding temperatures in harsh conditions, making it a perfect choice for year-round BBQ action.

These grills can weigh between 150-500 pounds based on their size. The airflow regulation and temperature controls function in much the same way as kettle grills except that little adjustments in a kamado grill can result in significant changes in temperatures. This is due to its engineered design and thermal mass.

Owing to the grill’s weight and thickness, its lid is attached to the base of the grill using heavy-duty, spring-loaded hinges, and cannot be completely removed.

The kamado grill makes use of hardwood lump charcoal as a heat source that produces less ash than manufactured charcoal briquettes. For many, this hardwood lump charcoal is thought to offer the best flavor.

Once the coal is in place and you’re ready, the kamado grill will pre-heat for around 45 minutes to heat up the walls to your desired temperature. Apart from serving as an excellent heat source, the most appealing part is its versatility in functionality.

For instance, a heat deflator, recognized as a tremendous accessory for kamado grills, is like a thick pizza stone that serves as a barrier between your food and the charcoal. The accessory enables your grill to function as an oven, allowing it to heat your food from all directions.

The consistency of heat with fewer hot spots makes it an ideal grill for baking different items, including cheesecake and pizza. Kamado grills vary in cost depending upon the quality, and the top brands can be pretty expensive.


Propane and Natural Gas Barbecue Grills

If you’re not a charcoal type of person and you don’t want to burn yourself while manipulating the temperature of a charcoal grill, then propane and natural gas grills are a great alternative.

Even if you don’t mind handling charcoal, sometimes you might want to spend more time entertaining your guests than attending the grill. Also, it gets pretty annoying having to heat up the coal for more than half an hour for just a small steak. Situations like these call for propane and natural gas grills.

Propane GrillsOutdoor use of a propane grill

Propane grills utilize propane gas that contains more energy than its natural counterpart. They promise a much more efficient barbecue and grilling process by providing a serious amount of power and heating up quickly.

Not only do they offer multiple cooking methods such as indirect heating and multi-zone cooking, but they are also are easy to use. All you need to do is turn the dial, and the grill will start heating up.

While it can be more expensive than natural gas, propane gas is available pretty much everywhere, so you don’t have to worry about any shortage. Propane grills are easier to clean than many other types, especially the charcoal models.

Source: Taste of home

Natural Gas GrillsMassive silver natural gas grill

Except for a few trade-offs, natural gas grills are the same as propane grills. They obviously utilize natural gas and have several advantages over propane grills in terms of convenience and efficiency.

When tanks turn cold in winter, the BTUs can be wasted. A BTU (British Thermal Unit) is the unit of measure that determines the amount of work required to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The fall in BTUs converts the propane from liquid to gaseous state, which isn’t a problem with natural gas grills.

Natural gas grills are extremely fuel-efficient. You can run a natural gas grill through extensive cookouts without the need for a refill. This is not the case with propane and charcoal grills as those grills need to be refilled when their fuels sources run out.

However, the main problem of a natural gas grill is that once you get it installed to a place, it’ll stay on the spot. This is because it’ll be hardwired somewhere by a professional grill installer.

Natural gas grills might be easy to fire and fuel-efficient, but they lack the portability many of us tend to prioritize.

Infrared GrillsMouth-watering barbecue grilling on an infrared grill

Despite sounding super futuristic, infrared grills make use of conventional grilling techniques and have been around since the 1980s. Instead of using hot rising air, it makes use of a radiant heat source to cook food.

Preventing any flare-ups, infrared grills take less time to heat up and cook the food quickly, thoroughly, and evenly. While most come with electric burners, some infrared grills comprise of infrared burners.

The heat in infrared grills is too powerful for grilling vegetables or fish, but ideal for thick pieces of meat. For items that require short-timed, high-temperature grilling, infrared grills are a perfect solution.

Also, with these grills, there’s no hassle of handling charcoal or wood chips, and cleaning this type of grill is super-easy.

Source: Wayfair

Dual Fuel/Hybrid Barbecue Grills

Dual fuel or hybrid grills look like gas grills, but with the added benefit of the charcoal smokiness, you admire. These grills eliminate the many problems associated with charcoal-only grills.

You no longer have to face the uncertainty of trying to light and maintain charcoal briquettes, as the gas starter in these grills functions incredibly to heat up the charcoal as well as keep it burning. Thus, with these grills, there’s no need to sacrifice the smoky charcoal aroma for easy grilling.

It isn’t surprising that these grills are significantly more expensive than any other type of grill. Not to forget, with charcoal still lying down there, you can’t do away with the annoying clean-up. Also, you will have to keep track of both charcoal, as well as gas.

Source: Chowhound

Pellet Grills

A pellet grill is a hybrid of a smoker and a grill, offering two cooking features. As a convenient and flavorful option, it has become a hot item for grilling in the past few years. It features food-quality wooden-pellets that are loaded into a hopper and placed in a burn pot using an auger.

To keep the grill close to your set temperature, the burn pot and thermostat makes use of electric power. Since an electronic thermostat controls the temperature and keeps it within your specified range, you don’t need to bother much with the operations to get it running.

Hence, for items like ribs, large roasts, and briskets, which require longer cooks, pellet grills ensure convenience by eliminating the need for repeated monitoring. Since it operates on electricity, you’ll need to connect it to a power source throughout its use, making it a poor option for outdoor use.

It is often believed that pellet grills aren’t as effective as other grills in browning meat. However, some sellers have shaped the way they are perceived by introducing recipes with amazing char and grill marks.

Portable Barbecue Grills

Many of us don’t just care about the functioning of grills, but also consider the portability aspect. In fact, some dynamic enthusiasts make portability their highest priority when deciding to purchase a grill.

While it’s difficult to carry most grills wherever you want, some great portable grill options exist in the market. You no longer have to leave behind grills when planning to go tailgating, camping, or to the beach.

These grills come with multiple heat sources like gas and charcoal. However, when it comes to cooking large cuts of meat or accommodating parties, their small structures make them incompatible.

Source: Smoke grill BBQ

Top Brands

Big Green Egg

Source: Big Green Egg 

It may look a little unusual, but the Big Green Egg Kamado Grill is actually one of the best grills on the market today. This unusually shaped grill uses charcoal as a fire source and has a special strategic airflow system so you can set and maintain an exact temperature based on what you’re cooking.

This versatile kamado grill is heavy-duty and durable, and it’s available in a wide range of sizes, too. It can also serve as an outdoor oven and smoker, too. It’s easy to light and heats up fast thanks to a special, patented design that helps to promote even airflow circulation.

Simply adjust the airflow system to set and maintain an exact temperature. You can choose between direct, high heat and indirect, low heat. It includes a built-in temperature gauge with precise readings of up to 750 degrees.

If you want to cook food fast, you can’t go wrong with the Big Green Egg. Its stainless steel grill makes cooking and cleaning easy, while the ceramic surface helps to keep the exterior cooler than a standard grill.

You can also find a wide array of accessories to go with the Big Green Egg, but they’re all sold separately, including the stand. Use this grill to cook turkeys, grill burgers and hot dogs, and smoke delicious barbecue over low heat.


Source: Weber

Weber is a leading brand in the grill industry, and the Weber Genesis II offers quick ignition and easy cooking. This grill has three burners and two stainless steel side tables, so it’s great for both prepping and cooking a variety of foods at once.

This grill from Weber is powered by natural gas, so you’ll need to make sure that your home has a correctly installed supply line before you purchase and use it. It’s great for everyday grilling and entertaining, with everything you need to make barbecued meats and side dishes.

The gas power with three stainless steel burners powers up fast and easily, and you’ll enjoy even, consistent heating. This works well for those who want to grill food quickly without waiting for the charcoal to heat up.

The cooking grates are made of porcelain-enameled cast iron that traps and retains heat to provide you with a consistent cooking surface. You’ll get crispy, beautiful gill marks with this product from Weber.

It also features two side tables to help you assemble, prep, and hold onto meals as you switch foods. Tool hooks keep all your cooking utensils close at hand. It also offers enclosed storage underneath for even more functionality and versatility.


Source: Spark

Spark grills are new to the market and offer consumers a brand-new way to cook. This electric grill offers you the convenience and reliability of electricity with the delicious, rich flavor of charcoal.

Its special “charcoal-fueled grilling system” plugs right into a three-prong outlet so you can start preheating your new grill in just minutes. The proprietary charcoal Briq quickly lights up so that everything you eat has the unmistakable flavor of smoky, rich charcoal.

All you need to do is plug in the Spark grill and slide the Briq into the perforated cast iron drawer to start cooking. Electricity ensures that this grill gives you complete consistency in terms of power and temperature maintenance.

You can easily set and maintain an exact temperature of up to 900 degrees. It’s the first grill of its kind with this type of capability, and the no-mess ash disposal allows for easy cleanup and care. Make sure that you have outdoor electricity, and then you’re ready to grill with the Spark.


Source: Traeger

Traeger is one of the hottest brands on the market, and its line of smokers and wood-powered grills have been pleasing customers for over 30 years. This amazing wood-pellet smoker and grill uses a new, smart digital control so you can set the temperature right from the smartphone app.

Simply set the temperature just like you would in your oven for an easy and reliable way to grill precise recipes outdoors. With pellet grills from Traeger, you can go from intense, direct heat to low, indirect heat in one single machine.

It’s great for cooking everything from delicate fish to pulled pork barbecue. The new multifunctional model from Traeger has six different functions, including grilling, smoking, roasting, baking, braising, and barbecuing for exceptional versatility.

Simply ignite the pellets, which create a vortex of heat and smoke inside the unit. The grill uses a convection-based rectangular grilling chamber to infuse your meals with a rich and hearty wood-fired taste.

Where to Buy

In Person

Different types of outdoor grills in the appliance store.

Ordering things online is convenient, but it’s not necessarily fast. Sometimes, you just want to be able to walk into a store and leave with the item you came for. Here we have a list of places where you should be able to get the grill you’ve had an eye on and start grilling today.

Home Depot

Different types of grills machine at the Home Depot store.

Across North America, there are over 2,300 Home Depot locations. Each spot has an entire section dedicated to grilling. That comes with all the accessories and people to answer all the questions you could ever want.

Another bonus? If you don’t have enough room in your ride to get the new grill home, you can rent a truck to do the job for a nominal fee.


Professional grills at the Lowe's store.

Lowe’s has almost as many locations in the US and Canada as Home Depot does. They also have a grill selection just as diverse. A great benefit of purchasing a grill from Lowe’s is they will assemble any model for you. Now, rolling up in the driveway ready to grill, that’s how you start prep work for a cookout.

Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware store.

You might not realize how big of a company Ace Hardware is. They currently operate in 65 countries and have 5,600 locations.

They are typically smaller than the first two stores, so their inventory is more concentrated. That means you won’t have to deal with as many customers but will still get the same grill expertise.

Best Buy

Different types of grills at the Best Buy store.

Best Buy probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when planning a shopping trip that will end with a grill.

Better known for electronics and major appliances, Best Buy has included grills on the sales floor. There will be dedicated department staff who can help find the best grill and one with the coolest technology.


Front facade of the Academy store.

Unlike the other stores, Academy isn’t a store for housewares. This brand is focused on all things outdoors. From sports to leisure, Academy has clothing, equipment, and grills. If you’re a shopper that wants a little extra breathing room, the grill department is not as busy as the rest of the store.


Okay, sometimes BBQing isn’t an emergency. Being able to look online and compare features is one of the sweet benefits of buying a grill online. To be fair, you can order online at the brick and mortar stores, too. However, the following are some saucy options for digital browsing.


The fun thing about buying a grill online is that you don’t have to worry about what is or isn’t in stock. Literally, everything a store carries can be found on the website.

Another positive is that you can shop with a company that has expertise in what you’re looking for. Just because you’re buying online, though, doesn’t mean you can’t talk to someone at BBQGuys about a product. They have a line dedicated to chatting with the experts.

The BBQ Authority

If you’re going to be ordering a grill online, it might as well be from a company that obsesses over the act. They not only offer grills but entire outdoor kitchens, if you feel so inclined.

It’s also hard not to notice that The BBQ Authority is so proud of their BBQ, they also sell BBQ sauce on their site. Why not add a bottle of sauce to the cart before checkout?

Barbeques Galore

Outdoor grills of Barbeques Galore.

With a name like Barbeques Galore, it’s probably not surprising that this is your one-stop BBQ shop. Not only do they offer an array of grills, smokers, and even pizza ovens, they cater to the entire BBQ experience.

That includes accessories, firepits, and even patio furniture. Basking in the aroma from the grill is always enticing.


Most enthusiast stores carry top-of-the-line grills. At Wayfair, they have fun grills, too. Want a splash of color? Try a teal grill. Want a touch of whimsy? There’s a pink grill shaped like a pig. This is a great place to get someone else a grill as a gift because you can get a model that matches their personality or home.


There’s a chance that you’re already on the website, anyway. Why not add a grill to the cart? The convenience of picking out a grill on Amazon is that they have just about everything you can think of. Not to mention, if you’re on Prime, the shipping is free. If that’s not a grill win, nothing is.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I grill?

Any food can be grilled, but some are better suited than others. If you’re new to grilling, start with hamburgers, turkey burgers, and hot dogs. You can’t go wrong with these options! You can start experimenting with different meats and vegetables as you improve your craft. My favorite thing to grill is a good steak.

How do grills work?

Grills work by using heat for cooking food. The food is placed on a grate over the heat source, and as the heat rises, it cooks the food. The heat can come from charcoal, gas, electricity, or wood. Gas is a popular choice because it’s easy to control the temperature.

Is grilling bad for you?

No, grilling is not bad for you. It’s a healthy cooking method because it doesn’t require using oils or butter. The grill’s high heat can also help reduce the formation of carcinogens. However, smoke can irritate your lungs, so caution is essential when grilling.

What size grill do I need?

The size of the grill you need depends on how much food you want to cook at one time. You’ll need a bigger grill if you’re grilling for a large group. For small groups or family gatherings, a smaller grill will suffice. I have a small grill for my apartment balcony, and it’s perfect for grilling for two people.

Do I need a grill cover?

A grill cover is unnecessary, but it can help extend the life of your grill by protecting it from the elements. A grill cover is a good idea if you live in an area with harsh winters. I live in California, so I don’t have a cover for my grill.

Do grill covers prevent rust?

Grill covers can help prevent rust, but they won’t completely stop it. The best way to avoid rust is to clean and oil yourself regularly. Clean your grill after every use.

What size grill cover do I need?

The size of the grill cover you need depends on the size of your grill. Measure your grill before purchasing a cover. If possible, buy a cover a little bigger than your grill. This will give you some wiggle room and ensure the cover fits snugly.

What are grill mats?

Grill mats are thin, heat-resistant mats that you place on top of your grill. They help protect your food from sticking and burning. Grill mats are safe to use as long as they’re heat-resistant.

What are grill grates?

Grill grates are the metal bars that make up your grill’s cooking surface. They can be made of stainless steel, cast iron, or porcelain-coated metal. Grill grates come in different sizes and shapes.

Some have wide gaps between the bars, while others are closer together. The size and shape of your grill grate determine how evenly your food cooks.

How much does a grill weigh?

The weight of a grill depends on the size and materials. A small portable grill can weigh as little as 10 pounds. A sizeable stationary grill can weigh up to 200 pounds.

What to do with an old grill?

If your grill is too old or damaged to use, you can recycle it. Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept grills. If not, you can dispose of it in your local landfill.

What grill temp is medium-high?

Medium-high on a grill is about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to cook most meats and vegetables.

Can you grill in the rain?

Yes, you can grill in the rain. Just be sure to have a cover for your grill to protect it from the weather. Also, never grill on an enclosed porch. It’s a fire hazard.

Will rain ruin a grill?

No, rain won’t ruin a grill. However, it’s essential to keep your grill clean. After grilling in the rain, dry off your grill and remove any wet food.

Can you use a propane grill indoors?

No, you shouldn’t use a propane grill indoors. The fumes from the grill can be dangerous. If you must grill indoors, use an electric grill.

Can you have a grill on a balcony?

Yes, you can have a grill on a balcony. Just be sure to check your building’s rules first. Some facilities don’t allow grills on balconies.

Can a propane grill use natural gas?

Yes, a propane grill can use natural gas. Just be sure to check your grill’s instructions first. Some grills are not designed for use with natural gas.

Can gas grills use charcoal?

No, gas grills cannot use charcoal. The two fuel sources are not compatible.

Can you use pellets in a charcoal grill?

Yes, you can use pellets in a charcoal grill. This will give your food a smoky flavor. Just be sure to use the correct type of pellets. Some pellets are not meant for grills.

Can you use a grill after a grease fire?

Yes, you can use a grill after a grease fire. Just be sure to clean the grill thoroughly. Burning grease can leave behind a dangerous residue.

Can you use oven cleaner on a grill?

No, you shouldn’t use oven cleaner on a grill. The chemicals in oven cleaners can be dangerous to use with a direct flame. Instead, use a grill cleaner designed explicitly for grills that can cut through grease without harming the metal. A wire brush can also be used to scrub away tough grease and burnt-on food.

Can you grill with aluminum foil?

Yes, you can use aluminum foil on a grill. Just be sure to use the heavy-duty foil that won’t tear easily. You can use foil to line the grill to prevent sticking or wrap food in foil before cooking. Be careful not to use too much foil, as it can cause flare-ups.

Will aluminum foil catch fire on the grill?

No, aluminum foil will not catch fire on the grill. However, it can melt if the foil comes into contact with a hot grill element. This can cause sticking and burning. Grill mats are safe to use if they’re made of heat-resistant materials.

Can you use cast iron on the grill?

Yes, you can use cast iron on the grill. Just be sure to season the pan before cooking. This will help prevent sticking and rusting. Don’t forget to clean the pan after use.

Related: Different Types of Cookers for Making All Kinds of Dishes