Pros / During our test, this indoor grill proved to have speedy cooking and cleaning times.
Cons / This grill has features to prevent uneven heating and squished food, but these features didn't work in our test.
Verdict / This grill is best for fast, improvised meals. You can grill simple food items like hamburger patties quickly, but it has issues with delicate food and even heating.
The Breville Smart Grill is made of sturdy stainless steel in a clamshell design and die-cast handles. While cooking with this indoor electric grill, you can keep the plates open or fold the sides together to form a press. The clamshell style is a versatile design that allows you to grill traditional food like hamburger patties or chicken as well as more creative meals like paninis and sandwiches. There are two grill plates on this Breville model, one flat griddle side for food like eggs or pancakes and a ribbed grill side for meat and vegetables. The flat and raised grilling surfaces can be useful when you lay the grill with both sides down. However, if you want to create grill marks you have to flip the meat, defeating the purpose of having a clamshell design in the first place.
The Breville Smart Grill is versatile and has all of the features we wanted in an electric indoor grill. It cooks everything fast but has some weaknesses. According to the manual, most recipes should take less than 10 minutes to prepare on this grill. In our hands-on test, the Breville Smart Grill cooked fast. It was able to grill a frozen hamburger patty to the recommended temperature in under four minutes. However, it missed the mark when it came to temperature accuracy and proper grilling.
Despite its Element IQ feature, this grill didn't hold a consistent or accurate temperature. During our test, we found a 114-degree separation between the two corners. The floating hinge feature has six adjustable height settings that change the amount of weight applied to your food. This helps avoid squishing delicate meals. However, the top plate is so heavy duty it smashed the meats like a pancake every time. This model also produced some far-flung oil splatter that reached just under a foot away.
This grill is faster to assemble than most, clocking in at a minute and a half for assembly time. It tends to send grease flying around the kitchen, but the Smart Grill also topped the lineup for fastest cleanup time at only three and a half minutes. It has several components that improve cleaning vastly. On this model, you can remove the grill and griddle trays for easier wiping. In addition, the drip trays and plates are dishwasher safe, so you won't have to break your wrist scrubbing off greasy residue. Fortunately, the grill plates are made of non-stick material, so unless you burn your food you won't have to do too much scraping.
Unfortunately, there was no cleaning tool included with this indoor grill. This is standard for most of the models in the lineup and a problem easily solved with any spatula, wedge or paint scraper. In addition to its tough stainless steel housing, removable plates and dishwasher-safe components, the Smart Grill has a raised surface to keep heat and grease off the counter. That doesn't always prove effective as this model produced long-distance splatter on our test counter. Despite the splatter this grill produced, it extracted 1.5 ounces of oil from the hamburger patties we grilled. This is impressive compared to other grills we tested. The most we extracted was 1.9 ounces. While grilling, the oil traveled almost a foot from the grill, meaning you'll definitely need to clean your countertops thoroughly.
- Hamburger Patty Score
- Chicken Score
- Temperature Accuracy
The Breville Smart Grill has plenty to love as well as a few disadvantages. The different grill plates alone have their own pros and cons. On one hand, they allow you to use the flat surface as a griddle for breakfast foods like eggs, pancakes or bacon while the ribbed side fits meat and vegetables. However, if you want grill marks on both sides of your food, the different plates render the clamshell design useless and still requires you to flip the burgers. And while this model has a smart element feature, it didn't maintain a consistent temperature through the grill. In addition, it has height settings, but the heavy stainless steel top squished most of the food quickly. That said, this model does have positive features. It's easy to assemble and clean, and it has some of the fastest cooking times of any of the models on our lineup.