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Best infrared grills 2021

Best infrared grills 2021
(Image credit: Getty )

The best infrared grills give you more control and speed when cooking than traditional grills. That’s because an infrared grill will heat the food directly, rather than using a heat source to warm the air. So for truly even heat distribution and cooking contro, a reliable infrared grills are the way to go, and you don’t need to spend much to get one either.

Our guide gives you a selection of the best infrared grills in both electric and gas fuel types, and explains how they differ from the best gas grills. All of the infrared grills listed below are designed to be used with the lid open, so take that design feature into consideration when picking a grill to fit your chosen cooking spot. There are also portable infrared grills on the list which can suit many needs, including camping and travel use. 

Another important factor to consider is how much cooking space you need. Obviously the larger the surface, the more you’ll pay, so be honest about how much food you’ll be cooking and how often. Our best infrared grills guide includes large and compact options, as well as an affordable model for beginners to get started with.

Broilmaster and Char-Broil are just some of the big-name brands you’ll find behind the best infrared grills, but there are also options that are more affordable if you have a smaller budget. Owning a reliable grill is a great way to make the most of your outdoor living space, especially during the summer months. If you’re keen on transforming your patio or backyard area for entertaining, also take a look at our guides to the best fire pits and the best patio heaters

1. Broilmaster R3B: Best infrared grill overall 

Best infrared grills Broilmaster R3B

(Image credit: Appliances Connection)

Broilmaster R3B

The Broilmaster is a solid and well-built infrared grill for reliable cooking.

Fuel type: Gas | Main cooking area: 442 square inches

 Even cooking 
 You need a natural gas supply 

If you’re serious about grilling, then Broilmaster R3B may be the best choice for you. Great for consistent cooking, this infrared grill is built to last and its left-hand burner is great for cooking food slightly slower. 

Specially designed to prevent your food from drying out and overcooking, the Broilmaster R3B infrared grill also features a right-hand ceramic burner which is great for searing steaks before transferring them onto the left-hand burner.

If you’re cooking for a crowd or simply have a lot to prepare at once, the Broilmaster R3B has a handy warming rack so that you can serve everything at the same time. The main cooking area isn’t as big as some of the others we reviewed, however, the heat consistency is great and the quality build somewhat makes up for this. This infrared grill is also made in America. 

2. Char-Broil Grill2Go X200: Best portable infrared grill

Best infrared grills: Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 review

(Image credit: Walmart)

Char-Broil Grill2Go X200

Rugged and durable, the Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is perfect for camping trip grillers and small balcony spaces alike.

Fuel type: Propane | Main grill space size: 200 square-inches

Can get too hot

It’s certainly not the most stylish grill on this list, but the Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is a compact infrared grill that’s designed to be tossed into the trunk of your car or stored out of sight, so it needs to be able to take a few knocks and bumps.

It also offers really good value too. More expensive grills often don’t include a temperature gauge, so it’s a really nice inclusion on the Char-Broil Grill2Go and allows for greater control over your grilling.

It’s not an especially powerful grill, producing up to 9,500 BTU worth of cooking energy, but it still manages to reach good cooking heats that can cover most grilling needs. As a compact infrared grill, it is on the small side, but it can still grill a decent amount of food.

3. Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill: Best electric infrared grill 

Best infrared grills: Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill

(Image credit: Char-Broil)

Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill

A small budget grill with enough space for family meals.

Fuel type: Electric | Main grill space size: 240 square-inches

Quality grates
Struggles to maintain heat

Skip the hassle of charcoal and gas with an electric infrared grill that’s quick to set up and easy to cook with. The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill is designed to plug and grill and while it’s small, it still has enough space to cook a decent amount of food.

It’s a little light on features, but for just $180 that’s understandable. It’s certainly not the most powerful grill on the market either, gas grills tend to be able to heat up quicker and maintain the heat better too, so you are swapping power for the ease of electric. But for quick or regular meal cooking it’s not a bad swap to make.

The integrated control knob is nice for greater temperature control, while the removable warming rack is nice for keeping cooked food at the right temperature while your other food cooks, but using it does reduce the grilling space.

4. Solaire SOL-EV17A Everywhere Grill: Best propane infrared grill 

Best infrared grills: Solaire SOL-EV17A Everywhere Grill review

(Image credit: Walmart)

Solaire SOL-EV17A Everywhere Grill

This grill is an excellent choice for anyone looking for something that can nicely sear a good steak.

Fuel type: Propane | Main grill space size: 140 square-inches

Lifetime warranty 
Awkward to attach a gas canister  

The Solaire Everywhere Grill is a portable grill that operates well in quite a narrow temperature range. This makes it a good choice for anyone who has struggled to find a grill that can sear good cuts of red meat as it reaches high heat well and cooks quickly. It struggles with medium and low heat cooking, often charring chicken, so it is quite a niche grill.

As a portable infrared grill, it needs to be durable so the stainless steel construction is a good choice by Solaire. The propane gas canister is awkward to attach though.

The Solaire SOL-EV17A can struggle to keep the heat in more exposed conditions too. While it’s unlikely to go out with a good gust of wind like a blue-flame grill might, windy conditions do mean the grill struggles to keep the heat on the food and, as you can’t close the lid with food on the grill, it’s even more difficult to control this loss of heat. 

How to choose the best infrared grill for you

If you want a full-size infrared grill for backyard parties or other occasions, look for an infrared grill with a large cooking area. 

Tabletop models provide great convenience when barbecuing away from home. They’re also a good choice if you have limited outdoor space to store a grill long-term. Of those we reviewed, the Char-Broil Grill2Go was the best tabletop model we reviewed.

A good midsize grill won’t have the same portability as a tabletop model, or the power of a full-size one, but you also may not have much use for either of those things. The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill falls perfectly into that category.

Many people worry that due to the high heat levels, infrared grills are great at searing steaks but not as good at cooking vegetables. Most grills will let you adjust the heat levels, to make sure your vegetables are evenly cooked.

An unevenly heated grilling surface can wreak havoc on a barbecue with some meat coming off the grill well done and some undercooked. Grills with even distribution and consistent temperatures solve this problem and grills on this list tend to have really positive feedback from users on the heat consistency.

Infrared grills vs gas grills?

The main difference between infrared grills and regular gas grills is that infrared grills are designed to heat the food directly, while regular gas grills heat the air and then heat the food. This means infrared grills tend to cook food more quickly and can also lead to more even cooking. 

Infrared grills work by using radiant energy to cook food, as opposed to regular or blue-flame grilling. As infrared technology doesn’t rely on hot circulating air to heat the food it doesn’t dry out the food as it cooks and infrared grills are designed to be used with the lid open.

Are infrared grills better than gas grills?

Infrared grills are designed to cook food quicker and more evenly, so they’re particularly great for foods that are best cooked on high and quick heat. For example, a good steak benefits from searing while ribs and chicken usually need a low and slow cook for best results. Infrared grills tend to stop food from drying out too, ensuring foods stay deliciously juicy.

Cleaning an infrared grill is largely the same as cleaning a regular grill, you just need to take a bit more care when cleaning the heating element and infrared surface. Many grill manufacturers recommend burning off excess grease once you’ve finished cooking. To do this, turn your grill to a high heat after you’ve finished cooking and close the lid. 

Leave for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it cool. Any grease and food debris should now have burnt off and turned to ash so you can simply brush it away once the grill is cool. For more tips, read our advice on how to clean a barbecue grill

Stevie Keen

Stevie is a freelance digital consultant, copywriter and photographer. She's worked for brands like the Radio Times and Wallpaper*, and has also written for Amateur Photographer, Clash Magazine and Flash Pack, amongst others.