The Breville Smart Grill is made of sturdy stainless steel in a clamshell design with 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.
Much like our best overall pick, the Cuisinart Griddler, the Breville Smart Grill has all of the features we wanted in an electric indoor grill, and it cooks everything fast. However, the Breville has some weaknesses. According to the manual, most recipes should take less than 10 minutes to prepare on this grill. In our hands-on testing, the Breville Smart Grill 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, and this is intended to avoid squishing delicate meals. However, the top plate is so heavy that it smashed the meats like a pancake every time. This model also produced some oil spatter that reached 11 inches away from the grill, which means you will definitely need to clean your countertops thoroughly after using this machine.
Despite the spatter this grill produced, it did extract 1.5 ounces of oil from the hamburger patties we cooked and this is an impressive amount compared to other grills we tested. Although it does send grease flying around the kitchen, the Breville Smart Grill got top marks for the fastest cleanup time for the grill itself, coming in at only three and a half minutes.
There are several components that make cleaning simple and fast. 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 we tested, and it’s a problem easily solved with any spatula, wedge or paint scraper you might have on hand.