The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill is a small, infrared, electric grill designed for easy grilling, even in smaller patio areas. Despite its small size, it can still handle a good quantity of food, easily enough for a family meal. Infrared grilling is designed to lock in flavor while keeping food juicer, as well as preventing flare-ups for more even cooking.
As it’s electric, you also won’t need to bother with charcoal or gas, just plug in and grill. However, there are a range of infrared grills with different fuel requirements on the market, so if electric isn’t for you, take a look at our list of the best infrared grills (opens in new tab).
Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill: Pricing and value
The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill sits towards the budget end of the market at around $180. At this price point, it’s understandable that it’s a little light on features but it’s also less reliable than more expensive grills. If you’re after something easy-to-store and clean, suitable for the odd grilling session here and there, then the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill isn’t bad value, but it’s not suitable for heavy-duty grilling. In a similar price range and with a bit more reliability is the Char-Broil Grill2Go (opens in new tab), but it is a portable propane gas grill and not as attractive.
Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill: Features
The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill is designed to be easy-to-use and easy-to-clean, but because it’s so compact and comes at a budget price point, it does forego the wide range of features bigger and more expensive infrared grills, like the Char-Broil Performance Gas Grill, come with.
The main grilling space is 240 square inches, enough for about 12 burgers, eight chicken breasts, or six steaks, which should be enough for most family meals. It also includes a removable warming rack, designed for indirect cooking or to keep food warm. This rack can make it a bit awkward to utilize the full cooking space as it sits over about a quarter of the main grilling space, so it can be a bit of a squeeze to fit some foods underneath it.
Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared™ technology has been created to provide even heat without the flare-ups that often happen with even the best gas grills (opens in new tab). An emitter plate is used to distribute even heat to food, so you no longer need to guess where the hot and cold spots are.
The porcelain grate is designed for durability and is also rust-resistant and easy-to-clean. Heat levels are easy to control too, thanks to an integrated control knob.
There are some nice little extras too. The storage shelf is a handy spot to hold tongs and other tools for quick use and the integrated handle is good for quickly moving the grill from spot to spot and also doubles as a towel rack.(opens in new tab)
Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill: User reviews
The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill tends to achieve mixed reviews from users. The average score is three out of five stars at Lowe’s, but there are plenty of reviews at both ends of the scale.
Those that love the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill say it’s easy to assemble, easy to clean up and provided even grilling as promised. They thought it was great for small patios and decks and while a few found it took longer to heat up than a gas grill, they still felt it provided excellent value for money.
Reviewers that didn’t like the grill included some that felt design choices over previous models made it more difficult to use, particularly the relocation of the power cord to the front of the unit. They found it difficult to get up to a good heat and were disappointed that lifting the lid allowed the temperature to drop so much.
The reviews that sat in the middle often commented that while it wasn’t as powerful as a gas grill and took longer to heat up, they still felt it did a good job for an electric grill.
Should you buy the Char-Broil Patio Bistro Electric Grill?
If a gas grill isn’t an option for where you live, or you would just prefer to stick to electric, the Char-Broil Bistro Electric Grill is a good option, especially at its budget price point. It’s compact, which is a bonus for those with little space to space, but if you’re planning on regular parties or cookouts, this grill may struggle to handle the load.
Serious grillers may wish to splash out on something like the Napoleon Prestige 500 (opens in new tab), it’s pricey but has superb grilling power. If you’re after more compact options, then the Char-Broil Grill2Go (opens in new tab) is worth a closer look.