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The Best Grill Brands for Grilling Season [Buying Guide]

by Bill Welles

Now that spring has sprung, we’re finally entering grilling season. Typically, backyard barbecue conversation revolves around how you like your steak prepared or whether you want a hamburger or a hotdog, but the real debate should be deciding which grill brand you should invest in.

You have your choice of charcoal, gas, electric, and wood pellet grills. There are die-hard fans of every grill category, but it will ultimately come down to your unique preferences and desired grill features.

A barbecue grill is an integral part of any outdoor kitchen layout, and it’s an appliance that can act as a centerpiece to anchor your backyard. You'll need the right grill to make your job quick and easy, so our team of experts at Don’s Appliances reviewed the best grill brands you can buy this spring.

mother taking food off the grill for her daughter

Types of Grills

It’s easy to buy the first grill you find, but have you stopped to consider how even the heat source is? Is the product known for flare-ups? Does it come with helpful accessories like side tables, storage drawers, concealed gas tanks, or wheels for easy movement?  These are all things you should consider when exploring the four main grill types: charcoal, gas, electric, and wood pellet.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills use charcoal briquettes to cook food. It's an art form to get a charcoal grill up and running, and it takes longer to prepare meals compared to other grill types, but you’ll achieve those luscious grill marks and extra smoky flavor that just can’t be matched by any other grill.

Charcoal grills are considerably cheaper than gas grills in terms of price, but keeping briquettes in constant supply can be more costly than refilling a propane tank every few months. The best part is, charcoal grills are on the smaller side which is great if you want to bring your grill on the go to a campsite or to a tailgate before a Steelers game.

Gas Grills

Gas grills are one of the most popular grills on the market. Unlike their charcoal counterpart, anyone can effortlessly control a gas grill with very little instruction. They easily turn on with the switch of a knob and cook your food evenly.

As we mentioned above, the grills themselves tend to be a more expensive purchase compared to charcoal, but using propane is an easily accessible and fairly inexpensive power source. Now you might not achieve that same smoky flavor that you associate with charcoal grills, but gas grills are less messy and easier to maintain consistent temperatures while you’re cooking.

Electric Grills

Electric grills are a smaller, compact grilling option. Think of it as a griddle, there is no flame or additional fuel source needed other than an electrical outlet. Some people prefer this method because it makes cooking relatively hassle- and mess-free.

Many electric grills cook your food on electric grill plates, but you can find designs that mimic the look of a traditional outdoor grill. Their compact size is ideal for cooking in smaller backyards or balconies, and they are easy to take with you.

The obvious downside to an electric grill is that you will find no trace of grilled or smoky flavor, and you need to have an outlet nearby to operate the grill.

Wood Pellet Grills

Wood pellet grills are also referred to as smokers, and if you’re after that illustrious smoky aroma, then your search is over. The level of smoke achieved from charcoal grilling is enhanced tenfold, producing food that is more flavorful and tender than gas or charcoal. They often operate at low and slow temperatures pulling indirect heat from the smoke, which infuses a rich and well-balanced flavor profile, but it can be a lengthy process.

Smokers vary in their power source; some use electricity and others use propane. Both versions have their pros and cons, and both require adding wood pellets to the smoker. Pellet grills come in a wide display of sizes, so decide what you want to use your grill for. Some can easily smoke an entire turkey, and others are best suited for individual servings.

The Best of the Best

Now that you passed your introductory course in grills, let’s break down some of the best grill brands across the major categories.

Best Overall Grill Brand: Weber

Weber products are world-class grilling stations. Whether you’re searing steaks or slow-cooking chicken thighs, a Weber gas grill is a sturdy and dependable appliance. Gas models often include stainless steel cooking grates, a propane gauge, built-in grease pans, and back-lit control knobs for grilling after dark.

To shop the best of this brand, the Weber Genesis II E-335 Series Gas Grill (61016001) has a 12,000 BTU side burner and a separate sear station for juicy, flavorful results.

Additional features include:

  • Porcelain-enameled lid
  • Side-mounted gas tank
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Grill cabinet
  • Infinite control burner valves
  • Stainless steel heat deflectors

Weber grill

Best Budget-Friendly Grill Brand: Napoleon

If you’re grilling on a budget, Napoleon grills are a sound investment. You'll know it’s a Napoleon with the iconic WAVE cooking grids used to achieve those distinctive sear marks. Cast iron cooking grids make it easy to add charcoal, while multi-level cooking heights and a masterful airflow system provide precise temperature control.

A PRO Air Control System increases temperature accuracy, and a lid with offset hinges allows access to the entire grill so you can keep your hands away from the heat. Sold for only $319, one of the most stylish and cost-effective models is the Napoleon Pro Charcoal Kettle Grill-Black (PRO22K-LEG-2). This model is compact to save space but big enough to feed a crowd, grilling up to 23 hamburgers at once.

Additional features include:

  • Heavy Gauge Black Porcelain Lid and Bowl
  • Steel Charcoal Grate
  • Cast Iron Hinged Cooking Grids
  • Accu-Probe Temperature Gauge
  • Heat Defuser

Best Charcoal Grill Brand: Weber

We already mentioned what Weber can do in the gas grilling space, but they offer equally impressive units in the charcoal category. Once your menu is planned and your briquettes are lit, it’s time to pour yourself a drink and enjoy the soothing sound of sear and sizzle.

The ritual of backyard charcoal grilling is met with specialized, innovative features. The Weber Master-Touch Series Charcoal Grill (14516001) includes:

  • Gourmet BBQ system with plated steel cooking grate
  • Heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate
  • Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Bottom wire rack
  • Lid handle with heat shield
  • Tuck-Away lid holder
  • Removable, high-capacity, aluminum ash catcher
  • One-Touch cleaning system
  • Spring clip/push pin leg assembly

Best Gas Grill Brand: Coyote

Weber isn’t the only brand leading the pack in the gas grill department. All Coyote S-Series grills feature 304-grade stainless-steel construction finished by hand. They also feature a unique cooking system, including high-performance Infinity Burners, ceramic briquette heat control grids for even heat distribution, a custom-shaped firebox to optimize heat flow, and independent spark ignition. Additionally, Coyote S-Series grills feature interior grill lighting as well as backlit control knobs.

To reap the benefits of a Coyote product, the Coyote Outdoor Living S-Series Grill (C2SL30LP-FS) doesn’t compromise on effective grilling prowess and exceptional results.

Additional features include:

  • Two high-performance Coyote Infinity Burners
  • One infrared rear burner
  • One Coyote RapidSear infrared burner
  • 700 square inches of cooking area
  • Up to 70,000 BTU of output
  • Ceramic Flavorizers
  • Complete 304 stainless steel construction
  • Interior grill lighting
  • LED illuminated knobs
  • Rotisserie kit and smoke
  • Integrated wind guard

close-up of Coyote grill dials

Best Propane Grill Brand: DCS

We can’t talk about grill brands without featuring DCS. DCS grills are the most advanced grilling system available for on-cart or built-in applications. The latest grilling technology and innovative design are combined to deliver precise control and the ultimate outdoor cooking experience. Every DCS Grill is handcrafted and constructed entirely of heavy-duty 304-grade stainless steel.

The DCS Series 7 Built-In Grill (BGC30-BQ-L) is the perfect grill for a built-in installation. The precision U-shaped burners are rated at a massive 25,000BTU each, offering premium quality and performance.

Additional features include:

  • A heat shield used to direct heat upwards and maximize heating efficiency
  • Ceramic radiant technology that consistently controls the grilling surface with heat instead of fire
  • Removable drip pan for easy cleaning
  • Precision heat and control ranging from 300 to 1,100 degrees

DCS grill with open lid

Best Electric Grill Brand: Coyote

When you need to elevate your outdoor cooking experience, we’re howling once again for Coyote electric grills. Design, value, style, and substance are at the heart of every Coyote product. Their introduction of the electric grill is ideal for apartment dwellers, camping enthusiasts, or anyone who has recently downsized and has limited outdoor space.

Cooking on an electric Coyote grill brings back the nostalgia of backyard barbecues with family and friends. Electric grills like the Coyote Outdoor Living C-Series Electric Grill (C1EL120SM) have a sleek and attractive silhouette that can be conveniently placed on a table, pedestal stand, or built into an island or cabinet.

Additional features include:

  • 156 square inch cooking area
  • 5,000-hour heating element
  • 304-grade stainless steel
  • Teflon coated cooking surface
  • Ceramic flavorizer
  • 550 degrees maximum temperature
  • 60-minute safety timer with a surge protector
  • Removable frame for built-in application

Best Portable Grill Brand: Napoleon

We’re not talking about movies, but Napoleon portable grills are dynamite! Napoleon’s travel series grills are stylish with an all-black aluminum cover, and the windproof design will hold in heat when grilling out in nature. As mentioned previously, high-heat searing is a snap thanks to the iconic WAVE cooking grids.

The Napoleon TravelQ Black Portable Electric Grill (PRO285E-BK), much like your favorite cast iron skillet, has porcelain coated cooking grids that heat evenly and provide a non-stick surface for your food. The thermostat and burners are removable for quick and easy cleaning of the porcelain drip tray, and the Napoleon portable grill is easy to carry and set up, perfect for any adventure.

Additional features include:

  • 1500-Watt burner element
  • Cart and side shelves (optional)
  • Accu-Probe temperature gauge
  • High Top Cast Aluminum Lid
  • Side Handles for Easy Carrying

Napoleon electric grill with chicken kebabs

Best Built-In Grill Brand: DCS

Rounding out our list is DCS. Their built-in grills are designed with flexibility in mind. You can cook a wide variety of meals and deliver the functionality and power demanded by a professional chef. DCS grills are hand-­finished to complement the quality of a premium outdoor kitchen. They are built to withstand the demands of serious cooks and the extremes of mother nature.

If you’re in the market for a built-in grill, the DCS Series 7 Traditional Built-In Grill (BH1-48R-L) puts you in control of mealtime with a massive total power of up to 121,500 BTU. You can infuse smoke into your favorite meal using the built-in smoker or close the specially designed hood and use the power of convection to cook the perfect pizza. Whatever you’re craving, you’ll have the versatility to cook almost any meal imaginable.

Additional features include:

  • Grease management system
  • Smart Beam grill light
  • Built-in temperature gauge
  • Rotisserie burner
  • Removable drip pan
  • Full surface searing
  • Double-sided stainless-steel grates

Get Grilling

There are plenty of freestanding, built-in, or portable grills available to get you through this grilling season and next. If you consider yourself a barbecue pit boss or a resident grill master, then it’s time to make the most of grilling season.

If you have questions regarding any of the grill brands listed, don’t hesitate to visit any one of our 10 Don’s Appliances locations throughout the Pittsburgh region, shop our digital catalog online, or give us a call at your store of choice.