Best BBQ 2021: gas and charcoal barbecues for summer grilling

Find the best BBQ for summer 2021 with our guide to the top gas and charcoal barbecues from Weber, Char-Broil, Outback and more
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  • The best BBQ is a true summer essential, and we’ve found the very top gas, charcoal and even hybrid barbecues to get your summer off to a sizzling start. In this guide we’ve included a range of barbecues under £200, as well as some premium options that cost as much as £1000.

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    Buying the best BBQ can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re looking for. You should consider how large you want your BBQ to be, because while it’s tempting to buy a six-burner barbecue to entertain your entire family, you need to set aside the space to store it when not in use.

    Some of the top BBQs in our guide come from brands you’ll know, like Weber, Char-Broil, Everdure, and Outback. Others are available from the likes of Very and John Lewis & Partners, which is a great solution for those who want a large grill but without the steep costs associated. If you do opt for something a little more expensive though, there are lots of great options with side burners, serving platforms and warming racks.

    Best BBQ 2021

    1. Weber One Touch E4710

    Best charcoal BBQ on a budget

    Best-bbqs-Weber-Master-Touch-GBS

    Type of BBQ: Charcoal
    Cooking area: 47cm diameter
    Weight: 15kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • A classic Weber grill
    • One of the cheapest on the market
    • Easy cleaning system

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Lacking a sturdy frame

    The Weber One Touch E4710 is an iconic charcoal BBQ that delivers big flavour without the high price. When it’s in stock it’s always a fast seller, with shoppers easy to pick up a BBQ with the Weber name that will fit in even small gardens.

    Reasons to love include the ash catcher, rust-resistant design and all-weather wheels. The Weber One Touch E4710 also has an in-built thermometer and can be used for smoking thanks to the high lid and heat-resistant handles that will hold up well over time.

    The kettle offers a hinged stainless steel lid for easy access to check and turn your food. In real-world use that means a hand free rather than holding the lid while you sort the grill – invaluable stuff. Close that down and you’ve got a thermometer to keep an eye on the cooking heat so you stay in control throughout the process.

    2. Char-Broil All-Star

    Best gas BBQ for small gardens

    Char-Broil All-Star BBQ

    Image credit: Char-Broil

    Type of BBQ: Gas
    Cooking area: 60cm diameter
    Weight: 25kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • The advantages of gas without the space demands
    • Classic BBQ look
    • Can be taken out of its frame

    Reasons to avoid:
    • It’s only got one burner

    The Char-Broil All-Star is immensely portable thanks to its fold-down arms and modest grill size. It’s still a powerhouse though, with a rust-proof, circular 46cm cast iron grate which resembles a classic kettle barbecue. This gas BBQ ignites easily and the heat can be adjusted using the large dial on the front of the machine. You can wheel the All-Star around on its four casters, which lock when it’s in place to keep it secure.

    Something even more versatile is that the Char-Broil All-Star can be taken out of its stand and placed on a tabletop, meaning it’s suitable for day trips and camping excursions where you may not need its frame. The lid is cast aluminium and contains a thermometer to allow you to preheat the oven and prevent heat from escaping as you grill. There’s also a warming grate, which will allow you to cook for a crowd despite the lack of multiple burners.

    3. Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill

    Best hybrid gas and charcoal BBQ

    Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill

    Type of BBQ: Gas and charcoal
    Cooking area: 2831cm²
    Weight: 47kg

    Reasons to buy: 
    • Cooks on both gas and charcoal
    • Reasonably priced for the cooking area
    • Easy to switch between gas
    • Plenty of fun extras such as a bottle opener and in-built thermometer

    Reasons to avoid:
    • The side burner was a little high
    • Assembly took a while

    The Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill is a tried and tested triumph. We put it to the test on both gas and charcoal cooking to see how well it held up, and on every test it delivered food packed with flavour, and even cooking even when not all of the burners were in use.

    The Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill comes in two, three and four-burner models, meaning there’s a size for every family. We tested the three-burner Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill, and found that it had plenty of space for the average family and bags of potential for entertaining a crowd.

    Assembly did take the best part of 2 hours and we had a few issues with the side burner, which wasn’t well protected from gusts of wind, meaning our peas took longer to boil than if we’d placed them on a regular hob. For the money though, this is a brilliant grill for just about every type of barbecue you could wish to host.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    4. Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Force 2 Burner Gas BBQ

    Best high-end BBQ

    Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Force 2 Burner Gas BBQ

    Type of BBQ: Gas
    Cooking area: 2358cm²
    Weight: 33kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • Comes in three beautiful colours
    • Capable cooking for large groups
    • Accessories included
    • High hood for convection cooking

    Reasons to avoid:
    • No side burner

    Last year’s must-have BBQ is back. The Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Force 2 Burner Gas BBQ has Heston’s approval, and it’s got lots of home chef-approved elements such as the high hood that can accommodate a whole turkey for cooking slow and low. This gas BBQ can be removed from the stand, making it portable for tabletop use, and the servery drops down for more easy transportation.

    Other things we love include the enamel-coated grates and hood that can be cleaned easily and are rust-proof. Although it has a large cooking area it is powered by only two burners, which is less than some of the other BBQs in our guide. This smaller size does mean it’s perfect for heating up fast, and it’s ready to cook only five minutes after ignition.

    5. Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic I

    Best kamado grill 

    best BBQ

    Type of BBQ: Charcoal
    Cooking area: 18 inches diameter
    Weight: 53kg

    Reasons to buy:
    Gorgeous design
    • Built to last forever
    • Flexible cooking system

    Reasons to avoid:
    •It’s hefty
    •There’s a knack to kamado cooking

    Odds are, you’ve seen the Kamado Joe before. Whether it’s on Instagram or in a glossy magazine, this is one stylish BBQ that’s designed to catch your attention. The blaze red exterior coats an insulated ceramic egg design, with two tiers for adjustable cooking styles.

    The Kamado Joe Classic I is the most iconic in the line, and it’s also a great value kamado grill. You can use the cast iron air vent to smoke your food or release heat, and the slide-out ash tray should make cleaning easy. There’s also two side trays for keeping side dishes and plates close by, as well as hooks to hang utensils on.

    The grill weighs 53kg, so it’s by no means portable. Luckily though, you’ll probably want to keep it on display in your garden.

    6. Traeger PRO 575 Pellet Grill

    Best smoker BBQ 

    Traeger PRO 575 Pellet Grill

    Type of BBQ: Pellet
    Cooking area: 3709 cm²
    Weight: 58kg

    Reasons to buy:
    •Smart-enabled
    • A whole new kind of barbecuing
    • Automatically tops up on pellets

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Takes getting used to
    • Pellets are harder to source than charcoal

    Boy did we love testing the Traeger PRO 575 Pellet Grill. It’s smart, easy to clean, and surprisingly versatile. While Traeger is a well-known brand in the States (they love a smoker grill) it’s been making strides in the UK this summer with a range of accessible grills to make smoker cooking easy. 

    You power the Traeger with pellets, which add extra smokiness and are very easy to ignite and use. The drum-shaped grill has a hopper and controls to the side, which are digital and can even be paired with a smartphone. This adds more pellets as and when is needed. 

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    7. Very 6-Burner Gas BBQ with Side Burner

    Best cheap BBQ

    best BBQ

    Type of BBQ: Gas
    Cooking area: 60 x 35.5cm
    Weight: 45kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • A great value option
    • Six burners total
    • Side burner for cooking extras
    • Easy to transport

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Lacking an in-built temperature gauge
    • The frame is less sturdy than other options

    Available at Very and Littlewoods, the 6-Burner Gas BBQ with Side Burner packs in a lot of BBQ for the money. It’s got a sturdy lid and porcelain steel wire cooking grill. There’s also a side burner for preparing all sorts of side dishes, which is something you’ll typically only find on much more expensive barbecues.

    The frame is lightweight and there’s a total cooking space of 60 x 35.5cm of cooking space, meaning you’ll be able to cook up a real feast with this gas BBQ. What’s more, it’s on wheels for easy transportation and an absolute bargain.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    8. Weber Master Touch GBS Premium E-5770

    Best BBQ for a smoky flavour

    Best-BBQs-Weber-Master-Touch-GBS-Premium

    Type of BBQ: Charcoal
    Cooking area: 57cm diameter
    Weight: 24kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • For that smokey charcoal BBQ taste
    • Compact and easy to transport
    • Made to last

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Won’t cater to large crowds
    • Quite expensive for the cooking area

    Weber has shown how it earned the crown, as king of the kettle charcoal barbeques, with the Master-Touch GBS Premium. Essentially it gives you a lot of the control and quality you’d expect from gas, but with all the smokey flavour you’d want from charcoal.

    The porcelain enamelled char ring and stainless steel diffuser plate help to distribute the heat efficiently for steady cooking without burning. Add an iGrill accessory and you can monitor internal food temperatures, making it even easier to cook to perfection (from a distance while you socialise) – or at least to have fewer excuses to get it wrong.

    That GBS name stands for Gourmet BBQ System which is essentially a selection of cooking grates to suit your food, from the included Sear Grate for steaks to a pizza stone, wok, griddle pan, poultry roaster and more. Even if you never use any of those it’s nice to have the option.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    9. Weber Genesis II E-410

    Best for the BBQ perfectionist

    Type of BBQ: Gas
    Cooking area:86 x 48cm
    Weight: 86.2kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • A mighty grill designed for entertaining
    • GBS cooking grates
    • Insulated lid
    • Can be used for smoking

    Reasons to avoid:
    • That high price point!

    When it comes to barbecues, many perfectionists go for a Weber. This company’s barbecues are made to a very high standard and just work very well. While the company’s kettle charcoal barbecues get the most fame, its gas systems are brilliant too. And especially the Genesis II E-410.

    To start, you have a hefty four gas burner setup using the company’s GS4 Grilling System. This is enhanced by porcelain-enamelled cast iron GBS cooking grates and flavouriser bars. These do as the name suggests. There’s also a double-walled air insulated porcelain-enamelled lid. This makes smoking and cooking at speed both options too.

    This isn’t a small barbecue so be ready to offer it a chunk of your home’s space to live. But with extras like a Grease Management System to make cleaning a doddle, you’ll be glad you welcomed this new edition.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

    10. Weber Smokey Joe Premium Barbecue

    Best portable BBQ

    best-bbqs-Weber Smokey Joe Premium

    Type of BBQ: Charcoal
    Cooking area: 42 x 37cm
    Weight: 1kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • Perfect for taking on the go
    • Fire-resistant lid handle
    • Decent cooking area

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Not ideal for at-home use

    If you want a barbecue that isn’t consigned to your garden alone then the Weber Smokey Joe Premium could be just the one for you. This combines quality craftsmanship and cooking ability with portability that lets you turn any park, field or beach into a bbq party.

    The 37cm cooking area of the Smokey Joe is a nice balance between portability and space which is enough for around three people. But if you want to do more just crack open another bag and coals and keep cooking. The porcelain-enamelled and rust-resistant lid and bowl mean even being out in the elements is no issue for this bbq.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    11. Weber Q2000

    Best gas BBQ

    Weber Q2000

    Type of BBQ: Gas
    Cooking area: 54 x 39cm
    Weight: 21kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • Portable
    • Plenty of cooking space
    • Storage space below and to the side

    Reasons to avoid:
    • The frame is plastic
    • Only one burner

    Maybe it’s just because we’re BBQ obsessives, but we’ve noticed that this is one of the more popular options for summer 2021. We can see why, too.

    The Weber Q2000 Gas BBQ has a great mix of portability and durability. The cast aluminium construction will make the grill itself easy enough to take on the go, and you can even remove it from its plastic stand.

    With 2106 cm² of cooking space it’s no small option, either. The BBQ has only one burner but the grates are wide and square enough to offer enough room for plenty of burgers and hot dogs. Ignition is electric and the cast iron cooking grate is guaranteed to inject any meal with smoky flavour.

    12. Weber Pulse 1000

    Best electric BBQ

    Best-BBQ-Weber-Pulse-1000

    Type of BBQ: Electric
    Cooking area: 31 x 41cm
    Weight: 33kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • A modern take on classic BBQs
    • Environmentally friendly option
    • Looks great
    • Smart compatibility

    Reasons to avoid:
    • Designed for flat living so not ideal for those with large gardens

    If you live in a city where charcoal or even gas grilling isn’t really the done thing, then a more modern approach could be for you. Enter the Weber Pulse 1000, a totally electric barbeque. This not only avoids excess fumes but also dodges the use of fossil fuels, making it a far more environmentally friendly way to cook out. 

    This is all about accuracy with that 1.8 kW of power in this large but attractive grill. It comes with an internal probe meaning you can monitor the internal temperature of your food. This is done via the Weber app so you can actually keep an eye on your food from the comfort of indoors, while this grill does all the work out on the balcony. Yup, it’s marketed towards those in flats, since it means no smoke annoying the neighbours.

    In case this all sounds too much like cheating and not real grilling, Weber uses porcelain enameled cast iron plates which actually manage to give the food a barbecue taste unlike you’d get cooking indoors. That means a steak will taste more like one you buy out at a restaurant rather than something you’ve cooked on a pan in the kitchen. In case this relatively new tech seems worrying to you, there’s a five year limited warranty to set your mind at ease, too.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    13. Big Green Egg Large

    Best BBQ for professional-level cooks

    Best-BBQ-Big-Green-Egg

    Type of BBQ: Charcoal
    Cooking area: 46cm diameter
    Weight: 86kg

    Reasons to buy:
    • Incredibly stylish
    • Designed to last
    • Great for smoking or charcoal cooking
    • Easy to clean

    Reasons to avoid:
    • So expensive
    • Only one fuel option

    This is one very stylish yet practical way to cook thanks to the Big Green Egg’s ceramic build which maintains a steady heat for even and predictable cooking results. It also looks brilliant. 

    The air-flow tech will have this up to temperature in no time and will allow you to easily keep it within a few degrees throughout cooking. Once finished, the leftover fats and oils are cooked down by the heat of the egg meaning all that’s left is an easily swept away ash, leaving you ready to cook again the next time. It’s deep though so you may want to roll your sleeves up before diving into the ash pile. 

    The fact it grills, bakes, sears and stays hot for up to 10 hours is just a bonus and is probably why this is the grill of choice for many professionals. One of the most forgiving barbeques out there right now, with a price to reflect that.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

    How to buy the best bbq for you

    Best-BBQ-Weber-lifestyle

    Image credit: Weber

    The most major priority is price, so start out with a rough idea of what you want to spend. Once you know this, it’s easier to narrow down the rest and fit in what you need with what you can afford. Next up is fuel.

    This subject is an area of debate. Some claim that charcoals offer the very best flavour, while others claim gas gives the same result. Then, to make it more complicated, there are gas barbecues that use gas flames to heat charcoals.

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    Essentially it boils down to this – if you’re cooking meat, it’s the juices hitting the coals which create a smoke which adds flavour to the meat. Lose the coals and you lose this extra flavour.

    So if you want authentic flavour, coals can be the best way to cook. Then there are the smokers which take this idea to the next level and offer slow cooking which not only packs in the smokey flavour but also allows you to give the perfect tenderness to joints of meat.

    The problem with gas and charcoal is that you need to buy the fuels, which can be a hassle. That’s where electric barbecues come in. They’re a great way ta grill without worrying about anything aside from plugging in the barbecue. Of course, many will argue this is akin to cooking indoors. But with a lid for trapping in flavour you’re still going to get a great experience.

    Related: How to clean a BBQ

    Why do I need a BBQ?

    Garden-makeover-outdoor-kitchen-hot-tub-summerhouse-6

    Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

    If you want to enjoy alfresco dining properly during the summer then a barbecue is a must. Sure you could slave away in the kitchen, but if you’re having guests over, it’s nice to all be together outside for the experience, right?

    Portable barbecues are more varied than ever, so taking the grilling with you is also an option. It will certainly turn a picnic into a proper event.

    For those that love that smokey barbecue flavour, or just enjoy cooking outside, a barbecue is a year-round option that’s only really limited by the rain. But with a bit of cover and a jacket to keep warm there’s nothing stopping you enjoying bbq flavours all year round.

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    How much should I spend on a BBQ?

    This is the question that’s a tough one to nail down since the range of prices is so broad. You can spend very little on a portable barbecue, or you can stretch to a professional level beast with multiple functions and heat sources priced in the thousands.

    Most people find somewhere in the middle suits. So spending just over a hundred or a few hundred will generally get you a barbecue fit for most purposes.

    Take a look at fuel costs, too, as gas and coal varies. You’ll want to factor this in, especially if you’re planning to use the barbecue a lot.

    What other key questions do I need to ask about BBQs?

    Urban-garden-makeover-6

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Size is an issue for areas of limited space, so a smaller barbecue can often be easier for storage. That said, if you’re having parties with lots of people, a larger cooking area is always a welcome addition.

    Splashing out a bit more on a cover is another factor to consider if you plan to keep your barbecue outside. Especially in countries where it’s cold and wet in the winter months, it’s a necessity if you can’t find an indoor storage location.

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