Best BBQs – the greatest grills for all your outdoor cooking needs

Prepare your tastebuds for a treat, as we review the best bbqs on the market

Cooking on fire is one of the oldest and most wonderful ways that humans are different to the animals. Grilled food, almost magically, just tastes better. That’s why the summer sees the sales of charcoal and gas go up as everyone takes to the garden to get grilling. 

Barbecues come in all shapes and sizes these days, from charcoal or gas to electric and slow-cooker styles. There’s also a wide variation in sizes so no matter where you live there will be an option that suits you.  

So which is the best option for you? There are lots of factors to think about with things like price and size at the forefront but there are other issues like cooking speed, ease of clean-up, hassle of fuel access. Read on to find out all you need to think about before you splash out on what could be the best barbecue experience of your life.

For more expert product reviews, see our other buying guides

Best BBQs

1. Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill – best bbq for gas and charcoal combo

best-bbqs-Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill

You once had to decide between the ease of gas and the flavour of coals. But the Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill from US grill specialist Char-Broil does it all so you don’t have to pick. This is perfect for the UK where the weather is often at odds with the best laid barbecue plans.

You can fire up the three gas powered burners instantly for an easy cook session on the 24-inch grill. Or, if you feel like that coal smoke flavour, simply slide out a tray, fill it with charcoals and plonk it on top of the hobs. The gas then heats up the coals quickly and easily and lets you cook the meat on that coal heat and smoke.

Then, if that thin layer runs out simply refill or slide out and carry on cooking with gas. This is a great solution to parties where keeping a constant heat can be a worry. It’s also a nice way to get up and running quickly and easily for small cooking jobs whenever you feel the urge.

Other helpful touches include a separate side grill for heating things like beans or fish – anything in a pot or pan basically. This solid barbecue will take on most jobs and has room for holding plates either side. It’s relatively easy to move about too. All that and it’s not even that expensive either.

Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Buy now: Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill, £342, Amazon

2. Weber Genesis II E-410 – best for the bbq perfectionist

best-bbqs-Weber Genesis II E-410

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 

Buy now: Weber Genesis II E-410, £997, John Lewis 

3. Medium Big Green Egg – Best bbq for professional-level cooks

best-bbqs-Medium Big Green Egg LIFE

If you can afford to go all out at the professional level and want all the extra features, the Big Green Egg is for you. While you can get cheaper alternatives none match up to the level set by the original Big Green Egg. This big beast does it all: grills, smokes, bakes, sears, slow cooks, pan cooks and roasts.

Professional chefs use barbecue as their go-to method of cooking. This is thanks to the ceramic build which retains heat and cooks indirectly and evenly. The fact it’s also a good looking addition to your home is just a bonus.

Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Buy now: Medium Big Green Egg, £875, Big Green Egg

4. Dancook 1501 – Best bbq for easy use

best-bbqs-Dancook 1501

The Danish outdoor brand Dancook has taken minimalism and applied that to kettle barbecues. The result is a really attractive and functional barbecue that’s great for anyone from beginners to more seasoned grill fans. The combination of the charcoal barbecue with a stainless steel worktop and wooden base make for plenty of storage.

This is great as it can all be wheeled to the back door, loaded up with the food and plates, then rolled out into the garden for cooking. The 58cm cooking area is a good size too, meaning you can cook up to 16 burgers on one go.

Dancook says the unique kettle liner collects grease and ash which results in air being preheated for a 50% increase in cooking effect. It certainly does cook quickly and powerfully while that lid is useful to stop flames for simple cooling control when needed.

Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Buy now: Dancook 1501, £420, Amazon

5. Napoleon P500RSIBPK – Best bbq for parties

best-bbqs-Napoleon P500RSIBPK

The name of this barbecue might not be that catchy but everything else about it is simply awesome. Everything but the price, of course. That said you certainly do get a lot for your money. This bbq features a whopping six burners over a spacious 5802 square centimetre cooking area.  So this is for pros and those that really like to cook a lot of food – ideal for a party.

The stainless steel construction gives this bbq a solid and reassuring weight. The wheels make it easy enough to move about – even when loaded up with gas canisters. These are concealed nicely in lower cupboard space. A side burner with infrared heat is useful for cooking extras that need a little longer or very controlled heat application.

There’s another infrared heater in the form of a rear rotisserie burner and you can even add charcoal on a tray if you buy that option separately. The whole grill screams quality, right down to the metallic burner knobs – just bear in mind you’ll have no excuse for anything but perfectly cooked food when using this.

Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Buy now: Napoleon P500RSIBPK, £1,649, Amazon

6. Weber Smokey Joe Premium – Best portable bbq

best-bbqs-Weber Smokey Joe Premium

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.

Plus you get a fire resistant lid handle and a separate carry handle so you can up and move quickly without worry about it being too hot.

Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy now: Weber Smokey Joe Premium, £96, Amazon

7. Ozpig – best heater/bbq combo

best-bbqs-Ozpig

Why only use the heat of a barbecue to cook food when it can also be used to heat the patio? This is a great addition to countries where the weather can take a cold turn even at what’s mean to be a summer party. The Ozpig is part heater and part bbq.

Because eating alfresco doesn’t have to mean braving the elements. This rotund unit works as a wood burner to radiate heat out in all directions. But, crucially, it also sends that heat right up, onto a grill. Yes, at 38cm that’s not a big grill. But when you get the warmth and can cook using raw wood for a really impressive flavour, that’s a worthy trade-off.

This comes with a chimney so you don’t need to worry about smoke in your eyes or making your clothes smell. Plus you get a handy table section for plates and food storage space. There are also optional extra accessories. These include a diffuser for lowering cooking temperatures. There’s even a rotisserie for cooking whole animals, if you’re feeling decadent.

Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Buy now: Ozpig, £269, Amazon

How to buy the best bbq for you

best-bbqs-Weber Genesis II E-410 LIFE

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 as 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. 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 get the perfect tenderness to things like 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 as a way to create a 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?

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 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 which can make 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.

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 jobs 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 and you may 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?

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 this cover can be a necessity if you can’t find an indoor storage location.

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