Best BBQs 2021 – charcoal, gas and hybrid barbecues for your garden

Barbecue season is just around the corner, and we've found the very best BBQs on the market for 2021 to get the grilling started
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  • There’s nothing like a barbecue to signal the start of the warmer months, and we’ve found the very best BBQs you can buy in 2021 to get the party started this spring. Whether you just need a change of scenery from your kitchen, or you want to do some serious outdoor cooking with a capable family-sized grill, our BBQ reviews have you covered.

    Every year we see BBQ sales heating up well before summer has even started, so if you’re looking for the best gas, charcoal or hybrid option for your home, you’re definitely not alone. We’ve included some great budget BBQ options below, as well as family-friendly models with four burners and even side burners for preparing side dishes.

    For more outdoor cooking, check out the best pizza ovens

    When reviewing the best BBQs we turned to top brands like Weber, Char-Broil, Everdure and Napoleon. There are also some brilliant options from premium brands like Big Green Egg. With every BBQ we took into account value for money and burner size, as well as how easy they were to clean and the type of fuel on offer. While an increasing amount of BBQs come with hybrid fuel options for both charocal and gas use, some prefer a traditional charcoal BBQ for that smokey flavour, and others opt for the convenience and easy ignition of gas barbecues.

    Ready to find the best BBQ for you? Keep reading for our top picks in 2021.

    Best BBQs 2021

    1. Weber Master Touch GBS Premium E-5770

    Best BBQ for a smoky flavour

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

    Weber has shown how it earned the crown, as king of the kettle charcoal barbeques, with the Master-Touch GBS Premium. This takes all the high-quality build materials of a top-end grill and manages to offer them in a relatively compact and super efficient cooking system.

    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 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.

    There’s no need to watch too closely though as the porcelain enamelled char ring and stainless steel diffuser plate help to distribute the heat efficiently for steady cooking without burning. It’s not quite idiot proof but it’s a close as you’ll get with charcoal.

    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.

    When finished the One-Touch cleaning system uses metallic arms to sweep away the ash into the removable ash catcher which really helps make for an easy clean-up. This is such a valuable feature as it means you don’t get mucky at the end and is so fast it makes clean-up something you don’t even think about really.

    Then roll this away on the 20cm rubber wheels and it’ll sit compact with that 57cm cooking area, ready for its next use.

    Ideal Home rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Weber Master Touch GBS Premium at John Lewis & Partners

    2. Weber Genesis II E-410

    Best for the BBQ perfectionist

    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 at John Lewis B&Q 

    3. Napoleon Pro 22

    Best BBQ for charcoal cooking

    best BBQs Napoleon-Pro-22

    This is one of the best barbecues out there right now when it comes to charcoal cooking. So popular that, at the time of writing, it was actually sold out on Amazon. But fret not there are plenty of other sites offering this at a cheaper-than-Weber price. 

    It has the same 22-inch grill as the Weber but this one can be adjusted to three different heights to give you that extra level of control over how much heat your grub gets.

    This is a great way to get lowered-grille high-heat to sear meat before raising the cooking platform to cook more slowly as another type of less heat craving food is added.

    That grille magic continues with a hinge system that means you can add extra charcoals without having to remove the entire grille. Even getting access to this is easy thanks to a hinge based porcelain-enameled steel lid which can be popped open and closed one-handed without any fuss.

    The lid also comes with a thermometer which is plenty accurate and really lets you trust what’s going on so you don’t need to keep lifting that lid and letting out precious flavour-enhancing smoke.

    The four legs and large wheels make this a solid unit to move about and there’s even some handy storage grille space at the bottom. Just above that is a heavy duty ash catcher which makes cleaning a simple process. All that and you get a free cover thrown in and a hefty 10 year warranty. Watch out Weber.

    Ideal Home rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Napoleon Pro 22 at Amazon

    4. Weber Pulse 1000

    Best electric BBQ

    Best-BBQ-Weber-Pulse-1000

    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. Yup, 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 as you cook for exact cooking control.

    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.

    Yes, it’s not quite the same as a charcoal grill for smokey flavour but we thought it was easily up there with gas grilling. minus the hassle and cost of having to get fuel in regularly. 

    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

    Buy now: Weber Pulse 1000 at Weber

    5. Big Green Egg Large

    Best BBQ for professional-level cooks

    Best-BBQ-Big-Green-Egg

    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. We found this enhanced the garden, wherever it was placed – covering it up after use almost feels wrong. 

    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. Prep is done easily thanks to optional wooden shelving on either side. One side for uncooked items and the other food finished food, makes this a really sensible system to use effectively. 

    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, seers 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 

    Buy now: Big Green Egg Large Nest BBQ John Lewis & Partners

    6. Weber Smokey Joe Premium Barbecue

    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 Barbecue at Weber

    7. Char-Broil All-Star

    Best BBQ for small gardens

    Char-Broil All-Star BBQ

    Image credit: Char-Broil

    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.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Char-Broil All-Star at Amazon

    8. Argos Home Deluxe 3 Burner Outdoor Kitchen Gas BBQ

    Best value BBQ

    Argos Home Deluxe 3 Burner Outdoor Kitchen Gas BBQ

    Image credit: Argos

    Argos has packed a lot of value into its own-brand Deluxe 3 Burner Outdoor Kitchen Gas BBQ. This BBQ comes on four wheels, with a base that makes it look built-in to any outdoor space. It has three burners and a side burner, which is great for boiling corn on the cob or frying off any extras that may fall through the grate. There’s an in-built space for the gas tank and the cooking area is 60 x 41cm, making it one of the largest BBQs you can buy. All great value for money when you consider that this BBQ is under £250.

    Other extras we love include a drip tray and the trusty warming rack to keep your hot dogs hot. It does come flat packed and can be a hassle to assemble, but grab a family member and set aside some time ahead of use and you can reward yourself with a delicious grilled meal when it’s over.

    Ideal Home rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Buy now: Argos Home Deluxe Outdoor Kitchen Gas BBQ at Argos

    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.

    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.

    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?

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    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 necessity if you can’t find an indoor storage location.

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