Weber Lumin vs Ninja Woodfire - which of these electric BBQs is best?

Balcony BBQs are on the rise. Which of these electric wonders is best for your home?

Balcony with outdoor rug and corner sofa
(Image credit: Weber)

Electric BBQs are in. Don't just take my word for it, the Weber Lumin vs Ninja Woodfire BBQ battle is just one example of how this type of BBQ is crying out for a spot on your balcony.

These electric iterations of the best BBQs were released in the same month in 2023 and since then their popularity has skyrocketed. Last spring, John Lewis reported a 267% increase in interest in electric BBQs. And within that uptick in popularity, the retailer also reported a huge demand for the Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill & Smoker in particular, which is only bound to rise after being endorsed by David Beckham.

The Weber Lumin on the other hand is a favourite of our Deputy Editor Rebecca Knight, who swears by the renter-friendly electric innovation. That's why we had no choice but to put these BBQs head to head, with evidence from our Weber Lumin review and Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill & Smoker review to tell you which one to buy.

Weber Lumin vs Ninja Woodfire: The basics

Both of these electric BBQs were so easy for our reviewers to set up (as they should be given the fuel type) so we can skip the unboxing and get onto the USP of each. The Weber Lumin, which is designed for 'eco-conscious barbecue lovers' is the first BBQ of this type from one of the most expert grilling brand out there.

It can reach temperatures of over 315 °C, has settings to help you grill foods from frozen and includes two very clever accessories to help turn it into a steamer, smoker or food warmer. So even though it's a fairly compact grill, it has pretty good functionality for those interested in more expert cooking than just bangers and burgers. 

The Ninja Woodfire is a bit of a different beast. It's an electric BBQ hybrid, as it has the functionality to double up as an outdoor version of one of the best air fryers. Not to be beaten by the Lumin, it also has capability as a smoker. 

Price-wise, the compact version of the Lumin, aptly named the Weber Lumin Compact, currently comes in at £399 at John Lewis. By comparison, at the time of writing the Ninja Woodfire BBQ and Smoker has an RRP of £349.99. 

Weber Lumin vs Ninja Woodfire: Design

Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, we can get into what we think here at Ideal Home after testing both BBQs. 

The design of the Weber Lumin is pretty traditional, looking exactly like their ever-popular gas BBQs, with its shiny black finish and silver accents, as well as a large silver handle to lift the lid up and down. 

It has a marginally larger surface area than the Ninja Woodfire but is somewhat limited by the lid design, as it means that large cuts of meat, like an entire chicken, will be a real squeeze to fit under the roof of the lid, which needs to be shut in order to operate the BBQ.

Lumin open showing grill plates and steamer

An example of the spacings on the Weber Lumin.

(Image credit: Future / Rebecca Knight)

During testing, our reviewer had three burgers defrosting at one point on the grill while three bread rolls warmed on the other attachment. While there could have been plenty more food squeezed on, if you need to cater to more than just three people, you might need to consider upgrading to the larger version of the Lumin, which retails for £579.00 from Weber

The Ninja Woodfire on the other hand fits very much into the look of appliances from the brand, with large lettering, and LCD controls which showcase the different functionality available. 

The cavernous hood design also means you avoid any issues you might have with say cooking a whole chicken in the Lumin, as there's plenty of space to shut the lid with. 

The Ninja Woodfire BBQ & Smoker being tested outside at home

Cooking a joint of pork on the Ninja Woodfire. 

(Image credit: Future)

One crucial difference to note between the Woodfire and the Lumin is that while any fats from the Lumin will slip through the grates and then vaporise whatever is cooking on the grill above, the Woodfire has a more George Foreman-esque design, meaning that the fat will slip away and be collected in the drip tray away from the meat.

That in mind, the Ninja has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to injecting that lost flavour from elsewhere, thanks to the aid of the woodfire pellets that can be popped into the smoker element. When burnt, these create a steady stream of smoke, and our tester found that this massively helped to inject flavour into the pork joint she cooked in the Woodfire.

Lumin BBQ in box

(Image credit: Future / Rebecca Knight)

In terms of portability, the Weber Lumin comes in at 16.5kg, while the Woodfire is slightly lighter at 12kg. Neither is ultra portable in my mind, but if you do want to take the Lumin around with you, be wary that the lid doesn't latch down, so it's difficult to carry briefcase-style.

Weber Lumin vs Ninja Woodfire: Cooking

You might shop for a BBQ by looking at various designs and features, but once it's in your house, we all know the thing you care about is how well it can help you cook. 

The Weber Lumin, as we got into when we discussed features, has more of a traditional grill design, and this aided our reviewer massively when it came to cooking sausages. Not only does this style mean that you get great chargrilled marks on your meat, but the sausages don't stick to the cast iron bars. 

On the downside, our tester did note that there was a distinct lack of authentic BBQ flavour with the Lumin on the sausages test, even with the bars allowing fats to vaporise onto the meat.

With the Ninja Woodfire, when cooking, though there aren't cast iron bars per se, the effect created by the grill plate was still impressive enough to our reviewer, who cooked up chicken wings with gorgeous crispy skin. And though it's somewhat artificial, there is the chance for smokiness of some sort with the smoker element on the Ninja Woodfire that at least goes a bit of the way to bringing smokiness into the equation.

Ninja Woodfire BBQ

(Image credit: Future)

For a balanced plate, you'll want to know about cooking foods other than meat too. Our tester found grilling pineapple yielded excellent results on the Lumin, and the added steamer element is fantastic if you want to cook up frozen veggies on the grill too. 

Another accessory that's very much worth a shoutout with the Lumin is the smoker attachment, which you can use with pellets. However, rather than receiving these pellets upon purchase, you need to track them down yourself to use them. This is a lot less user-friendly in experience than it is with the Ninja Woodfire, but our tester, who has seen the effect first-hand, assures us that the effect is much the same.

Vegetables, namely peppers, on the Ninja Woodfire were easily cooked by our tester and got a nice char to them. Our reviewer also remarked on just how quick the process was too. 

Lumin BBQ open grilling pineapple

(Image credit: Future / Rebecca Knight)

In terms of extras, we've already touched on the best extra you get with the Lumin, which is the steam function that lets you cook meat and veggies from frozen. Those of us who horde great supermarket reductions in our freezer will find that feature very useful indeed.

With the Ninja, the extra cooking functions you get are quite extensive. You can BBQ, smoke, air fry, roast, bake, dehydrate and reheat, using the controls to toggle between each mode. The air frying element is the biggest draw, in my opinion, and worked with great success when our tester tried this BBQ.

The Ninja Woodfire BBQ & Smoker being tested outside at home

(Image credit: Future)

Our reviewer used a scone recipe that usually takes 10-15 minutes to cook, and found that with the phenomenal cooking power of this BBQ, that time was cut in half. It's the kind of power that has people going crazy over Ninja's dual-zone air fryers, so it's great to see it present in this BBQ too. 

Weber Lumin vs Ninja Woodfire: Verdict

There are so many similarities between these two BBQs that it's worth skipping those and reflecting on the differences between the Lumin and the Woodfire. 

The Weber Lumin feels like a more professional unit than the Woodfire; it's for serious grillers who simply need something more convenient fuel-wise, or for those limited by where and how they can BBQ. The steam function, which allows you to defrost burgers and veggies directly on the grill plate safely, was a total game-changer for our reviewer. 

The Ninja Woodfire on the other hand feels a bit more like an entry-level buy, without losing any bang for your buck. The ease of using the smoker pellet element of the Woodfire is a huge draw for helping with smoky flavour, and the added functionality of being able to air fry outside will doubtless be very handy when hosting your next alfresco soiree. 

With all that considered, on the grounds of user-friendliness, functionality and smokiness, I have to say that the Woodfire does slightly edge it for me and take the crown as our favourite electric BBQ option. If you need a bigger BBQ than the current Woodfire can cater to, then the good news is that there's also a bigger version now available to buy, the Ninja Woodfire XL, available for £399.99.

Whichever BBQ you opt for, these electric numbers are sure to open the door for you for a summer of stress-free grilling. Sounds good to us!

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.