Balcony-friendly BBQs are the latest innovation in outdoor cooking this summer

No garden, no problem as the rise of balcony-friendly BBQs mean you can still enjoy a burger in the sun

Lumin BBQ
(Image credit: Weber)

If you’ve been counting down the days until it’s warm enough for you to justify bringing out your BBQ, you’re not the only one. In the past few months, there has been a surge in the number of people searching for balcony-safe BBQs, with searches for electric BBQs up 267% compared to this time last year, according to John Lewis & Partners.

If you’ve not got a garden and working with balcony garden ideas, you may have assumed that you wouldn’t be able to indulge in a spot of al fresco cooking. But ‘with an increase in urban living, grilling on your balcony is the way forward,’ proposes Caitlin Wood, Assistant Marketing Manager at George Foreman. And we have to agree.

The Ninja Woodfire BBQ & Smoker being tested outside at home

(Image credit: Future)

‘We’ve noticed a huge increase in requests for indoor/outdoor BBQs, with people looking to maximise their BBQ time without having to rely on having a big garden or the unpredictable sunshine staying put,’ reveals Josh Novell, Director and BBQ expert at Polhill Garden Centre.

‘This form of grilling presents more opportunities for versatility, and provides those with very limited outdoor spaces - like balconies or shared outdoor areas - with the opportunity to enjoy a summertime BBQ from the comfort of their own home.’

So, whether you only have a balcony or small patio to work with, we’re sharing the reasons why you should consider a balcony-friendly BBQ, as well as our top picks – we’ve even found a BBQ that can be used indoors as well as outdoors.

Why you should opt for a balcony-friendly grill or BBQ 

Compact size

As you may expect, a balcony-friendly BBQ is typically smaller than one you would have in your garden or as part of a large outdoor kitchen on your patio. ‘These grills are often narrower, shallower, and have a smaller footprint, allowing them to be placed in smaller areas without taking up excessive space,’ declares BBQ expert and Commercial Director of Green Olive Firewood, Dan McCarthy.

Some balcony-friendly BBQs even feature vertical designs, which means that the grilling area is stacked vertically instead of horizontally.

‘This design maximises the use of vertical space, allowing for a smaller footprint while still providing enough grilling area. These grills are often taller and slimmer, making them suitable for balconies with limited floor space,’ reports Dan.

Some of the BBQs such as the Webber Lumin come in a range of sizes, including a dedicated small compact size created specifically for smaller outdoor spaces. Many of them also come without stands so you can customise your mini outdoor kitchen to fit your space.

Cuckooland Lotus Grill BBQ in Plum with Free Fire Lighter Gel & Charcoal

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

Portability

What is so great about balcony-friendly BBQs is the fact that they can easily be moved from one place to another. These types of grills often come with handles, wheels or collapsible features.

So, if you’re planning a park or beach picnic with friends, going camping or don’t have a lot of space to store your BBQ when it's not in use, a balcony-friendly grill could be the best option for you.

Electric power

Ninja Woodfire Outdoor BBQ & Smoker

(Image credit: Ninja)

John Lewis & Partners alone have seen sales of the sell-out Ninja Woodfire Electric BBQ Grill & Smoker – which we reviewed last month – increase by more than 70%, compared to the week before.

Because the Woodfire and similar BBQ like the Weber Lumin run using electric power, this means, ‘no charcoal, gas or flames, making it safe to use on balconies, patios, and terraces, or in gardens, campsites, and other small outdoor spaces,’ suggests Karen Sime, Partner and Electrical Buyer at John Lewis & Partners.

Indoor/outdoor BBQs

We never thought we would see a BBQ that you can safely use indoors as well as outdoors but it is now a reality. Both George Foreman and Tower Housewares have great options which will save you from huddling outside over the BBQ with an umbrella during an unexpected rain shower.

During the colder months or rainy weather, you can grill indoors, while they can also be taken outside to make the most of the sunshine. Thanks to their collapsible stands, ‘you can create a freestanding grill set up, or leave it off to place the grill directly on your countertop or table for a ‘cook your own’ grilling experience,’ says the team at George Foreman. And that certainly sounds like the best of both worlds to us.

We also love the fact that they have a removable non-stick grill plate, which makes it a lot easier to clean than a traditional BBQ.

George Foreman indoor outdoor bbq grill

(Image credit: George Foreman)

How to safely use a balcony-friendly or indoor/outdoor grill this summer

‘BBQ safety is important - whether you’re in a spacious outdoor area of barbequing in a small space, like a tiny garden, patio or balcony,’ says Josh.

‘When you’re working with a small space - particularly one that transitions indoors - it is more important than ever to be aware of BBQ safety.’ 

So, here are a few safety guidelines to keep in mind.

1. Ventilate the area – but keep an eye on the wind

‘If you’re using a BBQ not specifically designed for indoor use, it’s really important to ensure your balcony is open and well-ventilated for any fumes or smoke to escape easily,’ reveals Caitlin.

However, ‘grilling in exposed areas when there are winds can lead to flare ups in your grill, which can be much more of a risk in smaller settings,’ affirms Josh.

‘Try to grill out of the wind wherever possible. If you’re unable to do this, leave the lid up when searing or grilling any fatty meat that is likely to lead to a flare up,’ he adds.

Tower Housewares Electric Indoor / Outdoor BBQ

(Image credit: Tower Housewares)

2. Make sure the area is clear of any hazards

It may seem like common sense but you’ll want to ensure that there is plenty of clear space overhead, wherever you choose to position your BBQ. ‘This means no trees, shrubs, awnings or other objects above the BBQ grilling area,’ proposes Josh.

You’ll also want to take down any washing lines or airers. The same can be said for any hanging decorations, which could pose a fire risk.

If you’re using an extension cord to power your indoor grill out on the balcony, make sure to unwind it fully so that it doesn’t overheat when you’re grilling or pose a trip hazard.

Sausages cooking on Lumin BBQ

(Image credit: Future / Rebecca Knight)

‘Many balcony-friendly or indoor-outdoor BBQs are also designed with safety features such as smokeless grilling technology, built-in temperature control, or flameless electric grills,’ adds Dan. ‘These features help minimise the risks associated with open flames or excessive smoke, making them suitable for indoor or confined spaces.’

All that’s left to do is to decide what to cook first on the grill this year.

Ellis Cochrane
Contributor

Ellis Cochrane has been a Freelance Contributor for Ideal Home since 2023. She graduated with a Joint Honours degree in Politics and English from the University of Strathclyde and between her exams and graduation, started a lifestyle blog where she would share what she was buying, reading and doing. In doing so, she created opportunities to work with some of her dream brands and discovered the possibility of freelance writing, after always dreaming of writing for magazines when she was growing up.


Since then, she has contributed to a variety of online and print publications, covering everything from celebrity news and beauty reviews to her real passion; homes and interiors. She started writing about all things homes, gardens and interiors after joining Decor & Design Scotland as a Freelance Journalist and Social Media Account Manager in 2021. She then started freelancing at House Beautiful, Country Living and in Stylist’s Home team. Ellis is currently saving to buy her first home in Glasgow with far too many Pinterest boards dedicated to her many design ideas and inspirations.