There’s nothing quite like firing up the grill a Saturday evening. Whether it’s burgers and hot dogs, grilled veggies, fish, or something else completely, grilling is one of America’s favorite pastimes. However, there are many instances where grilling outdoors just isn’t possible. It might be the depths of winter, or it could be pouring down rain. You might not have enough room to grill outside, or you could be looking for a healthier alternative to cooking with fire. Whatever the case, indoor grills give you the ability to bring your grilling indoors, and many of them can actually up your game by quite a bit. Of course, with the significant number of models on the market, it can be hard to determine which is best for you. We can help. Below, we offer a head-to-head comparison chart, followed by in-depth reviews of each grill that made our list. We’ll follow that up with an in-depth buying guide to help you understand various features and functions, and ensure that you’re able to make an informed decision for your culinary needs.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Indoor Grill of 2020
- 1.1 Hamilton Beach 25360 Electric Smokeless Indoor Grill
- 1.2 Cuisinart GR-300WS Griddler Elite Grill
- 1.3 Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill
- 1.4 Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
- 1.5 Philips Smoke-Less Indoor Grill HD6371
- 1.6 T-Fal OptiGrill Indoor Grill
- 1.7 George Foreman GRP4842MB Multi-Plate Evolve Grill
- 1.8 Zojirushi EB-CC15 Indoor Electric Grill
- 1.9 Cuisinart Grid-180SAL Indoor/Outdoor Grill
- 2 Finding the Best Indoor Grill for You: A Buyer’s Guide
- 3 In Conclusion
The Best Indoor Grill of 2020
There are quite a few options listed above, and none of them is remotely the same. Many are barely similar, other than offering the ability to grill burgers, hotdogs, fish and more. To further help you identify the best options for your needs, we’ll run through an in-depth review of each model to highlight the pros and cons for you.
Hamilton Beach 25360 Electric Smokeless Indoor Grill
We’ll begin our discussion with the Hamilton Beach 25360 Electric Smokeless Indoor Grill. There are quite a few reasons why this one tops our list, but the most important is this – it is the best for mimicking an outdoor grill in many ways. Most grills of this style have dual heating elements, one above and one below. This unit only offers a single element on the bottom. The top is simply a hood, similar to the lid on an outdoor grill, designed primarily to help keep smoke and heat in. It offers good temperature range with the ability to put a high temperature seal on your steaks and chops, and most of this grill can actually be washed. The hood, drip tray and plate are all removable, and can be washed in the dishwasher. The handy indicator lights tell you when the heat is up to temp, and the plate is nonstick so you don’t have to worry about your meal sticking to the grill rather than your ribs. This unit is also quite compact and can be stored away easily when not in use.
Cuisinart GR-300WS Griddler Elite Grill
Looking for something that will handle serious cooking needs, and offers plenty of variety in terms of cooking methods? Enter the Cuisinart GR-300WS Griddler Elite Grill. Made from stainless steel for better durability, this grill offers two removable anodized aluminum heat plates. One side is a traditional flat griddle, and the other side offers a grilling capabilities. One thing that makes this a standout indoor grill is the fact that you can open it completely – the top folds back to give you double your cooking surface, with the handle acting as a support. The lid also offers sign different height adjustments so you always get the perfect level of doneness. Between the two removable/flip-able plates, the height adjustments, and the ability to double the grilling area, you can grill, griddle, create paninis, and much more, all with one machine. This indoor grill can reach and easily maintain 450 degrees F, and a single push of the sear button jumps that up to 500 degrees to lock in the juices of your steaks. The digital readout makes everything easy to see, and the controls could not be simpler to use. However, it is one of the heaviest grills on our list.
Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill
Taking a cue from the Cuisinart we just reviewed, the Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill offers some familiar features, as well as a couple of unique capabilities. Like the Cuisinart, this indoor grill can open completely up and fold flat, doubling your cooking space. It can also reach and maintain 450 degrees, with a 500-degree sear function. The lid also features six height settings, and the drip tray is removable and can be easily washed. The plates can be removed and are likewise dishwasher safe. One side of the plates is flat, for griddling, while the other side is ridged to create grill marks if you prefer. It offers the same number of cooking options as the Cuisinart, between top-melt, panini, half-grill, etc. This model also offers a plate tilt function so that you can get just the degree of browning you want on bread or melting with cheese. This is one of the most versatile indoor grills on our list, and can be used for just about anything, from burgers to paninis, to bacon and pancakes. Don’t want to stand around and watch your food cook? Hit the timer and you can come back when the unit cuts off. The digital readout on the front is also clearly legible, ensuring that you can always see the most important information. Perhaps the most important benefit of this unit is that the heating elements are embedded in the plates – this is its only claim to fame that cannot be found on the Cuisinart. Embedding the elements offers better control and directionality over the heat, ensuring faster cooking and less heat loss.
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler
Don’t want the capabilities of the full-sized Griddler? Cuisinart makes another version that also offers five-in-one functionality. The Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler is smaller than its larger sibling, but no less capable. Like the larger version, this one can work as a grill, a griddle, a panini press, a half grill/griddle, and more. It lacks the digital controls of the larger grill, but gives you two temperature control knobs and a central function selector. With two 11 x 9 plates, you can easily cook four burgers at a time, and the stainless steel construction ensures strength and durability for a long use life. The plates can be removed and washed in the dishwasher, as can the drip tray. Finally, like the larger Griddler, the GR-4N can fold completely open, doubling your cooking space. It offers 1500 watts of power to help maintain accurate temperatures while cooking, as well.
Philips Smoke-Less Indoor Grill HD6371
Looking for an indoor grill that more closely resembles an outdoor model? While this one does fit on a tabletop, it doesn’t have a closable lid. Instead, the Philips Smoke-Less Indoor Grill offers a wide, flat cooking surface more akin to a charcoal or gas grilling surface. The base is made from plastic, but the grill itself is metal. One of the more interesting aspects of this indoor grill model is that it uses infrared technology and reflectors mounted inside the plastic base to cook your food, rather than a traditional electric heating element. This offers more even cooking, with fewer hotspots. There is a drip tray located at the bottom that prevents any drippings from contacting hot parts of the grill and smoking. It runs on 120 volts, so it will operate on a standard household outlet, and it offers 1660 watts of cooking power, meaning that while it falls below the capabilities of most grills we’ve reviewed, it still packs a pretty decent punch. The maximum sustained temperature with this model is 446 degrees, allowing you to cook virtually any food, and even put a light sear on steaks and chops. The metal cooking grid is dishwasher safe, and the plastic bottom features non-slip feet for better security while it’s in use.
T-Fal OptiGrill Indoor Grill
You might know the T-Fal brand better for their line of cookware, but the company does offer a number of other products, including the OptiGrill Indoor Grill. This model offers stainless steel construction for durability and a familiar folding form factor. The controls are located on the large handle used to open and close the grill, although you won’t find any temperature notations. Instead, you have access to a power button and six preset cooking options, along with a large wheel that allows you to choose the doneness that you want. This lack of granular control is one reason that it’s rated lower down the list than some other options. The six presets include one for burgers, poultry, sandwiches (paninis and the like), sausage, red meat, and another for fish. With 600 square centimeters of cooking space, this is one of the smaller indoor grills on our list, but it still offers a decent amount of cooking capacity. You’ll find a decent sized drip tray, but it fits in the front, rather than the rear, making it easier to bump while in use, so be warned. One interesting feature that you’ll enjoy with this indoor grill is the option to choose whether you’re cooking fresh food or frozen food. The plates are made from diecast aluminum and are removable. Both the plates and the drip tray can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
George Foreman GRP4842MB Multi-Plate Evolve Grill
George Foreman is one of the most recognized forces within the indoor grilling world, and he put his name on some of the earliest models to come to market. Today, his grills continue to push the envelope in terms of functions, features, and even format. The George Foreman GRP4842MB Multi-Plate Evolve Grill is no exception. Perhaps the only knock against this particular model is that it is made from plastic, which means that it will not hold up as well against drops and other damage. It does offer three-in-one capabilities, allowing you to grill, make paninis, and even doubling as a waffle maker. The grill also uses ceramic-coated metal plates, rather than aluminum, to deliver better stick resistance. Both plates are removable and can be washed in the dishwasher. The grill is also pretty powerful, with the ability to reach and maintain 450 degrees F, and even sear your meats at 500 degrees (90 second sear capabilities). One reason that this grill does not rank any higher on our list is the control format – you have a power button, and timer/temp adjustment buttons, combined with a digital readout. While they work perfectly well, the buttons can be slippery to use if your hands are greasy, unlike the knobs found with most other models on our list.
Zojirushi EB-CC15 Indoor Electric Grill
If you want to go a slightly different route with your indoor grilling, consider the Zojirushi EB-CC15 Indoor Electric Grill. This is a relatively no-frills model, although it does command a higher price than what you might expect from a quick once over. At first glance, this grill really looks like nothing more than an old-style electric griddle that has had the griddle plate replaced by a grilling plate. That is reinforced by the plastic base and the removable power cord with an adjustable temperature knob. Despite this, the Zojirushi does offer some important features to be aware of. For instance, the handles and housing remain cool to the touch even during prolonged cooking, and there is plenty of grilling surface available. The entire thing disassembles for easier cleaning. Note that only the drip tray is dishwasher safe, though – the grilling surface is hand wash only. It also does not reach the temperatures that most of the other grills on our list can. The temperature range here is 176 to 410, with no sear capability. With that being said, the grill-style cooking surface does help move oils and grease away from your food for healthier eating.
Cuisinart Grid-180SAL Indoor/Outdoor Grill
The final entry on our list is from a familiar name – Cuisinart. However, this one is dramatically different from the other Cuisinart grills we’ve looked at. The Grid-180SAL is designed for indoor and outdoor use, and more closely resembles a traditional standing grill than anything else. It features a tall plastic stand to bring your grill up to a comfortable cooking height while standing, and to keep it off the ground or the floor of your deck if you choose to cook outdoors. Don’t let that fool you, though. The upper portion detaches so that you can cook on a tabletop or counter if you prefer. This model also works more like a traditional grill than the others we’ve covered from Cuisinart – there is only a single grill/griddle plate. The domed lid acts more like a hood for keeping heat in, and can be lifted completely away if you prefer. This grill does offer a decent amount of cooking space, though, although it does not reach the same temperatures as the Griddler series. The included control probe reads temperatures from 200 to 400 degrees F, and the cooking plate is removable and dishwasher safe.
There you have them – some of the best performing indoor grills on the market. Whether you want to cook a couple of burgers every now and then, or you want a dedicated grill/griddle that you can take with you to major functions, there’s something for just about every need, taste and budget. Of course, if you’ve never purchased an indoor grill before, you might need a bit more guidance when choosing the perfect option for you. Our buyer’s guide below will walk you through some of the most important features and capabilities to look for.
Finding the Best Indoor Grill for You: A Buyer’s Guide
There’s nothing like firing up the grill and slapping on a couple of thick, juicy steaks. Or, maybe you’re interested in grilling up some delicious burgers, or it could be that chops, kebabs, or even roasted veggies are more your style. Whatever the case, you can’t deny the delicious results of outdoor grilling. You also cannot deny the fact that it’s not always possible to grill outside.
Gas and charcoal grills are wonderful, but limited. Rain, cold weather, and even travel can all mean that you’re stuck eating something you’d rather not. Never again – indoor grills let you take your grilling capabilities into the home, and even on the road! Not sure what to look for when buying an indoor grill, though? No worries; we can help. We’ll walk you through some of the most important features, capabilities, and other considerations to make sure that you’re buying the right grill for you.
As you can see from the models included in our list of the best indoor grills, there are several different form factors, or shapes, available with indoor grills. The most common is a folding design, with two cooking plates, one on top and another on bottom. Less common are folding designs that open fully flat, allowing you to double your cooking area. The Cuisinart Griddler series is a good example of this form factor, but there are others out there, such as the lone Breville model we included in our indoor grill review. There are also flat grills that more closely resemble a traditional griddle or outdoor grill.
There are only a few things to know here. One, you cut your cooking time in half with a closing grill that features an upper and lower heated plate, as your meat cooks from both the top and bottom. Most folding grills also offer additional cooking capabilities, such as paninis, or waffles. However, there is a better chance of overcooking your food, leading to dry meats. There is the fact that some folding grills allow you to turn off either the top or bottom plate to reduce the amount of energy used during operation.
Cooking Surface Area
The amount of cooking surface is a very important consideration. Most of the models we included did not list their cooking surface, so we estimated them for you, but some companies, including Cuisinart, did list their surface area. Simply put, the more cooking surface area you have, the more food you can cook at one time. Of course, the larger the cooking surface, the longer you’ll need to wait for the grill to hit peak temperature, and the more energy it will pull in maintaining temperature. The best option here is to buy a grill that offers enough cooking surface for your usual needs, rather than shooting for a larger grill than you’ll need on a regular basis.
The term “construction material” really applies to the body of the grill itself, since all plates are made from metal with various coatings (ceramic, anodized aluminum, etc.). Our list includes grills with two different types of construction material – stainless steel and plastic. If you want something that will stand the test of time, be able to survive hard knocks, and look great, then stainless steel is the best choice.
If you want something that’s light, portable, and easy to deal with at all times, plastic is the material for you. Yes, stainless steel is beautiful and incredibly durable. However, it can be very heavy, particularly if the grill is large. Plastic, on the other hand, is thin enough that even larger grills are pretty lightweight, depending on the size and configuration of the cooking plates.
“Cooking options” refers to the number of ways you can use an indoor grill. For instance, a flat grill with only a grilling plate can be used pretty much for just one thing – conventional grilling. However, a grill with a reversible plate that offers a flat griddle surface and a grilling surface can allow you to cook a number of different things, including bacon and eggs, pancakes, and even paninis (hot sandwiches).
Folding grills with dual reversible plates generally offer the most cooking options, with the largest Cuisinart Griddler being the most versatile on our list. Our recommendation is to know what you’re most likely to use the grill for, and then buy with that in mind, always comparing price. For instance, there’s little point in buying a grill that allows you to cook waffles if you’re never going to use that feature and it comes at a higher price point than another comparable model.
Temperature is a very important consideration with any indoor grill. You want a grill that will be able to reach a temperature high enough to cook your food safely (particularly meats), but you also want one that offers a decent range of temps so that you can control the cooking process to your tastes. Most of the grills on our list top out around 450 degrees, but some fall a bit short of that, meaning that cooking some meats will take longer, and that you may not get the exterior appearance that you want. Searing at 500 degrees is needed to get that crust we all love so much on our steaks, but this feature isn’t available on all models. Also, remember that higher temperatures mean more pull on the electricity. Our advice here is to purchase a model that gives you the most control over the widest range of temperatures so that you are always at the helm, and you can achieve the doneness and exterior appearance that you want for your meals.
With a conventional gas grill, you can control flame height, and thereby the amount of heat. With indoor grills, you control the amount of resistance in the heating element, thereby controlling the amount of heat. However, the way that you do that varies from model to model. Some offer easy-to-use knobs, while others offer buttons. Our recommendation is to go with a model that you’ll always find easy to use, even if your hands are greasy, or you’re in a hurry. Buttons are great, but they’re not always the easiest to use. In addition, they do tend to wear out over time, whereas knobs will work for years without a problem.
Of course, you also need to consider other things when it comes to the controls available on your grill. Do you want to be able to control the temperature in a granular way, or do you just want a general idea of how hot the grill is? Do you want to be able to dial in the perfect cooking temperature for your chops, or would you rather use a preset button?
How much control do you really want over the cooking process? Determine this, and then look at grill models that fall into that area. Again, some of the models we’ve reviewed give you more control than you do over your stovetop, but others largely automate the cooking process, with very little control for the cook.
With a gas or charcoal grill, you know that the surface is ready for cooking by using an ambient air thermometer, or by judging the color of the coals underneath. With electric grills, you don’t have those abilities. Indicator lights are usually provided to give you access to this and other important information.
At the bare minimum, you’ll want a grill with an on/off indicator light. If it’s lit up, then the grill is on. If it’s dark, then the grill is off. If you are buying a folding grill with the ability to turn one plate on and the other off, you’ll want dual power indicator lights.
However, there are other indicators lights that you might want. For instance, while an on/off light will tell you that the grill is operating, a light that changes from orange to green when the grilling surface reaches the desired temperature will help ensure better safety while cooking raw meat, but also help you achieve the tastiest results possible.
For models with dual cooking plates, you’ll want a preheat/ready light for each plate as they do not heat at exactly the same rate. Other lights that you might benefit from having include on/off lights with the sear function, as well as plate selector lights to tell you which plates are currently operating.
To be clear, not all models offer any sort of readout. The simplest indoor grills will provide control knobs and indicator lights, with few other frills. That’s more than enough for some cooks. However, you might benefit from an illuminated readout that offers easy visibility for important information, such as the current cooking function selected, the amount of time remaining on the timer, and whether or not the upper and lower plates are ready.
When it’s all said and done, indoor grilling can be just as enjoyable (and tasty) as traditionally outdoor cooking. It just requires the right tools. Use our indoor grill reviews and comparisons, and our buyer’s guide to help you narrow down your options to the best grill for you and your cooking goals.