Having an outdoor grill gives you a lot of opportunities to make memories with your loved ones—whether you choose to go camping in your backyard or catch up with family and friends over a barbecue party.
Outdoor barbecues may be fun and all, but not so much when you’re the designated griller and there are a lot of people to serve. A big chunk of your time may be taken up by the long wait for the meat to be cooked perfectly. And by the time you’re finished, there might not be enough time or food left for you to enjoy.
This is where an infrared grill could help you. An infrared grill makes use of radiation to cook the food. A heat source like gas heats a grill plate that’s usually made of metal, ceramic, or glass. The heat that comes off from the plate is what cooks the food.
Why Should You Use an Infrared Grill?
An infrared grill could save you a lot of cooking time. It’s engineered to fully heat up in no more than ten minutes. Some more advanced infrared grills can even cook your meat in as fast as two minutes.
An infrared grill is also designed to distribute heat evenly all throughout. This makes your food cook more efficiently and have better taste.
The temperature in an infrared grill is also easier to control. You can easily set it to the desired temperature to grill food perfectly. Since it uses infrared, there’s also a guarantee that there will be no flare-ups that usually occur with other types of grills.
Infrared vs. Gas vs. Charcoal Grills
Here are some points of comparison for different types of grills.
Gas grills usually have the lowest temperature for grilling. The highest temperature you could get from a gas grill would be around 550–600℉. It’s perfect for grilling smaller and thinner portions. It’s also better for tender food like vegetables.
The highest temperature in charcoal grills usually dances around 450–1000℉. It depends on the charcoal you use and whether you cover your grill when cooking. You may use briquettes for slow-cooking meat and lump coal for quickly searing meat dishes.
Infrared grills can grill meat in both low and high temperatures. The hottest that an infrared grill can give is around 1400℉. Because it has temperature controls, you can slow-cook dishes, too. It’s the most versatile option when it comes to temperature.
Gas grills are the most difficult to manage when it comes to heat distribution. Since the flames directly touch the food, it could be cooked unevenly. Searing also proves to be more complicated since there could be hot and cool spots throughout the grill.
Charcoal grills are easier to manage than gas grills. You can just choose to leave some areas without charcoal to distribute the heat more evenly. Later on, when you’re cooling off the food, you can just leave it in the areas without the charcoal.
Infrared grills are engineered to distribute heat evenly across the whole grill. It’s the most consistent type of grill among the three when it comes to heat distribution.
Food cooked in gas grills tends to taste dry. Because fire comes in direct contact with the food, it could drain the juices out of it. Although, some say that the steam that gas grills give off adds moisture to the food.
Charcoal-grilled food also tends to taste dry since it could also drain the juices out. But some people prefer the smokey taste that comes with food cooked on charcoal grills.
Infrared grills don’t drain the juices out of the food since the heat source doesn’t come in direct contact with the food. They cook food well without drying it out, thus preserving the flavor.
As for efficiency, gas grills one up charcoal grills since gas fuel is cheaper than charcoal. You can hook your gas grill to your house’s gas line and you won’t have to worry about running out of gas fuel while grilling. Gas grills are also generally easier to clean up.
Charcoal grills are more portable than gas grills, though. Gas and infrared grills both make us of either propane or natural gas that comes in a tank. Charcoal may be more expensive, but it’s easier to carry compared to a gas tank.
Infrared grills use the least amount of fuel among them. Where gas and charcoal grills already use fuel for long preheating times, infrared grills only take a few minutes to reach the right temperature. And since food cooks faster on infrared grills, it uses less fuel overall.
The cheapest option for an outdoor grill is a charcoal grill. You can already buy a good-quality charcoal grill for about $100–$200. Charcoal is expensive and you might find yourself needing a lot of it for barbecue parties. But even with the cost of charcoal, a charcoal grill is still your cheapest option.
Gas grills range from $150–$450 depending on the quality and features you’re looking for. Gas fuel is cheaper, so even if you invest in an expensive gas grill, it would be worth your money.
One of the not-so-strong points of infrared grills is their price. Some high-quality infrared grills cost well over $1,000. An infrared grill with basic features costs around $350–$500 and they’re usually enough for everyday use.
Who Makes the Best Infrared Grills?
Some famous brands for infrared grills are Char-broil, Napoleon, and Victory.
Char-broil specializes in all types of grills and even smokers and fryers. They also design outdoor kitchens. Char-broil infrared grills have an Amplifire technology that makes use of a special plate to lock in moisture and make the food juicier.
Napoleon works on fireplaces and heating and cooling in homes. They’re also gas experts and infrared grills. They’ve already launched several grill series and all of these are built to last. They use premium steel that’s sturdy, durable, and corrosion-resistant.
Victory grills are built on three main principles—craftsmanship, endurance, and trust. Their grills are designed to balance form with function. These also undergo tests to make sure they’re durable and high-quality. They guarantee that they only sell grills that are sure to satisfy your standards in an outdoor grill.
7 Best Infrared Grills to Complete Your Backyard Setup
Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared Stainless Steel 3-Burner Cart Style Gas Grill
This grill from Char-Broil uses TRU-Infrared cooking technology that prevents flare-ups as you cook your food. You get 450 square inches of cooking space, making it perfect for a small get-together with family and friends.
The grates of the grill are coated with porcelain, making them durable and rust-resistant. They’re also easy to clean.
Char-broil’s Amplifire technology ensures that you get an even heat distribution across the cooking surface. It also has a temperature gauge to make sure you’re cooking at the right temperature.
Napoleon Prestige 665 Propane Gas Grill with Infrared Side & Rear Burners
The Napoleon Prestige grill comes in a 500- and 655-square inch variation. You can also preselect whether you’d want to use natural gas or propane to fire it up.
It comes in a stainless steel design—both inside and out—that’s durable and perfect for long-term outdoor use. You have a choice between black and charcoal grey for the colors, too.
This grill comes with five main burners plus a side and rear burner. It also has Napoleon’s signature wave grids that give beautiful sear marks to your food. There’s also a rotisserie kit included in every purchase of the grill.
You also won’t get flare-ups while using this grill since it has stainless steel plates that catch the drippings that may come from your food.
The whole line of grills from Napoleon’s Prestige series also comes with control knobs that glow when the grill is on. These help you avoid fires caused by accidentally leaving the grill on.
The best thing about this grill is that it has a large surface area that lets you cook meals using eight different styles. They’re perfect for hosting barbecue parties for a large group of people. Just don’t forget about social distancing rules!
Victory 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Infrared Side Burner
Infrared gas grills give you the best of both worlds. It has the efficiency of infrared grills and the power of gas grills combined in one unit. You get to switch up your cooking techniques between the two and come up with dishes that taste and look better.
The lidded right side burner has 12,000 BTUs that could handle searing two steaks at the same time. There are louvers on the back of the grill’s hood that allows you to cook food in low temperatures of 225–250℉.
There are also four hooks on each side of the grill to make tools easier to reach. The enclosed cart storage space is big enough to hold a gas tank plus some other grilling supplies.
Blaze Premium LTE 40-Inch 5-Burner Built-in Natural Gas Grill with Rear Infrared Burner & Grill Lights
If you’re looking more into a grill for your outdoor kitchen rather than for your patio, the Blaze Premium LTE gas grill would be perfect for you. As the name suggests, it’s a premium-quality outdoor built-in grill with a lifetime warranty.
It has a total of 70,000 BTUs from five cast stainless steel burners, making it a powerful grill. It has linear burners which are also made from cast stainless steel. The Blaze Premium LTE gas grill has patented triangle-shaped searing rods for those perfect sear marks. Your food will surely be Instagram-ready every time you cook with this grill.
Korean BBQ Table Grill
If you’re into Korean BBQ nights, this table grill would be perfect for you. With lots of meat choices and side dishes, this table grill can accommodate everything you’d need for a good Korean meal.
The infrared burners of the grill table are coated with cast aluminum powder. They also have removable tiles that you can use as a cover when the grill is not in use. The burners use propane, but they can be converted to natural gas.
The Korean BBQ Table Grill is durable enough to last for generations. It’s a good investment that will also make dinner nights more enjoyable.
GASPRO Multi-Tasking Propane Infrared Outdoor Cooking Master
If you’re planning to do more than just grilling on your patio or an outdoor kitchen, a multi-purpose infrared grill may be a more practical investment.
Its temperature can climb up to 1500℉, allowing you to cook steak within two minutes per side. It also works like an oven in the sense that it has six different levels where you can insert the grilling racks. This allows you to cook different dishes depending on how much heat is needed to cook them. The farther you put the rack from the infrared heat source, the lower the temperature.
The multi-purpose grill comes with a rod grid, grease tray, cast iron griddle, wooden grid tool, silicone oven mitts, and five-foot POL adapter hose. You’d get your value for money with this one. .
Char-Broil Grill2Go x200 TRU-Infrared Portable Gas Grill
While we’re on the topic of portability, here’s another quality grill from Char-Broil. The Grill2Go is made to be convenient to bring in your travels. It has a strong and durable frame made of aluminum. It also has legs that make it sturdy when placed on the ground. The carry handles also make it easier to carry around.
Despite its size, the Grill2Go is just as powerful as other bigger grills when it comes to cooking food. It has 200 square inches of cooking area, making it perfect for a quick camping trip or getaway. This little grill even comes with a temperature gauge so that you can cook your food perfectly.
The Grill2Go is one of the few infrared grills on sale right now.
How to Choose the Best Infrared Grill
Here are the things to look for when choosing the best infrared grill for you.
The main thing to consider when buying an infrared grill is the size. How big of a grill can your patio or backyard accommodate?
Make sure to measure the amount of space you can allow for a grill. It would be a bummer to buy a grill only to find out that it’s too big for your space, wouldn’t it?
Capacity is another important factor in choosing a grill. How many people are you planning to serve at a time? How many dishes are you planning to make in one sitting?
If your main purpose for getting a grill is to have simple dinner nights with your family, you surely wouldn’t need a 665-square inch grill for it. But if you’re planning on hosting barbecue parties often, a bigger grill would be more convenient for you.
Most grills have built-in cabinets below them. At a glance, you can estimate how much can fit in there. But the inside also matters.
Are there a lot of shelves for your grilling ingredients? Are there hooks you can hang your grilling utensils on? Is there enough space for a gas tank and other supplies you might need?
More than that, is the cabinet secure? Remember that grills are often left outside of the house. Make sure the things you store in grill cabinets will be safe.
Infrared grills are placed outdoors all year round. They will be subject to changing weather conditions. They might also be prone to rust, corrosion, and moss.
Look for an infrared grill that’s made of sturdy and durable materials so that they last you a long time. Make sure to regularly clean your grill as well to prevent moss and other outdoor factors from compromising its quality.
The material of your grill is also important to consider. Do you need one that’s made of ceramic or stainless steel? Which would be more durable where you live?
What kind of dishes will you be preparing often? Is a stainless steel infrared grill the best option for you? These are only some of the things to consider.
Arguably one of the most important things to consider is the price of the grill. How much are you willing to spend on an infrared grill? Would you get your money’s worth with the infrared grill you’re planning to buy?
If you cannot afford an infrared grill with your budget, you might want to try other types of grills instead.
The Bottom Line
Infrared grills, at a glance, do cost more. But in the long run, they could prove to be more cost-efficient after all. There is a learning curve to cooking with infrared grills, especially if you’re used to a gas or charcoal grill.
Food cooks quite fast on infrared grills. You might find yourself messing up a few times at first—but that’s okay. Give yourself time to adjust to it and you will see why it’s the best choice in the market these days.
Again, here are the best infrared grills to complete your backyard setup:
- Best Value-For-Money Option: Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared Stainless Steel 3-Burner Cart Style Gas Grill
- Best Premium Infrared Gas Grill: Napoleon Prestige 665 Propane Gas Grill with Infrared Side & Rear Burners
- Best All-Around Infrared Grill: Victory 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill with Infrared Side Burner
- Best Built-In Grill: Blaze Premium LTE 40-Inch 5-Burner Built-in Natural Gas Grill with Rear Infrared Burner & Grill Lights
- Best Table Grill: Korean BBQ Table Grill
- Best Multi-Purpose Grill: GASPRO Multi-Tasking Propane Infrared Outdoor Cooking Master
- Best Portable Grill: Char-Broil Grill2Go x200 TRU-Infrared Portable Gas Grill
I love sharing my passion for BBQ with people who are new to cooking outdoors. We’re a family of foodies with a passion for grilling, BBQ and all things meat. We love what we do and we look forward to showing you.