The Best BBQ’s For Every Grilling Occasion
It’s finally summer! With the promise of hotter weather on the horizon, you can finally head outside, pull off the cover off your barbecue that’s been sitting idle all year long, and get grilling at last.
Now, we don’t know about you, but we have a hunch that this summer is going to be the best on record! England has made it through to the knockouts (is it too soon to say it’s coming home?), the sun is desperately trying to make an appearance, and the school holidays are well in sight - now that’s cause for celebration! Of course, no summer shindig is complete without a BBQ, and we’ve put together this guide to help you find the perfect lean, mean, grilling machine!
Yes, whether you just can’t resist the mouth-wateringly moreish taste of gas-grilled cuisine or have been longing for the smoky, charred flavours you can only ever get from a charcoal BBQ, this guide is packed full of tempting choices to add to your al fresco arsenal. Burger buns, ketchup, and beers at the ready: BBQ season has begun - and we just can’t wait to get the grill fired up!
What are the different types of BBQs?
From charcoal to gas and even electric, there are so many shapes and styles of barbecues to choose from, so it’s important to know the differences between each of them before you make your decision. Not too sure what sets them apart from one another? Here’s a brief overview of the wonderful world of grilling machines:
- Charcoal BBQs: Perhaps the most traditional (and loved!) method of grilling, charcoal BBQs cook your food using piping hot glowing embers. This gives your food that classic, smoky taste that epitomises the summer season. Most models have tiered grill sections that allow you to increase or decrease the heat intensity to suit the particular food you're cooking (the closer the grill to the heat source, the higher the temperature). On the subject of heat sources, you’ll need to grab yourself some charcoal briquettes and matches to get this beauty fired up. Once lit and the charcoal has turned white all over, it’s time to get grilling!
- Gas BBQs: Unlike charcoal alternatives, gas barbecues have a simple push-button ignition that’ll give you flames instantly, so there’ll be no time spent waiting for it to heat up. Overall, they tend to cook food more evenly than some of the other variations, and there’s much less risk of burning. Also, you won’t have any ash to clean up, so a gas BBQ is incredibly easy to maintain. Some models even allow you to set different temperatures at different parts of the grill, which is perfect for cooking various types of food at once. Easy-to-use, adjustable, and instant, gas barbecues are ideal for first-timers or larger gatherings - you won’t have to contend with hordes of hungry guests with one of these in your al fresco arsenal!
- Electric BBQs: A lesser known yet wonderful alternative to the others, an electric BBQ has earned a reputation for being the healthiest way to grill. So, if you’re focused on cooking food in the healthiest way possible or trying to lose those lockdown-induced pounds (without having to sacrifice tasty summertime treats), this is the BBQ for you! Simply plug it into a mains outlet, and you’re ready to get grilling - it’s really that simple! Of course, they may not give you the same smoky flavour that the other grills provide, but in terms of ease of use and health, this is the best option of the lot.
Take your grilling game to the next level
Remember, when it comes to barbecued banquets, flavour comes first! If you’re using a charcoal BBQ, why not add some flavour-packed wood chips? These little beauties will smoke your grub to perfection, intensifying that indulgent and utterly moreish smoky taste. To use, simply soak the wood in water for about two hours prior to grilling, add them directly onto the hot charcoal lumps, and discover new worlds of delicious flavours!
No matter what type of BBQ you choose, you’ll need to grab some utensils to make the cooking process a breeze. The tools you’ll need will depend largely on the food you’re cooking, but we recommend stocking up on all the essentials to prepare you for any eventuality. Bingeing on burgers? You’ll need a spatula to flip them Spongebob-style. Hankering for hot dogs? A pair of tongs will help you get the perfect char all over. Got a penchant for pulled pork sliders? Grab a fork or barbecue claws to effortlessly strip the meat. For the ultimate flavour bomb, you’ll want to regularly infuse your food with marinades as they cook - and a basting brush is the perfect tool for the job.
To live the true chef fantasy, don’t forget to wear an apron! We recommend going for one with pockets to hold your set of tools for easy access, but anything that will prevent fat from spitting onto your finest garden party clothes will suffice. Oven gloves are also a good idea, particularly if you’re working with a charcoal barbecue that tends to get hot all over.
Finally, condiments are king, so make sure you stock up on sauces before you get grilling. Crowd-pleasers, such as ketchup, mayo, and mustard, are a must, but you could also delight your guests with even more tasty temptations. Take a garden salad to new heights with a selection of delicious dressings, add a fiery burst of flavour with bottles of hot sauce, make your burgers boujee with some chutney - the list really does go on and on!
Let’s get grilling!
Tongs at the ready - it’s time to delve deeper into some of the best BBQs available on the market right now! To help you make the right decision for your wants, needs, and budget, we’ve gone through each of our choices one by one, listing off their strengths and weaknesses. We’ve even categorised our list by type, to make your life a little easier. Ready for the best BBQ season yet? You will be soon!
Gas grills galore!
If you’ve been in the market for a new gas barbecue for a while, you’ll already know there’s an endless list of models to choose from. But how on earth do you figure out which one is right for you? To narrow down your choice, we’ve compared two of our favourite gas grilling machines. Oh, and the best part? They won’t break the bank!
Pros: Features four main burners and one handy small burner for sides, can be fueled either by butane or propane, warming rack included
Cons: Wheels could become unstable and break in inclement weather, self-assembly required
Size: H104.5 x W47.5 x L129.5cm
Perfect for summer family BBQs or hosting an impromptu feast with your pals, this gas barbecue has enough grilling space to cater for everyone - and more!
Featuring four premium main burners for the main event and one clever small burner for sides, you’ll have no trouble cooking up a feast fit for a king. Also, the abundance of space means you won’t be struggling to keep certain food items away from others, so no matter if you’re cooking for veggies, vegans or meat eaters - this BBQ has you covered.
As well as the main grilling area and handy side grill, this brilliant barbecue comes with a food storage shelf to keep your grub warm while you’re finishing off the rest of the feast. Yes, no waiting between courses or worrying about food getting cold with this grilling wonder - you can stun your guests with a smorgasbord of tasty treats all at once!
Even better, this gas BBQ can be fuelled by either butane or propane, so you’ll be ready to grill no matter what gas you’ve got to hand - bonus!
Although a great barbecue when up and running, this grill does require some self-assembly. While this might not be an issue for those with a little DIY wherewithal, you may need to enlist the help of a savvy specialist to help you get it up and working safely if you don’t know your screws from your spanners! Also, the wheels - while ideal for portability - can become unstable over time and, if left outside and open to the elements, could become brittle. Never fear, though: simply use a protective cover once it has cooled or keep it safely stored away in your shed when not in use to negate this minor downside.
Pros: Boasts six burners - perfect for feeding big families, stylish stainless steel exterior, integrated thermometer for accurate cooking
Cons: Self-assembly is required, silver exterior is prone to mucky fingerprint marks if not cleaned regularly, gas hose and a pressure regulator not included
Size: H98 x W55 x L102cm
Calling all budding barbecue chefs: Are you looking for an all-in-one garden kitchen to up your grilling game? If so, you’ll absolutely love this gorgeous gas BBQ grill from vidaXL! A kitchen on wheels, this gas barbecue includes everything you’d find in a standard BBQ, as well as a bottom shelf for storing accessories and an added cover to protect the grill from rain and dust - bonus!
Made from durable stainless steel, this BBQ will provide years of mouth-watering banquets to come - provided the grillmaster doesn’t burn the sausages! However, if you are prone to cremating your creations, don’t fret: this gas barbecue even comes with a built-in temperature gauge to help make cooking a breeze!
On the downside, this BBQ requires self-assembly, which may be a difficult and time-consuming task for some. In order to connect your barbecue up to a canister, you’ll also need to buy a gas hose and pressure regulator separately, as these are not included with the grill itself. The silver exterior, while incredibly stylish, is also prone to grease marks and dirt, meaning it may require a little more maintenance to keep it looking its best. However, with some handy cleaning tools to hand, you’ll be able to blast away grub and grime in no time at all, so it’s certainly not a deal-breaker!
Craving chargrilled grub?
For a taste and texture that simply screams ‘summer’, it has to be a charcoal BBQ! From family-sized barbies to smaller models for more modest outdoor spaces, we’ve compared three of our favourite charcoal grills to help you find the best one for you. Lords of Tongs and Ladies of Turners assemble: your al fresco appliances just got a whole lot hotter!
Pros: Variable grill temperature options, foldable side shelf, handy integrated bottle opener
Cons: Self-assembly required so may prove difficult to put together, metal construction may not be the most durable if left exposed to the elements
Size: H107 x W65 x L115cm
Picture the scene: The sun is scorching, the beers are flowing, the kids are playing in the paddling pool, and you’re cooking up a storm on your very own charcoal barbecue from tectake. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Make your dreams a reality and snap up this feature-packed beauty today! Yes, this brilliant BBQ comes with a variety of nifty features to help make your life easier, including a foldable side shelf, built-in ash drawer, thermometer, and even an integrated bottle opener to keep the bevvies flowing all day long. Not only that, you can even change the temperature intensity on the fly with a simple crank of a lever, so you can wave goodbye to scalded sausages and burnt burgers forever!
No access to an area to house all your tools, accessories, and food? That’s not a problem with this barbecue! You can use the side shelf to store your grub so it’s ready and waiting for grilling, and you can use the shelf underneath to store your tools for easy access - pretty useful, right? The features don’t end there, though: it even comes with two large wheels, making transporting this barbecue from one area of your garden to another a total breeze.
Unfortunately, as with most barbecues, this grill does require self-assembly, so you won’t be able to start grilling right away. However, assembly is relatively simple and it does come with easy-to-follow instructions. On a slightly more negative note however, the metal construction isn’t the most durable (particularly when up against the fickle British weather!). Of course, if you used a cover or kept it stored in a sheltered area when not in use, you could combat this issue with ease - but it’s certainly worth noting if you’re prone to forgetting to pack your garden gubbins away at the end of the day.
Pros: 2-in-1 gas and charcoal barbecue, features three burners and cabinets to store BBQ supplies, comes with a built-in thermometer
Cons: On the pricier side compared to alternatives, no separate small burner to cook sides
Size: H101 x W52.5 x L159cm
Can’t choose between a gas or charcoal BBQ? Why not get yourself one that can do both? Yes, these multifunctional marvels do exist - and we just can’t resist this one from the garden specialists at HEATSURE!
The epitome of lean, mean, grilling machine, this barbecue gives you the ability to cook your food by gas or by charcoal, and it comes with three burners that give you tons of space to cook food for everybody. What’s more, it even features a built-in thermometer that shows you the temperature of the grill, allowing you to ensure that each moreish morsel is cooked to perfection.
Not only that, this beast boasts storage cabinets and shelves to house all of your BBQ and kitchen supplies, from condiments and cutlery to tableware and tools - pretty nifty! While it may not have any additional burners to cook sides, it does have two foldable side tables that make plating up a breeze. And, yes, it even comes with wheels, making for effortless manoeuvering.
The only real downside to this barbecue is its price... it’s definitely at the more expensive end of the spectrum compared to some of the other models included in this list. However, for the endless list of features and functions it offers, we can forgive the higher price tag - you won’t find these in a bargain buy, that’s for sure!
Pros: Compact design - perfect for small spaces, lightweight and portable, fully adjustable grill
Cons: Max height of only 50cm is very small, lacks almost all of the added features that previous BBQs in this guide boast
Size: H50 x W34 x L34cm
A cheap and efficient portable BBQ is all some people need to host a sizzling summer get-together - and this little beauty from Kingfisher won’t let you down! Small in size with a small price tag to match, this barbecue is ideal for those on a budget or for those who have a more modest outdoor area to work with.
Made out of lightweight steel, this barbecue doesn’t need wheels to be moved around with ease. Not to mention, the compact design is ideal for transport. Hey, you could even take it down to the beach for a spot of seaside dining or bring it with you to the park for a picnic like no other if you really wanted to! What’s more, this portable barbecue has a fully adjustable grill, meaning you’ll have no trouble changing the heat intensity if you need to - no burnt burgers here, thank you very much!
Unfortunately, the design is both a pro and a con with this grill. While it's great in terms of portability, it’s not so suitable for larger gatherings where lots of food is required. Of course, you could still cook for a wealth of people, but they’ll have to wait considerably longer than if you were working with something a little more generous. You’ll also need to make sure that the coals can hold their heat long enough to cook all your grub properly. The maximum height is also a miniscule 50cm, meaning that many budding BBQ chefs would have to bend over or sit down during cooking. It’s not the end of the world by any means, but it’s certainly something to note if you struggle with lower back pain.
When it comes to additional features, this barbecue is the ‘no frills’ choice. It comes with the basic essentials and nothing else to really write home about. Sure, this is more than enough if you’re a casual chef that’s looking for a barbie that won’t break the bank, but it does limit you somewhat if you need the extras to up your grilling game. All in all though, we can’t recommend this barbecue enough if you’re on the hunt for something simple yet spectacular - and we really can’t get over how good that price is!
Electric BBQs for every budget
Often regarded as one of the healthiest ways to grill, electric barbecues are a must for any health-conscious cook. Not too dissimilar from the cooking appliances you’d find in your own home, these grilling wonders are incredibly easy to use and don’t require any additional culinary know-how to cook up a crowd-pleasing storm. If you’re not too confident cooking over coals but don’t want to be resigned to the kitchen while everyone’s out enjoying the sunshine, an electric BBQ is the ultimate solution - and we’ve compared two of our favourites to help you pick the perfect one for you!
Pros: Perfect for indoor and outdoor use for barbecues all year round, features thermostatically controlled grills for easy use, robust chrome-plated grill, water filled drip tray reduces odour
Cons: Won’t give you that smoky BBQ taste, very compact - not suitable for large gatherings
Size: H33.5 x W7.5 x L50cm
When the weather takes a turn for the worse, don’t let the rain ruin your al fresco fun - bring all the joys of outdoor dining indoors with this electric barbecue from Quest! Yes, you read that right, this awesome appliance can be used both indoors and outdoors, so you’ll never again have to cancel your plans if the unpredictable British weather goes sour. Sweet!
To get the grill all fired up and ready to use, simply plug it into a mains power source. Once on, the speedy heating elements will get up to temperature in no time at all, so there’s no need to wait around to get stuck in - from packet, to grill, to plate, this barbecue will cook your grub in no time at all! Conscious about clean cooking? This barbecue has got you covered there, too: the handy drip tray will allow the fat to drain away, leaving nothing but deliciousness behind. Plus, it’s filled with water, which reduces odour and smoke - an essential element of an electric barbie.
Of course, you won’t get that quintessential smoky BBQ taste with an electric model, but with the addition of some flavoursome marinades and seasoning (liquid smoke is ideal for this!), you won’t notice too much of a difference. You may have noticed that the gaps between the grills are a little on the large side too, so be wary of smaller food items falling through. To negate this minor issue, we recommend using skewers - the perfect accessory for veggie kebabs or scrummy prawns on a stick. The compact size may also be a problem if you have a huge amount of hungry mouths to feed, but for solo snacking or romantic dinner dates for two, you can’t go wrong with this brilliant barbecue!
Pros: Unique 2-in-1 design, comes with a hot pot - ideal for one pan meals or saucy dishes, baking pan features a non-stick coating for easy use, five heat settings, smokeless
Cons: Hot pot takes up a considerable amount of space - less grill area to work with, considerably smaller than some of the other BBQs mentioned in this guide
Size: H15 x W27 x L71cm
When you think about barbecued banquets, you probably imagine a lot of dry food. Sure, sausages, burgers, chicken wings, and vegetable kebabs are scrummy enough, but wouldn’t you like to shake it up with something a little bit saucier on the side? Think prawns bathing in white wine, butter, and garlic, slow cooked pulled pork in sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, or even a soy-infused Japanese soba noodle salad with sharp spring onions and al dente carrots. Sounds good, right? And you can do it all on this incredible 2-in-1 electric barbecue!
Yes, this magnificent machine comes with both a grill plate and a handy hot pot, so you’ll never again have to choose between classic BBQ food and one pan meals ever again - nice! Worried about wasting electricity or overcooking your cuisine? Never fear: both sections boast their own independent control switch. This allows you to set different temperatures for each element (depending on the types of food you’re cooking), use them simultaneously, or turn one off entirely when not in use.
If healthy cooking is a concern, this barbecue has got you covered there too. Not only does the baking pan feature a handy drip tray to drain away the fat; it’s also covered in a non-stick coating, reducing the amount of additional oil needed. That non-stick surface is also incredibly easy to clean, so you won’t have to slave away at the sink for hours on a full stomach - phew!
When it comes to electric barbecues, this beauty is actually on the larger side, which is certainly an attractive feature if you’re fond of hosting big dinner parties. It can meet the needs of up to eight people (depending on how hungry you all are!), but that includes the contents of the hot pot. If you don’t fancy using the hot pot, you don’t have a huge grilling area to work with - it’s certainly smaller than many of the other barbecues you can find in this guide. However, as you won’t have to worry about coals going cold, you could still cater for a large group of people, but you may have to stagger the food in stages in this instance.
Tongs at the ready
So you’ve collected up your condiments, gathered your tools, and found the perfect food - now it’s time to fire up the barbie! We hope this guide has helped you find the best barbecue for your wants, needs, and budget, but if you’re searching for an even bigger selection, check out our entire range here. We’ve got everything from portable picks to built-in beauties, so you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for!
Want to take your grilling game up a notch? We’ve got you covered! Have a read of our BBQ tips and tricks, and wow your guests with your culinary skills at your next garden party. Oh, and on the subject of garden parties, we’ve put together a list of hosting hacks and planning prep to help you hold the event of the season!
It looks like the sun (might!) be here to stay, so there’s no better time to host a big BBQ bash than now - get your apron ready and get grilling!
The information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.