• April 13, 2024, 11:34 pm

The best indoor grills of 2023 SoftAIT

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Update : Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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Indoor grills are a great alternative when outdoor grills aren’t an option. Wet weather can put your backyard grill out of commission, and if you live in an apartment or condo, you may not be allowed to own a grill. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a juicy grilled steak or hamburger. While you should never bring an outdoor grill indoors because it produces dangerous emissions, electric indoor grills are a safe substitute. Though smaller than their outdoor counterparts, an indoor electric grill offers around 100 square inches of cooking space. In this guide, learn what features you should consider when shopping for the best indoor grills, and check out our list of some choices.

How we chose the best indoor grills

As a self-proclaimed grill master, I have a lot of experience grilling both indoors and out. I used that experience and several important criteria to review more than 20 outdoor grills for this guide, while consulting other grill enthusiasts on the PopSci staff. As with outdoor grills, how well a grill can heat the cooking surface is key. For a grill to be worth the metal used to make it, it needs to be able to reach more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature required to sear a crust on the outside of hamburgers and steaks.

A good indoor grill also shouldn’t fill your home with smoke, so we stuck with models that either use smoke management systems with fans that remove smoke as it comes off the grill surface, or those that have drip systems that prevent grease from reaching the heating element.

Finally, I also leaned toward grills that offer versatility by including interchangeable plates that allow one to use them as both griddles and standard grills.

The best indoor grills: Reviews & Recommendations

As with every kitchen apparatus—from coffee machines to smart ovens—there are a lot of options to choose from when shopping for the best indoor grill. Look for a dependable electric grill, one that has user-friendly controls and a strong, consistent heat source. From there, think about the extra features you’d like to try, and always carefully consider your space. Some are small enough to fit anywhere; others may need a lot of counter space. 

Best overall: Ninja Foodi AG301 5-in-1 Indoor Electric Countertop Grill

Specs

  • Cooking surface: 100 square inches
  • Product dimensions: 14.9 inches L x 14.9 inches W x 11.02 inches H
  • Maximum temperature: 500 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • High maximum temperature
  • Multiple cook settings
  • Digital temperature gauge

Cons

The Ninja Foodi AG301 indoor Grill rises to the top of the list thanks to its five-in-one versatility. It’s fantastic as a grill, but that’s just the start. The AG301 is also an air fryer, which makes it the perfect appliance for cooking fries and veggies. The grill can also bake, roast, and dehydrate, though grilling and air frying are its two best features. The grill heats up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for searing steak and does a good job at eliminating smoke. That said, the Ninja Foodi grill isn’t cheap. It’s a versatile kitchen tool that’s worthy of being our best splurge, but only if you plan on using all its features.

Best versatile: Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Electric Indoor Grill + Griddle

Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Electric Indoor Grill

Specs

  • Cooking surface: 180 square inches
  • Product dimensions: 12.51 inches L x 23 inches W x 6.71 inches H
  • Maximum temperature: 425 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Reversible plates allow for different cooking configurations
  • Each side has independent heating controls
  • Large total cooking surface area

Cons

  • Low max surface heat of 425 degrees Fahrenheit

While many indoor electric grills give you the ability to grill or griddle, few allow you to do both at once. This 3-in-1 model from Hamilton Beach is an exception. It features two cooking zones, each offering 90 square inches of cooking surface for a total of 180 square inches. Its reversible plate design can function as a half flat-top griddle and half grill or as a full griddle or grill. 

Two separate knobs make it easy to independently control surface temperature on both the grill and griddle side up to 425 degrees. This makes this grill ideal for cooking tasks that require cooking different types of foods simultaneously, such as pancakes and bacon.

We also like the ease of cleaning with this model. A grease tray that sits under the joint between the two cooking surfaces catches grease from both sides and is easy to pull out and empty, and the non-stick cooking plates are dishwasher safe.

Best features: George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Grill and Panini Press

George Foreman 4-Serving Removable Plate Electric Grill and Panini Press

Specs

  • Cooking surface: 60 square inches
  • Product dimensions: 6.5 inches L by 12.5 inches W by 13.19 inches H
  • Maximum temperature: N/A

Pros

  • Easy to use with no flipping or temperature controls to worry about
  • Removable plates make it easy to clean
  • Compact size ideal for those with limited cabinet space

Cons

  • Smaller cooking surface than other indoor grills
  • Limited to one temperature

George Foreman grills, which first appeared on the scene back in 1994, are still one of the easiest grills to use indoors or out. The concept is the same as it was nearly 30 years ago. Place a burger patty, chicken breast, steak, or whatever type of food you wish to grill on the grill surface, and drop the lid on top of it. There’s no temperature control to worry about, and there’s also no need to flip the food since both sides are grilled simultaneously. Since the grill is cambered at an angle, any drippings run off the grill into the wide tray at the bottom of the unit. 

This George Foreman model is one of the line’s larger models at 60 square inches, giving it the ability to cook four average-size burger patties or chicken breasts or a couple of steaks. While it offers about half the cooking surface of other indoor grills, the smaller size means it’s easier to store when not in use.

Best for entertaining: Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe

Cuisinart GR-150P1

Specs

  • Cooking surface: 120 square inches (240 square inches when flat)
  • Product dimensions: 15.98 inches L x 14.6 inches W x 7.87 inches H
  • Maximum temperature: 500 degrees

Pros

  • Large cooking surface when laid flat
  • Interchangeable cooking grates add versatilityFunctions as grill, griddle, or sandwich press
  • High heat sear function

Cons

  • More expensive than other electric griddles

Most indoor grills have a limited amount of cooking surface, making them difficult poor options for cooking larger meals. Cuisinart’s Griddler Deluxe circumvents this issue. When laid flat, it has twice the cooking surface of a standard indoor grill, making it suitable for cooking a lot of food at one time. Despite that large surface, it has a searing function, made possible by its 1800-watt output.

The Griddler Deluxe is versatile too. The two surfaces each have independent heat controls, allowing the chef to cook different types of foods at different temperatures simultaneously. We also like that the adjustable top allows it to broil, a function you won’t find on any outdoor grill. Like other Griddler models, this one also doubles as a sandwich press or double-sided grill. With its interchangeable plates, it can function as a standard grill or griddle or as a combination griddle/grill.

Best budget: Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill

Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill

Specs

  • Cooking surface: 118 square inches
  • Product dimensions: 12.4 inches L x 16.73 inches W x 6.81 inches H
  • Maximum temperature: 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Pros

  • Large clamshell-style lid
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Removable non-stick grill grate
  • Attractive stainless steel looks

Cons

  • No advanced cooking modes or griddle options

Despite being one of the more affordable grills on the market, this model from Hamilton Beach offers an indoor grilling experience that’s remarkably similar to an outdoor grill, making it our best value pick. The cooking surface measures a sizable 118 square inches, which puts it in the ballpark with higher-end indoor grills. There are no fancy cooking modes with the Hamilton Beach electric grill, but those who want a grill that functions like the one sitting on their patio will appreciate the single knob that controls heat output. The nonstick grate is well designed for creating grill marks and sits in close proximity to the heating element, allowing you to sear a good crust on burgers or steaks. 

The large clamshell lid is also reminiscent of an outdoor grill, allowing you to open the lid with one hand while tending to the food with the other. The concave shape allows for better airflow for even heating when the lid is closed. This no-frills indoor grill is a great option for those looking to bring that backyard grilling experience indoors.

Outdoor grills give food a distinct taste that, up until recently, was difficult to replicate in the kitchen. But modern indoor electric grills are giving outdoor grills real competition thanks to improvements in cooking surfaces and temperature control. For those looking to ditch the gas grill or who simply want a way to grill hot cheeseburgers on a cold winter’s night, the best indoor grill is the perfect appliance you didn’t realize you needed. 

The two types of indoor grills: Open grills and contact grills

You have two choices when shopping for an indoor electric grill. Open indoor grills resemble a traditional grill, with one cooking surface that faces up and out to the world. Contact grills use two surfaces, top and bottom, to press the food between the grill plates. 

When using an open grill, you’ll need to flip the burgers and steaks for even cooking. They don’t cook as quickly as a contact grill, but open grills are simple gadgets that give you the feel of outdoor cooking. They can also be easier to clean and store. 

Contact grills launched into popularity in the 1990s thanks to the iconic George Foreman grill.  But they’ve come a long way since those “lean, mean grilling machine” days. New contact grills offer greater heat control. And many can be opened up completely to provide two separate, flat cooking surfaces—essentially turning the contact cooker into two open grills. 

One slight drawback: Contact grills can be tough to clean if the cooking plates aren’t removable. Most models have removable plates, but always check first or else get used to scrubbing at awkward angles. Contact grills are also bulkier and hard to store in a tightly packed cabinet.

Are smokeless grills really smokeless?

Outdoor gas grills, charcoal grills, and wood pellet grills are notoriously smoky. These cookers solve the smoke problem by using infrared heat instead of a flame to cook the food. Smokeless indoor grills are also equipped with fans, lids, and filters to grab and contain most of the smoke. Some feature drip pans designed to catch and cool grease before it has a chance to turn into smelly leftover residue. 

However, indoor models are not 100 percent smoke-free. In tiny apartments or crowded spaces, it’s best to open a window and circulate the air, or else you’ll be smelling cooked meat for days or even weeks after the meal. The best indoor grills are not nearly as smoky as an outdoor grill, but they can create a small amount of smoke stink.

For those who want a smokeless grill without giving up the smoky flavor, a few drops of liquid smoke lend that outdoorsy taste to foods cooked indoors. 

What size indoor electric grill do you need?

The grill should be just the right size. Too big and you’ll eat up precious kitchen space, and it will take longer to cook the food. Too small, and a family of four will need to take turns cooking burgers one at a time. Generally speaking, a 100-square-inch surface provides enough area to cook for two to four people. If you’re having guests over, you may need a 200-square-inch grill top to accommodate your banquet. 

Heat management: Is it hot enough, and can you control it?

Many outdoor grills and smokers have two modes: Hot and off. They don’t provide adequate temperature control. This isn’t a problem if you’re only cooking burgers. But for grilling the perfect piece of chicken, you’ll want the ability to go super-hot or super-mild. And the best indoor grill gives you more than a few temperature control options. 

You can also find indoor cookers equipped with two separate temperature areas. Cook burgers on one section of the grill at high heat. Grill veggies in another area at a lower temp. 

For searing meat and getting the fine-dining crust on a steak, you’ll need lots of heat, so make sure the grill can go up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  Not all indoor models are powerful enough for the job. Check the wattage. Any grill between 1,300 and 1,800 watts should be powerful enough to cook through a thick piece of meat. Lower-wattage grills will struggle to thoroughly cook choice cuts of beef. 

And remember: Cooking times will vary. Outside temperatures, humidity, air circulation, and other factors can affect the cooking process. Always arm yourself with a good, accurate meat thermometer to ensure the food is cooked just right. 

The best indoor grill can pull double duty as an air fryer

While most indoor grills are single-purpose appliances, there are a few high-quality models that also air fry. Air frying is a method of cooking that circulates hot air around the food and uses a minimal amount of oil. It’s slightly healthier and easier than deep frying. And best of all, the food tastes great.

The Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 indoor grill is a good example of a multifunction grill. It can grill, air fry, roast, and bake. Do you need a grill with such robust talent? It depends. These features can be nice to have but unnecessary if you only want a quick, no-nonsense way to grill a steak. Some people swear by their beloved air fryer. Some think this is just the current culinary fad. The choice is yours. 

Related: These are the best grill accessories for becoming a grill master.

FAQs

Q: Are indoor grills healthy?

Yes, indoor grills are healthy. But the nutritional content of your grilled food really depends on the food itself. No amount of grilling technology can make a double-chili cheeseburger diet-friendly. Indoor electric grills will usually have a drip pan to collect the fat as you grill the meat. Less fat means better health. But outdoor grills do this too, and no one claims your backyard propane grill is health-conscious. Indoor grills are less about health and more about convenience and flavor. That said, they are fantastic tools for cooking vegetables. Everything from red peppers to broccoli tastes better when you grill them. So, if you’re looking for a great way to boost the flavor of healthy food, then an indoor electric grill may be considered a healthy kitchen tool.  

Q: Are indoor grills worth it? 

Yes, they are worth it. Modern indoor grills are affordable, with most costing less than $100. That’s a good deal for a kitchen appliance you can use year-round. Some higher-end models, like the Ninja Foodi grill, can be more expensive, but you’re paying for added features like air fryers and food dehydrators. The extra features are worth the money if you plan to use the indoor grill for a wide variety of cooking. And an often overlooked added bonus: they are easy to maintain. Plug them in and they’re ready to go. (Yes, you will still need to clean the grill, but most grill plates are dishwasher safe.) 

Q: How long do indoor grills last?

Indoor grills last a long time. Even if you use the grill on a weekly basis, it should last 10 years or more. Keep the grill clean and dry for best results. However, grills with extra features, hinges, and fancy temperature controls can become inconsistent after a few years of heavy use. But compared to outdoor grills, which must hold up against the anger of Mother Nature, they are long-lasting cooking machines. And if a grill plate gets damaged (or lost), the manufacturer will probably have a way to buy new plates at a reasonable price. 

Q: How much does an indoor grill?

This will vary based on its maximum temperature and size, but our recommendations cost between $80 and $180.

Final thoughts on the best indoor grills

The big benefit of indoor electric grills is the ability to grill food whenever—no matter the weather or time of day. They are convenient and remarkably user-friendly. Simple knobs and easy-to-read buttons control the temperature. You won’t need a master class in grilling science to cook a burger or steak just right. When shopping for an indoor grill, ensure it’s big enough and hot enough for your needs. Seek out a multi-function grill if you want to experiment with new foods and flavors. And if you only need a basic indoor model, you should be able to find a budget-friendly option. The best indoor grill is a quick, simple way to enjoy outdoor BBQ, family picnic-style food, and even breakfast whenever you want.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.



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