The Different Types of Grills

Cooking outdoors is a timeless American tradition, a throwback to the iconoclastic 1950's era backyard barbecues where friends, family, and neighbors would gather to enjoy each other's company and some really good food—there's nothing quite like the taste of a steak, hot dog, or anything fresh off the grill, it's ineffable.

Nowadays, there's so many different types of grills to fulfill your grilling fancy, but if you're unfamiliar with any of them, how can you decide which is best for you? Well look no further—we've condensed what we believe are the most popular and common types of grills to compare and contrast the benefits of each type.

We've broken the grills down into (3) simple categories based on their fuel type: Gas, Charcoal, and Electric. Within each of these three fuel types there are several different styles, so let's take a look.

Gas Grills

Whether propane or natural gas, gas grills provide the convenience and affordability most of us are familiar with nowadays. Most gas grills are designed to run off of a portable 20 pound propane tank but also feature natural gas models to run off of a house gas line.

Benefits of a Gas Grill:

  • Convenience – Gas grills ignite quickly, heat up quickly, and are ready to use quickly.
  • Affordable – Whether propane or natural gas, this fuel type burns clean and efficient and is typically cheaper to use than charcoal
  • Easy to Use – With simple control knobs, gas grills allow a wide variety of temperature ranges with control right at your fingertips
  • Versatile – Different types of gas grills include different features like side burners, rotisserie kits, or outdoor storage to offer high end utility

Freestanding Gas Grills

The most popular variety of gas grills are freestanding units that usually feature wheels for mobility and access doors/drawers for storage.

Built-In Gas Grills

Perfect for building the ultimate outdoor kitchen, most built-in grills are the centerpiece of a custom grill island and provide high end convenience and entertainment.

Built-In Gas Grills

Designed for convenience and reliability for the adventurous griller, portable grill models run off of smaller portable propane tanks and are easy to transport.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills are a classic, the original grills. These grills burn charcoal briquettes, natural hardwood, wood chips, or some combination of the three in order to produce the familiar smokey flavor we all love from good BBQ.

Benefits of a Charcoal Grill:

  • Flavor – The classic smokey flavor produced when using a charcoal grill is unmatched by any other fuel type, plus different types of charcoal and wood can provide wide ranges of flavors
  • Versatility – With innovations to classic models, charcoal grills offer added versatility for both grilling and smoking
  • Natural – Use natural hardwood lump charcoal to ensure a natural cooking process with no additives or chemicals for clean, delicious BBQ

Freestanding Charcoal Grills

The classic freestanding charcoal grill is simple: it has a firebox to store the charcoal fire right below the grill grates. Some of the higher end models feature maneuverable fireboxes to adjust the distance between the fire and grill grates.

Smoker Grills

Smoker grills offer a classic barbecue taste with natural wood smoke and enormous heating capacity.

Kamado Grills

Kamado grills offer a centuries-old design with modern touches. From grilling and smoking to baking, roasting, and braising, these grills can do it all well.

Electric Grills

Generally compact in design and sleek in appearance, electric grills run off of electricity to provide a high heat alternative to gas and charcoal.


With the various types of grills available today, it's hard to know which type is right for you—use this guide to pinpoint the benefits of each grill and decide which seem right for your situation. Try to figure out how these benefits align with typical grilling concerns like, how many people will you cook for? What type of foods do you want to grill? How much time do you have to spend grilling? Using these guidelines will help you determine what type of grill is best for you.