There are so many grills on the market and it may be hard to find the right one. Consumer Reports has tested some of the big brands and names your best options.
If barbecuing fuels your passion, a good grill can really turn up the heat.
To help you find a good one, Consumer Reports tested 150 grills. This test checks if grills are prone to flare-ups. A little flare-up is normal.
"We also looked at a grill's ability to handle searing versus slow cooking, and also at how evenly the heat is distributed," said Consumer Reports editor Daniel Declerico.
Consumer Reports used sensors to measure the temperature on all parts of the cooking surface.
Low-performing grills show hot and cold spots. On a good grill, the heat is distributed well.
That means steaks will cook evenly on different parts of the grill.
"Grills come in all sizes. Medium ones are the most popular. And we found three great choices," Declerico said.
The Nexgrill for $270 at Home Depot scored highest.
"It's got great temperature range. You can cook food quickly with direct heat or slowly using indirect heat for larger cuts of meat," Declerico said.
It's outfitted with stainless-steel grates, which require less maintenance than cast-iron ones.
Another Consumer Reports Best Buy, a Backyard for $150 at Walmart and a Char-Broil for $170, also sold at Walmart. All three are conveniently equipped with side burners for sauteing or boiling.
Consumer Reports did find two grill brands to avoid, Kenmore from Sears and Member's Mark sold at Sam's Club.
Consumer Reports' survey of its subscribers found they are more repair-prone than many of the other brands, and it does not recommend them.
After all, whatever grill you get, you want it to keep working for years to come.
And remember, it doesn't matter how beautifully browned you grill your meat. If it's not cooked properly, it could make you sick. Consumer Reports says be especially careful with steak that's been mechanically tenderized. That can drive bacteria deep into the meat. If the label says steak has been tenderized, be sure to cook it to 160 degrees.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)