Electric grill purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What You Need to Know
  • Electric grills are usually very light, easy to handle and take up less space than charcoal or gas grills. They are therefore well suited for small balconies and on the go.
  • They do not get as hot as charcoal or gas grills, but do not produce any residue.
  • Heat is generated via a heating spiral that grills the food either over a grate or directly if the grilling surface is integrated into the spiral.

Barbecuing – an all-time favourite hobby

Numerous studies show that people in this country love to barbecue. According to the market research company The Nielsen Company, 30 million households in Germany alone fired up the barbecue in summer 2019. 18.3 million already grilled in spring, around 17 million well into autumn and 5.6 million households even in winter. The occasions are varied: from replacing daily cooking to birthday celebrations and get-togethers with friends or family.

In most cases, it is a planned barbecue. Spontaneity is not an option with a charcoal or gas barbecue: sufficient gas or charcoal must be available in advance, the barbecue cleaned and the barbecue area prepared. If you like to have spontaneous barbecues, it is best to use an electric barbecue.

How does an electric grill work?

The electric grill is considered a clean alternative to coal and gas grills. It does not reach the grilling temperature with an open flame, but uses a heating coil. The heating coil is made to glow by means of electricity. The coil is located directly under the grate, which heats up and in turn heats up the food. In principle, the electric grill is similar to other types of grills where the heat comes from below. The temperature of an electric grill is set using a temperature regulator. Higher-priced models allow infinitely variable regulation. To prevent overheating, many electric grills have a water tray directly under the heating coil, which cools it down slightly. Since the heating elements do not touch the water, no additional smoke is produced.

What are the advantages of an electric grill?

An electric grill is the simplest, but also the most convenient way to grill. It is always ready for use anywhere. It is also very handy and can be used on small balconies or even in the flat. Another advantage is the absence of smoke. The grill works with electricity; there is no open flame and thus no smoke or fumes. However, due to the heat generated, you should always take appropriate safety precautions when using it indoors and never let the barbecue out of your sight. An electric barbecue is the ideal choice if you want to barbecue spontaneously. The heat-up time is very short. It is therefore ready for use even faster than a gas barbecue. Dirt is also kept within limits with this grill. The water tray underneath the grill grate catches any dripping fat. So nothing gets onto the table or the surface.

E-grills are available in different designs and sizes. This makes them suitable not only for families, but can also be interesting for singles or households with only two people. Grilling requires little work and the taste of the grilled food is in no way inferior to that of other types of grill. A final plus point for an electric grill is the purchase price: in comparison, the e-grill is cheaper than a coal or gas grill.

peppers are grilled

What are the arguments against an electric grill?

The taste of the grilled food is the biggest point of criticism. The electric grill does not achieve the typical roasted aroma of a charcoal grill. The gas grill also has this “problem”, but it can help by using so-called “smoker boxes”. However, such a box is out of place on an electric grill. Although the electric grill is ready for use very quickly due to the heating coil, so-called hotspots develop directly above the coil. In other places, however, the heat is much lower, making it difficult to distribute the heat evenly over the food. Indirect grilling is also not so easy with an electric grill. A trick can help here: Wrap a stone with aluminium foil and place it on the grill. Then even steaks will turn out perfectly. Last but not least, the space can quickly become too small, as e-grills are particularly compact.

Pro points

  • Short heating time
  • Quickly built
  • Space-saving
  • No smoke or dripping fat
  • Comparatively low price


  • Missing smoke flavour
  • Uneven temperature distribution
  • Indirect grilling not possible
  • Little space on the grate

What models are there?

The electric grill comes in numerous variants. The simple table grill is certainly the best known. However, there are also kettle, stand and contact grill variants. This means that the electric grill is moving away from its image as a small indoor grill. The most significant difference between the models is the heating element: there are models with a concealed and those with an exposed heating coil.

The table grill

meat and vegetables on electric grill

The table grill is the best-known and perhaps even most popular electric grill on the market. It is small, handy and easy to use within your own four walls. Since it takes up very little space, it is a good alternative for very small balconies. Some models also have a lid that improves heat distribution.

The contact grill

chicken breast being grilled

The contact grill is a special form of the table grill just mentioned. It works with two plates between which the food is grilled. This shortens the cooking time even more and the food can be served more quickly. Some products have exchangeable plates and thus offer several possibilities for use, for example as a waffle iron or sandwich maker.

The stand grill

electric grill with stand feet

The stand grill looks like a charcoal grill, at least visually. It is not set up on the table, but has its own feet and thus enables grilling at a comfortable working height. Some floor-standing barbecue models also offer the option of removing the base. This makes the appliances more flexible and they can also be used as table grills.

The kettle grill

electric grill near the grate

The electric kettle grill is available on the market in two versions: as a tabletop version and as a stand-alone version. Thanks to the lid, it allows good heat distribution and additionally cooks the food from above. This makes it perfect for indirect grilling with an even temperature distribution.

What criteria are important when buying an electric barbecue?

An electric grill is available in different versions. Therefore, you should consider in advance which model best suits your requirements and ideas. In addition, some technical features are interesting when choosing in order to find the optimal model for your own needs. The following points should be considered when buying an electric grill: Power, heat distribution, temperature control, grilling surface, grate and plate, material of the grill and other accessories.

The performance

A high-quality electric grill has sufficient power, firstly to be ready for use quickly and secondly to ensure a short cooking time. Therefore, it has a power of at least 2,000 watts. If it has a lid, a lower output is sufficient. The achievable temperature is important: it should be at least 200 degrees Celsius, especially if you use the grill outdoors. A lid reduces temperature loss due to the outside temperature. Good models also have a heat reflector in the lid to reflect the heat back onto the food. This saves energy and allows the pieces of meat to cook more evenly.

The temperature control

The temperature is the linchpin of barbecuing. If it’s not right, the grill won’t get hot enough to cook the food. You can set the right temperature using the temperature control. Models with a heat-insulated and continuously adjustable thermostat are highly recommended. To switch off the appliance, you should not only pull out the plug, but also press the switch.

small electric grill

The grill surface

Electric barbecues are available in different designs. They are suitable for single households, but also for occasional family barbecues. Most electric grills have a grilling surface of 800 to 1,200 square centimetres. Several pieces of meat or vegetable skewers can be prepared on the large-surface models. The surface area should always be large enough so that you can prepare barbecue food for all the people involved.

The material

If your electric barbecue is mainly used outdoors, it should be made of a weather-resistant material. E-grills made of aluminium or stainless steel are recommended here. Ideally, you should dismantle the barbecue after use and store it indoors. If this is not possible, a tarpaulin is useful to protect the barbecue from the weather. If you only use the electric barbecue indoors, a less robust material will suffice. A good plastic casing will also serve its purpose here.

grilling in the free

The collection container

A water tray underneath the heating coil has a cooling effect. On models with a grill grate, it also acts as a collection tray for fat or meat juices. Bad odours and smoke are prevented by collecting them in the water, as the fat and juices cannot burn off.

The cable length

The e-grill only works if there is a power socket nearby. To use this, the cable must be sufficiently long. If the cable is not long enough, an extension cable will help. However, the grill’s own cable should not be too short so that the plug on the extension cable does not have to be placed on the table.

Which is better: grill grate or grill plate?

A grill plate prevents fat, leftovers or meat juices from dripping down onto the heating elements of the electric grill. However, the liquid accumulates on the plate on which the food is grilled and prevents it from becoming crispy. It is particularly important that the grill plate has a non-stick coating so that you can clean it quickly and easily after use. A dishwasher-safe grill plate is most practical. With a grill grate, the aforementioned food residues and juices can drip into the grill. There they end up in the grease drip tray filled with water. This prevents the formation of smoke or unpleasant odours. In addition, grilling on a grill grate is considered healthier because excess fat can drain into the drip tray.

The accessories

The last item on the list of buying criteria is the accessories of the electric grills:


The rack already comes as standard with most table barbecues. You can mount this on a table barbecue if you also want to set it up on the balcony or in the garden. In this way, the barbecue reaches a comfortable working height in no time at all and can be used independently of the table.


An electric barbecue is much more sensitive to the weather than its big brothers. Especially during the barbecue season, barbecues are often left outside. In this case, a practical tarpaulin or cover is recommended. It reliably protects the barbecue from moisture and other weather influences.

Cast iron grate

The cast iron grill grate is not standard equipment for electric grills. However, some manufacturers offer it as an optional accessory. The advantage lies in its good heating properties; this is particularly recommended for preparing steaks. On the other hand, it is also considerably more expensive than the standard grill for electric grills.

Pizza stone

This stone is almost a must for owners of an electric kettle grill. For barbecues that work with charcoal, the stones are now considered standard, but they are also becoming increasingly popular with electric barbecue users. With the square stones, pizza turns out better on an electric grill than in the oven.

preperation of pizza on grill
Stainless steel basket

Meat is not the only thing that goes on the grill. Vegetables are just as popular with many. However, it is difficult for small vegetables to stay on the grill. A stainless steel basket makes sense in this case. The vegetables in the basket are grilled evenly and there is no risk of them falling through the grate.


The barbecue thermometer is also a popular accessory for coal or gas barbecues. It is the only way to optimally monitor the temperature of the meat or vegetables and achieve the best result.

Cleaning and care of an electric grill

If you want to enjoy your electric grill for a long time, you should clean and maintain it regularly. Removable parts are advantageous because you can clean them separately. Depending on the component, however, there are a few things to bear in mind when cleaning.

Cleaning the aluminium drip tray

The aluminium drip tray should not be put in the dishwasher. Even though this would be the easiest way to clean it, the tray would turn black. It is better to clean it by hand with a little warm water. If it does tarnish, a simple household remedy will help: boil the dish in water with a little lemon juice.

Cleaning the cover

The bonnet of an electric grill is robust. All that is needed to clean it is a saucepan cleaner and water with a little washing-up liquid. However, if encrusted dirt remains, a brush for cleaning the bonnet is helpful.

Cleaning the grill grate

It is best to start cleaning the grill immediately after grilling. Wrap the grate in damp newspaper while it is still warm and leave it overnight. The next day, you can simply clean the grill with a damp sponge.

Cleaning a stone surface

To clean the stone, it must first be completely cooled down. Only then can it be washed with washing-up liquid under running water. It should be completely dry before the next use.

Cleaning a ceramic or ceramic surface

The ceramic surface can also be cleaned with water and washing-up liquid. However, abrasive cleaning agents should be avoided. A soft dishwashing sponge is the best choice. For encrusted dirt on the ceramic surface, you can also use a scraper like the one used for cleaning a stovetop.

cleaning the grill

The most popular brands of electric grills

Tefal, Steba, Weber, Severin and WMF are the leading manufacturers on the market. The Weber brand is the best-known grill manufacturer and is not only convincing in the field of electric grills. Characteristic for Weber is the kettle grill – both for the charcoal grill and the powerful electric grill. However, the high-quality models are all comparatively expensive.

Electric grills from Tefal or Severin are somewhat cheaper. The electric stand grill from Severin, for example, is available from around 60 euros. The table grill from Tefal is available for around 50 euros. These models are therefore among the cheaper versions.