Electric Grill Review: Weber vs Cuisinart vs Char-broil

electric grill

The market for electric grills has, literally and figuratively, been heating up in recent years, with more and more barbecue lovers looking for cleaner, easier, and more versatile ways to get their sear on.

Electric grills can be great for people with limited outdoor space or those who live in communal areas where the smoke and sputter of a traditional charcoal or wood BBQ is likely to land you in trouble. What’s more, technology is improving year upon year, resulting in electric grills that can comfortably match the temperature of their non-electric cousins, while producing less mess and being far quicker to heat up.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at three heavyweights of the electric grill industry – Weber, Cuisinart, and Char-broil.

We’ll be running through what each of these venerable names in outdoor cuisine have to offer in terms of electric grills, weighing up the pros, cons, and specifications of each, and thinking about which of these companies has the product to suit your barbecue needs.

But before we dive into specific models, what features might you want to consider before purchasing an electric grill?

Factors to consider when buying an electric grill

cooking on electric grill

Heat

One criticism of cheaper or lower quality electric grills is that they can’t match the high temperatures of their charcoal or gas counterparts. Without a grill that can climb to at least 450 degrees fahrenheit, you’re going to struggle to cook your food in true barbecue style, and those much sought-after sear marks are going to be harder to come by.

Generally speaking, the higher the wattage and voltage on a product, the higher the temperature will go. Temperature gauges and variable heat settings should also give you an idea of the sort of fahrenheit a grill is capable of reaching, though some gauges are more accurate than others. Premium electric grill models can often reach highs of 600 fahrenheit or more, perfect for an authentic grilling experience.

Finally, heat distribution and retention is also something to look out for. Higher quality models should be able to spread heat evenly via the heating elements to the grill surface, reducing the chance of you over or under-cooking certain portions of your meal.

Portability

Many electric grill enthusiasts love the fact that their model, unlike the bulky charcoal barbie by the shed, can be easily carried and stowed away after a cook-out session.

Not all electric grills are made to be carted around, but many do come with ergonomic handles and are light enough to carry inside and outside depending on the weather and the occasion.

The fact that many double as an indoor grilling surface make many electric grills a helpful addition to your usual kitchen set up, rather than an appliance that takes up space throughout the year only to be dusted off for summer parties.

Aesthetic

If you want a classic barbecue look, there are electric grills out there designed to emulate just that. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a bit more sleek, shiny, and modern, a number of portable grill designs cater to that too. Between them, the three grill companies we’ll be looking at today offer a range of looks for a range of tastes.

Ease of cleaning

Last but certainly not least is how easy your grill is to wipe down, scrub, and clean. The post-party clean up is most people’s least favourite part of the grilling experience. Fortunately, there are some grills designed to make this chore as painless as possible. A well designed grill should come with easy-to-remove and easy-to-clean drip trays and grill surfaces, and ideally have as few annoying nooks and crannies for grease to hide in as possible.

Who makes the best electric grills – Weber, Cuisinart, or Char-broil?

Who are Weber and what do they offer?

Weber has been turning out high quality grill products for more than 70 years, with a manufacturing base in the Chicago suburb of Huntley, Illinois.

Their flagship electric grill products are the Q Series – 2400 and 1400 models. They offer a great combination of durable, no-nonsense, high-functioning grill surfaces that remain portable, perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.

How do Weber’s grills perform?

Weber Q grills regularly top reviewer and user lists of best electric grills, particularly when portability is a prime consideration.

Porcelain-enamel, cast-iron cooking grates offer some of the best heat retention and distribution on the market, tipping many competitors’ stainless steel grill bars. Whilst the Weber grills may take a little longer to heat than some other models, they can hit highs of 600 fahrenheit or more.

They also come with high quality heating elements that are effective at resisting corrosion. The aluminum insulated lid helps lock heat in too, though some users complain of the lack of a temperature gauge.

Weber prices and specifications

Quality comes at a price, and Weber’s Q models are in no way the most affordable on the market.

The Q1400 comes with 189 square inches, roughly enough to cook about 8 burgers simultaneously, and costs around $329. It weighs 29 lbs, making it supremely portable.

The larger Q2400 model is $399 and weighs over 40 lbs, still light enough to be classed as a portable stove, but boasting 280 inches of grill space. If you’re looking to entertain regularly, this is the one to go for.

Who are Cuisinart and what do they offer?

Cuisinart is another longstanding brand in the world of kitchen appliances, though more of a generalist manufacturer than Weber and Char-broil.

Cuisinart offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor kitchen appliances, making a name for themselves with their flagship series of food processors in the 1970s.

In terms of sizeable electric grills, there are two models worth considering – the Outdoor VersaStand Portable Electric Grill, and the 2-in-1 Outdoor Electric Grill.

Cuisinart also produce their Griddler® range, a smaller selection of indoor machines ideal for hot-pressing sandwiches and flat-top grilling smaller portions.

How do Cuisinart grills perform?

The VersaStand Portable comes with a 3 position telescoping base, which in theory allows it to stand without the need for a table. In reality, this model only reaches to about 28 inches off the ground, making it a little low for many grill operators. The lid can also require two hands to open safely, frustrating if you want to keep hold of your beer or tongs!

The 2-in-1 Outdoor Electric Grill has a similar aesthetic to the popular Indoor / Outdoor Electric Grill produced by Foremans, and is similarly no-nonsense. A simple set-up, 5 adjustable heat settings reaching to 550 fahrenheit, and a sturdier stand than the VersaStand model. User reviews appear a little more positive for this product.

Cuisinart price and specifications

Cuisinart might not match the premium build of Weber, but their prices are far more competitive. The VersaStand model can offer 145 square inches of cooking space at just 17 lbs and for $179.99.

The 2-in-1 Outdoor Electric Grill has more space, with 240 square inches, and is even more affordable, coming in at just $149.99. It weighs about 6 lbs more than the VersaStand Portable, but is still light enough to be moved around comfortably.

Who are Char-broil and what do they offer?

Another dedicated grill maker, and one of the oldest to operate commercially in the U.S., Char-broil made their name with their 1984 CB940 Charcoal Grill, recognized at the time by The Book of Bests as the world’s best BBQ appliance.

Today, they pride themselves on producing a range of innovative, premium grills for discerning BBQ lovers.

The Edge Electric and the Patio Bistro Tru-Infrared are their two primary electric grill products.

How do their grills perform?

The Edge Electric is a high-tech, high-energy, high-performance machine, a sleek, energising addition to any garden, with a modern rectilinear build.

It comes with a detailed digital temperature control, allowing you to slow cook at 200 fahrenheit or dial it all the way up to 700 for a fiery sear. Its sturdy, folding sides are built to stand all manner of condiments, raw produce, and drinks.

It also comes with an auto clean function, allowing you to ‘scorch off’ any burnt on barbecue left-overs, before easily scraping free the remnants once it’s cooled. This can be a real energy saver when it comes to the post-party scrub down.

Char-broil’s Patio model is a closer imitation of a classic barbecue design, complete with warming shelf, circular dome lid, and traditional temperature gauge. Whereas the Edge is very much meant to remain stationary, the Patio Bistro® is light enough to be wheeled around using its handle.

Both these products come with heat technology that aims to distribute temperature evenly and transfer heat directly from the element to the grill plates. The idea behind this is that it helps cook the food directly, sealing in flavour and texture, rather than heating the air around it and causing it to dry out.

Price and specifications

The Edge, with its high-end tech and sleek design, commands an equally impressive price-tag, currently at around $499. For this you get 330 square inches of cooking space and 109 lbs of heavy-duty outdoor cooking machine.

The Patio Bistro® is a more modest affair, priced at $249.99, but still with plenty of BBQ’ing space. There’s 320 square inches of grill if you include the warming rack.

Overall Electric Grill Comparison

If you’re looking for a dependable, sturdily built, high-temperature, but still portable electric grill, the Weber models are difficult to beat in terms of their price-range and quality. 

For occasional grillers, those only catering to small parties, or home-cooks on a budget, Cuisinart’s range are certainly the most affordable and function well, though you won’t get the quality of build and consistency of heat that comes with Weber.

Char-broil offer the most cutting-edge, high-tech grills of the three. For serious outdoor chefs who love to barbecue all summer long, the Edge is an expensive but impressive backyard fixture. The Patio model brings a timeless barbecue aesthetic to the backyard without the same price-tag as its tech-heavy cousin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post

MOWINGMAGIC INSIDERS CLUB

Get list of discount codes

Deals and discounts from 10+ lawn care brands like Sunday, Lawnbright, Autmow, & more. Just tell me where to send them…