Nothing says summer like food sizzling on a grill. But with so many grills on the market, how do you choose the right one? Consumer Reports tested all 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," Daniel DiClerico, Consumer Reports Home Editor, said.
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," DiClerico said.
A Nexgrill, which costs $270 at Home Depot scored the 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," he said.
It's outfitted with stainless-steel grates, which require less maintenance than cast-iron ones.
Another Consumer Reports Best Buy is a Backyard for $150 and a Char-Broil for $170 dollars. Both are sold at Walmart.
All three are conveniently equipped with side burners for sautéing or boiling.
Consumer Reports found two grill brands to avoid those are the 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 because that can drive bacteria deep into the meat. If the label says steak has been tenderized, be sure to cook it to 160 degrees.
All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org