Stainless steel is one of the most common materials used to make grills, and many companies prefer to use it for the superior heat retention capability and durability.
With the best stainless steel grill, you can also be confident that you will get a grill with a smooth, sleek and shiny finish that will look great on your porch or over the counter if it is an indoor model.
Stainless steel is able to withstand harsher elements better than other materials like cast iron, it will require less maintenance and it is generally high-performing.
However, it also has a few shortcomings that you should know before buying your grill. In this piece, we highlight both the pros and cons of stainless steel grill in comparison to cast iron, which is another popular grill material and also explain how to choose a good stainless steel grill.
But first, check out our in-depth review of 7 top-rated stainless steel grills.
Stainless Steel vs. Cast Iron Grills
When choosing grills, most people tend to be torn between the stainless steel orand cast iron types. While both still do a great job and are quite tough and durable, each has its pros and cons which make them ideal for different situations.
Understanding these merits and demerits and what each material has to offer should make shopping for a grill a less tedious task for you.
Stainless Steel Grills
Stainless steel is a tough and highly resilient material that is designed to withstand harsh elements like rain, wind, and sun. And unlike cast iron, it does not rust or corrode easily.
With stainless steel, you also get great heat retention. Although it might not get as hot as cast iron, it makes up for this with its impressive heat retention capability which makes it perfect when grilling for extended periods.
The smooth and more stain resistant finish of stainless steel makes it easy to clean because a simple wipe down is often all that it needs.
Although stainless steel grates seem to darken with use, this is often not an issue because they do not affect the taste of the food.
- Holds heat better
- Requires little maintenance
- Simple to clean
- Durable and resilient
- Does not rust or corrode easily
- Darkens with use
Cast Iron Grills
Cast iron is a heavy and extremely durable material that is designed to offer many years of great service. However, it is a highly corrosive material, and so when it is used to make grates for grilling it is usually coated with enamel or porcelain.
With coated cast iron grates, you will not need to season the metal, but the coating materials are more prone to cracking and chipping when mishandled.
Pure cast iron offers a better ability to withstand searing heat, and will also be more resistant to sticking, but it will require more maintenance as it can corrode or rust easily.
- Retains more heat for longer periods
- More resistant to sticking
- Extremely durable
- Rusts and corrodes over time
- More time and effort required for cleaning
- Requires more maintenance
Buying Advice: Stainless steel always takes the day as it seems to have more advantages over cast iron.
However, if you are looking for something extremely durable and heavy and do not mind the extra maintenance required to prevent rusting, cast iron can still work for you.
What To Check Before Buying Stainless Steel Grill?
1. Cooking Surface
When buying any type of grill you need to make sure that it has enough cooking surface for the foods that you grill often. Also, some extra space is nice as it will provide some versatility to add more food when hosting more people or for special occasions.
Typically, a stainless steel grill with a cooking surface of around 400 square inches will be enough for an average size family. While a smaller and more portable 200 square inch mode like Char-Broil 465640214 is perfect for individual users.
But, as you consider the cooking surface area, you need to watch out for the number of burners to ensure they will provide enough heat for the entire area. Three burners should be good enough for a 400-square inch grill.
BTU’s measure the ability of a burner to produce heat, and it is one of the best ways to determine whether the stainless steel grill you buy can generate enough cooking power or not.
Generally speaking, the best stainless steel grills are those that have a high total BTU. But, things are not always that straightforward because you will also need to know the actual BTU that you will be getting per square inch by taking into account the size of the cooking surface.
When shopping for a stainless steel grill, you should aim to get something that will provide at least 100 BTU per square inch to ensure that you get enough power to cook almost any kind of food including steak.
3. Temperature Control
If you do not want to undercook or burn your food, the grill that you choose should make it easy to adjust the temperature.
Luckily, the best gas stainless still grills and most electric models will allow for simple temperature control as you only need to twist a knob. But, if you have a charcoal-powered model, you need to go for something with vents and adjustable tray to ensure easy temperature control.
Also, a grill with a built-in thermometer will make temperature management easier as you are able to tell the exact temperature of the grill at all times.
4. Power Source
When it comes to the power source, there are various options to choose from, and the right one for you will depend on your preferences and budget.
Gas, electric, and charcoal stainless steel grills are the three main power source options and each will have merits and demerits.
The gas-powered grills like Weber 61004001 are the most popular options and many grillers like them because they are easy and convenient to use and also make temperature control and cleanup easy.
Electric grills like T-fal GC704 are also easy to use and clean and they are great for both indoor and outdoor cooking.
However, if you are looking for a grill that will give your foods a rich and smokey flavor and do not mind getting dirty and putting more effort to cleanups, a charcoal grill is your best pick.
Stainless steel comes in several grades, and so it will be also important to know them to ensure that you choose the best one for your grill.
The 304 stainless steel is the most common grade, and it is what is used to make about half of all stainless steel products.
Also, it is important to note that the 300 series stainless steel grade is non-magnetic while the 400 series is magnetic. The magnetic stainless steel is not as durable as the non-magnetic grade and it is more prone to corrosion.
Thicker stainless steel is always better as it will not discolor easily and it also retains more heat and for longer than thin ones.
When it comes to determining the thickness of the stainless steel used on the grill, you will not need to do any complicated tests or measurements. You can easily determine the thickness by checking the weight and how tough or hard it feels.
7 Best Stainless Steel Grills of 2021 Reviewed
1. Hamilton Beach 25361 (Best Overall)
2. Breville BGR820XL (Best Electric)
3. Weber 61004001 (High-Performing Grill that Delivers a Nice Smoky Flavor)
4. Weber Summit S-670 (Top Quality with Larger Cooking Area & High BTU)
5. Char-Broil 465640214 (Compact Design)
6. Dyna-Glo DGE486SSP-D (Heavy-Gauge Grill with Large Cooking Area)
7. T-fal GC704 (Highly Affordable but Still Powerful & Efficient)
1. Hamilton Beach 25361 – Best Overall
Photo: Hamilton Beach
- Cooking Surface: 118 square inches
- Power Source: Electric
- Dimensions: 12.4 x 16.73 x 6.81 in
Hamilton Beach makes this compact and relatively affordable stainless grill for homeowners looking for something that offers smokeless and convenient indoor grilling.
This electric grill is designed to ensure that you always enjoy some perfectly grilled vegetables and meats thanks to the high searing temperature that locks in all the nice juices. With the adjustable temperature knob, you can customize the grilling.
Cleaning up after use is made easy by the removable plates and drip tray as they are both dishwasher-safe. Also, the drip tray is large enough to catch all the grease.
There is a handy viewing window that will make it easy to monitor the grilling process without having to open up the grill.
Although the grilling space is relatively small when compared to others on our stainless steel grill review and the 10-minute preheat time is quite long, this is still an excellent grill for a small family.
Read detailed Hamilton Beach 25361 review here.
- Compact and more affordable
- High searing temperature
- Handy viewing window
- Large no mess drip pan
- Convenient electronic controls
- Relatively smaller cooking surface
- Takes long to preheat
2. Breville BGR820XL – Best Electric
- Cooking Surface: 260 square inches
- Power Source: Electric
- Dimensions: 15 x 6.5 x 16 in
Breville BGR820XL is one of the best electric stainless steel grills that you can get anywhere thanks to an innovative and high-performing design.
The design allows it to open up to create a BBQ mode which not only increases the cooking surface but also provides both griddle and grill cooking areas.
This grill uses some removable non-stick plates and drip tray which are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. It has height control and plate tilt for more efficient and easier cooking.
Also, it has some easy to use controls for setting the time and adjusting the temperatures and a backlit LCD that adds to the convenience of the grill.
The relatively shorter cord is not a dealbreaker as it is still long enough for easy indoor use and the non-stick surface will only require a little more care to make it last relatively longer.
- High-performing electric grill
- Opens flat to create a larger cooking surface
- Integrated drip tray
- Adjustable height setting
- Backlit LCD screen
- Removable and dishwasher safe plates
- Shorter power cord
- Non-stick surface wears off quite fast
3. Weber 61004001 – High-Performing Grill that Delivers a Nice Smoky Flavor
- Cooking Surface: 669 square inches
- Total BTU: 55,500
- Power Source: Gas
- Dimensions: 29 x 59 x 48 in
The high-performing stainless steel burners on this gas grill are designed to make grilling a faster and easier process. It also includes flavorizer bars that will give your food that smoky flavor.
With this grill, you will get up to 55,500 BTUs and 669 square inches of cooking space which is the second larger in our stainless steel grill review.
Also, this grill uses some stainless steel grates to provide excellent heat distribution and retention for an even better grilling experience.
Firing up your grill is a quick and easy process thanks to the infinity ignition system. Cleanups will also be quick and easy thanks to a more efficient grease management system.
Other things that make this top-rated stainless steel grill more convenient include the wheels and casters that make mobility easier and the side shelves provide ample food preparation space.
Being the second priciest item in our list, you will need to spend some extra cash to get this grill, but it will be worth every buck you pay for it.
- High performing stainless steel burners
- Efficient grease management system
- Easy start infinity ignition
- Excellent heat retention and distribution
- Flavorizers bars included for a smoky flavor
- A little expensive
4. Weber Summit S-670 – Best with Larger Cooking Area and High BTU
- Cooking Surface: 769 square inches
- Total BTU: 60,800
- Power Source: Gas
- Dimensions: 50.5 x 74.1 x 26.5 in
If you are planning to be cooking lots of food or hosting many people for barbecues, the Summit S-670 by Weber is the best gas stainless steel grill for you.
This is because it will provide 769 square inches of cooking space which is the largest on our list, and up to 60,800 BTUs which is also our highest.
This grill has a total of 6 burners with a snap-jet ignition for each and front-mounted control for easy operation. Also, it has some highly durable and easy to clean flavorizer bars that will help give the food a nice flavor.
The highly efficient grease management system will make this an easy to clean grill while the enclosed cart and two work areas provide storage and food preparation space respectively.
The grill lights are not the best quality, but they still get the job done and furthermore they are still much better than what you get from other cheap models.
- Large cooking surface
- High total BTU output
- Easy start snap-jet ignition system
- Durable and easy to clean flavorizer bars
- Spacious work area and storage space
- Poor quality grill lights
5. Char-Broil 465640214 – Compact Design for Use On-the-Go
- Cooking Surface: 200 square inches
- Total BTU: 10,000
- Power Source: Gas
- Dimensions: 14.7 x 24.75 x 14 in
As you are shopping for the best stainless steel BBQ grill, something compact and lightweight like this one by Char-Broil will be a great buy for use on the go. Whether you are tailgating or camping, you can still enjoy all your grilled foods with this highly portable grill.
The grill uses one stainless steel burner that will produce up to 10,000 BTU, and it has a cooking surface of 200 square inches which should be enough for one person or a small group.
You will never have to struggle trying to fire it up as it uses a Piezo ignition system for easy push-button starts. You can also handle it easily even when hot thanks to the heat-resistant handles and the large slide-out grease tray makes cleaning it quite easy.
Although it is a little under powered, it should still produce enough heat to cook food for a small family within a relatively short time.
- Portable and easy to set up
- Heat-resistant handles
- Quick and easy push-button start
- Sturdy and convenient design
- Lager slide out grease tray
- A little underpowered
- Not great for cooking for larger groups
6. Dyna-Glo DGE486SSP-D – Heavy-Gauge with a Large Cooking Area
- Cooking Surface: 646 square inches
- Total BTU: 52,000
- Power Source: Gas
- Dimensions: 22.62 x 50.7 x 46.8 in
The relatively large 646 square inches of cooking space and the 52,000 total BTUs are some of the key elements that make this Dyna-Glo product one of the best propane stainless steel grills out there.
This top quality grill features heavy gauge stainless steel grates, warming rack and heat tents which are all designed to provide many years of great service. And given the relatively more affordable price tag, this is the best stainless steel grill for the money in our list.
With the easy push button start, you can easily fire it up so that it will be ready to use in just a few minutes. Also, it has an integrated temperatures gauge that will ensure more accurate temperature control for perfect grilling.
You can assemble this grill easily as it will come with all the necessary parts and some detailed and easy to follow instructions.
The 4 multidirectional casters will make this grill easy to move around and although the locking ones need some design improvement, they still work well enough. And while not all parts are stainless steel, this is still a highly durable grill.
- Heavy-gauge stainless steel housing
- Relatively large cooking surface
- Easy push-button start
- Simple assembly
- Multi-directional casters for easy mobility
- Locking casters need a design improvement
- Not all parts are stainless steel
7. T-fal GC704 – Highly Affordable but Still Powerful and Efficient
- Cooking Surface: 77 square inches
- Power Source: Electric
- Dimensions: 15.9 x 14.6 x 9 in
For those that do not intend to cook a lot of food on their grill, the T-fal CGC704 is a good pick as it is the cheapest model in our list but still quite powerful and efficient.
Besides being our cheapest pick, this compact and lightweight grill is designed to be highly portable for use on the go.
This grill is easy to use and maintains as it comes with some simple controls and a drip tray for grease management and the ceramic grill plates are removable and easy to clean.
With this grill, you will get six cooking programs to allow you to cook different kinds of foods, and it will also adapt automatically to the thickness of the food to ensure faster and more even grilling.
While the cooking surface is quite small, this grill will still work well for an individual and for small families.
- Highly affordable
- Compact and highly portable
- Removable grill plates for easy cleaning
- Handy doneness indicator light
- Easy to use controls
- Small cooking surface
How to Properly Clean a Stainless Steel Grill?
Barbecuing at home is one of those things that you will always look forward to when the weather allows it.
But, if you want your foods to maintain their delicious tastes you need to keep your stainless steel grill clean which should be a simple task if you know what to do.
Things you will need
- Grill Cleaner
- Non-abrasive sponges/soft clothes
Step 1: Fill Bucket with Water
Once your grill is cool to the touch it will be ready for cleaning, and the first step should be to fill an empty bucket with some warm water.
You should then add a generous amount of a grease fighting soap to the water and mix it well.
Step 2: Wipe Down
Now you should take a soft cloth or sponge, moisten it with the soapy water and use it to wipe down the grill.
Never use paper towels as some types can be rough and will scratch the surface.
Also, avoid using steel brushes or steel-wool pads as they will damage the finish permanently.
Step 3: Follow Grain
As you are wiping down the stainless steel surface, make sure that you follow the grain. This will be typically from side to side and not up and down.
If you go against the grain, you can easily scratch the smooth stainless steel surface.
Step 4: Rinse With Clean Water
After wiping the entire surface with the soapy water, the next step is to rinse it with clean water.
Even if the grill looks clean enough at this point, rinsing it is crucial because if you do not do it the grill will be left with some unsightly spots or marks.
Step 5: Dry the Grill
The last and equally important step is to dry the grill after the rinse. Here you should also avoid using paper towels and instead opt for a soft towel.
Make sure that you dry it thoroughly because leaving some areas wet increases the risk of rusting.
Our review above will make finding the best stainless steel grills a quicker and easier process by providing high-quality recommendations from top brands.
And while each model in our review is top-notch, the Hamilton Beach 25361 is our best overall thanks to the convenient smokeless grilling, more affordable price tag and easy to clean design.
But, if you prefer a larger capacity gas powered model, you cannot go wrong with Weber 61004001.
In this post:
- Stainless Steel vs. Cast Iron Grills
- What To Check Before Buying Stainless Steel Grill?
- 7 Best Stainless Steel Grills of 2021 Reviewed
- 1. Hamilton Beach 25361 – Best Overall
- 2. Breville BGR820XL – Best Electric
- 3. Weber 61004001 – High-Performing Grill that Delivers a Nice Smoky Flavor
- 4. Weber Summit S-670 – Best with Larger Cooking Area and High BTU
- 5. Char-Broil 465640214 – Compact Design for Use On-the-Go
- 6. Dyna-Glo DGE486SSP-D – Heavy-Gauge with a Large Cooking Area
- 7. T-fal GC704 – Highly Affordable but Still Powerful and Efficient
- How to Properly Clean a Stainless Steel Grill?