Best BBQ 2018 – Buyers Guide

There is nothing better than being able to sit out in the garden in Summer and enjoy a feast which you cooked completely on your barbecue.

There is a massive range of these appliances available on the market, and there are also various categories.

Which is best for you depends on the space you have in your outdoor area, how frequently you’d use it and how much you want to spend on the fuel type.

The Best BBQs – Our Top Picks

Best Gas BBQ: everdure by Heston Blumenthal
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everdure by Heston Blumenthal
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  • Fuel type: Gas
  • Dimensions: H144.7 x W117.5 x D74.3cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 2358cm sq.
  • Weight: 33kg
Best Charcoal BBQ: Landmann Vinson
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Landmann Vinson 4-In-1 Charcoal BBQ Smoker
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  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: H117 x W83.5 x L126cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 70.5 x 39.5cm
  • Weight: 50kg
Weber Pulse 1000 Electric BBQ with Stand
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Weber Pulse 1000 Electric BBQ with Stand
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  • Fuel type: Electricity
  • Dimensions: H101 x W74 x D65cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 41 x 31cm
  • Weight: 28.1kg

Best Gas BBQ

everdure by Heston Blumenthal

Available in 3 stylish colours (graphite, red and mint), this Heston Blumenthal Force2 model is the perfect addition to the balcony or the garden of any style-conscious individual.

There is an instant searing function, so it is ready to cook your food in just 5 minutes. The hood is extra-high, so perfect for convection cooking any large meats such as a shoulder of lamb or a whole chicken. There is also full flexibility to cook with the hood up or down, so if there are a few spits of rain, you don’t have to rush to bring everything inside.

The majority of the appliance is die-cast aluminium, so not only will it never rust, but it’s also incredibly sturdy if you would like to keep it outside all year round. With an enamel coating, the hood and grill plates are easily cleaned and won’t be marked or damaged in the process.

Tapered legs give it extra durability, but it can also be removed from these if you’d prefer to use it portable. The legs have castors which are lockable for extra security.

We like

  • Choice of fashionable colours
  • 2 burners
  • Variable flame controls

We disike

  • No drip tray

Final Verdict

Stylish and sleek, this is the perfect model for those who like to use their barbecue for absolutely everything once Summer arrives

+ Specifications

  • Fuel type: Gas
  • Dimensions: H144.7 x W117.5 x D74.3cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 2358cm sq.
  • Weight: 33kg

Outback 4 Burner Gas BBQ with Cover

One of the beauties about gas barbecues is that they contain multiple burners, and this four burner Outback model is perfect for preparing all of your food flawlessly at the same time. There is a warming rack too, just in case all your guest aren’t quite ready to eat.

It is incredibly robust with a porcelain lined hood, so will take care of all your Summer barbecuing for years to come. It can also be used with lava rocks stationed between the two grill grates for an extra heat boost if necessary. They also burn away excess dripping fat and provide your food with additional smoky flavours.

The porcelain-coated grill grate spans all the way across the appliance, so you have full use of all the burning space available. There are also two side tables so serving the food is a stress-free task for the chef.

Although it perhaps wouldn’t be the first preference if you had a choice of colours, the green blends in well with outdoor areas no matter the décor. There are two wheels on the left-hand side too, just in case you need to move it slightly to follow the sun. The gas hose and regulator are included.

We like

  • Multiple burners
  • Lava rocks give flavour boost
  • Easy to assemble

We disike

  • Propane gas is expensive depending on how much you use it

Final Verdict

A great well-known brand and would be a great investment piece

+ Specifications

  • Fuel type: Propane Gas
  • Dimensions: H154 x W114 x D60cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 78 x 42cm
  • Weight: 47kg

+ Downloads

Outback 4 Burner Gas BBQ user manual

Download

Best Charcoal BBQ

Landmann Vinson 4-In-1 Charcoal BBQ Smoker

The popularity of BBQ smokers is sharply on the rise because of the enhanced flavour they give to your food, by smoking it over a long period. This Landmann comes in a traditional shape with a chimney, and there is plenty of cooking area to prepare food for up to 10 people.

With a 4-in-1 cooking function, you can directly cook smaller foods which take little time and can be placed straight over the coals, indirectly barbecue food which requires heat circulation and slow cooking, or smoke and cure it for an added taste boost. There’s a lower rack to store your cooked food and keep it warm until all of your guests are ready.

It is very heavy, but there are wheels so you can move it around a level surface with ease. The rounded cooking chamber ensures full heat and air circulation, so you don’t have to worry about any of your food being undercooked or burnt. The chimney and air vents also ensure full control over cooking temperature. There is also a built-in thermometer to make life easier.

We like

  • 4-in-1 cooking function
  • Steel body is durable

We disike

  • High price tag

Final Verdict

The perfect barbecuing appliance if you are a food connoisseur cooking for a large gathering

+ Specifications

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: H117 x W83.5 x L126cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 70.5 x 39.5cm
  • Weight: 50kg

Weber Master-Touch Gourmet System Grate Charcoal BBQ

With a classic look, this Weber model is the perfect sleek addition to your garden. The heavy-duty grilling area and exterior ensure that it will never look worn as they are rust and chip-resistant. The One-Touch cleaning system with removable ash catcher makes cleaning and waste disposal easy.

For full flexibility, the removable central grilling grate ring can be used with a wok, griddle or searing grate, so there’s no more running between the barbecue and your indoor cooker to check on multiple dishes. These are available separately.

The locking lid puts safety first and is fitted with a thermometer, so you will know when the best exact time comes to start cooking your food. The aluminium vents control the temperature and can shut the lid to leave your food to cook if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

For easy transportation either around your garden or just into storage, the Weber Master-Touch is fitted with all-weather wheels.

We like

  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Added thermometer
  • Wheels for transporting

We disike

  • Grill spacing is quite large so small food can easily slip down

Final Verdict

A fantastic investment that no doubt will last for all of its 10-year guarantee - at the very least

+ Specifications

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: H109 x W63 x D74cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 2552cm sq.
  • Weight: 16kg

+ Downloads

Weber Master-Touch user manual

Download

LotusGrill Standard Smokeless Charcoal Grill BBQ

Incredibly light, this BBQ comes with a specially-designed carry bag so you can easily take it with you should you fancy going camping or for a picnic one weekend. Intended for use on top of an ordinary outdoor table, the outside of the appliance stays cool so you won’t risk damaging the table surface or burning your fingers.

The design is eye-catching and perfect for adding a bit of colour and vibrancy to your outdoor space. It is available in red, green or grey, so there is something for every garden. Uniquely, it is powered by 4 AA batteries for an extra power boost, with the electronic ignition ensuring it is ready in just under 5 minutes. The charcoal container will hold up to 250g of fuel, so there is plenty of power to provide food for up to 5 people.

The grill grid, charcoal container and inner bowl are all securely attached to the outer bowl by latches, so you can safely use and transport the appliance without worrying about anything getting lost or damaged. The grill grid and inner bowl are also perfectly safe to use in your dishwasher, so there’s no need to get the scrubbing brush out to remove tough burnt-on stains.

We like

  • Fun design
  • Effortless transportation
  • Electronic ignition is excellent for last minute BBQ’s
  • Available in Red, Lime Green and Grey

We disike

  • Needing batteries may be a hassle

Final Verdict

If you hate the smoke which is a natural by-product of most barbecues, then this is a fantastic option and alternative

+ Specifications

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: H23.4 x W35 x D36.8cm
  • Weight: 3.7kg

+ Downloads

LotusGrill Standard Smokeless Charcoal Grill BBQ user manual

Download

Best Electric BBQ

Weber Pulse 1000 Electric BBQ with Stand

Love barbecuing but it has your neighbours complaining that the smoke drifts over to their drying clothes? Not allowed to use gas or charcoal on your balcony? If you’re after something a bit different and ultra-modern, this is the model for you. Electric barbecues provide you with the authentic BBQ taste without all the hassle.

There are an LED temperature display and status indicator lights, perfect for anyone who has got so used to the modernity of appliances that anything not digital is a bit too much. iGrill technology also allows you to check the food temperature through your smartphone on a dedicated app, so you can leave it to do its job while socialising with your guests. Control knobs can be set to low, medium and high.

Most of the components are removable for cleaning, and there is grease management to prevent any nasty flare-ups. The grill grates are porcelain-cast which allows you to retain optimum heat, and also gives you the sear marks every pro barbecuer dreams about.

It comes with a stand but can also be removed from this for easy transportation or if you’d instead use it on an outdoor table top.

We like

  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Professional barbecuing in the comfort of your garden

We disike

  • iGrill probes for use with the mobile app are sold separately
  • Very expensive

Final Verdict

Fans of traditional barbecuing may be sceptical, but it is very much the way forward

+ Specifications

  • Fuel type: Electricity
  • Dimensions: H101 x W74 x D65cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 41 x 31cm
  • Weight: 28.1kg

+ Downloads

Weber Pulse 1000 Electric BBQ user manual

Download

Best Budget BBQ

Weber Smokey Joe Premium Kettle Charcoal BBQ

Coming in at well under £100, this space-saving Weber model is perfect for those who are short on space or are merely just infrequent barbecuers. If the best cheap barbecue is what you are looking for, then this is also your best pick. It is the original world-renowned Weber kettle barbecue, but just in a handy miniature size.

It is also the lightest of the BBQ’s that we reviewed, so is the most ideal if you want a barbecue that you can take with you anywhere. Suitable for use for a small family or couple, with enough space to cook all food at once.

It comes with a bag, making it easy to fit in the boot of the car without any mess or risk of losing items. There is the ability to control the air flow into the appliance, so you have more flexibility with the power of the heat depending on what you are cooking. You can also cook with the lid down to prevent flare-ups and lock in smoky flavours.

We like

  • Small yet mighty
  • Best portable barbecue on market

We disike

  • Colour isn’t the most attractive

Final Verdict

The best choice for those on-the-go or small families, but also as an accompaniment to larger models

+ Specifications

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: H43 x D37cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 1075cm sq.
  • Weight: 3.5kg

+ Downloads

Weber Smokey Joe Premium Kettle Charcoal BBQ user manual

Download

Dancook 7100 Charcoal Box BBQ

The cheapest barbecue of all the models we have reviewed, but that doesn’t take away from the power of this small appliance.

It is a lot sturdier than the photos suggest, with an anthracite enamel coating and added Teflon for easy cleaning and maintenance. The tray is heat-resistant and sturdy due to being coated with aluminium.

The grill can be placed on four different levels depending on what you’re cooking and how much heat the food requires. Vertical barbecuing is also possible if you purchase the extra spit and electric motor, available directly from Dancook.

Perfect if you after something which is great value for money and modestly sized, or want to kick off your barbecuing hobby.

We like

  • Compact
  • Budget-friendly
  • Simple to use

We disike

  • Only available in silver
  • No hood

Final Verdict

The best bet by far if you are short on space or want to go back to basics

+ Specifications

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Dimensions: H79 x W65 x D32cm
  • Grill Dimensions: 50 x 25cm
  • Weight: 7.2kg

Help and Resources

BBQ Buying Guide

Barbecues aren’t an appliance you will use all year round but, if anything, this makes them even more of an investment piece. You don’t want to be buying a new one every year, but you’ll want to be getting as much use of it as possible while the weather is suitable.

Different Types of Barbecue

The three main fuel types for BBQ’s are charcoal, gas and electric. The first two are the most common, as they can be placed anywhere in the garden as their fuel source is portable.

Charcoal barbecues are the most traditional, too, as they give you the classic BBQ experience with the smoke and stoking the fire. They come in two broad design types, kettle and smoker. Smaller than gas versions, they are therefore more portable. They do take longer to heat up, so require planning and preparation. Charcoal comes in two types, briquette and lumpwood. The former burns for longer, while the latter heats faster, and some barbecues may only work with one particular type.

Gas barbecues heat up a lot faster than charcoal, making them a lot more convenient, and they often have multiple burners so you can cook a variety of food all at once. They provide the option to control the temperature and power of the heaters, so you have full flexibility over the food you prepare. They’re a lot bulkier than their charcoal counterparts, and therefore less easy to move around your garden. Gas is also more expensive than charcoal. There is propane and butane gas available, and some BBQ’s only work with one type.

Electric barbecues aren’t as widely available as the other options but are the most revolutionary choice. Best suited to urban environments, they are flameless, so you don’t have to worry about being overcome with smoke while you’re trying to enjoy the last of the evening sun. Nor will you ever run out of fuel. Think of these as bringing your oven outside, as they often have LED lighting and are up to date with all the newest technology. There’s usually a price tag to suit this, though.

Grill Rack Types

Chrome and stainless-steel grilling racks in modern barbecues and steel is a lot easier to look after. Cast iron and porcelain-coated grill racks are in more expensive models and hold the heat better but are a lot harder to care for. Grill racks should always be cleaned straight after use once they have sufficiently cooled, as they will have burnt-on fat residue.

Which Brands Make the Best Barbecues?

Weber and Outback are the two biggest names in the barbecuing industry, and each has a wide range of appliances available. A lot of general appliance makers, such as those who specialise in ovens and cookers, have also branched into the barbecue industry over the past few years. Most large retailers who sell barbecues also have ranges.

FAQ’s

Which Size Barbecue Do I Need?

Charcoal barbecues are usually smaller than gas or electric, so best suited for a small family rather than frequent large gatherings. Every BBQ has a cooking area that is measured in cm², and the recommended size limitations are:

Up to 4 people – 1800cm²

Up to 6 people – 2000cm²

Up to 8 people – 2500cm²+

Think about how much space you have and where you would store the barbecue when not in use. Most are stored outside all year round or in a shed/garage if transportable enough to do so. If you only have a small outdoor area and no storage space, it isn’t ideal to purchase a large gas barbecue which will take up most of your garden.

How Expensive Are Gas and Charcoal?

Electric barbecues are the only type which requires a fuel source which you don’t have to go out and purchase.

Gas is more expensive than charcoal, and how much you spend on gas depends on how much you use it. There are also two types, propane and butane. A 13kg bottle will typically last for 15 cooking hours. Gas is also not as readily available as charcoal, so check there is somewhere accessible to you which sells it before investing in the appliance.

Charcoal is available in lumpwood and briquette. A large bag of around 8-10kg will cost about £12.

As with anything, all items depend on where you buy them, which size you buy and which make you choose.

Which Extras Do I Have to Buy?

For food safety, always buy a thermometer. Even if your barbecue features a thermostat, this only monitors the general temperature inside the appliance and not the temperature of your food.

If your barbecue is going to be stored away over winter months, especially if it is kept outside, you will need a cover. All have suitable ones available, and some even come with the correct cover included in the price.

Most barbecues will need regular cleaning to prevent grease build-up so you may need dedicated cleaning tools.

You may also choose to purchase a chimney if you have a charcoal BBQ, which will heat the coals up quicker and regulate temperature easier.

You will also probably want to purchase dedicated BBQ tongs and other safety products, such as oven mitts and drip trays (if they are necessary).