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People love grilled food, but issues like bad weather, apartment living, and state or local regulations can impinge on grilling outdoors. The obvious solution is to grill inside.
Taking your grilling into the kitchen does create other problems, though, in particular, smoke management. Fortunately, small appliance manufacturers have solved these problems and offer a plethora of indoor grills for you to choose from.
But which indoor grill is best for you? Well, that depends on your needs and budget.
Our 10 best indoor grills list offers you a variety of choices and one of these small electric appliances should satisfy your grilling fix when you are forced to move indoors.
You can find more detailed information for each product further down, but the list of the 10 best indoor grills in summary is:
Grill size: 120 sq. in. for contact grilling, 240 sq. in. opened flat. | Power: 1800w
A digital display includes a handy built-in timer, making it easy to control how long your steak or other food cooks, allowing you to get that perfect doneness.
This product contact grills (i.e. sandwich the food between the two grilling plates) steak, chicken, burgers and even fish. You can cook up those fancy panni, too, and get beautiful grill marks. The 1800w rating means there is plenty of power to generate high heat when you want to sear.
When you need a flat grill or griddle, the GR-300WS can be opened to make one large, flat grill or griddle. The cooking plates are reversible, providing a ribbed grill or flat griddle cooking surface.
The top and bottom cooking plate temperatures are controlled separately by the knobs on the front of the unit, up to 450°F, and you even have the option for a two-minute sear at 500°F with each plate.
In short, the chef has more control over how the heat is applied to the food from the contact plates.
The top melt option is another interesting feature for the home cook. The top plate can be set to hover over the food at various heights, which lets you melt cheese on the food without touching the top plate.
The unit is sloped to drain fat away and a removable drip tray is located in the back of the unit. This placement keeps the tray out of the way and eliminates any chance of knocking the drip over. The grease tray is dishwasher safe.
The cook plates are removable and they are easy to clean, thanks to the non-stick coating. For those who are curious, yes you can put the cooking plates in the dishwasher, too.
Grill size: 93 sq. in. | Power: 1800w
For those who struggle to get the temperature or grilling time right, the T-fal GC70 may be the indoor grill you have been searching for. It is loaded with sensors to do the thinking for you.
The unit comes with six cooking programs for red meat, burgers, poultry, sandwiches, sausage, and fish. You place the food in, and wait for the indicator to tell you the food is done the way you like it.
You can also use a manual mode for fruit or other items and there is a frozen mode that allows you to cook frozen food without defrosting.
Contact grilling is easy and fast because the Optigrill is well powered, drawing 1800 watts, the maximum allowed for a countertop electronic.
The Optigrill senses the amount of food and thickness and adjusts the grilling accordingly. You just need to remove the food when the light is yellow for rare, orange for medium, and red for well done.
With fatty foods, you may get some smoke, but this grill is well sloped and fat drains into the drip tray that sits in front of unit while in use. It would have been nice to see the drip tray better located, out of the way.
This contact grill can also make those ever-popular panni. The floating hinge adjusts to the food thickness and it can handle thick or thin sandwiches.
The removable plates are dishwasher safe, making cleanup easy and quick. On the downside, the plates are under 100 square inches in size, so this unit will not be the best choice for a large family.
Grill size: 100 sq. in as contact grill, 200 sq. in. opened flat | Power: 1500w
Our number one grill is also a Cuisinart and it is a fine indoor grill, but it is the most expensive on our list, too. If you are on a budget, the Cuisinart Griddler gets you many of the features of its big brother, but at a noticeably lower cost.
This indoor grill contact grills and cooks panni. It also opens all the way up to offer a large, flat grill or griddle. Just like the more expensive option.
The 1500w is enough power for most grilling needs and the slightly smaller size of this grill, compared to the bigger GR-300WS, may be attractive to those with limited countertop space.
The non-stick coated grill plates provide 100 square inches of cooking area when used as a contact grill and 200 square inches when open up, flat. They are removable and dishwasher safe.
The unit does offer temperature control for the contact grilling and griddling options, and the plates reverse so you can select your combination of grill and griddling for the top and bottom surfaces.
The drip tray inserts on the side of the grill, out of the way, and it is removable and dishwasher safe.
The stainless-steel body is rugged and easy to clean. Plus, it looks at home on your countertops, especially if have other stainless appliances.
Grill size: 60 sq. in. | Power: 1150w
Two-sided contact grilling is fast and easy and there is a fair chance that a number of you reading this learned how about indoor grilling on a machine similar to the George Foreman 4 Serving Removable Plate Grill.
Like the Foreman grills before it, this one is well sloped to drain the fat quickly. It is simple to use and sized fit on most countertops.
But this George Foreman contact grill does something that many of its predecessors could not, the cooking plates can be removed for cleaning, and they can even be placed in the dishwasher.
There are also two handy indicator lights to let you know the unit is powered and when it is warmed up.
Those looking for a basic grill that is easy on the wallet should consider this offering from George Foreman Cooking. It will not air fry or griddle, but it will grill delicious food in your own kitchen without too much fuss and cleanup is as easy as removing the plates and putting them in the dishwasher.
The power rating is a bit low, but the grilling surface is smaller and the heat generated is adequate for most grilling needs.
It does come in different colors if you shop around, so you can probably find a choice that will blend into your décor.
Grill size: 150 sq. in. | Power: 1120w
Smoke is one of the biggest issues when grilling indoors. As a result, manufacturers offer a number of products claiming to be smokeless. But low smoke might be a better description, particularly with fatty foods. It is hard to eliminate all the smoke.
One of the more common methods of controlling smoke is to use a water pan that catches and cools the grease and fat that drip through the grate. The Chefman Electric Smokeless Indoor Grill is a good example of this type of smokeless indoor grill.
It is an affordable, basic flat, open grill but it does offer some nice features. For starters, the cooking area is 150 square inches, which means it can cook a lot of food.
You can control the temperature with a knob built into one side of the unit. You can set it from warm to sear.
The water pan/grease catch is large and catches all the grease, keeping it off you counters.
Both the non-stick grill grate and water pan can be removed for easy cleaning, by hand or in the dishwasher.
The Chefman model does have a unique feature, it varies the temperature across the cooking surface and creates high medium and low zones. Some may like this option, but if you want to fire up grill and do lots of one food, like burgers, the zones may force you to rotate the food more than usual.
One concern is the power rating. The 1120w is the lowest of the products on our list. So, if you like to cook at high temperatures and sear your meat, this unit may be a bit underpowered.
For those who want the flat, open grate experience indoors, without much smoke, the Chefman can be found for a moderate price.
Grill size: 145 sq. in. | Power: 1500w
A low smoke, flat indoor grill can bring that backyard grilling experience to your countertop. But many units do not have a cover or lid.
The Delonghi BG24 Perfecto Indoor Grill comes with a glass lid that can help keep the heat and smoke inside the grill. The lid also helps to keep cooked food warm, and you can see through it, so you don’t have to let the heat out to take a peek.
At 145 square inches of grilling area, this unit is large and will cook up a feast. But it will need a fair amount of countertop space, too, when being used.
Another desirable feature, the power is 1500w which should produce enough heat for all of your grilling needs.
The non-stick grill grate is removable, but it is not dishwasher safe. The heating elements are embedded into the grate and this means it must be hand cleaned. The advantage of this design, though, is a more even heating of the grill.
A removable temperature controller plugs into the grill to give you control while cooking. When you are done, simply detach the temperature controller for safe storage.
Grill size: 200 sq. in. | Power: 1440w
Many of us were introduced to indoor grilling by this brand and it is hard not to recognize the popularity of the many models of George Foreman grills.
The Indoor/Outdoor 12 Serving Grill is an interesting flat grill for those who want to bring their indoor electric grill outdoors on occasion, or vice versa.
This 12 serving grill is small enough to use on your countertop, or attach the included pedestal stand and the grill is ready for use out on the deck or patio.
You can raise or lower the heat as needed with the plug-in temperature controller. When you are done, unplug the dial control for safe storage.
For those who say go big or go home, there is a bigger, round 15 serving model. Many found it it’s large round shape awkward and hard to use indoors. Because of this, the 12 serving model made our list in lieu of its bigger brother, but it still offers 200 square inches of cooking surface.
The indoor/outdoor grill uses a single flat contact cooking plate, not an open grate. But it is sloped, like all of the George Foreman grills, to allow fat to drain quickly. A removable and dishwasher safe drip tray is included to catch the grease.
As for cleaning, the cooking plate is not removable but most find it is easy to clean thanks to the non-stick coating.
Grill size: 118 sq. in. | Power: 1200w
The Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill with adds a hinged hood, with window, to give a flat indoor grill with the feel of those big propane grills that live outside.
Smoke and heat are held inside by the stainless hood, and the window allows you to check on the food without opening the lid and letting the heat out.
At 118 square inches, the non-stick cooking surface is sized to allow cooking a large amount of food.
A simple dial on the front allows temperature control, from 200°F to 450°F. Searing is possible at the highest temperature setting with the lid closed. But 1200w is one the low end of power range.
Indicator lights tell you when the unit is powered and when the grill has reached the set temperature.
The hood, cooking grate, and drip tray are all removable and dishwasher safe.
This drip tray is not designed to hold water, which can help with smoke control and cleanup, but many users do report putting some water in the drip pan. For those who want to control smoke, it is something to consider.
Grill size: 100 sq. in. | Power: 1760w
Be it for space savings or simplicity, an indoor grill that can cook via multiple methods will be attractive to some. If that is you, then the Ninja Foodi 5 in 1 is worth a look.
The included ceramic coated grate insert allows you to cook those steaks or burgers over an open grill, right on your kitchen countertop.
But this device is also a four-quart air fryer that can air crisp, roast, bake, and dehydrate using the included basket. Plus, you can separately purchase a griddle insert and other accessories that further expand what this countertop unit can do.
The domed lid helps to keep heat in and smoke out of your kitchen. The black lid combined with the stainless-steel body provides a modern and blends with other stainless appliances if left out on your countertop.
This unit draws a high number of watts and should have no problem generating plenty of heat to grill your food. But that also means any other draw on the same electrical circuit will likely trip the circuit breaker.
There is another version of this indoor grill with a temperature probe, but the added cost is substantial and hard to justify. If you have trouble telling when your food is done, then the probe might be worth considering.
Grill size: 80 sq. in. | Power: 1200
We have all seen those cheap, cute mini contact grills. Many buy them for uses, like in a dorm room. But they are not the safest way to grill indoors and there is a better option.
The Chefman 3-in-1 Indoor Grill Pot & Skillet is a great choice for small spaces. It offers 80 square inches of grill surface, but it is also a pot, too. So, you can also do things like slow cook, steam, simmer, and stir fry all with one appliance.
At 10 inches in diameter, the pot can hold three quarts. The removable temperature controller gives you control over the cooking and a glass lid is included.
It is small enough to fit most countertops, or a desktop if you are in an actual dorm room. But it is versatile and can cook up a number of different dishes since it can grill and act as an electric pot.
The flat contact plate grill will generate some smoke when cooking fatty foods, so you may want to use some ventilation if you have sensitive smoke alarms.
1200w is adequate for this sized unit and generating the desired levels of heat should not be a problem.
It is priced on the low end of the price range for our list. So, while not as cheap as those tiny, unsafe contact grills at the drug store, it is still affordable to just about anyone who wants a versatile way to cook that also includes indoor grilling.
When buying an electric indoor grill, there are a number of different styles and models to choose from. It can be overwhelming at first glance, but there are a number of features you can focus on to help you find the indoor grill that is right for you. Below we cover some of the more important aspects you should consider.
Some people have a large family, while others are empty nesters or single. Depending on how much food you cook at a time, you will need an indoor grill large enough to cook all your food while avoiding excessive batches.
On our list, the size of the cooking area ranged from 60 to 200 plus square inches.
Another issue to consider is countertop space. Most assume they want a big indoor grill until they realize it must have a spot in the kitchen when in use. Countertop space may limit the size of the unit you want to buy, so pay attention to the footprint of units you consider, not just the cooking area of the grill.
An indoor grill must get hot to be viable, and for some meals hot enough to sear meat. To generate that kind of heat, you need power.
Since an indoor grill is an electrical appliance, the power is rated by the watts the unit draws. In our list, power ranged from 1120w to 1800w.
Don’t get fooled by some of the lower ratings. A smaller grill has less area to heat up, so a slightly lower rating does not mean a grill will not get good and hot.
If you are someone that likes to sear, some units do offer a searing option, that offers temperatures up into the range of 450°F to 500°F, or even higher.
It is a balance between size and power, and all of the grills on our list will cook things like chicken and steaks and leave nice grill marks.
One of the biggest issues with lower power is recovery time. When you open the lid, heat escapes and the grill must heat back up. With lower power, you will find it takes a grill longer to get back up to the desired temperature.
For some, they just want a simple grill and setting a precise temperature is not a big deal. But for more serious cooks, temperature control may be a desirable feature in an indoor grill.
Some of the grills on our list only cook at one preset temperature; you cannot change it. Others offer precise cooking temperatures that you can set. Temperature control is important for those who grill often, and vary the food they cook. A thin fish fillet will grill differently than a thick steak and a home chef will want to be able to adjust the cooking temperature.
One of the benefits of an indoor grill is easy, year-round grilling right in your kitchen. But if it is a chore to clean up your indoor grill, you will not use it as much you intended when you bought it.
Most electric indoor grills these days offer a non-stick coating on the contact plates or grate. This makes cleanup pretty easy, and some can be placed in the dishwasher to clean them.
But do not assume that the cook plates all can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Some units have fixed, nonremovable plates or grates and others cannot be put in the dishwasher because the heating element is embedded grill surface. So, some units will need to be hand cleaned.
Smoke is one of the main reasons grilling is more of an outdoor activity. So, moving indoors means smoke control is an issue.
In general, there two methods employed to control smoke with an electric indoor grill. One of the first, and now common, techniques developed was sloping the grilling surface to drain the fat and grease away quickly. This method works but some smoke is still generated and those with sensitive smoke alarms may need additional ventilation.
The second indoor grill technique employed is a water filled-drip pan. This technique is common in many flat, open grate indoor grills. The water collects and cools the fat and grease, preventing it from smoking. But there is still a little smoke, generated on the grate and by the drips that manage to hit the heating element.
So, smokeless is an overstatement as every grill can produce a little smoke. Low smoke is a better term and the water filled pans do seem to keep the smoke low. Some products on the market have fans built into the unit to try and draw the smoke that is generated down into the water pan. But opinions vary on whether the integral fans help or simply add complication and cost.