Infrared grilling something new and completely different from traditional cooking like on a simple charcoal or gas grill. An infrared grill is a grill that uses infrared technology to cook your food.
Right above the source of heat, there’s a plate ( ceramic, glass or metal one ) that is there to absorb the temperature and then radiate it straight onto your food. How exactly does it work and what are the upsides and downsides of an infrared grill? You will find detailed answers to those questions below.
Meanwhile let me remind you that the main goal of this article is to help you choose the best infrared grill. These are expensive grills so before you spend a large amount of cash on buying a new model it’s a good idea to find out what is worth your money and what isn’t. That way you will avoid disappointment related to overrated products.
For that reason I spent a lot of my time and checked the stores’ offers in order to pick the best models based on my experience.
Below you will find objective reviews for infrared grills that I believe deserve to be on my list of this years’ best rated infrared grills.
I took many criteria into account and tried to find something in different price ranges. I invite you to make yourself familiar with the results of my tests that will make it easier for you to choose a new infrared grill.
Best Infrared Grills 2018 - Comparison Table
Main Cooking Space
Char-Broil Signature 325
325 sq. in.
Char-Broil The Big Easy
180 sq. in.
Char-Broil Signature 420
420 sq. in.
Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio
320 sq. in.
Char-Broil Grill2Go X200
200 sq. in.
Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman
360 sq. in.
Char-Broil Performance TRU Infrared 450
450 sq. in.
How did I choose ?
I have a standard pattern of what to do to find a decent grill. First I check out the stores’ offers in order to pick as many grills as possible, then I slowly analyze what each grill has to offer. I pay attention to the price, the quality of workmanship, the quality of elements, useful features, the size, the price to quality ratio and obviously other people’s reviews.
Based on the above criteria I reject most of the grills that I found for not meeting my requirements. The remaining grills move to the next stage which is practical tests. It is the best possible way to verify how each grill functions in practice.
How do I test?
For quite a long time I try to cook on each grill, then I throw one big party where I cook the same food on every grill. That way I can test each grill separately and host a competition with all the types of infrared grills competing.
So by grilling on just one grill I can easily evaluate the assembly, the quality of elements, the features etc. Then by cooking the same food on all the grills at the same time I can compare how fast each grill warms up, if it warms up evenly, what are the useful features like, the cleaning, the fuel consumption, potential malfunctions and many other key aspects.
What do I cook? I try to cook the most popular food that each of us always cooks which means steaks, hamburgers, pork chops, vegetables, chickens, sausages and others. When possible, I do it all on each grill at the same time which allows me to compare each meat’s level of being done.
The last thing left for me to do is to write reviews. Here’s where I use all my knowledge gained in all those tests and describe everything as it is. The key phase to me is the right selection based on the price to actual value ratio of a grill and division into different price ranges so that everyone can find something for themselves.
Infrared grills are something completely different from a standard grill, which is why I recommend reading the user’s manual and assembly instructions attached to your grill after the purchase. That way you will learn many things about your grill, by which I mean proper maintenance, cleaning and other useful things.
1. Best Overall Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 325
I have to undoubtedly say that the king among the infrared grills is the Char-Broil company, and what I believe to be their best model in terms of quality, efficiency and of course the price to value ratio is Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 325. It makes a perfect choice for small spaces and for a small number of people.
A small infrared grill equipped with two 20,000 BTUs burners that will work great in many places, especially on a small patio or backyard. It is also a good choice for a smaller number of people who don’t cook much food.
A great size, 325 square inches of the main cooking area plus 120 square inches of a heated rack. Enough space for a bigger number of people and a great size for 1-2 people. You want to quickly prepare a meal without heating up a large area of the grill? This infrared grill makes a great middle ground for small and big grills.
Surefire Electronic Ignition provides a quick and reliable startup of the burners. The TRU-Infrared technology is characterized by heating up very fast and evenly as well as the ability to reach high temperatures in a very short time.
Let me mention other less significant things. The assembly instructions are clear and simple ( short description + pictures ), it shouldn’t take too much time ( 2-3 hours ).
The grill is equipped with foldable side shelves, durable Porcelain-Coated Cast Iron Grates and an Enclosed Storage Cabinet where you can keep the gas tank and other accessories like the brush for cleaning the grates. On the grill’s lid, on the other hand, you will find a temperature sensor, sadly it doesn’t work very well when it comes to the TRU-Infrared technology which is why I suggest buying a specialist remote grill temperature monitor separately.
What about the quality of workmanship? It is certainly a solid structure mostly made of stainless steel. A small two burner Infrared grill that weights about 100 pounds without the tank. It shows what a solid and durable structure this is.
A good and solid product that is worth your money, I’d say it is the number one among infrared grills. Durable materials, heavy and solid structure, perfect cooking area and two efficient burners.
It really heats up very fast and reaches high temperatures in just 10 minutes. Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 325 is undoubtedly a great Infrared grill for this kind of money. The grill’s size is perfect for small spaces or for a smaller number of people ( perfect for two people ). The TRU-Infrared technology provides efficiency by ensuring an even heat distribution.
2. Runner-up Char-Broil The Big Easy Grill & Smoker
Smoker Roaster & Grill which is three in one, it is obviously different from a traditional grill ( it looks more like a smoker ). A versatile device for small money, if you’re a demanding type of person, then this device will fully live up to your expectations. Sadly it isn’t a big smoker, but I’d like to focus on its versatility and quality of workmanship.
It is a gas powered grill, between the external and internal wall of the grill there’s a burner that heats up the internal wall, which in turn emits heat and cooks the food inside (TRU-infrared technology ).
One advantage here is that hot air responsible for making food dry leaves through the upper chamber, leaving your food wet. Another advantage is pretty much completely eliminating flare-ups.
TRU-infrared technology is also characterized by heating up evenly, there are no cold or very hot areas here. A huge advantage of this technology is heating up very fast and the ability to reach high temperatures.
Inside you will find enough space to fit a 25-lb turkey. The chamber is equipped with a special rotating basket that will firmly keep your food in its place.
If you want to significantly improve the quality of your food, on the other hand, there’s a smoker box on the bottom. All you have to do is put wood chips in it that combined with temperature start producing characteristic smoke that will give your food an incredible flavor. Easily, fast and effectively.
I almost forgot about an important feature which is the ability to cook like on a regular grill. If you wish to fry a steak, a hamburger, wieners or chicken wings, then there’s a place on the top of the grill for special grilling grates. After putting on the porcelain-covered stainless steel grates you get 180 square inches of the main cooking area.
I do have to point out, though, that it is not a typical real smoker that runs on pellets or wood. A real smoker is characterized by ability to cook at very low temperatures, when it comes to Char-Broil The Big Easy it is possible to set a low temperature, but it is higher than in a real smoker. Another significant fact is that a real smoker is powered with something like wood or pellets which has a significant impact on the flavor of the food.
This smoker, on the other hand, runs on gas using the TRU-infrared technology, and the food’s flavor is influenced by a smoker box where you can put wood chips. Of course it doesn’t stop one from cooking really tasty food, but you have to know certain differences between Char-Broil The Big Easy and a real smoker.
When it comes to the grates grilling feature, my only real complaint is a slightly small cooking area compared to other full-size grills.
After a longer consideration I have to say that it’s a great device that kind of reminds me of a hybrid. Char-Broil The Big Easy is in my view a unique device that was not made to replace your charcoal or gas grill. I believe that it’s a grill & smoker that can make a valuable and versatile addition to your actual grill or smoker.
A very versatile, convenient and efficient device that allows to prepare very tasty food. It is easy to use and heats up very fast, if you’re looking for something different from a traditional standard real smoker, gas or charcoal grill then think about buying the versatile Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill.
Let me also say a word about the quality of workmanship, which is very high level. I can say in full honesty that it’s a great versatile grill with the TRU-infrared technology that is worth your money.
3. Upgrade Pick Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 420
This time it’s a slightly bigger model than the previous Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 325 which I described above. A strong and efficient three burner Infrared grill for those who need more power and space. It mostly differs from the smaller model in size, power and several features, but more on all of that below.
A good choice for a bigger family or for those with a bigger backyard. Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 420 offers you 420 square inches of the main cooking area and 155 square inches of a heated rack.
All of that is heated with three burners (25,500 BTUs total). Believe me, three strong burners in the TRU-Infrared technology is really something. The grill heats up very fast and evenly, the three burners allow you to reach very high temperatures in just 10 minutes. Of course, the grill is equipped with Surefire Electronic Ignition, which allows to start the burners fast and reliably.
Plenty of space for preparing on the side shelves, plus one of the side shelves comes with a side burner under the lid (13,000- BTU ).
The entire structure is truly solid, mostly made of stainless steel. The whole thing without the tank weights over 130 pounds which means that it’s a truly heavy, durable and solid Infrared grill. The quality of the elements and the entire structure is most certainly decent, for this kind of price it is definitely worth your money.
Behind the door, you will find a place for the gas tank and some space for other grilling accessories like a cleaning brush or gloves ( remember not to hold flammable objects on the shelf under the grill ).
When it comes to smaller elements, the lid has a sensor of the temperature inside the grill but speaking from experience, such sensor doesn’t perform well when it comes to grills with the TRU-Infrared technology. A much better solution is to buy an adequate remote grill temperature monitor. It’s not really expensive and it will surely come in handy not only when cooking on this grill.
The assembly is a little time consuming, most people can handle it just fine, but it may take a lot of time ( about 2-3 hours ).
Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 420 is a huge Infrared grill for those who need a bigger cooking area and enough efficiency. Three strong burners make sure that efficiency is high-level, the grill heats up very fast and evenly ( without hot or cold areas ).
For this kind of price, the quality of the whole structure ( mostly made of stainless steel ) and individual elements is very high level. It’s a good choice for a bigger family that needs a well made grill for a normal price.
4. Best Budget Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio
Maybe this time I should present an infrared grill for those with a limited budget or those who simply need a compact infrared grill.
This model is perfect for small spaces such as a patio or balcony. I’d like to start by pointing out that it’s a cooking system with the Gas TRU-Infrared technology.
I also recommend this grill for 1-3 people who don’t need a large cooking area. Plenty of people only cook for themselves or maybe one more person, it’s pointless for this kind of people to spend a lot of money on a big infrared grill.
If you’re one of those people then think about if you really need a big grill the cooking area of which you will never make use of anyway.
Speaking of the cooking area, I’d like to say that this model has plenty of it considering that it’s a compact grill. I’m talking about 240 square inches of the main cooking area and 80 square inches of a heated rack. I think that it’s easily enough even for more than two people if need arises.
The whole area is heated by a single burner using the TRU-Infrared technology. Those who have never cooked on a grill like that before might think that it’s not enough. But the reality is completely different, an infrared grill with even just one burner heats up very fast, evenly and reaches high temperatures. Of course, the grill is equipped with an electronic ignition, which allows to start cooking fast and securely.
One big advantage of the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Patio grill is its mobility and size. It is perfect for places with limited area, it doesn’t take much space, it’s pretty lightweight compared to full-size grills and it comes with two wheels that make it possible to easily shift places.
One small downside in my eyes are the regular grates made of stainless steel, it would have been much better with porcelain grates. Porcelain grates are much better because their surface effectively prevents food from sticking and it makes cleaning easier.
Another downside that the owners of this model mention quite often is the problem of peeling paint and poor quality of less significant plastic elements. Sadly, all of that is a result of a pretty low price of this product. I think that if all the tiny elements and the paint job had been better taken care off, this grill would have been truly phenomenal.
However, for this kind of price you get a truly very good grill when it comes to the size, mobility, efficiency and cooking. Still, I believe that due to the quality of some elements it is not an investment for many years. However, it is worth the price one has to pay for it, but you have to understand that it’s only a good grill for few seasons – such is the real price of a product at low price.
5. Charcoal Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman
Now for something different, the TRU-Infrared technology is not only a grill with a gas burner, but also other types of grills like a charcoal one here. It is undoubtedly one of the best Tru-Infrared Charcoal Grills, large cooking area, great grates, high quality of workmanship and most important, affordable price.
Great Tru-Infrared grates (porcelain-coated) were designed to hold the food on top and to prevent flare-ups. Grates with such design heat up evenly, preventing formation of cold and hot areas.
The charcoal is located close to the grates so that you need definitely less charcoal for cooking than in other standard grills.
When it comes to the cooking area, it is truly large, you get 360 square inches of space which is a lot of space for food for few people.
A very pleasant solution when it comes to the grill’s lid that is not present in most competitive grills. Hinged Lid for easier and more pleasant use of the grill, just lift the lid supported by hinges and cook food with both your hands instead of putting the lid on the ground or hanging it somewhere around.
A very interesting looking thing is the upper and lower air vents, they were designed definitely differently from other competitive grills. 360-degree Air Inlet which means there are tightly-spaced vents around the bottom of the entire grill that air goes in through. It is there to help heat up evenly. On the top, on the other hand, there are three big air vents that you can adjust as you please.
Of course, one of the biggest problems of charcoal grill owners has also been solved, which is ash removal. There’s a replaceable ash tray under the grill that can be easily removed at any moment and emptied of the ash, then put back in its place.
The structure is solid and heavy, made of good quality materials. The assembly instructions are clear and simple, and the entire process doesn’t take much time and I doubt that anyone could have problems with this task.
In my view, Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Kettleman Charcoal Grill is the best grill among charcoal grills using the Tru-Infrared technology. If you’re looking for something different from a standard charcoal kettle grill then maybe it’s just the right choice for you.
Let me repeat – a solid structure, good quality elements, large cooking area, Tru-Infrared grates, lower charcoal consumption, a hinged lid, well thought-out air vents and most of all, a price that is fully adequate to the product. You get what you pay for which is a great high-quality charcoal Infrared grill for decent money.
6. Char-Broil Performance TRU Infrared 450
Another mid-size Infrared grill for those with a limited budget. Made of slightly lower quality materials than significantly more expensive models, it still keeps a very good value to price ratio and is great for cooking. The three burner grill is great at heating up the entire area of the grill, which is truly big.
To tell you the truth, I picked it because it’s pretty big, efficient, great for a bigger number of people and most of all, my key factor was the price. It is only slightly bigger than Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 325, but because of the quality of the elements it was made of, it is twice as cheap!
The efficiency of this grill is similar to other significantly more expensive grills, but the main difference are the cheaper materials used to build the structure of the entire grill. That way the manufacturer created a great Infrared grill at an amazingly low price that will work great for several seasons.
You get 450 square inches of the main cooking area and 150 square inches of a heated rack, which is really a lot of space to cook food for many people.
On the side of the grill there’s a side burner (10,000 BTU side burner), which makes an interesting addition for this kind of price.
In order to create an Infrared grill in this size for a price this low, the manufacturer had to give up on many things when designing the structure. Most of all, there is no front door here to keep grilling accessories and a gas tank behind, instead, there’s a thin metal wall. The entire structure, on the other hand, is pretty lightweight because it was made of thin sheet metal.
When it comes to cooking, everything is decent. Three burners are great at heating up the entire area of the grill fast and evenly.
It’s a very good grill that one downside of which is quality of the material it was made of and lack of front door to conveniently hide the gas tank behind.
I have to admit that it’s only a grill for several seasons, which is only fair considering the price of this product. The manufacturer has created an efficient yet very cheap Infrared grill, the price of which will be suitable for everyone on a tight budget.
If you wish to have a decent Infrared grill for many years, though, consider other slightly more expensive suggestions that were made of much higher quality of materials.
7. Portable Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 TRU-Infrared
Of course, my list wouldn’t be complete without something for those who value mobility, small weight and efficiency. Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 is an Infrared grill that you can bring along anywhere you want. It was designed for those who wish to cook outside home when camping, on a trip, at a park or anywhere else.
You get 200 square inches of the main cooking area here. For a portable Infrared grill, it is really a whole lot of space.
The grill’s structure is very interesting and meant to make the grill survive traveling. The lid is equipped with double stainless steel latches for problem-free transporting of the grill. Considering the size, it is not a heavy grill.
One very good advantage is the grill heating up very fast, if you wish to cook your food fast, this grill makes it possible. Within few minutes it heats up to a high enough temperature that makes fast cooking possible.
Solid, durable and efficient – a portable Infrared grill that heats up very fast. It’s also a good grill for those who don’t need a big full-size grill in their backyard. If you only cook for yourself or for two people, such small grill will be enough for you.
One small downside might be the fact that on low settings it burns too hot. The temperature being too high might cause problems when cooking thick slabs of meat. When it comes to cooking hamburgers, steaks, cutlets, chicken or vegetables, however, it’s a perfect grill.
Its biggest advantage is how fast it heats up. I know perfectly well how important cooking outside home is when everyone is already very hungry. Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 makes it possible to start cooking within few minutes, it is great for fast cooking. Undoubtedly the best portable Infrared grill that is worth its price.
8. Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 500
The last suggestion should be for those who really need a large cooking area.
If you cook a lot for a bigger group of people, you definitely need an Infrared grill this big.
Sadly, this model has plenty of negative reviews, which is why I decided to remove it from my suggestions.
Why? Sadly, the quality of workmanship is very low-level.
The main reason why I advise against purchasing this model is the porcelain grates of the grill.
The porcelain is thin and very low quality, the result of which is that pretty soon the porcelain starts chipping off. It causes rust to appear on the grates and creates the risk of getting chipped porcelain on your plate. Due to the porcelain chipping off, I made a decision to remove this grill from my list of the top rated Infrared grills.
Of course this problem isn’t present in every single grill, but the amount of negative reviews is big enough for me to give up on this model. When it comes to efficiency and cooking, it is a good grill for small money, but it’s definitely not an investment for years to come.
What is an infrared grill? It’s a device that uses the TRU infrared technology as the source of heat. How exactly does it work? For example, in a standard gas or charcoal grill the flame heats the grates directly. When it comes to the TRU infrared technology, on the other hand, there’s a special infrared element ( the plate ) between the grates and the source of heat ( charcoal, burners etc ) that retains natural heat and then emits it directly to your food.
It is worth noting that the special plate effectively prevents numerous flare-ups and eliminates the hot and cold areas on the grill grates ( it heats up evenly ).
This technology has plenty of upsides as well as few downsides, but more on that below.
The factors that have to be considered when buying an infrared grill
Don’t buy the first infrared grill that you happen to like. The best solution is to compare different grills in order to make sure that your new grill lives up to your expectations. If you don’t do that, it might turn out very fast that you have simply bought an infrared grill that was not worth your money.
Below you’ll find my tips on what to pay attention to before buying a new infrared grill. The tips below relate directly to the structure of a grill, your style of cooking and the place where you will cook the most.
As you can see, one has to pay attention to many things, which is why I tried to select few infrared grills to make the choice easier for you. That way everyone can find something for themselves regardless of whether their budget is high or low.
If the grill that interests you matches at least some of what I wrote above, you’re on a good path to buy a product that you’ll be satisfied with. Of course, there’s plenty of other aspects you should pay attention to, but I picked the most important ones.