10 best BBQs to buy in 2021

09 April 2021

barbecue with food on grill

Suns out, buns out! Burger buns that is. Get your shades on and fire up the charcoal with a brand-new barbecue for 2021. Here’s our pick of the best.

There’s nothing quite like a sunny day, cold beverage in hand and the gentle aroma of a sizzling barbecue wafting through the air.

And with many of us still confined to our gardens, what better way to enjoy the summer with friends and family than with some smoking hot grub fresh from your own outdoor grill?

Barbecues are big business, with the alfresco eating and BBQ market worth over £7.8 billion in 2019, up from £150 million back in 1997. Once a sporadic treat, many of us are now firing up the barbie once or twice a week, and we expect more from our barbecues than ever before.

Gone are the days where a blackened burger will suffice. Nowadays, we’re more likely to use our BBQ to produce some real gourmet cooking, and we need a grill that’s up to the task.

With a huge choice of barbecues out there, it can be difficult to know what will suit you best. Charcoal or gas? Smoker or smokeless? We’re here to help you make sense of the world of outdoor cooking, so take a look at our selection of the best barbecues the UK has to offer.

1. Best overall BBQ: Weber MasterTouch Charcoal Kettle BBQ

1. Best overall BBQ: Weber MasterTouch Charcoal Kettle BBQ

From BBQ experts Weber comes the MasterTouch Charcoal Kettle BBQ, a quality outdoor grill with an iconic design packed with innovative features, convenience and one heck of a wow factor.

Not just suitable for burgers and sausages, the gourmet BBQ system cooking grate allows you to do everything from roast a chicken, simmer a stew and even prepare a perfect pizza.

With improved bowl venting, you can now barbecue and smoke all on one barbecue. Features such as the Tuck-Away lid holder and One-Touch cleaning system will make alfresco dining easier than ever before.

Pros

  • A durable top-quality BBQ that will last a lifetime

Cons

  • Pricey compared with other charcoal BBQs

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 57cm diameter
  • Weight: 18kg

2. Best budget charcoal BBQ: Argos Home 43cm Kettle Charcoal BBQ

2. Best budget charcoal BBQ: Argos Home 43cm Kettle Charcoal BBQ

Not all budgets will stretch to spending hundreds of pounds on a barbecue, and if you only think you’ll make light use of yours then it’s probably not worth breaking the bank.

But don’t feel you have to miss out on all the fun as this lightweight BBQ from Argos will do everything you need it to and grill your grub to perfection.

The 43cm cooking area provides ample space to cook for four to six people and the kettle design helps to maintain a hotter and more even cooking temperature, resulting in a quicker grill to plate time for your bangers.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Build quality not as solid as other barbecues

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 43cm diameter
  • Weight: 3.1kg

3. Best gas BBQ: CosmoGrill Barbecue 6+1 Pro Gas Grill BBQ

3. Best gas BBQ: CosmoGrill Barbecue 6+1 Pro Gas Grill BBQ

If you're a big barbecue fan but you can’t bear the faff of charcoal, then a gas grill will be perfect for you.

The best you can buy is the epic Cosmogrill Pro Gas BBQ with six main stainless steel gas burners for cooking on a super scale.

Each burner can be ignited individually, and there’s also a handy side-burner which comes with a lid. The two supplied cooking grills have a smart stamped enamel finish, ensuring a smooth cooking surface and easy cleaning.

A number of other excellent features make this BBQ stand out from the crowd, including a fully-removable grease tray, a thermometer to monitor food temperature, a double-layered hood for heat retention, and excellent storage thanks to the cupboard and side table.

Weighing in at a hefty 43kg, this isn’t the lightest of grills, but four wheels help with moving it around.

Pros

  • Makes light work of cooking for large parties

Cons

  • Some customers report it is tricky to assemble
  • A regulator and hose need to be purchased separately

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Gas
  • Cooking area: 74cm x 42cm
  • Weight: 43kg

4. Best budget gas BBQ: Argos Home Deluxe 4 Burner Steel Gas BBQ

4. Best budget gas BBQ: Argos Home Deluxe 4 Burner Steel Gas BBQ

For a cheaper approach to gas barbecuing, we love this stylish steel gas BBQ from Argos with four burners and a whole host of other handy features.

A flame tamer, warming rack and lid all help you prepare the perfect barbecued delights, while four wheels help you move the barbecue around with ease. This is a superb grill to start you cooking on gas.

Pros

  • Fantastic value for money

Cons

  • Some customers report it is tricky to assemble

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Gas
  • Cooking area: 60cm x 41cm
  • Weight: 35kg

5. Best hybrid BBQ: Argos Premium Dual Fuel Charcoal & Gas Combi BBQ

5. Best hybrid BBQ: Argos Premium Dual Fuel Charcoal & Gas Combi BBQ

You’ve heard of a hybrid car but have you heard of a hybrid BBQ? If you can’t decide whether you want the convenience of gas or the smokey authenticity of charcoal, then worry no more because now it’s possible to have both.

Dual fuel barbecues have two separate cooking areas, so you can decide on the day which is the best way to cook your food. Or why not start off cooking on gas then add a flame grilled blast at the end for flavour?

This fantastic dual fuel BBQ from Argos offers all the flexibility of hybrid cooking, plus it’s full of features, such as thermometers on both hoods, a storage shelf, spice rack, hooks for tea towels and wheels to move it round the garden.

Pros

  • Offers fantastic value for money
  • A flexible approach to BBQ cooking

Cons

  • Some customers report it’s tricky to assemble

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Gas and charcoal
  • Cooking area: 43cm x 44cm
  • Weight: 38.75kg

6. Best camping BBQ: Fennek Backpack and Portable Picnic Grill

6. Best camping BBQ: Fennek Backpack and Portable Picnic Grill

This superb kit from Fennek is quite simply a must-buy product for fans of eating in the great outdoors.

Combining high-quality workmanship and an extensive roster of accessories, this magical Mary Poppins bag houses a nifty specially designed compartment in which the sturdy mobile grill can be stowed perfectly.

High-quality zippers, reinforced carrying handles and robust outer material make this backpack ideal even for longer and more challenging adventures.

There’s an extra insulated storage compartment, big enough for all your provisions plus cold packs, four each of plates, cups, knives and forks as well as the necessary barbecue tongs. A sealed bag, in which charcoal, lighters and rubbish can be stowed after grilling completes the set.

Pros

  • Ideal for the great outdoors

Cons

  • Quite heavy to carry for long periods

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 28cm x 35cm
  • Weight: 4.7kg

7. Best smoker BBQ: Junior Joe Kamado Joe Charcoal Grill

7. Best smoker BBQ: Junior Joe Kamado Joe Charcoal Grill

Most definitely not your average BBQ. You can call Kamado Joe a grill, but it's really a whole lot more.

Thanks to its unique ceramic vessel, the Kamado Joe requires less total heat for cooking, is infinitely better at insulating than your average BBQ and also lets you cook at significantly higher temperatures or at very low temperatures for a longer time.

Combine this with the ability to not only control, but fine-tune, temperature and you have a barbecue that’s so versatile it can do anything from a Sunday roast to baking a cake!

Even if you just plan on using it for normal BBQ grub, it’s still totally worth it – just fire it up and let this beast slow-cook your meat to perfection, leaving you with deliciously smoky food whenever you’re ready to eat.

Pros

  • Incredibly versatile
  • Highly controllable
  • Cooks to perfection

Cons

  • A very small number of customers report cracks in the ceramic

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 33cm diameter
  • Weight: 33kg

8. Best portable BBQ: Weber Smokey Joe Portable Charcoal BBQ

8. Best portable BBQ: Weber Smokey Joe Portable Charcoal BBQ

Combining all the qualities of a Weber BBQ with compact portability, this super little grill is great for camping or a trip to the beach, letting you enjoy perfectly barbecued food wherever you are.

Its cooking area isn’t the largest at 37cm diameter, so probably best suited to small gatherings, but the overall tidy size means you can easily have it on a table top – ideal if you’re planning on using it at home and don’t want to take up additional floor space in the garden.

Pros

  • High quality grill at a fraction of the price of larger Weber products

Cons

  • Be careful when assembling; some customers report the enamel can crack if the bolts attaching the handle are over-tightened

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 37cm diameter
  • Weight: 5kg

9. Best smokeless BBQ: LotusGrill Smokeless Charcoal Grill

9. Best smokeless BBQ: LotusGrill Smokeless Charcoal Grill

For some people, the joys and benefits of BBQ cooking are outweighed by the overall smokiness, particularly if you have to cook in a more confined space like a balcony or a small patio.

This BBQ from LotusGrill is just what you need if you still want that authentic barbie experience, while keeping the air fresh around you.

German-designed and engineered, the LotusGrill uses 90% less charcoal than a normal barbecue. It has a patented ‘bellows’ system where an adjustable fan blows air directly onto the charcoal to create rapid high heat, meaning the whole thing is ready to use just four minutes from lighting.

And thanks to its clever construction, the LotusGrill collects every drop of fat from your food in its inner bowl, meaning fat never reaches the charcoal and can’t generate flames or smoke.

Pros

  • Smokeless design
  • Compact in size
  • Comes with a travel bag

Cons

  • Doesn’t give such a smoky flavour to your food

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Charcoal
  • Cooking area: 35cm diameter
  • Weight: 3.7kg

10. Best pellet BBQ: Traeger Ironwood WiFi Connected Wood Pellet BBQ

10. Best pellet BBQ: Traeger Ironwood WiFi Connected Wood Pellet BBQ

Join the wood-fired revolution with a wood pellet BBQ from experts Traegar. A pellet grill helps you grill food easily and with less smoke, much like a convection oven, so food is cooked evenly throughout.

Many BBQ fans prefer pellet grills over traditional charcoal or gas options because they give off a less acrid smoke.

Traegar have perfected the art and this superb grill gives the perfect smoky cooking experience every time thanks to its patented technology, including a clever WiFIRE® enabled controller allowing for precision temperature control from anywhere at any time via the Traeger app.

This handy innovation lets you remotely adjust temperatures, monitor your food, and browse and access over 1,600 recipes. You can remotely monitor pellet levels so you never run out in the middle of cooking.

It even has a meat probe allowing you to monitor your food’s internal temperature without lifting the lid. Authentic and timeless barbecue, with the benefits of modern technology.

Pros

  • Innovative technology

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Heavy

Key specs

  • Fuel type: Wood Pellets
  • Cooking area: 56cm x 48cm
  • Weight: 66.2kg

How do I choose a BBQ?

There are four main considerations when choosing a BBQ: the grill size, how you will use it, your budget and the fuel type.

Look at grill size

When it comes to size, you’ll see that many of our recommendations have a relatively small cooking area of just over 30cm diameter.

While this may seem limited, remember that once it’s lit, you can cook repeatedly on the same set of charcoal for up to two hours.

So, although a smaller cooking area may only seem enough for a few steaks or burgers at a time, you can put more food on afterwards.

Consider how you’ll use it

You need to decide on how you will most commonly use your BBQ. Are you likely to be cooking for just a small group or do you want to cater for large parties where all the food is available at the same time? If you want to cook for larger groups, then you’ll need a BBQ with a larger cooking area.

Budget

While budget is a relatively self-explanatory consideration, take time to read online reviews of barbecues before you dismiss them as too cheap or too expensive.

Some cheaper grills can still be effective and more than adequate if you only plan on using them a few times a year. Similarly, if you plan to BBQ once or twice a week then it’s probably worth considering spending a bit more money.

Don’t forget fuel type

There are three main fuel types: charcoal, gas or wood pellets.

1. Charcoal

Charcoal is the fuel most traditionally associated with barbecuing and is easily available. Light the charcoal in the barbecue using firelighters or lighter fluid then let the coals burn for at least an hour to produce an optimal cooking surface.

Charcoal is the cheapest BBQ type, but it does produce a lot of smoke and it can be tricky to light and to judge when it’s the right temperature for cooking. However, it does give an authentically smoky flavour to your food.

2. Gas

Gas has become a popular choice of BBQ in the past decade because it’s much more convenient and quick than charcoal. A good gas BBQ is usually ready to cook on within 10 minutes of switching on, and you have full control over the temperature throughout.

Traditionally, gas grills weren't as effective at smoking food as charcoal grills, however nowadays some gas models have a dedicated burner or smoking box that you slide out and fill with smoking chips.

Other features are smoking wood trays over the rear infrared burner, which you can fill with chips, or you can make your own smoking pouch using smoking chips and tin foil.

Gas barbecues are useful if you want to cook for longer periods of time as you can keep them burning for as long as you want.

3. Wood pellets

Wood-pellet-fuelled barbecues combine the ease of gas with the smokiness of charcoal. They can be fired up and used almost immediately but give all the authenticity of a traditional charcoal grill flavour.

However, the real benefit of owning a pellet grill is the quality and flavour of the food you can make and, unlike gas or charcoal, you can vary the flavour with the type of wood pellets you choose.

What is the best BBQ to buy?

We think that the best l BBQ to buy is the Weber MasterTouch Charcoal Kettle BBQ, a durable and high quality BBQ that will last a lifetime.

What is the best gas BBQ?

We think that the best gas BBQ is the CosmoGrill BBQ 6+1 Pro Gas Grill, perfect for cooking on a large scale.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which barbecues discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their homes.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which barbecues had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customers reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the barbecues we thought would make the best buys in several interest categories.

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