With the colder seasons at our heels, it’s difficult to partake in some activities that are almost exclusive to winter times; as a self-proclaimed gourmet and a professional chef, I’m specifically talking about grilling.
Knowing that most people have a grill sitting in their shed, I know how hard it can be for all of us meat-lovers with all the rain, snow, and negative temperatures. That’s why I would like to share with you my review of the best indoor grill models on the market in 2021.
Indoor grills are, essentially, remarkably convenient tools that allow us to reposition our outdoor cooking stations in our warm, dry homes. The market’s brimming with models both good and bad, so I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of some of the finest models I’ve had the pleasure of using:
Best Indoor Grill Reviews
1. Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill 25361 – best budget indoor grill
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Dimensions: 12.4 inches by 16.73 inches by 6.81 inches
- Weight: 8.1 pounds
- Temperature levels up to 450 degrees
- See-through window on the lid
- Huge non-stick dip tray
Let’s open up the indoor grill reviews with Hamilton Beach’s 25361. Essentially, this is an excellent choice for people who don’t want to spend a fortune on a grill that they’ll barely use twice a year; I would recommend this model to hobbyists and grill enthusiasts while I’ve prepared something special for professional chefs and cooks for a bit later.
Now, back to the 25361; this is a small, low-cost indoor grill that works wonders when you need a quick, reliable cooking solution. Its temperature levels can reach up to 450 degrees via the temp dial located beneath the plates.
That being said, the HB 25361 can be used for cooking, grilling, searing, and more importantly, instant-ready sandwiches, so it’s pretty fair to say that it’s a versatile little grill.
Speaking of little, its actual dimensions measure 12.4 inches by 16.73 inches by 6.81 inches, and it’s fairly light with only 8.1 pounds of weight. I wouldn’t put it on the list unless it was durable – it’s made of premium-quality stainless steel that is more than adequately robust for most grilling tasks.
Most sandwich-type toasters I’ve used so far have been decently hard to clean; I couldn’t say the same about 25361 with a clear conscience. Namely, most of its parts are removable, but more importantly, it is dishwasher-safe, so both cleanup and maintenance should be a breeze.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise the quality of its removable tray. Essentially, not only is it larger than average, but it’s also reinforced with a non-stick layer, which further simplifies the cleaning process.
2. Gotham Steel Smokeless Indoor Grill – Best Value Indoor Grill
- Dimensions: 17.32 inches by 14.96 inches by 3.94 inches
- Weight: 4.9 pounds
- Fireproof base
- Fireproof handles
- Ceramic-coated non-stick pan
Next up we have Gotham Steel’s Smokeless Indoor Grill; I’ve titled this model as the ‘best value indoor grill’ not only because it’s available at a decently attractive price tag, but also because it’s packed with top-quality features and is remarkably rewarding in terms of maintenance.
First things first, I should mention that Gotham Steel’s grill is the cheapest of the six models in my indoor grill reviews. However, it’s not necessarily the ‘worst’ of the bunch; it’s cheaper because it’s slightly weaker, but I should also mention that it’s not exactly impervious to damages.
This grill is made of quality alloy-steel; it’s much lighter than average (with 4.9 pounds of weight), but it packs a couple of plastic features that I didn’t find as particularly robust.
Its actual dimensions measure 17.32 inches by 14.96 inches by 3.94 inches, so I’d say it’s adequately sized – not too big, not too small.
As far as features are of concern, it’s equipped with a removable grease-catching non-stick tray, which I think is the best feature it is supplied with.
The ceramic coating on the tray passively reduces overall smoke emissions, although most models on the list are far superior in this field given that they’re outfitted with special fans that address this issue. Additionally, it packs a fireproof base, and a set of fireproof handles.
3. HomeLabs Smokeless Indoor Electric Grill – Best Indoor Electric Grill
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Dimensions: 19.5 inches by 11.8 inches by 7.7 inches
- Weight: 13.4 pounds
- Detachable see-through lid made of strong glass
- Built-in handle made of steel
- Integrated anti-smoke fan
- Six temperature settings
In my personal experience, electric grills tend to perform better than ‘analog’ ones as far as we’re talking about indoor cooking. The HomeLabs Indoor Grill is a schoolbook example of a quality electric grill, being equipped with a variety of utility features that afford it with superior level of versatility.
Truth be told, the HomeLabs grill was the prime contender for the spot of the ‘best smokeless grill’, only to be beaten by a straw’s length by Cusimax’s grill and its exquisite cross-flow fan. Needless to say, it produces minimal smoke, although you’ll still see hints of it here and there.
Its temperature settings can be adjusted in the range of 200 and 450 degrees, which I found as extremely helpful, especially in combating smoke-related issues. Furthermore, there’s a see-through lid made of quality glass equipped with a steel handle as well.
Dimensions-wise, the HomeLabs grill measures 19.5 inches by 11.8 inches by 7.7 inches while weighing approximately 13.4 pounds. It’s a bit heavier than average, but that’s largely due to the fact that it’s built from such durable features.
Most of its features are fully detachable and dishwasher-safe; it’s significantly less demanding in terms of cleanup and repair than most similarly priced indoor grills, especially the lid.
4. T-Fal GC7 Opti-Grill Indoor Electric Grill – Best Small Indoor Grill
Our rating: 5/5
- Dimensions: 14 inches by 13 inches by 6 inches
- Weight: 11.6 pounds
- Six auto-cooking programs
- Built-in hardware for adaptive grilling
- Clam-shell type design
Most home chefs don’t really have too much space to spare for a smoothie maker, much less for a bulky grill. Knowing this, I’ve been searching for a model with a small footprint that actually could perform like a full-sized one.
T-Fal’s GC7 Opti-Grill perfectly fits the bill, and then some. This little grill is not only petite in size, but it’s also among the most versatile models in the upper echelons of indoor grills.
First of all, let’s get over its specs; its dimensions measure 14 inches by 13 inches by 6 inches while weighing around 11.6 pounds. In a nutshell, it has a small footprint, but it’s clearly a bit heavier than most indoor grilling systems.
Now, the thing that separates this model from most electric grills is the fact that it is ‘smart’; it features an integrated hardware that helps it adapt the grilling cycles depending on how thick the dish is. You will be able to adjust the temperature settings with the colorful slide button, but if you leave it on ‘auto’, it will do the job for you.
Speaking of automatic settings, there are six automated programs, including red meat, poultry, sausage, burger, fish, and sandwich. Obviously, it packs a clam shell type of design, which offers even and faster heating than traditional grills.
It also works like a charm with frozen foods, as it packs a convenient ‘defrost’ cooking mode; the T-Fal GC7 is equipped with a huge grease tray and strong grill plates, but I didn’t find it as particularly easy to clean. Due to its peculiar unique design, it will not fit in most dishwashers.
Construction-wise, T-Fal’s GC7 grill is made of die-cast aluminum and stainless-steel; it’s much sturdier than most boutique indoor grills, but certain parts feel flimsy and are relatively easy to break if not cared for properly.
5. Ninja Foodi AG301 5-in-1 Indoor Electric Countertop Grill – Best Indoor Grill Overall
Our rating: 5/5
- Dimensions: 12.05 inches by 16.88 inches by 10.59 inches
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Brightly-lit display
- Four temperature controls
- Stainless steel construction
Before I even began my search for the best indoor grill, I had Ninja’s Foodi AG301; I’ve had it for quite a while now, and I must say that its performance is absolutely astounding. It’s strong, versatile, durable, and easy to clean – basically, you could say it has everything you can want out of an indoor grill.
Its dimensions measure 12.05 inches by 16.88 inches by 10.59 inches, and it weighs nearly twice as much in comparison to an average model with 20 pounds of weight. Fortunately, that is its only drawback.
I’ve labelled it as ‘versatile’ among other things – aside from grilling, it can be used for searing, air-frying, and sizzling. Another thing I really liked about Ninja’s Foodi is its remarkably speed; namely, it packs a 1760-watt motor that will help you get the most delicious dishes in no time.
Other than that, the only thing that you may not be particularly happy about is its price tag. It’s several times more expensive than some of the models on the list, but if you’re looking for quality, look no further than Ninja Foodi AG301.
6. Cusimax Indoor Electric Grill – Best Indoor Smokeless Grill
Our rating: 5/5
- Dimensions: 19.69 inches by 11.81 inches by 5.12 inches
- Weight: 16.95 pounds
- Onboard fan and temperature controls
- See-through glass lid
- Twin U-heating tubes
- Anti-smoke cross-flow fan
The last model on my list is Cusimax’s Smokeless Grill. Now, if you are on the market searching for the safest grill, my vote is cast for this one. It packs a built-in cross-flow fan that eliminates up to 95% of the smoke emissions, but it’s also one of the least demanding grills in terms of maintenance.
Its dimensions measure 19.69 inches by 11.81 inches by 5.12 inches and it’s a bit heavier than average with 16.95 pounds of weight.
Aside from the cross-flow fan, this model also packs twin U-heating tubes that offer remarkable dependability and consistently even cooking, grilling, searing, and sizzling.
This model comes equipped with a sturdy see-through glass lid, and a huge removable dip tray. Additionally, it’s dishwasher-safe and offers a myriad of temperature setting levels.
What to look for in the best indoor grill
Homemade barbecue tastes the best, but you’ll need a solid grill for that. Given that there are countless models on the market, I’ve took it upon myself to help you evaluate different indoor grills with these simple guidelines. Here are some of the most important things you should look for in an indoor grill:
Size is mainly important as it dictates how much room you need to make for your indoor grill. Basically, if you’re low on counter space, I’d suggest a model such as T-Fal’s GC7.
If space is not too much of an issue, by all means, go for Ninja’s Foodi – even though it’s fairly big and arguably unwieldy, it’s a stronger, better-rounded, albeit it’s also slightly more expensive.
Design and aesthetics
As far as design is of concern, there are sveral common types – the ‘sandwich’ type resembles a shell of a clam (a toaster), which is slightly more demanding cleaning-wise, but it offers even, faster cooking; the second type features a lid that is typically made of glass. I would recommend the latter if you want to monitor the cooking process and if you don’t want to bother yourself with heavy maintenance.
Common Features of Indoor Grills
The pan is an essential feature that not all grills are supplied with (but you can, luckily, buy one on your own and add it beneath the grills).
Basically, a pan is supposed to pick up everything that you cook that you don’t shouldn’t eat; be it bits and pieces of debris or juices from the food.
Strictly speaking, a grill is still fully usable and functional even if it isn’t supplied with a pan; however, you’ll have a hard time cleaning it afterward.
The main reason why I recommend non-stick pans is that they are the easiest to clean. Most people don’t immediately stand up to clean their grill right after they’ve finished eating, and all it takes is a couple of minutes for greasy liquids to soften up.
I’ve been lucky enough to use dozens of indoor grills, and I have to say that each model I’ve tested so far had a different kind of lid. Before we get to talk about variety in lid designs, I’d like to touch on the importance of this feature in general first.
Basically, lid-less grills are not that common, but in case you find one and think you like it, I would suggest you reconsider. Simply put, such models are incapable of containing the smells of cooking, but more importantly, they’re also spraying oil everywhere around.
Granted, lid-less grill models are typically much cheaper, but they’re often used as impromptu outdoor substitutes for when the main grill is not working.
Now, some grills feature integrated lids (such as clamshell-style models) while most have removable ones. There are certain benefits and drawbacks to both categories, so let’s have a quick look:
Built-in lid pros:
- Promotes faster cooking time
- Typically, they are as durable as the rest of the construction
- More even grilling process
- You won’t need to flip your dishes to grill both sides
Built-in lid cons:
- Take up more space
- Might make the entire grill unusable if they malfunction
- Tougher to clean
Removable lid pros:
- See-through lids allow you to monitor the grilling process and make adjustments on the fly
- Easier to clean
- Better heat retention
- Serves as a dome that protects against splattering oil
Removable lid cons:
- Can be misplaced
- Generally made of flimsy materials, such as glass or porcelain
- Difficult to pack
One of the reasons I love electric grills more than traditional ones is that they are able to cool off much faster. Namely, an old-fashioned ‘manual’ grill that is not supplied with handles would be one hell of a nuisance as you would need to wait hours before it gets cold enough for you to clean and pack it up.
That being said, if you see an electric indoor grill without handles you shouldn’t immediately assume that it will be difficult to operate. These beautiful little gadgets normally work in such a way that they cool off as fast as they heat up, which is nearly instantaneous.
Furthermore, most indoor grills are lightweight, especially countertop models that are also much smaller than average; even so, a set of handles won’t hurt to have just for the sake of practicality and portability.
While it’s not the most common indoor grill feature, a display can be pretty convenient in many regards.
Some of the most basic indoor grill displays allow you to fine-tune the temperature with simple input controls (such as volume up & down) while a bit more advanced models also feature built-in indicators that provide instant feedback, telling you all you need to know about temperature shifts over time.
Of course, being able to start or stop the grilling process with a click of a button is also one of the conveniences that electric grills bring to the table; obviously, such features are always found on the display board. For models without a display, the on/off button is often located on one of the sides.
If you really want to get the biggest bang for your buck, I would recommend looking for a model that features a built-in timer as well.
The integrated timer controls provide hands-free grilling opportunities, allowing you to prepare other dishes, tend to other chores, and such while the grill does all the work for you.
If we take Ninja’s Foodi AG301 as an example, we’ll see that it packs a remarkably versatile display, featuring heat indicators, simplistic temperature controls, a cooking timer, as well as several grilling presets, such as air crisp, dehydrate, bake, and roast.
Overall, this feature is not an absolute necessity, although I would recommend models that are supplied with it rather than straightforward ones that are not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is indoor grilling healthy?
I’m not a healthcare scientist, but I can tell you that indoor grilling, much like any type of high-temperature cooking, isn’t particularly healthy. At the same time, it’s not particularly unhealthy either. This question is the most common one in the grilling niche, so let’s break it down in smaller bits.
The first and main concern I have with grilling in general is the development of advanced glycation-end products; these compounds typically form during cooking, especially at extreme temperatures.
Now, glycation-end products are not dangerously hazardous to our health, but they somewhat increase the risk of inflammation and make it so that it’s harder to breathe in general. Smoke from indoor grills can intensify this issue, but we’ll talk about that in a second.
Fortunately, these are the only health-related issues that you should expect if you use indoor grills. In summary, indoor grilling isn’t overly dangerous to most children, teens, and adults, but it can be to people who are struggling with serious health conditions, diabetes and cancer primarily.
Do indoor grills smoke?
You are right if you are afraid that an indoor grill can create a curtain of smoke in your home; even though most grill models won’t, there’s still a chance that it will happen. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening in multiple ways.
First of all, all indoor-grill models create bits of smoke, but the quantity of it can’t even begin to compare to actual outdoor grills. The amount of smoke that your particular grill will create largely depends on these factors:
- What kind of grill you are using
- What temperature setting is being set
- The amount of oil used on the plates
- The cleanliness of the plates
The last three elements can be corrected at any time while in the first situation (what grill model you are using) calls for a replacement.
Namely, most low-end models feature flimsy materials that don’t particularly excel at retaining heat while at the same time they are equipped with flimsy, low-quality lids. It would be much simpler and cost-effective in my opinion to simply buy a better indoor grill if this kind of problem persists.
Now, as far as the other three elements are of concern, the scenario is drastically simpler. Just pay close attention to the temperature levels and simply lower the settings if you see smoke coming out; additionally, clean the plates regularly and use oil in smaller amounts.
What’s the best grill on the market?
To be perfectly frank, the ‘best’ grill is the one that suits your particular needs the most. Top-rated models were found as useful by the majority of people; top-sellers generally offer the most value for the buck, but these models are not the ultimate, most versatile, best-performing indoor grills ever built.
That’s why I would like to break this question down into several smaller categories; namely, I’d like to give you my take on the best small indoor grill, the best indoor electric grill, the best indoor smokeless grill, the best cheap indoor grill, and the best IG overall.
First and foremost, let’s start with the finest petite grill model; if you are searching for a portable grill with a miniature footprint, I would recommend T-Fal’s GC7 Otpi-Grill. Its dimensions measure 14 inches by 13 inches by 6 inches, and it weighs only 11.6 pounds.
Furthermore, it packs several cooking modes and multiple auto-cooking programs, as well as a robust set of die-cast aluminum non-stick plates, which means that cleaning it should be a breeze.
The title of the best indoor smokeless grill is Cuisimax grill. It packs a simplistic display and a sturdy see-through removable lid that prevents any smoke from coming out. The reason why it’s so efficient in this is the built-in cross-flow fan that reduces smoke emissions up to 95% in comparison to similar models.
Performance-wise, I loved the fact that it cooks evenly due to its dual U-tube design, and that its non-stick pan is actually smooth enough to prevent liquids from sticking to it. Even though it is just a tad more expensive than I thought it should be, I still think that it does a remarkable job for the money.
As far as I’m concerned, the best indoor electric grill is HomeLabs model. It boasts remarkably straightforward mode of operation backed by a plain display, a set of high-quality grill plates, and top-shelf non-stick pan.
Just like Cuisimax Grill’s model, the HomeLabs grill features a built-in fan that substantially reduces smoke emissions; you can activate this feature straight from the display, and once you’ve done so, you will see a blue indicator light, notifying you that the fan is active.
If you’re on a cash-strapped budget, my recommendation would be Hamilton Beach’s 25361. The fact that this particular model is slightly less expensive than average shouldn’t leave a wrong impression on you – its performance is absolutely remarkable.
The 25361 offers easy-to-use heat controls, it is highly compact, and it’s made of sturdy stainless-steel material. It’s also much easier to clean than most sandwich-type grills.
Finally, my personal favorite, as well as the best indoor grill overall from a subjective point of view is Ninja’s Foodi AG301.
Simply put, it excels in every field of performance possible, from versatility, over compactness, to exceptional cooking capabilities. It is, however, also the most expensive model on the list.
How do I season my grill indoors?
You should basically do everything as if you were using an outdoor grill; however, be careful how you set the temperature settings, as too strong of a flame may end up causing more smoke than you want to handle.
Clean the plates before you grease them with oil; as far as adding any ingredients for the seasoning part, I couldn’t think of a different process than what I would normally do to a regular grill – spice the plates a bit, flip the dish when necessary, remove stagnant oil, and you’re pretty much set.
Can you use indoor grill outside?
Electric grills are not overly useful outdoors unless you have a portable generator nearby. However, most ‘analog’ indoor grills are perfectly suited for outside use as well.
Is there an indoor grill that tastes like outdoor grill?
The closest you can get to the ‘real deal’ is Ninja’s Foodi; even though it’s strikingly different from standard outdoor grills, it’s about as strong as any other model. If you season it properly and make heat adjustments whenever the situation demands, you will be able to use it as a typical outdoor grill.
Just before we wrap things up, I’d like to quickly summarize some of my favorite indoor grill models. If you have the means to purchase it, I would warmly recommend Ninja’s Foodi – its performance puts most similarly priced models to shame, and it’s by far the best-rounded indoor grill available.
Alternatively, I found T-Fal’s Opti-Grill as remarkably versatile and strong, although it’s also a bit more expensive than average. Finally, to people who can’t afford high-end grills, I’d recommend checking out Hamilton Beach’s 25361 – it’s a terrific budget indoor grill that offers simple, but reliable performance.