What are tabletop grills?
As their name implies, tabletop grills are smaller versions of a standard grill, designed to be used atop a table, counter or another stable surface.
You can also choose a tabletop grill that has different grilling surfaces – such as flat top or a traditional ridged grilling grate. Some have a lid, while others are open top.
The only thing that connects most tabletop grills is that they are small enough to place on a table and that they grill foods.
How do tabletop grills work?
How a particular tabletop grill works depends on its type. For the most part, indoor tabletop grills need to be plugged in and can be started with the push of a button.
Outdoor grills on the other hand are often times either charcoal or gas powered. Charcoal grills need to be ignited while most gas grills have to be connected to a natural or propane gas tank and then started with the turn of an ignition knob.
Once a tabletop grill is started, it generally has to be preheated for at least a few minutes. This will depend on whether it is an electric, charcoal or gas-powered version, with charcoal generally taking the longest to heat and electric the quickest.
As soon as the tabletop grill is preheated, it is ready to start grilling. Whether you want to cook steaks, vegetables or hot dogs, a tabletop grill should be able to do so in an efficient manner.
Pros and cons of tabletop grills
Though tabletop grills have many features that set them apart, there are still more that make them similar. It is important to consider the pros and cons of tabletop grills to make a more informed buying decision.
Features to consider in the best tabletop grills
Tabletop grills all have certain features in common – such as being small enough to be used atop a table and having a certain degree of portability. They also have many features that set them apart.
By considering the various traits of different types of tabletop grills, we can better decide which one is most suitable for our particular needs.
All tabletop grills are sized to be used while sitting on a table, cart or countertop. Besides that, there are other sizes to consider.
Most importantly, it is important to figure out what size cooking surface is best for you and your needs. The average grilling surface size for a tabletop grill ranges from about 15” to 30”.
The more spacious the grilling size, the more food you can grill at once, of course. This may be an important feature if you want o grill at lot of foods at once for larger gatherings.
If you are planning to buy a gas-powered tabletop grill, another important number to consider is the number of burners. Most will have one to four burners.
Since burners are individually controlled, the more burners you have the different types of foods you can grill at once, at varying temperature ranges. The higher the BTUs for each burner, the more powerful and higher temperatures can be reached.
If you instead intend on using an electric indoor tabletop grill, you may want to consider heating element watts. The larger the wattage, the higher the cooking temperature range.
Tabletop grills are available in electric, gas and charcoal versions, as well as hybrid models. The type you prefer can depend on several factors.
If you intend to only grill indoors, or at least do the majority of your grilling indoors, opt for an electric version. These are safe to use indoors and simply have to be plugged in to operate.
Many who like to grill do so to enjoy foods steeped in smoky barbecue flavor. If this is you, then you will want to purchase a charcoal tabletop grill.
They operate by the use of lit charcoal briquettes or wood pellets, if you prefer. Charcoal grills are popular for imparting smoked flavors and seared texture.
Gas grills can also impart a seared texture, although they will lack a barbecue flavor unless you use special seasonings or marinades. Tabletop grills are available in all these power sources, as well as hybrid versions too.
The price of a tabletop grill can range from under $100 to several hundred dollars, depending on the features and brand. If cost is a major concern for you, you can certainly find a tabletop grill that suits your financial plan.
Basic tabletop grills, especially those used indoors, tend to be the lower end of the price range. Consider your budget and the features that are most important to you and you will likely find a tabletop grill that fit in with your needs.
You can find tabletop grills manufactured by many of the best-loved grilling brands out there. Many of the top tabletop grills reviewed are attributed to brands like Weber, Cuisinart and Char-Broil.
Different brands use different technologies and have different price points when it comes to their various tabletop grills. Many consumers prefer to purchase a tabletop grill from a brand they trust.
If you have a preferred grilling brand, checking out their tabletop grill varieties is always a great place to start.
Comparison Table – Our Top 12 Tabletop Grills
|Weber 50060001 Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman's Grill||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 4-qt. Air Fryer, Roast, Bake, Indoor Electric Grill (AG301)||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Blackstone Table Top Grill - 17 Inch Portable Gas Griddle||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|MegaChef Dual Surface Heavy Gauge Aluminum Reversible Indoor Grill||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill 25361||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Maxi-Matic EMG-980B Indoor Electric Nonstick Grill||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Royal Gourmet PD1300 Portable 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill Griddle||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Cuisinart CGG-059 Grillster 8,000 BTU Portable Gas Grill||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Top 12 Tabletop Grills Reviewed
#1 – Weber 50060001 Q1000 Liquid Propane Grill
Weber continuously manufactures well-reviewed and made-to-last grills, and its 50060001 tabletop propane grill is popular for a reason.
Its compact porcelain-enameled grilling grates offer a cooking space large enough for about six burgers at a time on its single burner. This Weber tabletop grill is powered by liquid propane and has a simple push button ignition system.
Sized for portability, this gas grill is ideal for tabletops and is compatible with Weber Portable Cart model #6557. It takes about 10-15 minutes to preheat and is also easy to clean.
This Weber tabletop grill is our number-one choice due to its ease of use, consistent even cooking and durable build.
#2 – Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill
Lodge is a cookware brand famous for its sturdy, pre-seasoned cast iron pots, pans and grills, with its Sportsman tabletop grill ideal for on the go grilling.
It uses charcoal or wood pellets as its fuel source, so you can enjoy smoky barbecue flavors in everything you grill. This Lodge tabletop grill offers 17 inches of cooking space, sized right for camping, tailgating and other outdoor events with small groups.
Heat is regulated through a draft door to ensure even grilling. It is designed hibachi style, so is open topped.
Its superb design that allows for deep, rich flavors and a toothsome texture make this Lodge outdoor grill our number-two selection.
#3 – Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 4-qt. Air Fryer, Roast, Bake, Dehydrate Indoor Electric Grill (AG301)
The Ninja brand has become popular in households everywhere, infusing classic cooking devices with new technologies to much acclaim.
Its 5-in-1 indoor electric grill is a powerhouse device, grilling delicious foods as well as baking, air frying, dehydrating and roasting. Sized to fit any tabletop and easy to take with you on the go, all it needs is an outlet to start grilling.
This Ninja tabletop grill can sear food at a high 500°F temperature for steakhouse-quality meats. Because of its Cyclonic Grilling Technology, it is an indoor grill that can chargrill foods evenly.
Along with its grilling prowess, this hybrid tabletop grill is a great value due to its multifunctionality, making it our favorite indoor tabletop grill.
#4 – Weber 10020 Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill
Another Weber is in one of our top spots, this one a charcoal tabletop portable grill.
This Smokey Joe is so named due to the fact that it can impart smoky barbecue flavor in a variety of grilled foods. The entire grill is made of durable and weather-resistant porcelain-enameled steel to retain heat and resist rusting.
You can easily control the temperature of this Weber tabletop grill thanks to its dampers. The cooking grates are made of plated steel, which help maintain an even heated surface and are easy to clean.
This is a popular unit for bringing with you on outdoor adventures thanks to its build and can cook burgers and steaks for about four at once. It also comes in a larger 18” version for larger cookouts.
#5 – Blackstone Table Top Grill – 17 Inch Portable Gas Griddle
Blackstone’s portable gas barbecue is an excellent choice for those who enjoy camping, tailgating and sailing and offers dual cooking styles.
This portable BBQ gas grill has a flat top and a distinct “H” heating element shape. This makes it great for even cooking, as well as griddling foods like eggs and pancakes.
Blackstone’s portable tabletop gas grill offers a vast cooking space and simply needs to be wiped down after use.
The easy portability and maintenance offered by this gas grill combined with its superb design make it our number-five choice.
#6 – MegaChef Dual Surface Heavy Gauge Aluminum Reversible Indoor Grill
MegaChef’s handy reversible indoor tabletop grill makes grilling a variety of delicious foods simple.
While one side of the grill has ridges for traditional grilling, reverse it to enjoy a flat top griddle, perfect for pancakes, eggs and more. The lid is also removable, giving you the power to grill how you prefer.
Weighing in at 6 lbs., this grill is ultra-lightweight and portable. When you are done grilling and griddling, simply wipe down the cooking surfaces for an easy cleanup.
The versatility and ease of use of this MegaChef tabletop grill make it one of our favorites at number-six.
#7 – Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr
Char-Griller’s Akorn Jr is a tabletop camping BBQ grill that uses a kamado style design to ensure deep flavor and an even cooking.
It is powered by charcoal and has both top and bottom dampers that are fully adjustable. Set the dampers to a specific temperature and you can easily grill perfect steaks, burgers, chicken and ribs.
These dampers, along with its sturdy ceramic construction, helps to lock in heat and allows foods to grill to perfection.
This Char-Griller tabletop grill also has two handles for improved portability and a removable ash pan for simple cleanup. These conveniences and its distinct kamado style make it our number-seven choice.
#8 – Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill 25361
Hamilton Beach is well known for manufacturing sleek and sophisticated kitchen appliances, with this searing grill living up to its reputation.
This tabletop grill makes indoor grilling fast and easy. It boasts a viewing window in the lid so you can see the progress without raising the lid and lowering the temperature.
It has a spacious drip tray that catches excess grease for healthier cooking. The drip tray, grill plate and lid are all dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
This Hamilton Beach tabletop grill reaches a searing temperature or 450°F. This gives foods a toothsome texturing on the outside and a tender juiciness on the inside.
#9 – Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill
With this Weber Go-Anywhere tabletop grill, you can enjoy tasty barbecue foods in a convenient and portable grill box.
It is crafted with Weber’s usual sense of expertise with nickel-plated steel grates and porcelain-enameled steel lid and chamber. Up to four steaks or six burgers can be grilled at once.
Thanks to the side handles and the handle atop the locking lid, this Weber tabletop grill is easy to carry with you wherever you go. The plated steel legs lock into place to provide a stable cooking surface, another unique feature that makes this grill our number-nine choice.
#10 – Maxi-Matic EMG-980B Indoor Electric Nonstick Grill
This Maxi-Matic electric indoor grill is simple to use and offers a circular heating system for fast and even grilling.
It heats up to 450°F and has a removable thermostat with five adjustable settings. The nom-stick grilling surface is easy to maintain, as all parts are detachable and wipe clean.
Maxi-Matic tabletop grill has a base and handles that stay cool to the touch and a grease trap to catch drippings. It is a wonderful device for grilling all your favorite foods indoors, including vegetables, chicken, steaks and more.
This versatile and easy indoor grill is our number-ten selection for leading tabletop grills.
#11 – Royal Gourmet PD1300 Portable 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill Griddle
Built with three burners that are individually controlled, this Royal Gourmet PD1300 tabletop gas grill has a flat top, serving as a griddle and a portable gas barbecue.
It offers a massive 325.9 square inches of cooking space and is made with porcelain-enameled stainless steel for durability. A simple push-button ignition system makes it simple to start this portable gas BBQ, and the ring-shaped burners allow for fast and even heating.
Simply wipe down the cooktop when it is time to cleanup. There is also a handy drip tray that collects excess grease and is easy to empty.
This Royal Gourmet tabletop grill also includes a cover, helping you maintain it for years to come. Its thoughtful details and powerful operation make it our number-11 choice as tabletop portable gas barbecue.
#12 – Cuisinart CGG-059 Grillster 8,000 BTU Portable Gas Grill
This Cuisinart Grillster BBQ portable gas tabletop grill lets you cook delicious foods on the go and on the strength of its 8,000 BTU single burner.
At only 10 lbs. and with a cook space of 146 square inches, it is a petite portable gas barbecue that is easy to bring with you anywhere. The lid locks into place so you can easily carry it with you before and after grilling, making it an ideal camping gas BBQ.
This Cuisinart tabletop grill’s domed lid lifts completely for easy access to your foods. It also features a push-button ignition system and the cooking grate is dishwasher safe.
Cuisinart‘s Grillster takes our number-12 spot thanks to its design that makes it undeniable portability and simple to maintain.
There are still many questions that need to be considered when it comes to buying a tabletop grill. While we have already discussed various features that make these grills great, it is important to also take into account the reality of owning a tabletop grill.
Do I need a tabletop grill?
If you want to grill without all of the hassle that can brought on by a full-sized grill, then a tabletop grill is ideal for you.
Tabletop grills are portable, come with the option of being used indoors or outdoors and are easier to clean than full-sized grill. They offer all the fun of regular grilling without the added care and concern.
Are tabletop grills eco-friendly?
That completely depends on the tabletop grill’s power source. It is generally agreed upon that charcoal grills are the least environmentally friendly.
Charcoal grills are popular thanks to the delicious flavors they impart, but burning charcoal also releases harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Luckily, tabletop grills are much smaller than regular charcoal grills, so using a tabletop charcoal grill will be less damaging to the environment.
The same can be said about gas and electric tabletop grills. They are more environmentally friendly than charcoal grills to begin with, but their petite size means they utilize less gas or electric to operate.
Are tabletop grills easy to maintain?
Yes, tabletop grills are easy to maintain, no matter what their features may be. Whether indoor or outdoor, electric or charcoal, tabletop grills are easier to care for than full-sized grills.
Charcoal grills have ash pans to empty after using, but tabletop sized versions are smaller and use less charcoal to begin with. Many tabletop grills have grease traps to empty, but again, these are smaller than those on full-sized grills and simple to clean.
Indoor tabletop grills typically have parts that are dishwasher safe, or at least wiped down with ease after being used. They can then be stored in a cabinet until you need them again.
Outdoor tabletop grills sometimes have dishwasher safe parts too, and if not, need to be wiped down after use. It is best to purchase a cover for your outdoor tabletop grill to be keep it safe when not in use, even if it is not kept outdoors.
Tabletop grills vs. full size
Tabletop grill take up less space than full-sized grills, making them ideal for apartment dwellers. They are also portable, so if you enjoy outdoor adventures, they are smart investment.
Modern tabletop grills are designed to be as comprehensive as their full-sized contemporaries. You should have no apprehensions about buying and using tabletop grills, as they are just as well designed and capable of grilling a variety of delicious foods.
Grilling tips and tricks
Just because tabletop grills are small in stature does not mean they detract from any of the fun of full-sized grills. Follow these simple tips and tricks to make the most out of your tabletop grill.
Your tabletop grill may come with recipes included in the manufacturer’s instructions booklet. These are definitely worth perusing to help spark your culinary senses.
It is also a great idea to research blogs, podcasts and videos created by master grillers to gain deeper insight into barbecuing.
Along with irresistible recipes, you may learn about unique flavor combinations you never would have thought of that can completely change your grilling game.
As mentioned above, tabletop grills are easier to maintain that full-sized grills.
To make this even easier, check around for brushes, cleansers and other tools recommended by manufacturers and other grilling enthusiasts. By investing in some nifty maintenance products, you can increase the lifespan of your tabletop grill.
Also read the manufacturer’s instruction manual that comes with your tabletop grill carefully. You will learn how to set up your new grill, how to care for it specifically and other handy information.
There are many different types of tabletop grills available to suit the needs of consumers. Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor grilling, charcoal or electric power sources, there is a tabletop grill for you.
Many revered grill manufacturers have tabletop grills that are appealing due to their portability, their general ease of use and their simple maintenance. Of course, tabletop grills would not be popular if they did not promise the same grilling prowess as full-sized grills, which they do in most cases.
Consider what features matter most to you and your budget, and you are halfway to finding a wonderful tabletop grill. By following this comprehensive guide, you will be better able to choose the best tabletop grill for your needs, without wasting time and money.