Electric grills bring easy, convenient cooking to apartment dwellers and urban grillers who can’t use gas or charcoal. There’s nothing quite like grilling in a wide-open backyard, isn’t there? (As you could probably guess, it's one of our favorite pastimes.) But what about those devoted grillers who don’t have the space for a traditional grilling setup? Or backyard chefs in urban areas bound by property restrictions or fire codes that ban cooking over an open flame? They shouldn’t be cursed to live without the joys of grilling — and with an electric grill, they don’t have to.
Electric apartment grills deliver all the flavor you know and love without an open flame, allowing you to cook on your own terms in more places. Instead of cooking over a fire like you would with gas, charcoal, or other popular fuel types, they use an electric heating element beneath the grill grates. This design makes electric grills safe to use outside most apartments, condos, hotels, and anywhere else you’d normally have to forgo grilling. And we haven’t even touched on the convenience of electricity, ease of use and cleaning, and other surprising electric grill benefits. Maybe traditional backyard grillers aren’t having all the fun, after all.
Advantages of Electric Grills
Grill in More Places
Open-flame restrictions commonly found at condos and apartments don’t apply to electric grills, which use radiant heating elements rather than an actual fire.
Electric Grills Generate Less Smoke
Unlike with other fuels, electric grills won’t give off smoke unless fat drippings vaporize on the heating element (which is actually desirable in moderation).
No more hauling around propane tanks, keeping charcoal stocked, or worrying you’ll run out of fuel. As long as there’s enough amperage available, you can grill!
Electric Grills Deliver High Heat
Think you need an open fire for high heat? Think again! Radiant electric grill elements are more than capable of searing steaks, with some topping 700 degrees.
Contrary to popular belief, electric grills still produce grilled flavor. High heat creates caramelized crust, while fat drippings can vaporize into tasty smoke.
Easy to Use
Just plug into a dedicated outlet with enough amps to power the unit, then control temperature through simple knobs or digital controls. (Yep, it’s that easy!)
Easy to Clean
No charcoal or wood means no ash, but it gets even better than that — components like grill grates and heating elements are often removable and dishwasher-safe.
To keep you protected, higher-end electric grills and griddles come with built-in timers and automatic shutoff functions that ensure the grill isn’t left on.
Reasons to Buy an Electric Grill
As we covered in detail above, the biggest benefit of electric grills by far is the simple fact that they can be used in places that ban charcoal or gas grilling. But even if that situation doesn’t apply to you, there are still many reasons to love what electric grills bring to the (dinner) table. We picked out some of our favorites below, so read on to see the best ways you can put an electric apartment grill to use — whether you’re in an apartment or not.
Cook Healthier Foods
How healthy a certain food is will always depend on what you’re cooking and how you cook it, but electric grills can give you a leg up if you typically watch what you eat. For starters, electric grill elements can offer lower, more delicate heat than open flames from a traditional grill. That means grilling fish, veggies, and leaner meats is much less of a chore than what we’ve come to expect from delicate foods over roaring flames. Electric grills also require little to no oil for cooking, which is always a net positive in terms of healthy eating.
Tailgate Like a Pro
If you’ve spent years hauling propane or charcoal — or, worse, forgetting to haul them — to your tailgate every weekend, it might be time to consider what another fuel type can offer. With portable electric grills, all you have to do is plug into a generator with enough amperage and get to grilling. (We mentioned a generator specifically because most of them can appropriately power these grills, whereas car and RV batteries can’t.) We think you’ll appreciate having less to keep track of on game day without having to sacrifice the thrill of grilling.
Gifts for College Students
In our experience, the average college student is accustomed to a diet of fast food, ramen, frozen meals, ramen, and late-night culinary experiments with ramen too insane to print here. So, just think about how much you’ll change their world by gifting them an electric grill for an apartment or condo! Not only will it meet the demands of property codes banning open flames and keep them out of trouble with the landlord (we hope), but it’ll also enable them to cook some real food for a change. No guarantees they’ll study as much as they grill, though.
Shop Top Electric Grill Brands
Electric Grill Innovations
We’ll start by saying that devising a way to grill without flames is a notable innovation in its own right. That being said, we’ve never known the grill industry to rest on its well-earned laurels. Just like all other types of grills, electric models have received their fair share of upgrades over the years to become safer and more convenient than ever. We believe the best electric grills include at least one of the innovations listed below, and it’s not hard to see why.
Let’s face it: we’ve all accidentally left an appliance on before. When that appliance is an electric grill set to searing temperatures, though? Now you’re dealing with a serious hazard. For this reason, most Luxury and Premium electric grills feature built-in safety timers and shutoff mechanisms that watch your back even when you’re done grilling. (Luxury? Premium? Read our guide to electric grill classes if you’re unsure what these terms mean.) The shutoff timers on Blaze electric grills and Coyote electric grills, for example, can be set for up to 60 minutes for worry-free grilling.
As if using an electric grill wasn’t easy enough already, a few brands outfit their models with simple and intuitive digital control systems. Certain Electri-Chef electric grills channel their stunning performance through digital controls, making for a truly luxury experience. There’s also the digital touch sensor control panel on Kenyon electric grills, which allows you to make precise temperature adjustments for more dialed-in cooking. The thermostatic control system found on Fire Magic electric grills, meanwhile, takes it a few steps further with a digital readout and preheat alarm.
This is by no means a standard feature within this product category — in fact, the Weber Pulse 2000 electric grill is the only model in our selection that offers wireless compatibility. By linking the grill to the Weber Connect app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you can monitor every detail of your grill session without having to babysit the unit. Better yet, the app includes recipes and step-by-step instructions that remove most of the guesswork from grilling. That way, you have more time to sit back with a beer and reminisce wistfully about that killer ramen bean bacon casserole from college.