Outdoor Barbecue Grills – Which Type Is Best?

To many people, there is nothing better than enjoying an outdoor barbecue grill with family and friends at home or at your favorite picnic spot. But what are the alternatives when it comes to choosing your barbecue?

There are three main types of barbecue grills, charcoal, electric and gas. Each have their good and bad points and I will go through some of these in this article.


Of all the grills, charcoal grills are the cheapest. They can vary from large free standing units to table top models. These are readily available and generally portable. There are, however, some drawbacks to this type of barbecue.

  • You need charcoal or some sort of material to use as the heat source. Heat beads are often used instead of charcoal. Whatever is used can be messy, inconveniently and relatively expensive if you intend to use the grill often. Time is needed for the barbecue coals to cool before they can be discarded.
  • Time is needed for the grill to get hot enough to cook properly.
  • They can be difficult to start, especially if there is some wind around.
  • The coals can flare up especially if cooking fatty meat. This can be dangerous to the unwary. They can also produce smoke which can be a nuisance.
  • They should not be used if there are fire bans or in places or in areas where a fire could easily start.

There are also some good points to this type of barbecue.

  • They are portable and easy to assemble.
  • Once the coals are at a suitable temperature, cooking is fast.
  • Meat cooked over a charcoal grill is usually delicious!


These are the most popular of all the outdoor barbecues. Like the charcoal grill, they are readily available, inexpensive and come in many different sizes and shapes. Gas barbecues do not have too many bad points, the most notable being that a gas bottle is required to operate them. This can be bulky to transport.

The good points of these grills are:

  • They are quick and easy to assemble and clean.
  • Lighting is quick and simple with many having starter systems that do not require the use of matches.
  • Cooking time is fast with cooking temperatures being reached almost as soon as the barbecue is lit.
  • There is very little smoke but the flames can flare up.
  • Temperature control is easily regulated.
  • And, yes, the food tastes very nice too.


Electric barbecues are third in the popularity stakes but they do have some very good features and also a couple of drawbacks. The most obvious drawback is that they need electricity to operate which means they are not strictly speaking speaking like the charcoal or gas barbecues. They also do need time to get up to temperature. The positive points are:

  • They are quick and easy to assemble and clean.
  • Lighting is as simple as plugging the unit into a power point and turning it on.
  • Once cooking temperature has been reached, cooking time is very quick.
  • Temperature can be easily controlled and held so slow cooking is possible.
  • There is usually very little smoke but, like the others, flare ups can happen.
  • Being electric, they are inexpensive to run and the most environmentally friendly of the three types of grills reviewed in this article.
  • And of-course, food cooked on electric grill tastes pretty good.

All of these types of outdoor barbecue grills have positives and negatives but all are extremely effective barbecues. It depends on how you want to use the barbecue just which type would be best for you.