Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: June 13, 2021
LilGrill is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Tabletop grills provide a great solution for a small family. These compact units come in a variety of types – propane, electric and charcoal – which allow you to braise and barbecue your favorite dishes on the go. We have reviewed the best tabletop grill models which cope with their task perfectly despite their small size.
Some of the most important features you should consider before making your purchase include the type of model; the primary cooking area, BTU, maximum temperature, and the dimensions of the grill. Evaluating the type of your intended grill allows you to choose the most convenient fuel source for you, whereas the primary cooking area will determine the amount of food you can prepare at once. Other features you should factor in are the BTU and maximum temperature to ensure your intended model can accommodate a broader range of cooking styles which use different temperatures. Finally, confirm the dimensions for a compact size that would be portable and fit easily in your designated space.
After researching several models, customer feedback, and authoritative review sites such as ours, we identified the models that have the highest ratings as the best tabletop grill on the market. We have analyzed each model in detail, including individual features, strengths, and weaknesses. We also compared their overall performance and ranked the results in the comparison table below. In the later sections, you will find a comprehensive buying guide with an extensive review of the key features and a helpful FAQ segment.
Hamilton Beach 25360 Indoor Searing Grill has a maximum temperature of 450°F to sear your steaks while sealing in the juice for a tender barbecue with a crunchy exterior and the standard grill marks. Besides searing, it comes with a control dial which lets you set the cooking temperature to 200, 250, 300, 350, and 400 degrees Fahrenheit to accommodate different cooking methods.
The 150 square inches of cooking area hold approximately six burgers or two steaks for a couple or a small household. A red and green light glow to indicate when the grill is switched on or when it is ready to preheat food. The lights also improve visibility when cooking.
We like the hassle-free cleaning of the removable grid, upper lid and the extra-large grease tray which are also dishwasher safe. This feature is exceedingly handy, especially when making several batches of food, such as steaks, burgers, shrimps, vegetables, pork chops, chicken, or fish fillets for a larger gathering to avoid transferring taste between different dishes.
The upper lid is great at locking in heat and flavor, but it does not heat the food to cook the top and bottom side of your food simultaneously so remember to flip over your dishes when cooking.
People who have bought this 1200-watt tabletop model praise its ability to produce the authentic barbecue flavor of charcoal products and high heat. They also like the ease of cleaning and assembly, the consistent heat, and the searing function. Their main complaint is the short power cord, 25-inches, which may necessitate adding an extension cord.
This model boasts of a spacious cooking area thanks to the 260-square inch griddle which fits four six-inch pancakes or twelve four-inch pancakes, electric ignition and a H-shaped burner with a heat output of 12,000 BTUs to ensure all your meals are cooked evenly. It is fueled by a one-pound propane canister although you can purchase a longer hose and an adapter to use a larger propane tank.
Featuring powder coated and stainless-steel construction and a griddle surface made of cold-rolled steel which becomes sturdier after seasoning, Blackstone 17 Inch Portable Gas Griddle can withstand almost all weather conditions, and the griddle is easily cleaned by wiping it with a paper napkin.
Other impressive features include a control knob which adjusts cooking temperature, rubber feet which anchor the unit to keep it steady and a grease catcher placed on the left lower side of the grill for convenient cleanup.
Additionally, it has been rated the best portable tabletop gas grill for RVs and outdoor grilling by satisfied buyers on Amazon. The portable gas griddle is a versatile unit which allows you to prepare several types of dishes in a broad range of styles for a small party when camping, tailgating or to replenish in your RV during road trips. The only fault we could find with it is the short warranty of only 90 days.
Weber is a trusted brand which is well-known for revolutionizing kitchen appliances for indoor grilling and backyard barbecues with heat controlling dampers, flavorizer bars, and electronic temperature controls, among other innovations. You can, therefore, be confident in this bestselling propane grill which is packed with features typically found in premium grills but in a smaller and more affordable package.
This model is available in fuchsia, green, red, black, orange, titanium, blue and purple colors to fit practically any kitchen décor imaginable.
It combines a primary cooking area of 189 square inches with a stainless steel burner which generates 8,500 BTUs of heat per hour, a burner valve with multiple settings for regulating direct or indirect heat, a thermometer integrated into the lid to maintain the correct internal cooking temperature, and sturdy construction of porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates as well as a lid and body sculpted with rust-free cast aluminum to be a serious contender for the best tabletop gas grill.
Other attractive features include two side tables which provide extra space for your ingredients and fold under the lid for convenient storage, and a grease management system comprising of a removable angled grease tray and catch pan which make cleaning a breeze. Once the catch pan is almost full, remove the disposable drip pan and replace it with an empty pan.
You can either connect Weber 51040001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill to a 14.1 or 16.4-ounce disposable LP cylinder which is bought separately.
We like the battery-operated ignition and the porcelain enamel cooking grates because they practically don’t require any seasoning. Simply preheat your grill as stated in the instruction manual and start grilling right away.
This tabletop grill is relatively pricey considering its capacity, but it is a durable investment which is worth every penny.
This electric model with a cooking area of 102.4 square inches uses infrared technology which heats up faster and hotter than other conventional tabletop grills. Tenergy Redigrill Smoke-Less Infrared Grill achieves a temperature of up to 446°F in six minutes and reduces smoke by up to 80 percent, making it a suitable choice for a small family that needs a compact unit that can make quick barbecues indoors. The control knob is also used to activate the Keep Warm setting at approximately 230°F or switch off the grill.
The 1160-watt unit has been certified by ETL for energy efficiency. It comes with a 3-ft power cord and a built-in safety mechanism to automatically shut off and avoid overheating when the internal cooking temperature becomes too high.
The unit is simple to set up and clean because both the aluminum grill grate with the nonstick Teflon coating and the drip tray can be removed and tossed in a dishwasher. The manufacturer recommends removing any residue buildup with a ceramic scraper tool and avoiding grill mats which may limit the collection of grease in the drip tray and produce more smoke.
Customers have reported impressive results from grilling steaks, burgers, chicken, salmon, kabobs, and veggies. The main complaint with the unit is the smoke this electric tabletop grill produces when cooking fatty food, an expected occurrence but a disappointing one when it comes from a model that touts itself as smokeless.
This propane model looks petite but it is the best two-burner tabletop grill with versatile settings which you can tweak to prepare a variety of meals. For starters, Coleman Roadtrip 225 Portable Propane Grill is equipped with two temperature zones which operate independently to control the inside and outside burners. Although you cannot set the two different temperature zones at the same time, it gives you more precise control when grilling at low temperature, a feature that is rare in the majority of portable units.
The two adjustable burners produce a total heat output of up to 11,000 BTUs once you ignite the grill with a button. It also has a substantial cooking area measuring 225 square inches, and you can easily switch the cooktop by replacing the cast iron grill grates with griddles or stovetop grate-style inserts which are sold separately for more cooking options.
Upon purchase, you will receive the unit with a regulator and short hose which is designed to be connected to a small one-pound propane cylinder. If you ever wish to connect it to a stationary propane tank or a larger gas cylinder for longer cooking sessions, you would need an adapter and a longer hose.
Going by buyer reviews, Coleman Roadtrip 225 Portable Propane Grill appears to be the best portable tabletop gas grills for RVs. Buyers describe it as a powerhouse in a small package which cooks evenly, especially in low heat and has no flare-ups. The only improvements they would like to see are the addition of a lid latch and a travel case for convenient transit to campsites.
Our budget pick is the lightweight Presto 09020 Cool Touch Electric Indoor Grill which fits in standard 18-inch kitchen cabinets. It is rated highly by buyers for portability, high heat output of up to 400°F with a thermostat, and 168 square inches of cooking area that can sufficiently cater to four to six people. But what makes it really stand out as one of the best tabletop grills on the market is that you can clean the entire grill in a dishwasher as long as you first remove the power cord and the thermostat or simply wipe it clean. This more than compensates for the relatively small capacity because you can easily clean the unit between batches.
The raised ridges serve two purposes; draining off excess grease and oil into the drip pan for lower-calorie meals and leaving grill marks on your food so you can enjoy the same texture as that of typical outdoor grills.
Owners of this model would prefer a longer power cord and a lid so you can grill the top and bottom sides of your meat at the same time. The non-stick coating and the spatula included in the package do make it easier to flip food over and cleanup afterwards.
If you compare its pricing with its performance, you will realize that this tabletop grill with a cool-touch base is the ultimate bargain; the slim design fits in tight spaces, the thermostat maintains consistent heat for evenly-cooked healthy dishes, and cleanup is a cinch.
This model has been a fan favorite for several years with consistently high ratings by buyers on Amazon, and it is easy to see why. It has stood the test of time with durable material which also retains heat to ensure your food is cooked evenly. This comes in the form of durable triple-nickel-coated steel grate and a porcelain-enameled lid which is resistant to rust. Coupled with 160 square inches of cooking area which is big enough to fit six burgers or four medium steaks, a carrying handle and pivoting legs which secure the lid in place, it makes the best RV tabletop grill and the ideal companion for outdoors cookout sessions.
The Weber 121020 Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill comes with dampers on the base and the lid to adjust airflow and regulate cooking temperature and a relatively long warranty to insure you against any future defects.
We like the compact design, no-assembly setup, and the authentic barbecue flavor you get by using charcoal as a fuel source.
Although the grate and the lid are easy to clean, the lack of a removable ashtray is a considerable drawback. You may also have to use oven mitts because this unit’s handle could get really hot.
Whether you are craving for seared steaks in condos which don’t allow open flame grills or you are interested in making grilled pork on the patio for your girlfriends, George Foreman 15-Serving Electric Grill is the best tabletop grill you can invest in because it is designed to be used both indoors and outdoors as long as you have an electrical outlet. It comes with a stand which you can remove to set up this unit on a countertop and five variable settings for the plug-in temperature control probe which allow you to regulate cooking temperature for various dishes.
Featuring 240 square inches of cooking area which can comfortably accommodate up to 15 burgers and a patented slope design which traps up to 42% of the fat for healthier meals, this electric model is an asset for tenants in apartments or any grilling enthusiast with limited space.
The two main complaints from buyers are the weak stand which makes the grill wobble and the grill plate which is cumbersome to clean because it is fixed to the unit. Otherwise, people who have bought these units like the spacious cooking area with an output of up to 15 servings, the detachable stand which is convenient for installation in versatile environments and the dishwasher safe drip tray which makes the cleaning process a tad easier.
With dimensions of 17 x 14.2 x 14.5 inches, light weight of 9.8 pounds, a carrying handle made of glass-reinforced nylon which also secures and holds the lid in conjunction with the Tuck-N-Carry lid lock, and a primary cooking area of 147 square inches which holds up to three steaks or six burgers, the Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium Grill is well-equipped to be the best portable tabletop grill for all your outdoor adventures.
Its sturdiness is also reflected in the triple nickel-plated cooking grate, heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate, porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, and dampers made of rust-resistant aluminum for optimal airflow.
Customers are divided in their opinion on the placement of the 4-hole damper above the charcoal, with claims of embers ebbing out from limited airflow unless you keep the lid open. While some prefer the bottom damper which also doubles up as an ash pan for regular Smokey Joe Grill, others find the absence of an ash catcher in this Premium version convenient for cookouts because it eliminates leakage of ashes or hot coals and speeds up the cleanup of the surroundings. According to the manufacturer, the enclosed bowl on Weber Smokey Joe Premium Grill helps to keep the embers contained when camping or grilling on the go.
In this comprehensive guide, we outline the advantages of investing in a tabletop grill and explore the key parameters you should factor in prior to making your purchase. The FAQ segment provides more insight into seasoning grills, the most economical grills in the long run and the best tabletop grills for indoor cooking.
Why a tabletop grill is a good investment to make
Diverse sources of fuel;
Compact size for a small footprint;
Cooks healthy low-calorie meals;
Minimal smoke emission for indoor cooking;
Portable for trips, RVs and outdoor cooking;
Most come with dishwasher safe parts;
Convenient for couples and small households.
Features to consider while choosing a tabletop grill
The following are the key features to consider when choosing the best tabletop grill that will make all your outdoor adventures more exciting with delicious dishes.
Tabletop grills are available in three types: electric, charcoal and propane, with each one having its benefits and downsides.
Electric models such as the Hamilton Beach 25360 and the Presto Cool Touch Electric Indoor Grill are an eco-friendly option which is also convenient to use because you only need to plug in your grill and set your preferred settings, depending on the type of dish you are making and the cooking style. They are mostly used indoors where you can easily access a power outlet. They also produce the least authentic barbecue flavor. Electric models like the Tenergy Redigrill Smoke-Less Infrared Grill use infrared technology to heat up faster and hotter than traditional tabletop grills. They are the most suitable choice for apartments that have restrictions on open flame grills.
Propane tabletop grills are typically the best models for searing due to their high heat output. The propane products we have featured include the Blackstone 17 Inch Portable Gas Griddle and the Coleman Roadtrip 225 Portable Propane Grill which are great for outdoor grilling because they are fueled by one-pound propane cylinders which are portable. You can upgrade to a higher tank with an adapter and a longer hose. Their downside is the gas cylinders which increase operational costs.
This refers to the cooking surface, where you place your grilling food. Manufacturers indicate the capacity, which varies from one model to another, in terms of square inches or the amount of servings you can make in one grilling session. For instance, the Weber Q1200 has a primary cooking area of 189 square inches while the George Foreman 15-Serving Electric Grill has, you guessed it, 15 servings. Your choice will be determined by the amount of food you prepare and the number of people you plan to feed. You may also need to factor in the space available and whether you will be carrying the tabletop grill with you for outdoor cooking. This is important because a larger capacity usually comes with a larger unit.
For additional space, consider the Weber Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill which comes with two side tables where you can place your cutlery and prepare your ingredients.
The ideal size of the cooking area will depend on your space availability and catering needs; the number of people and the size and amount of food to be smoked.
BTUs (for gas models)
BTU indicates the total heat output you can expect from a particular tabletop grill. British Thermal Unit calculates the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It calibrates fuel consumption to determine the total hourly heat output generated by all the burners in a grill.
However, BTUs must be compared to the primary cooking area for greater accuracy. Generally, a high number of BTUs will produce more heat to cover a larger cooking surface and speed up your cooking.
Unless you plan to grill only one type of dish in a specific cooking style, you will need to look for a tabletop grill with a wide range of temperature which will allow you to prepare a broad variety of dishes by slow cooking, grilling and searing, among others. This is because different types of meals require different levels of cooking temperatures for optimal results. If you enjoy searing, then you will be best suited by the Hamilton Beach 25360 Indoor Searing Grill which has a maximum temperature of 450°F to sear your steaks while sealing in the juice for a tender barbecue with a crunchy exterior and the standard grill marks. It also lets you set the cooking temperature to 200, 250, 300, 350, and 400 degrees Fahrenheit to accommodate different cooking methods.
The main reason why you would prefer a tabletop grill is the small footprint which can easily fit on countertops, in RVs or in your luggage for outdoor cooking.
All the models we have recommended are compact and some of them come with foldable legs, handles and removable components which reduce their storage size to ease portability.
Knowing the prominent role that weight plays in determining the placement, portability, and maneuverability of a tabletop grill, we have only recommended models which feature sturdy construction and decent cooking areas but are easy to carry and operate.
Drip trays: This is an essential feature that contains grease from the grilling food to keep the unit clean and dry. It should be easy to remove for cleaning.
Dishwasher safe parts: Whether it is the sticky food, dripping grease or the ash from charcoal, tossing the messy components in a dishwasher can save you plenty of time and effort on cleaning up after cooking.
Heat control: As well as a versatile range of temperature, you will need to regulate the amount of heat and maintain it consistently to prevent undercooked, overcooked or burnt food. This is particularly important when grilling outdoors where windy weather can cause heat fluctuations. Thermometers, air vents, and burner control dials are usually used to regulate temperature.
The Weber Q1200 is equipped with a thermometer integrated into the lid to maintain the correct internal cooking temperature and the Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium Grill features dampers made of rust-resistant aluminum to limit heat loss and optimize airflow.
Ease of assembly: Some models are shipped with detached components to reduce the size and cost of the package. All the tabletop grills we have features come either fully assembled or require only minimal assembly.
Materials used: The type of construction material will determine the grill’s durability, heat distribution and retention, portability, and ease of cleaning. Outdoor models such as the Blackstone 17 Inch Portable Gas Griddle feature sturdy anti-resistant stainless and powder-coated steel to hold up to natural elements, the Coleman Roadtrip 225 Portable Propane Grill comes with cast iron grill grates which have a high capacity for heat retention and distribution, and Weber Q1200 grates are coated with porcelain enamel cooking grates which eliminate the need for seasoning because porcelain is easy to clean and can withstand high temperatures.
Auto ignition: This is an efficient function which fires up your grill instantly so you can start cooking right away.
Extra storage space: Tabletops are designed to be compact, so it is rare to find models with additional space. But rare does not mean impossible as the Weber Q1200 comes with two foldable side tables.
Seasoning is recommended before you first use your new grill to remove any manufacturing residue and make the griddle sturdier and resistant to corrosion as well as easier to clean. To do this, heat the griddle to the maximum, apply and distribute cooking oil evenly, then heat the oil. Scrape off excess oil and repeat the process. After cooking food, steam the griddle with water and scrape off the excess water. As the griddle cools down, apply cooking oil to prevent corrosion and keep it ready for the next use.
The Hamilton Beach 25360 has compelling capabilities despite its compact size, especially its ability to sear steaks at up 450°F and the effortless cleaning resulting from the nonstick grids, the multiple dishwasher safe parts and the extra-large grease tray which catches every drop of the dripping fat to keep your tabletop grill clean and dry.
The Blackstone 17 Inch Portable Gas Griddle boasts of a spacious cooking area of 260 square inches (which is ideal for making multiple batches of food), a high heat output of 12,000 BTUs, sturdy all-weather construction, and a portable one-pound propane tank which lets you evenly grill pork chops, burgers, chicken and your favorite vegetable during your outdoor adventures.
The Weber Q1200 won our hearts with its built-in temperature gauge and two side tables, which make it worth every penny. It is also available in a variety of vibrant color options to match your décor and personality.