Grillbot review: BBQ cleaning made easy?

Sick of scrubbing your barbecue? We set out to see if a robot can do the job for you.

BBQ grill on fire.

What’s the worst part of barbecuing? The obligatory salad? For me it’s the clean up.

After stuffing myself with chops, I never feel motivated to venture back outside, wire brush in hand. That’s where Grillbot comes in. It’s touted as the world’s first automatic grill-cleaning robot.

Black Grillbot on Weber BBQ grill.

How does it work?

Think of it as a Roomba for your barbecue. The Grillbot is small, about the size of a snack pizza. Underneath are three brass brushes – these not only clean, but move the Grillbot about the grill. There’s only one button to press, which sets a timer for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. A small LCD screen shows the time you selected and battery life remaining. The batteries themselves are integrated, rechargeable and last a long time – a 30-minute run used only a quarter of the battery.

It’s quite a simple machine without any real smarts, so your barbecue needs a hood or it’ll drive right off the edge. The Grillbot simply drives in one direction, bumping into anything in its path before switching directions and hooning somewhere else. These random changes of direction mean it should eventually clean your entire cooking surface.

Grillbot in black.

The underside of the Grillbot.

The verdict

I absolutely loved it. It’s quite funny watching the barbecue rock around as the Grillbot scoots about inside. It does make a bit of a racket, as it constantly hits the hood and the motors driving the brushes aren’t too quiet, so I wouldn’t put it on while trying to hold a conversation next to the barbecue.

For a stern test, I flipped the grills in my barbecue upside down to the rarely cleaned side, which was in a real state. After 30 minutes I was very pleased with the results, and even happier with the fact that I didn’t have to use an ounce of elbow grease to get things ready for summer.

I own a Weber Q and was initially worried it’d be too small for the robot, but that wasn’t the case. It did an excellent job, but I think you’d want a bigger barbecue to really take advantage of the amount of work this wee robot takes out of your life.

The removable brushes can be popped off and put in the dishwasher, but I found them quite stiff and difficult to remove. The brushes are a throwaway item and the only place I could find replacements was on Amazon for $27 plus shipping. You’d be wanting to replace them annually at the very least, or sooner if they start dropping bristles, so factor that in.

My only whinge is the cost. We paid $180 from BBQ’s & More whereas my usual grill brush costs less than $10. I’m not sure if I could stomach the cost alone, but if everybody in the family pitched in, it’d be a fantastic birthday or Christmas present.

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David C.
11 Jan 2020
Cleaning the cooking surface

As others have said: Brass will fatigue fail if it's repeatedly bent, (like on a brush) and I'm not keen on ingesting what could essentially be a very small needle.

Cleaning Methods:

1) Who cleans the grill? Busy steel doesn't get that mucky and a quick scrape of a surface sterilized by a gas flame getting it to several hundred degrees is just fine, and the surface stays seasoned so things don't stick. Ya just need to commit to barbecuing: I live in Dunedin and only snow makes it marginal :-).

2) Lie the grill on a surface you don't care about, put on heavy nitrile gloves, and then slop some water and a dishwasher tablet around until it's a slurry on the surface and then hose it clean (some work required, and also protecting your eyes wouldn't be a bad idea as this stuff is caustic). Con: the surface needs re-seasoning. Also believe it works on oven doors - but don't hose indoors!

3) lie the grill on your dirty job surface, then apply a water-blaster. Caution: can be wet but it is fun, and may possibly damage Aluminium if your pressure is *really* high.

Steve B.
11 Jan 2020
cleaning the barbi

Spray with oven clean and leave for a morning. Get water blaster out and spry it don. Job done.

Anthony Robert H.
19 Dec 2019

I don't like brass brushes being used for cleaning bbq's as possible metal bits getting into food and causing a perforated bowel with possibly fatal consequences

Dwayne B.
19 Dec 2019
Agree 100%

I've heard too many horror stories about people requiring surgery due to various types of bristles - both metal and non-metal.