Barbecues

Which barbecues smoke the competition?

Meat kebabs, red peppers and tomatoes on barbecue.

Don’t let a dodgy barbecue undermine your culinary prowess. Our independent testing scorches the poor performers so you can grill with confidence.

We've tested 34 barbecues.

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Overall score breakdown

Overall score is based on

performance (60%)

ease of use (40%)

Performance

Our performance assessment is weighted equally between these 4 tests:

  • Steak cooked on the grill for six to eight minutes each side with all burners on full.
  • Sausages grilled on a medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes each side with the entire cooking surface covered and the hood closed. This is a tough test as fat drips on to the burners: it also shows how well the barbecue controls flare-ups.
  • Marinated chicken wings cooked on the hotplate over a low heat, for about 10 minutes each side.
  • Whole chicken roasted (if possible on the barbecue) with the outer burners on high and inner burners on low, and the hood closed.
  • We test barbecues according to a standard test method, but change our method if the manufacturer’s instructions dictate a certain way of cooking.

Top-scoring barbecues cooked everything evenly throughout, resulting in consistently tender and juicy meat. This also meant the barbecue’s temperature was easy to control, and its heat was evenly distributed across the cooking surface.

Ease of use

This score comprises general ease of cooking (40%) mobility (20%), controls (20%) and cleaning (20%).

We assess:

  • How convenient the barbecues were to cook on. Did they have side panels to reduce draughts when the hood was open? Was there easy access to the cooking surface? Did they come with warmer racks and in-hood thermometers?
  • How easy the controls were to use and whether they were labelled clearly. We also assessed how good the ignition system was at firing up the barbecue.
  • How mobile the barbecues were – their wheels and castors, and the handles for moving them about.
  • How easy they were to clean. We checked whether you could get at all areas for cleaning, how easy it was to wipe down surfaces, whether there were grease-trapping crevices, and how easily the drip tray and grill-hotplate could be removed for cleaning and refitting.

How we choose what we test

We aim to test brands and models you’re likely to see when you head to the shops, plus some you might not be aware of.

Before we buy anything, we do our research: we visit stores, both online and physical; we talk to experts and consumers; and we ask manufacturers about their range of models. We want to capture new developments in the market and make sure the products we test will be available after we publish our results.

We then compile a list of models and head out to purchase them, just as any consumer would.

19dec barbecues summary cta

Barbecues buying guide

Before you buy, check out our buying guide.

Read the guide