An Expert Guide to Electric Grills

Published on 01/09/2024 · 8 min readGrill Expert Travis Hill details everything you'd need to know about electric grills to help you decide if an electric grill would be the right choice for you!
Travis Hill, Grill Expert
By Grill Expert Travis Hill

Photo courtesy of Le Griddle

Historically, electric grills haven’t been the most luxurious or sought-after grills, but in the past five years, they have gained notable features that warrant a second or even a third glance! With all the top-name brands and styles of grill out there, you might not have even thought about an electric grill (besides, of course, the George Foreman that is an absolute must in every kitchen).

The truth is, electric indoor and outdoor grills are holding firm and have so many capabilities, which can make them comparable in some instances to your outdoor gas grill, charcoal grills, or even kamado-style grills. This guide is meant to give a breakdown of everything you need to know about electric grills and to show you a glimpse into the peaceful, worry-free grilling lifestyle movement.

Electric Grills 101

The primary electric grill consists of a base, a cooking grate/griddle, a power cord, a heating element, and a lid to close it up. There are a few things to keep in mind if you are looking at an electric grill for your next grill or outdoor kitchen purchase.

Ensuring you have the right wattage on your electrical outlet is crucial. Many of the heavy-duty electric grills are rated for 220 volts (V) of power. If this is the case, make sure you have a wattage converter to ensure you are pulling the right wattage.

There are also certain grills that come with a warming rack and removable stand, so make sure your add-ons and accessories are also taken into account when purchasing.

Another thing to look out for is if your new grill has a proper drip pan. Look at the specs and see if there is one built-in as a grease trough, or if there is a removable drip tray that can be attached.

Today, electric grills come with many attachments and options to take the older perception of electric cooking to the next level, like ceramic briquettes at the bottom and under the heating elements to increase heat retention and induction. Many heavy-duty electric grills today have a comparable grill plate working with porcelain-coated cast iron and cast aluminum and stainless steel—these aid in rust prevention, durability, and versatility.

A Quick Note on 110 V / 220 V Power

Determining what power you currently (pun intended) use and what voltage power is needed to effectively operate your new electric grill can be confusing and often overlooked. There is an equation you can use to determine which voltage power is right for the type of grills you want to run.

Basically, if you are currently running 220V, then you will need fewer amps to run and operate your electric grill. If you are using 110V, which is the more widely used voltage, more amps are required to get the right wattage for cooking properly.

Why Do I Care About the Wattage?

You will need to know your power source's amps and volts. Knowing how your power is broken down and where it goes is not only going to save your grill from being overloaded or underloaded with power, but it will also save you a headache on your power bill.

Why do I need to do math when I grill on an electric stove? Well, on average, it takes about 1,200 watts to cook a steak or burger, and even more if you want a nice sear on your steak. Your standard outlet is about 15 amps and will handle most grills, but some require 20 and some even require 220V of power to use their grill. Be aware of the power considerations when you buy your next electric grill; this will ensure you have the proper heat to get your food up to the right temperatures.

So to determine your wattage, there is a simple multiplication formula. The ampere (or amps) is the amount of electricity used. Voltage measures the force or pressure of the electricity.

The number of watts is equal to amps multiplied by volts. That's it! In other words, Watts = Amps x Volts. Sometimes you will see this formula written as W = A x V.

  • For example, if you are buying a grill for your home that has a standard 15 amp outlet, the grill you just bought pushes 11 amps (11 A), and your home voltage is 110 V, you multiply 11 by 110 to get 1,210 watts (1,210 W). This means that your new electric grill is good to go!

This easy, go-to formula will help you make the best decision on your new electric grill. You will be able to get to those 600–725 degrees of sear cooking now knowing how much power it takes to get to those degrees and if your outlets are suited for it. The most important takeaway from this is knowing your itemized power usage. Being able to control the amount of power all the way down to your plug-in grill is such a great feeling and even better on the wallet.

Electric Is Required

Specific niche markets like apartments and condos restrict all open flame grills. With multiple levels and people living in one building, it's easy to understand and sympathize with this. Since electric grills do not operate with flames and are usually powered by a heating element, this is your best bet to enjoy cooking and grilling indoors and outdoors if you reside or plan on relocating to an apartment or condominium. Make sure to check with the leasing office/condo association for more clarification.

There are many neighborhoods popping up in the net-zero movement, where electricity is the only power source allowed. Net-zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gasses going into the atmosphere are balanced by their removal from the atmosphere. This movement is pushing for complete electric sustainability with the reduction of CO2 emissions. These neighborhoods and communities are increasing, so if your location limits you or you want to decrease your carbon footprint, you won't have to sacrifice great food for your family or guests.

The New Indoor and Outdoor Electric Grill

The Weber Pulse 2000 - a popular electric grill that is easy to use both inside and outside!

A quick look at the traditional grill you might have on your patio or deck is more than likely the quintessential still frame of summer. With the bag of charcoal and wood chips nearby, why would anything change? Why would we want it to change? Here's why, on top of the convenience, easy cleanup, and less hassle, electric grilling innovation is taking huge leaps forward.

The Weber Pulse 1000/2000 1560-watt electric smart grill comes with cast-iron cooking grates coated with porcelain enamel that can be put in the dishwasher. There is an option for dual zone cooking as well as griddle and rotisserie attachments. This grill also comes with Weber’s iGrill thermometers and cooking probes.

The thermometer is built into the temperature control panel and gives the reading of the cooking temperature as high as 600 degrees Fahrenheit inside the grill, while the cooking probes connect to the panel as well and give you the internal temperature of the items you are cooking. With a cooking surface of 278 square inches, this electric grill can cook 12 burgers or five steaks at a time. The Weber Pulse comes as a tabletop grill with 110 V capacity and can be set on top of a cart attachment to turn it into a great outdoor grill.

The electric grill market has not stopped with these significant redesigns like the Weber Pulse; there are grills like the Fire Magic Electric Grill that feature a large heating element for faster and hotter cooking. The grill reaches temperatures up to 725 degrees Fahrenheit and offers a triple-wall insulated body and double-wall lid for maximum heat concentration. Easily control your cooking temperature with the precision thermostatic control system, which keeps the internal temperature within 20 degrees of the desired setting and has a two-hour safety shut-off. These capabilities and many more make using electricity as your cooking source an exciting and comparable idea.

The Future of Electric Griddles

Photo courtesy of Le Griddle

Griddles are in almost every kitchen around the world—residential and commercial. Nine times out of ten, there will be one in the restaurant where you are about to have dinner. But griddles have also made their stand in the outdoors. They come in many fuel sources and have all kinds of attachments. They’re an all-in-one cooktop—big and sometimes bulky, but all-in-one! Electric griddles bring to mind a 90s-style cooktop, so you can cook bacon and eggs for the family with that old-school diner flare.

Don't get me wrong, I love that nostalgia, but with the innovation in electric heating elements and ceramics, these grills have gone to another level.

The E-series by Blackstone has dual heating elements and a 358-square-inch cooktop. This indoor/outdoor tabletop griddle can cook 12 pancakes, 12 eggs, 12 hamburgers, nine steaks, 16 strips of bacon, or 12 chicken breasts. It has a non-stick, ceramic, titanium-coated griddle surface for easy cooking and clean-up. It has a large LCD temperature display and “Rotate and Remove” glass hood that catches splatter and locks in the heat.

As we have seen, electric grills and griddles are not just for indoor use anymore. Aside from the electric grills and griddles that you could pick up at your local supermarket or big box store, there are heavy-duty, innovative grills and griddles that will deliver on all cylinders.

The electric grill and griddles of tomorrow are here today, and I have to say, I am going to be looking at one to take home for those hassle-free grilling weekends when the family is over. They have the ability to give you the grill marks without flare-ups and constant direct high heat (unlike other fuel sources), as well as the ability to interchange from indoor to outdoor use. Whether you are required to have a no-flame grill or you want something hassle-free and portable, a good heavy-duty electric grill will not let you down.

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