When you first heard the term “infrared” for cooking food, you might think of it as something high-tech. Perhaps, it might’ve even swerved you away thinking that it’s going to be a potential health hazard. However, it is simply a method of heat transfer using infrared radiation.
To help you understand, a source heats an infrared plate, and the heat emitted by the plate is the infrared radiation. These waves travel very fast in every direction, which is why infrared grills are more efficient compared to other grilling methods. Who wouldn’t want a fast and even heat distribution for cooking anyway?
Unlike charcoal and gas grills that rely on heating the air surrounding the food, infrared grills cook food directly using the heat emitted off the plate. This means, heating and cooking the food is faster, but without any “hot spots” or “cool spots” on the grill.
However, there are a lot of factors to consider when buying an infrared grill. But don’t worry, our buyer’s guide is there for a reason. You can read that first before our reviews to help you find the best infrared grill.
Best Infrared Grill Comparison Table
|Model||Burners||Power Source||Type||Check Price|
|Napoleon Prestige 500|
Best Luxurious Model
|Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 525|
|Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 500||Three||Propane||Freestanding|
|Magma Products Newport 2|
Best Marine Infrared Grill
|Char-Broil Patio Bistro||One||Electric||Freestanding|
|Char-Broil The Big Easy ||One||Propane||Freestanding|
|Simple Living Indoor Smokeless BBQ Grill||One||Electric||Portable|
|Char-Broil Grill2Go X200||One||Propane||Portable|
Best Infrared Grill Reviews
Napoleon Prestige 500 – Best Luxurious Grill
Our first unit is from Napoleon called the Prestige 500. From the name itself, along with its price point, one might assume that it is going to be a high-end model. However, can it live up to our expectations? Let us discuss first its anatomy.
Well-Thought Design But..
The Prestige 500 has four main burners with sear plates and burner shields made of stainless steel. But other than the main burner shields, there are also shields located in between each burner. If you think about it, this placement is pretty smart because they help in preventing hot spots and flare-ups. They also widen the surface space for vaporizing drippings, thus, easier clean-up.
The grid, on the other hand, is made from heavy-duty cast iron. We would prefer if Napoleon has switched it out with a thinner metal grate since this material is prone to burning the food faster. Speaking of burning, the warming rack of this grill is unfortunately made out of thin chrome-plated wire. We wished Napoleon made it from something more heavy-duty instead, as the warming rack might be prone to warping in the long run.
Stainless Steel Built
What about its lid? The Prestige 500 has a double-layered stainless steel roll-top lid. Because of the additional layer, the lid can hold the heat inside more easily. There is also a trend with this grill because almost everything underneath the cover (i.e., tube burners, cooking grids, basin) are all made from stainless steel. However, the end caps of the lid and the firebox underneath the burners are, instead, made of cast aluminum.
At the front of the grill, there is also a cabinet where you can access the drip pan inside. We find this placement convenient instead of the typical location at the back. However, the drip pan is quite small and shallow, so you might empty it more often than usual. The close space can also potentially cause flare-ups, especially with greasier foods.
As for the storage, there are two side shelves mainly made of stainless steel with plastic end caps and tool hooks.
Infrared Sizzle Zone
The burners even have Napoleon’s Iconic WAVE™ cooking grids that give your dish distinctive sear marks.
Stainless Steel Rotisserie Burner
Craving for a rotisserie chicken? The Prestige 500 even comes with a sturdy rotisserie motor and two forks. But what’s unique with this rotisserie burner is that it also has a counterweight with the spear. This is a nice touch to help you balance different foods as you grill.
The rotisserie is quite roomy, and adding more forks is not going to be problematic. Napoleon even offers other attachments that you can purchase separately. These include a basket that you can attach around the spear for cooking smaller ingredients (e.g., veggies, seafood) and a kebab skewer.
Spacious for Feeding the Crowd
The Prestige 500 is spacious. The main cooking space itself is 500 square inches, the side burner is 140 square inches, and the warming rack is 260 square inches. These measurements not only allow you to cook a lot of main dishes, but you can also simultaneously do the side dishes.
We also noticed that Napoleon designed the grill’s lid in such a way that when you open it, it doesn’t take much space past the back. What we mean is that it is hinged towards the middle so you won’t have a hard time placing the food inside. And to give you more space towards the side shelf, you can also flush the lid when you’re not using the side burner.
JETFIRE Ignition System and SafetyGlow Control Knobs
The grill’s power source is propane, and it uses Napoleon’s JETFIRE ignition system. This electric system works reliably well in lighting each burner. But as a back-up, there is a channel between the burners so that they’ll light each other up. And as for your safety, you will easily notice if you left the gas on because the grill’s knobs glow.
Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 525 – Top Choice
Porcelain-Coated Grates and Warming Rack
Our next grill is the first among the many units of Char-Broil that we included in this review. What we have here is from the TRU-Infrared series model 525. It is called 525 because it features 525 square inches of porcelain-coated cast-iron grates over four stainless steel tube burners. The 525 also happens to be our top pick, find out why.
Swing-Away Warming Rack
Other than the 525 square inches of grates, the grill also has 200 square inches of warming rack. It is porcelain-coated similar to the cast-iron grates, and you can swing it away, which is great for saving space.
Lidded Side Burner
The TRU-Infrared 525 has a side burner, perfect for cooking sauces and sides to save time. It even has a cover that when you fold-down, gives you an additional working surface for ingredient preparations.
For storage, you’ll get stainless steel shelves where the grill also hides the tank. It is spacious enough for other items such as grilling tools, wood chips, or even other ingredients. And as for mobility, the TRU-Infrared 525 has four casters, made stable because two of them lock.
Surefire Electronic Ignition System
Similar to our previous grill from Napoleon, Char-Broil uses an electronic ignition system called Surefire. To light your burner, simply turn the knob, and you’re good to go. However, expect that you cannot use this grill for slow-cooking since it gets hot fast.
Convertible Power Source
Dual Fuel and Temperature Gauge
At the lid, you will also see that there is a gauge showing both the fuel and temperature levels. This is useful for monitoring the temperature of the grill and control it without needing to open the lid. Getting to see how much fuel you consume is also excellent for practicality reasons.
Overall, the Tru-Infrared 525 from Char-Broil is great if you want an infrared grill with the option of using natural gas. It is also spacious and offers a wide range of control with the temperature. However, a flaw that we found is that assembling it yourself can be complicated.
Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 500 – The 525, But More Affordable
Yes, our next model looks and sounds similar to the previous grill we reviewed from Char-Broil. As you can assume, the TRU-Infrared 500 is so-called because it has 500 square inches of cooking area.
TRU-Infrared 525 vs Tru-Infrared 500
Like the 525, the 500 has porcelain-coated grates and warming rack that also swings away. But instead of measuring 200 square inches, the 500 only has 180 square inches of warming rack. And instead of having four tube burners, it only has three.
The TRU-Infrared 500 has a side burner with lower BTU. If you want to know more about BTU, you can check our buyer’s guide. Nonetheless, the side burner still works well for side dishes and also has a fold-down cover when not in use to maximize space.
Some other similarities that this grill has with the 525 are the storage cabinet, four casters, and temperature gauge on the lid. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a fuel gauge, but hey, that’s for the price difference. The 500 also uses the Surefire ignition system so lighting each burner is as easy. However, note that you cannot convert this grill for natural gas usage.
NORTHFIRE Inferno – Best Small Infrared Grill
Do you know that it is possible to cook delicious steaks even if you only have limited space? In fact, the Northfire Inferno is so small that you can just put it on a table. This infrared grill only measures 10 x 17 x 14 inches and uses a 6 x 11 inches grill plate.
Compact and Hot
The Northfire Inferno uses propane, and by a touch of the ignitor, you can get it up to 1,500 degrees. This grill is pretty straightforward, so if you are looking for a unit with the sole purpose of grilling small portions, this one’s for you. We want to emphasize the small portion here since this is only a single grill.
However, it can still reasonably accommodate a number of ingredients because the grid has four levels. You can slide in the stainless steel grid on any level depending on how much space you’ll need. But do take note that the top level is the closest to the flames; therefore, you have to be mindful of your cut’s cooking time.
Underneath the primary cooking grid is two pans. You can use the closest one to catch the drippings and the other one for resting your ingredients. As a reminder, make sure to be extra careful when sliding out the grid to avoid dropping off your precious dinner.
Solid and Easy to Clean
Overall, Northfire Inferno is a small yet effective grill. The unit itself feels sturdy and is easy to operate and clean. But if we can suggest anything, we wish that Northfire included recipe guides for various ingredients (e.g., seafood, veggies.)
Magma Products Newport 2 – Best Infrared Grill to Bring on Boats
The next model we have is the Newport 2 from the Gourmet series of Magma. This portable grill uses a standard 1-pound disposable propane canister, but you can also use it with an onboard LPG or CNG system using an adapting control valve. The Newport 2 lights up using an electronic ignition system, which according to Magma, can withstand heavy winds.
Marine-Grade Polished Stainless Steel Built
By looking at it, you will notice that Magma constructed it entirely from polished stainless steel. This makes the grill not only good-looking but also sturdy. And because the stainless steel itself is marine-grade, you can confidently bring this grill to the boat with you without worrying for potential rusting. The Newport 2 even has folding legs to make it more convenient for traveling.
At the front, you can quickly access the grease tray. However, what’s unique with this grill is that it has a tempered glass cover so you can still view what you’re cooking with the lid closed.
How does it performs? The Newport 2 heats up fast, and the bottom pan is deep enough to avoid flare-ups. The grill even has screens that are perfect for searing meats. But the great thing about this unit is that you can also turn the temperature lower for certain ingredients.
You can easily monitor the temperature because it has a built-in thermometer. It does not show the exact measurements, but instead, have three sections. Regardless, the low, medium, and high levels (blue, yellow, red) are enough to give you an idea when it’s time to turn the gas off or when the grill is hot enough.
Solaire Everywhere – Best in Easy Assembly
Lightweight and Compact
Another portable infrared grill in this list is the SOL-EV17A from Solaire. They made this model from 0.035 inches of 304 stainless steel, giving it a solid feel. However, what’s great with this grill is that true to it being a portable model, it only weighs 15 pounds.
The biggest thing we like about this grill is that you can almost use it straight out of the box. All it needs is for you to attach the handles requiring six bolts and put on the feet (four pieces,) which you can also adjust to your liking. The instructions they included are pretty straightforward, as well as the ones for cooking.
On the other hand, the SOL-EV17A may not be the largest portable grill. It only offers a grilling area measuring 140 square inches, so feeding a crowd is not possible. But nonetheless, you can heat it up in only 3 minutes, which is useful for those who want a fast yet quality grilling experience.
As for traveling and storage, the burner’s hood has spring-loaded latches to protect the model. However, during cooking, the lid stays up, which means it might be harder to grill with windy weather. Speaking of which, the model has no locking mechanism for the lid when it is opened. This can be a drag for those who don’t want to watch their grill constantly.
Flavorful or Messy?
The grids themselves are uniquely V-shaped for avoiding flare-ups. According to Solaire, this design allows the drippings to quickly incinerate, thus smoking the food and giving it a more flavorful profile. Sadly, we found a loophole in this supposedly good feature. Because the unit has no dedicated grease pan, it will be difficult to clean the grill and where you placed it. We suggest that you add a material that can soak up the drippings so that it doesn’t run everywhere.
We’ve mentioned BTUs before, and in case you are wondering, this grill measures at 14,000. To give you a better idea, it has a temperature range of 500 to 1000 degrees. Although, do take note that the SOL-EV17A has no temperature nor fuel gauge to monitor your usage. On the bright side, you can light the grill with an electronic push ignition similar to our previous models.
Use it With Multiple Power Sources
The model uses a 1-pound propane bottle, but you can also use propane tanks by buying an adapter hose accessory. And like the TRU-Infrared 525, you can use a conversion kit if you want to use natural gas. You can even use it with an RV’s low-pressure propane system by purchasing Solaire’s LP conversion kit!
Char-Broil Patio Bistro – Best Electric Infrared Grill
As we have mentioned earlier, this list includes a number of grills from Char-Broil. And it happens that our favorite electric model is their infrared patio bistro grill. If you despise fussing around with gases, then an electric grill is something that you can consider. Like with any other electronic appliance, simply plug the model in, turn the knob and you’re good to cook.
What’s cool with this patio bistro grill is its design. Even though it doesn’t take up much space, Char-Broil still managed to add a warming rack above the main grate. And this said main cooking surface even measures 240 square inches, not bad for cooking a whole rack of ribs or multiple burgers. However, this model may not be as easy to assemble as our previous grill.
Porcelain-Coating for Easy Clean-Up
If you’re wondering about the grate’s material, they made it from porcelain-coated cast iron. The lid and firebox, on the other hand, are porcelain-coated steel. These materials are fairly durable and are excellent for clean-up.
Folding Side Trays
You’ll also notice that it has under-mounted rack and side shelves, so that you can prepare and store other tools and ingredients. But you can also fold the side shelves too if you want to save some space. Does it have a grease tray? Matter of fact, it actually does, and it’s accessible at the front! You can remove the grease tray underneath the grill for easy clean-up.
Temperature Gauge and Lighted Control Knob
You can adjust the grill’s temperature depending on your liking using the lighted control knob at the front. There is even a temperature gauge on the lid so that you can keep the lid closed and maintain your desired temperature. This is very important for you to remember because this grill quickly loses its heat once you open the lid. And as for your safety, the lighted control knob will illuminate once the surface gets hot.
Char-Broil The Big Easy – Best 3-in-1 Grill
The Big Easy may not be the most chic-looking grill in this review, but it is built looking like that for a reason. Think of this model as an outdoor gas oven since it can smoke, roast, or grill for you.
The Big Portable?
While the Big Easy weighs 22.7 pounds, it has handles on both sides so that you can move it around easier. There’s no doubt that this is a relatively large model. But realistically, you can still bring it anywhere as long as you have a standard liquid propane tank. It lights up from a turn of a knob too, which means you won’t be needing matches. The Big Easy has a grease tray as well so that you can quickly clean the unit after each use.
Smoke, Roast, Grill
The Big Easy has a pull-out stainless steel smoker box where you can place in different chips to create different aromas for your food. What’s great about this design is that Char-Broil mounted it at the side so that you can still add wood chips without opening the lid.
You can also use this unit as a roaster. Inside is a drop-in 1,200 square inch basket with an 11kg capacity. Other than the basket, you can also hang your ingredients on the stainless steel hooks. Now as an infrared grill, the Big Easy uses removable 180 square inch porcelain-coated grates.
Narrow Grate Spaces, Advantageous or Not?
The surface is zig-zag, which, according to Char-Broil, helps in getting an equal heat distribution and retention. You’ll also notice that the spaces in-between the grates are quite narrow, so you don’t have to worry about smaller ingredients falling in (and of course, fewer flare-ups.) Another advantage with this design is that it also keeps the food from drying out due to lesser hot air going upwards. However, since the meat doesn’t come in contact with the flames, it can be more challenging to cook certain cuts.
Upon purchasing, you’ll get a thermometer for checking your food. Sadly, Char-Broil did not designed it as built-in. This means you have to stick the thermometer in the meat manually. As a consequence, you have to check what you’re cooking constantly. And for the temperature, the Big Easy offers a single control knob with temperatures ranging from 212℉ to 752℉. As you can see, this is not the highest searing temperature among this list. Some customers also mentioned that it took longer to cook certain meats.
Simple Living – Best Infrared Grill for Indoors
We are nearing the end of this review, but before our final unit, let us take a look at an indoor electric grill. This model is from Simple Living, and it boasts itself as smokeless. How many times have you wanted to grill inside, but smoke is holding you back? Simple Living introduces their electric infrared grill as the solution.
Non-Slip and Lid-Free
Although the unit’s housing is plastic, the grill itself is ceramic, and the drip tray is aluminum. If you’re wondering where the lid is, Simple Living designed this grill not to need a lid. We also like that the base has non-slip feet to keep the model stable and safe. Speaking of safety, you don’t have to worry about accidental burns. According to Simple Living, their handles and base stay cool to touch. But of course, precaution is still necessary.
Cook with No Oil
The cooking surface of this grill measures 14 x 8 inches, which we think is useful for those who don’t have a lot of space. But more than being space-saving, the surface itself is non-stick. Naturally, this makes a huge difference in the clean-up. At the same time, you can also cook with no oil to make recipes a tad healthier.
Surprisingly, even though this grill is smokeless, it can still manage to reach temperatures up to 446 degrees around 20 minutes. However, it doesn’t have a wide range of temperature control. As you can see, the control knob only has three options. You can use it to turn the device on or off, and it also has the “keep warm” option to “start” the grill before cooking.
Smokeless and Odorless
Simple Living managed to live up to its “indoor” label because it doesn’t produce as much smell even with burgers. And since its temperature does not get as high, you also don’t have to worry about splatters. Nonetheless, since you are cooking without smoke, expect that there will be no “smokey” flavor unique with grilling.
Lastly, you can quickly disassemble the grill for clean-up. But more than the grill and drip tray, you also have to make sure that you’ve reached inside the unit as well.
Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 – Best Value for Money
We are down to our final unit, and it is once again, from Char-Broil. This particular model is called the Grill2Go X200, and we think it can give you your money’s worth. Like our previous Char-Broil grills, the Grill2Go also utilizes the TRU-Infrared cooking system. However, it has some flaws regarding temperature control, which we will tackle later.
As for its anatomy, Grill2Go has a stainless steel grilling grate measuring 200 square inches. On the other hand, its firebox and lid are, instead, made of cast aluminum. Nonetheless, the lid itself still feels nice and sturdy, thanks to its stainless steel latches. It even has a temperature gauge which is lacking from previous pricier models.
The Grill2Go is so-called because Char-Broil designed it for traveling. It has carrying handles and legs that feel well-made. The lid also locks tightly, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the grill.
Too Much Power?
If you remember, one of the most common drawbacks in some grills is their low-temperature capacity. However, this is not the case with the Grill2Go. In fact, it is the opposite.
The grill gets very hot fast and, at the same time, it offers limited control on the temperature. This means you have to pay constant attention to what you’re cooking. The reason for having a limited temperature range is because of the grill’s design. Grill2Go cannot offer lower temperatures or else the burner might blow out.
Nonetheless, if you have an allocated budget, the Grill2Go is an excellent consideration. You can also buy an LP tank adapter if you opt to use LP cylinders. Char-Broil even offers a cloth carrying case with pockets for those LP cylinders, as well as for cooking tools for convenience in portability.
As you have seen in our comparison table, there are two types of infrared grills, namely freestanding and portable. However, there are also built-in infrared grills. These three types are pretty self-explanatory, so we decided to explain the different kinds of infrared systems instead. This way, you’ll be more familiar with the terminologies and advantages (or disadvantages) of the model that you want to buy.
Types of Infrared Systems
Ceramic Infrared Burner System
This system is the most common and is suited for hot and fast cooking. It uses a ceramic surface above a stainless steel burner, and this configuration heats the ceramic surface very quickly. Because the flame directly contacts the food drippings, you can expect some quick flare-ups and charring with this burner system.
Ceramic burners are not as versatile for different cooking techniques because they can’t reach lower temperatures. However, their 600 to 1000-degree capacity makes them great for searing.
Heat Emitter System
Heat emitter systems cost less compared to other infrared systems at the expense of reaching lower temperature levels (300 to 650 degrees.) With this system, a metal panel sitting over a stainless steel tube burner emits the heat. And because it does not get as hot, flare-ups are not as common too.
Hybrid Infrared Gas Grills
As the infrared gas grill industry advances, manufacturers have decided to take advantage of the technology and created hybrid grills. Hybrids use one or two infrared plates combined with a conventional cooking system. This configuration allows you to cook with lower temperatures using convection and also sear with higher temperatures using infrared heat.
With Pre-Installed Burner
You can expect this type of grill to be expensive. It has an infrared burner that is permanently fixed (pre-installed) inside the grill.
Interchangeable Infrared Burner
Compared to the previous type, you can take out the infrared burner in this grill. This configuration offers more flexibility and even has a lower price point.
Sear Station Side Burner
A sear station denotes a fixed infrared burner outside of the grill. Because the sear station is outside, you don’t have to sacrifice the space inside your grill.
Radiant Glass Panel System from TEC
TEC, which is a well-known infrared grill brand, invented another type of infrared system. It uses a radiant glass panel over a stainless steel burner and offers a wide range of temperature without flare-ups. However, do note that radiant glass panel systems cannot reach temperatures as high as ceramic systems.
Factors to Consider in Buying an Infrared Grill
The “best infrared” grill will vary depending on your personal needs and priorities. A particular feature might be tolerable for some, but can also be a significant deal-breaker for others. We decided to give you a list of potential factors to help you create a criteria. You can follow everything or expand the list however you want.
Type of Grill
As you have previously read, there are four types of infrared grills. Each of them has its own pros and cons, and your decision will depend on your allotted budget, preferred heating capacity, and cooking style.
For example, the ceramic system has the highest temperature capacity and is great for searing. However, if you want something more affordable, you can opt for the heat emitter system. The radiant glass panel system is excellent for those who don’t want flare-ups, and hybrids offer both infrared and convection cooking.
Size of the Grill
Smaller infrared grills are suitable for trips because they are easily portable. However, if you are cooking for a large group of people, you may want to consider something larger. The larger the surface area of the grill (e.g., more burners, spacious grill hood), the more you can cook in it. It is also better if you know how much space you are willing to allot for the grill. Remember that a large area for the grill is extremely important to avoid getting things caught on fire.
Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance
In order to elongate the lifespan of your unit, you have to be able to maintain and clean it properly. Generally, infrared grills are easier to clean compared to other types of grills. The reason for this is because they can simply burn away any food drippings during the cooking process. Although, if your unit is only capable of low temperatures, some materials may not burn away as easily.
You can check the grilling grates if they are made of a material that you can scrape easily for cleaning. If they are coated with a non-stick material, you have to be careful not to damage them during clean-up. To be safe, be sure to check your unit’s manual if there are any special tips for cleaning.
Main Power Source
While it is not necessary, grills that can use multiple power sources might be an appealing option for you as well. However, most of the models that offer this option requires you to buy a conversion kit, which is something to consider in the long run. If gases are not your thing, you can also opt for electric grills.
Other Features for Ease of Experience
A warming rack/side burner is an excellent addition. It allows you to cook other ingredients while simultaneously grilling on your main burner. Another plus is an electronic ignition system as it eliminates the need for manual lighting. Some models also have a gauge for gas level, as well as an integrated thermometer. These features are useful for assessing how much gas you use for each meal and at the same time, monitor your temperature as you cook.
Shelves, internal light, and flavorizer bars are also nice additions to make your grilling experience more comfortable.
What about the grill’s BTU?
BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a measure of energy. It is the total heat output of all the burners per hour, and it is measured by their fuel consumption. However, a higher BTU doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be a great grill. The reason for this is because some manufacturers compensate from the fact that they used non-durable materials by saying their unit has a high BTU. Nonetheless, knowing the heat output and fuel consumption of the unit will give you an idea of its performance.
Our top pick is the Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 525. You can take advantage of its 4 main burners and side burner to cook multiple dishes simultaneously. We also like that its grates and warming rack are both coated in porcelain for easier clean-up.
As an infrared grill, the 525 gets hot fast. But the great news is it also offers a wide range of temperature. This means you are not limited to searing temperatures. Another useful feature it has is that it has a gauge on the lid that tells you both the fuel consumption and the temperature of the grill. You can even convert the 525 for natural gas usage, which is a nice option to have.
However, there are also other viable options throughout this review. For example, if you want a grill that you can confidently bring on the boat with you, the Magma A10-918-2GS Newport is a great unit. It can withstand winds and is made from marine-grade polished stainless steel. If you need something smaller, another favorite of ours is the NORTHFIRE Inferno. It only measures 10 x 17 x 14 inches and is an absolute joy to clean.
All in all, infrared grills are not that complicated or “dangerous” as they sound. To put it simply, they are perfect for those who want their food fast and tasty. And the fact that infrared grills heat up fast means you’re also saving on energy consumption, which is always a big plus!
Feel free to reread our buyer’s guide if you want to know more. But if you have other questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below!