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Grilling is great, but there are a lot of circumstances which can put a damper on it. Maybe it’s too cold, or maybe too hot. Rain and other weather can make grilling impossible, not just uncomfortable. Lack of space can also be a factor, or a ban on smoke in the premises, like the balconies of apartments.
That’s where smokeless grills come in, letting you get your fix indoors. They use a combination of technologies that let you get a grilled flavor in your food without stepping foot outside, which is perfect for a wide variety of things.
So let’s look at a few factors; why should you get one, what kind should you get, and what are some of the best around?
Here are the best smokeless grills you can buy:
- Best Overall - Power XL Smokeless Grill
- Runner Up - DeLonghi Perfecto Indoor Grill and Griddle
- Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill
- Philips Avance Collection Smokeless Indoor BBQ Grill
- Chefman Electric Smokeless Indoor Grill
- Techwood 1500 watt Indoor Smokeless Grill
- Gotham Steel Smokeless Electric Indoor BBQ Grill and Griddle
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
9 Best Smokeless Grills (2020 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Power XL Smokeless Grill
This is the standard setter for smokeless grills, and probably the most famous model, given that it’s an As Seen On TV product.
Those kinds of products tend to be hit or miss, but the Power XL lives up to what it says it is, with great performance as both a grill and a griddle (using interchangeable plates) and a slightly more advanced heating control hub than you typically see on these smokeless grills, with an actual temperature selector similar to your oven instead of a vague “heat number” setting like your stove or an outdoor electric grill tends to have.
The die cast aluminum construction is sturdy (far stronger than someone might expect on hearing a product is made of aluminum) and offers a number of advantages, primarily in heating. While die cast aluminum is much more durable than other styles of aluminum, it retains the properties you’d expect from aluminum cookware, including very quick heating (and cool down times), as well as corrosion resistance and easy cleaning.
The design of this product is fairly standard across most smokeless grills, but still laudable. It has a spacious grill or griddle top, with a good seal on the lid so smoke doesn’t escape the interior too much, and the extractor fan takes care of the rest. At worst the smoke that comes off of this is within acceptable parameters for cooking other things in the kitchen, like pan frying with oil or butter.
Even the price is pretty good, though higher than some out there, it falls well within the expected upper range of pricing for a smokeless grill.
Sturdy die cast aluminum construction
Broad temperature range
Good seal on the lid
Great extractor fan
Versatile use as either a griddle or grill
Cooks well, but doesn’t get the best sear
2. Runner up - DeLonghi Perfecto Indoor Grill and Griddle
As a budget model, this is the best you’re going to get, I think. It has excellent performance, which in many ways rivals the Power XL smokeless grill above. I’d say the lid is actually better, with a knob handle that’s easier to grab without burning your knuckles than the narrow loop handles a lot of these smokeless grills sport. The seal is also a little bit better, but you probably won’t notice a huge difference overall, since so little smoke escapes either of these grills anyway.
The die cast aluminum construction is still great, with all the advantages mentioned above; it’s sturdy, heats up quickly, and cools down fast so you can cook food quick and then get right to cleaning it before anything sticks onto it.
The main issue with this model is the temperature selector. You get a range of temperatures from 1 to 5, and that’s it. It’s very vague, and makes cooking certain things into more of a guessing game than it needs to be. Particularly, cooking steaks is a pain with such a vague temperature system. I have a lot of practice with it, since I used a similar (but larger) electric grill when I lived in an apartment for a while, but anybody new to such devices will probably get frustrated trying to cook a good medium rare steak.
All in all, I’d still say it’s a good buy for the price (around a third what out winner will run you), but it can be a bit finicky when you’re starting out.
Very inexpensive for a smokeless grill
Great lid; it seals well and has a comfortable knob handle that keeps your knuckles away from the hot glass.
Great durable die cast aluminum construction
Vague 1 to 5 temperature setting is annoying and makes it difficult to gauge the optimal cooking temperature for some foods, particularly steak.
This is a much different design than the last two we’ve looked at, with a clamshell design that works very well at keeping the smoke on the interior.
It has a proper temperature knob, like the Power XL, though it’s a bit…cramped. The lettering is small and difficult to read, but it goes up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (listed as the “Sear” setting), so it can be used for pretty much anything you want to use it for.
The power output is a bit lower here, resulting in a slight drop in performance over either the Power XL or DeLonghi Perfecto, but it’s passable enough, and comes in at a price range in the middle of the two.
As a tradeoff, it’s much easier to open and close than either, with nonstick surfaces and a primarily dishwasher safe construction, so it’s very easy to clean.
This is an interesting one to pick up as something to sue in your RV or a similar travel scenario, since it doesn’t have detachable glass parts to worry about breaking. On that metric alone, it’s a good one to consider picking up.
Clamshell design is easy to open and close and travels well
Lightweight and portable
Full temperature range for versatile cooking
Easy to use
Durable stainless steel exterior
Lower power output than our winner; heats up a bit slower.
This is one of the other major types of smokeless grill. This one doesn’t use the lid with a smoke extractor fan, but is instead an infrared grill. It cooks the meat itself and heats the grates easily without significantly the air around it.
This produces very little smoke to begin with, if any, and it makes it possible for the grease to just drain out entirely without you needing to worry about it.
The main issue with this unit is the temperature controls…by which I mean there aren’t any. On turning it on, it heats to 446 degrees Fahrenheit, and then you can turn it off. This make sit fairly limited. While great for searing steaks and other foods, it can make it difficult to cook more delicate stuff on this grill, like shrimp or lighter vegetables.
This isn’t a huge problem, but it’s something worth noting, especially since this model is the same price as the Power XL.
Heats up quickly
Safe to use on almost any surface
Lightweight and portable
Almost completely smoke free
Easy to clean
Locked to a single temperature
This is an interesting budget infrared model. In many ways, this is similar to the Philips Avance, in that it heats quickly up to a set temperature. What sets this one apart though is that the temperature it’s set to is broken up into three zones, each with a different temperature setting.
This is great for cooking a whole meal on a single grill, though this unit stumbles mostly by being fairly low power. It takes a while to heat up to its optimal temperature, and there’s no real indicator for it, so it can be a struggle sometimes to tell when each zone is ready for use.
But it’s cheap and has a wide area, so if you can forgive it that fatal flaw, it probably won’t let you down.
Easy to use
Temperature zones for versatile cooking
Huge cooking area compare dot other smokeless grills
Low power makes it take a while to heat up, with no “ready” indicator.
In terms of performance, I like this one a bit better than the Power XL. Most features are the same, as it’s the same sort of smokeless grill; you put the lid on, and most of the smoke is extracted by the fan.
The fan here is efficient, and pretty much completely eliminates smoke. You have to be looking for it to see it most of the time. The temperature selector is great, with a full range of temperatures from 220 degrees to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is selected by punching up or down a plus or minus key, which fills a digital indicator of temperature. It’s more accurate than a knob, though can be a bit of a pain.
The only issue here is the price. While the fan is more efficient, the selector is better, and the construction and other factors are equal to the Power XL, the price is enough higher it’s hard to recommend, since it’s not THAT much better.
Great temperature selector
Easy to use
Nonstick and easy to clean
Highly efficient fan eliminates virtually all smoke
A smidge too pricey
The only real draw of this one is its Gotham Steel made surface, but that’s a pretty solid draw all on its own. The ceramic coating is the same that goes into Gotham Steel’s excellent nonstick cookware, and it really helps to make this smokeless grill easy to use and (especially) to clean.
The overall performance is fine, largely relying on the nonstick materials to keep smoke from flaring up. It’s not as efficient at this as other models, but does passably well, and at a lower price than several other of the infrared heating models.
This strikes a bit of a difference in both price and performance between the Philips Avance and Chefman models, with a quick heating element that can set to four vague temperatures: warm, low, medium, and high.
I like this a lot less than Chefman’s temperature zones for many purposes, but it’s significantly better than the Philips one, so it’s a mixed bag.
Easy to use
Great nonstick surface
Included “pitchfork” tool is great for kebabs
Uses fuzzy temperatures
If it weren’t for the low power output, this would be much higher up. As is, it’s difficult to justify the high price for the performance, given it costs as much as the Techwood option above, but isn’t anywhere near as good.
You get a 1200 watt power output, and a pretty good interior. The interchangeable griddle and grill plate is always nice to see, and it is virtually smokeless, with an above average fan.
But for the price it’s asking, it would need to be a lot better than this; there’s nothing really special about this option. Worth picking up on a deep discount, but never at full price.
Easy to use
Good griddle and grill plate
Above average smoke extraction
Good temperature range
Too pricey for the performance; low power output and slow heating hold it back.
This is a great compact “quick cooker” but leaves much to be desired as a primary indoor grill. This one works under the principle of older designs, like a George Foreman grill. There are some pros and cons to this. It makes an absolutely perfect sandwich maker, for one; it’s a great panini press and makes pretty good burgers too.
It also has a great sear function which spikes the temperature to 500 degrees for quick searing. Good to get those nice grill lines on an already done steak, or to make a rare one quickly.
But it simply doesn’t allow room for the food to breathe, quick cooking it on both sides at once. Things cook more quickly by a bit, but overall food quality goes down. It’s a bit of a tradeoff.
For the price though, it’s still a tempting option, being better than some of the budget models here, with a fully adjustable temperature range, but the inherent flaws in the design (including the bulkiness) hold it back.
Easy to use
Makes excellent paninis and other sandwiches
Good adjustable temperature range
Bulky and sometimes annoying to clean
Outdated design doesn’t let food “breathe” and may smash the juices out of them, resulting in inferior flavor
While there are a few gems hidden here and there, for the most part I’d stick with the best of the respective types of grill: the Power XL, the DeLonghi Perfecto, and the Philips Avance, representing the lidded, budget, and unlidded variants respectively.
Everything else pretty much comes off as inferior to those in most ways, unless they have a particular feature you really like.
How Do I Choose the Perfect One?
Smokeless grills are a great tool to have around even if you have a grill already. I mentioned above some factors that could stop you from using a grill, but there’s also the argument of convenience: sometimes maybe you want grilled vegetables, but not necessarily a grilled main course. Instead of firing up the grill, why not throw them on your smokeless appliance?
Some smokeless grills are better at that than others, so let’s look at the common types of smokeless grills.
Types of Smokeless Grills
There are three main types of smokeless grill, though only two are really common nowadays.
The first is a lidded variant that works similarly to an electric skillet (and can also be used as such with a griddle plate). These use fans to extract the smoke from the interior, ensuring none escapes. They typically have more adjustable temperatures than other variants, and are easier to take apart and clean; however they don’t travel as well.
Unlidded variants are more like electric griddles, and likewise can be used as such. They heat via infrared technology, and use multilayered drip pans, nonstick and usually needing to be filled with water, to catch everything that drips off the food so it never smokes at all. These provide food that is less greasy, but perhaps less flavorful.
The third kind are out of favor now, being a two sided clamshell grill, similar to the old George Foreman grills. They work well, but often squeeze a lot of the good juices out of foods, resulting in drier, less flavorful meat.
What Should I Look for in My Smokeless Grill?
Typically, you want to look at the materials it’s made of, the power of the unit, and its temperature range. Plus the fan efficiency for lidded models.
Fan efficiency is hard to gauge without using the unit, but you want one that catches virtually all of the smoke; nothing will quite catch everything. Only thin wisps should escape the lid.
The material is also pretty easy. Almost all smokeless grills are made from die cast aluminum, and for good reason. Die cast aluminum is very durable (only a bit less than steel), heats to high temperatures very quickly, and cools off fast. This lets you heat it up, cook, and then almost immediately clean it without issue, creating much less mess.
The temperature range should from rom about 200 degrees Fahrenheit to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Some are for searing, and can be pushed to 500 degrees, but that’s more of a bonus. A lot have more vague temperature readouts, with settings like “medium and high” or a scale of numbers from 1 to 5 or whatever numbers they choose. These are fine, but not preferred.
Your preference on power can vary, but in my opinion higher is better. Higher wattage units heat faster, so you can get to cooking faster. Nothing is more annoying than having to wait unnecessarily but make sure it doesn’t overheat.
Finally, look at the price. There are great budget models for about $50, but the best will cost you over $100; make sure to keep in mind exactly what your needed price range is before buying.