As time passes and technology progresses, smartphones and tablets have become an increasingly integral part of our lives. As a result, Wifi and Bluetooth-connected products have been permeating just about every segment and product space — with the grill market being no exception. And though it was a fairly niche market only a few years ago, the smart grill sector has exploded n recent years, with just about every major player in the grilling game now offering a smart, connected model.
With so many specs and features to review, however, understanding the finer points of smart grills can admittedly be a bit tricky — an area furthered by the wide range of different features and amenities offered from grill to grill. In an effort to streamline the buying process and get you cooking on the most advanced models available, we’ve hand-selected this guide to the best smart grills, delving into the latest and greatest offerings on the market, along with what to look for when shopping, and, a few viable alternatives to outright purchasing a new smart grill.
The 10 Main Factors To Consider When Buying A Smart Grill
While there is a lot of overlap between buying regular grills and smart grills, there are a few finer points that are unique to the latter group. Below, we’ll be touching on some of those finer points along with some general areas to take into account when buying a grill of any kind.
Size & Cooking Space: The size of a grill — or more specifically how many square inches of grilling space a given model possesses — will determine how much you can could at once. A grill’s size needs primarily boil down to how many people you plan on cooking for.
Fuel Source: Though they all serve the same basic function of heating a grill, there are a variety of different fuel sources that grills can use. The most commonly-used fuel sources are charcoal, pellets, and gas, whether that be propane or natural gas. Each of these fuel sources has its own unique drawbacks and benefits — namely price, availability, and level of consistency and heating precision offered.
Connected Features: Smart grills — i.e. grills with Wifi and/or Bluetooth-enable connectivity to tablets and smartphones — offer a number of key benefits, though the main one is undoubtedly remote monitoring. Allowing the user to walk away from the grill while still keeping an eye on its contents, smart grills afford the ability to remotely monitor grill temp — as a whole or in segments. Some models also feature individual probes that let you monitor individual pieces of meat as they cook. Other amenities include notifications when a grill has reached ideal operating temp and low fuel source notifications.
Included Devices: While pretty much every smart grill features remote temperature monitoring and the ability to send smartphone notifications, some of the more premium models are sold with probe sets. It is worth mentioning that these sets can admittedly be purchased separately.
Extra Features: On top of the main cooking area, grills are sometimes bestowed with a plethora of other noteworthy features. This includes items such as integrated LED lighting, backlit controls, smoker trays, adjustable racks, and other add-ons that bolster functionality, versatility, or performance.
Mobility: Most grills that are purchased are set up and then used in a single location — be it a balcony, patio, etc — however, if you plan on moving it, you’ll want a model that possesses some degree of mobility. This is owed to either a grill’s size, or whether its frame is mounted on a set of wheels.
Number Of Burners: The number of burners on a grill is extremely important, as this one area will have an enormous impact on its overall performance, both in terms of overall heat output and the ability to precisely control different parts of the cooking space. A grill armed with more burners will almost always perform markedly better than one with fewer.
BTUs: Moving onto BTUs — or “British Thermal Units” — this metric is used to convey a grill’s energy. The metric is calculated by the amount needed to raise the temperature of 1lb of water by 1° F. While as a whole, BTUs are now viewed as a somewhat antiquated metric, this area is still worth exploring — especially when looking at gas-powered grills.
Construction: Like most products, the overall durability and build quality of a grill is primarily owed to the materials used to construct it — as well as the construction techniques used to piece said materials together. On modern grills, most constructions are steel or aluminum — materials that are often fortified via Cerakote and powder-coated finishes.
Warranty: Purchasing a new grill is a big investment. For this reason, it’s nice to have the peace of mind knowing that, should anything happen to your grill or a part or component break or fail, you and your grill will be protected through a factory warranty. And, because most modern grills boast pretty high quality, the vast majority of manufacturers offer generous warranties.
ASMOKE AS350 Portable Applewood Pellet Grill
Conducive to everything from tailgating to camping to backyard cookouts, the ASMOKE AS350 is an eight-in-one portable Applewood pellet grill and smoker that’s capable of operating at temperatures ranging between 180°F and 500°F. Able to fit an entire turkey with its lid closed, this smart grill features a color LED digital temp controller and display, 256 square inches of cooking space, a full stainless steel construction, a 4-pound wood pellet hopper capacity, and an included programmable meat probe. What makes this grill so special, however, is its patented ASCA Technology — a system that uses superheated steam to more effectively retain moisture in your food while simultaniously automatically disposing of ash for a cleaner, more efficient burn and easier cleanup.
Pit Boss Pro Series II 1150 Wood Pellet Grill
Offering ample cooking space, performance, and technology at a surprisingly accessible price, the Pit Boss Pro Series II 1150 Wood Pellet Grill punches well above its weight, offering features and functionality that are typically reserved for models costing several times as much. Armed with both Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, this Pro Series grill boasts a 32-pound hopper, 1,150 square inches of cooking space, Crosshatch porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grids, a pair of meat probe ports and an included probe, a warming rack, an integrated grease management system, a built-in prep space, tool hooks, and a digital PID control board. And, on top of offering regular cooking temperatures between 180°F and 500°F, the Pro Series II 1150 Wood Pellet Grill also features a Flame Broiler Lever that allows for direct flame searing at up to 1,000°F.
Grilla Grills Alpha Connect Wood Pellet Smoker Grill
Building off of Grilla Grills’ already innovative design, the brand’s Alpha Connect Grill boasts the company’s Alpha Connect WiFi controller, an automatic ignition, a Set’ n Forget digital control system, a backlit control board, Automatic Fire Tending, an industry-exclusive TempTamer feature, a swing-style lid, a 20-pound hopper capacity, full stainless steel grates, an included meat probe, and an automatic shutdown feature that kills the grill if its internal temperature exceeds 615°F. Equipped with 488″ of total cooking space, the grill sports a double-walled, insulated fire area, stainless steel internal components, a powder-coated finish, and grates made from 0.25” stainless steel rod. Fed via an auger motor and backed by a fully enclosed fan, this model also offers regular grilling, as well as indirect cooking and even convection-style cooking, plus the ability to adjust its temperature in 5-degree increments from 180°F to 500°F.
Spark Smart Charcoal Grill Essentials Package
The Spark Smart Grill is a thoroughly modern barbeque that offers the flavor of charcoal cooking with the ease of gas grilling. Made from double-walled porcelain-enameled steel, the Spark Smart Grill also sports a ceramic electric ignition, and a precision control knob also allows users to adjust this grill’s temp from 200°F to 900˚F. What separates this grill from other models, however, is the fact that it uses a clever fan-controlled airflow system and its own custom charcoal briquets — known as Briqs — that burn with remarkable consistency and light easily thanks to an ignition layer. Alongside the smart grill itself, this particular bundle also includes three bags of charcoal Briqs, a cutting board, temperature probes, and a 15’ power cord.
Kamado Joe Pellet Joe
A modernized take on the 3,000-year-old ceramic cooking devices used in ancient China, Kamado Joe’s Pellet Joe is a smart ceramic pellet grill that packs Wifi control and monitoring and a Thermostatic control dial. On top of a ceramic chamber that allows for the use of fewer pellets and a longer cooking time, other highlights of this model include a heat range between 225°F and 600°F, a pair of included meat probes, a smart pit probe, a round cooking surface with an 18-inch diameter (and 266 square inches of grilling space), and a stainless steel hopper with a 10-pound capacity that affords up to 14 hours of constant burn time. Standing at 49” tall and 47” wide, the grill also boasts aluminum side shelves, an airlift hinge, a fiberglass gasket, an integrated smoke tower, a drip bucket, and connectivity to a dedicated smartphone app.
Weber GENESIS SPX-435 Smart Gas Grill
Equal parts versatile and innovative, the Weber GENESIS SPX-435 Smart Gas Grill accepts a number of custom attachments that allow it to grill, roast, bake, steam, and even stir-fry. Brimming with amenities, the GENESIS SPX-435 also boasts a side burner, an extra-large sear zone, 7mm diameter stainless steel cooking grates, an expansive under-grill storage locker, an oversized prep and serve table, an extra-large sear zone, an expandable top cooking grate, and NIGHTVISION LED grill lighting, and remote control knob lighting. As a smart grill, this model is also armed with the WEBER CONNECT smart technology, giving users the option of receiving push notifications and other updates on grilling status. In addition to being available in natural gas or propane-powered models, Weber also sells a 39,000-BTU, three-burner version of this grill with 787 square inches of cooking space — along with a slew of available accessories for both models.
Traeger Timberline Grill
Since its inception, Traeger has been the undisputed king of the pellet grill space, and with models like the Timberline, it’s not hard to see why. Backed by a decade-long warranty, the Timberline uses Traeger’s Smart Combustion technology and a cleverly-designed Induction cooktop that affords it the ability to sear, simmer, sauté, or fry foods — as well as grilling capabilities. On the tech side, the smart grill also features a touchscreen display, a Downdraft Exhaust, a Super Smoke mode, and, most importantly, Traeger’s WiFIRE connectivity tech. It doesn’t end there, however, as the Timberline also gets the brand’s EZ-Clean Grease & Ash Keg feature, and a rugged, fully insulated dual-wall construction. Trager’s Pop-And-Lock Accessory Rail also lets users mount extra shelves, tool hooks, roll racks, and a host of other add-ons. On top of a wide range of accessories and available add-ons, Traeger also produces a larger Timberline XL model that features 1,320 square inches of cooking space — 440 more than the standard Timberline grill.
Memphis Grills Elite Smoker and Grill
Designed and made entirely in America, the Memphis Grills Elite Smoker and Grill is a pellet-powered model that offers remarkable levels of performance, control, and precision. Crafted from double-walled 304 stainless steel alloy, the grill features an oven-grade gasket, dual convection fans, and a 24-pound pellet hopper that affords 60 hours of burn time. With a temperature range of between 180°F and 700°F, this grill — which packs 844 square inches of grilling space — can also sear, bake, and slow cook, as well as grill. Backed by a seven-year warranty, this grill also comes with an included direct flame insert, genie tool, and a single meat probe sensor.
Gadgetizing Your Existing Grill
Five Stellar Alternatives To Buying A Complete New Smart Grill
As much as we appreciate the high-tech and connected nature of modern smart grills, the reality is that, if you already own a quality grill, there may be a more logical, viable alternative to outright buying a complete new model by simply supplementing your existing grill with a smart hub and/or probe set. Below, we’ll be highlighting five of our favorite upgrades and alternatives to buying a complete new smart grill.
Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub
As one of the most popular grill brands, there’s a decent chance you may already own a regular Weber grill, however, the Weber Connect Grilling Hub transforms traditional barbeques into Wifi-enabled smart units. This item also comes backed by a two-year protection plan.
GrillEye Max Wireless Grilling & Smoker Smart Thermometer
Offering a pretty incredible value considering its $180 MSRP, the GrillEye Max Wireless Grilling & Smoker Smart Thermometer includes a wireless smart hub, plus half-a-dozen individual meat probes — a kit that’s ready to upgrade any existing grill into a smart model.
ThermoWorks Signals BBQ Alarm Thermometer
While admittedly similar to the GrillEye Max Wireless Grilling & Smoker Smart Thermometer, the ThermoWorks Signals BBQ Alarm Thermometer is a more advanced smart hub that features both Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity and comes with four color-coded probes.
Big Green Egg EGG Genius
The Big Green Egg is another wildly popular grill — and for good reason — though the existing model lacks smart connectivity. Rather than designing an all-new smart grill, the company opted to create a dedicated smart hub that gives existing Big Green Egg grills remote monitoring capabilities. Kamado Joe also makes a similar product with its IKAMAND hub.
Wifi and Bluetooth connected and offering a 165-foot range, the MEATER Block is a top-shelf take on a smart grilling probe kit. Consisting of a display-equipped wooden case and four probes — each with dual temperature sensors — this item also walks users through each step of the cooking process via its dedicated smartphone app. This product even includes an advanced estimator algorithm that estimates how long until each piece of meat is ready — depending on user preferences.
20 Essentials for The Grill Master
Now that you’ve got a smart grill picked out, you’ll likely need to acquire a few key tools, instruments, and accessories to go with it. If you happen to fall under that umbrella, then be sure to check out our guide to the essentials for the grill master for a curated list of stellar BBQ kit.