There are three categories of grills, i.e., gas grills, charcoal grills, and electric grills. Each of them uses different sources of heat, i.e., propane, charcoal, and electricity. Generally, grilling entails the use of dry heat applied on the surface of the food.

What is the difference between gas, charcoal, and electric grills? The difference between these three grills is based on their fuel source, size, maintenance, and ease of use. This post compares the three grills to help you decide which one suits your needs. 

Indoor electric griddle with natural stone coating

Charcoal Grills 

Charcoal grills are the first types of grill to be used: it’s one of the traditional methods of cooking and barbecuing. Charcoal grills utilize charcoal briquettes and wood chips as a source of heat. Additionally, this kind of grill uses open flames to cook. 

The uniqueness of charcoal grills is that they leave a robust and authentic smoky flavor into grilled foods. Unfortunately, however, its smoke imparts carcinogenic compounds into the food. 

Charcoal grills tend to be bulky and require adequate space, especially in an open area since they produce smoke and much heat. For this reason, they’re best used outdoors. Lastly, cooking on a charcoal grill takes longer than on gas and electric grills since the preparation period (adding charcoal briquettes and preheating) takes about 30 minutes. 

Advantages of Charcoal Grills 

  • Leaves dark searing and grill marks on foods 
  • Budget-friendly option
  • It leaves grilled food with a strong smoky flavor and authentic barbecue taste.
  • Large cooking surface area

Disadvantages of Charcoal Grills 

  • It takes longer to preheat 
  • Cannot be used indoors 
  • Smoked produced contains carcinogens is linked to cancer
  • Requires much space and may not be permitted in some multi-family dwellings 
  • You can’t easily turn it off unless you leave the briquettes to cook down

Gas Grills 

After charcoal grills, electric grills came next. Gas grills use propane as their source of heat. However, other models run on natural gas. Unlike charcoal grills, gas grills are easy to use and preheat very quickly, increasing cooking time. 

Gas grills are popular and come in various models. Additionally, they leave grilled foods with a strong flavor but not like that of charcoal grills. Most gas grills are safe and best used outdoors because they generate smoke and require plenty of space. 

This kind of grill heats up pretty quickly and is easy to use. However, gas grills are bulky. Lastly, they come in a variety of models. 

Advantages of Gas Grills 

  • Leaves food with an authentic smoky flavor 
  • Cooks faster 
  • Easy to use and clean 
  • It has more features than charcoal grills 

Disadvantages of Gas Grills 

  • Requires much space 
  • Only safe to use outdoor and might not be allowed in some housing complexes 
  • Portability might be an issue if it’s attached to a natural gas line 
  • Propane tanks can be dangerous if mishandled

Electric Grills 

Electric grills are the latest types of grills in the market. Recently, they have gained a lot of popularity as the healthiest types of grills. As the name suggests, they use electricity as their source of heat. 

Most electric grills are smaller and compact than charcoal and gas grills. However, you can still get larger outdoor electric grills. Also, they come with a smooth non-stick cooking surface and temperature controls that help you regulate heat while cooking. 

Unlike the other two types of grills, electric grills don’t leave food with a strong smoky flavor because they don’t produce smoke. Nevertheless, you can enhance the flavor using smoky ingredients while preparing your recipe. 

Advantages of Electric Grills 

  • Ease to use and clean 
  • Heats up pretty quickly 
  • Safer and healthier than other types of grills 
  • Most suitable type of grill for indoor grilling, including apartments and condos 
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to control the temperature 
  • Lightweight and portable 

Disadvantages of Electric Grills 

  • It doesn’t bring out an authentic barbecue (smoky) flavor
  • Reduced size, therefore, cooking for many people can be a lot of work

Comparison Chart 

 

Electric Grill

Gas Grill

Charcoal Grill

Fuel Source

Electricity

Natural gas or propane

Charcoal briquettes

Popularity

Recently gaining popularity

Very Popular

Not popular like gas grills

Flavor

Don’t offer a strong smoky flavor like gas and charcoal grills

Authentic smoky flavor (but not like that of a charcoal grill)

A strong and authentic flavor

Grill Size

Most electric grills are standard size and suitable for use on the countertop or table. However, larger ones are still available.

Gas grills are available in all sizes, i.e., small to large commercial gas grills.

Most charcoal grills are large

Space Requirement

Requires minimal space

Requires adequate space and in an open area where there are no other materials likely to catch fire

Requires adequate space (strictly outdoors) and in an open area where there are no other materials likely to catch fire

Maintenance

Easy to clean (all parts are removable) and don’t need seasoning after every use

Easy to clean. However, it requires more maintenance, especially to prevent gas leaks

Cleaning is more time-consuming. You’ve to clean the grates after use and empty the ash. It also requires regular seasoning

Ease of Use/ Convenience

Extremely easy to use and manage temperature  

Easy to use

Managing the cooking temperature might be challenging, especially for first-time users

Safety

Safer than gas and charcoal grills

Prone to fire risks if gas leaks occur

Not very safe, especially when used near materials that can easily catch fire

Cost

Very affordable

More expensive than a charcoal grill

Costly to run compared to electric grills

Cheaper than a gas grill but expensive to maintain.


Why Electric Grill is better than Gas or Charcoal Grills 

Electric grills tend to stand out from the above comparison than charcoal and gas grills. So, why is that the case? 

Below are reasons why electric grills are better than other types of grills: 

Not prone to restriction

Electric grills can be used anywhere, including apartments, because they are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. 

Non-stick cooking surface 

Most electric grills have a non-stick cooking surface; thus, food doesn’t stick to the cooking surface. Additionally, cleaning is relatively easy. 

Affordability 

Electric grills are affordable and don’t cost much to run

Versatility 

Electric grills can cook a variety of foods effectively. They have temperature controls that help you regulate and achieve an ideal heat for each temperature.

So, here are quality electric grills that meet all of the above descriptions. Our electric grills feature a non-stick natural coating (PTFE & PFOA-free). It’s easy to clean, and the temperature can go up to 430 degrees F. Lastly, it’s appropriate for indoor grilling. 

Sources 
delishably.com
buythermopro.com
chicagotribune.com