We cover everything you need to know before buying your very own indoor smokeless grill.
Sometimes cooking or grilling indoors is just more convenient than setting up the outdoor grill. But the question is, are indoor smokeless grills worth it? Before you buy, check out this guide to explain the ins and outs of indoor grills.
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- Best Overall Indoor Grill: Ninja Foodi Smart XL 6-in-1 Grill
- Best Contact Style Grill/Griddle: Cuisinart Griddler Elite, 6 cooking options
- Best Open Style Grill: PowerXL Smokeless Grill with Turbo Speed
Are Indoor Smokeless Grills Worth It?
Yes, indoor grills can be a great alternative to larger outdoor units for several reasons. They are convenient, small in size, and just easy to use. Plus, you can do more than only grill, they are truly versatile. The great thing is, they come in many different sizes, models, and technology to meet anyone’s need.
I list the various reasons in favor of an indoor grill and why it may be the right choice for you.
Reasons For An Indoor Grill
- Convenience: Setting up and cleaning up is much easier. Just plug-in and go, then remove the grill plates for cleaning.
- Portability: Their smaller size lends to being easily portable. Use them and then store in a cabinet.
- Customizable: Different grill grates to choose from, and some models have separate temperature controls. Be sure to look for the correct size and options to suit you(more below).
- Versatility: Do more than just grill meat, you can cook vegetables, make a variety of sandwiches, and cook breakfast.
Certainly, there could be more reasons added to this list, but it boils down to what you personally need for your grill. See the section below on the differences between grill types.
What To Look For In An Indoor Grill
You’ll see a lot of options across grills, ensure your choice includes the following:
- Look for an indoor grill that comes with grill and griddle plates to allow you to cook more variety of foods.
- You definitely need an indoor grill with temperature controls that allow you to dial in an exact temperature, not just a high or low setting as some models have.
- Select not only for the style(open or contact), but for the size your family will need. Larger grills may have two separate burner units each with adjustable temperatures.
- Ease of clean-up is a consideration too. Some grills only have the grill grates to clean, while others need the heating elements and drip trays cleaned as well. Choose a model with removable grill grates that you can hand wash or put in the dishwasher.
Can an indoor grill ‘grill’ a steak as well as an outdoor grill?
For an outdoor grilling enthusiast or purist, no other grilling option will or can compare to their outdoor grill. An outdoor grill produces that great tasting ‘char’ flavor that is just not matched with indoor grills. I’m not saying you cannot cook a great steak on an indoor grill, you certainly can. But for grill masters who only cook steaks, an indoor grill may not be the right choice.
What about these new specialty “cook everything” grills?
The Ninja Foodi Smart XL Grill has made quite an impression. I have to admit it is pretty cool. It grills, roasts, bakes, broils, dehydrates, and is an air fryer too.
It uses what it calls a ‘500F Cyclonic Grilling Technology and Smart Cook System’ to chargrill all sides of the food. It cooks with quality results across all meats, doesn’t release much heat as it is contained inside the unit, and is easy to clean.
The Best Indoor Grill Overall: Ninja Foodi Smart XL 6-in1 Grill
For one indoor grill to do it all, the Ninja Foodie Smart XL is the one to buy.
This gets excellent reviews across Amazon as users are amazed how well it cooks steak, as well as its versatility.
More buying options. Check out all the models across their lineup and buy one today.
The specs for the Ninja Foodie Smart XL Grill are:
- Capacity: XL 9″ x 12″ grill grate fits 6 steaks or 24 hot dogs, 4-qt crisper basket fits 2lbs of fries, 4-qt cooking pot fits a 3lb roast.
- Watts: 1760 watts
- Size: 9″ x 12″ High-Density Grill Grates. Actual dimensions are 15.7 L x 16.54 W x 11.05 H.
- Smart Cook System: “4 smart protein settings, 9 customizable doneness levels, and the Foodi Smart Thermometer enable you to achieve the perfect doneness from rare to well done at the touch of a button”.
- Baskets: 4-Quart Crisper Basket and Cooking Pot.
- Plus: Thermometer, cleaning brush, recipe book.
You can also cook bacon and eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, seafood, and desserts, just about everything with the Pro model of this grill. Check out the official recipe booklet.
Let’s talk about the differences between grills.
Differences Between Indoor Grills
Three different types of indoor grills are available, an open grill, a contact grill, and an all-in-one enclosed grill.
An open grill is what it sounds like, it has a large flat open area for cooking.
A contact grill cooks from the top and bottom as it has a lid that closes on top of the food, thus cooking in about half the time.
An all-in-one enclosed grill is the latest design. You place the food inside and close the lid. This type of grill is seen in the Ninja Foodie Smart XL grill, for example.
An open grill will be more like you are used to with an outdoor grill, you have to flip the food over. These don’t cook as quickly as the contact grill style. Some of these models do have a cover to close and help keep in some of the heat. These are a great option for pure grilling enthusiasts.
A contact grill is all about options. Cooking from the top and bottom gives you quicker cooking. You can grill as well as cook many other foods as shown above. Some models allow you to open them up flat, allowing for cooking on both sides as a standard grill.
An all-in-one enclosed grill is the newest design on the market. It was made for families wanting an easy way to cook just about all food. It is one unit designed to do the job of several appliances, and it does them all pretty well too.
My advice is to choose a panini-style contact grill that also has the option to be used as an open-style grill or an all-in-one enclosed grill. These give you the best of both worlds.
Runner Up: Cuisinart Griddler Elite
Best Contact Grill Style:
The Cuisinart Griddle Elite is the top contact grill style. It cooks on both sides cutting times in half but also opens up to be used as a griddle for breakfast, etc. The Cuisinart has great temperature controls with digital displays for easy reading. It is small, compact, and easy to clean with the removable grill plates.
The specs for the Cuisinart Griddler Elite are:
- Capacity: 240 square inches cooking area open
- Size: 14.65″ x 16.22″ x 8.11″
- Features: 6 cooking options in 1: contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, half grill/half griddle, and top melt
Best Large Open Style Grill: PowerXL Smokeless Grill
Best Open Grill Style:
The PowerXL Smokeless Grill is the top large-sized open grill style. It has a glass lid to contain heat and does a good job of char-grilling meat. It grills but also turns into a griddle for making breakfast. It heats up quickly and has a smoke-capturing fan.
The specs for the PowerXL Smokeless Grill are:
- Capacity: Grill 4 large steaks or 6 large burgers.
- Size: 21.25×15.25×10.25
- Features: LED control panel, smoke capture, easy clean-up, hinged lid.
Check out the huge selection at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Are Indoor Grills Really Smokeless
Some indoor grills are more smokeless than others, but generally, all grills will provide some smoke when grilling meat at high temperatures.
A completely open grill-style model will produce the most smoke and possibly more splatter than models with covers or lids. Note that some units have fans and ventilation to control smoke. A contact grill with its cover helps to reduce smoke and splatter, but it will still be present at high-temperature cooking.
It is a good idea to provide some ventilation in your kitchen to help eliminate smoke and odors from cooking or else they may persist for days.
Are Indoor Grills Safe
Indoor grills are safe and certainly more so than using a propane gas grill inside, which you should never do. Indoor grills are electric and use a heating element to cook food. Remember though that these units can get very hot so place them away from other objects.
Also know that indoor grills allow fat to drip off which can be healthier. In addition, these grills do not produce or allow for dangerous chemicals that may be present in outdoor grilling.
How Much Are Indoor Grills
The price of indoor grills varies from a low end of about $40 to an upper end of around $300, with a good quality medium-priced indoor grill with accurate temperature controls and heavy grill plates costing about $200. Though some elite models can cost you about $500.
Depending on the design, lower-priced grills may not heat up evenly or even reach the desired temperature. So it’s best to pay a little more for quality on a product that will perform up to your expectations.
Now find out if undercounter refrigerators are worth it in my new article. I talk about the different types and styles and list my top picks. And consider the advantages of a countertop ice maker in my new article.
Indoor grills are worth it if you set your expectations ahead of time and then buy to meet those needs. Available options may suit one person but not be useful for another. A good all-around indoor grill is the all-in-one enclosed style. It performs a wide variety of cooking and grilling. However, someone looking to mostly grill steaks, for example, may find the open grill style works best for them. Hopefully, this article helps you choose a great grill for you.