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The best smart grills for 2024

by News7

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Many of us have made the leap to having at least a few key smart home accessories inside our home, but how about one that lives outside: a smart grill. It’s hard to beat a smart home gadget that can help deliver perfectly cooked food without second-guessing yourself or constantly reaching for a thermometer. Or requiring standing in the cold! As you’d expect, the main feature of these grills is Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity to your phone via an app, which allows you to monitor the temperature of your grill wirelessly to prevent overcooking from wherever you are in or around the house. Some of the grills come with meat probes, so you can also check in on the exact state of your cook, which is enormously helpful to amateur and pro grillers alike. The best smart grills will work well even if you don’t use their wireless features but are enhanced by them.

Best overall: Weber Genesis EX-325S

Best charcoal: Kamado Joe Konnekted Joe

Best pellet: Traeger Grills Pro Series 575

Best for large family: Weber Genesis SPX-435

Best budget: Ninja OG951 Woodfire Pro

How we chose the best smart grills

When compiling this collection of smart grills, we considered their size, fuel type, functionality, and cost. We also consulted our guides to the best gas, charcoal, and kamado grills, drawing upon the research conducted during their construction.

The best smart grills: Reviews & Recommendations

Embedding Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth into grills doesn’t revolutionize cooking with radiant heat, but it does take some heat off the cook. Whether you want to upgrade your old grill to a smart model or set up a cooker for the very first time, expertly make long cooks like brisket or just avoid sitting around waiting for the grill to warm up, you’ll find what you need here.

Best overall: Weber Genesis EX-325S

Specs

Size: 35.5 x 30.75 x 31 Inches

Weight: 188 pounds

Fuel: Gas

Price: $1,079.00

Pros

Large cooking area

Side wings

Easily accessible temperature gauge

Cons

Price

Weber’s Genesis EX-325S offers everything you’d need in a smart grill, especially if you’re cooking for a bigger crowd. The larger gas grill has three burners, so you can create hot and cool zones to avoid overcooking your food, plus one “sear station,” which can get super hot to hasten caramelization. An expandable top grate gives you ample space to toast buns or keep foods warm while you cook the rest. The EX-325S’ two integrated side tables are wide enough to accommodate what you’re cooking, plus whatever other grilling tools and accessories you may need for your cook. A screen on the side of the grill shows its current temperature, while meat probes located underneath can be inserted into thicker cuts so you can monitor them as they cook.

These features make the EX-325S a fine grill whether you care about smart features or not, but it also supports Weber Connect, the company’s digital platform available on iOS or Android devices. Connectivity is available through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and once you’ve paired your smartphone to the grill, you can monitor its temperature and check on the meat probes you’re using. You can’t control the grill’s temperature through your phone, but can monitor it. This is the most important functionality when cooking, so it’s great to see Weber build it directly into its grills.

Weber’s Genesis EX-325S is one of the best gas grills you can get, and its smart functionality pushes it over the top. You will have to pay for its power, but it’s worth the cost if you cook often.

Best charcoal: Kamado Joe Konnekted Joe

Specs

Size: 29 x 47 x 48 inches

Weight: 175 pounds

Fuel: Charocal

Price: $1,699

Pros

Automatic fire starter

Full ceramic build

Surprising control for a charcoal grill

Cons

Heavy

Price

The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe has taken to Mortal Kombat naming conventions when it komes to its included features. It doesn’t have a control board; it has a Kontrol Board. It doesn’t have a top vent to maintain air settings during opening and closing the dome; it has a Kontrol Tower top vent. It also has an automatic fire starter. No misspellings there. Between its Wi-Fi app connectivity, multiple cooking modes, digital fan, and Kontrolled temperature settings, you can reach precise cooking enlightenment.

It has space for 13 burgers, four whole chickens, or two pork shoulders. Or several pounds of red bell peppers. It’s your call. It clocks in at 175 pounds, but it stands on wheels, so you can move it if you need to. The digital controls are great if you are just getting into smoking, as that can be a sweaty and stressful manual process. Maintaining a temperature of 250 degrees over 18 hours for a brisket is much easier when you have an app. While traditionalists might disagree with that assessment, we just wanna eat. Relax, because it also has a classic mode that allows you to manage the temperature manually. So yeah, the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe has something for everyone, no matter your level of grill expertise, and makes a delicious addition to a smart home (just make sure you’ve got a Wi-Fi router with enough range to reach the patio).

Best pellet: Traeger Grills Pro Series 575

Specs

Size: 27 x 41 x 53 Inches

Weight: 124 pounds

Fuel: Wood pellets

Price: $799.99

Pros

Ample cooking space

500-degree maximum temperature

Pellet hopper management feature

Cons

You still need to add wood pellets

If you don’t mind the maintenance required for using a smoker, Traeger Grills’ Pro 575 is the smart version you’ve been waiting for. Sure, there are innovative devices that bring the smoker experience indoors, but this is a proper grill with upgraded features. The smoker is large enough to accommodate 24 burgers, five rib racks, or four chickens, plus some space for sides if you use its top rack. What’s more, the pellet grill can get up to 500 degrees, which is suitable for baking, too. A built-in meat probe allows you to monitor the temperature of larger cuts of meat. The smoker was updated with a new design that Traeger says is better at heating the grill more quickly and improving the quality of its smoke. The smoker’s temperature can be monitored and adjusted using a panel on its right-hand side.

To enable the Pro 575’s smart features, you’ll need to download its app to your iOS and/or Android device. The app will allow you to monitor and adjust the smoker’s temperature, check the status of your meat probes, and set a cooking timer. You’ll receive a notification on your device when the meat probe gets up to your specified temperature, or the timer goes off. You can also switch this pellet grill’s cooking mode from super smoke to keep warm, or shut it down entirely. The most important smart feature is arguably the ability to see how full this grill’s pellet hopper is. If you’ve got an all-day cook (think brisket), you’ll want to be sure the hopper always has enough fuel, and this feature can save you from having to check manually. You’ll still need to add your own fuel—and be sure you have pellets on hand—but this feature makes using it more convenient. The Pro 575 is the best value introduction to Traeger’s line of pellet grills and may one day lead you to the flagship Timberline—the best splurge and a grill we found to be straight WiFire.

Best for large family: Weber Genesis SPX-435

Specs

Size: 31 x 68.5 x 63 inches

Weight: 227 pounds

Fuel: Gas

Price: $2,099

Pros

Massive cooking area

Four cooking zones

Side burner

Cons

Price

Weber’s Genesis SPX-435 is the super-sized version of our top smart grill pick, which means it has all of the same smart functionality—temperature monitoring and meat probe monitoring—as its smaller sibling. Where the Genesis SPX-435 stands out is its size, which is immense. This is a four-burner grill with 994 square inches of cooking space, which means you should be able to cook roughly eight racks of ribs, 32 burgers, or six chickens on it simultaneously.

Need more space? Say no more. The SPX-435 has an additional side burner, which you can use to cook food in a pan. Having four burners allows you to create even more hot and cool cooking zones, and using the sear zone can get you the char and grill marks you desire. All of this power comes at a cost—this is the most expensive smart grill we’re recommending—but it’s a necessity if you’re cooking for a huge crowd during summer parties and tailgates. Don’t worry; we have plenty of less expensive gas grill recommendations, too. If you’re looking to upgrade to a smart grill with substantial space for cooking, Weber’s SPX-435 is our top pick.

Best budget: Ninja OG951 Woodfire Pro

Specs

Size: 22.28 x 20.03 x 15.82 inches

Weight: 38.9 pounds

Fuel: Electric

Price: $449.99

Pros

Portability

Multifunctionality

Price

Cons

May not be large enough

Ninja’s OG951 Woodfire Pro is our least expensive smart grill recommendation, but it’s also the only one you can reasonably carry around with you. The electrically powered smart grill can be plugged in anywhere there’s an outlet but can impart smoky flavor into your food by burning wood pellets from a hopper built into a side pocket. A fan built into the top of the grill circulates the smoke to ensure even exposure. You don’t have to use the wood pellets if you don’t want to—the grill’s heating elements are electric—but it’s nice to have the option. Speaking of options, the OG951 has seven cooking modes, which range from grill and smoke to bake and dehydrate. If you want to cook outdoors while camping, the OG951 covers all your bases.

Ninja allows you to connect to its smart grill over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth through its Pro Connect app on iOS and Android. The app allows you to monitor its temperature, change its cooking mode, enable or disable wood pellet burning, set a timer, control the grill temperature, and set up a meat probe. If you’re cooking a specific cut of meat, you can program the meat probes using presets that’ll control the grill’s temperature and other settings for you to ensure a proper cook with minimal maintenance. If you’d like a smart grill but don’t have enough room for a full-sized one (or you’ve fully embraced van-life), Ninja’s OG951 is the ideal choice.

We’ve been hibernating with smart ovens for years, and now it’s time to feel the sun again. It’s hard to beat a smart home gadget that can help deliver perfectly cooked food without second-guessing yourself or constantly reaching for a thermometer.

Size

Smart grills aren’t small or light, but that’s the price for a tool that allows you to cook for an entire family all in one shot. Most of our recommendations weigh over 100 pounds (one clocks in north of 200) and sit on wheels that allow you to move them around. We have a portable option if you’d like smart functionality from a grill you can take anywhere.

Fuel source

Smart grills can run on gas, pellets, charcoal, and even electricity. Each of these fuels has its own pros and cons, but one isn’t inherently better than the other. Smart grills that run on pellets and charcoal will impart a naturally smokey flavor to whatever you’re cooking but require you to feed them with additional fuel continually. This can get taxing on especially long cooks. Gas smart grills won’t require as much maintenance but will require you to monitor how much propane is left.

You’ll have to refill the tank once or twice a summer, depending on how often you use it. An electric smart grill won’t be as powerful as the other types, but it only requires an outlet to work. This gives you much greater flexibility when cooking. Neither a gas nor electric grill will give your cooks a smokey flavor on their own; you’ll have to find alternative ways to get that effect.

Smart features

The “smart” features that set these grills apart from their analog brethren come down to sending information from the grill to your smartphone. This includes how hot the grill is and, if you use the included meat probes, the current temperature of your cooks. It’s crucial to know this information as, without it, you can easily over or undercook your food when not paying attention. While these smart features are icing on the cake (or bark on the brisket, as it were), they don’t get in the way of a grill’s core functionality. In some cases, you’ll also be able to adjust the temperature of your grill using your phone, which can be helpful if you’re in another room in your home.

FAQs

Q: Is a smart grill a good investment? A smart grill’s additional features can make cooking easier if you grill often. For example, getting an alert on your smartphone when the grill reaches a particular temperature or using meat probes that send a notification when your meat is ready to be removed is genuinely useful. However, if you don’t grill often, the presence of these features may not justify the high price of a smart grill.

Q: Which grill is better, gas or electric? While both fuel sources are different, one isn’t inherently better than the other. An electric grill requires access to an outlet, while gas grills necessitate tank refills on a regular basis. Both can reach similar maximum temperatures, so you’ll be able to cook the same types of food on each.

Q: What grills can connect to a smart device? The smart grills we’re recommending can be connected to a smartphone, as can any model advertised with Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth compatibility.

Q: How much does a smart grill cost? This depends on its size, power, and fuel source. Our recommendations range between $449.99 and $2,099.

Final thoughts on the best smart grills

Best overall: Weber Genesis EX-325S

Best charcoal: Kamado Joe Konnekted Joe

Best pellet: Traeger Grills Pro Series 575

Best for large family: Weber Genesis SPX-435

Best budget: Ninja OG951 Woodfire Pro

Using a smart grill won’t automatically turn you into a pitmaster, but can soften the learning curve of more complicated dishes like brisket or prime rib. Messing up an expensive cut of meat is deeply dissatisfying on multiple levels, so having a grill that can help you keep track of a cook in real-time can be a legitimate help. A smart grill is a worthy upgrade for long-time grillers who want to fine-tune their recipes with surgical precision, as well as those who want to start their grilling journey with a little extra help.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Source : Popular Science

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