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Best grills of 2020: Top charcoal, gas and kamado models

Pass the ketchup: Your summer cookouts and sizzling steak nights just got a whole lot tastier.

If you're looking to upgrade your outdoor kitchen this year, a new grill might be at the top of your list. Whether you need a grill big enough to feed the whole family or a small unit for an apartment patio, there is a grill for everyone. We've tested dozens of grills over the years including pellet models, kamado grills, gas grills and classic charcoal options. These are our favorites.

No matter which grill you choose, be sure to brush up on how to clean it and the best accessories for grilling. Having the right techniques and tools of the trade will make your spring and summer cookouts a breeze. Not sure what type of grill is right for you? Check out our guide, Pellet vs. charcoal vs. gas: Grill types, explained.

The Dyna-Glo 4 burner is my top pick this grilling and barbeque season. This stainless steel grill is a natural gas unit with an electronic pulse ignition system and heavy duty, porcelain enameled cast iron grates. It delivered above-average results across our testing categories. It performed well in our rib taste tests, outscoring Weber, Char-Broil and KitchenAid gas models every time. The Dyna-Glo 4-burner gave us a chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat.  

In addition to 40,000 BTUs across the main burners, there is a 12,000-BTU side burner, perfect for heating up sauces or side dishes. This grill also had one of my favorite thoughtful extras: a sliding liquid propane tank drawer inside the cabinet for easy access.

With an MSRP of $449, it isn't the most affordable or most expensive grill we tested. Dyna-Glo discontinued the colored enamel finish our test grill had, but the stainless steel option is still widely available for this model. This grill was a solid performer I'd be happy to have on my own patio during a barbecue.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Weber's $109 original kettle-style grill continues to stand the test of time. In our high-heat searing tests, Weber delivered the best balance of seared exterior and medium rare interior steak. The Weber gave us great, crispy chicken skin and flavorful ribs, too. 

Simple construction means there aren't too many parts to assemble or too many features to handle while cooking. A vent on the lid controls air flow and a well-designed ash tray beneath the grill facilitates easy cleanup. 

We tested the 22-inch model in black, but Weber also offers an 18-inch version of their original kettle design. There are certainly fancier and more expensive grills, but for a balance of affordability and quality, you can't go wrong with this classic. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Kamado cookers, egg-shaped, ceramic, wood-burning grills that you may have seen or at least heard of, impart a delicious smoky flavor to everything they cook. They can run low and slow for hours at smoker temperatures and sear at high heat levels that go well beyond the capabilities of gas grills. That's hot enough to create true steakhouse steaks and real wood-fired pizza like a pro griller.

At $1,600, the Kamado Joe Classic III may have a steep price tag, but it delivers plenty for the money. That means lots of accessories that don't come standard with other grills, including the Big Green Egg. This kamado performs well, too. On our slow and low barbecue test, we adjust grills to 225 degrees F (107 C) and let go of the controls to see what happens. In this trial, the Joe demonstrated excellent temperature stability. 

Our testing

We test different types of grills differently, but for most we include a high heat test like searing steak or grilling burgers, a medium indirect heat test like grilling a whole chicken for more than an hour and a low and slow test with racks of ribs.

We collect data like total cooking time, temperatures inside the grill and temperature inside separate pieces of meat. All that information helps us spot where grills might have hot spots or thermometer inconsistencies.

We use baskets to contain our burger patties during gas grill testing. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Of course, there's also a fair amount of (read: so much) blind taste testing, lively debate and voting among our editors in addition to the data we gather about temperatures and cooking times.

If you're interested in any particular method of testing, we've got that plus our full list of recommendations for kamado grills, gas grills and charcoal grills ready for your perusal. Happy grilling!

This story originally included only gas grills. It has been updated to include best charcoal, kamado and gas grills.

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