- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Smart Grill is the Traeger Grills Ironwood 885.
- All smart grills require a connection to a Wi-Fi network or a mobile device with Bluetooth.
- You can find smart grills that burn charcoal, propane, natural gas, or wood pellets.
- Smart Grills aren’t as smart as other devices like robot vacuum cleaners or lawnmowers.
- When shopping for the best smart grill, consider fuel source, capacity, and features.
Grilling is an activity homeowners typically enjoy in the summer, but the best smart grills can allow you to use an outdoor grill all season long. The ability to keep an eye on your food during colder months is a bonus, but far from the only one. Smart grills can connect to devices in some interesting ways and there’s a form factor or size for everyone. After scouring the web, we settled on five smart grills we feel best represent the niche and perform as advertised:
History-Computer’s Top Picks for the Best Smart Grills
While there are hundreds of smart products designed to make life easy for consumers, it took a while for manufacturers to take the tech outdoors. All smart grills share a similar set of features, and only a handful of brands currently produce noteworthy models. Take an in-depth look at our top picks below.
Best Smart Pellet Grill: Traeger Grills Ironwood 885
If you’ve looked for a smart wood pellet grill, our favorite is the Traeger Grills Ironwood series. The company specializes in wood-fired cooking, and the Ironwood smart grill comes in four sizes from 650 to well over 924 square inches.
The Traeger Ironwood comes in four styles but shares common features across each grill. All models have the company’s Downdraft Exhaust system and are connected, but the regular Ironwood and Ironwood XL have full-color TFT displays. Those models are WiFire enabled like the 650 and 885, and have additional flagship features like Smart Combustion and the P.A.L. rail system.
Regardless of which model you choose, the Traeger Ironwood is designed for convenience. You can control the temperature, set timers, or check on your food with the app. A pellet sensor lets you know before the hopper gets low and double side-wall insulation helps keep the temperature high even in colder weather.
We chose the Traeger Ironwood 885, but homeowners will be thrilled with any grill from this series. They aren’t cheap, but they are well worth the price tag. This is the type of grill that will make your neighbors green with envy. As a bonus, the company’s WiFire system also works with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control.
|It’s compatible with voice assistants||It has a relatively short warranty for the price.|
|The grill is available in four sizes.||The grill has a high price tag.|
|It has a pellet monitoring system.|
|The porcelain grill grates are very durable.|
Best Gas-Powered Smart Grill: Weber Genesis SX-325S
Many smart grills are powered by pellets, but if you prefer gas, the Weber Genesis is the top option. They are the oldest company on our list, with a history going back to 1883. They are the best choice if you’re interested in a smart grill that uses natural gas or propane.
The Weber Genesis is a flagship grill from the build quality to the technology. It’s a stainless steel beauty that keeps things low-key with a simple digital display on the front. Looks can be deceiving as the Genesis SX-325S has an expandable cooking grate with around 750 square inches of cooking space overall. It also has a convenient grease management system and burners warrantied for 10 years.
Once the grill is going, you can use the Weber Connect app to keep an eye on the action. It provides real-time alerts for temperature and can remind you when it’s time to flip the meat. You can power the display with a USB power bank or through a wall outlet. The app is intuitive and incredibly easy to use whether you’re trying to hit a target temperature or you are interested in grilling tips.
This sleek smart grill is ideal for homeowners who prefer natural gas or propane to charcoal and pellets. It’s a well-built grill that will provide summer fun for the family while freeing the chef up from worrying about burnt food. Reviews of the Weber Genesis Smart SX-325S have been overwhelmingly positive, although it’s not the smartest grill on our list and carries a high price tag.
|The grill has a sleek, modern stainless steel design.||It could be challenging to assemble.|
|The grill is available with propane or natural gas models.||The grill has limited smarts compared to others.|
|There is a grease management system.|
|It has an extra-large sear station.|
Best Portable: Green Mountain Trek Tailgating Grill
If you like to tailgate or grill on the go, you can still enjoy a connected grill like the Green Mountain Trek. Grilling is an activity you can enjoy anywhere with this compact system designed to smoke meats from the road
This intelligent grill won’t take up much space at 32 inches wide and 24 inches tall. While compact, the peaked lid leaves enough room for a large rack of ribs. The cooking area is 219 square inches on this grill, which is robust at around 60 pounds. That’s due to the 13-gauge steel exterior and the high-end hopper that ensures consistency while you cook.
A digital controller on the Trek works with the fan and firebox to find the perfect temperature. You can dial in a range from 150° to 550° on the system in 5° increments and control it all through Wi-Fi. The company’s GMG app provides access to temperature control and monitoring through the included probe. You can also set custom cooking profiles for anything you cook or control it remotely through server mode.
The Green Mountain Trek is one of the smallest smart grills around and a great way to smoke from a ballpark or campground. It’s not too heavy to manage, but sturdy enough to handle being toted around. The convenience tray is a nice touch and we like the fact you can power the grill through 12V or 120AC. Just keep the size in mind if you plan to grill for a larger group.
|The grill has a digital controller and a probe.||The grilling area could be too small for some users.|
|It has custom cooking profiles for different foods.||The size can make it challenging to clean.|
|There is a peaked lid for racks of ribs.|
|The grill is compact and easy to transport.|
Best Budget Wood Pellet Grill: Z Grills ZPG-7052Pro
If you’re interested in a wood pellet smart grill that won’t break the bank, the Z Grills ZPG-7052 Pro is the best choice. This high-tech grill can hold 30 hamburgers and ensures you’ll never over or undercook anything on a grill again.
This smart grill is another you can set and forget. The hopper holds 28 pounds of pellets and meat probes allow you to keep tabs on your food from a smartphone. The Z Grills app makes monitoring food a breeze whether you have five chickens or six rib racks on the grill. At 709 square inches, there’s plenty of room for whatever you want to cook or smoke.
Want to kick up the flavor? Super Smoke Mode allows you to do that. The display and control panel on this grill takes care of that while letting you set timers, pause cooking, or keep food warm. You can dial this smart grill in to find the perfect temperature from 160-500°. Cleanup is also a breeze with a removable grease tray and pellet cleanout system.
Z Grills may not have the name recognition of Traeger or Weber. The ZPG-7052 Pro has a better price point and just as many features as smart grills from those companies, however. Smokers will love the “boost” function, and the system itself is incredibly easy to use. The only knock is it’s not as strong of a griller as other options on our list due to the emphasis on smoking.
|There is a large grilling area.||There are better options for burgers.|
|The super smoke feature boosts flavor.||Some users have reported finicky temperature probes.|
|It has a pellet cleanout system.|
|The high-capacity pellet hopper.|
Best Charcoal Smart Grill: Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 grill is the best smart grill for homeowners who love charcoal. You’ll still use traditional briquettes to power this grill, but the tech takes the guesswork out of this so you’ll spend less time languishing over hot coals.
Charcoal-powered grills are still best sellers despite the rise of gas and wood pellet systems. The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 monitors food through a temperature gauge and meat probe. You can control the temperature through the digital panel on the front or via the company’s mobile app using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
A digital fan ensures the temperature stays where you set it and the company claims it can hit 700° in 13 minutes. That’s impressive, and it holds enough charcoal for 12-15 hours of cooking thanks to the gravity-fed hopper. Whether searing a steak or slow-cooking meat, homeowners will appreciate the reversible cast-iron grates.
This grill may not be the smartest on our list or have the largest grilling area. That said, it’s the only real option for homeowners who want a smart charcoal grill. Plus it has an attractive price tag. We also love the array of low-tech accessories for this system, which include a warming rack, a rotisserie kit, and a pizza oven.
|There is an easy-to-use digital control panel.||It could be too small for some.|
|It has useful add-on accessories.||There is a potential for quality control issues.|
|The grill has a gravity-fed hopper system.|
|It has a great price point.|
How to Pick the Best Smart Grill: Step by Step
When you’re looking for a “smart” product, it should make certain tasks simpler. Exactly how smart they are varies, as a smart TV set certainly has more intelligence than a smart bulb. Brainy grills fall somewhere in the middle. While there’s only so much they can do, there are a handful of areas to consider before choosing a smart grill.
- Fuel Source
The Fuel Source
How many types of grills have you owned? If you’ve only used charcoal, it may be time to switch, given the lack of smart grills that use this fuel. Choosing between charcoal, propane, natural gas, and wood pellets is the first step when searching for the best smart grills.
Wood pellet grills are the most popular option with smart grills, followed by propane. Many companies that produce propane smart grills also have a natural gas variant. The options with charcoal are limited because of the way it burns and the design of the grills. These grills can maintain high temperatures and they are affordable, but they are also hard to control.
In comparison, a smart grill that uses natural gas as a fuel source cooks food evenly and it is economical to run. They aren’t portable, however, like a propane grill which requires a replaceable tank. Most homeowners are familiar with or have used one of these types of grills, but wood pellet grills have become a hot item for homeowners.
A wood pellet smart grill is smarter than other grills by design. They are engineered for efficiency and utilize a fan, motor, and auger to keep the fire fed. They add a smoky flavor to any food you cook, but they can be 2-3 times as expensive as other styles of grills.
With smart grills, capacity plays an important part in finding the right grill. An undersized model can leave you struggling to keep up with demand during a cookout. Larger smart grills can handle more meat, but they take up more space and are usually considerably more expensive.
Larger grills have more burners, which increases the price but allows for multi-zone cooking. That’s handy when you’re cooking different types of food all at once. You can’t add burners to a grill that’s too small or increase the grill space. Alternatively, you can turn off a few burners on large grills if you only need to cook a few burgers.
Grill manufacturers may throw a traditional tag like small, medium, or large on grills. You can use that to get a rough idea of the size, but the actual grilling area is measured in square inches. It’s a specification you’ll find on every grill, although it can be tricky. When looking at the capacity of a smart grill, consider extra racks with that number, along with how many people you typically grill for.
Smart Grill Features
If you’re purchasing a smart grill, features are going to be at the top of your list. While they vary somewhat from one manufacturer to the next, all grills in this class have a common set of features. Temperature control, digital probes, and smartphone apps are something you can find on every model, but the quality is what separates the best from the rest.
A poorly designed mobile app can ruin the experience of using a smart grill, just like faulty controllers. The same is true for regular features, which are just as important as intelligent ones with grills. Unless you’re looking for a basic model with no bells and whistles, consider extras like side burners, prep stations, and utensil storage.
Grilling can be messy, so you’ll want to look into the grease tray or containment system as well. That can play a large part in how easy a smart grill is to clean, and nobody wants grease residue on their deck or patio. In addition to the features of a smart grill, think about anything not included in the box that you may need. That includes a good grill cover, something we highly recommend for anyone purchasing a smart grill.
What to Know Before Buying a Smart Grill
Our biggest tip for anyone considering buying a new smart grill is to realize its capabilities compared to other “smart” devices. These grills aren’t dumb by any means, but they also can’t pull your food off the grill or flip it for you.
While automation may not be a feature yet, any good smart grill will make the experience easier. It can turn a novice griller into a master within a few sessions, but it should never be harder to use than a traditional grill.
Smart grills won’t need a lot of bandwidth, but you will want to think about the range from your router to the area where your grill is placed. Given the price of these grills, you’ll also want to consider the build quality compared to traditional models without embedded tech.
Using a Smart Grill: What It’s Like
Whether you like to chat with guests while you grill or you prefer to keep your time around the fire to a minimum, you’ll love a smart grill.
A smart grill allows you to monitor the temperature and heat from a mobile device. You can set timers from grilling apps connected to the grill or pull up recipes and tips on the fly. Depending on the style of grill, you can also dial in the perfect temperature or boost the smoke.
These high-tech grills can take your outdoor experience to an all-new level. They can also give homeowners the confidence to cook meals they wouldn’t have dared try on traditional propane or charcoal grills.
|Traeger Grills Ironwood 885||Compatible with voice assistants, available in four sizes, pellet monitoring system, durable porcelain grill grates||Short warranty for the price, expensive|
|Weber Genesis SX-325S||Sleek stainless steel design, available in propane or natural gas models, grease management system, extra-large sear station||Challenging to assemble, limited smarts compared to others|
|Green Mountain Trek Tailgating Grill||Digital controller and probe, custom cooking profiles, peaked lid for rib racks, compact and easy to transport||Grilling area may be too small for some users, challenging to clean|
|Z Grills ZPG-7052Pro||Large grilling area, super smoke feature, pellet cleanout system, high-capacity pellet hopper||Better options for burgers, some users report finicky temperature probes|
|Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560||Easy-to-use digital control panel, useful add-on accessories, gravity-fed hopper system, great price point||May be too small for some, potential for quality control issues|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Anze Furlan/Shutterstock.com.