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Best Indoor Grills for the Budget

Best indoor grills on a budgetFinding the best indoor grills when you’re on a budget can be daunting. And yet, inside grills are so useful and versatile that the majority of households could probably plead guilty to counting one as their most highly utilized kitchen tools. The thing is: how do you make sure you choose the right one for you so you get your money’s worth?

Quick Recap

Power
1,800 watts: T-fal Optigrill GC70 & XL GC722D53
1,440 watts: George Foreman GRP90WGR
1,200 watts: Hamilton Beach 25360, Hamilton Beach 25361
1,140 watts: George Foreman Evolve GRP4842P

Cooking Plate (square inches)
(144): George Foreman Evolve GRP4842P
(124): T-fal Optigrill XL GC722D53
(118): Hamilton Beach 25360, Hamilton Beach 25361
(93): T-fal Optigrill GC70
(72): George Foreman GRP90WGR

Warranty
1-year: Hamilton Beach 25360, 25361; T-fal Optigrill GC70, XL GC722D53;
3-year: George Foreman Evolve GRP4842P, GRP90WGR

Special Features
Indicator Lights: Hamilton Beach 25360; George Foreman GRP90WGR
Temperature Dial: Hamilton Beach 25360
Digital Control Panel: George Foreman GRP4842P
Automatic thickness measurement: T-fal Optigrill GC70, T-fal XL GC722D53
Automatic Cooking Programs: T-fal Optigrill GC70 (6), T-fal XL GC722D53 (9)
Cooking Level Indicator Dial: T-fal Optigrill GC70, T-fal XL GC722D53

Hamilton Beach Searing Grill 25360

Starting with two of the most popular and least expensive in our mid-range indoor grills, the following two Hamilton Beach electric grills combine technology and design geared towards achieving in your kitchen the same results you would on a patio grill. Have they achieved what they set out to accomplish – or did they miss the mark?

Hamilton Beach Searing Grill 25360With the release of the Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill (25360), the manufacturer claims to have taken outdoor grilling indoors. Achieving steakhouse-quality results in your kitchen is a simple two-step process: start with high searing heat to lock in juices and flavor, and then add a removable hooded lid to help retain flavor.

Appearance & Power

With a housing made of plastic sporting a stainless steel finish, this appliance offers 1,200 watts of power.

Cooking Plate: Its 118 square inch grilling surface can serve up to 6 people. The dishwasher-safe removable plate has a nonstick surface; it is recommended to use high-heat resistant utensils (~450°F/232°C) to help prolong the life of the nonstick coating. To clean, simply remove the hood and the integrated drip tray and drop the plates into your dishwasher.

Drip Tray: A dishwasher-safe extra large drip tray catches cooking juices, avoiding messy spillage issues.

Size & Warranty: The Hamilton Beach indoor searing grill measures 12.4″L x 16.7″W x 6.8″H and weighs 8.14 lbs. It comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Special Features

Indicator Lights
Power and Preheat lights take the guesswork out of grilling.

Temperature Dial
For optimal grilling results, use the adjustable temperature control (ranges from 200° to high searing temperature of 450°) to grill at lower heat once you are done searing.

Hamilton Beach indoor grills make it easy to grill to perfection whether steaks, burgers, chicken, pork chops, fish fillets, pizza, vegetables or fruit. Just turn the temperature dial to Sear. Once the green Preheat button lights up, start searing – or simply adjust the dial to grill on lower heat.

Pros & Cons

Apart from a short cord (25″) which limits where you can actually use these appliances, buyers are generally pleased with their purchase. However, there have been ongoing complaints about performance.

Attaining desired temperature has proven a recurring challenge: some could only cook on Sear while others have experienced uneven heat distribution or smoke filling up their kitchen.

Cleanup can also prove challenging, as the openings in the grill surface allowing fat to drain off can get clogged, making the underneath part which is not dishwasher proof a chore to clean.

Hamilton Beach 25361

Hamilton Beach 25361 Indoor Grill

The only difference from the above model is that the Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill with Viewing Window (25361) incorporates a viewing window into its lid, making it easier to monitor the food you are cooking. Not having to open the lid repeatedly also means the grill is retaining heat efficiently.

Pros & Cons

Owners appreciate that there is enough distance between the lid and the grill plate to easily fit thicker cuts of meat.

However, the same issues with proper heating and cleanup have been experienced, plus there have been a number of complaints about durability, even of the “brittle” plastic housing actually breaking or the unit lasting only a few months.

T-fal Optigrill GC70

T-fal Optigrill GC70T-fal proudly introduced its Optigrill as the first electric indoor grill that cooks food automatically based on the program you select and the thickness of the food you are cooking. Any grilled meal can be cooked to perfection with the help of their cooking technology.

Appearance & Power

The T-fal GC70 OptiGrill Electric Grill features a brushed stainless steel body with a powerful 1,800-watt heating element. User friendly controls are ergonomically located on its thermoplastic handle.

Cooking Plates: Two removable die cast aluminum ribbed plates with nonstick coating are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The plates measure 11.8″x7.87″ (30x20cm) with a 93″square (600cm2) cooking surface and 2 to 4 servings capacity. The lower plate’s slight 7° angle allows cooking juices to run off into the drip tray for healthier results.

Drip Tray: The large drip tray is dishwasher safe.

Size & Warranty: The T-fal GC70 measures 14″x 13″x 6″ and weighs 11.6 lbs. It comes with a recipe book and a one-year limited warranty.

Special Features

Automatic Sensor Cooking Technology
Based on the program selected, the Optigrill’s precision grilling technology uses sensors which allow it to detect the number of items on the surface as well as measure the thickness of the food to be cooked. This in turn enables it to adjust the temperature within any of its automatic cooking programs.

6 Automatic Cooking Programs
Six automatic cooking programs for Burger, Poultry, Sandwich, Sausage, Red Meat and Fish automatically adapt the cooking process to the food being cooked for perfect results each time.

Cooking Modes
Two cooking modes offer great flexibility: one for frozen food, and the other manual so you can cook anything just the way you want.

Cooking Level Indicator Dial
This dial allows you to easily monitor the cooking progress: pink for pre-heating; blue to green at the start of cooking; yellow for rare; orange for medium; and red for well done.

An indicator light and beep system puts high-precision cooking at your fingertips, whether you prefer rare, medium, or well-done meat. Audible beeps alert when the Rare cooking program is getting ready to start, and then for Rare, Medium, and Well Done.

Pros & Cons

Owners of this T-fal indoor grill model are highly pleased with the results it produces and find it easy to use and clean. The consensus is that when it works, it works well.

However, many have had issues with the electronics giving not very accurate readings or failing altogether. A call to customer service, and they will walk you through their recalibration process, a multi-step procedure that normally corrects the problem.

Others have found their wire getting really hot and even the thermal fuse blowing up. And finally, the grill plates need regular replacement as they eventually start losing their anti-stick coating.

Tefal Optigrill XL GC722D53

T-fal Optigrill XL GC722D53This model is not only larger but also more evolved than the previous one. Here are the main differences:

Cooking Plates: The plates measure 15.748″x7.87″ (40x20cm) with a 124″square (800cm2) cooking surface and 6 to 8 servings capacity, this XL GC722D53 model provides a 33% larger grilling surface than the original model.

Size: The T-fal GC722D53 1800W OptiGrill XL measures 18.9″x 14.8″x 9″ and weighs 11.5 lbs.

Special Features

Cooking Mode
A Frozen mode is handy for cooking frozen food; a Manual button with four temperature settings (Keep warm/Low/Medium/High), i.e. from 212F to 545F (100C-285C), offers more flexibility. Cooking vegetables or personal recipes just became easier.

9 Automatic Programs
Nine automatic cooking programs for Burger, Poultry, Sandwich, Sausage, Red Meat, Fish, Pork, Bacon and Shellfish.

Pros & Cons

Like the above model, customers are very happy with this T-fal grill – as long as it works.

George Foreman Evolve Grill GRP4842P

George Foreman Evolve GRP4842PThe George Foreman Evolve grill system owes much of its popularity to how versatile it has proven to be: it can grill, bake, sauté, toast, griddle and more. But does this George Foreman grill really offer “restaurant-quality results” as the company claims?

Appearance & Power

With 1,140 watts of power, this George Foreman GRP4842P Multi-Plate Evolve Grill With Ceramic Grilling Plates and Waffle Plates sports a platinum colored thermoplastic housing which easily blends with any decor; it is also available in Black (GRP4842MB) or Red (GRP4842RB).

Cooking Plates: With a 144-square inch cooking area and a 5-serving capability, this 3-in-1 George Foreman indoor electric grill includes two grill/panini plates. Or choose to round up a healthy meal with grilled vegetables, and it will accommodate a full dinner for two.

You can easily grill steak, chicken, fish and vegetables or make grilled sandwiches with this George Foreman grill. Waffles are also easy to handle with the included two nonstick waffle plates.

Built with embedded heating elements, the premium multi-layer, nonstick ceramic grill plates lower the need for oil and butter. PTFE- and PFOA-free, they are removable and dishwasher safe. A cool-touch release mechanism ensures that they are easy to handle even when still warm.

Size & Warranty: The GRP4842 measures 15.5″D x13.5″W x6.5″H, weighs 17.27 lbs and comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

Special Features

Digital Control Panel
Located on the handle, its flat surface is easy to wipe clean. Access variable temperature controls from 325 to 450°F and a timer (up to 20 minutes) for more precise cooking. For a tasty grilled crust on your meat, pressing the Sear button will raise the grill to 500°F for 60 seconds before returning it to your previously set temperature.

Floating Hinge with Patented Slope Design
The 1-inch adjustable hinge can accommodate thick cuts of meat, vegetables or even sandwiches. An adjustable grill slope knob on the right side of the grill lets you control the angle of your cooking surface.

The sloped position should only be used for grilling meat, allowing the drippings to drain into the grease tray positioned under the front sloped section of the bottom plate. According to the company, this feature can help remove up to 42% of fat from a 1/4-pound uncooked 80/20 ground chuck patty for example.

George Foreman Evolve Grill System
Various accessories can be purchased separately to further increase versatility:
.shallow griddle plate (GFP84GP), handy for cooking breakfast (bacon, hash browns, pancakes, etc.) or even baking cookies and dessert bars;
.deep dish bake pan (GFP84BP), large enough to make complete meals (deep-dish pizza, brownies);
.George Foreman Evolve Grill System Omelet Plates GFP84OP with three compartments that allow you to customize everyone’s omelet with their favorite ingredients and toppings;
.6-portion mini-burger & slider plate insert (GFP84SP) which will come in handy at your next party, tailgate or when you’re simply having friends over for cocktails
.6-portion cupcake and muffin pan insert (GFP84MP) designed to easily fit into the deep-dish bake pan.

Pros & Cons

When the grill works, it works well and does what it is meant to do. However, two issues with this model come up on a fairly regular basis: durability, and the ‘nonstick’ plates becoming sticky after only a few uses.

George Foreman GRP90WGR Next Grilleration

George Foreman GRP90WGRLove omelets or waffles for breakfast or a crunchy warm panini for lunch? This indoor kitchen grill can handle all that, and grill a good steak too. Simple but efficient with its five interchangeable plates, the GRP90WGR can cook up a storm.

Appearance & Power

This 1,440-watt small George Foreman grill features an exclusive George Tough non-stick and scratch-resistance triple-layer protective coating.

Cooking Plates: Regardless of its smaller 72 square inch cooking surface, the GRP90WGR offers great versatility, as it comes with 5 removable, dishwasher-safe plates (a grill plate, a steak plate, 2 waffle plates and a baking pan) for making waffles, toasting panini, grilling, griddle cooking as well as baking. The included plastic spatula will help preserve the cooking surface.

Size & Warranty: The George Foreman GRP90WGR Next Grilleration Electric Nonstick Grill with 5 Removable Plates grilling machine measures 14″ x 13″ x 17″, weighs 12lbs, and comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

Special Features

Adjustable Temperature Control
A red Power light and a green Indicator light will appear when the appliance is turned from Off to either Low, Medium or High (or 0-1-2-3 depending on the unit) to preheat. The indicator light automatically goes off once the grill is preheated.

Pros & Cons

Roughly two thirds of buyers really enjoy their multi grill: it offers great versatility at a budget-friendly price tag. But it doesn’t come without imperfections:
.the top grill plate – “a beast to try and clean” – due to all the crevices where food particles gets stuck;
.the plates not heating up consistently, either only operating on Hot, or on too low for proper grilling or making crisp waffles;
.non-stick coating wearing off;
.overall quality with a housing made of plastic and the back of heating plates cracking.

Best Indoor Grills for the BudgetThese grills are ideal for singles or couples with a small yard or living in an apartment or condo where outdoor grills are not allowed – or if sweating over a hot grill on a sizzling summer day 🙂 is simply unappealing.

Another option might be to consider a solidly built multifunctional griddler as a long-term investment.

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