Finding 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?
Indoor Grill RECAP
1,800: T-fal Optigrill GC70 & XL GC722D53
1,440: George Foreman GRP90WGR
1,200: Hamilton Beach 25360, Hamilton Beach 25361
1,140: 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
1-year: Hamilton Beach 25360, 25361; T-fal Optigrill GC70, XL GC722D53;
3-year: George Foreman Evolve GRP4842P, GRP90WGR
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?
With 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.
With a housing made of plastic sporting a stainless steel finish, this appliance offers 1,200 watts of power. A dishwasher-safe extra-large drip tray catches cooking juices, avoiding messy spillage issues. The Hamilton Beach indoor searing grill measures 12.4″L x 16.7″W x 6.8″H, weighs 8.14 lbs and comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Cooking Plate: Its 118 square inch grilling surface can serve up to 6 people. The dishwasher-safe removable plate has a non-stick surface; it is recommended to use high-heat resistant utensils (~450°F/232°C) to help prolong the life of the non-stick coating. To clean, simply remove the hood and the integrated drip tray and drop the plates into your dishwasher.
*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 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 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.
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. Its large drip tray is dishwasher safe. 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.
Cooking Plates: Two removable die cast aluminum ribbed plates with non-stick 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.
*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
More evolved than the previous model, the T-fal GC722D53 1800W OptiGrill XL is also larger: measuring 18.9″x 14.8″x 9″, it weighs 11.5 lbs and also comes with a one-year limited warranty.
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.
*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
The 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?
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). The GRP4842 measures 15.5″D x13.5″W x6.5″H, weighs 17.27 lbs and comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
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 two included non-stick waffle plates.
Built with embedded heating elements, the premium multi-layer, non-stick 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.
*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 ‘non-stick’ plates becoming sticky after only a few uses.
George Foreman GRP90WGR Next Grilleration
Love 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. This 1,440-watt small George Foreman grill features an exclusive George Tough non-stick and scratch-resistance triple-layer protective coating.
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.
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 (grill plate, steak plate, 2 waffle plates and baking pan) for making waffles, toasting panini, grilling, griddle cooking as well as baking. The included plastic spatula will help preserve the cooking surface.
*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 for its great versatility at a budget-friendly price tag. But it doesn’t come without imperfections:
.the top grill plate is “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.
These 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.
A better option might be to consider a solidly built multifunctional griddler as a long-term investment.Share This!