Last updated: August 9, 2021

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A smokeless barbecue is an enrichment for the barbecue world and a great alternative to normal smoke barbecues. A smoke-free barbecue gives you so much more freedom to barbecue than just in your enclosed garden. No more unpleasant smoke, no more smoky smells and no more eyes burning from the smoke. Last but not least, you have happy neighbours who no longer feel disturbed by the smoke. With our big smoke-free barbecue test 2021 we want to help you find the best smoke-free barbecue for you. We have looked at different models of smoke-free barbecues and picked out the most important facts for you. We also show you the advantages and disadvantages of various smoke-free grills.




Summary

  • Unlike a normal barbecue, a smokeless barbecue gives you the great advantage of being able to barbecue without smoke development, heavy smoke and the annoying spread of odours. Cleverly integrated vents make this possible.
  • Due to the great advantage of smoke-free barbecuing, you have a greater choice of places where you can barbecue. Whether on the balcony, terrace, park or even at the kitchen table in bad weather.
  • A smoke-free barbecue offers a wide range of choice. Regardless of shape, size, design, features, price and brand, there is something for everyone.

The Best Smokeless Grill: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for smoke-free grills

No matter whether you look for the right smokeless grill on the internet or at your local specialist dealer, you will come across a wide variety of models and offers. To give you a small overview, we have listed some primarily important aspects for purchase criteria below. In summary, these are:

Type of grill

When choosing the grill grate, you have three options. You can choose between a cast iron, enamelled or stainless steel grill. All three have their advantages and disadvantages and should definitely be weighed up before making a purchase decision. The cast iron grill grate offers the tastiest and quickest grilling effect, as it can store the heat best and for the longest time. This is also how you get the beautiful grill stripes on your meat. Unfortunately, a cast iron barbecue grill is also associated with tedious cleaning and maintenance. A grill grate made of stainless steel is by far the best alternative. Stainless steel does not rust, is light in weight and can be cleaned quickly and easily. The only disadvantage you will find is the price. The price of a stainless steel grill is a little higher, but it will last a lifetime. However, if you are looking for the cheapest option, you can go for enamelled grates. These are chromium-plated grates. However, they can cause allergic reactions in people due to the nickel that is released during heating.

Weight

Weight can be an important selection criterion when looking for the right smokeless grill. A heavy smokeless grill can tie you down to one position. However, if you are looking for a portable smokeless grill, weight is relevant. A large stand-up barbecue or barbecue trolley can weigh between 100 and 150 kg, making it unsuitable for transport to the park. Also consider the space that a heavy and compact barbecue can take up in the garden or on the terrace. On the other hand, a heavy barbecue offers a high degree of stability and barbecue support surface. Small, compact smokeless barbecues, on the other hand, are perfect for a trip to public places, for camping or for taking to friends. These mini barbecues usually only weigh between 2 and 6 kg. The weight depends not only on the size, but also on the material of the appliance.

Burning time

When you think of barbecues, you probably think of a long-lasting barbecue experience. However, the burning time of the respective smokeless barbecue is relevant for this. However, this depends strongly on the quality of the barbecue and the food to be burnt. The burning time can vary from device to device. With an electronically operated smokeless grill, you naturally have the advantage of an infinite burning time until you pull the plug. However, despite the long-lasting heat, you do not get the nice barbecue feeling that you usually only get with smokeless charcoal barbecues. With smokeless barbecues that are operated with charcoal, the burning time depends very much on the material and quality of the fuel. When using charcoal, make sure to use high-quality charcoal. The same applies to briquettes, if you prefer to use these. Good quality favours a beautiful fire and long-lasting embers.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a smokeless barbecue

However, before you buy a smokeless barbecue, there are some factors you should consider. In the following paragraph you will find a few questions and answers:

What is special about a smokeless barbecue and what advantages does it offer?

The really special thing about a smoke-free barbecue is, as the name suggests, that it produces little to no smoke. Due to its special construction, it is designed in such a way that it can prepare the best food even without smoke and it does not tie you to a garden. The smoke-free barbecue gives you much more freedom in your choice of barbecue locations. If you don't have a secluded garden without neighbours, that doesn't matter. You can barbecue to your heart's content on your balcony, on your terrace or in public places with barbecue permits. This also saves you the trouble with the neighbours.

rauchfreier Grill

A smoke-free barbecue offers the highest level of barbecue experience with everything your heart desires. (Image source: El Chefo / unsplash)

Most smokeless barbecues are also easy to use and usually have an ideal size with a light weight, which is perfect for a trip to the park without having to slouch.

What types of smokeless barbecues are there?

Since there is not just one type of smokeless barbecue, but three, we have listed them for you below, with their advantages and disadvantages.

Smokeless charcoal barbecue

This is a variant of the smoke-free charcoal barbecue. One of the more popular models among the smoke-free barbecues. It offers a lot of mobility when barbecuing. Since it is practical and handy, you can also take it with you to the next park or to a friend's house. You can also find very good quality models in every price range. With this appliance, you should definitely allow some time for grilling, as charcoal takes longer to reach operating temperature than gas or electricity-powered grills.

Advantages
  • mobile
  • practical
  • cheap
  • grill-feeling
Disadvantages
  • slow to reach operating temperature
  • light smoke
  • coal used up more quickly
  • tedious cleaning

Since coal or briquettes are used for grilling, a slight smoke can never be completely ruled out, but active filters and ventilation systems ensure that the grill is smoke-free. In return, however, you are spoiled with a real barbecue feeling.

Smoke-free gas barbecue

One type of smoke-free barbecue is this variant, the gas barbecue. The smokeless gas barbecue allows you to set the barbecue temperature manually and get your steak cooked to perfection. There is also no need for tedious cleaning after use, as you don't need any charcoal.

Advantages
  • quicker to reach operating temperature
  • no smoke
  • easy cleaning
Disadvantages
  • Gas - flammable and explosive
  • skilled handling a must
  • expensive gas bottles

You are working with gas on this appliance, which of course can always pose a risk of fire or explosion. Please seek professional advice before using it for the first time. After that, nothing will stand in the way of a smoke-free barbecue.

Smoke-free electric barbecue

This type of smoke-free barbecue is an electric barbecue. It is one of the cheapest types of smoke-free grills in the price range. However, you always need a power connection to operate this device. This restricts your mobility. Unfortunately, you will not be able to have barbecue experiences in the park with this product.

Advantages
  • no smoke
  • suitable for indoor use
  • very affordable
  • low fire hazard
Disadvantages
  • muffled barbecue feeling
  • danger of poor quality
  • requires power connection
  • not mobile

However, this smoke-free barbecue offers the great advantage of being able to barbecue even in bad weather. You can also use it comfortably from the dining table. Be sure to check the quality of the appliance. Often, the low-priced models offer a low wattage. The power should be around 2000 watts to get the meat well crispy.

How much does a smokeless grill cost?

The price range for smoke-free grills can vary greatly. Depending on the shape, size, brand, design and extras you are looking for, you can expect to pay anywhere from €16 for the cheapest to €555 for a high-quality appliance. Of course, there are no upper limits to the price. The cheaper models are often simple mini/travel or kettle grills. These start at 16 € up to about 30 €. However, these simple and inexpensive devices are normal barbecues, which are only suitable for outdoor use because of the smoke they produce. Smoke-free barbecues with ventilation and filters start at the lowest price of 30 € and can be found in the category of electric and charcoal barbecues. One of the main criteria of the price range is the brand. Good brand names top with high-quality material, design and performance, which is reflected in the grilling result. You can find a solid smoke-free barbecue, for at least two people with built-in active ventilation, portable for the park or even just for the balcony at home, for as little as 50 €.

Where can I barbecue with a smoke-free barbecue?

With a smoke-free barbecue, there are basically no limits. However, if you want to barbecue in a park that is open to the public, you should make sure that you are aware of the barbecue permit. Unfortunately, barbecuing in parks or public places is not always permitted.

rauchfreier Grill

In addition to meat and fish, you can also prepare vegetables in a wonderfully tasty way. (Image source: Anne Nygard / unsplash)

Since there is no smoke development due to built-in ventilation systems, you can also barbecue on your balcony, terrace or in the garden without any problems. However, for the sake of good neighbourly relations, we would recommend that you get "permission" to do so. This way, your neighbours can also prepare for the upcoming barbecue and, if they want, avoid the smell of the barbecue.

What sizes of smokeless barbecues are available?

You can find smoke-free barbecues in many variations. There is a suitable size for everyone, whether it is a single household or a large family, for the table in the garden or for the car to pack up and go.
Type Size
Small kettle grill With a grill rest of 29 cm in diameter, ideal for a single household or for travelling and camping. Sufficient for 1 to 2 people.
Large kettle grill With a grill rest up to 57 cm in diameter. Ideal for families and people with a large group of friends.
Standard kettle grill Grill support is always 32 cm in diameter and suitable for a common household of 2 to 4 people.
Barbecue trolley In a compact box shape. With a grill support of 88 cm x 52 cm. Sufficient for at least 6 people.

Depending on the type of smokeless barbecue you choose or favour, you will find different price ranges. This varies according to size, type, scope and quality. You should always pay attention to the latter.

What kind of lighter do I use for a smokeless barbecue?

You will only need a lighter for a smokeless charcoal barbecue. With smoke-free gas barbecues and electric barbecues, you do not need to light anything directly. With charcoal, it is important that you pay attention to the quality of the charcoal, because this is crucial. Poor quality charcoal is difficult to light and does not burn properly.
Type Description
Liquid barbecue lighter Safe to use, easy to dose, is sprayed directly onto the charcoal, waited a short time and then lit. Also available as a bio lighter.
Ignition wool Made from waxed wood fibres. Ideal not only for the barbecue, but also for the fireplace and stove. Only has a short burning time.
Ignition cubes/blocks Have a long burning time and are available as medium-sized cubes or in XXL format as a block.
Fire balls The balls are made of waxed wood wool. They have a burning time of 15 minutes, are easy to ignite and ideal for the fireplace.

To make lighting even easier, despite the good charcoal, there are lighting aids. You can choose from liquid barbecue lighters, lighting wool, lighting cubes/blocks and fireballs. All these aids are safe to use and easy to light. However, the safest option is a fireplace. A fireplace is a metal tube with air holes that you place in the barbecue and fill with charcoal. Place your chosen lighting aid under the fireplace and light it. After approx. 15 - 30 minutes, the fire has burnt down and you can remove the lighting chimney, leaving a perfect ember for barbecuing.

Can I use a smokeless grill indoors?

That depends on which smokeless grill you use. If you use a smokeless grill with charcoal, they are not suitable for the living room table, as you are handling fire and embers and the risk of fire would be far too great.
Fire, embers and gases increase the risk of fire and explosion.

We also advise against using a smokeless gas barbecue indoors because of the risk of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides forming. As these gases are colourless, odourless and tasteless, they are an undetectable hazard. For indoor barbecues, we would point back exclusively to electrically powered equipment, such as smokeless electric barbecues. Here, however, it is also important to pay attention to good product and performance quality. To prevent odour nuisance or possible smoke development, simply ventilate the room well every now and then.

How do I light a smokeless barbecue with charcoal correctly?

If you have found the right smokeless barbecue for you and it is operated with charcoal, the first important step before barbecuing is to light it correctly. We advise you to buy lighting aids right from the start, as these will make it much easier for you to light the barbecue. You can find barbecue lighters in different forms as liquid lighters or solid lighters, whereby the solid lighters are usually recommended.

  1. Stacking charcoal: Build a small pyramid with the hollow charcoal.
  2. Light the barbecue lighter: Add the barbecue lighter to the edge and light it. Then wait for the first layer of charcoal to glow.
  3. Add the charcoal: Add the rest of the charcoal and wait until embers form again. You can help a little by fanning or blowing.
  4. Wait for embers: As soon as a nice pile of embers has formed, knock it a little flat and DONE.

Now you can start grilling. Put the steak on. Charcoal usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes and briquettes about 45 to 60 minutes, but they burn longer.

Image source: Evan Wise/ unsplash

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