Best barbecue: charcoal, gas and hybrid BBQs, plus our favourite smoker

The best barbecues are worth getting at any time of year, so that you're all ready for next summer – or for an unexpected day of warmth and sunshine in autumn or winter

outdoor dining set from john lewis with best barbecue
(Image credit: John Lewis)

Wondering what is the best barbecue you can get? It may seem counter-intuitive to be thinking about barbecues in the middle of a (very rainy) autumn, but there are all sorts of reasons you may want to get a barbecue before next summer. 

Firstly, you'll be well prepared when the summer returns – it's amazing how easy it is to be taken by surprise when warm weather finally arrives. Secondly, with the Black Friday sales on throughout November, you might end up getting your preferred model at a very good price. And, finally, you never know: we might get some freak warm(ish) and sunny days in December. 

So, we've rounded up the very best, from traditional charcoal BBQs for grilling burgers and sausages to all-singing all-dancing gas BBQs perfect for cooking fish, portable barbecues for camping trips and festivals, smokers for serious enthusiasts, electric grills for when it rains, and even barbecues for baking pizza. There's a barbecue to suit every chef, every event and every budget.

How to buy the best barbecue

Choosing the best barbecue for you will firstly depend on what type of cooking method you want. Once you have narrowed this down, it will largely come down to how much you can afford to spend, and what kind of style you want to buy.

Charcoal, gas or electric

As well as price differences and running costs, consider these three things:

1. Flavour: while the best gas barbecue will still deliver on the smokey BBQ flavour, a charcoal barbecue is your best bet if you really like that authentic, chargrilled taste. An electric grill will be portable and easy to use, but won't give you the smoke. For added flavour, consider a smoker barbecue instead.

2. Ease of cleaning: the best barbecues in our guide should all be relatively easy to clean, but a very large bbq, whether gas or charcoal, will have a larger grill that won't fit in a dishwasher, so you'll need to clean it by hand.

3. Storage: if you have a small garden with a tiny patio, a massive gas bbq with side tables might not be the best idea. Opt for a portable charcoal model or an electric grill. In a larger garden with a garden room or shed, you might as well go all-out on the most advanced model you can get for your budget. 


As a rough guide, for four people, you'll need a grill size that's less than 1800cm²; for six people, a grill up to 2500cm² will do; for eight people or more, look for a barbecue with a grill size that's 2500cm²+.

Portability and storage

Do you want to take your BBQ with you on camping trips? Does it need to fold down to fit into an already packed shed? Will it sit out beneath a protective cover year round? Remember that an electric barbecue needs to be connected to an external power point, too. All important considerations before you buy...

What is the best barbecue?

Whether you’re cooking for friends or family, the BBQ can often take centre stage. To take the pressure off, making sure that you invest in one that both looks great and is fantastically functional is certainly the best way to go. 

We’ve found that the Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal BBQ does a grand job of combining style with functionality, teaming up with an integrated cart to provide you with the ultimate cooking station. 

Alternatively, those of you who prefer to cook with gas may want to look at the Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Force 2 Burner Gas BBQ, which features two independently controlled gas burners and a high hood for convection cooking whole joints of meat. It's in our top gas BBQs list, but is much more expensive than our top pick the Outback Omega.

Here's our at-a-glance list for anyone in a hurry:

  • Best charcoal barbecue: Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal BBQ
  • Best gas BBQ: Outback Omega 250 Gas BBQ
  • Best hybrid BBQ: Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill
  • Best electric grill: Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Grill Pro
  • Best smoker: Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
  • Best pizza oven: Wildon Home Premier Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Best charcoal barbecues

Nothing beats the traditional smokey flavour of a charcoal barbecue; having said that, with the dizzying number of models out there, it can be difficult to choose a good one. We've compiled the best charcoal bbqs that give the best flavour. Keep scrolling for more barbecue types.

Best barbecue: Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal BBQ

1. Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal BBQ

Best barbecue: with a cooking station and BBQ all in one, you can keep things easily under control thanks to this best barbecue

Best for: All rounder
Fuel: Charcoal
Weight: 43.5kg
Reasons to buy
+ Gas ignition for quick and easy lighting 

If you’re looking for the king of all charcoal BBQs, this Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal BBQ is definitely one to consider. 

What it does well

Here's what we like about this charcoal barbecue.

Gas ignition: it might be a charcoal barbecue but you needn't worry about using firelighters to get it going – the Touch-N-Go electronic gas ignition lights your charcoal in a fraction of the time it takes to get a traditional charcoal BBQ going. There's a free charcoal measuring cup, too, to help you get quantities spot on.

Lid thermometer: easy to see because it's right there in the lid, this handy feature – often overlooked on more basic models – means you can cook to perfection.  

Plenty of storage: we love how this charcoal barbecue is integrated into a cart. It doesn't just offer a cooking surface and storage beneath, it makes this BBQ easy to move about and sturdy, too. Added to that, there are three tool holders – oh, and a removable, LCD cook timer.

Great quality cooking grate: the grate and sear grate are included – plus there are more accessories you can buy separately, such as the poultry roaster, which can be slotted into the centre of the grate.  

Easy maintenance: the One Touch cleaning system makes it much simpler to clean your barbecue once you're finished.

What to watch for

It comes unassembled, which means an hour's work to get it together.

Our verdict 

The best barbecue you can buy, we think. 

Find more of the best charcoal BBQs in our guide. And shop more best barbecues at John Lewis & Partners.

Best kamado grill: Big Green Egg Medium Ceramic BBQ

2. Big Green Egg Medium Ceramic BBQ

Best Kamado grill: this rather exclusive Green Egg BBQ is this summer’s must-have

Best for: Stylish
Fuel: Charcoal
Weight: 43kg
Reasons to buy
+Lifetime guaranteed glaze means it’ll stay looking stylish forever+Comes with a metal nest and handler, and pair of shelves
Reasons to avoid

For small and courtyard gardens, the stylish Green Egg BBQ is the best barbecue choice. Large enough for couples and small families, this medium sized barbecue features plenty of refined features that put it flights above other barbecues of the same size.

What it does well

Here's what we like about this charcoal barbecue.

Patented air-flow technology: once this BBQ is up to the temperature you want (and it gets there very quickly), it maintains this steady temperature, making sure you don't end up over or undercooking your food – and giving you the predictability so often lacking when you cook on a barbie.

Temperature accuracy: you can control the temperature on this barbecue to within a few degrees, to the point that it's more accurate than many ovens. 

Superior insulation: concerned about small children running around the barbecue? It's well insulated, ensuring the outside is never too hot to the touch.

Clever food prep wings: the wooden shelves are conveniently positioned on each side of the 'egg', making separating meat and veg a breeze.

Self cleaning: the oil and fat left over from cooking is burnt down by the residual heat of this bbq; the ash can then be easily scooped or brushed out. 

What to watch for 

This is a very, very expensive barbecue, and we do have to admit, that, despite its many great features, you are partly paying for the beautiful design. If you want a lifetime investment BBQ, though, this is a great option.

Our verdict

Pricey but worth it for high precision outdoor cooking and distinctive looks.

See more Big Green Egg barbecues at John Lewis

Best kettle barbecue: Napoleon Charcoal Kettle BBQ

3. Napoleon Charcoal Kettle BBQ

Best kettle barbecue: a high-quality traditional kettle BBQ with a temperature gauge

Best for: Kettle BBQ
Fuel: Charcoal
Weight: 18.1kg
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight for easy portability

You can’t really go wrong with a traditional Napoleon charcoal kettle BBQ, the epitome of summer gatherings. This stylish one barbecue is lightweight yet sturdy, enabling you to transport it to the shed and back whenever it is required. The spacious lid provides you with plenty of space to barbeque whole joints of meat or alternatively, the grid is large enough to produce a BBQ feast, helped along by the temperature gauge, which should prevent you from burning or undercooking your food. 

What it does well

Here's what we like about this kettle charcoal barbecue.

Cast iron grill: cast iron rather than steel gives the grill of this barbecue a hefty, quality feel.

Hinged lid: the lid of this barbecue lifts up on a hinge, and then it stays open with no risk of it snapping shut as you're turning your meat (ouch). This means you won't need to be looking for a place to put down a hot lid while cooking.

Great temperature control: it's not just the temperature gauge on this barbecue that allows for superior temperature control; the lid, once shut, really locks in the heat, while the vents regulate it. The result is some seriously juicy meat. 

What to watch for

Many users report that the grate is very heavy, which means that if you don't have strong arms, you may need help lifting it.

Our verdict

The best traditional kettle barbecue around, in our opinion.

Browse more barbecues at Furniture 123

Best barbecue for beginners: Outback Omega 200 Charcoal Trolley BBQ

4. Outback Omega 200 Charcoal Trolley BBQ

Best barbecue for beginners: great value and it looks the part, the Outback Omega one of the best barbecues for beginners

Best for: Beginners
Fuel: Charcoal
Weight: 19.8kg
Reasons to buy
+ Plenty of prep and storage space 

If you’re looking for a stylish, ergonomic BBQ that won’t cost you the earth, the Outback Omega 200 will definitely do the trick. The brand claims that it's perfect for beginner BBQ masters, with its adjustable heat control helping you to cook your food without burning or undercooking it. 

What it does well

Here's what we like about this charcoal barbecue.

Practical design: the shelves to either side of this bbq are really great for streamlining your batch cooking. Keep raw ingredients ready on the left, and food ready to eat on the right. There is also a storage shelf underneath, and hooks for utensils. 

Super easy to clean: the smaller size of the grate and ash collector mean both will fit into a standard dishwasher, making cleaning this bbq a breeze.

Enamel coated grate: you're less likely to burn your food with this type of coating, and it's easier to clean.

Hooded lid for slow cooking: feel like cooking a whole chicken? This is where the lid comes in handy, really locking in heat. In fact, we've found that, with the lid down, this bbq stayed hot longer than most others.

What to watch for

The smaller size of the grill on this barbecue makes it more suitable for couples than large families, unless you're prepared for a lot of batch cooking. It also has somewhat limited temperature controls, which makes it better suited to thoroughly cooked food, rather than precision grilled rare steak, for instnace. 

Our verdict

Brilliant for practical, small-batch cooking and easy cleaning. The best barbecue for beginners, we think!

Find more barbecues at Robert Dyas

Weber Smokey Joe Premium Barbecue

5. Weber Smokey Joe Premium Barbecue

Best portable barbecue: a traditional kettle BBQ which is easily portable so ideal for camping holidays and beach trips

Best for: Portable
Fuel: Charcoal
Weight: 3.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Tuck and carry lid lock for convenient transportation 

Large enough to cook effectively on charcoal, yet small enough to conveniently pack into the boot of the car, the Weber Smokey Joe is the best portable barbecue that also happens to be very friendly on the pocket. 

What it does well

Here's what we like about this best portable charcoal bbq.

Great features: for a portable bbq, this is packed full of great features, such as a steel cooking grate, a handy tuck and carry lid, a steel charcoal grate for aeration and a briquette measuring cup so you don’t over do it on the heat production. 

Heatproof: the base of this bbq is heatproof, meaning you can sit it on top of your outdoor dining table and serve easily.

Lightweight: at just 3.5 kilos, this is lightweight enough to take with you to the beach/camping site.

What to watch for

The size is ideal for two people, but you may struggle to cook comfortably for any more than that.

Our verdict

The perfect portable bbq that is lightweight, easy to use, and produces great-tasting food.

See more of the best portable BBQs in our guide. 

Find more barbecues and tools at Go Outdoors

best Argos charcoal bbq: American style charcoal bbq

(Image credit: Argos)

6. Argos Home American Style Charcoal BBQ

Best value charcoal bbq

Best for: Fuss-free outdoor cooking
Fuel: Charcoal
Weight: 26.18kg
Reasons to buy
+Front loading+Adjustable grill+Built-in bottle opener

This American-style charcoal BBQ from Argos is a wonder, a barbecue truly built with convenience in mind.

What it does well

It's probably easier to tell you what it can't do, but this is what we like about this American style barbecue.

Easy loading: it allows you to top up the charcoal via a front door, rather than having to lift the grill

Adjustable charcoal grill: makes cooking fool proof; instead of fiddling with temperatures, you can just move the grill itself.

Useful extras: there is a warming rack, a prep shelf, a storage shelf and... a built-in bottle opener.

What to watch for

The assembly is not the easiest, so allow at least an hour to put it together.

Our verdict

An efficient and clever bbq that performs like an all-singing, all-dancing mini outdoor kitchen. 

Best gas barbecues

Not a fan of the charcoal smoke? Or want greater control for cooking more than just meat? Gas is a great option. Here's our pick of the best. Keep scrolling for hybrid, electric, smokers and pizza ovens.

Best budget barbecue: Outback Omega 250 Gas BBQ

7. Outback Omega 250 Gas BBQ

Best gas barbecue: This alternative from Outback Omega is great for those who prefer to cook on gas

Best for: Budget
Fuel: Gas
Weight: 19.4kg
Reasons to buy
+ Lava rocks are used to turn fat and juices into flavoursome smoke 

If you prefer the idea of cooking on gas but don’t want to lose out on the smokiness produced by charcoal BBQs, this Outback Omega 250 Gas BBQ could be your answer. 

What it does well

This is what we like about this best budget gas barbecue.

Ease of assembly: the simple design means that assembly time is no more than 15 to 30 minutes, and then you're ready to go.

Lava rocks included: the gas flames heat the lava rocks which in turn collect the juices from the meat and turn them into flavoursome smoke.

Consistent results: for a relatively inexpensive barbecue, it really delivers on flavour and consistent, even cooking. The side burner is very useful for frying steak on a hot griddle.

What to watch for

This is a budget option, and while it should last you a good few seasons, it's not a lifetime barbecue.

Our verdict

Great value for money with consistent cooking results. 

Shop more Outback products at Amazon

Best value barbecue: Argos Home Premium 4 Burner Gas BBQ With Side Burner

8. Argos Home Premium 4 Burner Gas BBQ With Side Burner

Best Argos barbecue: a gas BBQ that offers more heat control and accuracy

Best for: Value
Fuel: Gas
Weight: 26.37kg
Reasons to buy
+ Four gas rings for great heat control 

Your perfect summer cooking station, this Argos Home Premium 4 Burner Gas BBQ With Side Burner is great value for money, delivering results even some more expensive BBQs can't boast.

What is does well

Here's what we like about this great value gas barbecue.

Off-heat cooking option: the Premium 4 Burner BBQ enables you to keep two rings on and two off if you’re looking to slowly cook meat all the way through.

Handy heat rack: keeps the food warm without burning it.

Sideburner: the smaller sideburner gas ring is perfect for cooking your side dishes at the same time as your mains. 

Great storage: not just a bottom shelf, but a condiment rack, too, which is great for seasoning your food as you cook.

What to watch for

This gas barbecue is propane only.

Our verdict

Impressive, especially given the low price. 

See more barbecues at Argos Home

Best modern barbecue: Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Force 2 Burner Gas BBQ

9. Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Force 2 Burner Gas BBQ

Best modern barbecue: a fantastic invention from wacky chef Heston Blumenthal, this is the best barbecue for modern homes

Best for: Modern
Fuel: Gas
Weight: 33kg
Reasons to buy
+ Available in a range of stylish colours+Can cook with hood up or down

Any cooking gadget with the name Heston Blumenthal attached to it is going to be great quality and well thought out and this Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Force 2 Burner Gas BBQ is no different. A beautiful piece of design, as well as a great bbq, it's well worth the investment. 

What it does well

This is what we like about this modern gas barbecue.

Superb control: independently controlled gas burners for cooking on and off the heat with variable heat control so you can ensure that your ingredients are cooking at the perfect temperature. You can cook with the hood up or the hood down, with the hood being high enough for convection cooking if you fancy cooking a large joint of meat for everyone.

Sturdy construction: the die-cast aluminium body of this barbecue is rust-proof and feels extremely sturdy and durable.

Beautiful design: this is a barbecue for people who don't particularly like the look of most barbecues. It comes in Graphite or Mint, both excellent colour choices for contemporary gardens. 

No assembly: comes pre-assembled, only the stand needs assembling. 

What to watch for

The plates on this bbq are enamel coated, which means you'll need to clean them more carefully, without the use of conventional scourers. Try a nylon brush instead.

Our verdict

This is a superb gas bbq with both style and substance; well worth the money.

Shop more Everdure by Heston Blumenthal barbecues at John Lewis

Best hybrid barbecues

Not sure which you prefer, coal or gas? Or maybe you like cooking different things on different types of fuel? Choose a hybrid bbq. Here's our top pick.

Best hybrid barbecue: Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill

10. Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill

Best hybrid barbecue: smoke your ingredients one night, cook them on the gas the next – the choice yours

Best for: Hybrid BBQ
Fuel: Gas or coal
Weight: 50g
Reasons to buy
+ A handy side burner for heating sauces or boiling vegetables

Whether one member of your family prefers gas and the other prefers coal or you’re really looking to maximise every available opportunity to cook outside this summer, this Char-Broil Gas2Coal Hybrid Grill leaves you with plenty of scope for creating amazing food. 

What it does well

Here's what we like about this hybrid (charcoal/gas) barbecue.

Great gas temperature control: three individual burners allow to get the temperature just right when cooking on the gas setting.

Off-heat cooking option: for that smokey, slow-cooked flavour, the ability to cook without the heat on in the charcoal mode is great. The results, flavour-wise, are stunning.

Warming rack: you can keep the food warm while cooking more; great for cooking larger batches.

What to watch for:

Although this is a hybrid model, it really comes into its own in the charcoal mode. It's perfectly adequate as an outdoor gas cooker, but you won't get that delicious bbq flavour on the gas setting.

Our verdict

Great if you can't decide whether you prefer charcoal or gas, though you'll probably be more convinced by the charcoal option.

Find more of the best gas BBQs in our guide. 

See more barbecues at Argos

Best electric grills

No mess, no fuss, no purchasing of fuel: electric grills give you all of that, plus portability. Keep scrolling for smokers and pizza ovens.

Best electric grill you can buy: Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Grill Pro

11. Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Grill Pro

The best electric grill: cook steaks, burgers and other meats to perfection with this snazzy electric grill

Best for: Electrical grill
Fuel: Electric
Weight: 9.8 kg
Reasons to buy
+Integrated temperature probe +5 meat settings for cooking from rare to well done 

The Smart Grill Pro is definitely the best electric grill you can by, if you want to be able to achieve serious cooking on what is usually a portable substitute for a proper barbecue. There is literally nothing this grill can't tackle apart from chicken on the bone. 

What it does well

Here's what we like about this electric grill.

Five temperature settings: From rare to well done, this feature will delight steak lovers. However you like your meat, this will get it exactly right.

Heat probe: Remarkably accurate, it'll allow you to relax and not worry about the food cooking through to the right temperature.

Cooks fast: Putting together a quick supper? The grill heats up in seconds, and sears your food for that smokey, chargrilled finish. Cooks veggies in seconds. 

Easy to clean: the plates can be removed and will fit in a standard dishwasher.

What to watch for: this grill is large and heavy, and will take up a lot of room in your kitchen, so be prepared. 

Shop more Sage appliances at Amazon

George Foreman Indoor and Outdoor Grill

12. George Foreman Indoor and Outdoor Grill

Best portable electrical grill: perfect for your winter health kick and summer indulgences

Best for: Electrical grill portability
Fuel: Electric
Weight: 6.26kg
Reasons to buy
+Includes a stand for indoor and outdoor conversion +Large enough to cook up to 15 pieces of meat 

If you like to be savvy with your money, this electric George Foreman Indoor and Outdoor Grill can double up as table top cooker and BBQ. Whether you’re taking on the cooking responsibilities at a summer BBQ or cooking a healthy mid-week dinner for the family, this grill should enable you to do it with ease. 

What it does well

Here's what we like about this electrical grill.

Easy temperature control: you can easily control the temperature of the electric grill so it provides the right amount heat for cooking different meats or fish. The outside temperature gauge will enable you to keep an eye on the temperature inside, too. 

Almost no cleaning required: there is no ash to dispose of, and no messy grates to scrub. Simply wipe the non-stick cooking plate once it's cool.

No coals, no gas: no connecting up of gas bottles, and no need to buy bags of charcoal. Simply plug in and cook. 

Collapsible stand: if using indoors, simply remove the stand, and you've got a very compact grill that will happily sit on the dinner table.

What to watch for

The stand is a little less sturdy than the grill itself, so make sure to position it on an even surface.

Our verdict

You really can't beat this grill for ease of use, and the price makes it even more attractive.

See more of the best electrical grills in our guide. 

Find more George Foreman products at Amazon

Best smokers

Love the characteristic flavour and tender texture of smoked fish and meat? Get into the joys of smoking your own salmon, chicken, and more.

Best smoker barbecue: Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

13. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Best smoker barbecue: quick and stable heating, weatherproof provision: this smoker-cooker has it all

Best for: Smoker
Fuel: Charcoal
Weight: 11kg
Reasons to buy
+ Holds temperature well + Multiple air vents 

Weber’s the big name in barbecuing, so it’s no surprise that they’ve successfully turned their hand to barbecue smokers too. The appropriately named Smokey Mountain Cooker is, as you’d reasonably expect, on the pricier end of things. However, reviewers, award-winning competitive smokers among them, agree it’s the best of the best.

What it does well

Here's what we like about this smoker bbq.

Sturdy, snug construction: this is very important for the quality of your smoke, and all the parts in this reassuringly heavy smoker hold together in a nicely tight fit, making sure smoke does not escape.

Holds temperature: smoking is an hour-long process, and this smoker, once you've got it to the desired temperature, will hold it remarkably steadily. This makes it suitable for smoking anything, from fish to veg and even nuts. The multiple vents compensate for windy weather.

Large capacity: this smoker means business in terms of how much it can cook in one go: we're talking a very large whole chicken, or multiple whole salmon fillets. 

What to watch for

Some reviewers report that some smoke does seep through the door. You may choose to get a different door for it.

Our verdict

If you've never owned a smoker before, you will be delighted with this one. And even if you are experienced at smoking, you'll still be impressed. Our pick of the best smoker barbecues. 

See more of the best smokers in our guide. 

Find more Weber products at Amazon

Best pizza ovens

For authentic pizza, rustic bakes, and even your own bread, look no further than a traditional outdoor oven. 

Best outdoor pizza oven: Wildon Home Premier Wood Fired Pizza Oven

14. Wildon Home Premier Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Best outdoor pizza oven: for a Sicilian feel, it doesn’t get better than a traditional clay pizza oven

Best for: Pizza oven
Fuel: Wood
Weight: 450kg
Reasons to buy
+ Traditional design 

With naturally insulating clay and cork housing, a sturdy cast iron door and a durable stainless steel flue, this Wildon Home Premier Wood Fired Pizza Oven is exactly as rugged as it looks.

What it does well

Here's what we like about this pizza oven.

For more than just pizza: this wonder oven can roast, smoke and grill as well as bake. So, think Sunday roast, or homemade bread, or even a tagine. Whatever you want, really.

Superior insulation: the heat retention of this oven is superb, making it great both for quick, authentic pizza firing, and slow cooking. At the same time, it will remain cool to the touch, making it safe around children or pets. 

What to watch for:

This oven is very, very heavy, so once you've installed it, you won't want to move it again.

Our verdict

If you love the rustic look of outdoor ovens, and the delicious, homemade taste of clay-oven cooking, this is for you.

Find more of the best outdoor pizza ovens in our guide.

Shop more outdoor pizza ovens at Wayfair

More BBQ advice and recipe ideas: