Outdoor Griddle Buyer’s Guide

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Whether you call it a flat top grill or a gas griddle, outdoor griddles are a great alternative to a standard gas grill. 

The flat surface can prepare foods that you cannot cook on a standard grill, such as pancakes and eggs. Yet, you can still cook anything that you would normally cook on a grill, including hot dogs and hamburgers.

Use this buyer’s guide to explore the different features, advantages, and disadvantages of the most popular types of outdoor griddles.

Outdoor Griddle vs Gas Grill – What’s the Difference?

A gas grill is an outdoor cooking appliance powered by a propane tank or a direct connection to a natural gas line. Most grills include a deep body that contains a heating element. A metal grill grate sits above the heating element. 

When people look for outdoor griddles, they are typically looking for gas-powered griddles. Outdoor gas griddles resemble gas grills. However, instead of a metal grill grate, the cooking surface is a solid flat sheet of metal. 

Types of Outdoor Griddles 

Most outdoor griddles belong to one of the following three categories:

  • Flat top grills
  • Tabletop griddles
  • Griddle plates

Flat Top Grills

Flat top grills are large gas griddles. They tend to resemble gas grills and often sit on large carts with two or four wheels. 

Large flat-top grills are also more likely to include multiple burners and high BTUs. These options are recommended for those that plan on cooking for large groups or intend to use their griddle frequently.

Tabletop Griddles

Tabletop griddles are smaller gas-powered griddles designed for use on tabletops and counters. They are easy to carry, making them useful for camping and cooking at the park. 

Most table top griddles use small one-pound propane canisters. You can typically cook for about two hours with a one-pound canister on a smaller tabletop griddle.

Griddle Plates

Griddle plates are not gas-powered. They are cooking pans with handles and a circular, square, or rectangular shape. The surface is flat while the edges are slightly raised to keep grease from dripping onto the heat source.

Griddle plates are intended for use over an open fire or a stovetop burner. However, griddle plates can also work on top of a gas or charcoal grill. 

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Griddle

Whether you decide to get a flat top grill, tabletop griddle, or griddle plate, here are the main details to look at when comparing griddles:

  • Size of cooking surface
  • Max temperature/BTUs
  • Number of burners
  • Griddle material
  • Tabletop/cart
  • Accessories
  • Price 

Here is a closer look at each feature.

Size of Cooking Surface

The size of the griddle is one of the most important features, as it determines how much food you can cook simultaneously. Smaller outdoor griddles with 200 to 400 square inches of cooking surface work well when cooking for two to four people. However, a large griddle is recommended when cooking for a large gathering.

The largest griddles are between 34 and 40 inches and offer between 700 and 800 square inches of cooking surface. You can cook a couple of dozen hamburgers or several dozen hot dogs on one of the larger griddles.

Max Temperature/BTUs

Instead of listing the max temperature, manufacturers of gas griddles typically list the British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating of the heating elements. BTUs measure thermal energy. 

Most gas griddles and grills produce 70 to 80 BTUs per square inch of cooking surface. If the BTU rating is lower, the cooking surface may take longer to heat up and struggle to maintain a high temperature.

As with propane grills, propane griddles with 70 to 80 BTUs per square inch can reach temperatures of 600-degrees Fahrenheit. The typical electric griddle has a max temperature of 375 to 450 degrees.

Number of Burners

Outdoor griddles with multiple burners create multiple cooking zones. Each burner has a separate knob for controlling the temperature. You can reduce the temperature on one area of the griddle while increasing the temperature on another area.

Choosing a griddle with multiple burners is recommended if you plan on cooking a variety of foods at the same time. Some foods cook better at higher temperatures while others should be slowly heated.

Griddle Material

Large outdoor gas griddles are often made with stainless steel cooking surfaces. Stainless steel is resistant to rust and can last a long time when properly cared for. 

Other common materials include anodized aluminum, carbon steel, and cast iron. Some griddles are made with regular steel or cast-iron surfaces with aluminum bases. 

Anodized aluminum and carbon steel are the least durable options. Anodized aluminum has a nonstick surface that scratches easily. It is a common option in household cooking appliances, including electric griddles. 

Outdoor griddles with carbon steel are also available but rust easily without proper care. Carbon steel needs to be seasoned with oil to protect against rust.

Large griddle plates and pans are typically made from cast iron and suitable for use over an open fire. It is one of the most durable options but less likely to be found on a gas-powered griddle. 

Tabletop/Cart

Outdoor propane griddles may include a tabletop design or come with a cart. Tabletop griddles need to be placed on a flat surface, such as a picnic table. The gas hookup is typically positioned to allow a small propane tank to sit directly to the side of the griddle on the table. 

If you plan on using a larger propane tank, such as a 15-pound to 20-pound tank, you may need an extension for the griddle. Some table top griddles include a propane tank extension hose. However, they are also available separately.

Large gas griddles with carts often include a long enough propane connector to accommodate larger propane tanks. The cart may even have a spot on a lower shelf to set the tank. 

Carts also often include one or two side shelves. The extra surfaces are useful for preparing foods. Choosing a griddle with a cart also keeps you from using space on other surfaces, such as a picnic table.

Accessories

Outdoor griddles may come with accessories, such as utensils and cleaning equipment. If you plan on leaving your griddle outdoors most of the time, look for options that include a hood or cover. 

You should also be wary of cheaper options that come packed with a long list of accessories. Companies with inferior products often package their items with accessories to make them more enticing.

Price

The quality of a product is often somewhat related to its price. The cheapest outdoor griddles may not hold up as well or include inferior materials, such as inexpensive aluminum. Spending more now could save you from needing to replace your outdoor griddle too quickly. 

Top Eight Best Outdoor Griddles

Now that you know what to look for in a griddle, take a moment to compare the 8 best outdoor griddles.

1. The Original Blackstone 36-Inch 4-Burner Cooking Station

Blackstone Products is one of the most recognizable brands when it comes to outdoor griddles. The company’s original 36-inch flat top grill is a popular option due to its large cooking area and solid cart.

The griddle includes a stainless-steel flattop with 720 square inches of cooking space. It also has four separate burners with independent heat control. You can easily adjust the temperature of each burner using a knob on the front of the cart.

The cart has two side shelves, a lower shelf, a paper towel holder, a removable cutting board, and four wheels with locking mechanisms. Due to the size of the cart, the 36-inch Blackstone flat top grill is best suited for use in your backyard.

Pros 

  • Reasonable price for a large outdoor griddle
  • Includes a large cooking surface with four burners
  • The cart includes shelves and a removable cutting board

Cons

  • The 36-inch griddle is not portable or easy to transport

2. Razor Griddle 37-Inch Outdoor Steel 4-Burner Gas Griddle

The Razor 37-Inch Griddle is a closer runner-up to the Blackstone 36-Inch Griddle. Both options include four burners and are available for about the same price. However, the Razor griddle offers slightly more power, with up to 62,000 BTUs instead of 60,000. 

The stainless-steel surface is also slightly larger. It offers 750 square inches of cooking space instead of 720 square inches. 

The Razor griddle also sits on a cart with four wheels. Two of the wheels are extra-large, making it easier to roll the griddle around your yard. You can also fold the cart when storing or transporting it.

The cart has two folding shelves and a lower shelf. The folding shelves are not incredibly stable but should support a few items. 

Pros 

  • Offers a large cooking surface
  • Includes four burners with a total of 62,000 BTUs
  • The cart folds for easier storage

Cons

  • The side shelves do not feel too stable

3. Cuisinart CGG-888 22-Inch Round Flat Top Surface Gas Grill

The Cuisinart CGG-888 has a round design instead of the rectangular design found on most outdoor griddles. The round shape gives you less cooking space but also takes up less room in your yard.

The round cooking surface is 22-inches in diameter and is covered with a stainless-steel lid. The lid has a vent, allowing you to easily steam, bake, smoke, or roast various foods. 

A grease cup sits below the cooking surface. The grease is automatically funneled to the cup for easy clean-up. 

The griddle sits on a rolling cart and has a foldable tray on the side. The propane tank sits inside the cart.

It also features two separate burners. Each burner has 15,000 BTUs of power for a total of 30,000 BTUs.

Pros 

  • Takes up less space compared to other freestanding griddles
  • Includes a large grease cup for collecting grease
  • Includes two separate burners with a total of 30,000 BTUs

Cons

  • The cart is not easy to transport to other locations

4. Country Smokers CSGDL0590 The Highland 4-Burner Portable Griddle

If you want something a little more portable, the Country Smokers CSGDL0590 The Highland 4-Burner Portable Griddle is a top recommendation. It has a thin stand with collapsible legs. You can fold the legs and easily store or transport the griddle.

The cooking surface is made from stainless steel and includes 597 square inches of space. It is smaller than the previous recommendations, but also lighter and more portable. 

The griddle includes four separate burners. Each burner has 11,000 BTUs of total power, which is a little lower compared to the larger griddles. It may take slightly longer for the flat top surface to heat.

Pros 

  • The folding legs make it easy to transport
  • Offers 597 square inches of cooking space
  • Includes four separate burners

Cons

  • The burners deliver less power compared to large griddles

5. Blackstone 22-Inch Tabletop Griddle 

The Blackstone 22-Inch Griddle has a tabletop design instead of coming with a stand or a cart. Table Top griddles are easier to take other places. This griddle measures just 22.5 x 19 x 9 inches and weighs a little over 30 pounds.

The 22-inch stainless steel flattop has 339 square inches of cooking space. It is large enough for a four-person or five-person household.

The device has two separate H-shaped burners instead of circular burners. You get more even heat across the cooking surface. Each burner also delivers 12,000 BTUs of power.

Pros 

  • The tabletop design is easy to transport
  • Includes two H-shaped burners to eliminate cold spots
  • Costs less than $200

Cons

  • Offers less cooking space compared to larger outdoor griddles

6. Royal Gourmet PD1301S Portable 24-Inch 3-Burner Grill/Griddle

The Royal Gourmet 24-Inch Grill/Griddle is more affordable compared to the 22-Inch Blackstone Tabletop Griddle. It also offers a little more power, with a total of 25,500 BTUs. However, the BTUs are divided between three burners instead of two.

Each burner has a separate heat control knob and about 8,500 BTUs of power. Compared to the previous options, the cooking surface is likely to take longer to heat. 

You get about 316 square inches of cooking surface. The cooking surface is large enough to cook for four or five people but may fill quickly when cooking for larger groups.

Pros 

  • One of the more affordable gas griddles
  • The tabletop design is lightweight and easy to store
  • Includes a slide-out grease cup for collecting grease

Cons

  • Delivers less power to each burner

7. ONLYFIRE Universal Stainless Steel Rectangular Griddle

The ONLYFIRE Universal Stainless Steel Rectangular Griddle is a griddle tray. Instead of connecting a propane tank, you simply place the griddle on top of an existing gas grill. 

The tray measures 23 x 16 inches, giving you over 360 square inches of cooking space. It is a great choice for cooking for a small gathering or family of four. The stainless-steel surface heats quickly when placed over a grill. However, it is not recommended for use on stovetops or open fires. 

Pros 

  • Fits over almost any gas grill
  • Includes large sidewalls to keep food on the griddle
  • Includes a drip tray for collecting grease and food debris

Cons

  • Requires you to already have a gas grill

8. GGC Cast Iron Reversible Grill Griddle

The GGC Cast Iron Reversible Grill Griddle offers the most affordable way to use a griddle outdoors. It is a double-sided cast iron pan with handles. You can set it over an existing grill, an open fire, or a stovetop.

The cast iron material takes longer to heat compared to the previous recommendations. However, it also retains heat better, allowing it to keep your food warm after removing it from a heat source. 

One side of the pan features a flat griddle surface while the other side has ribs. You can fry eggs and pancakes on one side and grill hamburgers and hot dogs on the other.

Pros 

  • Easy to store and transport
  • Works on existing grills, stovetops, or fires
  • The most affordable option

Cons

  • Requires a separate heat source

Conclusion

Choosing the best outdoor griddle can help enhance your outdoor cooking abilities. Instead of relying on a grill or an open fire, you can cook a wide range of foods on the flat surface of a griddle.

To choose the right griddle, think about how many people you typically cook for. If you cook for a family of four, you may not need one of the larger outdoor griddles, such as a large flat top grill.

Tabletop griddles with 200 to 400 square inches of cooking space should offer enough room when cooking for a small group. Yet, if you want to prepare large meals for larger gatherings, consider buying one of the flat top grills.

The larger outdoor griddles offer a larger cooking area and are often available with carts. A griddle with a cart can help keep your cooking space organized.

If you do not want another large appliance in your backyard or camping gear, you could choose a griddle plate. Griddle plates can work on campfires, stovetop burners, and existing grills.

No matter which option you choose, you are sure to get a lot of use out of it thanks to the versatility of an outdoor griddle.