Table of Contents
- 1 5 Infrared Grills Pros & Cons
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Editor’s Note: Infrared grills are some of the best grills money can buy in 2018. More uniform heat, higher temps, better sears (especially with steaks), and juicier food overall. The best part? Disadvantages like price and portability aren’t as big of a problem. 2018 infrared grills have caught up. Our favorite? Char-Broil’s Signature TRU-Infrared 525. It nicely encapsulates all the main pros we’ve listed below at an incredibly reasonable price.
5 Infrared Grills Pros & Cons
- Less flare-ups
- Better (more even) heat distribution
- Juicier + tastier food
- Better sear on steaks
- Higher temperatures
- Faster cooking times
Infrared Grill Pros & Cons
Infrared grills have come a long way. Convenience of gas + taste of charcoal. One of our favorite infrared grills in 2018 is Char-Broil’s Signature TRU-Infrared 525 4-Burner.
Infrared Grill Pros
Infrared Grill Cons
Infrared grills do a really good job removing a lot of drawbacks from convection (gas) grills. Better heat distribution, juicier food, better sear on steaks, and faster cooking times. There are a few drawbacks, sure, but in our opinion? These drawbacks aren’t enough to distract from all the pros an infrared grill offers in 2018.
Positives: Infrared BBQ grills combine the convenience of a gas grill with the intense heat & juicy taste of a charcoal grill. Using gas for fuel and infrared heat to cook allow meat to cook from the inside-out. Cooking in this way allows moisture to lock in and replicate a steakhouse-like taste (if you’re cooking steak).
Negatives: The biggest disadvantage to infrared grills in the past was cost. Durable, well-built infrared grills usually cost almost 2x what a normal gas grill would. In 2018 this has changed. Infrared grills in 2018 cost about the same as their gas-grill counterparts.
Our favorite example of more competitive infrared grill pricing? Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 525. A 4-burner non-infrared grill with similar capabilities as the 525 will cost around the same (Spirit II E-310 is a good example of a similarly priced gas-grill).
5 Advantages & Benefits of Infrared Grills
Infrared Grills Have Come A Long Way. Convenience of gas + taste of charcoal. One of our favorite Infrared Grills to show how far the technology has come is Char-Broil’s Signature TRU-Infrared 525 4-Burner.
Infrared grill technology has 5 main advantages & benefits worth considering in 2018.
1. Energy Efficiency + Less Pre-Heat Time
Radiant (infrared) heat is so much faster than regular gas or charcoal grills. It’s really not even close. Radiant heat doesn’t fight colder ambient temperatures to perform perfectly. Regular conduction (gas) grills need to overcome cold ambient temperatures to reach max temperatures – infrared doesn’t need to. The result? Incredibly efficient heat-transfer that means less preheat time before your grill is ready to cook.
Preheat times for infrared grills vary, but on average you can expect to preheat an infrared grill in under 5 minutes.
2. Uniform Heat Surface + No Flareups
Uneven cooking surfaces are a thing of the past with infrared grilling tech. Since radiant heat is such an efficient form of heat transfer, the entire surface of an infrared grill is uniformly heated. 0 chance of cold spots or pockets. This also means less flareups. This is a genuinely big difference over gas grills, and it’s one of the main reasons why more people are considering infrared grills in 2018.
3. Tastier Food
One of the main benefits of an infrared grill is tastier food. After all, tastier food is the end-goal in any grill-selection, right?
Infrared grills have less flareups, a uniform heat surface, and more efficient energy transfer. This efficient heat transfer. As food cooks over an infrared grill surface, molecules vibrate and bounce around, allow moisture to stay trapped inside the food (vs dripping out in conventional grill types). This means 2 things – better cooked food with a juicier sear that looks restaurant quality.
Faster cooking times and more even heat distribution means juices and flavors get trapped into the food. This really does happen – it isn’t a marketing ploy by infrared grill manufacturers. We’ve not only tested this ourselves with the Char-Broil Signature TRU-Infrared 325, we’ve read hundreds of verified reviews on Amazon confirming it.
4. Better Steak Sear
There’s a learning curve to cooking delicious steaks on an infrared grill. BBQing steaks on an infrared grill takes practice.
Cook hamburgers the first few times to get the temps & cooking times just right (you don’t want to ruin an expensive piece of sirloin!). Since infrared grills get unforgivably hot (fast), the last thing you want to do is overcook (or completely burn) a perfectly good piece of steak.
Once you perfect it, you’ll realize what you’ve been missing. Infrared grills do an incredible job cooking very thick steaks. They give big char marks and keep the insides red.
5. Faster Cooking Times + Hotter Temps
Infrared grills get hot. No, we mean really hot. How hot? Over 850″ degrees (and fast). This means your food will cook fast and will char on the outside (if left unattended). Cook times are so fast, in fact, we do not recommend leaving your food unattended the first few times you cook on an infrared grill. If you do, you risk overcooking your food and making your guests very unhappy.
3 Disadvantages of Infrared Grills
Infrared grills aren’t without a few drawbacks. Cost, portability, and potential health risks are all considerations. The good news? Cost & portability are largely not issues anymore. Infrared grill costs have come down (like Char-Broil’s Signature TRU-Infrared 525), and there’s even portable infrared grills available in 2018 (our favorite being Solaire’s SOL-IR17BWR on Amazon).
The 3 main disadvantages of Infrared grills are:
1. Cost (expensive)
Infrared grills are actually as cost-effective (if not more cost effective) than alternatives. Why? Simple. Infrared technology is becoming more and more popular in 2018 as both consumers and grill manufacturers continue catching on to the fact that infrared grill tech. is superior than alternative methods in several key areas (objectively speaking). Our favorite example? Char-Broil’s Signature TRU-Infrared 325 2-Burner. Finding a 2-burner grill with or without infrared tech. at this price is a fantastic deal.
2. Portability (largely a non-issue in 2018)
Infrared grill portability was difficult in the past. Even if there was a few portable options, they tended to be overpriced. If they weren’t overpriced, the technology to bring infrared to smaller grills just wasn’t there yet.
This isn’t the case in 2018. Why? Infrared tech. sizes down to portable levels without losing what makes it so good in normal circumstances. Same uniform heating, fantastic sear marks, and incredible taste.
Our favorite example? Solaire SOL-IR17BWR Portable Infrared Propane Gas Grill with Warming Rack, Stainless Steel. Admittedly, you do pay a premium for the super-high build quality. A cheaper example to bolster our point is Char-Broil Grill2Go X200 (usually priced around $100)
3. Potential Health Risks (easy precautions can be taken)
Potential health risks in any situation are important to pay attention to. Infrared grills are no different. Infrared grills are so good at what they do (HOT, consistent temperatures), it risks cooking food too much. Overcooked food is loosely linked to higher cancer rates. While this is a loose link, it’s still worth noting.
Note – this same level of potentially unsafe overcooking can happen in non-infrared grills to.
There is good news, however. To prevent overcooking risk, all you need to do is monitor your food as it cooks on an infrared grill. Turn it constantly, and don’t let it char (or overcook) too much.
Follow that quick precautionary tip and you’ll be as safe with infrared grills as any other form.
Are Infrared Grills Good + Better Than Alternatives?
The bottom line on infrared grills is simple. They are genuinely superior to alternatives in several important grilling areas, including:
- Uniform + consistent temperatures
- Faster cooking times + shorter preheating times
- Higher overall temperatures
- Better steak sear and juicier food
We strongly recommend considering an infrared grill in 2018. They’re by far our favorite grill type, and for good reason.
Is Infrared Cooking Healthy + Can It Cause Cancer?
As we previously mentioned, infrared cooking in-and-of-itself is not unhealthy or dangerous (as far as current science goes). What is potentially unhealthy is burnt and charred food. These charred materials have been loosely shown to correlate (not causative) with increased chance of cancer. This is an important distinction because correlation does not always imply causation. Simply put, just because people that eat burnt food may have a higher risk of cancer doesn’t necessarily mean it’s from that burnt food. Lifestyle choices & other environmental factors may (and most likely do) play huge influential factors.
The bottom line? Infrared grilling is completely healthy as long as you:
- don’t burn your food (severely)
- don’t char your food (excessively)
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!