Electric Grills Performance
There are a number of sources, both cooking-specific and general consumer interest, that test and review electric grills; many, however, skew toward pricier models. Still, we found numerous user comments about the performance of cheap indoor electric grills that should help inform your buying decision.
Cheap Electric Grills Cooking Results.All electric grills, regardless of price, should cook food well; that is, drain grease and fat, and produce meats, fish, and vegetables that are neither undercooked nor overcooked, both outcomes that are unappetizing and potentially bad for your health.
That said, users comment positively on indoor grill review sites such as Walmart and Epinions about the pronounced grill marks produced by the Sanyo HPS-SG3 (starting at $40), as well as the even heat, good sear, and delicious barbecue flavor. A user review of budget electric grills on Amazon says food prepared on the Hamilton Beach 25219 (starting at $30) comes close to the finished product from an outdoor grill; an Epinions reviewer adds that this contact grill makes a terrific bacon press.
Comparative indoor electric grills reviews of the George Foreman GRP4 Next Grilleration (starting at $50) are more effusive about the convenience (easy clean up and quick cooking) than about the performance. One consumer post on Amazon suggests saving the best steaks for some other type of preparation and figuring out proper cooking times on your own rather than relying on the manual; others report on Amazon that the top grill plate doesn't get as hot as the bottom plate and that meat steams rather than grills because the unit doesn't generate enough heat. Satisfied users, however, insist the Next Grilleration helps them stick with a healthy diet, and one consumer with a disability posting on Amazon appreciates being able to prepare meals with one hand. The George Foreman GR10B Champ (starting at $20) wins praise from consumer reviewers on Epinions for its compact size, ease of use, reliability, price, and low-fat results.
Some low-price indoor grills just don't make the cut with consumers. The multi-purpose Sensio 13121 Bella Cucina Stainless-Steel Electric Grill (starting at $40) may do a decent job with pancakes, users say, but complaints posted on Buzzillions and Target assert that its heat is inconsistent and heartier fare takes forever to cook. Problems with uneven heat also plague the Black & Decker GR100, which delivers pancakes that are burned and raw at the same time, according to consumer posts on Target; the few performance assessments on Epinions, however, are more positive about the GR100's ability to turn out good pancakes, French toast, bacon, and sandwiches.
Electric Grills Cooking Speed.Convenience, in the form of getting dinner on the table quickly, is perhaps the key reason for buying an indoor electric grill. But different grills heat up and cook at different speeds. Contact grills tend to be quicker in both dimensions - about six minutes to get hot enough and 10 minutes to cook a one-inch thick chicken breast or steak. Open grills are a bit pokey; they typically need a good 20 minutes to preheat and about as long to get burgers, kabobs, or chops to the desired degree of doneness, whereas items like hot-dogs, fish fillets, vegetables, and thinner cuts of meat generally cook faster. In low-priced electric grills reviews on Walmart and Amazon, several owners of open grills recommend covering the unit with a large dome-shaped lid or an inverted, deep aluminum baking pan to speed both preheating and cooking.
Durability.The lifespan of a cheap electric grill is difficult to gauge from consumer reviews because most users write about newly-purchased or recently-released models. We noted quite a number of loyal George Foreman grills fans who bought new and updated models of units they acquired years ago. One satisfied owner of the Hamilton Beach 25219 writes on Amazon that her family has used the appliance to grill chicken breasts weekly for more than six years. Negative reports outnumber the positive for the Sensio 13121 Bella Cucina; indoor grills reviews on Amazon, Buzzillions, and Target complain about shoddy construction, clips and hinges that break easily, and indicator markings that wipe off.
We also found occasional complaints about the nonstick coating peeling off grill surfaces and drip pans after several uses. Indeed, this is a generalized durability issue, as noted in indoor grills reviews on the Ourparents blog, which reminds users to follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning the grill. Many models carry a one-year limited warranty.