Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- Charcoal Companion/Business Insider
- There’s nothing like food cooked up al fresco and served hot off the grill. But only a thoroughly cleaned grill can properly cook smoky, savory meats and veggies that diners will devour.
- The Kona 360° Grill Brush is our top choice because its triple coil design allows it to scour large swathes of the grill with each pass, cleaning the surface on top and bottom.
In my household, the grilling season never ends. I’ve cooked Christmas roasts in 18-degree temperatures and flipped burgers and dogs on 100-degree days. I’ve huddled under an umbrella to flame broil fillets during springtime downpours and grilled up sandwiches while braving autumn gusts. I also, at times, cook outside in perfectly pleasant weather, mind you.
Whether you are a year-round barbecue enthusiast or a seasonal grill master, you have to clean your grill each and every time you use it if you want your foods to taste their best and to be reliably safe to eat. That’s right, grill cleaning is about more than preparing a crisp, handsome cook surface that easily releases foods during flips and serving, it’s a food safety issue. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best grill brushes and cleaning tools you can buy.
The black residue that builds up on the cooking surface of your grill contains carcinogens that can have serious health risk implications if transferred to your food. Consumption of carcinogens can even contribute to the growth of cancer, so scraping all that black stuff off before you cook is a must. The bits of food left over after a previous grilling session can also be an issue beyond the aesthetic and sensory. Bacteria can develop on foodstuffs left to molder o the grill, so scrape those bars and grates clean after each grilling session. And again before the next cookout, just for good measure.
Properly cleaning your grill also helps preserve the hardware by preventing corrosion and rust, which present still more health risks, of course. And finally, food tastes better and is easier to handle when it is prepared on a clean grill. Unless you like the idea of last week’s burger grease blending with this week’s chicken breast, or bits of last month’s shrimp kebabs seasoning this afternoon’s veggie patties, you need to clean the grill.
When you use any of the fine grill cleaning tools on our list, you’ll have that grill top as clean as new in no time, ready to prepare safe, tasty eats of all kinds. As for choosing which grill-cleaning tool is right for you, think about the type of grill, the types of foods you prepare, and the amount of elbow grease you want to exert. Which, for the record, will be required at least to some degree. You won’t find any electric grill brushes on this list. I’ve used three different models of motor-powered grill brush over the years, and I’ve found each less than half as effective as a good old hand-held, human-powered scouring tool.
Here are the best grill brushes you can buy in 2019:
- Best grill brush overall: Kona 360° Grill Brush
- Best grill brush and scraper for stubborn residue: BBQ-Aid Grill Brush and Scraper
- Best low-cost grill brush: Room Essentials Tough Brush
- Best cleaning tool for charcoal grills: Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool
- Best grill cleaning brick: KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick
Updated on 04/23/2019 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added related grilling guides.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best grill brush overall
Why you’ll love it: The Kona 360° Grill Brush cleans in all directions to scrape away bits of food and built up soot on the top, sides, and the bottom of the grill.
Cleaning your grill is important. We’ve established that, right? But nowhere have I claimed that it’s exactly what you’d call fun. In fact, it’s kind of an annoying process sometimes, especially when you have a long grilling session to look forward to and you’d really rather get on with things.
The Kona 360° Grill Brush is perfect for people who value a clean grill but want it cleaned fast. Its design allows you to clean the top, bottom, and sides of each bar of the grill without removing the grill top and with a minimal number of passes. While most grill brushes feature a panel of bristles facing in one direction, this clever tool has bristles facing in all directions. And what’s more, there are three coils of said omnidirectional bristles, so you can scrape away at a broad swath of the grill with each pass.
While lightweight and easy to wield, this grill brush is far from dainty. In fact, it’s backed by a five-year warranty and is tough enough for use on all types of grills for hot or cold cleaning. For the record, you’ll get the best results using it on a heated grill and with occasional dips into a bowl of water or with water sprayed across the grill, just watch out for hot steam! And though rugged, the many fine bristles are safe for use on ceramic, porcelain, or infrared cook surfaces, too.
With more than 2,500 reviews logged at the time of this writing, the Kona 360° Grill Brush has a stellar 4.7-star rating on Amazon. A grill master named Alan says he has ” used many grill brushes before, [and] none of them cleaned up my old grill like this one.” A chef named Mandy called it a “very efficient brush” that saved time during cleanings.
A review from The Z9 called the brush “ideal for cleaning all types of grills” and noted the “perfect length of the handle.”
Pros: Cleans in all directions, lightweight and balanced, safe for use on all types of grill
Cons: May rust if not properly dried
The best grill brush and scraper for stubborn residue
Why you’ll love it: Whether it’s baked on after a marathon barbecuing session or caked on after a long season of disuse, even the most stubborn grill residue doesn’t stand a chance against the BBQ-Aid Grill Brush and Scraper.
There’s nothing fancy or technically advanced about the BBQ-Aid Grill Brush and Scraper. It has a wooden handle, a three-inch by three-inch panel of bristles, and a steel scraper set into the end of the unit. But what it lacks in extravagance, it makes up for in brute strength. This is the grill cleaning brush you break out after an all-day smoking session, before an end-of-season deep cleaning, or when you uncover your grill for the first time after a long break from barbecue cooking.
This grill brush has 72 bundles of stiff stainless steel bristles that work together to loosen and remove even the most stubborn grease, grit, food bits, and soot. With a bit of muscle behind it, the brush is almost unstoppable. But should you ever come up against a chunk of cooked-on crud too mighty for the brush alone, that’s when you apply the steel scraper. This blade-like tool can break up anything that adheres to that grill, and then the bristles can handle the cleanup work, as it were.
Hundreds of cooks have sounded off about this scraper, which enjoys a solid 4.6-star average rating. An owner named Grace says that if you like “clean BBQ grills,” this brush “does the trick.” A cook called Mike says it has durable “metal bristles” and is an overall “excellent grill brush.”
A writer with Best Advisor called the BBQ-Aid Grill Brush and Scraper a “wonderful addition to your BBQ tools” that can remove “every bit of residue.” A GrillsArena reviewer called it “durable” and a “good value for the money.”
Pros: Extra strength bristles, steel scraper breaks up stubborn grit, ergonomic wooden handle
Cons: Plastic plate can melt if left on grill
The best low-cost grill brush
- Room Essentials
Why you’ll love it: The Room Essentials Tough Brush has heavy-duty bristles that scrape away grit and grime about as well as any other basic grill brush, albeit for a fraction of the cost.
There’s not much to say about this grill brush aside from the fact that it costs only six bucks. Well, OK, the solid plastic handle is durable enough for you to apply as much pressure as you need while scraping away at that dirty grill of yours. And also there’s a metal scraper built into the head of the piece. There’s a handy hook you can use to hang the brush off the side of the grill or wherever you store your grill cleaning tools.
Oh, and this six-dollar grill brush comes with a replacement bristle pad in case the first one wears out. Which is downright thoughtful, really.
All right, it turns out there was a fair amount to say about the Room Essentials Tough Brush even beyond its minuscule price point. But even if there weren’t, you’d still probably take a risk on it, wouldn’t you? I mean… $5.99!
One satisfied customer speaks for many in a review that says this “solid brush” defied expectations given its low cost and was “definitely worth the money.” While not many members of the professional grill accessory reviewing community have taken an interest in this thing, if you’ll take it from me, I’ve used a cheap grill brush plenty of times in my day. While this one won’t hold up as long as a higher priced option, it will work just as well for several seasons of use.
Pros: Low price, comes with spare bristle pad, built-in scraper
Cons: Bristles prone to bending and detaching with time
The best cleaning tool for charcoal grills
- Charcoal Companion
Why you’ll love it: The more you use the unique wooden Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool on your charcoal grill, the better the tool will perform as it adopts a shape customized to your grill.
The first time you use the Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool to scrape away at the grime and gunk built up on your charcoal grill’s grates, it’s not going to be very effective. The second and third time you use it, rather the same story. But stick with it! For soon enough, this clever paddle-shaped wooden tool will be the best grill scraper your grill has ever experienced, because it will adapt to fit the exact width and placement of your grill’s bars.
Each time you use your Charcoal Companion grill cleaner the grooves worn into it by cleaning sessions become a bit deeper. That means that soon won’t just be cleaning the top of the grill, but will be scouring away at the sides of the bars as well. And because the tool is made from wood, it will never scratch or damage metal grill grates, so even with regular, vigorous cleanings, the Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool will never damage your grill top.
Just make sure you don’t leave this grill cleaner too near a hot grill or even atop the grate, because, y’know, it could catch on fire and burn up.
The Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool is a hit with people who have used it. One grilling enthusiast calls it a “great alternative to wire” brushes because there is no risk of metallic bits getting into your food. Another says that while it “serves its purpose,” it does “take a lot of use” before it perfectly suits a given grill.
Pros: Becomes a customized cleaning tool, no metal bits that can get into foods, good low price
Cons: Requires break-in period, could catch on fire
Buy a Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool on Amazon for $9.99 (originally $14.99)
The best grill cleaning brick
Why you’ll love it: For that truly like-new, grime-free, high shine look, it’s hard to beat the amazing scouring power you get with the KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick.
For starters, you need to understand that like the wooden grill cleaning paddle we talked about earlier, this KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick won’t be at its best the first few times you use it. By always scraping at your grill in the same pattern (moving back and forth along the length of the bars, in other words), you will slowly carve grooves into the surface of this nonporous pumice stone block. Over time, as it adapts to fit your grill, this brick will become a more precise, more effective scraping tool than a wire brush could ever hope to be.
Also, it costs six bucks, which is pretty great. For the record, despite how well the KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick can scrape off the top of the grill, it will take time for it to be effective on the sides of the bars. And you also might want to wipe down or even rinse off the grill after each use, as bits of stone may adhere to the grilling surface, and it’s best not to eat stone. One idea is to scour and scrape away with this stone, then use another grill brush to remove the bits of grime it has loosened as well as the bits of stone itself. Yes, that’s more work and require two tools, but my goodness what a clean, fresh grill you would enjoy.
With hundreds of reviews logged on Amazon, this grill brick has a 4.2-star average rating. One gentleman says it “does a phenomenal job at cleaning grill tops,” while another appreciates the quality of the cleaning as well as the fact that it “cleans [his] grill so much faster than a wire brush.”
A ReviewTap lineup of various grill bricks called the KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick a “top choice.” Many other product users were especially fond of the brick when it was used in tandem with an aluminum handle, which can be purchased separately.
Pros: Removes even the finest grime, customizes shape to grill with repeated use, very affordable
Cons: Often leaves behind bits of stone
Check out our other grilling guides
Charcoal grills sear meat and veggies to perfection and fill food with that perfect smokey flavor. Of all the grills we researched, the Weber Original Kettle 22-inch grill stands out because of its classic, successful design and excellent price point.
- Best overall: Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch
- Best grill with a smoker: Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker
- Best high-end grill: Broil King Keg 5000
- Best portable grill: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman
- Best big grill: Char-Broil American Gourmet 840
- Best charcoal and gas grill: Char-Griller Double Play 3 Burner Gas and Charcoal Grill
- Best single-use, disposable, eco-friendly grill: CasusGrill
The gas grill is the centerpiece of your backyard during summertime barbeques, so you should invest in a great one. Our overall favorite gas grill is the Broil King Regal S590 Pro 5 Burner Natural Gas Grill.
- Best overall: Broil King Regal S590 Pro 5 Burner Natural Gas Grill
- Best value: Weber Spirit II E-310 LP Gas Grill
- Best portable grill: Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE
- Best compact grill: Dyna-Glo Smart Space Living 3 Burner LP Gas Grill
- Best charcoal and gas grill: Char-Griller Double Play 3 Burner Gas and Charcoal Grill
Perhaps nothing signals that summer has started quite like getting the charcoal grill going. There are several different kinds of charcoal, including briquettes, lump charcoal, flavored briquettes, and more. The type of charcoal that’s best for you varies by your grilling style and personal preferences. We break down which charcoal is best for different scenarios in our guide.
- Best charcoal overall: Royal Oak Ridge Briquettes
- Best all natural charcoal: Weber Natural Hardwood Briquettes
- Best lump charcoal: Fogo All Natural Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal
- Best charcoal for ceramic grills: Kamado Joe Natural Lump Charcoal
- Best affordable charcoal: Kingsford’s Original Charcoal Briquettes