Boy, have we got something to tickle your taste buds! With the contact grills we’ll review for you shortly you can bring the benefits of a grill indoors, making delicious paninis, grilled cheese and thick burger patties, all seared and sizzling! And all with no nasty smoke or bad weather to worry about.
We’ve handpicked our Top 5 contact grills that are out on the market today, all from top brands, and we have reviewed them for you, and following that we’ve got a good buying guide, which goes through all the things you might want to think about before you buy. And to top that off we’ve also got a section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
Our winner after 35+ hours of research
Best Contact Grills - Comparison Table
Best Contact Grills - Our Reviews
Here’s one of Amazon’s best sellers, and it comes from that well established brand, Hamilton Beach. The customer feedback has been just great on it, scoring an average customer rating of an impressive 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5, even after well over 300 ratings.
This contact grill does a lot more than just press your paninis - in addition to using it as a traditional grill, the lid opens up to a full 180 degrees, effectively doubling the cooking space, allowing the grill lid to be used as a griddle.
And it’s perfect for bacon lovers - you can make super crispy bacon without any messy splatters or turning, simply flip the kickstand out to elevate the grill for easy bacon cooking and better grease drainage. Just imagine, grilled sausages, griddled eggs and crispy bacon, the perfect breakfast!
With it’s extra nonstick cooking space totalling 200 square inches, you could easily feed a family of six. Or for smaller families you can have guests over.
This grill gives you restaurant quality food right at home, and you get all those features that can make your cooking so easy and convenient, indicator light, electronic temperature controls, and removable grids that are safe to go in the dishwasher.
And it’s at a really fair price too, much cheaper than some of the other contact grills in our Top 5!
If money were no object this is hands down the machine to go for!
It’s a really good contact grill - but that’s not all it can do. You can also use it to air fry, roast, bake, and dehydrate. But we’ll concentrate this review on it’s grill functions.
You get a 10 by 10 inches grill grate, which is big enough to fit 4 8-ounce burgers, or 4 7-ounce chicken breasts.
The grill is super hot, 500 degrees to be exact, and it will give you those great char-grilled marks and flavors we all love.
You don’t have to flip your meats over mid cooking, and there are several different grill settings, namely low, medium, grill and max, all with their own benefits in different dishes.
Speaking of different settings, we just love the digital control panel - it makes it so easy to select your cooking function and adjust time and temperature, leaving you to grill with real confidence.
The grill gate is ceramic, so is non-stick and easy to clean.
It’s virtually smoke free, thanks to it’s splatter shield and cool-air zone.
And if that hasn’t convinced you, you should check out the customer ratings and feedback on the Amazon page - with around 2000 customer ratings (that number says a lot in itself) the average customer rating comes in at a whopping 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5.
This is an amazing contact grill from Cuisinart - and it seems many Amazon customers think so too, with well over 1000 customer ratings, and yet still coming out at an average customer rating of 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5.
What we really love about this grill is it’s versatility - it offers six different ways to cook, namely contact grill, panini press, half grill, full grill, half griddle, and top melt. The possibilities are endless!
This is all made possible thanks to it’s different removable grill and griddle plates and how it’s large hinge and adjustable top cover, which allows it to be opened right up, so you can cook twice as much food in one go. In fact there 240 whole square inches of cooking surface when fully open. Big enough to feed a large family.
It packs plenty of power too, enabling you to sear your meats at a super hot 500 degrees.
Unlike some contact grills, with this beauty you can control the temperature. But that’s not all. You get independent heating controls on each half of the grill/griddle. Perfect for combination cooking.
It’s so easy to clean up too - there’s an integrated drip tray, and that along with the removable plates and free scraper are all dishwasher safe.
We also love it’s Brushed stainless steel housing, so stylish and elegant.
Our Top 5 contact grills would be somewhat amiss without a George Foreman! And this model has been flying off the shelves at Amazon. What’s even more impressive though is that after well over 2000 customer ratings, the average Amazon customer rating comes in at a staggering 4 and a half stars out of 5.
Out of all of the George Foreman grills out on the market this was hands down our favorite, simply because of the sheer size of it. With it’s 72 square inches of grilling space, you can feed a family of 5 with ease, have all your food ready at the same time so you can all sit down to eat together.
It also features the George Foreman signature fat removing slope. Up to a whopping 42% of grease and fat simply slides away from your food into the convenient grease drip tray at the bottom. Meals are leaner and your bodies are healthier.
As for the grilling surface, it’s highly upgraded from George Foreman’s previous models. The ceramic coating is 5 times more durable than the previous model’s non stick coating, and is also stain and fade resistant. And to top that off it’s also free of PTFE and PFOA too!
But those aren’t the only benefits to the ceramic coating. It also means that it’s completely dishwasher safe - simply remove the plates when done with and wash in your dishwasher as you would with your other dishes.
It’s preheating is super fast, and your food is cooked evenly. We also love that it has a 1 inch hinge, so you can grill a really thick burger or gourmet panini no problem.
This contact grill from T-fal has been super popular with customers. After well over 2500 customer ratings the average customer rating comes out at 4 and a half stars out of a possible 5 - how good is that.
It has a number of features that really make it stand out from it’s cheaper counterparts.
There’s how the grill adapts to the thickness of the food for one.
And we just love the 6 automatic programs that take all the guesswork out of your cooking - you simply select from, Poultry, Sandwich, Burger Red Meat Sausage, or Fish, and your food is cooked perfectly for the right length of time.
After a quick preheat, you can choose whether you want your meat rare, medium or well done. There’s even a special mode for cooking food from frozen.
The grill plates are angled at 7 degrees, so excess fat simply drains down into its handy drip tray.
The grill plates are non-stick, removable and dishwasher safe. Super easy to keep clean.
You can choose from a grill that will do you 4 servings at a time, or opt for double that.
Best Contact Grills - Buyers Guide
It’s worth noting at this point that contract grills can also go by other names, such as panini press, or they’re sometimes named after their inventor, like the infamous George Foreman. But you can take it from us that a contact grill can do a heck of a lot more than toast your paninis!
There are a few things you might want to think about before you buy your grill, and we’ll cover them here for you now.
The size of the grill determines how much you can grill at any one time. Most contact grills will allow enough room to cook for 1 to 2 hungry people, but we say, the more cooking surface area the better. You never know when you’re going to get an unexpected guest over for dinner.
No one wants a burger that’s hot and juicy on one end and cold on the other. That’s why it’s important to have a contract grill that will heat your food evenly.
A common problem with contact grills is that the food sometimes sticks to the surface. But you can avoid this frustration by getting a contact grill that’s non-stick.
Easy to clean
It’s very important to keep cookware and cooking appliances clean, and anything that helps in this process is a big plus. As a general rule, contact grills that are non stick do tend to be much easier to clean than their counterparts.
But a further bonus would be to have a contact grill with removable plates that you can take straight over to the sink, or even the dishwasher. In fact several grills in our Top 5 have this feature, specifically our Number 1 grill, the Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Indoor Grill, our Number 3 grill, the Cuisinart GR-150P1 GR-150 Griddler Deluxe, our Number 4 grill, the George Foreman 5-Serving Removable Plate Grill, and finally our Number 5 grill, the T-fal GC70 OptiGrill.
Grill Plate Material
There are 3 main grill plate materials that are used in contact grills these days.
Cast iron is the most common, thanks to their excellent heat retention. But these can take a little longer to heat up.
Then you’ve got aluminum plates which heat up quickly and are good for searing.
Ceramic plates meanwhile are heated using infrared, and heat up lightning fast. They’re incredibly easy to clean too. But unfortunately they come at a higher cost.
We love our safety features, but especially an auto shut-off. Once you’ve put your food onto the grill, it’s so easy to get sidetracked and drawn into something, and forget that you’ve got food on the go. And a grill that just shuts itself off after it’s been left on for too long gets a big thumbs up from us.
There’s a few other things that go into the perfect contact grill. Adjustable power and temperature is a big plus, so you can tweak your grilling just how you like it.
If you want a grill that will let you control the heating power, we can recommend the following: our Number 2, the Ninja Foodi, our Number 3, the Cuisinart GR-150P1, and our Number 5, the T-fal GC70 OptiGrill.
A countdown timer is super handy too, as it saves you from having to dig around for your smartphone to time your cooking.
Indicator lights can be really handy, letting you know when the grill has finished preheating.
And finally a grease tray can also be a great addition. Many contact grills will channel grease and fat away into a convenient little tray, leaving healthier morsels for your breakfast, dinner or lunch.
If you’re after a contact grill that has one of these drip trays, we can recommend our Number 4, the George Foreman 5-Serving Removable Plate Grill, or our Number 5 grill the T-fal GC70 OptiGrill.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean contact grills?
Contact grills are easy to clean. In fact nearly all of the grills in our Top 5 contact grills feature grill (and sometimes griddle) plates that you can remove and simply place in your dishwasher with your other dishes.
Many contact grills also feature a handy removable drip tray. Excess grease is drained into these trays which can then be removed and emptied, leaving very little residue to mop up on the grill plates themselves.
If your machine doesn’t feature removable grills, then you need to allow it to cool down before you clean it. Then simply dip a soft sponge into soapy water and rub it over the grill grates to remove any small food particles or grease residue. Then you can rinse, and either allow it to air dry, or wipe down with an absorbent cloth.