So you want to know what the best portable flat top grills are?
Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? The joy of fresh-grilled food, any time, anywhere, is enough drive anyone into a buying frenzy.
The trouble is that as a collection of words, ‘Portable flat top grill’ is open to a world of interpretation, and only you know what they mean to you, and what works for you.
Firstly, how portable is portable?
We’re assuming for the purposes of sanity that a grill attached to your home’s natural gas connection can’t be regarded as portable. But beyond that?
Is a propane grill with wheels and collapsible legs portable? Depending on what car you have, you could fit it in, add the propane tank and take it to any outdoor event of your choosing. Result: portable.
How about a countertop grill, needing power from the socket on the wall? You’d think non-portable, right? But if you put it on the counter in your RV and use the power from that, or from a solar power station, then what? Portable?
Then again, when is a grill strictly a grill? There are grillmasters who’ll tell you a grill isn’t a grill unless it leaves grill marks. Is there enough difference between a flat top grill and, say, a griddle, to disqualify griddles from your consideration?
These are the kinds of questions that can make your grill-choosing life a misery and drive you to open another box of mac and cheese. The market’s complex, and stuffed to bursting point. So how do you know which is the best portable flat top grill to choose?
We know. We feel your pain. We’ve taken a broad church approach, and included some grills (and griddles) that would be disallowed by purists, but might just be the grills you need. You bring the chef’s hat and the novelty apron. We’ll bring our list of the best portable flat top grills on the market today.
Best Portable Flat Top Grills - Comparison Table
Best Portable Flat Top Grills - Our Reviews
An electric griddle? Topping a chart of best portable flat top grills? Really?
Yep. The Presto earns its place by virtue of a perfect storm of elements. At 22 inches, it’s small enough to be highly portable, but big enough to cook a family-full of food at one sitting.
Grills – particularly portable flat top grills – are only ever as good as their heat, and especially their heat control. The Presto comes with a master control thermostat, which delivers absolute temperature control all across the griddle, all the way through the cooking time. The griddle’s aluminum base and cooking surface delivers an even spread of heat. And even heat translates to even cooking, time and time again.
The Presto has cool removable handles, for touching while cooking. But when it’s time to store your griddle, the handles detach for ease and compactness.
One of the main issues with a flat top grill is that it’s…well…flat. That means unless you deal with it in a clever way, you have a surface which can quickly and easily become a lake of overheated, bubbling grease. Does that sound appetizing to you?
Didn’t think so. That’s why the Presto has a slide-out grease tray. You cook, it collects, you don’t end up pushing food through a slick, your heart and the hearts of your friends and family say a prayer to the deity of their choice, and you clear out the grease tray at a convenient point after everyone’s eaten everything they could possibly manage. What’s not to love?
How portable is portable? It’s 22 inches. All you need is an electric power source, so any RV or a wide range of power banks and miniature power stations can get you the juice you need to make the Presto as portable as the dreams in your head.
Sure – in the world of grillmasters, the charcoal people look down on the pellet people, the pellet people look down on the gas people, and the gas people look down on the electric people. The Presto might just be the griddle the electric people have been waiting for – the one that takes the fight to all the rest and demands they out-cook it before they dismiss it.
Oh, did we mention the price? The Presto is so pocket-friendly it puts the bud in budget.
That’s the perfect storm that lets an electric griddle hit the top spot in a list of portable flat top grills.
Blackstone is a well-respected name in the grill business, so its table top offering has to be taken seriously as a portable flat top.
The table top Blackstone is a propane-powered gas grill, usually using conveniently portable 1 pound propane bottles, but convertible to run off standard propane tanks if you want to grill for days. That means it’s practically perfect for all sorts of portable use, from tailgate parties to camping to picnics.
With a cooking surface of 15.5 x 17 inches, it delivers a lot of food per round of cooking, so it matches portability with productivity.
In terms of heat and heat management, it produces 12,000 BTUs and uses a special ‘H’ burner to get up to temperature fast. The H shape of the burner also delivers even heating all across the grill’s surface, with none of the cold spots which can be a feature of some gas grills.
The cooking surface is cold-rolled steel, and comes with an in-built grease catcher. You simply scrape the grease into the tray, and empty it later. And for storage, you just turn the cooktop upside down and you’re good to go.
It would be hard to argue that Blackstone’s gone out of its way to make things hard with this grill.
Easy to transport by hand, let alone by car or RV, delivering serious BTUs, fast and even heating for a good amount of food per round, with an easy grease disposal system.
The Blackstone table top grill gives you strong options if you want a portable flat top gas grill without breaking the bank. It’s highly competitive on price, coming in at under $100.
And as a Blackstone, it’s also backed with a 90-day warranty.
Another Blackstone, this is the big daddy of the table top version. We’re not going to lie to you; it flirts mercilessly with the borderlines of portability.
Measuring 62.5 x 22 x 36 inches and weighing 120 pounds, this is not a camping cookout station, but as a propane grill, it can still be considered portable if you happen to have a bigger car and enough people to cook for.
While it’s on the far end of portability, there’s little reason to doubt its excellent grilling credentials. Steel framed (accounting for some of those 120 pounds), it’s a hardcore grill, designed to be durable enough to give you years of grilling satisfaction.
Within the steel frame, it has burners of stainless steel and a cooktop of rolled steel. Basically, it’s the grill of steel in the same way Superman is the man of steel – built to last, with more than a handful of super-powers.
Super-power #1 – enormous amounts of cooking space. 720 square inches of it, in fact. That’s scout jamboree levels of cooking space, rather than small nuclear family levels.
Super-power #2 – four independently controlled heat zones. What does that mean? It means you can cook a well-done steak, a pancake and a potato side on the same grill without cremating anything, because each item can be in its own zone of perfect comfort-heat.
That’s not only great for serving multiple people at the same time, it’ll earn you serious grilling kudos from everyone you feed.
Because it’s on the bigger end of the spectrum for portable grilling, it can afford to go hog wild too, and adds side tables for food prep, and a shelf for storage too.
Seriously, once you’ve made up your mind to go with steel construction, you might as well be as much use as you can to people, and the Blackstone 36 inch does precisely that.
Heat and heat control? Each grill zone pushes out 15,000 BTUs, for a total of 60,000 BTUs for the whole grill.
It’s basically a jet engine that cooks. But importantly, it has controls that allow you to tame the beast and deliver the heat as you want, meaning what you end up with is a grill that’s like a tame dragon, both powerful, versatile and impressively obedient.
Coming as it does on a set of industrial strength wheels, and with foldable legs for easier storage and transport, it’s clearly intended to be portable in spite of its hefty construction.
Ultimately, the 36 inch Blackstone grill is a restaurant quality piece of grilling machinery that, should you need to, you can drive to anywhere you like and grill to your heart’s content.
As with the 17 inch table top version, the Blackstone pet dragon comes with a 90-day warranty.
Unlike the 17 inch version, you have to be really sure you’re going to get a lot of use out of the 36 inch, because while it grills like a demon, it’s on the market for a price like a punch in the gut.
If you’re in the market for a mega-grill with off the chain capabilities and a price to match, go big, go Blackstone, or go home.
The Royal Gourmet PD1300 takes us back to lightweight flat top grilling – it weighs in at 30 pounds, and has a useable grill space of 325 square inches.
Powered by propane, it brings only three burners to your outdoor party, but can deliver up to 25,000 BTUs between them, so you’re still going to get hot food, cooked fast.
It has individually controlled cooking zones and consistent heat, so it gives almost as good as it gets when side by side with the 17 inch Blackstone.
Also like the 17 inch Blackstone, this is a grill that’s easily portable by hand – the kicker being the 20 pound propane tank that comes with it.
Still, 30 pounds for the grill, 20 pounds for the propane, you’re still in potential camping territory if there’s more than one in your party, as well as being useful in every sort of outdoor event scenario.
Grease management on the Royal Gourmet is basic but effective. It has a grease slot which helps keep the surface clear for grilling action and makes cleaning easy too.
So with three burners, controllable heat zones, an impressive grilling surface and an easy grease management option, the Royal Gourmet PD1300 could well be the grill you’re looking for – especially as it more or less matches the Blackstone 17 inch on price too.
The Cuisinart CGG-501 Gas Griddle is not a grill for huge gatherings. You want one of those, go for the gigunda-Blackstone.
The Cuisinart is more suited to smaller gatherings, RVs, decks, balcony parties and the like.
It has a petite 285 square inches of grill space, with just two burners underneath, though they do come with individual heat control. 20,000 BTUs is not shabby as a heat level though, so while it may be small, you shouldn’t underestimate the might of the Cuisinart.
That 20,000 BTUS can be generated by standard propane.
If you have restricted space or if you’re not feeding the 5,000, but just the 5, ditch the bigger portables and go for the Cuisinart – small, portable, surprisingly mighty and just that little bit more intimate than some of the portable dragons on our list.
Best Portable Flat Top Grills - Buyers Guide
The best portable flat top grills come in many shapes, sizes, weights and capacities. When you’re buying one, ask yourself a few questions to narrow down your search.
Feeding The 5,000?
How big do you need your portable flat top to be? How much food are you likely to be grilling for how many people, how often?
There are great flat top grills for small, regular and large-scale usage. Don’t pay more than you have to for capacity you don’t need.
On the other hand, don’t sell your grilling needs short and get flustered trying to keep up with demand on a grill that’s too small or underpowered.
Is It Hot In Here?
How much use do you have for the technology for which you’ll pay in some grills? Do you need individual heat zone control, or will a constant heat across the grill meet your needs? Be sure you match the grill to your actual needs – and only pay for technology that has purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a flat top grill the same as a griddle?
That depends who you ask. Some grillmasters argue that a grill’s not a grill unless it leaves grill marks, so all flat tops would be classed as griddles.
Others argue that anything that gets you grilled flavor can be considered a grill – including a griddle!
Is an electric flat top grill really any good?
More and more electric flat top grills are being launched, proving that more and more people think they are. Some people will be purists at every level of grilling culture, but if electric flat top grills can bring the heat and the flavor – and increasingly, they can – they’re as good as anything else on the market.
What’s the maximum size for a flat top grill to be portable?
How strong are your muscles and how big’s your vehicle? There’s portable, and then there’s easily portable. Most of the examples on our list fall into the category of easily portable, including those that go up to 19 inches.
The 36 inch, 120 pound grilling monster is probably on the outskirts of portability, but ultimately if you can lift it and you can fit it into your vehicle, it’s portable. At the point where you’re using special lifting equipment to move it about, you’re only fooling yourself it’s portable.