Money may earn a commission when you click on the products and services below. Compensation may determine where and how they appear. This content was created and/or updated by a third party and not by Money's editorial staff.

Outdoor street food festival. Chief cooking sausages, meat and potatoes cooking on an outdoor griddle
Courtesy of iStock

When it comes to hosting parties or gatherings outdoors, the debate of griddle vs. grill comes up a lot. Whether you’re a professional chef or an amateur BBQ enthusiast, you’ll need to make an informed decision when choosing what type of cooking equipment will suit your needs.

In this post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of griddles and grills and how they compare in price, maintenance and cooking options. We’ll also break down everything you need to know about price and safety, so you can make the right choice for your outdoor kitchen. So sit back, gather your grilling tools and decide which option is the better investment for your backyard!

Background on griddles and grills

A griddle is typically a flat, large surface that heats evenly across its entire surface area. It’s most commonly used to cook breakfast items such as eggs, pancakes and bacon, but it can also be used to make hot sandwiches, hamburgers and quesadillas. Griddles may come in electric or gas varieties and in sizes large enough for commercial use or small enough to fit comfortably on a countertop.

Grills are the traditional cooking tool for outdoor entertaining. They are typically divided into two sections — a flat, grated cooking surface on top and a space underneath for charcoal or propane fuel. Grilled food is cooked quickly over direct heat generated by the flames from below. This exposure to high heat gives food a smoky, charred flavor often associated with grilled food.

Advantages of griddles

Griddles are considered easy to use due to their low-maintenance design and baking capabilities. Not needing to worry about fire management or adding fuel makes using a griddle much easier than using a grill. Griddles are also incredibly versatile — they can be used to cook all sorts of food, from breakfast items to grilled cheese sandwiches. Some electric models come with additional features like warming plates for keeping food warm or separate sections for cooking several dishes at once.

Disadvantages of griddles

The main drawback of using a griddle is its limited size. Unlike grills, most griddles cannot be expanded beyond their default size. This limitation makes them impractical for larger gatherings or events where there’s a need to cook a larger quantity of food quickly and on demand.

Advantages of grills

Using an outdoor grill is a traditional and popular cooking method, especially when cooking in open spaces like backyards or patios. This age-old option provides a sense of comfort, familiarity and added flavor from the smoke. An outdoor grill also allows for higher temperatures than a griddle. The direct heat from open flames or coals leads to faster cooking times and desirable char marks on foods like steaks or burgers. This makes it an excellent choice for hosts who require efficient cooking results, particularly when catering to more guests.

Disadvantages of grills

It's important to consider the setup and cleanup time involved when using a grill, especially if you host multiple events or your outdoor space doesn't have a permanent installation for your grill. This may require bringing the grill outdoors each time you want to use it, which can be time-consuming.

Cleaning up after grilling can also be a more involved process. After turning off the heat source, ash and debris need to be carefully handled and disposed of before storing the grill. It's also crucial to prevent grease from dripping down drain pipes to avoid any plumbing issues.

Cost considerations

The cost of purchasing a griddle or an outdoor electric grill can vary greatly depending on the type, size and features you're looking for. Cheaper models can range from $30 to $300, while higher-end models can reach the thousands, especially for larger sizes or models with extra features.

Maintenance considerations

Maintaining a griddle mostly involves cleaning the plates or sections after each use. On the other hand, a grill requires regular checks on fuel levels and periodic deep cleaning every few months. This may involve replacing parts like flavorizer bars to ensure proper functionality and optimal grilling performance. Regular maintenance is important to keep your grill in good condition and extend its lifespan.

Safety considerations

When using either a griddle or a grill, it's crucial to prioritize safety by wearing protective gloves due to their high temperatures. Handling them with care is essential to avoid burns or injuries. Another factor to consider is the type of material used for cooking. Electric griddles typically have non-stick surfaces, which make cleaning easier and prevent food from sticking. On the other hand, grills may require special seasoning processes before use to enhance the flavor and prevent rust, which could add extra cost and time to the cooking and maintenance processes.


Griddles and grills are both excellent investments for outdoor hosting spaces, but each offers unique advantages and disadvantages. Griddles are quick and easy to use and offer more versatility in the types of food that can be cooked. On the other hand, grills offer a more traditional and smoky flavor to food and can cook more food faster due to the high temperatures generated by the flames. Depending on your space and budget, either one could provide you with the desired outdoor cooking experience. So, consider your needs and do your research to find the perfect griddle or grill for your outdoor hosting space. With the right investment, you’ll be ready to host a summer barbecue for all your friends and family.