When it comes to outdoor cooking, there’s a whole lot of debate on which is better – gas or charcoal? Flavorwise, you really can’t beat charcoal, no matter what anyone says. But when it comes to ease of use and clean up, gas is way better. Also, it’s pretty hard to use your charcoal grill on cold, snowy days. Plus, you don’t always have the time to set up your grill, particularly on weekdays. But you can get your gas grill going with a push of a button or a flip of a switch.
So, what do you do if you want the best of both worlds? Well, grill manufacturers found the answer – hybrid grills. A hybrid grill is generally one grill that has more than one fuel option such as a gas and charcoal combo grill. Another kind of hybrid grill is the hybrid infrared grill which only uses one fuel option – gas. The hybrid part is the combination of two different kinds of burners in one grill – one side would have the traditional convection burners while the other side would have infrared burners providing you that searing heat you require on your meats.
Now that you know what a hybrid is, the next question we ask is, can they really do it all? Well, we’ve found several of the most popular and best hybrid grills in the market today and tested them for this very purpose. Based on our research, we rated them from 1 to 7. Let’s see what we found out.
Top 7 Hybrid Grills of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 7 Hybrid Grills of 2018 Reviewed
- 1. Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill
- 2. Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Liquid Propane and Charcoal Hybrid Grill
- 3. Dyna-Glo DGB730SNB-D Dual Fuel Grill
- 4. Char-Broil Charcoal Gas Hybrid Grill
- 5. Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo
- 6. Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 LP Gas Charcoal Smoker Searing BBQ Grill Model PS9900
- 7. Char-Broil Deluxe 1010 3-Burner Liquid Propane and Charcoal Combo Grill
- Hybrid Grill Buying Guide
1. Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal GrillRated Hybrid Grill
Char-Griller’s 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill is a crowd-pleaser. In one cart design, you get a gas grill, a charcoal grill, and a side burner. The gas grill has 3 main burners that produce a total heat output of 40,800 BTUs while the side burner is 12,000 BTUs. It starts quickly and reaches 500 degrees Fahrenheit easily. It has 438 square inches of cooking space which can easily fit 12 4-inch burgers.
The charcoal side of the grill, on the other hand, has 580 square inches of cooking space (includes a warming rack), an adjustable charcoal tray, grate lifter, easy dump ash pan, and double bottom construction for additional insulation. The entire grill features heavy steel construction for extra durability, porcelain-coated cast iron grates which provides excellent heat retention and transfer, a bottom wire shelf for storage, and 2 large wheels for a bit of portability.
- Robust steel construction
- cast iron cooking grates
- easy to clean
- takes a lot of time to assemble
- side burner is a bit weak
- not as air-tight as we’d like
2. Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Liquid Propane and Charcoal Hybrid GrillHybrid Grill Under 500
This heavy duty hybrid grill from Char-Broil is right up there on our list because it is versatile, ruggedly built, and incredibly easy to use. Unlike our first pick, this bad ass grill has only one firebox which means you need to convert it from gas to charcoal if you want that extra smokey flavor in your food. Fortunately, switching from one to another takes about a few seconds.
Aside from quick conversions, this grill features 540 square inches of cooking space (includes the warming rack) which can fit around 18 to 28 burgers. It has three durable stainless steel burners that produce a total of 40,000 BTUs and one 12,000-BTU side burner. The porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates are perfect for radiating and retaining heat which means more even cooking and faster cooking time. And you even get a side shelf for additional prep space.
- Gas grill starts up pretty quick
- Easy to clean
- Can quickly switch from gas to charcoal when desired
- Cooking grates can chip easily
- No adjustable tray or air vents to control temperature
- can’t cook using both fuels at the same time
3. Dyna-Glo DGB730SNB-D Dual Fuel Grill
Dyna-Glo’s Dual Fuel Grill has two separate fireboxes for each type of grill. The gas grill features 2 commercial grade stainless steel burners that produce 12,000 BTUs each; 2 steel enameled heat tents for even heat distribution and added flavor; 2 chrome-plated, infinite setting control valves for controlling temperature; and an electronic pulse ignition for quick startups. The charcoal side features an adjustable charcoal tray with crank, front access door, top and bottom vents, and a temperature gauge.
The grill also features heavy duty porcelain enameled cast iron cooking grates, two collapsible powder-coated steel side shelves with tool hooks and towel bars, and a total of 952 square inches of cooking space (730-square inches of primary cooking space and 222-square inches of secondary cooking space). Each lid has an inner wall of aluminized steel for heat retention and comes with a stainless steel easy lift handle.
- Charcoal grill has great heat control due to the presence of vents and the adjustable charcoal tray
- Even heat distribution on both sides of the grill
- Lots of prep space and storage space
- gas grill is underpowered (only 24,000 BTUs
- Takes awhile to heat up
- Some users have complained about the grill coming to them damaged
4. Char-Broil Charcoal Gas Hybrid Grill
This single grill houses both gas and charcoal options in a small body – perfect for those who wish to have the choice but lacks the space. The grill has 3 main stainless steel gas burners that produces 30,000 BTUs of heat and a flush-mounted side burner that provides 12,000 BTUs of heat. To transform the grill from gas to charcoal, you just need to get rid of the heat tents, place the tray on top of the burners, and heat up the charcoal. No need to use lighter fluid or anything else.
Just start up the burners and you’ve got yourself some heat within 30 minutes. The grill has porcelain-coated cooking grates that offer 420 square inches of primary cooking space and 120 square inches of secondary cooking space due to the warming rack. The grill comes with two wheels for portability. For the money, this is a decent hybrid grill that provides you with the option of going gas or charcoal whenever the mood strikes.
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Gas grill can reach 500 degrees Fahrenheit easily
- Lots of prep space for a small grill
- not easy to assemble due to unclear instructions
- Flare ups occur when using the gas grill
- no height adjustment for charcoal tray
5. Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker ComboHybrid Grill With Smoker
Talk about all in one. This hybrid grill from Char-Broil is the perfect choice for backyard chefs who want a great deal of versatility. It is one of the few hybrid grills that feature a gas grill, a charcoal grill, and a dedicated smoker. The gas and charcoal grill has 750 square inches of primary cooking space (375 each) while the smoker has 310 square inches of cooking surface. The gas side of the grill features 3 main burners that generate 12,000 BTUs each and a 12,000 BTU side burner. It heats up really quick, reaching 500 degrees Fahrenheit within a minute.
The charcoal side has multiple dampers, convenient fire access door, and a chimney. There are some gaps but not too much that it affects the results of your grillin’. It definitely is able to keep a steady temperature when you’re cooking low and slow. What you’ll absolutely love about this combo grill is the fact that you can use all three to cook a variety of foods at the same time.
- Maintains heat well
- Heavy gauge all steel construction
- Lots of cooking space; perfect for small families or huge parties
- The temperature gauge is not accurate
- No tool hooks
- Can rust very easily if not properly taken cared of
6. Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 LP Gas Charcoal Smoker Searing BBQ Grill Model PS9900
The Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 Combo grill is possibly the ultimate hybrid of them all. It combines a gas grill, a charcoal grill, a smoker, and an infrared searing burner all in one piece of equipment. The three independently controlled gas burners produce 30,000 BTUs and the grates are all made out of porcelain-coated cast iron which is perfect for radiating heat and retaining it. The charcoal side features an adjustable charcoal pan, a bottom vent and a smoke stack, and a lever, all of which enable you to more accurately control temperature when grilling. The offset side smoker firebox enables you to enjoy low and slow cooking.
The grill also has two condiments shelves and bottom racks for extra storage. The real highlight of this grill is the infrared searing burner. It adds even more versatility to an already highly versatile grill. You can quickly grill fresh veggies such as eggplants and peppers. You can use it to get your charcoal burning hot in 5 minutes with the help of a chimney starter. And you can use it to create your sauces or do other cooking stuff while waiting for your meats to finish grilling. The only problem with this hybrid grill is durability. It will rust if not taken cared of properly.
- Infrared searing burner increases grill’s versatility
- Sturdy and well-built
- Easy to assemble
- Rusts quickly (may give out within 3 to 4 years after purchase)
- Grill cover is extremely expensive
- Takes several hours to assemble
7. Char-Broil Deluxe 1010 3-Burner Liquid Propane and Charcoal Combo GrillHybrid Grill For The Money
This Char-Broil Standard 1010 3-Burner Liquid Propane and Charcoal Combo Grill features a gas chamber, a charcoal chamber, and a side burner. All of the gas burners each produce 12,000 BTUs of heat. The charcoal side has a crank adjustable-height charcoal grate, a front access door to the charcoal, and a slide-out ash pan for easy clean up.
Each chamber has porcelain-coated cast iron primary grates and porcelain-coated wire swing-away warming racks that provide a total of 503 square inches of cooking space. The side burner is located under a flush mounted lid which, along with the side shelf, provides you with extra prep space. The entire grill cart is painted steel construction with a bottom wire shelf for added storage. The Deluxe version of this grill features cabinet doors. Other features include a push button electric ignition and hood-mounted thermometers for each chamber.
- Easy to assemble
- Really affordable (less than $400 which is a steal in the gas-charcoal-combo grill market)
- Easy to clean
- Hard to control temperature with the charcoal grill; needs dampers/vents for temperature control
- Made in China
- Prone to rust quickly
Hybrid Grill Buying Guide
When it comes to outdoor cooking, it’s always been charcoal vs gas. But what do you do when you can’t really decide which one you like better? Well, you get a grill that offers you the best of both worlds – a hybrid grill. Now, there are a lot of different kinds of hybrid grills.
There’s the gas and charcoal combo (which we’ll be focusing on). There’s the gas and infrared grill combo and then there are others that are are not true hybrid grills but are still marketed as such like the grill and griddle combo and the charcoal grill and smoker grills. Obviously, those other combos don’t really interest us at all since they’re more of variations of a certain type of grill, whether it’s gas or charcoal. But the gas-and-charcoal combo is altogether a different story. This is one piece of equipment that promises to provide you with the fun and flavor of cooking with charcoal as well as the ease of use and clean up when using gas.
More importantly, this gives you added versatility without taking up as much space as two grills would. So, how does one go about choosing the best hybrid grill to buy? Simple, really. Decide what you need and compare it to what’s being offered. To help you out, we’ve come up with some questions you’ll need to answer which can enable you to figure out what specifications and performance you are looking for in a hybrid grill.
How much power do you need?
BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is the amount of heat required in order to increase temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. To put it more simply in terms of grilling, the BTU rating of your grill lets you know the amount of heat that the burners will produce in one hour and the amount of fuel you’ll be burning within that same time period.
According to grill experts, knowing the BTU isn’t going to tell you how powerful the grill will be. It will all depend on the “heat flux” or the amount of heat produced per square inch. You get this number by dividing the BTU by the square inches of the primary cooking space. Take note, not the total cooking surface mentioned by the manufacturer so don’t include the cooking space provided by the warming rack.
The BTU rating or “heat flux” you should get for a decent performance is between 80 to 100 per square inch. If a grill has good heat retention and the components fit really well, you should be able to heat up the grill pretty quickly with that kind of BTU rating. A high heat flux tells you that the burners are overcompensating to require that much power.
It may be that the grill isn’t good at heat retention because the lid or the grates are too thin, or that there may be gaps that leak air. On the other hand, if the heat flux is too low, you’ll find that it will take quite a bit of time for your grill to reach the desired temperature. Our top pick, the Char-Griller 5050 Duo Gas-and-Charcoal Grill, has a heat flux of 93 which is pretty good for a gas grill.
How good is the heat distribution?
Aside from heat output and heat delivery, you’ll need to consider heat distribution. If there are cold spots in your grill, not all your food will finish cooking at the same time. In addition, some of your food will cook unevenly. Now, this isn’t something you can test, especially if you’re ordering your grill online. The best way is to look over reviews done by trusted grill experts to see how good the grill’s heat distribution is.
How much cooking surface area do you need?
While one of the main reasons you’re buying a hybrid grill is probably to save space, you don’t want to buy a grill that’s too small for the number of people you’ll be feeding. First, you’ll have to decide how many people you’ll be cooking for regularly. Is it 2, 3, 4, 5, or a horde? You’ll also need to decide how much space you want for each type of grilling.
Some of our hybrid grills like the Char-Broil Gas2Coal 3-Burner Liquid Propane and Charcoal Hybrid Grill has only one cooking chamber. This means that the amount of cooking space for charcoal and gas are the same but you can only use one fuel type at a time. Other hybrid grills like the Dyna-Glo DGB730SNB-D Dual Fuel Grill has separate cooking chambers for each grill type. Each cooking chamber in this grill has 365 square inches of primary cooking space which can fit around 10 4-inch burgers easily.
Since the grills are essentially separate, you can use both fuel options at the same time if you need to feed larger groups. One other consideration for cooking space that you might want to take into account. If you’re planning on doing some indirect cooking, you’ll need the space.
What should you look for when considering the charcoal grill aspect of a hybrid grill?
The best charcoal grills all have the same things in common – great temperature control, easy access to charcoal, and easy clean up. In hybrid grills, the one thing you can be sure of that there will be times when certain things are compromised to provide you with a combination of at least two types of grills at an affordable price. One of these compromises may be temperature control.
Some hybrids do not feature dampers and vents that will allow you to precisely control how much heat is produced and retained inside your cooking chamber. Moreover, not all of them have charcoal adjustable trays that allow you to raise or lower the charcoal, putting it nearer or farther from your food. Some of the hybrid grills that provide you with great temperature control are the Dyna-Glo DGB730SNB-D Dual Fuel Grill and the Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 LP Gas Charcoal Smoker Searing BBQ Grill Model PS9900.
Easy access to charcoal
Access to charcoal is another feature that any outdoor chef would want. After all, you don’t want to spend time taking out your food, lifting your grate, and adding more fuel to your fire, then putting them all back again. Unless you’re a masochist. Or a saint. Anyway, you may find that not a lot of hybrid grills allow you easy access to your charcoal. This is because, again, there’s that issue about space again.
Some have combined the gas and charcoal grill into one firebox like the Char-Broil Charcoal Gas Hybrid Grill. This means that you’ll need to lift the grates, place a charcoal tray on top of the burners, then put it back in. Not that that’s a bad thing. It sure makes lighting up the charcoal much easier. But you’ll have difficulty doing anything more than grilling your regular steak, burger, or veggies. Beer can chickens, pork roasts, and barbecue ribs that require low and slow cooking may be out of the question.
Easy clean up
Since we’re talking about charcoal, you already know clean up is going to be a pain. But if you make sure that you get a hybrid grill with an easy clean up system such as a slide-out ash dump pan, then you’ll be set for life. Or at least the entire time your grill stays alive.
What other features would you like your hybrid grill to have?
After you’ve decided on the main features of your hybrid grill, what other things would you like to have? Some of our picks like the Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo has a smoker which adds to your grill’s versatility. The Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 LP Gas Charcoal Smoker Searing BBQ Grill Model PS9900, on the other hand, features a smoker plus an infrared searing burner. What about storage?
All of our picks have some sort of storage such as bottom wire shelves and side shelves. Those who want to save space can opt for side shelves that fold down such as those found in the Dyna-Glo DGB730SNB-D Dual Fuel Grill. Do you want tool hooks too? What about cabinet doors? How easy is it to access the propane tank? All of these are things that you’ll need to think about before you hand over your hard-won cash.
When buying a hybrid grill, keep this in mind: do you really need to save space? Because if you don’t, you may be better off buying one great charcoal grill (Weber, anyone?) and one great gas grill which may cost you less than a good hybrid grill but perform way better.