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Top five barbecues

By Victoria Pearson

We round up our favourite top-scoring barbecues to help you find the best one for you, whether you prefer gas or charcoal.

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The best barbecue for you

The top barbecues recommended in the table below have gone through rigorous Which? lab testing, so you can rest assured that no matter which of the models you go for, you'll be enjoying juicy barbecued food with no hassle.

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Best overall gas barbecue

Weber Spirit E210 Classic gas
Today's best price £379.00
Which? score 84%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Cooking performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of cooking:
5 out of 5
Build quality:
5 out of 5
Type of barbecue:
Member exclusive
Assembled size:
Member exclusive
Number of burners:
Member exclusive

The Weber Spirit Classic E210 gas barbecue is designed to be a good starting point for people who want to barbecue on gas. It looks great and boasts useful features, including an enamelled grill and Weber flavouriser bars for smokier-tasting food. But does this gas barbecue for four to six people cook tasty, chargrilled food? Read our full review to find out.

Best small gas barbecue

Weber Q2200 gas
Today's best price £359.99
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Cooking performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of cooking:
3 out of 5
Build quality:
3 out of 5
Type of barbecue:
Member exclusive
Assembled size:
Member exclusive
Number of burners:
Member exclusive

This small gas barbecue has an innovative grill design that makes it really easy to cook great-tasting barbecue food without problems caused by flare-up from the burners.  It's easy to use and unusually simple for a gas barbecue to move around too.

Best-tasting food cooked on gas

Char-Broil Performance T-22G gas
Today's best price £269.49
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Cooking performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of cooking:
3 out of 5
Build quality:
3 out of 5
Type of barbecue:
Member exclusive
Assembled size:
Member exclusive
Number of burners:
Member exclusive

Some gas barbecues leave food tasting insipid. But the unique cooking grills of this Best Buy barbecue give food a lovely smoky taste and fantastic appearance. In fact if you did a blind taste test you’d find it hard to believe that this food had not been cooked on a charcoal barbecue. It is easy to use, well-built and very stable too.

Best small charcoal barbecue

Outback Omega 200 charcoal
Today's best price £125.99
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Cooking performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of cooking:
4 out of 5
Build quality:
5 out of 5
Type of barbecue:
Member exclusive
Assembled size:
Member exclusive
Number of burners:
Member exclusive

This is the one to buy if you're a barbecue purist who believes that only a charcoal grill can give you an authentic barbecue-grilled taste. It's well-made and has a range of useful features that undoubtedly contribute to the high quality of the food it cooks, while also making it a joy to use.

Best premium kettle barbecue

Weber Master-Touch 57cm charcoal
Today's best price £258.06
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Cooking performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of cooking:
5 out of 5
Build quality:
5 out of 5
Type of barbecue:
Member exclusive
Assembled size:
Member exclusive
Number of burners:
Member exclusive

There's no doubt that after a few years of using a cheap and wobbly 'starter' barbecue, people who really love charcoal-grilled food will often upgrade to a better-quality model. This brilliant Best Buy is a good choice for people who want a good-quality, traditional-style kettle barbecue. Well-insulated handles and vents, transporting wheels, a sturdy frame and a useful ash collector all help to make this model a pleasure to use.

Some of the worst barbecues

The only way to tell if a barbecue is any good is to see how well you can barbecue a range of different foods on it, which is why Which? does exactly that in our independent lab tests. 

We ask an expert chef to cook sausages, chicken thighs and pork-and-vegetable kebabs on each one, using all of the features on offer. Then we have a bit more fun tasting and rating the food on how evenly cooked, tender and succulent it as, as well as how good it tastes and looks.

Not all barbecues pass this test. Some are plagued by flare-up, so food leaves the grill scorched in some places and undercooked in others. Other barbecues can cook ok, but are let down by being tediously slow to heat up, or lacking features that make them easy to use.

Here are three models that have left us feeling underwhelmed in our tests.

Three barbecues to avoid

Cadac Stratos 3 burner gas
Typical price £300.00
Which? score 59%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Cooking performance:
2 out of 5
Ease of cooking:
4 out of 5
Build quality:
3 out of 5
Type of barbecue:
Member exclusive
Assembled size:
Member exclusive
Hood:
Member exclusive

This gas barbecue is from a brand that is popular for its portable barbecues with campers and carvanners. In our test we found this more domestic-scale gas barbecue was disappointing because flare-up from the grill made it hard to control the rate of cooking.

Outback Excel 300 gas
Today's best price £139.00
Which? score 57%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Cooking performance:
3 out of 5
Ease of cooking:
3 out of 5
Build quality:
3 out of 5
Type of barbecue:
Member exclusive
Assembled size:
Member exclusive
Hood:
Member exclusive

This widely available gas barbecue is a pretty cheap model from a well-established brand. It looks like a good patio barbecue for quick summer meals and comes with lava rocks, designed to infuse food with that distinctively chargrilled barbecue flavour. But we found that it could not match a Best Buy gas barbecue for great-tasting food.

Landmann Oil Drum Barbecue
Typical price £100.00
Which? score 47%
Reviewed May 2011
Cooking performance:
3 out of 5
Ease of cooking:
4 out of 5
Build quality:
3 out of 5
Type of barbecue:
Member exclusive
Assembled size:
Member exclusive
Hood:
Member exclusive

This is one of the older barbecues that we've tested, but it remains a popular model with people seeking a traditional grill with a large area for grilling on. It's cheap, but its design, which harks back to the oldest forms of home-made barbecue, has its drawbacks.

We review more garden products than anyone else

We test around 3,300 products every year, from electric toothbrushes to cars. When testing barbecues in our lab, we assess far more than just how quickly and effectively they cook.

We assemble them first, looking at how well-built and sturdy they are, as well as checking out how easy each barbecue is to move and store. Once they are lit, we see how long they take to warm up, how easy to use and how well they cook, before finishing up with the tricky business of getting them clean again.

Haven't found the barbecue you're looking for in our list? why not visit our Best Buy barbecues.

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