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The best barbecues for the bank-holiday weekend

Choose with confidence using our top tips


A long bank-holiday weekend is the perfect time to get out into the garden with your friends and family and cook up a taste of summer. 

Barbecued food can be delicious, with a smoky flavour you just can’t replicate in a conventional grill. But on the flip-side we’ve all dutifully chewed our way through charcoaled sausages and burnt burgers that are worryingly pink in the middle, which are the rest of cooking on a poorly designed barbecue. 

If you want the best barbecue experience, there is a dazzling, and frankly confusing, number of options to choose from. But which is right for you? Do you need a gas or a charcoal barbecue? How much space do you have in your garden? How much do you want to spend? Read our guide to how to buy the best barbecue

Gas vs charcoal for bbq flavour

Everyone loves the smoky taste of a barbecue, and charcoal has been the go-to choice to get this. But some gas barbecues now have features to mimic the taste of charcoal. 

Discover which Best Buy gas barbecue gave such a fantastic smoky taste that you would swear it was cooked over charcoal. 

Lighting a barbecue

If you don’t want sausages burnt to a crisp outside and raw inside, you need to make sure your cooking fuel is at the right temperature. Gas barbecues are easy to control and can be ready to cook in less than 10 minutes, but charcoal barbecues can be harder to light. Using firelighter make it easier, or you could try a chimney starter. 

Find out which Best Buy charcoal barbecue we found easy to light and quick to heat up. 

Cleaning up after a barbecue

When the party’s over, the clearing up still has to be done. Some barbecues are harder to clean than others. Gas barbecues have no ashes to scrape out, so this is one less job to do. However, some charcoal barbecues have ash collectors that work very well. 

We found this Best Buy kettle charcoal barbecue had a great system to help you deal with the left-over ash. 

The right bbq for your budget

When the sun comes out, so do all the barbecues in the supermarkets, from cheap throw-away trays to fold-our charcoal barbecues. But if you’re serious about your food and will get a good amount of use out of it, then it’s well worth investing in a barbecue that will stand the test of time. We have tested premium barbecues that might be a little more expensive, but offer far more satisfaction. 

We have tested kettle barbecues from £44 to £270, but which gave the best taste? We can recommend an all-singing, all-dancing gas barbecue if you want to impress your friends and family and are willing to invest. 

If you’re confused about grills, warming racks, lids and temperature gauges, and want some sensible advice on what you should pay for, take a look at our guide to barbecue features

Storing a bbq in winter

Sadly, it’s not always summer, so at some point you’ll need to stash your barbecue away for the off-season. You probably won’t want to dismantle a charcoal barbecue, but if you decide to buy a large gas barbecue check if it folds down, as this will reduce the space you need for storage. Remember, there’s also the option of leaving your barbecue outside for the winter – just make sure you protect it from the worst of the weather. 

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