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How much do you need to spend to get a good barbecue?

Our rigorous tests prove that a higher price may not necessarily result in a better barbecue
Friends gathered around barbecue

With the UK heatwave in full swing, you may be thinking of investing in a new barbecue so you can enjoy some dining al fresco and make the most of your garden.

But first you’ll need to pick a side: gas or charcoal - or, you may be considering a hybrid barbecue which combines the two. 

We've tested barbecues ranging in price from £25 to well over £1,250, but every barbecue that makes its way to the Which? test lab is scored on the features that matter the most, regardless of its price. We assess its cooking performance, how easy it is to assemble and use, how stable it is - plus more.

Our tests prove that paying more doesn't necessarily guarantee a better barbecue. So if you’re on the hunt for a lower cost barbecue that doesn’t skimp on the important things, keep scrolling to find out how much you’ll need to spend.

Alternatively, head straight to all of our barbecue reviews and filter by price.

Are cheaper barbecues any good?

Our extensive tests prove that you don’t necessarily have to spend at the top end of the scale to get an excellent barbecue. 

While the average price of a Best Buy barbecue is £509, we’ve also uncovered two Best Buys that cost less than £200. Plus, we've found many decent scorers at less than £150, including big names such as Cadac, Weber and Char-Broil. 

Despite the average Which? score increasing the higher the price range, it's only a marginal increase, particularly when comparing the £301 to £500 and £501 to £700 price brackets. See our table below for the full breakdown.

Price rangeAverage Which? test score
£100 or less60%
£101- £30066%
£301- £50071%
£501- £70072%
£701 or more74%

Scores and prices correct as of 12 July 2022.

Our tests found that in some cases you’ll be paying a premium for a big brand name or additional features rather than a practical barbecue that’s easy and safe to use, while also being able to grill up a gastronomical delight. 

To break it down further, there are five main types of barbecue and which one you go for will impact the price and determine which features you get.

Price rangeWhich? test score rangeBest Buys / Don't Buys
Full-size gas£150 - £1,28536% - 84%3/1
Full-size charcoal£85 - £78056% - 84%3/0
Dual fuel£299 - £59956% - 74%0/0
Portable£25 - £36945% - 83%2/1
Electric£185 - £67461% - 86%1/0

Scores and prices correct as of 12 July 2022.

See our round-up of the best barbecues along with expert buying advice and tips on the best barbecue brands.

What extra features will I get if I spend more?

There’s a lot more to barbecuing than just grilling. Some models can fry, sauté, boil, bake and roast a whole range of food. 

Our barbecue reviews list all of the handy features each barbecue has, so you can make sure you have everything you need from the grill you buy. 

Here's a few features to look out for:

  • Side burner – an extra little burner found on gas barbecues for heating pots and pans. They’re useful for heating any saucy accompaniments you may want to serve or boiling your corn on the cobs before barbecuing them, for example.
  • Lava rocks or vaporiser bars – you’ll find these on some gas barbecues and they work by vaporising dripping fat and meat juices to infuse the food on the grill above with a smoky flavour that you don’t typically get with gas barbecues.
  • Interchangeable cooking surfaces - some barbecues have optional cooking surfaces that you can interchange and experiment with for a more versatile cooking experience. Some examples include flat plates, grill plates and teppan-yaki plates.

Cheaper barbecues reviewed

Below we've outlined the key features of three lower cost barbecues we’ve recently tested, costing between £42 and £196. 

All three seem to represent superb value for money - but check out our reviews to find out if they deliver what they promise. 

Argos Home Kettle Charcoal BBQ with Pizza Oven 940/5936, £85

Key specs

  • Type: charcoal
  • Grill area diameter: 42cm
  • Special features: pizza oven function with a pizza stone and paddle for sliding the pizza in/out.

A moderately-sized charcoal barbecue which also doubles up as a pizza oven. But is this multifunctional barbecue good value? Find out by reading our full review of the Argos Home Kettle Charcoal BBQ with Pizza Oven 940/5936.

Cadac Citi Chef 40 FS, £196

Cadac Citi Chef 40 FS barbecue

Key specs

  • Type: gas
  • Grill area diameter: 39cm
  • Special features: interchangeable grill surfaces that can be bought separately including a paella pan, pizza stone and plancha.

On the lower end of the price spectrum for a gas model, this compact barbecue would be an ideal size for a small garden or balcony. But did we rate it in our tests? Find out by reading the full Cadac Citi Chef 40 FS review.

Landmann Portable Suitcase BBQ, £42

Key specs

  • Type: portable charcoal 
  • Grill area diameter: 36cm
  • Special features: the legs fold over to secure it, with the lid handle acting as a carrying handle – just like its name suggests.

A portable barbecue designed with outdoor adventures in mind. But is this lower cost barbecue worth the money? Read the full review of the Landmann Portable Suitcase BBQ to find out.

Still can’t decide? Take a look at all of our barbecue reviews to help you choose.