Should I buy an electric, gas or charcoal barbecue?

There is divided opinion as to what type of barbecue is best – and it really relies on what your priorities are. Is it that authentic smoky chargrilled flavour – or is it something that’s easy to light, convenient and more versatile? A lot of people will say that you can’t produce proper ‘barbeque’ food without an open flame – so, you would have to opt for a gas or charcoal barbecue. Alternatively, a lot of people want a quicker and easier barbecue cooking experience – in which case, the electric bbq grill would be the best option.

Here are a few of the things to take into account when considering which barbecue you choose for your outdoor culinary experiences:


Electric BBQ’s are the safest to use – no risk of potential gas leaks, or any issues around naked flames that the other options carry.


Some environments don’t allow cooking with an open flame and would therefore have restrictions on the use of charcoal and gas grills. Electric is the best here – can be used as an outdoor electric grill, but is also safe to use indoors if the British weather does its’ thing!

Temperature control

An electric BBQ grill allows you greater temperature control whilst grilling, as it can be thermostatically controlled. Gas barbecues will provide an even temperature over the whole grill. Charcoal, obviously, offers no temperature control.


gain, electric is a good choice from this aspect – cheaper to use and often cheaper to buy than the gas barbecues. Charcoal, however, is the clear winner from a cost point of view to purchase – and not expensive to use!! Gas is the loser here – both the barbecues themselves and the gas tanks can be expensive!


Electric barbecue has no flame – so no smoke nor fumes! Some may see that as a bonus – others a drawback!


Both charcoal and electric barbecues are usually portable – but take special care moving a charcoal barbecue if in use or shortly after! Gas barbecues are more difficult and cumbersome – the gas bottles can be heavy!


Both gas and electric BBQ’s are much easier to clean and maintain than their charcoal rivals. Charcoal BBQ’s create ash and mess – take longer to close down, clean and maintain.

Easy to light

Electric – plug it in! Gas – turn the gas on – light the flame. Charcoal – can be a bit of a chore – although there are now some BBQ accessory products that make this task easier.


Although charcoal barbecues take a while to get going, once heated up will generate that intense heat you need for that lovely ‘seared’ effect on your food. Both gas and electric offer greater, immediate temperature control, but you don’t get quite the same effect from them.


The aspect many will consider to be the most important. Common consensus here is that the charcoal is the clear winner! An electric BBQ grill simply won’t always provide, what some people might consider, an ‘authentic’ grilled flavour. A gas barbecue will produce flame-cooked food, but without that smoky BBQ flavour. Charcoal provides you with that authentic, smoky taste – and smell – that most people associate with, and want from, their barbecue dining!


It really all depends upon your needs, budget and lifestyle – quick, easy barbeque cooking, then go electric BBQ grill. If, however, you yearn for more authentic, more flavourful cooking, then a real flame is the only way to achieve that, in which case, gas or charcoal BBQ’s are what you should consider!


OutdoorChef helps you to master every culinary challenge. Whether gas, charcoal or electric, from grilling to cooking or baking: our intelligent barbecue systems and the wide selection of accessories pave the way for versatile barbecuing pleasure and relaxing times outdoors.

We’re are the official UK importer of OutdoorChef and provide the largest product catalogue. You can buy online or contact us for more details.