Best Boat Grills of 2018 & Buying Guide

Grilling is nothing new to Westerners. It’s become more than just a way to cook food and provide delicious flavor and consistency to meats, seafood and vegetables – it’s become a lifestyle. A person and their grill are, at times, inseparable.

What do you do if you want to take your grilling out on the open water? Fishing is just as important of a hobby and a pastime as grilling, but in a lot of cases, this means that you have to leave the grill on the mainland, or get a little baby grill that’s hardly going to be sufficient for your grilling needs.Fortunately, there’s a type of grill that’s made just for fishers and marine lovers alike. We’re here to review some of the best boat grills, so you don’t have to make the difficult decision of choosing one while you’re at the store.

Fortunately, there’s a type of grill that’s made just for fishers and marine lovers alike. We’re here to review some of the best boat grills, so you don’t have to make the difficult decision of choosing one while you’re at the store.

What’s up with a boat grill?

A grill has become a standard feature on a lot of passenger boats and houseboats, simply because the trend of grilling is becoming more and more popular. The appeal of dropping your anchor in the middle of the sea and firing up the barbecue is pretty great, and a lot of people are cluing into this.

Boat grills can provide additional cooking capacity for people who are bringing more people on their sea voyage than the galley or kitchen can provide for. Grills made for boats typically have stronger lids and are made to have their temperature adjust much easier.

High-end boat grills will have a double layer of stainless steel that protects against rust and grease leakages. This also keeps the outside of the grill much cooler which protects against accidental injuries.

Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Tabletop Grill

Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Tabletop Grill

What kind of fuel should I use?

Typical grills use one of two types of fuel – propane or charcoal. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Magma Marine Kettle A10-205

Magma Marine Kettle A10-205

1. Propane grills can heat up quite quickly, whereas charcoal grills tend to heat up slower. Because of this, propane grills can be used to cook food quickly in a pinch.

2. Propane tends to cost a bit more than charcoal and needs to be replaced. Charcoal needs to be replaced as well, but you can still use a charcoal grill with old coals – you won’t be completely at a loss, when compared to a propane grill with no fuel.

3. The flavor of charcoal grills tends to appeal to people – the charcoal grilled steak is an iconic part of Western culinary culture.

4. Gas grills tend to have a few more bells and whistles than charcoal grills, which can make them more adjustable and better for the particular griller.

These factors make a charcoal grill more appealing for boaters than a gas grill, for a number of reasons.

  • It’s good to have something that heats up quickly while you’re out at sea. Patient grillers won’t mind – they can just cast out a fishing rod while their charcoal grill heats up.
  • Having an adjustable grill is good because it can help you compensate for different weather or water conditions.
  • Gas grills are also generally less hassle than charcoal grills – you don’t have to load and unload charcoal or deal with lighting procedures. All you have to do is flip a switch and you’re good to light up.
  • Gas grills are also easier to clean than charcoal grills, which is good if you’re out at sea with minimal cleaning facilities.

What to look for in a boat grill – shape and size?

If you decide to go with gas for your boat grill, there are a couple things you should decide on first.

  • The connection. If your boat doesn’t have a propane source built into it, then there’s no point in paying extra for a grill that has a hose adapter that connects to your boat’s propane source. The system that connects your propane canister to your flame source should be sufficient.
  • Look for push-button ignition. Being out at sea is different than being at home, and your grill’s going to be exposed to the elements more often and more intensely than whatever you might have sitting at home. Push-button ignition allows you to fire up your grill with no more than the push of a button.
Coleman Camp Propane Grill

Coleman Camp Propane Grill

The shape is also an important matter of consideration when you’re buying a boat grill. Different shapes can have a different effect on your grilling speed and the distribution of heat.

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    A traditional round, or kettle, grill, is good because it offers accommodations for a large round lid which shields your food from the wind and other weather issues.
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    Rectangular grills are becoming more popular as of late – possibly because they’re larger and can hold more food.

If you’re not planning a yacht party, chances are you’ll be happier (and better of financially) going for a round grill.Obviously, when choosing the size of your grill you have to consider how much free space you have on your boat. Fitting a large grill on a small boat is going to be no easy task. A grill around 300 square inches of cooking space can hold a couple dozen burgers, which is more than enough for any small boat party.

Obviously, when choosing the size of your grill you have to consider how much free space you have on your boat. Fitting a large grill on a small boat is going to be no easy task. A grill around 300 square inches of cooking space can hold a couple dozen burgers, which is more than enough for any small boat party.

Once you have your shape and size decided, you need to figure out how you’re going to mount your grill. Some grills have a mount included – once you’re sure it’s compatible with your boat, you’re pretty much good to go.

Otherwise, you’ll need to look into getting a shelf extension for your boat so you have a surface to rest your grill on, or getting a leg mount so you can stand it up on the floor of your vessel.

What about an infrared boat grill?

Infrared grills are another option to consider when choosing your boat grill. It’s a bit different than the other two standard methods of cooking.

  • Convection grilling uses indirect heat to cook your food. An example would be an oven that you use for baking that heats up the air to a temperature hot enough to cook what you want to eat.
  • Conduction grilling uses direct heat – a good example is a charcoal grill that cooks by heating up the grates to a temperature hot enough to sear your food.
  • Radiant waves cook food using infrared radiation. This can cook the inside of the food, keeping it moist and tender, without affecting the quality of the exterior which is being cooked by conduction. Charcoal grills emit a bit of infrared radiation – around 25% – to cook, but an infrared gas grill uses closer to 75%.
Springfield Deluxe Propane Grill

Springfield Deluxe Propane Grill

Infrared grills are convenient for boating because they minimize the time needed to heat up the grill, and they cook food evenly.

They’re also much easier to control in terms of temperature, and their ignition is simpler.

Boaters who like charcoal seared steak say that food grilled on an infrared grill tastes just as good, if not better, and maintains its moisture content very well.

What are the best boat grills I can buy?

Hold on – before we go into detail about the best boat grills available, make sure your safety protocol is up to date. Injuring yourself at sea can be significantly more dangerous than injuring yourself on land since you won’t be near a hospital.

  • Trim the fat from your meat to avoid flare-ups
  • Light the barbecue with the lid open to make sure you can see what’s happening
  • Don’t use too much heat! Take your time.
  • Keep your grill at least two feet away from anything combustible, preferably more (though this isn’t always practical on a boat.)

If you think you’re ready to have a safe grilling experience, then check out these grills. We’ve looked through a lot of products to determine the best possible choices for your aquatic cruise.

Top 4 Best Boat Grills Reviews

1. Magma Marine Kettle A10-205 Review

This is a modern grill, and it shows. It’s got a stainless steel kettle exterior that offers maximum protection from the elements. It swivels in place for maximum convenience and has a windproof turbo venturi for those blustery days.

It makes use of both radiant and convection heat so you can cook quickly and efficiently. The radiant heat distribution means that your grill will heat up evenly and your food will all cook at the same speed.


  • This grill`s modern look is aesthetically pleasing
  • It’s made of material that’s easy to clean
  • It’s portable and its swivel feature makes it easy to access on your boat
  • The heat is distributed evenly in all areas of the grill.


  • It’s fairly small for a grill
  • It takes quite a bit of elbow grease to use properly

2. Springfield Deluxe Propane Grill Review

A propane grill, like the recommended suggestion, will serve you and your boat well. It comes with a locking two-piece pedestal that can screw into the floor of your boat. It also converts into a standing grill that’s usable on land, and it’s small enough to be easily carried to and from your boat.

The top of the lid can be used as a griddle, adding another hundred plus inches of cooking space to the nearly 200 inches provided by the grill itself. This impressive size means that you can cook a lot more on this grill than you would be able to on your average boat grill.


  • You’re able to switch this from a boat grill to a land grill
  • It’s small and light enough to easily transport
  • It’s made of durable material
  • It offers more cooking space than lots of other boat grills


  • It’s a bit more expensive than other grills
  • Some parts are prone to breaking
  • It cooks a bit slower than the average

3. Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Tabletop Grill Review

This is a grill that’s developed for speed cooking. Not only is it effective at heating up and searing your steaks quickly, it’s also lightweight and ideal for transporting from place A to place B. You can use this at your family campouts as well as on your boat.

However, its size means that you can’t hold too much food on the grill, though it can easily fit a half dozen burgers at once – enough for the average boat cruise.

It has foldable legs and a good handle, as well as a locking lid. Its size ensures that you’ll lose less gas than a regular grill. It also has a grease catcher so cleanup is not so difficult.


  • Has a tabletop and a base setup
  • Can be used and transported on or off land
  • Heats up quickly and evenly
  • Is portable and easily moved


  • Made for light cooking and smaller meals
  • Not the most durable make

4. Coleman Camp Propane Grill Review

A camping grill doesn’t need to be restricted to camping – they can often be used on boats as well. Since it’s a camping grill, it’s designed to be portable and easily moved. It also comes with a wind guard which is essential for boating.

It uses PerfectFlow technology to ensure proper heating even in the most adverse conditions. 180 square inches of cooking space means that you can fit enough food for a couple families on this grill. It also has a grease removal system and a porcelain coated grate which makes cleanup a breeze.

Comes with a lid that locks and a handle for easy transportation.


  • Easy to transport and setup
  • Windguard makes cooking on the ocean easy
  • Fits more than enough food for a family
  • Uses technology to ensure even heating
  • Cleanup is simple


  • The price is pretty high
  • Doesn’t give you a lot of options for cooking styles.

So which is the best?

The best grill for an average boating cruise – one that you might take with a family or a few friends, but not too many people – is the Cuisinart Tabletop Grill.

It provides just enough cooking space for a few people, but by sacrificing unneeded grill space, you gain the benefit of lots of extra features.

The size of the grill makes it ideal for ocean escapades, and the grease trap makes clean up much easier than it would be otherwise.

This makes it perfect for the average boater. More extreme boaters – people who sail yachts with many people on them – might want to use a Springfield grill – but for your average sailor, this will be perfect.