The 5 Best Tabletop Electric Grills Of 2020

There used to be only two options for people who loved grilled food, charcoal or gas. This often left out people living in apartments and condos where open flame grilling simply wasn’t allowed.

This all changed in the 1990s with the advent of nichrome heating elements and the famous George Foreman indoor electric grill.

The indoor electric grill industry has certainly expanded since those days to evolve an impressive line of tabletop electric grills. While they are certainly popular with apartment dwellers, even people who already own a charcoal or gas grill also enjoy them for times when grilling outside just isn’t convenient.

Though this is a little bit of a crowded niche these days, and it’s hard to tell a truly quality unit from a pretender. You might be wondering what the best tabletop electric grill is?

For starters, the Cuisinart CEG-980T and the DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza, tend to lead the pack. Though, they’re not the only tabletop electric grills worthy of consideration. The best tabletop electric grill for you can vary depending on how much space you have, how many people you need to grill for, and how often you plan to use it.

To help you find your next tabletop electric grill, we’ve rolled up our sleeves and filtered through this often-crowded niche to find some of the best options.

Products

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Price

The Best Overall Tabletop Electric Grill
The Cuisinart CEG-980T Outdoor Electric Tabletop Grill, Silver/Black

Cuisinart has a long-standing reputation for quality cooking appliances, and you see that showing up with their CEG-980T. I like the porcelain coated grill grates for easy release and quick cleanup after grilling.

The Best Tabletop Electric Grill With A Nichrome Element
George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill, Silver, GFO240S

The George Foreman lineup steps up yet again with a large electric grill that is just as much at home on your kitchen counter as it is on your apartment’s deck or patio.

The Best Portable Electric Tabletop Grill
Weber 52020001 Q1400 Electric Grill

Weber’s reputation for quality shows up again in this compact electric grill that can live on your deck as a daily griller but is just as easy to take with you on a camping trip or to a tailgate party.

The Best Tabletop Electric Grill For Entertaining
Elite Gourmet EMG-980B Large Indoor Electric Round Nonstick Grill

This round electric tabletop grill is just the right size to entertain a group of four for some tableside dining. The lid even helps you do things like melt cheese or trap in steam.

The Most Versatile Table Top Electric Grill
DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza All Day Combination Contact Grill and Open Barbecue

A tabletop electric grill that can quickly transform into a griddle, contact grill, or clamshell panini press. Its versatility is only matched by its ease of use and cleanup.

Tabletop Electric Grill Reviews

There are several great options to consider in this niche. How much space you have, how often you’ll use it and special features you prioritize will certainly help filter out the best tabletop electric grill for your home.

Here Is A List Of Some Of The Best Tabletop Electric Grills:

1. Best Overall Tabletop Electric Grill: The Cuisinart CEG-980T Electric Tabletop Grill

Cuisinart might not be the first name you think of when it comes to grilling, but they’ve been making high-quality indoor cooking appliances for decades.

So, it’s no surprise to see them offer their compact, reliable CEG-980T for people who want to grill indoors and out.

To that point, it was designed with folding legs and a compact frame for times when you might want to take this tabletop electric grill with you camping or tailgating.

The 1,500 Watt electric element provides searing heat for the 145-square inch grill grates. The grates themselves are coated in a special porcelain enamel that is nonstick as well as durable.

This is the sort of thing you see in high-end gas and charcoal grills while being somewhat rare in indoor electric grills. So, while it might not seem like a big deal on paper, it’s certainly a statement of quality in the real world.

What We Liked About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • The Grill Grates – Coated in nonstick protective porcelain meat releases easily and you don’t have to worry about damaging Teflon as you do with so many other tabletop electric grills.
  • The Electric Heating Element – Rated to consume 1,500 Watts this electric heating element can put a true sear on a piece of meat.
  • The Folding Legs – The overall compact design of the Cuisinart CEG-980T makes it easy to take with you and won’t dominate your kitchen table or countertop.

What We Didn’t Like About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • The Size – It’s a little on the small side if you need to cook for more than two or three people at a time.
  • Sometimes Smoky – This grill doesn’t have a traditional sealed nichrome heating element. Greasy cuts of meat and sloppy marinade can sometimes make enough smoke to trip an apartment smoke detector.

The Verdict

The Cuisinart CEG-980T is a great value tabletop electric grill with quality infused into the components. Just be careful not to let too much grease and other drippings contact the exposed resistor element. While most apartment managers will still approve of this grill, it’s still best to use it on a patio or near an open window.

2. Best With A Nichrome Element: George Foreman 15-Serving Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill

The original George Foreman electric tabletop grill might have been one of the first in this market niche, but it certainly wasn’t the only offering.

What started out as a small electric grill with a nichrome heating element has since evolved into a larger grilling appliance like the George Foreman GFO240S.

While it’s designed to be safely used on a kitchen table or countertop, it does come with the components for a stand.

If you prefer the George Foreman GFO240S can live on your apartment deck or patio. Just make sure to cover it to keep it safe from the weather.

The 240-square inch grill surface is large. On paper, you can technically get 15-servings on it. Though if you’re going to translate that into hamburger patties, then I think 6 to 8 is more realistic. The grate itself is coated in a heavy-duty layer of Teflon, which makes it non-stick.

You just have to be careful not to scrape or damage it. It’s best to always use silicone-coated grill tools and never scrape it down with abrasives like steel wool. Once damaged the Teflon area will be very sticky and continue to degrade.

Here again, this George Foreman grill is designed to drain away rendered fat to give you a leaner grilling experience. You can then pour off any grease after the unit has cooled down. Though one area where they missed in the design of the George Foreman GFO240S is that you can’t safely disconnect the grill plate. You have to manually clean it in place, which can be inconvenient sometimes.

What We Liked About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • The Size – The size of the grill itself and the 240 square inch grill plate makes it big enough to grill for a family or host a small gathering of friends.
  • The Bottom – It is safe to use on a kitchen table or countertop without having to worry about it damaging the underlying surface. This makes it a great option for tableside grilling like a Korean barbecue.
  • The Nichrome Electric Element – Nichrome is the way of the future for indoor electric grills. It’s safer and more compact with far less smoke than an exposed resistor-style electric element.
  • The Domed Lid – It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s great for times when you want to trap the heat for doing things like melting cheese on a burger patty or cooking a bone-in piece of chicken thoroughly.

What We Didn’t Like About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • The Teflon – It’s a little too easy to accidentally scrape and damage. Once affected you can’t realistically replace the grate.
  • Can’t Remove The Grill Plate – The grill plate is fastened to the grill body and can’t be removed for cleaning or replaced if damaged.
  • The Design Of The Base – The base itself is pone to being wobbly over time and the feet are easy to accidentally stub your toe on which can spill the whole grill if you’re not careful.

The Verdict

If you appreciate the convenience and thermal efficiency of a nichrome electric grill, and you have a serious number of mouths to feed, the George Foreman GFO240S is one of the best tabletop electric grills on the market. The bottom is cool enough that it won’t damage your tabletop, and if you like, it can live out on your apartment deck.

3. Best Portable Electric Tabletop Grill: Weber 52020001 Q1400 Electric Grill

Weber may have made their name as a charcoal kettle grill manufacturer, but they are all too happy to bring their reputation for build quality to bear in the electric grill niche.

The Weber Q1400 Electric Grill is compact and portable, yet still, have the features you want to see in a grill that can live on your patio or come with you on a camping trip.

The 189 square inch cast iron grill grates are coated in special non-stick porcelain. Not only does this make it easy to release even sticky lean cuts of meat, but it also makes for easy cleanup.

I really like how if something like some caramelized marinade does happen to get stubbornly stuck on them, you can just remove the grates to soak them in warm soapy water.

The heavy-duty porcelain will protect the underlying metal from rusting and corrosion.

The Weber 52020001 Q1400 Electric Grill has a resistor style electric element, which can get smoky from time to time.

Especially if you are grilling fatty meat like hamburger patties or you are grilling skin-on chicken with a little sloppy marinade.

So, if you are going to use it indoors, make sure to turn on your oven vent or cook near an open window to prevent the smoke detectors from going off.

It’s also worth noting that Weber focused on safety when engineering the Weber 52020001 Q1400 Electric Grill.

It comes with a 6-foot long grounded power cord, that is designed to break away if you accidentally bump the grill or move it quickly.

What We Liked About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • The Grill Grates – Made from cast iron and coated with nonstick porcelain they are easy to clean and maintain.
  • The Breakaway Power Cord – Tabletop electric grills can get bumped sometimes, and a static cord can lead to some catastrophic accidents. The breakaway is a nice feature that tells you Weber was mindful about safety when engineering this grill.

What We Didn’t Like About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • The Size Of The Grates – 189 square inches is a little too small to grill for a family of four.
  • Resistor Electric Element – The electric burner element is prone to smoking when drippings land on it.

4. Best For Entertaining: Elite Gourmet EMG-980B Large Indoor Electric Round Nonstick Grill

Tableside grilling is increasingly popular as a way to get together with friends and chat while each person gets to cook their food to their taste.

It also lets the host entertain rather than being stuck in the kitchen or out on the deck.

The Elite Gourmet EMG-980B was designed to appeal to these needs with it’s large, durable nonstick grilling surface and affordable price tag.

The 14-inch diameter model is large enough to let three to four people grill at a time.

It veritably invites you to keep an electric hot pot right next to it. The surface itself is covered with a nonstick material that needs a little extra care.

Make sure your diner guests have wood or silicone coated grill tools to keep from scratching it. You can also lid the top to let things steam or to melt cheese on top of a piece of meat like a hamburger patty.

The grill plate is also easily removable and rated to be dishwasher safe. This makes clean up a breeze!

I also like that the drippings cup underneath is large enough to handle pretty much anything you throw at it. Though a full pound of bacon might be pushing the envelope.

The temperature controls let you cook as low as 250 degrees to as high as 450-degrees Fahrenheit.

The power cord easily detaches for safety, and at 1,400 Watts you don’t have to worry about it tripping a standard 15-Amp circuit breaker as you find in a lot of modern apartments.

What We Liked About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • The Size & Shape – The 14-inch diameter is big enough to let you cook for up to four people without having to worry about crowding the food.
  • The Lid – While it might not seem like a big deal it helps to hold in the heat. It also protects the grill surface from dust when stored.
  • The Drippings Cup – It’s large enough to handle everything short of the grease from a full pound of bacon.
  • The Removable Grill Plate – The fact that it’s also dishwasher safe makes for very easy cleanup after every meal.

What We Didn’t Like About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • Vulnerable Nonstick Coating – While the nonstick coating is nice, it’s easy to damage with metal tools. 
  • Hot Controls – The control knob itself can get hot during a long cooking session.

The Verdict

If you love to have friends over for some tableside grilling, then the Elite Gourmet EMG-980B is likely the best tabletop electric grill for you. Its 14-inch diameter grill surface is large enough to handle a group. It’s easy to remove and dishwasher safe for convenient cleanup.

5. Most Versatile: DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza All Day Combination Contact Grill

This contact grill by DeLonghi is the height of versatility in indoor electric cooking appliances.

Depending on how you set it up, you can use it like a clamshell grill, griddle, half-griddle, and even a panini press. It even makes some very impressive pancakes.

When opened flat as a griddle or grill it provides you with an impressive 261 square inches of cooking space, which is just about right to grill hamburgers for a family of four.

The cooking plates are Teflon coated, so you will need to treat them with care. Silicone or soft plastic tools should be used to flip the meat and clean them.

The DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza has a digital control center that lets you precisely control the heat.

There’s also a cooking app that comes with it to help you make the most out of every meal, or to simply peruse new ideas.

It also has an automatic shut-off feature, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving it on if you get distracted serving the food.

What We Liked About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • Versatility – You truly can make a wide array of foods with the DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza. Not only does it replicate a grill and griddle, but it also has all the features you need to cook a stunning breakfast.
  • Controls – The digital control center is easy to use and comes with an automatic shutoff safety feature.
  • Griddle Plate Size – 261 square inches of cooking space is impressively large for a tabletop electric grill with this small of an overall footprint. The fact that you can remove them also makes for easy cleaning.

What We Didn’t Like About This Tabletop Electric Grill

  • No Waffle Maker Plate – A lot of the competitors at this price point include waffle maker plates in the purchase or as an inexpensive accessory.
  • Vulnerable Teflon – Teflon needs extra care, and there are better alternatives to consider for an electric tabletop grill in this price range.
  • Warranty – With one year of coverage included in the purchase the warranty protection plan that comes with this model is a little sparse.

The Verdict

If you have a little extra budget to play with and you are looking for a tabletop electric grill that can do more than just grill up some meat, then you really need to give the DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza strong consideration. Not only is it versatile, and easy to clean but it’s easy to use and large enough to cook supper or breakfast or the whole family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Be Concerned About Wattage?

Most quality electric tabletop grills are engineered with the proper wattage to handle their particular element type and size.

Where wattage can sometimes come into play is with the circuit breakers. Some homes, apartments, and condos have 15-Amp circuit breakers in the kitchen or dining room. This translates into a 1,800 Watt capacity.

If you choose an electric tabletop grill that’s rated to consume 1,500 watts or more and you are running other appliances and lights at the same time, you might trip a circuit breaker.

If you are strongly considering a high wattage electric grill, then you might want to take a quick look at the circuit panel. 

A 20-Amp circuit breaker can handle up to 2,400 Watts and is less likely to trip from a high-wattage electric tabletop grill.

What Is A Nichrome Electric Element?

Nichrome is a somewhat new innovation in electric cooking appliances. It’s made from a careful alloy blend of Nickle and Chromium, which act like resistors to create heat.

These elements tend to be thicker and more durable. They can also be coated in protective nonstick materials. All of this translates into a longer lifespan, less smoke, and safer operation than exposed electrical resistor elements.

Are Electric Grills Healthier?

One of the things that propelled the original George Foreman grill’s popularity was the way it could extract rendered fat from the equation. An electric grill does help do this, especially if it’s angled in some way.

Though the tradeoff is that fat equals flavor. If you render out too much fat, you might also end up with a less flavorful piece of meat. So, it all depends on what your dietary goals are.

Conclusion

There certainly are a lot of great electric tabletop grills to consider. In my opinion, the two that rise to the top is the DeLonghi America CGH1020D Livenza, which is very versatile and easy to use as well as the George Foreman GFO240S which is large enough to feed the family all at once.

Though these certainly aren’t the only electric tabletop grills that deserve your hard-earned money. Chances are whatever your needs and preferences that the best tabletop grill for you is somewhere on this list.

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