Aug 12, 2023
The best grill tool sets for 2023
Theses tool kits offer sturdy utensils that will last an outdoor cook for years. These durable tools feel premium and clean up easily. The ash wood handles provide nice balance and feel. You don’t
Theses tool kits offer sturdy utensils that will last an outdoor cook for years.
These durable tools feel premium and clean up easily.
The ash wood handles provide nice balance and feel.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money for reliable tools.
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A solid grill tool set can drastically improve the experience that comes with outdoor cooking. You don’t need a ton of tools, but you want a few solid utensils that will last longer than a single season. It’s not just about durability, either. Quality tools give you the precision and reliability to make every barbecue successful. Have you ever dropped a burger due to a sub-standard turner? Or worse, lost a steak due to wimpy tongs? The best grill tool sets will stop that kind of barbecue catastrophe from ruining your cookout.
Here at PopSci, we can appreciate fancy cooking gadgets, but you don’t need the most elaborate kit for grilling. You don’t need the fanciest tools to get great results. We’ve emphasized durable, affordable tools made from high-quality materials for our picks. What good is a fancy turner if it only lasts one summer of flipping burgers? Most of our picks include the basic tools necessary for solid grilling, including a turner, tongs, and a brush. Some grill tool sets have more, but we don’t like having a lot of extra tools hanging around that we won’t use. I have been reviewing grills and grilling accessories for more than a decade. In that time, I have expensed a shameful amount of meat to various companies and interviewed some big names in the barbecue industry.
As with barbecue itself, tastes and needs differ from person to person, so check out every option for grilling tool kits before making your decision. Note: Some people call turners “spatulas,” but the terms aren’t exactly interchangeable. Most people will know what you mean if you say spatula, but the technical term is “turner.”
Barbecue is about the essentials done well, which this kit includes. Each stainless steel tool is 18 inches long, which makes them long enough to keep your hand off the heat without making things feel precarious. The tongs include a clever twist-activated locking mechanism that you can activate with one hand, unlike other latch-based systems. Silicone handles make these tools dishwasher safe, so they’re easy to clean. Sturdy metal loops allow the tools to hang easily during storage. They handle easy, feel sturdy, and come with a two-year warranty. It’s everything you need for basic barbecuing.
If you only grill occasionally and want something very simple, this set from OXO fits the bill nicely. The set includes a 16.5-inch turner and an 18.7-inch pair of tongs. The turner has a beveled edge and a thin profile, making it easy to slide under food resting on the grill. The corners are also relatively narrow, so it’s easy to get between the spaces in the grill grates. These tools are dishwasher safe, which makes them easy to clean no matter how often you use them. The scalloped edges on the ends of the tongs are great for gripping almost anything with surprising precision.
Flat-top grills are different from their open-fire counterparts. Grills like the popular Blackstone products offer a flat surface with uniform heat like in a commercial kitchen that turns out smash burgers, pancakes, and some of the best breakfast you’ll have at home. This tool kit has a pair of turners/spatulas with durable poly handles. They can flip, chop, rearrange, and perform just about any other flat-top cooking task you have. The chopper/scraper can mince meat for chopped cheese and cheesesteak sandwiches. Plus, it can help clean the cooking surface once you’re done. A pair of squirt bottles work for oil or other sauces.
While silicone handles are very practical, they don’t always match everyone’s aesthetic. This set of four tools comes with sturdy ash wood handles firmly attached to the stainless steel cores. The set includes a two-pronged fork, a basting brush, tongs, and a turner. They all measure 16 inches in length, except for the turner, which is 16.5 inches long. That’s not as long as some other options on this list, but it’s a small difference.
The ash wood handles add a very nice balance, and they feel great in the hand. They’re relatively easy to clean even though they can’t go in the dishwasher. The loops work for hanging the tools, but we prefer the metal loops found on some other options.
Is this a little bit of a novelty? Yes. But this barbecue multitool is surprisingly handy if you want an easy-to-tote option. The burly wood handle conceals tools like a Swiss Army knife. The spatula and basting brush are both very solid. Since you can’t fit a set of tongs into a multitool, Traeger opted for a curved meat hook that easily picks up steaks and other solid cuts of meat. It’s not as precise as tongs, but it does the job. In addition to the barbecue tools, you also get a corkscrew and a bottle opener because barbecue tastes better with both of those beverages. The only downside for its portability comes from the hook, which has a sharp point on it and can poke or scrape things if you’re not careful.
This is the most important part of the equation. If you’re buying a kit, you want everything you need and nothing you don’t. Basic sets include a turner, tongs, and maybe a brush. Sometimes a fork or hook can come in handy. Sets that throw in a lot of extras, like cheap skewers or corn holders, tend to try and overcome a lack of quality with quantity.
Silicone or wood handles will treat you well. You don’t want plastic. It’s not heat-resistant and will melt if you leave it too close to the fire. Wood handles are generally solid, buy they’re not all created equal. Look for a set that tells you what kind of wood you’re getting (like ash) because otherwise it might be junk.
Wood-handle models look nice and perform well, but they typically don’t fare well in the dishwasher. Silicone handles with full-stainless tools typically make cleaning much easier. Also, if you have a brush in your set, a removable head can make it much simpler to maintain.
Metal grill brushes can leave stray bristles on your grill that can stick to your meat and end up in your mouth. That’s very bad news.
Just about every grill tool kit will be made of stainless steel, but you’ll find differences in handle material. I prefer silicone handles because they’re comfortable and durable. Some prefer wood or solid metal. It’s about personal preference as long as no super-cheap wood or plastic is involved.
Imagine one of those metal bristles clinging to your next burger and making its way into your mouth when you take a bite. That’s what you’re risking when you rub a metal grill brush on your grill to clean it. Go with wood, silicone, or something else.
Clean your tools after every use with the recommended directions. You’ll be glad you did when you go to grill next time, and your tongs aren’t crusted with two-week-old barbecue sauce from your last cookout.
You’re spending money on quality meats, meat alternatives, and other ingredients, so it’s worth investing in a solid set of grilling tools. You don’t need every bell and whistle, just well-made basics that will perform every time and last for years.
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.
Stan Horaczek is the senior gear editor at Popular Science. He oversees a team of gear-obsessed writers and editors dedicated to finding and featuring the newest, best, and most innovative gadgets on the market and beyond.
Best overall:Best budget:Best for flat tops:Best wood handles:Best multitool:How we chose the best grilling tool setsThe best grill tool sets: Reviews & RecommendationsBest overall:SpecsTools included: Carrying case? Handle material: ProsConsBest budget:SpecsTools included: Carrying case? Handle material: ProsConsBest for flat-tops:SpecsTools included: Carrying case? Handle material: ProsConsBest wood handles:SpecsTools included: Carrying case? Handle material: ProsConsBest multitool:SpecsTools included: Carrying case? Handle material: ProsConsThings to consider when shopping for the best grill tool setsFAQsQ: What is the best material for BBQ tools?Q: What’s wrong with metal grill brushes?Q: How often should grill tools be cleaned?Final thoughts regarding the best grill tool setsBest overall:Best budget:Best for flat-tops:Best wood handles:Best multitool:Why trust us