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Best BBQ Tools and Grill Sets – Make Grilling Easier and Fun!

The stage is set. Beers iced. Ribs rubbed. Friends are hanging out around the smoking hot grill. And then the unthinkable happens…just as you’re turning that sizzling rack of ribs…the spatula breaks.

This is what happened to me last summer. This is what happens when you go cheap with grill tools. Oh, the shame!

Sadly, BBQ tools too often fall into that category of “afterthought.”

You’re at the store, you see the summer sales, oh, could use a new set of grill tools, and in the basket goes the $20 19-piece set. Bargain, right? But it’ll end up driving you nuts when the handle breaks, the blades bend or they are too short. Ouch!

These babies are done after one season. Do yourself and your grill a favor. Spend a little time and money and get the best quality accessories for your needs and budget.

A wide angle shot of a BBQ tools collection hanging from a wooden wall

But how to choose the right tools? There’s a hog-load of choices out there, but we are here to help.

In this post, you will find a simple but thorough guide to the best outdoor cooking tools and utensils available today, why – based on your needs, budget and preferences – you should pick one set over another, and finally our round-up of the best tools out there.

As in all things, you get what you pay for. In general, we say you’re better off ditching the sexy-looking case of 19 tools (you do know that 8 of these are corn-holders, right?) and instead spend a little more on three or four tools of real quality.

Read on for your ultimate guide to the best BBQ tools. We’ll take you through what you need to look for and then review for you our hand-picked list of favorites on the market today.

At a Glance: Our Top Recommendations for Best BBQ Tools and Best Grill Sets

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

Best BBQ Tools – Our Top Recommendations in 2019

If you’re serious about your grilling, then you will no doubt want the best BBQ tools to enhance your outdoor cooking. Although many of the tools we have looked at above can be bought individually, it’s normally more cost effective to buy them in a set.

Here are our top recommendations for the best bbq tools and grill sets, with products of varying sizes, to suit all budgets.

We’ve done the research for you and will guide you in detail through our carefully chosen top tools list. Whether you’re looking to replace worn and weak tools, hunting for the perfect gift for someone special, or just looking to pimp up your new grill with some grill candy, you’re going to find the right choice among our picks here.

Alpha Grillers Heavy Duty Bbq Grilling Tool Set

This minimalist BBQ tool set from Alpha Grillers is the ideal choice for a chef looking for some heavy-duty BBQ tools.

The precision designed tools are well-suited to BBQ professionals and made from such a thick metal that they won’t bend or flex, even under the weight of the heaviest steak.

Alpha Grillers Heavy Duty BBQ Grilling Tools Set. Extra Thick Stainless Steel Spatula, Fork, Basting Brush & Tongs. Gift Box Package. Best for Barbecue & Grill. 18 Inch Utensils Turner Accessories

What’s Included

  • 1 x oversized slotted spatula
  • 1 x two-tine fork
  • 1 x spring loaded locking tongs
  • 1 x silicone basting brush.

What We Like

  • Super thick brushed stainless steel construction.
  • Rust-resistant and strong.
  • Contoured rubber grips for comfort and safety.
  • Long hanging loops for easy storage.
  • The leading edge of the spatula is tapered for easy sliding under food.
  • An extra sharp serrated edge can cut through meats as cooking.
  • Large head of spatula allows for flipping the largest of steaks.
  • Scalloped tongs to avoid tearing more delicate foods.
  • Dishwasher safe for easier cleanup.
  • Backed by a lifetime money-back guarantee.

What We Don’t Like

  • Tongs can often “lock” while being used.
  • Springs in the tongs can be stiff and need oiling (cooking oil will do!).

Summary

Admittedly, this 4-piece BBQ tool set may be quite pricey, but you are getting premium quality heavy duty tools. The 18-inch length is ample for keeping you safe when grilling, and the tools have been well designed. There’s even a bottle opener built into the spatula, to ensure the chef never goes thirsty.

The extra thick stainless steel used to make these tools ensures that you can pass them down to the next generation of grill chefs. If they should ever break, they’re covered by a lifetime warranty.

For more information on this BBQ tool set or the latest prices, click on the link below:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Weber 6625 Original 2-Piece Stainless Steel Tool Set

From the self-proclaimed King of Grills – Weber – comes this simple, yet elegantly designed, 3-piece tool set. The same Weber quality you find in their grills is also evident in this BBQ tool set. We particularly like the extra attention to detail in the design of the tools.

This oversized tool set boasts soft touch comfortable handles and good steel construction. Some may find the 18-19” length a little hard to handle, but if you’re grilling big, these tools will have the reach you need so as not to “singe your little arm hairs” as one owner put it!

The set has hanging loops and includes locking tongs, a spatula with offset handle, and a large fork.

Note that the metal is a little thinner than what you will find on more expensive tools, and may bend over time. Also, these tools will likely need to be hung, rather than stored in a drawer as they are very long.

Weber 6625 Original 2-Piece Stainless Steel Tool Set

What’s Included

  • 1 x locking tongs
  • 1 x spatula

What We Like

  • Stainless steel construction for extra durability and rust-proofing.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Loops on the ends of the handles for easy storage.
  • Tongs lock to save space when stored.
  • Offset handle on spatula keep heat away from your hand
  • Soft touch handles for comfortable and safe grip.
  • 18-inch length for keeping your distance from the flames.
  • Slotted design of spatula allows grease to run out.
  • The angled neck of the spatula allows you to lean over grill without getting too close to the heat.

What We Don’t Like

  • The stainless steel used isn’t as thick as some, like the Alpha Grillers tool set.
  • The spatula seems quite flimsy for a Weber product, and may bend with heavier

Summary

As long as you can accept the limitations of the basic contents, it is a great accompaniment to your Weber grill, either gas or charcoal. You probably are going to have to buy extra tools, but the basic three to start you off are here.

Some grill enthusiasts will only ever buy Weber official accessories. They are generally good quality, just a little more expensive. If you’re one of those Weber aficionados, you can get more details on this quality tool set and the latest prices, by clicking on the link below.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Grill Heat Aid Stainless Steel Bbq Smoker Accessories

If you’re tired of losing your BBQ tools, this is the first set we’ve looked at that comes in an attractive and sturdy aluminum carry case for storage. We particularly liked this set as a gift for the chef in the family, when holiday season comes around.

At just over five pounds, this is also the ideal toolset for taking camping or to pack with a tailgate grill. That doesn’t mean the tools are flimsy, they are well built with solid stainless steel and come with a lifetime warranty.

Stainless Steel BBQ Smoker Accessories – (Premium 12 Pc Set) – Sturdy, Well Weighted Precision Barbecue Grill Tool Set w/ XL Burn & Rust Proof Design Construction – Looks Sharp, Makes the Best Gift

What’s Included

  • 3 x thicker size large skewers
  • 3 x thinner size medium skewers.
  • 1 x long-armed spatula with 2 cutting edges.
  • 1 x XL tongs.
  • 1 x tactical chefs knife.
  • 1 x silicone basting brush.
  • 1 x meat fork.
  • 1 x grill cleaner/scraper with brass wire bristles.

What We Like

  • All stainless steel tools are durable and rust resistant.
  • Safe handles which don’t get too hot.
  • The metal hoops of the handles are easy to hang for storage.
  • The tactical knife is razor sharp, ideal for slicing through meats.
  • The spatula features two cutting edges, one with larger serrated teeth.
  • Bottle opener on top of the spatula handles, for refreshment as you man the grill.
  • Stoppers on the stainless steel skewers to stop food slipping out of place.
  • Hooks on the skewers allow for hanging on the side of the grill or upright in a smoker.
  • Lifetime warranty.

What We Don’t Like

  • The carry case isn’t aluminum, just a metal foil covered hardboard.
  • If the case gets wet, it can delaminate, and mold often grows.
  • Quite expensive compared to other sets, especially if you never use the kebab skewers.

Summary

Any chef you were to buy this BBQ tool set for as a gift would be initially impressed. Unfortunately, the poor construction of the case lets it down. Definitely, don’t leave this grill set outdoors along with your grill.

For more details and the latest prices on this comprehensive BBQ tool set click the link below.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Teikis 19-Piece Grilling Accessories BBQ Tools Set

This Teikis 19-piece grill set is another which comes in a professional-looking silver and black storage case, to keep everything organized.

The beauty of kits like this is they include every tool you will ever need for holding a BBQ party. This one even includes a digital thermometer for added food safety.

TeiKis 19-Piece Grilling Accessories BBQ Tool Set Stainless Steel Storage Case + Thermometer

What’s Included

  • 1 x tongs.
  • 1 x slotted spatula with built-in bottle opener.
  • 1 x all-purpose 8-inch knife.
  • 1 x meat fork.
  • 1 x grill brush.
  • 1 x basting brush.
  • 4 x steak knives.
  • 8 x corn holders.
  • 1 x digital thermometer.
  • 1 x aluminum storage case.

What We Like

  • Professional grade stainless steel used for the construction of the tools.
  • Elongated handles for safety and convenient handle rings.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Digital food thermometer features instant-read technology for more control of your cooking.
  • The 8-inch chef’s knife is extremely sharp.
  • The tools offer a satisfactory performance at a great value for money price.
  • Backed with a Tekis 2-year warranty and 100 percent money-back guarantee.

What We Don’t Like

  • The aluminum case isn’t strong and the handle has snapped for some.
  • The case isn’t waterproof—don’t leave it outside.
  • The grill brush isn’t very durable.

Summary

This is one of the largest BBQ and grill tools sets we looked at. If your motto is “always be prepared,” this is the set for you. It even includes steak knives for your guests when having a steak night—as long as there are only four guests. It’s just a shame it is let down, yet again, by a weaker case, which isn’t weatherproof either.

For more details on the latest bargain price you can find this set for, and information on the contents, click the link below.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Home-Complete Bbq Grill Tool Set – 16 Piece

This set from Home-Complete is another which comes in a smart-looking carry case and it’s got everything you need from the must-have tongs and spatula to corn holders and skewers. It even has a second brush head for the grill brush, so you can toss one in the dishwasher and still not miss a beat at the grill.

Heads-up that these pieces are slightly shorter than some of the other tools we recommend, so keep those grill gloves at hand. But this does mean it’s more compact, at just 1.5 feet long.

What we really liked was the heat-resistant metal handles that won’t crack or wear down, like some plastic or wooden handles.

In its handsome aluminum hard case, this set makes a nice gift and works well at its price point.

Home-Complete BBQ Grill Tool Set- 16 Piece Stainless Steel Barbecue Grilling Accessories with Aluminum Case, Spatula, Tongs, Skewers

What’s Included

  • 1 x spatula with serrated tenderizer edge and built-in bottle opener.
  • 1 x long-handled tongs.
  • 2 x kebab skewers with stainless steel handles.
  • 8 x heatproof corn holders.
  • 1 x silicone basting brush.
  • 1 x grill cleaning brush.
  • 1 x spare head for grill brush.
  • 1 x heavy-duty aluminum storage case.

What We Like

  • Everything you could need at your grill station in one!
  • Solid and strong stainless steel construction.
  • Power tongs feature toothed edges for a better grip and can even lift a 2.2-pound chicken.
  • Elongated heat-resistant handles keep your hands away from the heat.
  • Easy to clean—dishwasher safe.
  • The storage box has slots which keep everything neatly organized.

What We Don’t Like

  • The case isn’t waterproof.

Summary

With its compact case, this set from Home-Complete is ideal for your next outdoor expedition. Whether it’s a simple tailgating party or a weekend family camping trip, all the tools you need are contained in this sturdy aluminum case.

Just remember the case is not waterproof, so don’t leave the set outdoors too long.

For the latest price and more information on this quality stainless steel BBQ tool set, click the link below.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Cuisinart CGS-134N Grilling Tool Set With Grill Glove, Navy Blue (3-Piece)

Cuisinart is known for its quality kitchen utensils, and this set includes the three basic tools no grill chef should be without.

Navy blue accent rubberized grips ensure a comfortable and secure grip, with the handles also featuring hooks for easy hanging.

A bonus grill glove is included, for further protection from the searing heats.

Cuisinart CGS-134T Grilling Tools and Grill Gloves

What’s Included

  • 1 x grill spatula with serrated edge and built-in bottle opener.
  • 1 x grill tongs.
  • 1 x grill fork with two prongs.
  • 1 x bonus grill glove.

What We Like

  • Durable stainless steel tools with integrated hooks that won’t snap off.
  • Long 12-inch handles keep you further away from the heat of the grill.
  • Rubberized plastic grips are comfortable to hold and available in many bright colors.
  • The serrated edge of the spatula can be used to scrape the grill of burnt debris.
  • The bonus glove offers more protection for your hands and is stylish enough to be used indoors too.
  • A 1-year limited warranty—unusual on budget purchases like this.

What We Don’t Like

  • Very limited, with only three tools included.
  • Not dishwasher safe.
  • The metal may be too flexible, making the spatula difficult to use for heavier items.

Summary

This BBQ tool set is the perfect starter kit from a brand you already know and trust.

For flipping burgers, rolling hot dogs and other basic tasks, it has everything you need. It also comes with a stylish grill glove and all for the cost of what you might typically pay for a good porterhouse steak.

For more information and to check the latest price on this Cuisinart kit of BBQ tools, click the link below.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Cuisinart Cgs-5020 Deluxe Grill Set, Silver (20-Piece)

Cuisinart also makes larger BBQ tool sets, and this 20-piece deluxe set comes in a high-quality aluminum case, to keep all the tools organized.

What makes this set stand out from many others is the digital thermometer built into the extra long fork – no more burning your hands when trying to take a temperature reading.

Cuisinart CGS-5020 Deluxe Grill Set, 20-Piece, Stainless Steel

What’s Included

  • 1 x tongs.
  • 1 x silicone basting brush.
  • 1 x chef’s spatula.
  • 1 x digital temperature fork.
  • 1 x grill cleaning brush.
  • 1 x replacement head for grill brush.
  • 8 x corn holders.
  • 5 x skewers.
  • 1 x aluminum storage case.

What We Like

  • Quality stainless steel construction is durable and won’t rust.
  • Extra wide spatula with cutting edge and a bottle-cap opener built in.
  • Balanced, weighted handles for comfortable use.
  • Digital temperature fork displays both actual and desired temperatures and also has an alarm feature.
  • Integrated LED light in the temperature fork is useful when cooking at night.
  • The case allows you to carry the set where you like, with Velcro straps for keeping the tools in place.
  • One-year warranty included.

What We Don’t Like

  • The brush doesn’t seem strong enough for a proper scrub of the grill.
  • The tongs are the real weak point of this set and appear flimsy, with no spring or locking features.
  • The steel handles can get hot much quicker than rubber or plastic heatproof handles.

Summary

If you have put your trust in the Cuisinart brand before, this comprehensive BBQ tool set won’t let you down. It contains virtually every tool you will need for your backyard grill sessions, and even comes in a sturdy case for those tailgate parties. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without a digital thermometer fork once you use the one in this set.

For the latest price information and more details on this complete BBQ and grill tool set from Cuisinart, follow the link below.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Flamen 5-Piece Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Bbq Grill Tools Set

This Flamen non-slip 5-piece tool set is a basic, affordable option, yet it is both functional and heavy duty too.

If you’re looking for the easiest cooking and clean up process in just five basic tools, this kit is ideal.

Flamen 5-Piece Heavy Duty Stainless Steel BBQ Grill Tools Set with Non-Slip Handles BEST Grilling Utensils Includes Spatula Barbecue Fork Tongs Premium Barbecue Grilling Accessories

What’s Included

  • 1 x tongs.
  • 1 x spatula.
  • 1 x BBQ fork.
  • 1 x grill brush.
  • 1 x long handled all-purpose knife.

What We Like

  • High-quality food-grade stainless steel construction ensures the tools can last many years.
  • Non-slip thermoplastic handles for a safer and more comfortable grilling experience.
  • Hoops at the ends of the handles for easy hanging when you’re done.
  • Hanging hoops also work as bottle openers.
  • Heavy duty grilling tongs have a serrated edge for cutting.
  • Wide slotted spatula allows for the grease to run through and also features a cutting edge.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • A perfect gift.
  • Comes with a 30-day, 100 percent money-back guarantee.

What We Don’t Like

  • No storage case included.
  • The wire brush for cleaning the grill is not as sturdy as others.

Summary

When the boys come around for a grill party, they would love a set of tools like this, with a bottle opener for each of them. It also helps that they are generally good tools and the most frequently used tools you need, all at an exceptionally good price.

To check out the latest price and for more information on this set of essential BBQ utensils, click on the link below.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

How to Choose the Best Grill Tools?

When you’re ready to purchase tools for BBQ and grilling, there are seven important things to keep in mind:

  1. Which tools you really need
  2. Which tools are desirable, but non-essential
  3. Durability and toughness
  4. Length
  5. Advice about handles
  6. Useful extras
  7. What to avoid

Before You Buy – What do You Really Need?

A recent consumer survey by the HPBA (Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association) found that 70 percent of all US adults owned a grill or smoker. The majority of BBQ owners, 83 percent, had invested in three or more accessories to customize their outdoor grilling.

Three may not sound like an excessive amount of accessories, but many of the BBQ tool sets you can buy today will feature more than 15 tools. Most of the time you will get better value for money with more pieces.

However, some larger sets will have items that you may never use. Basic items like a spatula, tongs and barbecue forks will always get used, but can you say the same for corn on the cob holders?

Consider what is in the BBQ tool set, and if you KNOW you won’t use a particular item, then it’s certainly not value for money, it’s a waste.

First, Do You Need – or Want – a Carry Case?

Most of the BBQ tool sets we have looked at come in a sort of carry case. It could just be a cheap nylon bag, a plastic case or a sturdy aluminum case. These can be ideal if you are going camping, but not always needed if your outdoor kitchen area has storage drawers or cupboards.

If you are looking for the perfect gift for the family chef or a friend, a BBQ tools gift set in a sturdy aluminum or wooden carry case is the ideal choice. I personally love that James Bond feel of being given “A license to grill” with a case full of gadgets from Q!

If you do choose a BBQ tool set with a case, try to ensure it is sturdy and weatherproof. Some sharp-edged tools can easily cut through cheap nylon sleeves, and water seeping in can cause the tools to rust. Aluminum or wooden cases, especially if monogrammed, can also help with those first impressions of the chef.

Secondly, What to Look for in the Best BBQ Tool Set

BBQ tools are criminally overlooked in my opinion. It’s only once you have experienced the correct selection of quality BBQ and grill tools that you will realize what you‘ve been missing.

There are some tools which are absolute essentials. We will start with them first before looking at those nice-to-have tools.

Side note: You can check out the following guide if you have a smoker and are interested in the best smoker accessories.

What are the Essential BBQ Tools?

Food needs to be transferred to the grill and turned when cooking. And as food cooks, it can often go dry and require basting. Also, burnt-on bits of protein, and that baste you have applied, will also need cleaning from the grill.

With this in mind, here are the basic four tools you should expect to find in any decent BBQ tool set, or want to look for if buying separates

Tongs

A pair of tongs is the most basic of BBQ tools and found in nearly all BBQ tool sets. Tongs can be used for placing the food on the grill, turning it as it cooks and removing the food when it’s done.

Therefore, this is the tool that handles 90% of your work.

Choose a soft, comfortable silicone or rubber handle for a comfortable hold and beveled or scalloped tips that are wide for controlled gripping and turning.

You want solid tips that align well when brought together. Some models have forked or slotted tips. Now think of asparagus. Thin, delicate, slick with oil. These decorative ends just won’t grab that puppy.

Look for two separate arms with a reliable spring-loaded hinge, which is preferable to the one-piece bent-metal design. It’s a personal preference, but if it’s too tight, your forearm will tire.

Finally, a locking mechanism and hanging loop are good for ease of storage.

Spatula

You need a spatula for turning delicate foods like fish or burgers.

Choose one with an offset handle for easy lifting and for putting a couple more inches between your hand and the inferno.

The classic wide duck-foot shape will work well for most foods and should be thin with a beveled edge to give you flexibility for easing under a sticky piece of chicken.

Don’t go too big on the spatula head or you will have trouble maneuvering around a crowded grill. Around 4” wide is best.

A robust spatula will have a full “tang” meaning that the piece is made from one solid piece of steel from head to handle.

A serrated edge on the side is nice for cutting food grill-side.

Basting Brush

A key to producing deep layers of flavor on grilled foods is the application of a sauce or marinade as it cooks. Basting the food regularly can also help prevent the food from drying out due to the higher temperatures of outdoor grills.

You’ve got a couple of choices here: traditional natural fiber mop or modern silicone bristle brush.

Here’s the scoop: your mop is going to hold a ton of sauce, great for generously slathering on BBQ sauce. But you might feel like you end up wasting sauce because it kind of slops everywhere, and although many mop heads detach to go in the dishwasher, some people find that, over time, they don’t feel as squeaky clean as their silicone rivals.

A silicone brush will clean up great, and give you a little more control when brushing on a sauce, especially on smaller items.

Look for an angled shaft which will keep your hand further from the heat as you reach to the back of the grill. It’s the perfect tool unless you really want to plaster a big hunk of meat thickly with sauce, and then the mop is your go-to tool.

Grill Brush

It’s inevitable that food will stick to your grill, and it’s important that you keep it clean if you want tasty food every time. Burnt parts of food, or sauces and marinades, are easier to remove while the grill is still hot.

You probably haven’t given too much thought to this hard-working clean-up guy, but a poorly made grill brush can leave tiny bristles on the grill that can then get worked into your food. Nuff said! (Seriously, check out the dangers of loose grill brush wires…not pretty.)

Choose a brush with sturdy stainless steel wire bristles that are solidly anchored into the shaft. Quality steel wire will not leave rusty deposits on your grill, another thing you would not like to find on your burger. You can find such products in our guide to the best grill brush.

Solid wood construction is best and most durable here. No plastic.

A notched scraper on the end is a must for this piece. If you’re like me and don’t always clean the grill right after using it, you’re going to need a good scraper to work off the crud first, and the notched end will wrap neatly around grill grates making clean-up a snap.

NOTE: don’t use a wire-bristled brush on porcelain-coated grills as it will damage the finish. Use a brush with brass bristles instead.

What are Non-Essential, but Sometimes Included “Nice-To-Haves”?

You will find many of the tools below in some BBQ tool sets, but consider whether you really need them?

If you aren’t a big fan of kebabs, you definitely won’t need kebab skewers and, if only cooking at home, why spend money on even more knives?

However, although these pieces are non-essential, they can be helpful, add further enjoyment to your outdoor cooking, AND be enough to show folks who’s pit-master numero uno in town (because that’s important, right? Haha.)

Fork

A fork is a common part of many BBQ tool sets. These can be used for moving food around the grill or checking how the meat is doing.

Some more serious BBQ chefs aren’t too keen on BBQ forks, as piercing the meat while it’s cooking can allow juices to escape and the meat to dry out.

Kebab Rack with BBQ Skewers

What is it about meat on a stick? People just eat it up!

If you like to make kebabs on a regular basis, tool sets which already include skewers can be cheaper than buying them separately. Usually made of stainless steel, they won’t char, and thus affect the flavor of the food, as wooden kebab sticks often do.

And a notched rack holds skewers nice and steady just a tad above the grill surface so that small pieces don’t burn.

Corn Holders

Fans of corn on the cob will know just how delicious it can taste when prepared on a BBQ. Small metal handles can be inserted into the ends of the cob, making it easier to hold when the corn is hot off the grill.

Knives

You probably already own a set of sharp knives in your kitchen, but a set of knives for specifically for BBQ can be useful when you’re camping or tailgating.

No more searching in the kitchen drawers for that knife you have accidentally left in the garage with your BBQ, or worse still, at the campsite.

Durability and Toughness: What are the Best Grill Tools Made from?

Your tools are the linemen on the gridiron of your grill. They’ve got to be tough, strong and built for action. Don’t forget, whether charcoal or gas, your grill reaches temperatures far higher than those on the stovetop.

Look for heavy-duty, heat-resistant 430-grade stainless steel. Rolled steel construction will prevent tools from bending under that big juicy rack of ribs. You want to feel a good solid heft in your hand, with just a little flexibility in the case of the spatula.

Heat-resistant handles with wood or silicone accents will give you better grip and control, especially important if you use grill gloves.

Grill brushes are best in solid wood, and basting brushes work well in either wood or silicone.

Good quality pieces will stand up to high temperatures in the dishwasher as well as at the grill, with stainless steel resisting rust and residue.

Length – Size Does Matter!

We’re talking high heat here, folks. Very high heat. And you don’t want your hands too close to it. Choose tools shorter than 12” and you’ll be cooking more than your food.

At the same time, tools that are too long will be difficult to control, more inclined to bend and break, and make your arm ache.

The perfect length? 16” is ideal for most people, letting you safely reach for the sausage that rolled right to the back of the grill while keeping your hands safe.

Use this handy at-a-glance table to decide on the size of tools that’s right for you:

Tool Ideal Length for Most People For Large Grills/Big Joints of Meat For Small Hands or Small Grills
Spatula & Tongs 16” up to 22” 13”
Basting brush 12” up to 16” 10”
Grill brush 18” up to 21” 12”

Advice About Handles

Handles add to the good looks and comfort of your tools. Wood, rubber and silicone are all fine choices, giving you good grip, even with grill gloves.

Stainless steel handles look sleek and sharp but can be harder to grip with gloves or oily hands. Stainless steel will also get too hot if left near the grill. The only downside with wood handles is that they should not go in the dishwasher.

Do you tend to store or leave tools outside? If so, go with rubber, silicone or stainless steel so that handles can handle Mother Nature!

How does it feel? The weight, comfort and ease-of-handling of grill tools will need to feel right for you personally. I’m at the grill just about every day, and I like a shaped, ergonomic handle for good grip and control. Let’s just say it’s the cherry on the cake of a good grill tool.

Features to Look for

Remember your BBQ tools are going to be used outdoors for longer periods and at much higher cooking temperatures than normal kitchen utensils. You should look for the following features that make BBQ tools more suitable than domestic kitchen utensils for outdoor grilling.

Long Handles

As previously discussed, size matters!

BBQs, especially charcoal grills, can burn at temperatures over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s what gives your steak the nice sear. You can also get a sear effect to your arms if not careful! Nearly half of the 16,600 accident room BBQ-related cases every year are thermal burns.

Safety is of the utmost importance when cooking on a BBQ, and long-handled tools will keep a safer distance between you and the flames. The longer the handle, the less chance of singed fingertips.

However, tools with longer handles can also be heavier to use. Ensure the tool has an ergonomic grip, for safer use and less chance of being dropped on the hot grill. You should also ensure the tools have heat resistant handles, so you don’t burn your hands when using them to sear those steaks.

A Way to Hang the Tools up

BBQ tools will get very hot, and you don’t want to just put them down on any surface. Ensure that the handle has an eyelet which you can use to hang up the tool when not cooking with it.

When camping, a small storage rack or holders on the grill itself can be an ideal way of storing your tools.

Heat Resistant

Insulated handles will further protect your hands from the intense heat. Low conducting metals will prevent heat from traveling through the handle too quickly, while high-quality plastics or rubber will also offer heat resistance. Cheaper plastics will often melt at higher temperatures and can even stick to your hands—not nice!

The best BBQ tools and grill sets tend to be made using stainless steel, which can withstand higher temperatures. Stainless steel is also rust resistant, ideal for cooking outdoors in often damp conditions.

Any basting brushes you buy should be made from silicon, which is highly heat resistant. Silicon can additionally eliminate the problem of stray fibers found with traditional brushes.

Dishwasher Safe

Like any other cooking utensils, it’s important you choose a BBQ tool set with components which are easy to clean. Stainless steel is very easy to wash, with some tools even being dishwasher safe.

Dishwasher-safe tools will generally be more hygienic and safer to use, as dishwashers can reach high temperatures, which kills more bacteria. Although, hand wash tools will normally come clean with a light scrub in hot, soapy water, you just might want to sanitize them after washing too.

What to Avoid

We’ve scoured the market to bring you a solid selection of quality tools at different price points, and we hope we’ve helped you understand the features you should be looking for.

But we also want to point out a few things you will want to pass over when choosing grill tools. Check out this short list of BBQ blahs:

  1. Aluminum construction. Lightweight and quick to heat and bend, aluminum will not make it to Labor Day let alone the following summer.
  2. Nylon-coated tong tips that are “heat-proof” (they’re not, as you will discover when you have melted a pair, as I have). This material also has a poorer grip on the food than silicone or steel.
  3. Forks! Well, here’s the thing. A large good-looking meat fork is included in many grill sets, but most experts will not want them anywhere near the grill. Pierce that beautiful steak with sharp prongs and let all those beautiful juices escape? No way! Save the fork for impressing folks at the carving station.
  4. A spatula head that is thick and rigid. And how’s that going to glide easily under that stubborn pork chop without tearing the succulent pig skin? Stick with thin but strong metal with a beveled edge and a nice flexibility.
  5. Plastic handles. They’ll break before you can say smokin’ Joe.
  6. Super sharp metal edges. It seems like it would be a good thing, right? Wrong! Very sharp spatula edges and tong tips will damage some coated non-stick grill surfaces, and tear the skin on delicate foods. Right up there on the deadly-sins-of-grilling list.
  7. Telescopic handles. Seems cool, but the moving parts just make the tool weaker and prone to bending and breaking when fully extended. In our hand-picked list, we’ve covered tools of all different lengths. Choose the length you need for the size of your grill. No telescopic features required. File that one under gimmick.

Your take-away here is it pays to spend a little more on a few quality tools, preferably purchased piece-by-piece, or in a small set.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you take pride in your grill and the finger-licking fare that comes off it. Heck, you probably spent a good chunk of time (and money) choosing that grill. So why insult your grill with a set of sub-par grill tools? Kind of like wearing flip flops with an Armani suit!

We hope our in-depth buying guide to the best BBQ tools has helped you see that the smart money is on the higher quality tools that will stand the test of time. For just a few dollars more, you can have a set of premium tools that will make the cookout experience easier and more pleasurable.

In the end, it’s about being prepared, equipping yourself with reliable essential pieces and, in our opinion, spending a little more on the quality construction and design you deserve.

Do you have a favorite BBQ tool not featured above? What do you think are the essential tools which should be found in a BBQ tool set? Let us know in the comments below or feel free to ask us any questions.

I’m guessing that after reading all this hot-smokin’, bone-suckin’, finger-lickin’ grill talk, you are just hankering for a juicy flame-broiled steak.

So go grab a cold one and go fire that baby up!

Happy grilling!

 

Product image credits: © Amazon.com

Mark Jenner

Hi. I'm Mark Jenner, owner and creator of FoodFireFriends.com. I grill and smoke food outdoors at least three days a week on a wide range of equipment, have done so for years, and love nothing more than cooking good food, over live fire, enjoying it with friends. The aim of this site is to educate and help others to do the same.

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