The 5 Best Infrared Grills of 2024 For Steakhouse Flavor

best infrared grills

SmokedBBQSource is supported by its readers. We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page. Learn more

You can’t walk down the aisle of your local grill shop without seeing the word “Infrared” plastered all over the place.

Infrared burners offer blistering heat for searing and even heat distribution. There are lots of different grill configurations and types of infrared technology available, so making the right choice can be tough.

These are the best-infrared grills we’ve tested at a range of price points, plus read to the end to learn the ins and outs of grilling with infrared.

Our Top 5 Choices For The Best Infrared Grills For 2024

These are our favorite infrared grills we’ve tested from $360 up to $2000. We’ve looked at some grills that give you one or two infrared burners to create searing zones and grills that use infrared across the entire grilling surface.

1. Best Overall – Napoleon Phantom Prestige 500

Read our full Napoleon Phantom Prestige review.

The Phantom Prestige is a special version of the hugely popular Napoleon Prestige range.

It’s built on the same platform, with the same rear and side infrared burners. The Phantom is one of the coolest-looking grills we’ve reviewed, with its matte black finish. You also get beefier grill grates, and a unique warming rack design with holes for Jalapeño Poppers, and wings.

Everything else about this grill is the same as the standard Prestige, so if you want to save yourself $500 then go for that model. The Stainless Steel still looks great and is a little easier to keep clean.

The Phantom heats up quickly, and we didn’t detect any hot or cold spots in our tests.

Not all of the burners are infrared. The Prestige has a 18,000 BTU rear infrared burner and rotisserie kit and a 14,000 BTU infrared side burner for high-temperature searing.

What we like:

  • Sleek matt black design – One of the best looking grills, in our humble opinion.
  • Dedicated searing zone – The 14,000 BTU infrared side burner can get up to 1000°F for an epic sear.
  • Two infrared burners – You can turn on the 18,000 BTU rear infrared burner to use with the included rotisserie kit, or just to crank up the heat for regular searing.
  • Includes a rotisserie kit – Nice to get it included in the standard price
  • Light up burners – The burners turn red so you can easily see when they are lit
  • Lifetime warranty – No sneaky limitations for certain parts, one of the best warranties in the industry

What we don’t like:

  • Price increase – You pay a premium for the Phantom model, so for the best value just get the regular Napoleon Prestige.
  • Cart storage – The cart storage is limited because of a metal support the limits what you can leave in there.

2. Best Budget – Char-Broil Performance TRU Infrared 3-Burner Propane Gas Grill

Infrared technology used to be limited to the most expensive grills.

Char-Broil has been changing that perception with their Performance TRU-Infrared gas grills.

We think the Char-Broil Performance TRU-Infrared 3-Burner Gas Grill is the best infrared grill for anyone on a budget.

You get 450 square inches of primary cooking area with 24,000 BTUs spread across three burners with a 10,000 BTU side burner to boot.

For warming, there is also a 150 square-inch warming rack which is porcelain coated, and swings away when not in use.

The grill itself performs well, reaching high temperatures with ease. Searing is a pleasure, as the heat is distributed evenly across the cooking plate.

The consistently good results you can achieve on this grill really do rival some of the more expensive competitors we’ve seen.

The lid and firebox stand are also porcelain coated for increased durability.

What we like:

  • Value for money – Infrared technology with plenty of cooking space at an affordable price point.
  • Straightforward assembly – Other than the side burner, installation is easy.
  • Easy Ignition – The electronic ignition system syncs all the burners to ensure they all light up at once.
  • Good mobility – This unit has a couple of large wheels, so you can move it around your patio with ease.
  • Use side burner for prep – The side burner has a fold-down lid so that it can also be used as an additional space for food prep.

What we don’t like:

  • The infrared plates on this unit can be difficult to clean – There are small holes in the infrared plates which can get bits of food stuck in them. Not only does this contribute to the difficulty in cleaning the grates but may lead to the odd flare up as these bits of food catch alight.
  • Gas bottle placement – is stored under the unit where other manufacturers may take advantage of the space for shelves.

This really is a matter of preference and placing the gas bottle here makes the unit compact and easy to move around, however you might prefer some shelves under the grill to store bottles and utensils. The two side shelves give you plenty of room for food prep in our opinion.

There are also some natural gas conversion kits available if that is important to you, just double check it’s compatible with the year you end up buying.

Overall, this is a great infrared grill, at an affordable price point. Aside from the difficult to clean infrared grates, this grill is well worth some consideration.

3. Bed Midrange – Victory 3 Burner Propane Gas Grill

Read our full Victory gas grill review.

One of the best options to get some infrared capability is a grill with a dedicated infrared side burner.

While many gas grills include a side burner, they often pack much lower BTUs and are better suited for warming sauce than searing a steak.

Not so with the Victory. You get the same 12,000 BTUs as the three main burners. It heats up quickly, and is perfect for searing a steak, or as an additional zone so you can cook at several different temperatures at once.

On the main grill, you get 464 square inches of main cooking space plus a 162 square inch warming rack.

The large pull-out grease tray makes cleanup easy, and there are four full-size castor wheels for easy movement.

What we like:

  • Stainless steel construction – Great durable construction shouldn’t rust or discolor over time.
  • Excellent heat output – Main grill provides nice even heat and gets hot fast. The infrared sideburner is perfect for getting the ultimate crust on your steaks.

What we don’t like:

  • Some installation difficulty – I found the included bolts for construction did not seat easily into the threads which made assembling a little difficult.

4. Best Steakhouse style – Schwank Portable Infrared Grill

Read our full Schwank review.

Most high-end steakhouses use a style of infrared grill where the heat comes from above and the chef adjusts a tray to control how close the meat gets to the heat.

Commercial models are too large and expensive for the average home cook, which is where the Schwank Inreared Grill comes in. It’s a portable model that is designed to be used at home.

The grill can get up to 1500°F, and sear a steak in a matter of minutes. The actual grill area of the rack is only 120 square inches, but that’s enough to fit multiple steaks and because of the fast cook times you could easily do a few batches.

There’s also a drip pan that doubles as a place to melt compound butter or cook vegetables.

You can adjust the grill tray position, and you’ll need to experiment with different levels to cook different-sized steaks. There is a sweet spot to get a great crust on the outside, while cooking to a perfect medium rare.

The Schwank is available in propane or natural gas configurations.

What we liked:

  • Insane heat for searing – Quickly pre-heats up to 1500°F which can cook a steak in minutes for that premium steakhouse taste.
  • Made in America – In a factory in Georgia that also produces infrared grills for restaurants
  • Easy to use – Just turn the knob and push down and wait a few minutes for the grill to heat up.

What we didn’t like:

  • Size – You’re limited to two large steaks at a time, although can always cook in batches.
  • Price tag – Difficult to justify unless you are a frequent steak eater.
  • Does not come with a stand – You’ll need to have an outdoor table to set it up.

5. Best Full Infrared – Saber Cast 500 32 3-Burner Infrared Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner

Our top choice the Napoleon Phantom Prestige gives you a rear infrared burner which is mainly used for the rotisserie function, and a side burner for searing, but the main grill burners are not infrared.

We think that configuration is great for most people, and the other features combine to make it our top choice. However, if you want to grill where the entire surface uses Infrared, then the Saber Cast 500 32 Inch 3 Burner is a great choice.

Saber has developed their own patented cooking system which uses infrared heat.

You get 500 square inches of primary grilling area plus an adjustable, enamel-coated 175 square inch warming rack can be folded down to keep foods warm or folded away to give you more space.

When it comes to durability, all burners, infrared emitters, side shelves, and cooking grates are made of 304 stainless steel.

This particular model also includes an 18,000 BTU side burner. The burner is dual control and offers you that extra spot on the grill for boiling, wok cooking or keeping food warm.

Like the Char-Broil reviewed above, the side burner has a lid so you can use it as a side shelf for extra prep area.

The Saber is very efficient, with the manufacturer claiming it will use up to 30% less propane than other propane grills. This unit can also easily be converted to a natural gas grill, with a conversion kit available.

The unit also comes with two halogen lights positioned inside the grill. This is ideal if you place your grill outside in an area with low lighting – you can still cook at night without needing to rig up an elaborate lighting system.

What we like:

  • Excellent build quality – Built from 304 stainless steel, this is a heavy, substantial grill that was built without cutting corners. There are no nuts or washers to rust because Saber has installed high quality rivets into each component which provides better engagement. This makes the grill nice and stable.
  • No flare-ups – The cooking grate and flame tamer design help to prevent flare-ups from overcooking your steak.
  • Straight-forward assembly – Just because the unit is quality, it does not mean it is complicated. Most people will find it quick and easy to assemble.
  • Simple clean up – Cleaning is not too much or an arduous task with these grills. They will clean up well with a grill brush or similar.

What we don’t like:

  • The thermometer isn’t great -This is standard on just about any grill, no matter how much you spend. In the case of the Saber, they are inaccurate, small and positioned in a spot that makes them hard to read.
  • The grill can get smoky – This is the case with most infrared grills. This is the trade-off for the lack of flare-ups, however.

If you like the sound of this grill but you want to save a little money, you can opt for powder-coated steel instead of stainless steel and save $300.

And if budget isn’t a concern, you could opt for the Saber Elite although the price makes our eyes water, for a three burner.

What Are Infrared Grills?

If you want to find in-depth information about infrared grills, we have a detailed break down that looks at if they are worth the cost. If you want a quick rundown though, read on to learn the essentials.

The word “infrared” refers to a method of heat transfer. On infrared grills, grill plates are designed to transfer heat into infrared radiation, and then cook the food.

uncooked meat and vegetables on the Schwank Infrared Grill
Infrared burners can be positioned like normal gas burners, or above the food in like the Schwank grill.

Some infrared grills like the Napoleon Prestige have one or two grill plates designed to transfer infrared heat, and might be called a ‘sear zone’ or something similar. Other grills are comprised solely of infrared grill plates.

Side infrared burner on the Napoleon prestige.

You might think this sounds very high tech, or you might even think it could be a health hazard.

In reality, the burning coals on a fire also emit infrared radiation. So cooking with infrared radiation has really been around as long as fire has. It just hasn’t been harnessed in a convenient and efficient way until recently.

How Do Infrared Grills Work?

Infrared radiation heats food when electromagnetic waves are emitted from the heated surface. These waves travel at the speed of light and in every direction, so they cook very efficiently and at incredibly high heat compared to other grilling methods.

On an infrared gas grill, the infrared plate is heated by the gas flame underneath the plate. The heat is then emitted off the plate as infrared radiation and cooks the food sitting above.

Infrared Pro’s:

  • Speed – These grills cook incredibly fast. They can reach 700°F in around 7 minutes.
  • Even heat – When you grill with infrared, there are no “hot spots” or “cool spots”.
  • Efficiency – Because these grills heat so fast and burn so hot, you can have your cooking done in a very short time.
  • Less flare ups – Some types of infrared burners are less likely to cause flare-ups due to the sheer intensity of the heat.
  • Easy to Clean – Those super high temps also make cleaning a breeze. Just crank up your infrared burner when you are done and any food left hanging on will be incinerated.

Con’s of infrared cooking:

  • Burns Easily – As you can imagine, such intense heat can end up burning your food if you don’t watch it carefully. When testing the Schwank we found we couldn’t use sweet rubs or marinades as the sugar would burn.
  • Less Versatility – Again, the intense heat limits your options. Generally, searing robust meats like beef is where infrared burners come into their own. For this reason, many grills will offer infrared as a “searing zone” with just one or two infrared burners rather than have these burners as your only option on the grill.
  • Adjustment Period – Using infrared is unlike any other type of cooking. For some, the first couple of times they fire one up, it all feels unfamiliar and perhaps a bit hard to control. If you can get past this adjustment period however, infrared cooking does have its place.

The best infrared grills are designed to take advantage of the pros while minimalizing the negatives

Should You Buy an Infrared Grill?

Infrared grills burn hot, sear better than any other type of grill and brown your meat evenly.

However they can be a bit of a one-trick pony when it comes to grilling – and that trick is searing.

While you are most likely to see infrared technology in the form of a ‘sear zone’ on a grill, you can get grills which use this technology in the cooking chamber as well, and this opens up a whole new area in which infrared technology is an appealing option.

If your burner has an infrared plate in the cooking chamber, the heat coming up from the gas is converted into infrared radiation.

This means that your food is being cooked by convection (the heat circulating within the oven) conduction (the heat from contact with the cooking grates) AND infrared radiation (coming up off the infrared plate).

In short, every last bit of that heat is going to be used up to cook your meat evenly and efficiently.

Compare that to a normal cooking chamber. Your food is cooked by convection and conduction only.

So yes, your food will still be cooked if you have a “normal” grill, and it will still be mighty tasty. But infrared cooking does have an edge.

But – infrared grills cost more. We’ve included the best budget infrared grill as well as some great more expensive options.

So while there are many advantages to owning an infrared grill, you need to consider your budget too.

Hacks to Turn Your Regular Grill into an ‘Infrared’ Grill

If your budget is tight, don’t despair. There are a couple of handy accessories on the market that can convert parts of your ordinary grill into infrared and give the best infrared grills a run for their money.

We found these infrared hacks suggested over on

Grill Grates

These interlocking grates amplify heat, prevent flare ups and sear your food really well. No they are not “infrared” technology, but they produce very similar results for a fraction of the cost.

To use these grates, just measure up your grill and buy the right sized grates. Simply take off your existing grates, replace them with the Grill Grates and enjoy great searing.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

Charcoal Grill for Searing

If you have a charcoal grill hanging around, put it to use!

For big cook ups when you have multiple things on the go, set up your charcoal grill on the side and sear you meat there.

Not only will it leave more space in your grill, but you will get much better results searing over charcoal than you will with other types of grill (aside from infrared, of course).

Griddle Pan

Whack your griddle pan on the grates of your barbecue or side burner, get it piping hot and coat it with just a little oil.

The superheated surface will make better contact with your meat and produce superior results for searing than you could expect from an ordinary grill.

Main Types of Infrared Grill

Deciding whether or not you would like to get an infrared grill is only half the story. Not only are there different types of infrared systems, there are also different infrared grill configurations.

First, let’s have a look at the different infrared systems that are on the market.

1. Ceramic Infrared Burner System

  • Generally this type of infrared system is for hot and fast cooking.
  • Most ceramic burners are at home around the 600-1000°F mark, which is great for searing, but they don’t offer much versatility.
  • Ceramic systems can be prone to flare ups, as the food sits close to the fame.

2. Heat Emitter System

  • These systems tend to be cheaper, but they will not produce the same high temperatures as other infrared systems.
  • Heat is produced from stainless steel tube burners, and then transferred to the food by a stainless steel heat emitting panel.
  • You can expect to reach temperatures between 300-650°F when using this type of burner.

3. TEC Systems

TEC is the name of a company which pioneered infrared cooking earlier on in its commercial history. A couple of the systems they manufacture include:

  • Stainless Steel IR Burner and Radiant Glass Panel – You can expect temperatures around 350-850°F from this style of burner. It is not prone to flare ups and will produce even heat across the cooking surface.
  • Stainless Steel Conversion Burner and Radiant Glass Panel – This system is basically a slightly improved, more robust version of the system mentioned above. You can expect to reach temperatures of 200-900°F with this system.

4. Hybrid Grills

One of the most popular ways to take advantage of infrared technology is with a hybrid grill.

These grills usually have one or two infrared plates only, and the rest of the grill uses a more conventional cooking system.

Generally, there are three configurations of hybrid grill:

  1. One Preinstalled Burner – One of the burners inside the grill is a permanently fixed infrared burner. You will usually find grills with this feature at a higher price point.
  2. Interchangeable Infrared Burner – This is a great option if you are after a slightly cheaper and more flexible option than a preinstalled burner. In this configuration, a regular convection barbecue comes with a seperate infrared burner that can be taken in and out as you need it.
  3. Sear Station Side Burner – If you don’t like the idea of taking up precious real estate inside your barbecue with an infrared plate, then you can opt for a “sear station”. This is a fixed infrared burner which is located on the outside of the grill.

Wrapping It Up

We have had a look at quite a few grills in this guide. For people on a budget we think the best choice is the Char-Broil Performance TRU Infrared 450 3-Burner Cart Liquid Propane Gas Grill.

If you are after more of a luxury grill, the Napoleon Phantom Prestige is an excellent option.

We hope you have found this article helpful. Do you have experience using infrared grills? Which one would you recommend?

Similar Posts