When you’re out on the boat on a sunny day, feeling the breeze blowing by, smelling the salt air, maybe catching a few fish… you’re going to need something to eat! Do you really want to open those sandwich bags and eat cold cuts? No! You want something grilled, fresh!
Boat grills are fundamentally different than backyard barbecue grills. They need to be much more robustly built, as they need to handle the marine environment. They also need to be powered easily and need to be safe to use while the boat is rocking.
You’ll need a specialized boat grill for your boat. We’ve gone through eight of the best boat grills around and reviewed each carefully. In this article we’ll look at all of them, and also go through all the details of the buying process in our Buyer’s Guide.
Let’s start with the best boat grill: the Camco Olympian 5500.
Best Boat Grill
Our Top Pick: Camco 57305 Olympian 5500 Stainless Steel Grill
Key Points at a Glance
- Quick-connect hose and valves
- Comes with a mounting bracket
- No need for assembly
- Cooking Area: 180 sq. inch
- 12,000 BTU heat output
Our number one choice, the best boat grill, is the Olympian 550 from Camco. It offers the most value for money out of any product on this list. While it may not be the most expensive gas boat grill that we looked at, the Olympian 5500 offers the best combination of build quality and price out of all of them.
Its excellent value makes this grill an attractive choice for both first-time users and veteran boat grillers. This propane gas boat grill is compatible with 1, 5, and 20-pound propane canisters. And it comes equipped with quick-connect valves and a quick-connect hose so that you can get it set up fast!
This boat grill features four folding legs that allow it to be placed on the deck, but it also comes included with a mounting bracket that can be used to connect it to your boat’s railing. The push-button piezo-electric starter ensures that you can get the grill running with ease, and it’s designed to last for up to 20,000 ignitions.
With a thermal output rating of 12,000 BTU and a cooking surface that’s 180 square inches in area, this gas boat grill provides an excellent amount of direct heat. To improve this grill’s safety, it’s equipped with an emergency shut-off valve that will prevent fuel from escaping if the hose is accidentally removed.
This grill’s stainless steel construction helps make it more durable and also ensures that it’s not vulnerable to corrosion. Overall, this grill is a simple and reliable choice that can be found for a very reasonable price.
It is the best boat grill available. You’ll be a marine gourmet in no time!
- Connects to low pressure propane supply on RV
- Includes mounting bracket for hanging on RV...
- Quick connect hose and quick connect valve...
- Quick and easy to set up for 180 square inches of...
- 12,000 BTU/HR; Designed for use with your RV’s...
Key Points at a Glance
- Mounting equipment not included
- Windproof burner
- Propane grill
- Uses a radiant plate for heat distribution
- Cooking Area: 226 sq. in.
Magma’s Marine Kettle is our runner-up pick for the best boat grill, and it is an outstanding choice for marine cooking. It has been specifically designed for use aboard a boat, and is propane-powered.
Made of stainless steel, this gas boat grill is resistant to damage and corrosion, which are two qualities that are integral in any boat grill.
The air-cooled, heat-resistant handles will always remain cool, and the grill is designed to prevent blowouts, even in extreme wind conditions. Thanks to the radiant plate heating system, this boat grill can efficiently distribute heat to ensure that food is cooked as uniformly as possible.
This is a gourmet grill that can really produce high-quality food.
There are two size formats available, at 15″ diameter and a 17″ diameter grill. Mounting legs are available, though they are extra. This has a large cooking area, though it is circular which can be a bit more difficult to navigate than a square or rectangular cooking surface.
These are designed to fit into fishing rod holders, which makes for a super-easy mounting system in many cases.
- Made of 100% 18-9 mirror polished stainless steel...
- Hinged lid won't slam shut and has a "stay cool"...
- Swiveling, windproof turbo venturi & control valve...
- Before lighting the indexed bowl and lid may be...
- Uses both radiant and convection cooking with...
Best Budget: Flame King RV Or Trailer Mounted BBQ
Key Points at a Glance
- Cooking area: 214 sq. in.
- Can be mounted or stand freely
- Retainer pins keep it secure while mounted
- Propane grill
If you’re on a budget, a boat grill doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. And there are plenty of convenient options to choose from, like this model from Flame King. This boat grill features a mounting bracket that is designed for an RV but can also be used on your boat if you don’t have enough deck space for a standing model.
If you find that the mount is incompatible with your boat, it can also be rearranged so that the grill stands on its own, giving you the best of both worlds. Despite its relatively compact dimensions, this grill features 214 square inches of cooking area, allowing you to make a surprisingly hefty meal.
There is even an upper grill deck where you can keep things warm. The mount also features locking pins that will help keep it secure, ensuring that it can’t fall and become a potential fire hazard. Assembling this grill is also relatively straightforward, as the instruction manual provides you with a detailed guide.
While this boat grill’s performance may not match some of the most expensive products on this list, it features excellent build quality, and it cooks a lot more consistently than many other budget boat grills.
The Flame King is our budget pick among the best boat grills.
- RV/TRAILER COMPATIBLE - Flame King’s BBQ and...
- COMPLETE GRILLING STATION - This incredibly...
- MOUNTABLE or FREE STANDING – The hanging rack...
- SECURE - Designed with locking retainer pins to...
- PLEASE NOTE - To pair this Grill with the RVs...
Best Electric Grill: Magma Cabo Grill
Key Points at a Glance
- Requires a 120V outlet
- Folding legs
- Stainless steel construction
- Cooking area: 162 sq. in.
If an electric boat grill sounds convenient to you and you have the power on your vessel to support one, the best option that you have at your disposal is the Magma Cabo. This high-quality electric grill is more expensive than the competition, but it makes up for it with its superior degree of user-friendliness.
Made of stainless steel, this grill features durability and corrosion resistance in equal measure, making it ideally suited for use on the waves. With a grilling surface of 162 square inches, this model is a little more compact than some of its competitors, so we’d only recommend it for use with smaller groups.
The boat grill also features folding legs, though it’s recommended that you don’t deploy the legs if you’ll be cooking on a boat. This model even features plastic handles that don’t conduct as much heat as metal ones, ensuring that you can always handle the grill, even if it’s been hot for some time.
We cannot stress enough that you’ll need a 120V outlet on your boat to use this grill, so be sure to check your electric outlets before investing in this model. Ease of use is this grill’s main strength thanks to its electric power source, though that also raises the price noticeably.
- 100% Mirror Polished Stainless Steel, for lasting...
- 9 inch x 18 inch or 162 square inch grilling...
- Fold-Away legs, perfect for that quick picnic...
- Oversized, balanced, lockable lid won't slam shut...
- Durable heat resistant all weather plastic handle...
Best Rail Mount: Extreme Marine Products Cuisinart Grill Modified for Pontoon Boat
Key Points at a Glance
- Brackets compatible with 1.5” railing
- Cooking area: 145 sq. in.
If space on your boat is at a premium and you want to be able to mount your grill directly to the railing, Extreme Marine Products has you covered. While this may look like a Cuisinart grill, it has been modified with brackets that attach to 1.25” boat railings, allowing the grill to be securely mounted to them.
The brackets have been designed to be easy to install and remove, and they won’t scratch the railing for as long as they are installed. The grill can also be used separately from the mounting point if you unscrew the four knobs on the underside, and it’s just as easy to reattach it when you’re done.
The grill itself is made out of stainless steel for resistance to the elements, and it features a locking lid for easier transportation. With a weight of 18 pounds, this grill is relatively heavy for its size, but it features solid construction that is sure to last longer than some of its competitors.
Installation is relatively simple, but make sure that you remove the brackets and flip them so that the grill isn’t tilted towards the water. Overall, we were impressed by the brilliant design of the mounting and the quality of the grill.
- Mounts to 1.25" OPEN square Pontoon Boat Railing /...
- Very Easy - Brackets come pre-installed in the box...
- NEW** Search "ARNALLS GRILL BRACKET" to see our...
- Cuisinart Petit Grill has 145 square inches of...
- Grill is customized to work with Arnall's Grill...
Boat Grill Buyer’s Guide
Who Should Buy a Boat Grill?
You may be wondering who the ideal customer for a boat grill would be, and the answer is anyone who likes to use their boat frequently. For example, anglers who regularly head out on the water with a group of friends can benefit from a boat grill, as they won’t have to rely on pre-made, chilled, or shelf-stable foods throughout the day.
While eating heavily salted and preserved foods every so often isn’t terrible for your health, if you fish at least twice a week, it’s essential to make sure that you’re eating plenty of good food. As an added benefit, if you’re not just fishing to catch and release, you can eat your catches right after gutting them, fresh out of the water.
If your fishfinder is on fire, and you’re catching up a storm, grilling fresh fish can be an amazing experience!
Of course, fishers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from bringing along a boat grill when they take their vessel out on the waves. Even if you’re just boating around for fun with your family, you’ll be able to bring along steaks, sausages, or assorted vegetables that you can cook directly on your boat.
Even if you’re a solo boater, a compact boat grill can help add some much-needed variety to your meals. Of course, in some cases, you may want to avoid buying a boat grill as it may present too much of a hazard for your boat. For example, boats that have very little deck space or don’t have a rigid area to position the grill are not suitable.
Boat grills should also be kept away from flammable substances, including fuel, especially on gasoline-powered vessels. If your boat has been sitting with fuel in its tank for a long time, always take the proper precautions to ventilate the fuel fumes before starting the grill, as you may be seriously injured otherwise.
Provided that you position and use it responsibly, a boat grill can open up a lot of possibilities for you when you’re out on the waves.
Important Features to Consider
The first thing that you need to look for when buying your new boat grill is how the heat is generated. There are three options, and charcoal is the first, and least popular of them due to how heavy it is and how much cleanup it requires.
Electric power is in the middle when it comes to popularity, and it is an excellent choice if you have a boat with a suitable outlet. Finally, propane is the most popular source of power for boat grills due to its convenience, though keep in mind that the canisters are relatively heavy and unwieldy.
BTUs and Surface Area
The effectiveness of your grill will depend on its BTU output and the amount of grilling area that it features. Many first-time buyers make the mistake of only looking at BTUs, but the heat output of a grill is a useless figure if you don’t know how much area it needs to be spread over.
A larger area will require more BTUs to heat efficiently, though keep in mind that most boat grills will be relatively compact, so they often won’t be anywhere near as powerful as home grills. As you’d expect, more surface area allows you to cook more things at once, meaning that you can cook for more people without having to resort to two batches.
Legs or Mounting Brackets
There are two main ways to install boat grills on your vessel, and the most straightforward option is a set of legs. A grill with legs will require a clear, rigid part of your boat’s deck to rest on, and the surface will need to be able to resist heat so that it doesn’t become a fire hazard.
If you don’t have enough room on the deck of your boat or if you would like to position the grill on one of the railings, then you’ll want a boat grill that comes with mounting brackets. This will allow you to place the grill in an easily accessible position, yet still out of the way.
The most user-friendly boat grills will feature piezo-electric starters that will be able to get the flame started at the push of a button. This means that you won’t have to fumble around with matches in the wind so that you can get the grill started, which is essential if it’s going to be used on a boat.
Cylinder Compatibility (for Propane Grills)
If you’re planning on purchasing a boat grill that uses propane, then you’ll want to see what kinds of cylinders it’s compatible with. Most top products will be compatible with 1-pound, 5-pound, and 20-pound cylinders, and that provides you with some flexibility.
Also, pay close attention to the valves that are used to connect the propane canister to the grill. Quick-connect valves and hoses will make your life a lot easier, especially if you’re trying to swap out the cylinder after it runs out while food is cooking.
If you’re planning on using a grill on your boat, you’ll need enough space so that you can cook comfortably, and it will need to be portable enough to be brought onto your boat in the first place. The dimensions and the weight of your boat grill are some of the most important characteristics to consider.
Before you even start searching for the best grill, you’ll want to measure out a space on your boat where you plan on positioning it. You’ll typically want to buy a grill that’s an inch or two smaller than that size, as that will give you a suitable margin of error if the grill ends up being a little bulkier than expected.
If you want to cook well, you’ll need a grill that has an adequate degree of temperature control, and that’s surprisingly hard to find. There are many poor-quality grills where the temperature will only shift within the last 10% of the dial’s range of rotation, going from too cold to scorching hot, making it nearly impossible to cook.
Being able to select a precise temperature with a grill is always going to be a challenge, but you at least need some degree of control over it. The quality of the dials is also essential, as you’ll want them to rotate smoothly since that will make it easier to select the perfect temperature for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any safety precautions to follow before using a grill on my boat?
On any motorboat, even one which doesn’t have a grill on it, you should already have a fire extinguisher within quick reach. This is doubly true for those powered by gasoline. When grilling on your boat, always have a fire extinguisher within easy reach in case something goes wrong.
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll also want to keep the boating grill clear of any hazards, such as fuel or the motor of your boat. Also, the boat should always be stationary and ideally anchored before you start the grill, as it’s hazardous to start it while the boat is underway. And it will also diminish the grill’s ability to heat the food evenly.
And as always, you want a Marine VHF Radio in case of emergency.
Do propane boat grills come with gas tanks?
If you’re planning on buying a propane grill, you’ll need to get your own tanks to fill up. Thankfully, most stores that offer propane will also sell tanks, and you can even purchase a variety of different sizes, depending on how much you’ll be cooking and how portable you’ll need the gas to be.
What else can I use my boat grill for?
Keep in mind that boat grills are versatile products, especially if they’re equipped with legs instead of brackets. They can be used on camping trips or even with your RV, allowing you to cook fresh meals nearly anywhere, even if it isn’t boating season.
How do I dispose of ash from my charcoal grill?
While the simplest course of action would be to dump your ash directly in the water, this may be considered littering, and it may lessen the quality of the water for swimmers. Thankfully, charcoal ash is typically little more than carbon, making it extremely biodegradable.
We would recommend pouring water over your ash to ensure that it has cooled off completely and has no chance of starting a fire. Once you’ve done this, dig up a small hole into which you can dispose of the ash and then cover it again.
Other Products We Looked At:No products found.
The next grill we’re looking at is the the CGG-306 from Cuisinart. It features a similar price and design when compared to our top choice, though it has a few minor differences. This twin-burner grill features a total output of 20,000 BTU and a cooking surface of nearly 277 square inches, making it a better option for larger meals.
If you’re having a boating party, crank up the marine stereo and start cooking away!
This grill is made entirely out of stainless steel, so you won’t have to worry about it rusting. Keep in mind that its steel construction makes this grill relatively heavy, as it weighs 22 pounds. Powered by propane, this model is only compatible with 20-pound tanks, so it loses a few points due to its lack of versatility.
The inclusion of a thermometer dial on the top cover of this grill allows you to keep a close eye on the temperature while your food cooks. If you notice that it’s too high or too low, you can adjust the flame with the two control knobs on the front face of the CGG-306.
If you want a high-quality grill and you’re looking for something a little larger than our winning choice, this model from Cuisinart is an excellent runner up.
Key Points at a Glance
- Total output of 20 000 BTU from two burners
- Integrated thermometer
- Just under 277 square inches of cooking area
No products found.
Another budget boating grill, this model from Kuuma features corrosion-resistant construction and a 160 square-inch cooking surface that helps keep it as portable as possible. Constructed of marine-grade stainless steel, this Kuuma grill is surprisingly durable for its reasonable price point, improving its value for money.
Keep in mind that this grill is designed only for use with charcoal, so it suffers a bit when it comes to convenience, as you’ll have to bring along a bag of it. Cleaning out the grill is also a bit of a challenge, as is common with charcoal grills, but its small size makes it easy to maneuver so that you can get all of the ash out.
The handle on top of this grill is also cooled so that you can handle it without burning yourself, even when it’s cooking. Unfortunately, this grill is just a little too expensive to have been the winner in our budget category, and the need for charcoal also lost it a few points.
Key Points at a Glance
- Runs on charcoal
- 160 square inches of cooking area
- Made of marine-grade stainless steel
Next, we have yet another grill from Kuuma, but this one is quite a bit more expensive than the previous model. The Stow ‘N Go 316 is a gas-powered grill, making it quite a bit more convenient than its charcoal-powered sibling, and it comes with a few other features that help make it more user-friendly.
The piezo-electric ignition system ensures that you’re always able to get the grill started with ease, and there is even a thermometer that will allow you to keep track of the temperature. Equipped with a stay-cool handle, you also won’t have to worry about accidentally burning yourself when you reach for the grill.
Unfortunately, this product is held back by its high price point, which makes it a less attractive option than some of the other propane grills on this list, despite its excellent build quality.
Key Points at a Glance
- Features a warming rack
- Equipped with a piezo-electric igniter
- Stay-cool handle
A grill can be a convenient way to cook while you’re out on the water, but it should be so hard to choose the best one for your money. Instead of blindly purchasing a grill and hoping that it will work well, it’s always best to be an informed buyer.
We hope that our reviews have been able to help you select the right boat grill for your needs.
In the end, the best boat grill is the Olympian 5500 by Camco, followed by the Magma Marine Grill.