Different Types of Grills & Which One is Best to Use on a Boat

Different Types of Grills

For a safe, easy grilling and delicious food on your next trip out on the water, you need to find the right type of boat grill.  

In this post, we are going to introduce you to the main types of grills for boats: propane, charcoal, electric, and infrared grills. We’ll also go over some other important considerations when you are shopping for marine grills, and answer a few common questions. 

Grilling on a Boat

Which Type of Grill is Safest for Grilling on a Boat?

First things first. You cannot use just any old grill when you are cooking on a boat. The right kind of grill is one made specifically for marine use.

If you try to use a regular grill while boating, it may not be stable (there will probably be no way to mount it). Plus, it will not resist corrosion, so even if you did manage to somehow get away with using it, you would reduce its lifespan. Moreover, even taking it out on a boat would probably void your warranty.

A marine grill, on the other hand, is mountable, corrosion-resistant, produces less glare, and is safe to use on a moving deck. Plus, the warranty will cover it out on the water.

If you want to be fully equipped for your boat party, you might also be interested in The 10 Best Boat Coolers

Boat Grills by Fuel Source

Boat BBQ

An easy way to break down the different kinds of boat grills is according to their fuel sources. Here are your options.

  • Propane boat grills: Propane is a convenient source of fuel for boat grills, and you can adjust the flame to your needs. This makes propane boat grills some of the most popular options on the market.
  • Charcoal boat grills: If you prefer charcoal grilling for the flavors it produces, there is such a thing as a charcoal marine grill. Keep in mind that this is the least safe option, since the charcoal and ash may blow around and potentially pose a fire hazard, even on a wet deck. You need to mount this type of boat grill above the water to minimize this risk.
  • Electric boat grills: These types of boat grills are less common and more expensive than the others on this list. But if you have onboard AC power, they are worth considering.
  • Infrared boat grills: Infrared boat grills are actually a subset of propane marine grills. “Infrared” refers not to what powers them, but how they heat food. They apply infrared radiation, which means you do not need an open flame. Benefits include superior temperature control and an excellent safety profile.

Other Considerations When Choosing a Boat Grill

  • Size: Consider how much food you want to be able to cook at once as well as your intended mounting location when choosing marine grill dimensions.
  • Shape: The grill you buy for use on your boat will likely be either round or rectangular. The round shape is also known as a “kettle” shape. While round grills do a nice job deflecting wind, rectangular grills give you more room to work with.
  • Mounting options: Check to see whether you get mounting hardware with your purchase, or if you have to buy it separately. Make sure that the grill you are considering can mount where you need it.

You should also compare materials, construction, ease of installation, ease of cleaning, and cooking capabilities when assessing products. Check out our favorite pontoon boat grills and learn more about these buying considerations in our in-depth guide.