Grilling is a lot more pleasant—and your results will be more professional—if you have a set of grill tools that do their jobs well. Unfortunately, a lot of them are flimsy, poorly designed, or gimmicky. We’ve spent over 65 hours researching and testing more than 90 different tools—from tongs to thermometers to chimney starters—to find the best. If you’re also shopping for the grill itself, check out our guides to the best charcoal, gas, pellet, and portable grills.
To test these tools, we gathered four cooking and grilling experts to combine forces at a backyard-grilling boot camp: Wirecutter senior staff writers Tim Heffernan, Lesley Stockton, and Michael Sullivan and New York Times assistant managing editor Sam Sifton (founding editor of NYT Cooking).
Over the course of four days, we cooked more than 100 burgers, 20 chickens, and 10 pounds of vegetables on nine different grills. We discussed the usability, quality, durability, and price of every tool, and we’re confident that our picks will be top performers throughout grilling season.
You might notice the absence of grilling sets in this guide. They’re popular, but we’ve found that the tools in such sets are usually of substandard quality and poorly designed. We think the smart money is on buying only what you need, choosing tools of top quality, instead of paying for low-quality extras that inevitably turn into clutter.