The 4 Best Pontoon Boat Grills To Buy in 2018 [Buyer’s Guide]

The 4 Best Pontoon Boat Grills To Buy in 2018 [Buyer's Guide]

By James Moore   -   Last Updated on Jun 1, 2018 @ 3:01 pm

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Finding a good pontoon boat grill can be hard — if you don't know where to look.

Luckily, you're in the right place.

After comparing over 15 different boat grills, I found only a handful that were worth the money.

Here are some of the results:

  • Best Overall Boat Grill - Solaire SOL-IR17MWR
  • Most Popular Boat Grill - Weber Q1200
  • Most Convenient Boat Grill - Cuisinart Grill with Arnall's Grill Bracket Set

And here's a quick summary of each grill:

NameFuelMaterialBTUGrilling SurfacePriceWarranty?
Solaire SOL-IR17MWRPropaneType-316 stainless steel14,000140 sq. inches$$$
Weber Q1200PropaneAluminum8,500189 sq. inches$$
Newport 2 Gourmet SeriesPropane18-9 mirror polished stainless steel11,200162 sq. inches$$$
Magma Marine KettlePropane/Charcoal18-9 mirror polished stainless steel10,700227 sq. inches$$
Cuisinart GrillPropaneAluminum5,500145 sq. inches$$

I'll review these grills below in more detail and provide some useful info... so make sure you read until the end.

Let's get cookin'!

Gas or Charcoal?

A common question that gets asked is, "Should I get a gas or charcoal grill?"

The answer is easy. Propane 100%.

Here's why it's the best type of boat grill:

Benefits of Propane

  • Heats up fast.
  • Safe to use. Heat will always rise up and away from your boat.
  • You're able to adjust the temperature.
  • Easy to clean up.

Charcoal grills can be messy and can take a while for the coal to heat up and cool down.

Even worse, charcoal grills are more dangerous.

A hot piece of charcoal can drop onto the cockpit or deck of your boat, increasing the risk of a fire starting.

By getting a gas grill, you save yourself from any future headaches a charcoal grill would cause. You also save money by avoiding potential damages to the boat.

What to Consider When Getting A Boat Grill

  • Price

    Cheaper grills tend to be around $70, while high-end grills can cost upwards of $500. I generally like to pay more for a grill since it’ll last longer and perform better.

  • Material

    Your grill should be made from a material that is durable and resilient to external factors. For example, stainless steel is a great material because it’s easy to clean and resistant to corrosion.

  • Grilling Surface Size

    The size of the grilling surface is important because that’s what determines how much food you can cook at one time. If you plan on having lots of people on your boat, you’ll need a grill with a larger grilling surface. If it’ll only be a handful of people, then a smaller grilling surface would work better.

  • Windy Conditions

    Strong winds can make a pontoon boat grill pretty much useless. Grills that can still perform well in windy conditions are ones you’ll want to get.

  • Weight

    If you’ll be moving your grill from place to place often, consider getting a grill that isn’t too heavy. Sure you might compromise size, but your back will thank you for it.

  • Replacement Parts

    If your grill breaks down, you’ll need to buy replacement parts in order to fix it. The easier it is to get replacement parts, the faster you will be able to fix your grill.

Boat Grill Accessories You'll Need

In addition to buying a boat grill, there are some accessories you'll need to grab to get the most out of your grill.

Grill Mount - The most important accessory you'll need is a grill mount. Mounts are great because you can attach your grill to a rail and adjust it so that it's over the water.

The drippings from your food will land in the water instead of your boat, so you don't have to worry about cleaning up the mess.

It's also useful if you have any kids running around, because the grill will be out of harm's way.

Grill Cover - When you're not using your grill, having a grill cover is a must. Rain, dust, snow, and anything else could potentially get on your grill and damage it.

Getting a cover will prevent any damage and allow your grill to last as long as possible.

Grill Brush - To maintain the quality of your grill, you'll have to clean your grill rates. This is where a grill brush comes in handy.

Any residue hanging around on the grate can be cleaned by a brush. Make sure it's not a wire brush, since they can cause damage to your grill.

Breaking It Down

I gathered the data of as many marine bbq grills as possible to see how they stacked up against each other.

This was useful as it allowed me to weed out the underperforming grills and find the grills most likely to perform well.

I took into consideration factors such as user satisfaction and heat performance, which I'll go into more in-depth.

User Satisfaction

User satisfaction should be one of the most important factors to consider when getting a grill.

This is where reviews come in handy.

The problem is that sometimes reviews are fake in order to make a company's product seem better than it actually is.

I used a review analyzer to see if there were any grills that I should be wary of. For those interested in using this, go to ReviewMeta and paste the link of the Amazon product you're interested in.

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Click "Go", and ReviewMeta will spit out a report, providing a rating for the product listed. The better the rating, the less likely the reviews are to be dishonest.

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I ran each grill through ReviewMeta, and wrote down the rating provided. You can see the results in the table below, sorted by the ReviewMeta rating.

Two grills (Dickinson and Kuuma) had N/A for ratings because there weren't enough quality reviews.

The other grills listed had reviews that were considered fairly trustworthy.

Reviews don't tell the whole story, however. Often times, people who are happy with a product don't write a review.

This is why I ended up getting suggestions from people who had boat grills to see what their experiences were like. I took note of every grill suggested to see which grills were mentioned the most.

After going through 28 responses, this was the result:

Weber grills were the most recommended (11 people), followed by the Marine Kettle (5 people), the Magma Newport 2 (4 people), and the Solaire (3 people).

It's not too surprising that Weber was the most popular. They're well-known in the grilling community for creating high-quality grills.

I then decided to look at the heating capabilities of each grill to see how they compared.

Bringing the Heat

The data below shows the BTU and the grilling surface size of each grill listed.

As you can see, the Solaire had the highest BTU (14,000) and the Cuisinart had the lowest BTU (5,500).

In terms of size, the Smoke Hollow 205 had the largest grilling surface (305 square inches) and the Magma A10-801 Trailmate had the smallest grilling surface (108 square inches).

But the higher the BTU, the hotter the grill, right?

Not quite.

People often forget to take the size of the grilling surface into account when talking about BTU.

The larger the grilling surface, the higher the BTU needs to be in order to produce the same results.

For example, a large grill with a BTU of 10,000 is less powerful than a small grill with the same BTU.

Here's where it gets interesting:

Using the information above, I made a scatter plot showing the relationship between the BTU and the grilling surface of each grill.

Without a doubt we can say that the Solaire is the most powerful. It has one of the smallest grilling surface areas while having the highest BTU.

However, the data gets a bit difficult to decipher after that. To make it easier to understand, I divided the BTU by the grilling surface so that we could see the BTU per square inch for each grill.

This is what we get:

Phew, that's much better.

An interesting note is that even though the Cuisinart had the lowest BTU, it had a higher BTU per square inch than the Smoke Hollow 205 and the Giantex.

Warranty

Another factor I looked at was whether or not the grill had a warranty. If a grill doesn't have some sort of warranty, that's a red flag in my eyes. If you buy a product that breaks because of a manufacturing flaw, you deserve to have the company cover that.

I went through every grill on the list and checked if a warranty was offered or not. I found some sort of warranty online for each grill except for the Giantex grill.

Narrowing Down The Choices

Using all of the data collected + my personal experience with the grills, I narrowed down the list of grills to the ones that were most likely to perform at a high level.

There were four grills that really stood out: The Solaire, Weber Q1200, Newport 2 Gourmet Series, and the Marine Kettle.

These grills have been in the market for a while, all have warranties, and all had high user satisfaction.

Before I review these four grills more in-depth, let's first touch up on the factors you need to consider before making a purchase.

Solaire SOL-IR17MWR


A high-end salt-water resistant grill that uses infrared technology

View At Amazon

Reasons To Buy:

  • Stainless steel
  • Spacious
  • Infrared technology
  • Made in the USA

Reasons To Avoid:

  • Pricey
  • Smaller grilling surface size

Summary


If budget isn't an issue, then the Solaire SOL-IR17MWR (also known as the Solaire Anywhere Marine) is by far the best boat grill you can get.

For starters, the grill is made from Type-316 stainless steel. Type-316 steel contains something called molybdenum, which makes the grill more resistant to salt-water than other types of steel.

Another reason why this grill is great is because of how fast it can heat up. The infrared burner takes 3 minutes to properly heat up. That's it.

The Solaire also uses a V-grate, which is beneficial for a couple reasons. The first is that it minimizes the risk of flare-ups, allowing your food to cook properly.

The second is that the V-grate controls the drippings onto the burner. The drippings incinerate, which creates smoke that provides more flavor to the food you're cooking.

In terms of fuel, this grill uses one-pound propane bottles, which are not included. The grill also gives you the option of using natural gas or larger propane tanks, although you'll have to buy the conversion kit and/or adapter hose separately.

There are some cons I should mention.

The grill has a smaller grilling surface than most of the other grills on this list (140 square inches). This won't be a problem if you don't need to cook for a ton of people at one time.

The price may also be an issue for some, although I think based on what this grill can do, it's worth every penny.

Grill Mount

You can also purchase a boat mount for the Solaire. In order for this to work, you'll need to purchase a magma mount.

Solaire sells only a mount adapter plate, which is linked here. The website lists which mounts work with the adapter plate, so take a look at that before buying the mount.


Weber Q1200


A high-quality grill that has minimal hotspots and is easy to use.

View At Amazon

Reasons To Buy:

  • Minimal hotspots
  • Trusted brand
  • Reasonable price

Reasons To Avoid:

  • Body and lid not made from stainless steel

Summary


The Weber grill was the second best grill on this list.

As we saw earlier, there were many people who recommended a Weber grill.

These grills rarely have hotspots and are easy to use.

Now a lot of you are probably wondering what the difference is between the Weber Q1200 and the Weber Q1000.

They're both essentially the same grill as they both have a BTU of 8500 and a grilling surface size of 189 square inches.

The only real difference is that the Weber Q1000 does not have the side tables. If you don't want the side tables, the Q1000 would work just as well.

Now let's take a look at the cons. One of my only concerns with this grill is that body and the lid of the grill is made from aluminum.

As I mentioned before, stainless steel is much better at dealing with corrosion than aluminum is. So the Weber in my opinion wouldn't be considered a true marine grill.

However, if you're able to clean the grill after each use and keep it covered, you shouldn't have much of a problem with corrosion.


Magma Marine Kettle

A stainless steel grill that's compact, easy to clean, and energy-efficient

View AT Amazon

Reasons To Buy:

  • Stainless steel
  • Compact and built very well
  • Portable
  • Easy to clean

Reasons To Avoid:

  • Hotspots

Summary


I love the Magma Marine Kettle because of how compact and convenient it is. It has a unique design that makes it appealing to look at.

There are two slightly different models, the A10-205 and the A10-215. The A10-205 has a 15 inch diameter, and the A10-215 has a 17 inch diameter.

I prefer larger grills to smaller ones, so I'd recommend getting the A10-215. You can cook more food at once, and you save yourself some time.

These bad boys use a single burner that puts out a BTU of about 10,700. The grill will do a great job cooking most foods, making it the perfect option if you're looking for something well-rounded.

However, if you're more of a steak connoisseur and need something high-end, the Solaire is probably a better choice.

Side View

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Front View

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There are a few things right off the bat that were impressive to me about this grill.

First off is that it's made from 18-9 mirror polished stainless steel.

What does that mean?

It's just a fancy way of saying there is 18% chromium and 9% nickel in the steel.

A high amount of chromium means more protection from rust. A high amount of nickel means more resistance to corrosion.

Why is this important?

Water causes metal to rust, and this grill will be around water all the time. It's inevitable that some water will get on it. Having stainless steel means it won't rust as easily and it will last longer.

Stainless steel means the grill is fairly easy to clean. Crappy models aren't usually made with stainless steel, and those things are a pain to clean.

The grill also has a grease catch pan/wind baffle so that the heat and grease stay in the grill and the wind stays out.

I did find that even with this, grease can still get out from time to time. Didn't bother me too much though.

The grill also uses a combination of radiant and convection cooking to heat the food. This is so that the grill heats up fast while using as little fuel as possible.

The radiant plate allows for an even distribution of heat, while avoiding flare up.

Note: These grills are also fire tested for quality assurance. This is why the burner on the grill may be discolored when you first get it.

Grill Mount

Magma offers a variety of mounts depending on your preference. A popular one for the marine kettle is the "Locking Flush Deck Socket Mount."

It's sturdy, easy to mount, and has 6 places where you can lock it into position.



Newport 2 Gourmet Series


A stainless steel grill that's compact, easy to clean, and energy-efficient

View At Amazon

Reasons To Buy:

  • Stainless steel
  • Compact
  • Easy to clean
  • Front storage table

Reasons To Avoid:

  • Heating issues in windier conditions

Summary


The Newport 2 Gourmet Series is another portable grill manufactured by Magma.

The Newport 2 has one burner that has a BTU output of 11,200.

Similar to the Magma Marine Kettle, this grill's exterior is made from 18-9 marine grade mirror polished stainless steel. The interior is made from 100% 18-8 stainless steel.

The grilling area is 9 inches x 18 inches, or 162 square inches. For some perspective, any U.S. bill is about 6 inches long. Three of those would give you the length of the grill.

It also has a front access grease tray that can be latched. This is to prevent it from moving around when the grill is being moved.

There is a tempered glass viewing window so that you can see how the food looks without having to lift up the lid.

Side View

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Front View

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It has an oversized lid that's lockable, so you won't have to worry about it slamming shut abruptly because of a gust of wind.

The grill also comes with sectional grates that are easy to fit in a dishwasher or sink.

If you're worried about blowouts, the Newport 2 comes with anti blow-out screens. To reduce flare-outs, the grill has an inner-lined safety shell to effectively funnel grease to the grease tray.

For fuel, this grill uses a standard one pound disposable propane canister.

The control/valve regulator is able to swivel, which makes replacing propane casters faster and easier.

Some other features include fold-away legs and an airtight sealed thermometer.


The Bottom Line


How large and how often you use your grill will determine how much you spend.

No matter what grill you get, always make sure replacement parts are easy to find and purchase. This will make your life easier if anything goes wrong.

The Solaire is the best possible boat grill you could get.

The grill was essentially made to be on a boat with its high resistance to corrosion. That being said, it is expensive.

For most people, the Weber Q1200 is the best choice. It's been tried and tested for several years, and it cooks food well.

What do you think? Do you agree with our list? Would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

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