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Barbecues to avoid buying

The best barbecues have a cracking cooking performance and are easy to use – here are the duds that failed to impress. 

Last updated: 05 December 2023

Need to know

  • Our experts tested more than 40 barbecues from leading brands including Weber, Everdure by Heston Blumenthal, Jumbuck, Matador and more
  • We test how well they cook things such as steak, sausages and whole chickens, as well as how easy they are to use and clean
  • Become a CHOICE member to see full reviews and compare products

If you love to cook and entertain alfresco, you'll need a great barbecue that won't let you down.

Whether you're looking for a mammoth four-burner beast to feed a crowd at your weekend parties, a small, lightweight barbecue for easy weeknight grills, or perhaps you want to give glorious smoked brisket a whirl, your perfect match is out there.

Our expert testers have put a batch of the latest brands through their paces to help you buy the best barbecue that suits your needs and budget. 

Not all BBQs are created equal

Unsurprisingly, there are some models that impress more than others in our extensive, independent testing of barbecues.  

Our expert barbecue tester Fiona Mair says, "Barbecues are one of those appliances that I find you generally get what you pay for. 

"There are a range of different features that can contribute to a hefty price tag, and you may find that a bargain barbecue won't last as long as a pricier model. Look for a barbecue with a solid construction that uses quality materials, as they'll be out in the elements a lot."

Look for a barbecue with a solid construction that uses quality materials, as they'll be out in the elements a lot

CHOICE barbecue tester Fiona Mair

Whichever model you buy, how you look after it will play a part in how long it lasts.

"Make sure your barbecue goes the distance by looking after it properly, including cleaning it after every use and keeping it covered and stored out of the elements when not in use," says Fiona. 

We don't want you to end up with a dud buy, so here are the products that scored lowest in our lab tests. Consider becoming a CHOICE member to see the best performers.


The George Foreman BBQ Grill: not the knockout you'd hope.

George Foreman Easy To Clean Indoor/Outdoor BBQ Grill

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 42%
  • Cooking performance score: 39%
  • Price: $160

Oh George, perhaps you should have stuck to boxing. Despite proclaiming in the product's very title that this model is easy to clean, our testers didn't agree, giving it a score of just 60% for ease of cleaning. It also performed poorly overall. 

The only good point our testers noted is that it's "easy to assemble". 

Become a member or log in to read the full barbecue review

ziegler brown ziggy electric grill bbq zg1e240

We suggest *not* getting Ziggy with it.

Ziegler & Brown Ziggy Electric Grill BBQ

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 51%
  • Cooking performance score: 48%
  • Price: $499

It may be cute on the outside, but it's what's inside that counts – and there's not much to commend this electric grill on in that regard. 

It botched our roasting test, which assesses how well a barbecue cooks a whole chicken, leaving our testers with raw, inedible chicken – not something you want to serve up to your guests. It was also rated as "Poor" for cooking sausages, again producing slightly raw meat after the average cooking time. 

"Unfortunately with this barbecue being electric, it's unable to maintain the high temperature needed to cook a roast chicken or barbecue thick sausages when the hood is closed," says Fiona. 

Potential food poisoning isn't the only way it could affect your health: it may drive up your blood pressure because it's so frustrating to use. It's difficult and awkward to move, the dials are difficult to read, it's top-heavy, the hood can become dangerously hot, the hood thermometer isn't accurate… and they're not all the criticisms our testers had. (We'd list them all but we'd be here all day.)

If you're looking for a petite electric barbecue for your balcony or for travel, this isn't it. 

Read the full Ziegler & Brown Ziggy review. Or better yet, read our full barbecues review to find a barbie that'll actually do the job.  

beefmaster griddle 4 burner flat top griddle bbq g4beefg

Low height, low performance: the Beefmaster Griddle.

Beefmaster Griddle 4 Burner Flat Top Griddle BBQ

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 62%
  • Cooking performance score: 58%
  • Price: $899

A master of beef this barbecue isn't. Our experts scored it just 55% for cooking steak evenly; it left them with chewy steaks that were unevenly browned. It wasn't much chop at roasting a chook either, delivering a slightly undercooked bird that didn't brown. 

If you're a short cook whose barbecue repertoire is limited to sausages, you're in luck: it's strangely low to the ground at just 101cm high, and our experts say it cooks snags quite well, so it's good for catering a sausage sizzle.

If you don't fit into that very niche category, you'll be disappointed by this barbecue – especially for the $899 price tag! – so we suggest checking our reviews for a better barbie. 

Read the full Beefmaster Griddle review

beefeater bdb1540ga 1500 series 4 burner on cart with side burner

For nearly $2000, you'd expect a barbecue that can cook well.

Beefeater BDB1540GA 1500 Series 4 Burner on Cart with Side Burner

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 62%
  • Cooking performance score: 59%
  • Price: $1799

Eighteen hundred bucks for a BBQ that can't even cook sausages well? Yikes. 

This Beefeater disappointed on a number of tests – notably cooking sausages, for which it scored just 35%. It was also ordinary at cooking steak evenly, low-temperature cooking marinated chicken wings and being easy to use. 

Not only could it burn your meat with flare-ups, you could also fall foul of it: its hood and side tables can become dangerously hot, with temperatures reaching a scorching 138°C. 

We suggest you take your money and run, don't walk. 

Read the full Beefeater 1500 Series review

gasmate paragon digital electric bbq with cabinet trolley bqe303

This Gasmate is far from a paragon of BBQ excellence.

Gasmate Paragon Digital Electric BBQ with Cabinet Trolley

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 65%
  • Cooking performance score: 61%
  • Price: $999

This BBQ is less of a gas-mate and more of a gas-frenemy. The second-most expensive electric barbecue we've tested, it's overpriced at best and a waste of money at worst. 

It cooks unevenly, roasts ineffectively and is tricky to clean. Like many others in this list of poor performers, it's a pain to use and comes with poor instructions for assembly, so you'll be frustrated from start to finish. 

It was even outperformed by electric BBQs costing less than $300, which just goes to show that more money doesn't necessarily mean better. And considering it costs more than many models from big-name BBQs, you can definitely do better for your money. 

Read the full Gasmate Paragon Digital Electric BBQ review.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.