Short on entertaining space? You don't need to go big to barbecue in style. Some small barbecues offer all the features of larger barbies, such as a hood, char-grill plate, solid hotplate and foldable side tables, but they're also easy to move around and often come pre-assembled so you only need to unpack and start cooking.
Here's what you need to know about barbecuing on a balcony, plus the three best balcony BBQs to help you entertain in style.
CHOICE tips on how to clean your barbecue, and when and how often to clean it.
How much should I pay for a balcony BBQ?
Small barbecues usually retail from just under $200 to around $800. If you're paying a higher price, you should expect extra features like electronic gas ignition, fold-out side tables and a more solid construction.
There's a range of different features that can account for a hefty price tag, and you may find the bargain barbecue doesn't last as long as a pricier model. Look for a barbecue with a solid construction that uses quality materials, as it'll be out in the elements and will need protection.
"Barbecues are one of those appliances that I find you generally get what you pay for," says CHOICE's expert barbecue tester Fiona Mair.
Keep it safe
If you're planning a balcony barbie, there are some safety considerations:
- Check the by-laws for your complex and/or the owner's corporation to see if there are any restrictions on using a gas BBQ on your balcony. (If you're struggling to find this info, it could be hidden somewhere obscure, such as in a section relating to storage of hazardous material, i.e. an LPG gas cylinder.)
- Renting? Check for restrictions in your contract.
Got the all-clear? Before you go ahead:
- Never store more than one gas cylinder on your balcony – and never store them indoors, including in your garage, shed or under the house. Keep them outdoors so any gas leak will vent safely.
- Make sure you use the BBQ in a well-ventilated space. The fumes can be toxic.
- Don't BBQ in an enclosed balcony. Even spaces with louvres, cafe blinds or a significant amount of privacy screening pose a fire risk.
Another option is to go for an electric barbecue rather than gas. They produce less smoke, have accurate temperature control and are easier to clean. Unfortunately, there aren't many of them on the market. To find the best electric BBQs, check out our BBQ reviews.
This George Foreman BBQ is definitely not on fire.
The worst balcony BBQ
It's cheap, it's tiny, it's endorsed by a (quasi) celebrity – but as tempting as it may seem, don't bother spending your money on the George Foreman (so-called) Easy To Clean Indoor/Outdoor BBQ Grill - GGR300AU. It fails to live up to its name, scoring just 60% for ease of cleaning, and scores a lukewarm 42% overall.
What are the top 3 balcony BBQs?
We recommend BBQs with an overall score of 80% or above.
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