- Cleaning the grill isn’t the most fun chore, but it’s an essential one.
- The Kona 360° Grill Brush is our favorite because it evenly scours large swathes with each pass.
No matter how often you use your grill, it’s important to keep it clean both for the safety of your food and the longevity of your grill.
The black residue that builds up on the cooking surface of your grill contains carcinogens that can have serious health implications if transferred to your food. Further, bacteria can develop on leftover food bits, so scraping those bars and grates clean after each use, and again before the next cookout, is the best practice for good measure.
Properly cleaning your grill also helps preserve the hardware by preventing corrosion and rust, which can expedite its life expectancy while also presenting additional health risks, of course. Finally, and perhaps most obviously, food tastes better and is easier to handle when it is prepared on a clean grill.
As for choosing which grill-cleaning tool is right for you, it doesn’t hurt to have a few different options at your disposal. Below are the ones we deem most effective, though a combination of two or three of them will more than suffice. Just make sure to have at least one brush and one scraper, and, of course, make sure that you use them.
Here are the best grill brushes in 2021
- Best grill brush overall: Kona 360° Grill Brush
- Best grill brush for stubborn residue: BBQ-Aid Grill Brush and Scraper
- Best grill brush on a budget: Room Essentials Tough Brush
- Best grill brush with no metal bristles: Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool
- Best grill cleaning brick: KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick
The Kona 360° Grill Brush cleans in all directions to scrape away bits of food and built up soot on the top, sides, and the bottom of the grill.
Pros: Cleans in all directions, lightweight and balanced, safe for use on all types of grill
Cons: May rust if not properly dried
Cleaning your grill is important. We’ve already established that. But it can also be tedious. The Kona 360° Grill Brush is perfect for people who value a clean grill but want it cleaned fast. Its design allows you to clean the top, bottom, and sides of each bar of the grill without removing the grill top and with a minimal number of passes.
While most grill brushes feature a panel of bristles facing in one direction, this clever tool has bristles facing in all directions. And what’s more, there are three coils of said omnidirectional bristles, so you can scrape away at a broad swath of the grill with each pass.
While lightweight and easy to wield, this grill brush is far from dainty. In fact, it’s backed by a five-year warranty and is tough enough to use on all types of grills for hot or cold cleaning.
For the record, you’ll get the best results using it on a heated grill and with occasional dips into a bowl of water, or with water sprayed across the grill — just watch out for hot steam. And though rugged, the many fine bristles are safe for use on ceramic, porcelain, or infrared cook surfaces, too.
Best for stubborn residue
Whether it’s baked on after a marathon barbecuing session or caked on after a long season of disuse, even the most stubborn grill residue doesn’t stand a chance against the BBQ-Aid Grill Brush and Scraper.
Pros: Extra strength bristles, steel scraper breaks up stubborn grit, ergonomic wooden handle
Cons: Plastic plate can melt if left on the grill
There’s nothing fancy or technically advanced about the BBQ-Aid Grill Brush and Scraper. It has a wooden handle, a three-inch by three-inch panel of bristles, and a steel scraper set into the end of the unit. But what it lacks in extravagance, it makes up for in brute strength. This is the grill cleaning brush you break out after an all-day smoking session, before an end-of-season deep cleaning, or when you uncover your grill for the first time after a long break from barbecue cooking.
This grill brush has 72 bundles of stiff stainless steel bristles that work together to loosen and remove even the most stubborn grease, grit, food bits, and soot. With a bit of muscle behind it, the brush is almost unstoppable. But should you ever come up against a chunk of cooked-on crud too mighty for the brush alone, that’s when you apply the steel scraper. This blade-like tool can break up anything that adheres to that grill, and then the bristles can handle the cleanup work.
The only downside is that the bristles are mounted in a plastic plate that can melt if left on a hot grill. But as long as you’re scraping with some expediency, or waiting until your grill is cool enough to clean, you should be fine.
Best on a budget
The Room Essentials Tough Brush has heavy-duty bristles that scrape away grit and grime about as well as any other basic grill brush at a fraction of the cost.
Pros: Comes with spare bristle pad, built-in scraper
Cons: Bristles prone to bending and detaching with time
There’s not much to say about this grill brush aside from the fact that it’s affordable and gets the job done. The solid plastic handle is durable enough to apply as much pressure as needed while scraping away at that dirty grill. There’s also a metal scraper built into the head of the piece, and a handy hook to store the brush off the side of the grill or wherever you keep your grill cleaning tools.
This grill brush also comes with a replacement bristle pad in case the first one wears out, which is downright thoughtful, really.
I’ve used a cheap grill brush plenty of times in my day, and while this one doesn’t hold up as long as a higher-priced option, it will work just as well for a couple of seasons of use.
Best with no metal bristles
The more you use the unique wooden Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool on your charcoal grill, the better the tool will perform as it adopts a shape customized to your grill.
Pros: Becomes a customized cleaning tool, no metal bits that can get into foods, good low price
Cons: Requires break-in period, could catch on fire
Using an old grill brush with metal bristles could become hazardous if you’re not careful. The bristles can fall out over time and potentially get into your food, which could lead to injury if you accidentally swallow one. But there are alternatives to metal bristles, like the Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape for those who want to be extra careful.
Just know that the first time you use the Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool to scrape away grime and gunk on your charcoal grill’s grates, it’s not going to be very effective. The second and third time you use it, expect the same story. But stick with it, for soon enough, this clever paddle-shaped wooden tool will adapt to fit the exact width and placement of your grill’s bars.
Each time you use your Charcoal Companion grill cleaner, the grooves worn into it by cleaning sessions become a bit deeper. That means that soon won’t just be cleaning the top of the grill, but will be scouring away at the sides of the bars as well. And because the tool is made from wood, it will never scratch or damage metal grill grates. Even with regular, vigorous cleanings, the Charcoal Companion Safe Scrape Non-Bristle Cleaning Tool will never damage your grill top.
As it is wooden and flammable, just make sure you don’t leave this grill cleaner near a hot grill or atop the grate.
Best grill cleaning brick
For a truly like-new, grime-free, high shine look, it’s hard to beat the amazing scouring power of the KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick.
Pros: Removes even the finest grime, customizes shape to grill with repeated use
Cons: Often leaves behind bits of stone, best when used with a second tool
Like the previous wooden grill cleaning paddle, this KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick won’t be at its best the first few times you use it. But by always scraping at your grill in the same pattern (moving back and forth along the length of the bars, in other words), you will slowly carve grooves into the surface of this nonporous pumice stone block. Over time, it adapts to fit your grill, and this brick will become a more precise, effective scraping tool, even above that of a wire brush.
Also, it’s cheap, which is pretty great.
Despite how well the KegWorks Grill Cleaning Brick can scrape off the top of the grill, it will take time for it to be effective on the sides of the bars. And you also might want to wipe down or even rinse off the grill after each use, as bits of stone may adhere to the grilling surface.
I recommend scouring and scraping away with this stone, then using another grill brush to remove the bits of grime it loosened, as well as the bits of stone itself. Yes, that’s more work and will require two tools, but the cleanliness of your grill will go unmatched.
Check out our other grilling guides