5 Best Grill Mats for all Types of BBQs and Grills [Reviews & Buyer’s Guide]
Grilling is great. We can all agree on that, and we assume that's why you're visiting us. But to be honest, there are some things about grilling that bug us. Namely, grates. Grates are important for grilling, and you wouldn't have that special taste without the grates, but some foods are just easier to grill with than others. Burgers? Throw them on the grill and hear them sizzle. Vegetables? Throw them on the grill and watch them slip through the grate.
So, not all foods are going to be easy to cook with the standard grates that come with your grill. You could buy a smaller grill for these foods, or maybe replace the grates themselves, but forget all of that because there is an accessory on the market that'll help you with grilling those finicky foods. The humble best grill mats!
Now, if you're only grilling up meats, you don't need a grill mat. You'll need a grill mat if you want to grill vegetables or smaller kinds of seafood like scallops. Smaller, or more delicate, food that could slip through the grill grates or fall apart due to a flare-up. Maybe you want to grill marinated foods, or you just have some thick steaks and hate juice run-off. Whatever the case, it can't hurt to invest in a grill mat.
At a Glance: Top 5 Picks of Barbecue Grill Mat
5 Best BBQ Grill Mats Review of 2020
As a grill master, you're more than aware of how easier some foods are to grill compared to others. Grilling a nice, thick streak? Easy! Toss it on the grill and hear that sizzle! A fish? Not so much, because one wrong move and that fish falls to pieces. It gets worse with smaller cuts of meat, some types of seafood like scallops, and vegetables. At best, they're harder to grill. At worst, they'll fall straight through the grate and catch fire.
If you have a hankering to grill some foods that aren't meats, after all not everyone at the barbecue is going to want a juicy steak and this is a fact we can't get over, and don't want to buy a separate grill just for these items then you should try a grill mat! Today we're going to review the top five best grill mats on the market so you can figure out which one is right for you!
Grillaholics is a reputable company in all things grilling related, so it would only make sense they threw their hate into the ring of grill mats. The big selling point in that the Grillaholics Grill Mats are fitted to a perfect size.
This doesn't mean length or width, which is a comfortable 15.75-inches by 13-inches but instead the thickness. The Grillaholics mats are .25 mm thick, given an in-between range compared to some other mats on the market.
Now, what does this mean grilling wise? It means you can grill your vegetables, seafood, and anything else that's delicate! This being said, the maximum temperature that the Grillaholics Grill Mats can withstand is five hundred degrees Fahrenheit. So expect to work between three hundred or four hundred degrees. The Grillaholic Grill Mats can be susceptible to flare-ups, so never use them when you're trying to sear anything.
Overall, the Grillaholic Grill Mats are fantastic grill mats and possibly the best BBQ grill mats on the market. You get two in the pack, and you can cut them or shape them to fit your grill how you need them. Best of all, they're completely dishwasher safe so cleaning up is simple! Finally, these grill mats come with a lifetime warranty, and with a brand name like Grillaholics, you can trust these mats will last you a very long time.
Aoocan is another company that specializes in accessories for outdoor cooking. In truth, the Aoocan grill mats seem very similar to the Grillaholic grill mats.
They're both .25 mm thick, and have a length and width of 15.75-inches by 13-inches. Unlike the Grillaholic grill mats, you get five mats in the package and not two!
There is a trade-off, and that's the Aoocan doesn't seem to be as high quality as Grillaholic. Now don't get us wrong, these aren't bad grill mats in the slightest.
We really like using ours as having five in the pack meant we could assign different duties to different mats. The problem is that they're only going to last a few hundred uses whereas other mats will last thousands. These mats can withstand temperatures up to five hundred degrees.
Aoocan mats don't appear to be dishwasher safe either, we didn't try though, and need to be hand washed and dried outside. That was easy enough, so no worry there. Despite this, these are still great grill mats. You get five in the package for a very affordable price and these grill mats work. If you're looking for the most bang for your buck, you can't go wrong with Aoocan!
In some markets, and to some consumers, there's the idea that bigger is better. The people at Kona sure took this idea to heart when they made the XL Grill Mat. As the name might suggest, this is a very large grill mat.
Twenty-five inches long and seventeen-inches wide, this is a heavy-duty grill mat for heavy-duty grilling. To that end, it's .39 mm thick. Much thicker than other grill mats you'd find on the market, or this list.
With that extra thickness, the Kona XL Grill Mat can withstand temperatures up to six hundred degrees Fahrenheit and cook comfortably within five hundred degrees. Given that five hundred degrees were the maximum temperature the other grill mats on our list can take, it goes to show how tough the Kona XL Grill Mat is. Even flare-ups won't harm this mat. It's just that good.
Another, very clever, trick that the Kona XL Grill Mat has up its sleeve is a textured surface. Unlike flat grill mats, a textured surface helps the food not stick and provides a run-off for grease and juices, which really helps with cleaning. Coupled with a large enough size to fit most grills or be shaped to most grills, you've got another strong contender in the best bbq grill mesh mat set category!
As a smart shopper, you're likely very cautious of anything that declares itself "as seen on TV". Normally, "as seen on TV" means "a cheap product that won't work", but we were honestly surprised by the Chef Caron Grill Mats.
Unusual for grill mats, the Chef Caron mats stand at seventeen inches tall and thirteen inches wide, with a thickness of .2 mm.
That alone makes them different from most grill mats, but something else that took us aback was the fairly liberal use of PTFE coatings. In layman's terms, this means food shouldn't stick to the mat much, or hopefully at all. To assist in keeping food from sticking, the Caron mats are also slightly textured. Not as much as the Kona, but just enough that you can remove your grilled food without it sticking.
Being able to withstand temperatures of five hundred degrees, and dishwasher safe, the Chef Caron is a great grill mat for lower temperature grills or for use in ovens. Despite being listed "as seen on TV" we were genuinely impressed with how well the Chef Caron worked for us and with a money-back guarantee you should feel confident that your Chef Canon grill mats will work for you and last you quite some time.
The last set of grill mats on our list is also the cheapest. As you should know from our other reviews, cheaper products don't mean bad products. Just like how more expensive products don't mean better products.
To that end, Kitchen + Home grill mats are pretty standard all things considered. These mats are 15.75-inches long and 13-inches wide being able to withstand up to five hundred degrees.
Like a lot of other mats these are non-stick, and slightly textured so getting food off them is no trouble. They're claimed to be "thicker" than other grill mats but with no specifics listed. We decided to measure them ourselves and found that they were about .31 mm thick. So they are indeed thicker than other mats on the market.
Overall, these mats are what you want if you need the absolute cheapest mats mixed in with quality. These mats aren't going to fall apart after one use, and they'll fit most grills. They're also dishwasher safe!
What is a Grill Mat?
Simply put, a grill mat is a piece of material that you layout over your grill grates and which allows the food to be heated and cooked without them touching the flame either. This isn't like smoking, though, as the food is still in contact with the heat but the grill mat acts as a buffer between the flame and the food.
What are Grill Mats Made from?
Grill mats are made out of fiberglass material, due to the materials' lightweight, durable, and flexible construction. However, you can't exactly cook on fiberglass, which is why grill mats are covered in a layer of polytetrafluoroethylene, also commonly known as PTFE. This stuff is simply the non-stick coating you find on cookware. Importantly, PTFE is flame resistant which is very important when the mat is exposed to an open flame.
What are Mats Used for?
As mentioned, grill mats are used for more delicate foods but also for meats that have sauces or produce a lot of juice. Liquid, be it sauce, water, or natural juice, can fall into the fire below and cause a flare-up. As we all know, a flare-up is going to be your worst enemy with grilling. One moment you have a juicy steak, and the next moment it's now a piece of charcoal.
Grill mats prevent this from happening but allowing the juices, water, and other liquids to run off the mat instead of fall down into the fire. And because they're coated in PTFE, your food isn't going to stick to the grill.
This means grill mats are perfect for delicate foods, marinated foods, and the like. Burgers, steaks, chicken, and more hearty meats can still be thrown on the grill, and we recommend them on the grill compared to a mat.
That said, some do argue that greasier foods are better to cook on a grill mat compared to the grates, but we'll let you decide how and what you want on the grates or the mat.
How to Properly Use a Grill Mat
When you first buy your grill mat, be sure to wash it with warm, soapy water. Be very careful with scrubbing as you don't want to rub the PTFE coating off. Once the grill mat has dried, you can use it. This is quite simple and all you need to do is toss the mat over your grill and put your food on it. Simple! What isn't simple, and which you might not know, is you can't use metal utensils with your grill mat.
Why? The metal can easily scratch the PTFE off, or tear through the material. Neither of which you want to do. Another thing to keep in mind with grill mats is they can catch fire. PTFE is fire resistant, not fireproof after all. The majority of grill mats can withstand temperatures of five hundred degrees, but trying to cook close to that range will endanger your grilling mat. Two-hundred-to-four-hundred degrees is the optimal temperature range.
The large grill mats can be cut down to fit your grill exactly. You can achieve this by throwing the mat over your, unlit, grill and cutting off the parts that hang over the grill. We recommend doing this with cheaper grill mats or multi-packs, as you don't want to damage a more expensive grill mat by accident.
Finally, after you're done using your grill mat, you need to wash it off. Use either warm, soapy water and gently rub off the grim or put it in the dishwasher if the mat in question can be placed there. So using a grill mat is simple enough, you just need to know how to care for it. Never use metal utensils, never clean by scrubbing too hard, and only work in the safe temperature rating. This will go quite the ways to keep your grill mat safe.
Things to Consider Before Buying Grill Mats
Now that you know the basics on a grill mat, let's talk about what you should look for when buying them. There are plenty of grill mats on the market, and you might be tempted to go out and buy the most expensive one. But hold your horses, because we're not done with the basics on grill mats!
The first thing to keep in mind is the size of the grill mat. You never want a grill mat that's too small for your grill, as this will allow juices and smaller foods to escape landing on the ground or in the fire which could potentially cause a flare-up. As we've previously discussed, a flare-up could spell disaster for your grill mat and ruin it.
So never go for a mat that you think will fit. It's better to just pick a larger mat that will fit and which you can trim off the excess material if you're so included to do so. You want the grill mat to fit over the grates, leaving any free room puts the food and your mat at risk of flare-ups.
The next thing to look at is the thickness of the mat. Most mats will be around .25 mm thick. This is the standard thickness. You'll see other mats that might be thinner, around .20 mm or smaller, or thicker at around .30 mm and up. Why does thickness matter? And yes, we hear you snickering at that question. The thicker the grill mat, the more durable it is but the less efficient it'll be at transferring heat to your food.
Recall what we said earlier that a grill mat is essentially a buffer between the flames and your food. A thicker mat means the heat takes longer to reach your food. A thinner mat, meanwhile, allows the heat to reach the food faster but the downside is that these mats aren't as durable. A .25 mm mat is going to give you the best of both worlds in terms of heat resistance and heat transfer.
All grilling mats have a certain temperature range they can work in before the flame gets too hot for the mat. Most grilling mats on the market can withstand up to five hundred degrees, with a few able to withstand higher temperatures. If the temperature is too hot, your grill mat can burn. Ideally, you'll be grilling between two-hundred-and-four-hundred degrees, so five hundred degrees will be more than enough.
If you like searing your food, however, go with a grill mat that can withstand temperatures past five hundred degrees.
You may see some grill mats that boast having dual or multi-coats of PTFE. This means that they're less likely to have damage done to the protective coating, but in turn, it will be more expensive. If the trade-off is reasonable to you, there isn't any reason why you shouldn't invest in a double-coated grill mat.
Single, Double, or Multi-Packed:
You'll often find grill mats are sold in multi-packs. Anywhere from two-to-five mats in a pack, with some packs even having six mats. More mats do not mean the quality is poorer. In fact, some of the best grill mats on the market are sold in multi-packs. If you need to trim down the excess length, or need to have extra mats for specific roles, a multi-pack will be your friend.
Lastly, most grill mats have some form of warranty. This includes extended warranties, lifetime warranties, or just money-back guarantees. Warranties don't affect the price, so it's not a bad idea to pick up a grill mat that has a warrant.
These were our top five best bbq grill mats on the market. As this list should show, grill mats are great for more delicate grilling items, and even regular meats if the grill mat can handle higher temperatures! The listed mats are all affordable, the Kitchen + Home one's, in particular, being great if you're on a budget, and all but one of them come in multi-packs.
So, find the one you like, load on your meats, vegetables, or seafood, and see for yourself the difference a grill mat will provide for your barbecue!