best boat grills

5 Best Boat Grills for Pontoon and Sailboats: Buyer’s Guide with Reviews

Boats present quite a few unique challenges to the floating gourmet. Vessels come in every shape and size, but even yachts can feel pressed for space in the galley and food prep area. 

Marine grills are the perfect solution to add some cooking space, and nothing completes a great day on the water like a fresh lunch right off the grill. Enabling even the smallest boats to cook onboard — a rail-mounted grill is a nearly universal feature on pontoon and sailboats.

Our recommendations for the Best Boat Grills:

5 Best Boat Grills Reviewed

Finding a good boat grill is not easy. You definitely don’t want a unit that starts rusting right away or doesn’t work if there is a gush of wind.

In this guide, we have only included grills that meet our tight criteria:

  • Materials: Is made with high quality stainless steel or other material that can withstand the elements.
  • Cooking Performance: Can get hot enough and operate even when conditions get a bit rough.
  • Mounting: Mounting the barbecue safely should be easy enough.

When choosing, consider the size of your grill carefully. It should be proportional to the size of your boat.

Bigger boats have bigger rails, and therefore more space for larger grills. Also, large boats will likely have more guests onboard and need more cooking space.

If you need more help with choosing, take a look at the buying guide and the end of this article.

Here are our top 5 picks for the best boat grill:

Best Overall: Magma Newport 2 Infrared Grill

Magma is well-known for its excellent boat grills that deliver in all aspects that are important for cooking on the water. The resigned Newport 2 infrared grill has been improved in many areas making it even better than the older model that was already good.

Magma Newport 2 Infrared Grill

Specifications:

  • Fuel Type: Propane gas
  • Number of Burners: 1
  • Total BTU: 11,200
  • Grilling Area (sq.in): 162
  • Weight: 21 lbs
  • Build Materials: Marine grade stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 20.75″ x 11.75″ x 15″ (L x W x H)
  • Warranty: 1 year

Designed for Marine Environment

The grill has infrared screens that provide intense heat so you can sear your steaks properly. Thanks to the dynamic combustion system it works well even in moderate wind. These kinds of details make the Newport that much better than most other grills that are not really designed for boats.

It’s entirely made with high-quality stainless steel so it lasts for years even in a harsh marine environment. There is also a tempered glass viewing window so you can monitor your food without opening the lid all the time.

Cooking Area and Fuel

This grill has a 162 square inch grilling area and uses standard one-pound propane canisters as a fuel source. You can also buy a conversion kit to adapt it for onboard LPG or CNG systems.

If you need a bigger cooking area the BBQGuys online store has larger options available. They also give a 3-year warranty for all stainless steel parts.

Mounting

There is a variety of options to install the Newport so it fits nicely on your boat. For example, you can get a Magma mounting system for rail or a fishing rod holder. It also weighs only a bit over 20 pounds so it’s not too heavy.

Just check out the mounting options on Amazon or BBQGuys online store and choose one that best fits your boat.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a durable grill for quick, tasty, and easy cooking on your boat, then here is our top pick!

What We Love

  • Durable and lightweight stainless steel construction
  • Gets hot fast
  • Works even when it’s windy
  • Gives a nice sear
  • Made in the USA

What We Don’t

  • The thermometer doesn’t show degrees (only colors)

The Premium Option: Blaze Marine Grade Professional Gas Grill

Some companies have gotten into the business of selling grills as marine accessories. Unfortunately, many of them have poor heating qualities and are a challenge to cook on when compared to your grill at home.

What if a company that makes some of the best grills made one for the marine environment?

Then you’d have the Blaze portable marine grill. This is the nicest premium grill you could ask for your boat.

Blaze Professional LUX Marine Grade Portable Propane Gas Grill

Specifications:

  • Fuel Type: Propane gas
  • Number of Main Burners: 1
  • Total BTU: 12,000
  • Grilling Area (sq.in): 205
  • Weight: 51 lbs
  • Build Materials: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 27.13″ x 14.5″ x 15.13″ (L x W x H)
  • Warranty: Lifetime (except electrical and ignition components 1 year)

Since Blaze isn’t really in the marine market, you might have to look around and experiment to get the right mounting kit.

One great option is to pay a bit extra for a pedestal if you order it from the BBQGuys online store. Then you can just attach the sturdy pedestal to your boat.

Once you get this beast up and running, it will cook quickly and evenly. It features a 205 square inch cooking area and a 12,000 BTU H-shaped burner. The heavy-gauge stainless flame tamer and thick hexagon-shaped cooking grates are sturdy and add to the seamless cooking experience.

What We Love

  • Excellent cooking performance
  • Marine-grade 316L stainless steel exterior
  • Produces even heat
  • Lifetime warranty for all stainless steel components

What We Don’t

  • Quite expensive

Great Value for Money: Camco Olympian 5500

Camco makes many products directly marketed to folks in RVs. But they are very applicable to boats as well.

Besides having quality components and compact sizes, they offer their products at a better price point than most marine manufacturers.

The Olympian grill is no exception. It has a built-in thermometer, 180 square inches of cooking area, 12,000 BTUs of power, and a Piezo ignition.

Camco Olympian 5500 Stainless Steel Portable Grill

Specifications:

  • Fuel Type: Propane gas
  • Number of Burners: 1
  • Total BTU: 12,000
  • Grilling Area (sq.in): 180
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Build Materials: 304 Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 24” x 14” x 10.5″ (L x W x H)
  • Warranty: 1 year

Unlike most grills on our list, the Olympian is configured for a low-pressure propane hose from your existing system. That means there’s going to be a little more setup, especially if you don’t already have a hose set up for your grill. If your boat doesn’t have propane at all, you’ll need to pick up an adapter to use a one-pound camping tank.

Designed as an RV grill the mounting bracket available for this grill can also be attached to most boats. The grill does have folding legs, but those will not work well on board a boat.

This portable grill is made with 304 stainless steel, is lightweight, and needs no assembly. However, the smoker grate under the grilling grid is made of cast iron and can rust quite easily, so it’s recommended to season it well.

Optional parts to consider:

What We Love

  • Great value for money
  • Relatively large cooking area
  • Made of 304 stainless steel
  • Looks nice and is lightweight

What We Don’t

  • The smoker plate is made of cast iron and may start rusting over time

Best Option for Easy Mounting: Extreme Marine Cuisinart Petit Gourmet

When you find a grill you really like, you get creative to make it work onboard your boat. This is what has led Extreme Marine Products to sell this Cuisinart grill.

Yes, it’s a great grill that, when compared to marine options, is bargain-priced and cooks wonderfully. But what they bring to the party are mounting options. They’ve taken the standard tabletop Cuisinart and added stainless steel brackets to attach to square pontoon boat railings.

Extreme Marine Cuisinart Petit Gourmet

Specifications:

  • Fuel Type: Propane gas
  • Number of Burners: 1
  • Total BTU: 5,500
  • Grilling Area (sq.in): 145
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Build Materials: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 19” x 12” x 19″ (L x W x H)
  • Warranty: 1 year

The grill itself has a 145 square inch cooking area, a 5,500 BTU burner, and it runs off a one-pound propane cylinder. It’s a super-compact package that stows away easily and looks great.

If you don’t want to worry about buying separate mounting accessories, then just get the Extreme Marine Cuisinart Petit Gourmet and you got everything you need!

What We Love

  • Great cooking performance
  • Affordable
  • Easy to mount with the included brackets

What We Don’t

  • Quite small cooking area

Most Compact Option: Magma Marine Kettle Gas Grill

Magma kettle-style grills are a nearly ubiquitous boating accessory. They are compact and powerful for their size, available in two different diameters, and they come in gas and charcoal models.

Magma Marine Kettle Gas Grill

Specifications:

  • Fuel Type: Propane gas (charcoal version is also available)
  • Number of Main Burners: 1
  • Total BTU: 10,700
  • Grilling Area (sq.in): 133
  • Weight: 9 lbs
  • Build Materials: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 15.9″ x 14.9″ x 13.9″ (L x W x H)
  • Warranty: 1 year

Magma makes the most choices of mounts that are solely for boats. You can mount these grills nearly anywhere – they even make mounts that fit in fishing rod holders.

There are mounts for round and square railings, flush mounts, and swinging brackets. You can also get legs to use the grill when ashore. 

This grill is small enough to be able to fit on any vessel. The kettle design gets plenty hot with its 10,700 BTU burner that distributes heat evenly to cook pretty much anything.

Buying Options

If you buy the Magma Marine Kettle from Amazon you can choose between the 15- and 17-inch models. In addition to the propane-powered version, there is also a charcoal Marine Kettle available.

Both Amazon and BBQGuys online store have plenty of different mounting brackets to choose from.

What We Love

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Durable
  • Cooks well even when there is some wind
  • Many mounting options available

What We Don’t

  • The grease strain could be bigger

How to Choose the Best Boat Grill

There are quite a few factors that go into picking the perfect barbecue for your boat, so it’s not as easy a choice as it may seem at first.

Things you’ll definitely need to consider include high-quality stainless construction, fuel type, the right size, and how you are going to mount it.

Materials and Construction

The most obvious consideration for a marine grill is the quality of construction. You don’t have to be a boater for long before you discover how harsh the marine environment really is.

Even when protected and kept away from direct splashes, things rust, corrode and fall apart quickly. Grills are no exception.

High-quality grills are a substantial investment. If you think you will be using the grill a lot, it’s worth spending on a unit made of durable materials. Most marine brands use double-layer stainless steel, which protects them from corrosion and keeps them cooler to the touch.

Fuel Source

Boat grills come mostly in two varieties – charcoal and propane. Way more popular, the propane-fueled grills are a convenient and safer option.

Yes, there are also electric grills that can be used inside the galley as well as on the deck. However, they usually require an AC power source, which means you need a generator on the boat. This makes them an unfit choice for most of us.

Propane Boat Grills

Propane grills are our number one choice for marine barbecues.

They heat up and cool down quickly. That means they can be stored in a bag out of the way, set up and cooked on, and then stowed again for cruising all in a short period of time.

You don’t have to worry about keeping a bag of coal on board, nor do you have to carry a starter or lighter fluid.

Propane boat grills often use small one-pound camping cylinders, which are easy to come by at nearly any hardware, drug, or big-box store. You can even buy adapters online that allow you to refill them from a larger tank, or you can buy a type of adapter for your grill to run it off your ship’s propane system. 

The nice thing about small cylinders is that it’s easy to carry a spare or two. The bad thing about them is that they rust readily – spray a little WD-40 on them right when you get them from the store.

Charcoal Boat Grills

Often compact and easy to use, charcoal boat grills have the same problems that their landlubber grill cousins. They take longer to heat up, and they burn dirtier.

Since the grill takes longer to heat up and cool down, you won’t be able to move the grill or stow it if it’s in the way.

On a boat, you’ll also have to worry about storing the coals and keeping them dry.

Safety

Whichever fuel you choose, keep in mind how dangerous fire and flames are on a boat. Few substances burn quicker than fiberglass.

And what’s more, that fiberglass shell contains all sorts of other explosive substances like gasoline fumes, propane, and batteries that make hydrogen gas. It’s a floating tinder box, so use extreme caution when planning how you’re going to use your grill.

Size

Boat grills need to be more compact than your home options. But you still need to squeeze in enough space to cook for everyone on board. 

If you’ve got a large pontoon boat and a big family that likes to go out, some of the larger rectangular models will suit you best. But most marine grills are on the smaller side and it certainly doesn’t make sense to put a huge grill in a small boat.

The usual choice is a barbecue with grates big enough to accommodate enough food for a cruising couple, and maybe a few guests in a pinch.

Mounting Options

The final challenge is addressing how the grill will be mounted. The decision depends on the boat and its design.

boat grill mounted on a rail
One of the easiest options is to mount your boat grill on the rail

Pontoon boats often have square railings all the way around, allowing easy mounting options nearly anywhere you like.

Powerboats and sailboats usually come with round railings or pulpits/pushpits, and mounts are available to attach your grill securely. Most are made from 7/8 or 1-inch stainless tubing.

Some express cruisers lack railings, and deck mounts are available to secure the grill on a pedestal. The swim step is a good place for it.

Whatever mounting system you choose, the grill needs to be secure. Tabletop or fold-out leg models should not be used since you can’t ensure that it won’t slide around. Even if you anchor in a quiet cove, when the grill gets to 450 degrees, a wakeboarder is guaranteed to appear, circling and sending your grill sliding.

With that said, fold-down legs are a great feature if you want to use your grill onshore. They make great portables for tailgating, or you can use them ashore at the beach or sandbar.

Boat Grill FAQ

Is grilling on a boat safe?

Yes, grilling on a boat can be done safely. But there are a few important things to remember:

  • Make sure your grill is mounted securely.
  • Only use the grill when you are anchored or tied to a sturdy platform.
  • Don’t try to grill in heavy wind or big waves.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket nearby.
  • Don’t grill near flammable objects.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.
  • Remember to turn off the grill after cooking.

Can you grill on a pontoon boat?

Pontoon boats are a great option for grilling on the water. They are sable and often have a spacious platform with railings. This allows you to easily mount the grill and to have enough space for cooking and enjoying the meal.

What is the best grill for a pontoon boat?

Our top pick for a pontoon boat grill is the Magma Newport 2 Infrared Grill. It’s a durable grill that is very convenient to use on your pontoon boat. Just get a rail mounting kit and a one-pound propane canister and you’re ready to go!

About the Author

Hi, I’m Joonas!

As soon as I learned to walk, I started to assist my dad and uncles with grilling and smoking. I always loved helping them and later took over the role of the grill master in my family.

My goal is to cook tasty barbecue food, enjoy it with family & friends, and help others do the same!

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